Contagion - Book Two

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Chapter Fourteen.

“Mary Jane, I know this is going to sound a strange question, but is there a sub terrain cavern of any sorts near here?”

Mary Jane lifted her head from the pillow where she had been resting and looked across the room towards Michael.

“There were many years back when young Jamie was six or seven years, but Pa and some other men folk blasted the rock face and sealed off the entrance; why do you ask?”

Michael paced the floor, for some reason over the last three days an image had rooted itself into his mind, calling out to Andrew and the rest of his family he enquired if they also perceived the same image.

“Would you mind describing it to me sir…, if you don’t mind”?

Isaiah had overheard Michaels request, as out of respect for the humans Michael had communicated verbally.

“Yes son…, of course I will, but may I enquire as to why?”

He looked kind of embarrassed and moved his weight from one foot then back to another.

“Isaiah…, have you and the children been hiding anything from us”?

For a moment he never answered.

“Yes Mam…, it was Jamie that knew of another way into the cavern, we kept it from you in case you closed off that entrance as well.”

Michael could feel the excitement well up from within him,

“Good lord man, if that is the case then that means that there could be a survivor…, Oh lord please…, please let that be so.”

Mary Jane walked over to Isaiah and placed an arm around his shoulder, then quietly spoke in as soft and gentle of a voice as she could muster.

“Listen son I promise you, if Michael and his family view the area and feel it is safe, then I will not let my sisters or anyone else at that stop you from going there, now please listen to Michael’s description and if it fits please my love; tell us how to get there.”

Isaiah swallowed, then sat down and listened to Michael as he described to him what he kept seeing in his mind.

“Yes, sir that sounds very much like one part of it to me,”

“One part, just how big is this cavern of yours?”

Isaiah blushed,

“Well I can’t really say, but Jamie and I have been smuggling food and fuel there for over two years now, some times when we used to say we were going hunting, we would explore as much of the cavern as we could, in the end we ran out of rope even all the home made stuff we made from vines and rags.”

Mary Jane looked amazed,

“That’s not all sir, last year just before you and your family arrived, Jamie and I discovered what looked like an area that had been carved by machines, we were unsure at first but in time we decided to explore some more. There were miles and miles of corridors with US Military markings on the walls, Jamie had read a plaque and said it was an old missile complex that had been debunked in 2004. We managed to get into some of the rooms, but then some of the other ones had doors so thick and heavy that we could not move them.”

Michael looked up in amazement and spoke to his family telepathically.

“If this kid is telling the truth we could have ourselves a very useful fallout shelter.”

Mary Jane spoke out,

“Right enough of this bloody social chit chat, I may have a son out there alive and you could have one of your brother’s, so now all we have to do is find a way of leaving here in safety and finding the entrance.”

Andrew was taken aback by Mary Jane’s directness,

“Actually, it is really not very far, when you and your family started building the outer parameter fences, we were worried in case you would discover the entrance.”

Andrew looked across to the boy.

“But there is nothing there other than a few old boulders and open ground right up to the trees.”

Isaiah smiled.

“Yes sir, you see it’s only a really small entrance just large enough for you or your brothers to squeeze through, I’m not even sure if you could squeeze your way in sir as your much bigger and more muscular than your brothers.”

He had directed the last part of his statement at Michael,

“You see we covered the entrance with a small rock and some dry brush, you and the others actually sat on it many a time to eat your food when you were all building the fences.”

Momentarily there was stunned silence in the room; it was Mary Jane that broke the silence.

“Do you think if you had some of Michael’s family with you that you could act as a guide?”

Isaiah very much liked the idea of been of use, it wasn’t that he was jealous of Jamie he just felt a need to contribute more to the family.

“Yes, Mam I would sure be very pleased to do that.”

It was settled, Michael had wanted to go but on seeing the entrance for once he felt difficult about his size.

“Andrew you take good care of these ladies and your brothers, you’re the oldest so you and young Isaiah here are in charge, and it is up to the both of you to ensure that everyone returns safely.”

As he quickly lowered his body into the entrance, he nodded his head indicating that he understood. Had it not been for the military torches that he acquired from the arms dump, it would have been very dark and difficult to manoeuvre along the damp narrow passage?

“It will not be that difficult soon sir, there is just one part a bit further up like, where we will have to crawl on our backs, but once through, then it opens into a vast cavern.”

Andrew wasn’t that encouraged by his words if it had proved difficult for him and Jamie, then he wondered if he and his brothers could pass through. Isaiah stopped and fumbled in a darkened recess of one of the rocks.

“Ah good it’s here,”

To Andrew’s bewilderment he looked at Isaiah as he lifted up a bucket of grease.

“Is that for what I think it is?”

There was a broad smile on Isaiah’s face,

“I’m afraid so sir, sorry but I did try and warn you all that it was difficult in places to get through.”

As he was talking, he had already stripped off most of his clothes and placed them into his backpack, then within minutes he had smothered himself in a thick soap like grease.

“If you folks are going to continue then I’m sorry but you must all do the same.”

Reluctantly the group undressed and assisted each other in applying the grease. It was not long before they realised just why the grease had been needed, when Isaiah and Jamie had been smaller it had not presented too much of a problem for them to negotiate their way through the passages. But as they had become older and grown, there right of passage had not been won so easily. It was only when Jamie saw his Pa one day putting some axel grease onto one of the cart wheels that it gave him an idea.

It took the group some twenty minutes in full to make their way through, fortunately for the women it was not as difficult as for the men, by the time they exited through into the cavern there was not a man among them that had not acquired less than two or for some even more injuries. They had hoped to find Jamie and one of the brothers there waiting in the cavern, unfortunately they were nowhere to be found.

“Look…, look over there,”

Not far from where they were standing was some blood-soaked clothing that had been torn into bandages.

“I can only guess that Jamie feared that no one was coming and has tried to make his way to the first-aid room.”

Andrew looked puzzled.

“Yes sir, when we were last in the building, I found that one of the side rooms had been equipped as a small hospital or a first aid centre. We were amazed because nearly all of the equipment was still there.”

As he was talking Andrew was relaying the information back to Michael.

“From his description, I would say it has not been entirely debunked and that they may have left equipment there, if for some reason the military needed to re-activate it.”

Andrew thought some…

“If that is the case we had better proceed with extra caution.”

The next instance the group momentarily froze with fright, echoing within the distance of the passages they could hear a sound that they had come to instantly recognise and to dread. Looking down Isaiah shone his torch looking for some indication to confirm his fears.

“Look their sir can you see it?”

Some five to six meters away, was the unmistakable imprint of a bears’ paw.

“That must mean that old Minstrel has found another way into these caves,”

Andrew nodded his head indicating yes, he was relaying all that was happening back to Michael.

“I’m not surprised, as this area would actually make a good cave for that old monster to hibernate in.”

Michael instructed Andrew to choose two of Isaiah’s aunts to take a torch each, and weapons with them, and try to back track, following the paw imprints rom where they were found, to see if they could discover where and how Minstrel had found access into the caverns.

It took the group a further three hours before they eventually reached the area that Isaiah described as joining onto a manmade corridor. Looking carefully at the entrance Andrew deducted that at some time there must have either been a small earth tremor, or someone had fired a missile into the side of the mountain, as the jagged almost wedge shaped entrance had been split from a seam of rock some six to seven meters thick.

Just to the left of the passage, Minstrel had defecated leaving the team with the greatest of fears that the beast was also tracking its prey.

It had taken Peter some time to readjust to his new body. It had been cloned from his own genetic markers, along with certain extra enhancements and with one major omission; the gene that had caused his muscular wasting had been corrected.

“You’re a fine looking young man,”

Peter looked up from the day bed; his sister truly meant what she had said.

“I’m a little scared sis, I have always dreamed or wondered what it must be like to have a healthy and active body…, and now that I have one…I’m…I’m kind of scared.”

Christine had expected his reactions, been so closely mentally linked, even at times his very emotions would give away how he was truly feeling. Elaine spoke briefly to one of the technicians then put down the palmtop bio-computer.

“It’s now up to you my love, according to the data, all has progressed exactly as predicted.”

Peter could already feel the difference; amazingly his limbs seemed incredibly heavy. Although the cloned human shell had been in perfect physical condition and at the peak of its fitness, Peter’s mental state had not yet accustomed itself to the new changes. His mind had become so accustomed to no longer having use of the legs and arms, that it was now almost alien to have these extremities demanding every available blood and oxygen to feed the new limbs.

Peter lifted an arm and clenched his fist, even the mussels in his face felt strange, and it was then that he found he now could even smile.

“I have a feeling I’m going to be like a baby learning to walk,”

“A very handsome one though that’s if you don’t mind my saying so?”

The small family group was so excited they had forgotten about Catherine Christine’s partner, Christine had missed her so much the last time that she had visited her brother, that this time, she ensured her mother granted her permission to accompany them on their visit.

Elaine had long become accustomed to their relationship and truly looked upon young Catherine as a second daughter. Peter smiled; it had been a very long time since he had received such a compliment from a fellow human who had no direct connection to been in his employment.

“Thanks for your words of encouragement, but I think they may be just a little premature, as I’ve a very long way to go before I’m looking as good as you.”

It was Alex that interrupted the family reunion.

“Peter, we have a need for your help, its Robert, he has requested if he and Juliet could call on us for help?”

It was Elaine who answered.

“Actually, it is I who can be of help to you, amazingly since these enhancements I have been adjusting to the newly acquired powers.”

The group looked at her, unsure of where she was going with that last statement.

Elaine smiled.

“I have been working with a group of technicians in one of my Dorset research units; they have come up with some amazingly advanced miniaturised surveillance equipment. I have had a team dedicated entirely on infiltrating their way into the Undraus Corporation, with the sole purpose of planting these surveillance bugs. Up till recently it was their version of Seth that had prevented us from infiltrating such devices into their establishments.”

Placing her hand into her hair she moved the fingers for some seconds then retrieved what she had been looking for.

“Here this is basically what I am referring about, this particular one is designed to send data as to my exact locations at any one point in time.”

Within her hand was something so small, that at first it was thought to be a fruit fly.

“May I enquire as to how it is powered?”

Elaine looked at her daughter.

“You may, but even you are not cleared to be privy to such information, I can however say it uses a person’s own electrical energy to generate it, as for its range and life span, it has a life span of just over two years and with receptors that will intercept its signal, boost it, and send it to our personal satellites surveillance units, where we can basically view, listen in and even follow just about anything.”

Peter listened with acute interest; he had dedicated his life to bio genetics and had run his section with unquestionable enthusiasm and efficiency. He basically had forgotten of his mother’s many other enterprises. Peter his Grandfather had left the business at an early stage of his life, but even then it was a multibillion pound enterprise, with over twenty-three separate research units employing the very best from within their fields, many were poached from the military as in those early days it was they who pioneered such research.

Yet when their staff came to the end of their contracts, it was Peters head hunters that offered them over twice the going market rate for their skills and a very substantial pension and employment package. It had been a risky investment, yet in time it paid its dividends, as the Portland Institute now held the patents on hundreds of thousands of products used now by the everyday public and military units from across the world.

“I have a direct neuro link with our own version of Seth, I shall have my team collate the data required and sent directly to Robert and Juliet.”

“But I haven’t mentioned their needs,”

Commented Robert,

“Since my enhancements, I have been monitoring their progress and am aware of their present difficulties with the Undraus Corporation.”

Peter politely coughed, placing a hand in front of his mouth, then realised just what he had done.

“Woo did you see that?”

He was amazed, that without even thinking he had carried out a simple body function, which would have been denied him only a day before.

“What I was about to say, is we must not forget why we allowed Robert and Juliet to leave the Institute, we also now have Julian and Samantha along with Simon and his family that have branched out.”

He had the small groups’ full attention,

“They all need our support, yet we have to ensure that we do not draw attention to them or of any involvement to them.”

The group had temporary overlooked the greater picture and as to their direct goals, wanting to infiltrate entirely new enhanced humans into the world. Knowing that the way humanity had been progressing, that now it was on course to possibly destroy itself.

Peter had the technology and foresight in seeing a way of saving the human race. His methods and belief would most certainly have been challenged had they become public knowledge.

By genetically enhancing his subjects, he had given them the ability of fighting off any known deceases to the human race and had for the first time truly placed the new breed on the top of the evolution ladder.

“I have been giving this matter with regards Andrew Undraus some considerable thought, if the Undraus corporation has the ability of cloning almost on a par to that of our facilities, along with an unquestioned in depth knowledge of attacking us on a genetic level, then we need to revaluate our thoughts on how to handle this unexpected course of events.”

Mrs Undraus walked over to the table, put her hand on one of the chairs then pulled it out from under the table.

“Gentlemen are you all acquainted with the reports I had sent to you?”

There was quietness from the group.

“I asked a question.”

“Yes Man, yes it’s just we are unsure why you have not apparently taken any action regarding our loss of Andrew and of Thomas?”

They were going to continue, when Andrew Undraus walked into the room, the board of directors had not been aware of the switch and had truly thought Mrs Undraus had sacrificed her son.

“Gentlemen please, and before you waist further time, the person you saw walking away with the FBI was a planted clone, you are all aware of our research units, and that they have now truly perfected human cloning; as well as the enhanced growth program. I had a cloned unit of my son Andrew made over two years ago.”

She paused to watch the surprised look on their faces.

“As it was then that I started planning the events that have been folding into place over the last few months.”

Again, she gave a brief pause, took a drink of water; and then continued talking.

“As for loosing Thomas and the military unit…, yes that was truly regrettable, however from our remote sensors we have gone over the data three times and the same results keep returning.”

There was general discomfort from within the room, as they did not like surprises and felt inadequate and out of control, when Mrs Undraus handled them in this way.

“Amazing as it will seem to you, there are without question at the very least two giant specimens of that family’s early research.”

She could see the surprise and interest within her audience’s eyes, she then continued.

“Which are at this very moment walking these lands? We have obtained various genetic samples, some from them defecating; the results were most interesting,”

Her words had grasped their immediate attention, picking up a remote from the table Mrs Undraus used the infrared to activate a video unit.

“Please observe carefully as this information can never be divulged to anyone outside of yourselves and a few chosen others, we have learnt that both bears are related, and in some way have been genetically enhanced. We cannot say for sure in what way, but from the protein markers left in their stools we can say that they are both able to heal and even re-generate at a greatly enhanced rate, and it is very probable they have also what we would term above human intelligence.”

She paused for some seconds and then continued,

“We can only assume these beasts were either let out for a pacific purpose or somehow accidentally won or acquired their freedom. It is highly probable that they will have mated and would be safe to assume that if these animals are roaming free there could well be other species to consider.”

Her words were interrupted.

“Excuse me Mama Undraus, I do not mean to be disrespectful but why would such creatures be of concern to us?”

“Your question is nether disrespectful and perfectly valid, at this point in time we are fighting with the Portland Institute, to be the one race on top of the evolutionary ladder, we nor many millions of fellow humans want, or intend to release our grip, to a created genetic freak, no matter how human they may look. If we do, then within a very short time, we will find ourselves regarded as no better than slaves.”

Her words were designed to cause a reaction.

“I cannot speak for you gentlemen, but I for one, have no wish to either end up on some lion hybrids dinner plate, nor do I relish the idea of having them running our planet.”

Her chosen words were packed with power and were very emotive.

“As for these animals, if allowed to grow unsuppressed, then it is quite probable such creatures would themselves knock us from the top rung of the ladder and make our lives very uncomfortable. There is also one avenue that we must consider; there were samples of the Coleopteran family found within their Dunn. Amazingly already these samples are showing genetic changes taking place, almost as if they were absorbing protein markers from the host and adapting their metabolisms to make use of this new food source.”

She paused and took another drink of water.

“I have no need to warn you, that if the insect population was to acquire these genetic enhancements, then there is no way of knowing how this could affect our short reign as top of the evolutionary ladder.”

There was considerable discomfort within the room.

“Permission Mam to talk freely?”

Mrs Undraus smiled; she enjoyed her power yet was very aware to hold the full reign of power that she needed the troops fully on her side.

“Granted, not just for you but for you all, I don’t want anyone walking away from this meeting wishing they had expressed their true feelings.”

“Thank you Man it is just, I and many others were against this genetic tampering in the first place, but now it’s here to stay, then, so we have to grasp this monster and find a way of ensuring that we can attack these…, these so called humans and the possible threat now from animals and even insects.”

Mrs Undraus could sense from his words that this young man was scared and unable to grasp the true power of the very corporation that he was helping to direct.

“You are the son of Peter Rosholt is that right?”

She was very aware of is bloodline.

“Your father was a very clever and handsome man, I can see you follow very much in his footsteps, he contributed greatly to our Corporations financial success and was personally responsible for your very place on this board, and I agree with his choice, you are a fine young man and I am even sure in time that you will yourself contribute vastly to this family.”

He breathed in deeply, not knowing what to expect.

“However, what you need to remember is the extent of power at our disposal.”

Her words sunk deeply and calming the young man’s fears.

“You see Peter, there is very little that we cannot turn our hands to, in fact I have already placed a team into researching a genetic virus, which will attack only those with certain designated protein markers, this could quite easily be modified to use against animals and insects.”

Peter had not been aware of this woman’s true power, his father used to warn him of never underestimating her and repeatedly tried to impress on him the full importance of securing her on his side.

“I am sorry Man, I did not mean to sound paranoid it’s just these unseen powers, that are been used against us are a greater threat than I think even we have realised, it’s just quite probable that there could be such creatures or bugs in this very room, and is I may say Mam, in my eyes it is the family first and foremost that we need to protect.”

He then placed his hand into his jacket pocket and pulled out a transparent matchbox sized container, within it were what appeared to be fleas, thousands of fleas.

“I have had this room checked by my own personal team of technicians, it is perfectly safe to talk openly and freely, as I have also had additional screening fitted.”

Mrs Undraus was taken by surprise; this was something she had not become unaccustomed to.

“Are you holding a container of fleas or something similar?”

“Almost Mam…, and to be truthful, it was perfectly by chance that my personal research unit had been working on a pet project of surveillance equipment. One day quite by chance I was scanning a range of new frequencies, which we had intended to use, when one of my units became activated. At first I thought this to be a mistake but soon discovered to my horror that somewhere in my room was a surveillance bug.”

His words made everyone sit and listen.

“To be truthful, it took over twelve hours before I actually found it, and realising then that the technology involved in creating such a device, could only have come from someone with an almost unlimited budget. I realised I needed to proceed with extreme caution and was unable to communicate my fears until I was aware of its full range and abilities.”

Mrs Undraus was impressed.

“Have you discovered how it came to be in your room?”

“Yes, at first I thought it was only myself that was been investigated and possibly by our own corporation.”

There was a general moan from the group present.

“Please…, please allow me to continue, it is not unknown for such internal security sections, to keep an eye on its own personnel. So, I developed a device to search out these little bugs, and to my horror within one day I had found over three hundred of them, just before I came into this meeting I had exactly two thousand and twenty-three. I have been unable to take any further evasive measures without firstly consulting yourselves, and of course not wanting to risk alerting the unit keeping us under surveillance.”

Mrs Undraus read through the documentation handed to her.

“Why have you not placed any of this into Seth, had you done so I could have been notified much sooner?”

Peter walked over to where she was sitting.

“Please forgive me man, but I also took the liberty to have Seth’s internal sensors into this room screened out. If you would like to try and communicate with it, you will hopefully find that you are no longer able to maintain your link with him.”

Mrs Undraus looked concerned, yet Peter continued.

“You see I realised that Seth should have been scanning all these frequencies, as a normal part of its daily routine, please remember it was my father that contributed greatly in building the enhanced version of Seth that you yourself use.”

Mrs Undraus had become very uncomfortable, never within the last thirty years had she felt so vulnerable or at a loss of personal control.

“It took me some considerable time, and at first I truly could not believe my own findings; and even had them rechecked seven times. Yet they still told me the very same story that Seth has been compromised and is himself even now unaware of his vastly reduced abilities.”

This young man had the entire group firmly within his control and was walking on ground, which was usually only ever reached by Mrs Undraus.

“To bring everything to a conclusion, Seth has been giving away information of nearly all of our empire, including details of our personnel, names address, and size of family; just about anything they wanted to know. I had my bugs tested against the others that I found, in every case it has turned out there are over a hundred such bugs, placed on each individual, by programming certain genetic protein markers into them. I traced mine back to my hair dressing salon, he had purchased a batch of cologne and hair shampoo that he knew I particularly liked.”

He paused a moment and breathed in, and then continued talking.

“When I investigated further, I found countless thousands of these devices within these substances. Had someone else used these products, then the devices would have stayed within the containers and were only activated when within range of there programmed genetic markers.”

There was total stunned silence; even Mrs Undraus who usually commanded full control was speechless.

“I can only assume that other such ingenious devices were used as a means to infiltrate their way into this corporation.”

Andrew swallowed; he had looked upon Peter as a waist of space and had only recently expressed such thoughts to his mother.

“If what you say is true, then we need to find a way to overcome this threat,”

Mrs Undraus frowned at her son.

“Please excuse my son’s rudeness Peter; he has only recently expressed an opinion, that you were a total waist of space and a drain on our payroll. As for me, and in truth, that’s the only person you need to concern yourself with, you are far from such a waist of space and truly have my full confidence. Your work and actions may well have saved this family and Corporation from certain death; and if my son cannot see that, then he is not fit to ever run this organisation.”

Andrew was embarrassed, and aware he had yet again spoken without thinking first.

“I’m sorry sir; it was not my intention to belittle you.”

Andrews’s mother interrupted.

“Bullshit you little twerp you can’t even apologise, without lying and trying to save face, this man’s actions have without question taken considerable courage and foresight, and without doubt have saved this family possibly even yours and my very lives; and all you could do was to fail to recognise his actions and try to belittle him.”

Her rage was genuine.

“Now when I confront you with this you try to lie your way out, with a half-hearted and false apology, as far as I’m concerned you can leave this room and wait until I have decided what to do with you.”

Andrew lowered his head and went to leave.

“No, I’m sorry, but just for now that will not be possible.”

Mrs Undraus looked across to Peter.

“I had not been aware of your son’s presence and like everyone else in this room thought him to be dead, or at the very least handed over to those beasts. I have not scanned him for bugging devices, if he was to leave this room it is just plausible that whoever is behind this could become aware that we now have knowledge of what they have done.”

Andrew looked shocked.

“I assure you I have none of those devices on me,”

“How may I ask do you know that?”

Andrew turned around to view his sister sitting in a darkened section of the room, as she had entered the room late and from a different door, as such, he had not seen his sister, and had been unaware of her presence.

“If I may, it will take only seconds to see if you have been compromised,”

“I do mind and I tell you there are no such devices on me, “retorted Andrew.

Mrs Undraus could see her son was agitated but knew the importance of the situation.

“Andrew enough, you will submit yourself now to Peter’s device, as will I and every other member of staff, as for yourself grow up man and do so quietly and quickly.”

Her words were assertive and in such a tone that he had long learnt to never resist, it was within her powers to subdue him with considerable ease.

“I am sorry Peter; please use your device so I may leave this room.”

“Thank you, I too am sorry if my words caused you reason for concern,”

Mrs Undraus was impressed by his humbleness and giving back her son a small amount of pride and dignity. Peter carried out the scan, then handed the device to Mrs Undraus.

“Dear Lord, can this be right?”

“I’m afraid it is.”

Peter looked concerned; he diverted his gaze away from Andrew.

“Please Mama what is it?”

She could feel the very strain within his voice,

“I’m afraid I have to concede to you, for once you were right, and the device has not found a single bug on you.”

She had been unable to keep a straight face any longer.

“I’m sorry son, it’s just you have acted like such an ass, and that I could not resist it.”

Jamie rested, his wounds were badly infected, and that in turn greatly limited him now in his actions. Donald, Michael’s brother, kept drifting to and from a light coma; the beast had partially grasped him by the head in his fall. Only to release him, while along with the force of the final few volleys of blasts, that had brought large sections of hard wood splinters to hurl themselves into the beast’s body, causing it to release its grasp and retreat in considerable discomfort and pain.

It was then while lying on the ground that Jamie realised where he was, quickly he managed to pull himself along with Donald into the safety of the caverns entrance, only then to realise that the beast had possibly returned, not realising that the noise echoing above them was another explosive device, and whose detonation had been activated and blasted even more hard wood in all directions with some finding their desired targets while others were falling to the ground.

With considerable difficulty he had pulled himself and his injured friend through the tunnel until he came to where Isaiah and he kept the grease tins, along with a few modest supplies. He knew that not much further along the tunnel there was an ample supply of food, medication and even weapons.

It had taken considerable energy reserves to pull himself and Donald through the narrowed section of the tunnel, especially as he was himself still trying to recover from earlier injuries. Unfortunately, the effort had reopened part of the old injuries and unknown at the time, had taken on bacteria that was to rapidly infect the wounds, even reducing Jamie’s ability to think clearly and move.

It was while he was resting in the open cavern that he had become aware of old Minstrel shuffling his way through some of the side tunnels, he had not known how Minstrel had come to be there and if he was himself even aware of their presence, or was himself, like Jamie, simply looking for a place of refuge.

Now some hours later and within the security of the military unit, Jamie had dressed his wounds, found some antibiotics and taken as much care of Donald as possible, placing him safely within a double sealed room used by the military for quarantine.

Further investigation had revealed an emergency generator that had given him electrical power to that part of the infirmary and several of the adjoining rooms had generated light, he was glad as the batteries powering the backup lights was fading.

He could only assume this was a kind of backup should for any reason the unit’s main power supply to have been compromised. He had thought to himself.

Jamey was also pleased that he and his brother had the foresight to leave munitions and two handguns in their survival kits. Although he knew this would not kill old Minstrel, none the less given the opportunity he had resolved to take out the beast’s eyes and to try and…his thoughts were interrupted by Minstrel’s presence.

Jamie looked as he could see Minstrel rise up onto his hind legs and place his whole weight onto the steel door. The security camera although small was placed just to the side of the infirmaries entrance; the internal security sensors had activated the monitors warning the occupants with an internal siren.

“Darn that bloody beast, he never lets up, what in our lord’s name am I going to have to do to rid myself of you?”

It was then that Jamey smiled, within a cabinet alongside where he had been sitting was a variety of substances used to anaesthetize the patients.

“Dear Lord, yes…, yes that may just work”

Quickly he opened the cabinet and removed all the containers, and then placing them into a box he moved himself and Donald into one of the inner rooms knowing that should Minstrel find a way into the room, that he then needed a further place of refuge.

It took him over an hour to graft together a weapon that he felt would deliver the medication. Placing the contents into nine syringes he then bound them together around the handle of a broom. All he had to do then was to find a method of delivery, he decided to be sure; that he must deliver it himself, to ensure the trap worked.

As the inner room was made from a transparent reinforced plated glass, Jamie positioned Donald in such a way as to been seen instantly by the beast. Then taking a blade he ran it across Donald’s exposed chest and drew blood, praying that he would forgive him for his actions. Quickly he then positioned himself where he could not be seen and dosing himself in some kind of disinfectant to throw off his scent, he pressed the door release button and waited for Minstrel to push open the door.

His waiting had not been as long as he had hoped; Minstrel although desperately injured and weakened was still a formidable beast, once he placed his bulk onto the reinforced unlocked door it flung open with considerable force crashing against the internal wall and bouncing back.

Minstrel paused and sniffed the air; he was angry, injured and hungry for human flesh. Then on seeing Donald and tasting the blood from the particles of air, he once again rose onto his rear legs, it was then that Jamie noticed the beast was badly injured in his left leg with at least three large splinter’s of wood some two feet in length, by approximately four inches thick still embedded into his thigh causing him considerable distress and difficulty in walking on two legs.

Juliet measured the various substances carefully; Elaine’s detailed notes on an antibiotic against the Undraus virus was very much needed, as she had felt insecure against any further possible attacks. Michael had also relayed information with regards their experiments using Alligators blood.

Expressing a firm view in his faith, after seen how it had previously cured his brothers and young Jamie, and totally destroying the very advanced viral infections when the military antibiotics failed to even make a dent in the virus’s armour.

He had also updated them with regards the military complex that they had found some miles beneath the mountain, and that they were now hoping to inhabit. Requesting that they use their various contacts to try and establish its purpose, and if it would be up for sale; as its location and sub terrain facilities would offer substantial benefits and security to the family, possibly even founding the base for a secondary complex, as to the family’s expansion was such that they needed further secure facilities.

It had become evident that whatever realm of peace between the two races was now totally void and buried beneath threats and subterfuge. The Undraus Corporation had been forced to reveal its hand, when it had no other means of entering the New Mexico Institute.

Having placed the cloned version of Thomas within the very heart of the inner most sanctums had proven the risk and to their hope and knowledge, had reaped vast rewards.

Within the time frame of his entering the facility and Alex becoming aware of his true identity, was sufficient to have gathered and forwarded immeasurable intelligence.

After private consultation between Alex and Peter, it had been thought wise to try and misinform Thomas as to the true use of the east wing; he had not been privy to the professor Lambert incident, nor to the miniature thermal nuclear explosion.

“That area is sealed, to all bar a selected few,”

Said Alex, Thomas looked a little hurt, yet decided to not show his interest any further.

However, in truth those words had drawn his immediate attention. His direct neuro link to Seth and Mrs Undraus was been used to keep an unseen open channel of communication.

“Find out whatever you can as regards the research in the east Wing.”

His orders had come personally and direct from Mrs Undraus, it had taken a further eight days before Thomas had pieced together, enough snippets of planted information to form a pre conceived picture, that the east wing was been used for advanced research, with a creature many times more advanced than any human, and not having originated from this world.

Thomas believed that the work was of such an important nature, that it would, in time, radically alter the future. Further enquiries were met by consolidated silence; he was later conveniently arrested while trying to gain access to the inner parameters of the external security ring.

After witnessing the termination of his life through Seth, Mrs Undraus was convinced that it was within this area that her team now needed to investigate.

This had happened some time previous and now after these unexpected sequence of events, Mrs Undraus had decided to bring forward the date for her planned operation.

Reprogramming Seth without his direct knowledge had proved to be far from easy, as they were now aware the Portland Institute was monitoring the computers daily progress and collecting intelligences for future reference and use.

Having now become aware of the miniaturised surveillance equipment, a complex subterfuge of misinformation was set into place, with an aim of diverting their attention to legitimate but unimportant matters. Even though Mrs Undraus took extreme precautions, Alex and Peter were already awaiting such an action.

Jamie took in a deep breath then bracing himself he lunged forward placing the weapon directly into the open wound, and in doing so he managed to deliver the sedative directly into the creature’s blood stream. Then dropping the weapon, he headed for the open door and hobbled with considerable difficulty into the maze of corridors, knowing that if he could make his way into one of the adjoining rooms, then he could activate the security doors.

Minstrel had been taken by surprise his injury had been further hampered by Jamie’s spear still been embedded deeply into his leg, while having accessed the sedative directly into the creature’s blood stream, its rage only helped to circulate the medication and increasing its intended action.

Minstrel was still a formidable adversary; he reached the room only seconds behind Jamie, he was already virtually unable to stand, although Jamie tried desperately to enter the room and close the door, he was himself now in considerable agony from his ruptured and infected wounds. Minstrel had lodged his huge bulk firmly within the frame of the door making it impossible for Jamie to close.

With a single swipe of his right paw, he caught Jamie full on, sending him crashing into the sidewall and crushing three more of his ribs and fracturing his neck and scull. As he lay slumped against the floor and wall, in a haze of vision he could see Minstrel staggering his way towards him, then with considerable rage and effort, the beast was raising once again on his hind legs, as he did so he loomed over Jamie triumphant in finally having reached his prey. As Jamie felt himself fading away, he could see Minstrels huge body coming closer, until he could smell the creature’s foul breath.

The End of Book Two.

Book Three to follow.

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