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The Protector


Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick a head surgeon at a hospital after one night his life is thrown into turmoil when a patient is rush into the ER with symptoms of a unknown virus, his investigation pulled him into a deadly terrorist organization encounter.

Adventure / Other
Leslie Graham
Age Rating:

The Protector


Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick was a surgeon at Grace Memorial Hospital, the hospital he was standing in front of at the moment a cigarette in hand, he had just come out of surgery and was calming himself, He worked in the ER. headed it as matter of fact, and was good at what he did. The surgery he had just finished was on a man that had been brought to the hospital by his brother. He had a big fish hook stuck in the left side of his head. He and his brother were ice fishing when the hook somehow didn’t catch any fish, but managed to lodge itself in his scalp. Dr. Fitzpatrick ordered that the surgery be prepped, changed into scrubs and went in. He looked closer at the incision, and realized that the hook in the scalp was controlling the bleeding, and had the patient attempted to remove it on his own, a lot of blood would have been lost. The difficulty with fish hooks is their rigged shape. They have a circular curve with a barb and gap, which causes them to do real damage on what should be fish. Fishers rip them off after they capture fish, so there was no way Fitzpatrick could just rip it off his scalp. A little epinephrine was used and was able to minimize the amount of bleeding after removal. The man was stable, and he proceeded to repair the wound with sutures. The man would be in recovery a while, for further check on what damage might have occurred to his brain. He would be fine, and Fitzpatrick was grateful. He looked after his patients with the utmost care, and when their health responded in like manner, he was happy.

He flicked the cigarette to the ground and crushed it with his shoe. turning around, he walked back into the hospital. There had been a shift change and the plump nurse Rosa was at the receptionist station she looked up at him and smiled a little as he came closer.

“Hi, Dr. Fitz.”

“Hello, Rosa.”

“Another surgery?”

“Yep, another surgery, Rosa.” He replied with a tone of finality as he walked past her and went out of earshot.

Rosa looked like she would have loved to have a longer conversation with him. He had been with the hospital a little over fifteen years, Although amicable the forty-six year old doctor always kept to himself. He had a head full of hair, his face with chiseled features he was clean shaven, many of the nurses had whispered about him and giggled shyly when he walked past. he did not care for all of that. From the first day he started at the hospital, he had made the patients his priority, making sure they were looked after and treated to the best of the hospital’s ability. they were why he did what he did.


He got to his office, and looked at the clock on the wall. It was a couple minutes past seven. He would be leaving by ten. He sat to think, when the bell rang signaling another emergency patient being brought in he was out in the hallway in a matter of seconds. A nurse met him in the hallway, and gave him protective gear to put on. He looked questioningly at her, and she nodded.

“They’re saying the patients are exhibiting symptoms of the virus.” She helped him shrug the gown on.

“The virus? He asked as he put his face mask on.

“Yes, Doc. The virus. It’s here.”

The virus had garnered attention on major news corporations around the country where the citizens were on lockdown. A couple other states had a few cases, but they were in lockdown as well. It was a novel virus, and the medical community was battling it as they went. Thing is, it had not gotten to their states yet. Not even surrounding states, and since there was a lockdown in the affected states the chances of an infected person walking in and spreading it were slim. Something didn’t sit right with him. He was properly fitted when he walked toward the entrance of the ER. He quickly gave orders to the nurses and told them to place them under quarantine, clear out a set of rooms and keep them off from the general population. His instructions were carried out with speed, and he proceeded to ask the people he had deduced to be homeless, questions. He took all four of them to one of the rooms cleared out. He chose the biggest looking man that was wringing his hands in anxiety to talk to.

“Apart from their breathing difficulties, is there anything else you noticed?”

“Uhh…well, sir, they all had raging temperatures for a couple days. We thought it would lower, and everything would be fine, then the breathing problem happened today.”

“I see. How long ago does it seem like it must have started?”

“To be honest, I feel it started when winter had just come in.”

“Why do you think that?” Fitzpatrick probed.

“Well, some help came to us, in the way of provisions and clothing. More food than fabric, and a van brought it to us. The three of them in there met with the benefactors, being leaders of the commune, and stored the things in their tents for a couple days before they started distributing it to everyone. afterwards the three of them started coughing and sneezing more than the rest of us normally would.”

“So you’re saying the provisions might have been infected with what got your friends sick?”

“I don’t know, man, all I know is that everything was fine before they showed up. They didn’t even have the markings of an organization on their vehicle, and they were all men looking hardened. Oh…they also wore gloves. The kind you’re putting on.”


Fitzpatrick thought over what he had just heard, that someone had gone to lengths to spread the virus to the homeless people bothered him deeply. This camp was not the only group of homeless people in the city, there was more and whoever did this would most likely reach out to more vulnerable homeless people with the handshake of death.

“Dr. Fitz?.” A nurse called to him, she had entered the room without him noticing.

“Yes?” He nodded.

“Here’s a note for you from the reception station. Someone dropped it off.” She handed it over to him, who would be sending him notes, he had no family, a loner. He turned the note over, a pink card. At the back, his name was scrawled artistically with MD accompanying it. He opened it and read.

We bring death to the circus. Three performers now, but there will be more. Take care, Doctor.

The paper slipped out of his hands, and as it fell, the little skull stamped on it stared at him through its empty pools of eyes.

It was disconcerting, most people would be on the edge of borderline panic right then, but Dr. Fitz had seen a lot more than most people have and so all he allowed himself to do, was to think analytically.

First off, he had a clear memory of consistently seeing the flag on Television. What made this flag different? What made it sinister? It was the fact that it had a skull on it. And what made it different from other skull embroider flags? This unique one, had no crossbones. Just skull. It belonged to a terrorist organization wreaking havoc where his company was. The name they touted was ‘Tujjar Almauwt’, loosely translated as ‘merchants of death’.

What were they doing with a virus like that? How did they get it? How did they even put together and organize whatever it was they had going on?


Fitz decided that it was unlikely they were responsible because the people he had seen were not the kind to play with viruses or attempt bio-warfare, they were fine and content with weapons they could see and bombs that could make things and people blow up. especially the people. Hard weapons that’s what they worked with.

They were those kinds of people ruthless and crude, this just could not be them. It was not their MO.


He continued thinking analytically, kept on separating what facts he had from conjecture. How did they get the note into the hospital? Who dropped the note off? He had asked the nurse who had brought the note to him about it, and she honestly couldn’t give any accurate details about the “delivery boy”. All she could say was that his head had been covered with a baseball hat and a hoodie, he had worn them low so she couldn’t see his face, that he was about 5’7, was the only real characteristic she thought she could remember, but even then, she was not sure.

He had casually asked the other nurses on the night shift about the delivery guy that had dropped off the note too, he was playing this one close to the chest, nobody but him had seen the contents of that note, not that anybody would ask him. They always, allowed him his privacy and must have even assumed it was something personal.

None of the nurses on the night shift remembered a thing. One had seen a guy in a hoodie and hat walk out of the hospital at about the time the note got to Dr. Fitz, but she had not seen his face, as he had been walking away, but again she remembered he had a limp, telltale signs of a fracture that healed badly.

A faceless boy that limped. That was all the information he had been able to garner.

He leaned back in his chair and entwined his fingers, feeling a tad frustrated. He missed the army for it’s strict handling of problems. He missed it despite it being the source of his main troubles, despite the fact that it had ripped out a part of him. It had even taken Chris away from him. His childhood buddy.

Chris had been his support system. When he came back from peacekeeping in any third world country, he would regale him with tales of how he and his team tracked down militias and quelled resistance against the governments. Chris had made investigation seem easy. He had actually made everything seem easy. A persistent memory he had of him was one of his, Fitzpatrick’s, birthday. Chris had been several thousands of miles away, but he had still managed to arrange a cake for him. Fitz had been so surprised and touched, he had called Chris and gushed about how he had appreciated the touching gesture. How do you deliver a cake to someone a thousand miles away from you while in the middle of a raging war?! Chris had laughed and told him that all he had to do was click his fingers and it was done, nothing in the field stopping him. Fitzpatrick had hung up that day knowing fully well that a lot of favors had been called in for the surprise to be possible. He also knew that Chris had gone right back to fighting after the call.


Fitzpatrick clenched his teeth and decided he would try to find out what was going on in the city. An uncontrolled outbreak with unwitting carriers would be catastrophic all round. He had stripped off his protective gear from his person, and disposed of them. He put his coat on and picked his case up. The ward he had quarantined off was just around the corner, and so he walked there.

At the entrance, he inquired about the patients. He was told they were still stable and were all breathing fine. He nodded and turned away. One of them had a hard time adjusting to the ventilator and had not been responding properly. He was okay now though, and Dr. Fitzpatrick felt more at ease. He was glad for the little wins in the presence of a lot of big loses.

He walked past the nurses station and peeped in. Nobody was there. They had probably hustled off to attend to patients with regular ailments. He shook his head and thought about how their worlds would soon be tossed and turned upside down, how the hectic bustle now, was actually the calm before the storm.

He walked into the garage and got into his Mercedes. He sat and placed his hands on the steering wheel. He took a few seconds to try to catch his breath. After a while, he started up the engine and drove out.

Traffic had thinned somewhat but the vehicles were still many. He weaved his way through traffic and juggled options in his head at the same time. When he was close to home, he decided on a course of action.

He picked up his phone and dialed.

He was calling Benny, an old army buddy.

“Hello, Benny?”

“Hey, Fitz! What’s going on? Been a while.”

“Yeah, man been one hell of a long while. I’ve been caught up in work, People always find new ways to hurt themselves, consistently.”

“I can understand that Fitz. You could have called anytime though, just to talk. You know I would pick up.”


“Definitely Benny.

“So, what brings you to me this lovely night, Fitz? Out with it.”

“I’m sort of in a pinch.”

“What kind of pinch are we talking here? Regular or desperate?”

“Well, desperate, Benny. Today at the hospital, a group of homeless people were brought in looking very sickly and struggling to breathe, the symptoms were consistent with the virus symptoms.”

“ Are you sure, Fitz?”

“I am sure, man.”

“ What does this mean for everyone? Have you alerted the authorities? This is big, man.”

“I know, I know. But that’s not all.”

“There’s more?”

“Right. So I interviewed the people that brought them in, and found out that they suspected the virus had started spreading in their homeless camp after they had gotten supplies from a nondescript van. I listened to their responses and it was quite obvious to me that the infection of the supplies that were given to them, was intentional.”

“That’s even worse. Tell me that’s all, Fitz.” His voice raises.

“I wish it was, but there’s even more. After the questioning, someone dropped a sinister note for me. I’ll scan it and send to you.”

“Read it to me while you’re doing that.”

Fitz read the note and Benny was silent for a couple seconds.

“This is big. Big in the wrong way of ways. What’s the motive here?”

“That brings me to why I called you, Benny. I need help. I know you’re still in the business and you can do what we need done. I need more information about the nondescript vans dropping off supplies for people. Homeless people especially.”

“I got you. Give me a couple of minutes.”

“Before you go, I need you to understand that this should be between us, for now. And we need to work really fast to find these people, and put an end to whatever they have going on. There’s innocent people out here dying for whatever reason and I won’t stand for it.”

“I understand. I’m on it. I’ll call you back.”


He ended the call and put the phone down. He stretched his arms a bit on the steering wheel, Benny would have to pull through.

He remembered road trips with Chris. They would take his car and just go off into the town they were stationed. They would see the sights, take in every heavenly scent, and eat everything that looked good. Chris was always in a very lively spirit, as opposed to Fitzpatrick at the moment. Fitz used to be alright socially, but Chris? Chris was off the charts. He walked into a room and , just like that, everyone would swivel around to look at him. He would then proceed to say hi to a lot of them, all of which he always knew from somewhere. He was spontaneous and did a lot of things for fun.

One or two times, Chris had tried to hook Fitz up with a girl in one of the places they had visited. The first trial had been in a bar but he had not been interested. The second, a restaurant. He had been interested, very interested, but he still could not see it to the finish line.

It was at the restaurant that He and Chris got to talking about their childhood. A particular somber memory that had haunted them.

It had been a cool day in Tremont, and the weather had been pretty. Lovely, actually. It was summer and colors were everywhere. Chris and Fitz had just left the corner store loaded with candy, Their mums were united in their decision to not let them have sweets, and so they planned to go to the park afterwards with their treasure, and gorge on them in between several forms of play.

They had been bouncing with glee, their adrenaline already spiked, by a couple of candy bars they had eaten in the store. The park was just a couple blocks up ahead, the neighborhood park. Little dainty thing. Served its purpose. There were woods around it that got thicker as one went in. The boys got to the park and sat on the one unoccupied bench and proceeded to trade tales and eat sweets.

The couple sitting on their bench were in the middle of an argument. Suddenly the argument became more heated and wild and then it got ugly, bitter words were being exchanged and they were making a scene. The boys quietly put their stuff in the bags they came in and went to another part of the park, away from the noise and chatter that was interrupting them. They moved towards the part of the park that edged towards the woods. Chris suggested they explore a little, but Fitz was hesitant. It was still bright, but he didn’t want to go in. Chris goaded and begged and finally convinced him to go in with him. There were lots of trees in the woods, and Chris tried climbing a few. After a while, Fitzpatrick had caught the excitement, and was up on trees too. Chris finally got up on one tree and was making faces and dancing to entertain Fitz, who had been standing under it.

The tree had a couple of low branches and Fitz thought it would be a good idea to jump and reach for one and swing on it, show Chris that although he was not up on the tree, he could have some fun with it too. He walked back a bit from the tree and did a little run towards it. He leapt and grabbed hold of a branch. Several swings back and forth, and he was intoxicated. He looked down, and the ground was some distance away. He kept swinging. Chris cheered him on, laughing and roaring, until the branch snapped.

He fell and he got a little nasty bruise. Chris shouted and hurriedly came down to help his best buddy. He tried to lift Fitz up and place his arm over his neck when he noticed that the texture of the ground under the tree was uneven and what looked like rocks were showing. He was confused. The area around them was grassy with even sand underneath them. He grunted as he tried to hoist Fitz and he slipped in the struggle, Fitz leg kicked off a lot of dirt off what looked like human fingers.

Chris had dropped him totally and had tried to clear the dirt around the area where the fingers were. Soon enough, a red sleeve showed up, alongside the arm it housed.

They had happened on a shallow grave.

The boys screamed and a couple of hours later, the police had turned up and handled police stuff. Turned out the body was that of a lady in town whose boyfriend reportedly had told everyone she had abandoned him and moved to Manhattan. The boys totally forgot about their candy, and throughout that summer, images of the half-decayed nails had haunted them. Their parents did not let them out half as much as they used to.

Chris and Fitz had reflected on it, somberly. They had called for the check and left the restaurant. They had their good times as well. That had just been one of their bad times.


Benjamin was a friend Chris had made while in the army. Older, but reliable. Benjamin used to be an MP, and so he and Fitz had met while his team was investigating Fitzpatrick’s unit. His focused and determined personality along with the manner in which he had sought out explanations and solutions, had endeared Fitz to him. In the end, it had been revealed that a doctor who had recently left on leave, had pilfered a lot of controlled medical substances, most likely with the intention to sell. Either ways, the rest of the unit had been exonerated. Several conversations and games later, Fitz and Benjamin became friends. They had not spoken a lot since Chris’ death, though.

These days, Benny was a private investigator. Business boomed occasionally for him. Searching for missing people, investigating employees, and all other good jobs he enjoyed. When it wasn’t going well, he was stuck with shadowing and stalking people’s spouses for them, and taking pictures of them as evidence. Mainly pictures of the guilty spouse being explicit with their mistress that had not been included in their vows. He had gone ahead to testify in a few of the divorce hearings that followed. Boring mind-numbing work, but it paid the bills.

Right now, was one of those times for him. A nagging wife suspected her husband was having an affair and so she got him to watch the man. So far, and it had been two weeks, the man hadn’t even as much as flirted with or even winked at any woman.

Benny booted his PC up and started scouring the net. He had backdoor access to a couple government sites and he made good use of them for other jobs. Annoyingly there was nothing on most except the records of cases in other states. He checked some others, still fruitless. Nothing was forthcoming, so he decided to work the phones. He had a couple of informants down in the Bronx as every good investigator does. He called and asked questions about homeless shelters and camps and supplies. Information started tricking in, in bits.

He was making headway.

He hung up his phone and went back to his computer. He put in a couple more minutes on sites, and leaned back. He sighed and reached for his phone. Fitz had to hear his.


Fitzpatrick had gotten home, was drinking coffee and scraping the remains of dinner off his plate, when Benny called back.

“What do you have for me?” he asked, dropping his spoon.

“Well, I checked some places and asked around. And Fitz, it IS serious.”

“What do you mean? Talk to me.” Fitz leaned on a wall.

“There’s been more reports of deaths with symptoms matching the ones you told me about. Still homeless shelters.”

“What? There’s more? Oh God! And I thought it was just those three I got.”

“Apparently, the homeless shelter that I got a line on had been visited by a van too. Only, this time, the van had had the same skull on it but at the bottom corner. Same M.O. Food, drinks and clothes.”


“I’m not done, Fitz, I also went on the dark web and noticed chatter about the virus. A certain Tujjar was bragging about creating the virus and engineering it’s spread in the US. Death to the west and all their usual chants.”

“You said Tujjar?” Fitz unknowingly held his breath.

“Yeah, the username read that. Posted a couple pictures of the skull. Looks like they are the ones behind this.”

“Damn. Look, Benny, it’s going to go down like this. I’m hopping into my car now and touring round the shelters tonight. I’m betting they watch the camps they ‘help’ before supplying the help. Hopefully, I can find them.”

“You sure this is a good idea, Fitz? It’s a whole organization and there is just you. Maybe we should inform the authorities? Don’t you think?”

“I’ll be going armed and I suggest you stay on the alert in case I need you. I’ll let the authorities know when I feel the time is right. Don’t call them either.”

“ I won’t. Be careful out there!”

“Yep. Just keep your line open.”

Fitz took his cup and plate to the sink and washed his hands clean. He changed into a dark sweatsuit and went to his bedroom safe. There was a Walther PPS in the safe, amongst other things. The gun had been with him a long time now, for about ten years. Ten years and he had fired out of it only about thrice. Despite not shooting his own gun, he was very well versed in the use of arms. He was army trained and he regularly paid visits to a Shooting Ranch on the outskirts of the city. His hits were well known among the guys there.

He took the sleek gun out and loaded it. It was cleaned already. He did that when he came from work and had idle time, helped him think. He wore a navy blue baseball hat and stepped out of his house. The door clicked shut as he stepped away. He started driving towards the neighborhoods that he knew would have more homeless camps. Homeless people gravitated towards those and made peace with their life. He sped up until he was out of his part of the city, the good looking part. Very quickly because the divide was not large, he entered the kind of neighborhood he was looking for. He slowed down and kept his eyes sharp.

Fitz turned off to another street and kept moving, still slow. He saw a couple people huddled around metal barrels with fire in them. He drove closer and he knew what it was. They were keeping themselves warm by the fire. Even though they had no other choice than to be outside, they were damn sure trying to stay alive. He circled the block around that encampment twice and not one van was in sight. He started to realize that his idea really didn’t make much sense after all, why hang around to watch people you could easily infect with something as simple as supplies? They need it, so they will take it.

He shrugged and decided to try a couple more places, homeless shelters did not have maps or specific locations, so you pretty much just had to happen upon one. Fitzpatrick toured around the city some more, and checked on five more camps, still no sign of the van. He decided to check one more camp and call it a night, it was already looking pretty futile and he could use the sleep. The car was steered in the direction of the part of the city where he lived, different route home. He sped up some, as he doubted there was anything to find, really. A couple minutes later, in a downtrodden neighborhood, he saw a homeless shelter up ahead. It was late, but the kids were milling about. Most of them hopping from one barrel of flames to the other. A lot of them were outside. They probably did not have lights out rules. Nothing here, really, and he concluded he had just wasted the night. He drove closer, and then he saw something. It was not the van, just some kind of contraption hooked to something. It had a hose connected to some sort of engine, and it was letting out steam clouds in the general direction of the homeless camp.It was between a couple abandoned dumpsters piled on each other on both sides, and not entirely visible, there were not any houses nearby. He drove towards it, suspicious at first, then assumed it was some good samaritan that decided to fumigate the area for the homeless people. Make it kind of habitable. He drove past the contraption slowly and saw that there was little light splashed over it. He was about to turn away when he saw that it was hooked onto a vehicle. A big vehicle. Some light was on a part of the vehicle he couldn’t see entirely. He drove closer, still on the road, and saw the skull on the back fender, the skull gleamed in the night light. He lifted his head up to look at the entire vehicle, and lo! it was the van he had been looking for the whole night.

What in the world was going on??!


As the strong whiff of realization hit him, his chest tightened, for a moment there he felt fear take a trip down his spine, but logic kicked in and his composure was restored. Analytically weighing the situation, there was every chance that there were people staking out the van. He got out of his car with the Walther holstered in his waist, the air was cold, he could see his breath. He walked towards the vehicle. It was a black van. Getting closer to it he noticed moving figures, they were all loitered around the van strategically watching the vehicle but trying to blend in with the scenery.

The men were talking to each other in hushed tones but when they sighted Fitz figure drawing closer they paused. Two were crouched on a damaged dumpster two others were standing puffing cigars.

“Evening.” Fitz greeted when he was less than three feet from them.

“How are y’all doing?” He took another glance at the contraption.

“What do you want?” One of the men asked in a gruff attacking tone that reminded you of the things he was lacking in physique. He was rather brief and he had a western drawl.

“Pardon me, but I was just driving by and I couldn’t help but notice your vehicle and the gas-like substance coming out of that… Machine.” He motioned towards the contraption.

“Yeah, what about it?” Another of the men asked, moving closer to him. He noticed that the man was dark-skinned when a flicker of light coming from a moving car hit his face.

“It looks harmful to the environment and –”

“Let me get this straight. You came over here to talk about the environment?!” The third guy said in-between puffs. “You’re not serious.”

The others laughed.

“That gas looks unhealthy.” Fitz’ voice went flat. “And I also noticed the insignia attached to your van.”

He noticed the men’s body stiffen.

“So, if you don’t mind, who sent you?”

There was a moment’s silence. Fitz watched the men exchange looks. Then the first man who Fitz saw as the leader made a gesture with his head and two of the men lunged forward. The reaction time was so quick; one dived Fitz’ torso, the other tried to land a punch on his face. But his reflexes were quick too. He stiffened his abdomen and bent his head when the combo attack came. Using his elbow to smash the diver’s spine. He grunted. The second man had missed the punch and had fallen. He was getting up when Fitz was smashing the other guy’s spine repeatedly with knee hits to his chest. He lunched for Fitz screaming like a strangled elephant as he went, but Fitz was not prepared for the impact of the punch that came. It crashed into his face, almost cracking his jawbone. Staggered to the side, for a minute, he was unable to see. Then he heard the screeching of tires and he readjusted his focus to the vehicle that was moving away.


The van was gone. Fitz was not happy about it at all. While he was being attacked by these men, the other men sneaked to the van and drove off. These two were the diversion and he had fallen for it. Damn. Angrily he flipped out his gun and walked over to where the two diversions were sitting. On the cold ground.

“Who sent you?” He asked, but they did not answer, even with a gun pointed at them. Fitz used the mouth of his boots to kiss the face of the man that had punched him earlier. He felt the man’s teeth break. Blood splattered on the ground.

“Are you not going to talk?” He asked the man as he coughed blood. There was no remorse in Fitz’ eyes. He looked at the two men the same way he looked at pestering flies. Seeing that a response was not forthcoming, he moved closer to them and dipped a hand into their pockets. He found some cash and a pack of cigarettes. He disposed of their wallets when he found out that there was no form of identification in it. The two men kept grunting in pain. The diver clutching his back and the boxer his mouth.

Something in him made him lift the diver off the ground, ripping the buttons of his long sleeves shirt to reveal his chest, he did not see what he was looking for, Fitz pulled up the man’s sleeves and there it was, What he was looking for.

The skull tattoo sat on the man’s pale skin, with the inscription, Tujjar Almauwt artistically laced around it. Fitz dropped the man like a dead weight, he left both men and hurried out of the area. Quietly getting into his car drove off. After driving for a long while, he stopped to place a call to someone, parking his car at Fifth Avenue. Over six blocks away from the homeless shelter.

There was a buzz, the person picked up instantly.

“Gale? Are you close to your computer…?”

“Yes doc. What’s good?” the raspy voice cheered.

Fitz could hear loud music.

“Good. I want you to help me run a search on this plate number. 43CHI21.”

“Wow. That’s a first. But sure.”

“Did you get it correctly?” He ignored Gale’s lightness. “Want me to repeat it again…?”

“No. Got it.” Gale replied.

“Good. Let me know what you find immediately. Thank you.”

“Is anything the matter?”

“No. Not exactly. But do not reveal this to anyone is that clear?”

Gale was not a blabbermouth.


“Thank you.”

He cut the call.


Gale Storm, Fitz’ apprentice, and a graduate student in the community college. Fitz had found her in the streets lost and helpless, the only thing she possessed was a name. Not really out of compassion but of duty, Fitz decided to take her in. Helping with her SATs; of which she passed impressively. Gale found coding interesting so Fitz bought her gadgets and gave her the necessary contacts she needed to expand her programming skills while she was in school. Since then, Gale has excelled greatly. Working for huge companies as their IT and Cyber security woman. One of which was State Police.

Fitz did not think he was ever going to need links to the Bureau until today. In that split moment back there in that alley where he had just fought two huge men, he realized that there was indeed a way to get them so in that split second that the van disappeared out of sight, he caught a short glimpse of the plate number and memorized it like physics formulas. He has always had an eidetic memory.

Overwhelmed by all that went on in the last hour, Fitz started the ignition while checking the road to make sure nobody was following him. The coast was clear so he pulled his Mercedes into the asphalt and he drove off.


The next day, Dr. Fitz was checking the health status of diagnosed virus patients. He observed that their condition was worsening by the minute; their persistent coughing had turned to something bizarre and dreadful that the nurses had no other choice but to prevent the patients’ families from visiting them. Extra measures were taken to secure the area. Orders came from the chief doctors that the janitors disinfect all surfaces, every nook and cranny of the hospital was cleaned down to the last particle.

Dr. Fitz was checking the heart rate of one of his male patient’s when a male nurse came into the ward looking for him, “Doc, there is a call for you.” Fitz turned to look at him. Eyes carrying expectation. He left the ward immediately and went to his office, leaving the patient under the care of the male nurse.

He shrugged his coat off, removed his rubber gloves and face masks, and picked the call.

“Gale?” Fitz held the phone to his ears with his shoulder while he pulled out a cigarette and lit it up. He took a deep drag and puffed into the air. Cigarettes always had a way of calming his nerves. Seeing those people in the private ward made him uneasy. Uneasy always meant someone was going to die. He hated that.

“I have the registered ID of the owner of the car and the last place it was seen. Apparently, there are trackers on them.” Gale squeaked over the phone.

That was pretty odd to Fitz. So he shrugged it off as soon as it came.

“I’m sending you the address right now.” Just as those last sentences settled, Fitz’ phone vibrated to life. He could see the attachment message sent by Gale. He was very impressed.

“Thank you.”

“But, is there anything I should know?”

“Nothing you should worry about. I hope you did not reveal anything to anyone?”

Gale scoffed. “Nobody talks to me anyways.”

“Right. I’ll keep in touch.”

He ended the call and sighed deeply, massaging his eyes while trying to get over the whiff of fatigue that hit him the moment when he realized the loneliness in Gale’s voice coupled with the idea of what he had just experienced with his patients. Everything was getting so scary and he felt it heavily in his gut. But he knew what he must do. So he wore a new pair of gloves, wore his coat, and facemasks and went back to the ward to monitor his patient’s progress. When he got there he noticed the extra bed that was empty, was now occupied. He looked questioningly at a nurse.

“They rushed him in a couple of seconds ago. Similar symptoms.” She explained.


According to the details of Gale’s message, the van was registered to a certain Dwight Parker. Fitz did not need the Wisdom of Solomon to know that it was a fake name, or an alias, so searching for any Dwight Parker would be like digging for water in the desert. After his shift, he went home and got changed to the outfit he wore the previous night and he reloaded his Walther, holstering it on his waist. He got into his car and drove to Karen Ave, three miles from where he currently was, according to Google Maps.

In about fifteen minutes he was parked opposite the building that had the red pinpoint on his GPS. It was a warehouse in a deserted neighborhood. Fitz was skeptical but the moving shadows visible from the high opening close to the roof was convincing. He got out of the car, moved stealthily, his footfalls were light even when he jumped over the short wooden fence and stumped on dried grass. He squinted his eyes to make sense of the scenery. There were five vehicles inside. Two trucks and three utility vans, amongst which was the black van with the plate number. He felt all his muscles tightening, even the jaw the guy had punched was greatly clenched.

This was the place and something was going down inside. He had to know what it was. Calculatedly he moved towards the building with caution. Moving slowly and avoiding the openings were the lights escaped. There was an opening at the back, a narrow path that led to a place that looked like a control room. He slipped through it by holding his breath and sucking up all his gut. And he was in. He could hear voices and he moved towards it. Coming out of the control room silently. He found himself in a long hallway built with some kind of alloy. To prevent fire. The voices became louder and louder as he moved towards the opening that supersedes the tunnel-like hallway.

When he got closer to the opening he crouched lower, there was no covering. He noticed that there were shelves littered everywhere with brown boxes stacked up high in them. Fitz was hiding behind one of them as he tried to peep through the stacked boxes to locate the position of the voice. After searching he found the person talking rapidly to a couple of people. It was a brown man, addressing Five? Ten people? Fitz was not sure. But what he saw them wearing left him petrified.

On these men’s bodies were military grade firearms. Fitz recognized the gun on the man that was talking. It was an AK-47 Assault Rifle, and others sitting around the table listening to the speaker talk had machine guns strapped around their black clothing. Fitz could see the military grade grenades and bullets littered around the table. On the white board was a mapped out plan that he was unable to make any sense of. So he leaned more on the shelf so he would be able to hear the man more audibly. Just as he did, one of the boxes on the top shelf fell to the ground with a thud. The men reacted instantly, holding their guns and pointing them in the direction the noise came from.


One of the men called out. But Fitz did not move a muscle. Rather, he stayed crouched up in his little corner behind the boxes two shelves away from where the men were. He knew that any sudden movement would result to a tragic ending. So he remained where he was even when they called out repeatedly.

Suddenly, a gun crackled behind him. The cold steel nozzle pressed to the back of his skull.

“Don’t move an inch.” The voice ordered. It was a man with an accent he was unable to pin point. He knew better not to move.

“Now slowly put your arms where I can see them – no funny tricks or you’ll regret it.”

Fitz cussed under his breath and obediently lifted both hands above his head. Showed his wrists before putting his hands on his head.

“Get up! Slowly.”

All the alarms in Fitz’ body were screaming as he got to his feet. With the nozzle of the man’s gun pressed to his spine, he was guided out of the hiding place into the den of the dreadful men with weapons of death. The last time Fitz had seen this many guns gathered in one place was the time he went to the gun store to get his license…

I’m in trouble.

He was guided to a seat at the front, where the presumed head of the operation was, giving his orders. Getting closer to the man, Fitz noticed the magnified features of the man. If he was not scared before, he was scared now. Eyes that burned like that which had set a hundred men ablaze without any form of remorse. The man’s facial features reeked of regality; well-groomed and clean-shaved. He towered over Fitz and he had tensed muscles hidden beneath his dark apparel consisting of a long-sleeved turtleneck, jeans and boots, and a knee-length jacket that was buttoned up.

“Welcome.” The man said. “Take your seat.”


The man pressed his spine with the gun and Fitz took the cue to sit his butt down. Looking around the table and the faces of the other men clad in black. He began to get worried. Streams of questions crossed his mind. But the only one that screamed louder than the rest was what the plan on the board meant whatever it was, it was not going to be good.



Fitz stiffened as the man spoke.

“Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick. Thank you for joining us tonight.”

“Y- You know my name. How did you know my name?” Fitz stuttered.

The man laughed lightly. “We have been expecting you.”

Just then, four men appeared from the other side of the shelves. Fitz recognized them instantly.

“I’m sure you know these men…”

The man gestured to the man with bandages on his face. The one that Fitz had kicked with his shoe.

Now Fitz was greatly scared, the alarms blaring, he was starting to think that the men before him was the danger he was warned about. The man that had found him stood beside him still pointing the gun to his head.

“How…” Fitz trailed off.

“How did I know your name? How could I not? I know you and your people.” His Arabic drawl was more audible. “Your people bombed my city, killed my mother and father, they took away everything that is precious to me. Now I will take everything away from all of you. And when I am done, everyone will feel everything I felt.”

Those words met Fitz with confusion. He tried to piece every statement together but he never got the picture. For a moment he wondered if he was in the right place. Maybe he had attacked the wrong truck or something. Was this a drug war? No, if it was, there would be no mention of bomb –

The leader dipped his hands into his long jacket and produced two vials, one containing a yellowish liquid which contained the virus, and a greenish liquid which was the vaccine.

“With this.” The man beamed. Fitz could see no soul in his eyes, only a glint that reflected pure hatred and bloodlust. “With this, we will hold the world ransom!”

After the statement, he quickly retrieved the vial back into his jacket. Ordering the man beside Fitz to tie him up. As they were tying the doctor up, all the men in the meeting place, prepared. There has never been a greater panic than that to the doctor. He had been in many compromising situations. Inside the theatre trying to save a life, driving on the highway at over 180, still nothing he has ever experienced in the past could come close to the insane paranoia that choked him as these terrifying men wore their explosives and held their guns.

Was he about to be shot dead for something he did not have a clue about? How would he feel if he was shot in the head? Would it hurt for long, or would his system shut down instantly? Even with the fifteen years’ experience in medicine he could not answer his own questions.

After he was tied up, the men began to troop out of the warehouse, only one of the four men Fitz had fought left with them. The rest stayed behind.

“I will be leaving you with your friends, let you all have your fun, I have another engagement tonight. He winked at the huge man before he walked out of the warehouse.

Fitz stared at both men as the engines of vehicles outside came to life, and the headlights lit up inside the warehouse completely. He was able to catch a vivid glimpse of their faces, they were smiling with great deviltry.

Being in the mercy of these men left a heavy lump in his throat. But he never stopped looking at them. The muscular man cracked his knuckles and he slammed one fist against the other palm. They walked over to where he was tied to a chair, and one of them lifted his chin up speaking a foreign language that Fitz did not understand.

Then the guy sliced a punch through the thin air. It landed on Fitz’ face. He winced in pain as it was in the same area the first punch had landed. He tasted a warm coppery liquid in his mouth. Then the third man launched at him, using his elbow, sinking it into Fitz’ chest. The hard impact made him cough repeatedly. He started to pass out. The men laughed mischievously. Without saying a word, another guy walked to the table and picked up an Assault Rifle and cracked it. Seeing what the man was holding, the leader ordered him to put it down. But the man said no. He was going to give the ultimate judgment.

Seeing the nozzle of the gun made Fitz greatly scared. Is this how he was going to die? Without saving any of those patients? With many people going to be killed by that psychotic terrorist? Fitz tried to think of a way to escape this spot. Repeatedly he tugged on the expertly knotted rope at the back of his chair. For a moment he wished he could pause time and rewind. Do all those things he wished he had done from the very beginning. Maybe share a cup of coffee with the receptionist nurse at the hospital or replied to some of his messages on his social media. But none of that seemed to matter now. He was going to die. He wished for it to be painless and quick, so he would not carry the sense of that pain to the afterlife – if there was such a thing.

He watched the man guide his index finger to the trigger, the other two had stepped away from the target area. Fitz’ head was the man’s target. So Fitz closed his eyes. He had already surrendered his soul. He had made the most stupid move, he should have informed the authorities. Now the lives of many would be attached to his death.

If only…


Suddenly, they heard noises of an engine outside. Everyone turned towards the revving sound and the lights. Were the others back? The car growled angrily and the next thing the men knew, the front walls of the warehouse crumbled and a car came into view. It fell many shelves. The men carried their guns and aimed for the car. It was a Honda. They aimed their guns and yelled at the car, demanding that they reveal themselves or they would shoot. But there was no response from the person behind the wheels. The glasses were tinted.

Fitz’ had a feeling it was a Benny, he could not help but feel relieved. When the men ordered the person to reveal themselves for the second time and did not get a response, the men angrily fired at the vehicle repeatedly. But the vehicles windscreen didn’t budge. It was bullet proof. Then, the sound of a crackled gun was heard and out of nowhere, a figure appeared shooting sporadically. Taking these men off balance because they had not seen the car doors open.

The shots flew around and the men smartly moved, taking cover, and retaliating but without aim. They lifted their guns and shot everywhere and anywhere. As this ensued, Fitz, leaned sideways so that the chair would fall to avoid the bullets. As the shooting continued someone grunted. One of the guys caught a bullet in the chest when he had impulsively stood up to seek the exact location of the shooter. This made the other man scream as he was screaming there was another shot, then silence.

Although this was impressive, Fitz could not help but wonder, where did Benny learn to fire like this? He heard whimpering, turning towards the sound and saw the last man shivering in fear.

“W- w- who are you? Show yourself!” He cocked his gun and pressed it against his chest.

Fitz had never seen a man this petrified in a long while. Suddenly he heard footstep, Slow but loud. As he was turning to the position of the sound, he heard another gunshot that wheezed past him, hitting the last man in the left eye. Blood sprayed on the shelves behind him.

Whoever this person was, he surely was not Ben –


“Doc, are you alright?”

The voice was familiar. In fact, too familiar. Fitz turned his neck from his lying position and found a pair of legs close to his face. He looked up and found the Beretta that was used on these men. And then he saw the face. He recoiled in shock.

“Gale?” He was astonished. There was no particular way to feel.

“No time to explain, we have to go right now.” She untied Fitz’ hands and freed him from the chair. She lifted him up and dragged him towards the bulletproof Honda.

“How did you find me?” Fitz was finding it hard to believe that this frail-looking woman he has known for more than five years was the one that killed three terrorists like that.

They got into the car. The interior was all black. There was a futuristic computer system attached to the dashboard that had a red pinpoint that was moving slowly.

“I said how?” Fitz repeated. He wanted to know.

“I used a tracker on your phone. Your request was shady from the start. I also know about the virus. People on the Onion could not stop talking about it.” Onion was another name for the Dark Web. Gale was a distinguished member.

Dr. Fitz looked at her as she pulled the car out of the pile of rubble, crashing into one side of the wooden gates, sliding the car into road all in reverse. One word, awestruck. As the car sped off, Gale took quick glances at the monitor on the dashboard.

“How did you learn to shoot like that?”

“Not much skill really. I play Call of Duty a lot. So I have an upper-hand when it comes to stealth attacks.

Fitz was impressed.

“I was tracking the van.” Gale looked ahead at the road. “But now the van has disappeared out of radar.”

Fitz did not see the red pinpoint on the GPS monitor again.

“No need, drive. I know where they are headed.”


A pandemonium ensued over at the City’s Water Supply control building. Abdul and his men had stormed into the base on foot, hiding the vans miles away. One of his men killed the security guards in an instant. Taking a worker hostage they were ready to fire at any given time.

“Take us to the main water supply.” Abdul said to the terrified worker. “Don’t worry, no harm will come to you.”

He left two of his men at the entrance while he and the others followed the man to the main water supply. It was a massive water facility connected to the ocean and all the sewers in the city. Seeing the main water source, his men marveled.

The world was about to feel their impact and nothing was going to stop them now. Just as Abdul brought out a vial from inside his jacket, there was a loud explosion.

There was loud screaming from the men Abdul had left at the entrance. Gunshots and thuds. Someone was there. The men with him got into battle positions.

Someone must have alerted the police. Still, it was going to take more than just the police to stop them.

“Let the worker go.” Someone said. They looked around and found that it was coming from the shadowy doorway.

Dr. Fitz and Gale emerged from the shadows. Both of them holding guns. Eyes glinting with ferocious rage. “Tell your men to drop their weapons.”

“Ah, I see you were able to escape my men. I underestimated you. You’re no different from your people.”

Abdul pressed the worker to his body. Putting a gun to the man’s temple. The worker pleaded for help with tears running from his eyes. “Drop your weapon, doctor. Or I will send this man to the afterlife.”

Dr. Fitz ensured to hide his panic as he looked at the man. Indeed this was a tight situation but he was not going to let these people see that. The three other men had their rifles aimed at both of them. Gale had her Berretta aimed at the men.

“I can take them all on. But one of us would get hit.” Gale whispered.

But that was too much a risk to take. So in defeat, Dr. Fitz slowly placed his gun on the floor, kicking it over to where the leader stood beside the water reserve. Abdul smirked.

“I’ve surrendered. Now you should let that man –”

There was a gunshot. The explosive force made the others fire. Then sporadically, shots were flying around.

For a split moment, Dr. Fitz felt his chest push him away. The supersonic speed metal hit him on the chest, and he fell on his face.

“NO!” Gale screamed. Expertly firing at everyone all at once. She was angry. Everyone fell.

In that moment Gale realized that she had sprayed bullets at the leader too. He slowly fell on his back. His skull making a loud cracking sound.

Still frozen in one spot, the worker realized he had just escaped a sea of death bullets, he ran as fast as he could away from the scene.

Watching the man go, Gale was heaving heavily. She looked at Fitz’s body lying lifeless on the ground. She knelt down to turn him over. She heard the man groan. So she tore Dr. Fitz’ shirt open and found a mildly grazed bullet proof vest.

“You gave me a scare just now!”

Dr. Fitz coughed repeatedly as he gathered all his strength to stand erect.

“There is always a Plan B. Always remember that.” Fitz coughed. Gale smiled.

He had gone into their den without a backup plan should anything go down. That had almost cost him his life had it not been for Gale who was really nosey and very observant.

They took the two vials with the vaccine and the virus from the body of the lead terrorist and rushed out of the area when they started hearing police sirens.


There was a soft blizzard in the City two days after what had happened, almost as if God was washing away the sins of the unclean men that had wanted to perform mass genocide. Inside the Special Ward at the Grace Memorial Hospital, Dr. Fitz was administering to a patient the antidote he had spent roughly 32 hours bioengineering when a nurse came over to notify him about a call.

Leaving the nurse to attend to the patient, he went to the office to answer the call.

“Fitzpatrick here.”

“Doc, was it effective?” Gale asked.

“It was.” Fitz smiled.

“Great! Someone wants to talk to you.”

“What?! I told you not to –”

“Well, Fitz! You pulled it off, didn’t you?”

That voice! Benny.

His smile got even wilder. Overwhelming his shock.

“H- How did you..?”

“I was the one that approved the gun, the car, and the clean-up for Gale.”

“Benny you –”

“I’ll always have your back.”

He always did.

After the incident, the Bureau had silently swooped in to clean up the crime scene. They confiscated all the ammunitions and the destroyed the warehouse. None of the news houses got any anonymous tip because they had bought the silence of the Water Supply Worker.

They had reached out to the families of those that were murdered in the line of duty and had given them compensations for their loss. According to the police, there was a suicidal maniac that came to the Reserve to die. Shooting and killing these men who were in charge of security in the process.

When Dr. Fitz had heard this development on the radio, he was impressed and skeptical.

Not anymore.

“Thank you. Both of you.” Dr. Fitz said.

“A shame that the world would never get to know the man who saved them from a global pandemic.”

Dr. Fitz was silent.

“Anyways,” Benny continued. “I’ll let you go back to saving lives, Fitz.”

“Bye, thanks again.”

The call ended. Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick wore another set of gear and went back to the Special Ward.

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