Battling a sickness bug makes me think of Zombie Apocalypses apparently. So here’s a chapter of Game of Life. The Plot Thickens.
Part 12 — Rally
Harriet worked under the cover of Jeff, Karen and Justin. Severing the control unit and rerouting the power worked like a dream. The doors opened and the crowds of unturned people flooded from the lab the moment the door opened.
The enraged people focused instead on attacking each other and when there were no nearby enraged people nearby they charged at them. Mostly Karen alone made short work of them. She was a bonefide bad ass. Justin had the size, but speed triumphed in cutting them down quickly and efficiently.
“I’ll override the front door too,” Harriet said. “They’ll have to spend all their man power corralling the escapees. Hopefully they fail miserably and the people can just live somewhere they aren’t trapped in bottles.”
Jeff tensed. “But won’t they just change?”
“No,” Justin said. “This is an intentional treatment. I’ve been sabotaging the treatments that I could. Karen and I have been biding our time, waiting for the right moment.”
“And this moment is now huh?”
Justin traded a wary glance with Karen. “Yeah. Now is as good as any.”
“Got it.” Harriet stepped away from the wiring. “They’d need an hours worth of work to undo this. I’ll use the rest of the fuel in the blow torch to override the door to the doc’s lab. You get your disk, we get our revenge.”
“We get the data, you have your revenge,” Karen said. “Do you have some specific in mind?”
“Honestly? It’s not so much I want the satisfaction of killing him,” Jeff said, glancing away. “It’s more that, we need to make sure we understand why he killed Chae.”
Harriet waved them to follow to the doorway. The emergency lights flickered, casting an ominous glow at the end of the hall. “We’ll probably have to rough him up to get him to talk. I’ll enjoy doing it, but Jeff’s right. We need to know why he’d kill someone who could bring us a cure. My guess? He’s just a puppet.”
“A puppet?” Justin said, scowling. “Don’t tell me you’re a conspiracy theorist. Terrorists or the Government, neither make sense.”
Jeff shook his head. “None of this makes sense. We need to make sense of it with the few pieces we have. The government gave us a Humvee, and something we can assume is a cure. I doubt they’re the problem. Terrorists? Maybe. Jokes on them though, I doubt they expected the world to fall this hard.”
“Heh. Yeah. Just when Play of Important Chairs started getting interesting,” Harriet said.
Jeff glared at Harriet. “Well if you read the damned books you’d know how it went.”
Justin grinned. “Really? Aw, man. I love those books. Karen won’t even watch the show.”
Harriet laughed. “Books are for tier two nerds. I’m more of a tier one kind of girl.”
“Karen here would rather learn something if I’m going to read a hundred pages of something. She doesn’t know what she’s missing.”
“Jeff’s a jerk and won’t give me the short version. I packed game systems in the Humvee, maybe after we off the doctor we can hook up one to the monitors. If you’re down with getting trounced.”
“Oh, yeah?” Justin said, widening his grin. “Bring it on.”
Karen clapped twice. “If you two are done. The clocks ticking. He might have a way to get the security back on line.”
“Oh, Sorry.” Harriet said, nuzzling against Jeff. “ I got excited at the prospect of a real challenge. I can only beat ‘Easy Mode’ here so many times without getting bored.”
Jeff ignored the jab and approached the door. He ran a hand along the cool metal and slipped his fingers between the crack of the door. It split with ease. “Huh? It’s unlocked.”
“Lucky.” Harriet said, readying her rifle. “Let’s let Doc think he’s laid a clever trap.”
Karen raised a brow. “By marching into it?”
“That’s how we roll,” Jeff said. “It’s worked so far.”
“Well you can lead. You have the guns after all.”
Harriet grinned. “Aww. Isum Kung Foo Karen scawed?”
“Karate. And I’m not scared. I’m just not stupid.”
“We’ll get you backs.” Justin punched his palm. “You give us covering fire and–”
“We don’t have the ammo for covering fire.” Jeff pulled his gun from his shoulder. “The bullets we have are reserved. We told you that.”
“Fine. We’ll still back you up. The ragers might comeback. You don’t know how many of those people will turn.”
“Works for me.” Jeff pulled open the door. Inside, rows of machinery lined a wide room. The lights in the back half were off, but the machines flickered with dwindling power. Justin and Karen stayed near the door, Jeff took one way, and Harriet the other.
A dull hum of power filled the air alongside the clicking of keystrokes. Jeff approached the noise, swallowing back a lump in his throat when communication speakers crackled to life.
“Amusing.” The word reverberated through the room, spoken in an unearthly voice. The lights snapped on, blindingly bright and the doctor worked tirelessly at a lone computer station. He wasn’t the one talking. “Tests for human perseverance has proved amusing, if nothing else.”
Jeff ran, breaking around the corner of the room, rifle raised. Harriet aimed hers at him, a perfect bookend on the other side of the room. Between them lay the broken body of Richard. Blood poured out from his neck, the grievous wound that likely took his life.
Harriet’s gaze flitted between the body and the doctor, she raised her rifle and fired. Blood erupted from the doctor’s shoulder, splattering blood against the wall. The doctor did not flinch.
“Simplistic,” the voice said, echoing alongside the doctor’s keystrokes. “You shall have no vengance. You shall have no victories.”
Karen dashed towards the doctor, taking a direct route. A lashing tendril of electricty shot from the machines surrounding the doctor, halting her. The sprinkler systems came to life, forming a wall of water between them. She doubled back, narrowly avoiding a painful death by electrocution.
Harriet raised her rifle for a second shot.
“Stop,” Jeff said. “He’s not human and we need him intact.”
“Wise.” The voice said through the speakers. “Lay down your weapons. Submit.”
“Now you’re just pushing it.” Jeff grimaced and raised his rifle. “I said don’t shoot the doctor, not shoot at all.”
He fired, striking a control panel over the doctor. Harriet got the message and shot the one opposite of it. The electricity faltered and sputtered, giving Karen a chance to break through. She lunged and yanked on the doctor’s shoulder, revealing a mask of death. His face had been smashed in, his glasses were more a part of his face than his nose.
The doctor flailed in Karen’s grip, trying to continue his work at the keyboard. She didn’t let him. She grabbed him by the back of his jacket and tossed him towards Harriet like a pillow. Harriet stepped aside, letting the man slam into the ground. A trail of putrid blood smeared along the floor.
Harriet pointed her rifle at the twitching body, still struggling to stand. Jeff pushed throught the wall of water and approached.
“What the hell happened to him?” Jeff said.
“Dunno. But I doubt we’re getting much out of him.”
The speakers crackled to life. “Futile.”
Jeff and Harriet turned to see Karen, typing away at the computer, jaw clenched. “I can’t figure it out. It’s being deleted.”
Harriet approached, scanning her eyes across the monitor, and raised her rifle. She shot the primary control unit and the screen went blank.
“Ah! Why would you–”
“Relax. The Hard drive is in a sealed bullet proof black box. I just stopped the process with an improvised control-alt-delete. I know this system pretty well… considering.”
“What about the doctor?” Jeff called up to her.
“Keep an eye on him. Maybe he’s still smart enough to talk. Or at the least… smart enough to suffer.”
Laughter filled the speakers around them, then silence.