Blood of Evolution

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Chapter 14

Detective Bradbury walked the fresh white walled corridors, his shoulders squared and his chin up. He nodded to nurses and doctors as he passed, but did not offer a greeting. His eyes stayed fixed on his course that would take him to Sunny’s room.

It was also unlikely Sunny had regained consciousness, and he may never. Bradbury had seen the damage done to the Kinglake Police station. It was amazing that Sunny and Emerson had been come out in tact, let alone lived.

He slowed as he reached Sunny’s door. Surely the doctors would have called him if Sunny was dead. So, at least he was going to find his friend alive.

Talking to unconscious people supposedly helped with recovery. Maybe that’s what he could do for his partner today?

He returned to his normal pace and entered the room, hiding all his doubt and all his trepidation at finding a beaten body, ghostly white, and with no chance of recovery. Bradbury sighed, he was thinking negatively again.

As Bradbury entered, his partner sat up and turned to Bradbury.

He waved. Bradbury stopped and stared. His partner had never waved to him or anyone else.

“Doc says I’ll be back on my feet in a day or two,” Sunny said and smiled.

Detective Bradbury walked further into the room. With just his hands, while his eyes stayed on Sunny, he found a chair, pulled it out and sat.

Flowers of different colors and types adorned the room, along with get well cards and pictures of his family. The warning about Sunny never recovering fully, or recovering at all, seemed without merit. The doctors had said the photos and cards would give Sunny something to focus on if he ever woke.

“They took off the bandage to check the cut on my head and redress it only to find it almost healed. Stitches come out this afternoon.” Sunny cocked his head to the side. “Hello, Bradbury, you in there?”

His friend and partner for more years than he wished to recall looked as if he were without any injury. And seemed more alive than he had ever known him to be, and was definitely not himself.

“You’re happy. You’re healed,” Detective Bradbury said, his words sounding too simple to explain what he felt.

Bradbury thought of Larry in that moment, and going by his partner’s expression he had been also. Two people healing extraordinarily fast and from wounds that should have left them crippled, or worse...

“I’m glad you’re okay, Sunny. I think you may want to chat to Larry Emerson about it. Those hellish viruses of his are getting around.”

“I thought much the same. He probably won’t admit to it. Where is he now?”

“I’ll be talking to him shortly. He should be meeting with Jones in San Francisco—.”

“He what?” Sunny began.

Bradbury put up his hands and stopped his partner there, then filled him in on what he had missed. He brought out the reports from his leather bag, just in case the opportunity arose to talk to Sunny about the bombing and Tech Dynamics, and put them on the bed, then said, “Everything is in here. Have a read and fill me in on anything we’ve left out. I want to be ready with whatever happens next and not be the last in the race like every other time.”

The automatic doors slid open under the blue sign of the San Francisco General Hospital with a whisper, and Larry walked into the massive building. He made his way through the open foyer to the information desk where three reception staff sat talking to customers.

“Can I help you, sir?” the youngest of the three asked as she became free.

“I’m looking for Paul Emerson’s room, please,” Larry said while receiving a mouthful of breath-mint from the girl.

“It’s the fifth floor, room 512,” she said, not looking away from the computer screen. “Follow the yellow lines up the hallway around to the elevators.”

Larry said his thanks and walked the way she had described, finding it after several detours. Constable Jones stood out front of his brother’s room, talking to two city cops—the protection that the San Francisco PD had arranged.

Constable Jones whispered to the two uniforms and mentioned Larry’s name as he approached. Larry overheard from 40 feet away. As he came closer the constable studied his face and gasped at the damage.

“Larry, what happened to you!” Jones shook his hand absently while studying him.

“I ran into some old associates while trying to get hold of my research. Has Bradbury kept you up to speed?”

“You mean those two dead guys in Brisbane? One shot and the other with his head twisted the wrong way round. The gun had your prints on it, by the way. After you’ve had some time with your brother we’re going to have to talk to Bradbury and see what he wants to do. I think he’s trying to keep it quiet, but eventually he’ll have to let the Brisbane city cops know about you. Which means you’ll be on the next plane back to Australia.”

“I figured that,” Larry said. “It was self-defence. Simon Green and those two were waiting for me. They did this.” Larry circled his finger in front of his face.

“The cops in Queensland still want you back there ASAP.”

Larry nodded, he walked into Paul’s room with Sarah and Jobe already inside. Paul talked quietly to his wife while Jobe sat and watched the many television shows the country had to offer on the large screen bolted to the wall.

“Paul! You’re... you’re actually okay.” Larry gripped his brother in a hug.

He began to then methodically check his brother over, ignoring the stares he received from all three of them. “I knew you would be, of course, but still—”

“Loz,” Paul interrupted, “what happened to you? Your face. Your... What happened?”

“Yeah, I can explain,” Larry said while checking his brother’s stitches on his forehead

Sarah and Jobe also studied Larry’s face, eager for a response.

“Are you okay?” Sarah asked. “A doctor can see you here?”

“Dad. What happened?” Jobe said slowly, his face dropping.

“I’m okay, really, I just ran into some people I wasn’t expecting,” Larry said. He turned to his sister-in-law and son to show that he felt fine. Then turned back to his brother.

“I’m sure a doctor can at least have a look at you, Larry,” Sarah said still staring at his altered face.

Larry turned fully around to them. “I don’t need a doctor, alright! I’m okay.”

As soon as he yelled he regretted it. Their worried expressions only grew after his outburst. He would have been worried about them if they had turned up with even a scratch.

“Sorry, guys.” Larry rubbed his face, then took a deep breath. “Just been a bit of a hectic couple of days. I guess its been like that for all of us, hey?”

Larry sat down with his arm on his brother’s shoulder and told them all about what had happened. Answering their many questions, his son holding his hand the whole time.

“You have to go again?” Jones said to Larry. “No, I can’t tell Bradbury again that you’ve given me the slip. I won’t have a job. You’re coming back, and that’s it!”

“Sorry.” He took Constable Jones by the wrist and led him from Paul’s room. “Walk with me a moment won’t you?”

“Quite a grip you developed there,” Jones said.

Larry released his hand and stopped when they were further from Paul’s room.

Jones said, “Hey isn’t that the crushed hand?”

Larry nodded, then said, “I have to tell you what happened and what we worked on at Sincorp.”

As soon as Larry finished confessing his tale, Jones called up Detective Bradbury.

“So that’s what Mr Emerson told you about Mr Green and Tech Dynamics?” Bradbury said.

“And everything on the viruses, Jones said. “I’m here with him now. Said he looked worse hours ago before his flight, still looks pretty beaten up.” Then to Larry while cringing and putting his hand over the phone. ’Sorry, bad choice of words there.”

Larry nodded, not caring. He had after all been beaten. And knew he looked it.

“It gets more interesting,” Bradbury said.

Jones switched the phone to speaker for Larry.

“The CEO of Tech Dynamics, our friend, Harry Childs, has appeared on US news and spoke of a medical breakthrough. They’ve developed a cure for cancer, aids, amputated limbs, mental disabilities, baldness, and also the common cold. Although, he made no mention of the enhanced abilities Mr Emerson mentioned. Those would no doubt be delegated to military sales. And as for Mr Green, we’ve finally matched his face to Tech Dynamics. He was originally an employee. Born in Russia, immigrated to the US with members of his extended family in the early eighties. His cousin, Lee Gorbenko, hired him. Since then Simon Green has taken the reins of the company and went on to buy out other rivals. He prefers to run things from behind the scenes, which is why it took so long to get a match.

“Also, as you can imagine, Simon Green is not his real name. He changed it not long after hitting American soil, unlike his cousin. As far as our records go, which Mr Emerson has now confirmed for me, is that the viruses that were “stolen”, are in fact rightfully the possession of Tech Dynamics. He owns Sincorp, so he owns any Sincorp owned research, the viruses created within it and the rights to sell.” Then much more slowly, “He’s clean, there’s nothing we can do to him.”

Jones hung onto the phone not knowing what to say.

Larry spoke instead.

“How’s Detective Sunny doing?”

“Great, thanks to you.” Bradbury said. “He’s recovering and quickly. Says he feels better than when he was twenty.”

Bradbury’s tone then turned cold.

“Jones, book a flight and get Mr Emerson back here. Can’t have him staying in the US when he’s a part of a manslaughter investigation in Queensland.”

The phone went dead. Larry watched as the phone slipped into Jones’ pocket.

“Book the flight,” Larry said. ’It’s fine. Just let me know what time it leaves. I’ll make sure I’m on it. In the meantime I need to check out the head office of Tech Dynamics in New York.

Jones hook his head.

Larry then remembered his promise to his boy about Disneyland. Making that happen as well as getting Jones to allow him to stay in the US a little longer, seemed impossible. Maybe if he were a better dad... He shook his head.

He had to get inside Tech Dynamics and see what they were doing with his viruses. That had to be his priority.

“Larry, Bradbury won’t like this—”

I have to. Just tell Bradbury Paul needs more time before we fly.

“Docs said Paul can fly tomorrow.” Jones’ face reddened as he scowled. “Look, I’m booking the flight. I’ll just have to trust you don’t get into any more trouble, or dead. I’ll arrange for all of us to go back together in 48 hours, make sure you’re here.”

Jones put his hands on his hips. “I guess I should say, good luck. Also, get me fired and I’ll be hanging you out to dry with me.”

Larry said his good byes and raced back to the airport.

The flight of five and a half hours added to the time difference meant New York City had already become shrouded in darkness. Cars continued to flood the streets with low lying beady eyes, yellow cars dominating the stretches of road. Bars and restaurants hummed with activity and people walked the streets in thick jackets and scarves. Steam wafted from vents. The top of the Brooklyn Bridge, brown against the dark sky, loomed in the skyline. The trees lining the streets, which had appeared dead over the last few months, began to show the first signs of green as well as other spring colors.

Larry stopped the taxi driver a few blocks from Tech Dynamics near a bar and grill, where warm lights shone yellow inside. He stepped through the entrance of the steak place and sniffed as he went, taking in the different aromas. The heavy wooden door kept the night chill at bay and warmth inside. The cocktail of smells sent him into a satisfying dizzy spin.

Decked out with an old-style feel and with darkened timber and low light, it gave off a welcoming well frequented feel. Twenty feet from the entrance, customers sat on stools eating and drinking, a man stood on the other side of the bar tending to people’s drinks and taking down orders with a frequent smile. A few sat in suits, while others dressed more casually, laughing, talking and spinning tales of the day just gone.

A dining area extended off further to the right where couples and small groups sat.

“I’ll be with you in a moment,” the bar tender said while mixing an orange ice-shaken drink for two young women. One laughed as the other whispered something. Larry offered a quick smile to them after they spied him, then remembered how he his family had stared at his damaged face.

Larry looked past the rows of bottled spirits to the mirrored backing while he waited. What could he possibly hope to achieve here once he found the Tech Dynamic’s labs? It was even too late to gain access. The work day was already over.

Larry jumped when the old fashioned cash register dinged like a gambling machine as the bar tender clicked down on the buttons to register the cost of the last drink. He smiled. The last two days had been the craziest of his life. And who could have thought it would have steered this way? Being lost in the outback, having to shoot a cop, then investigating a warehouse while impersonating that same officer.

Larry drummed his fingers. His partial reflection swayed and rippled back from the wall behind the liquor bottles, further distorting his features. He hadn’t thought much about dating and could not remember if he had before his amnesia.

Jobe needed his care, that’s all that mattered. A relationship may come later when Jobe got older. Larry sat up straighter in his chair to get a better angle and see his flattened nose. His teeth had survived this time, not even a chip. They had, after all, concentrated on breaking his jaw.

The bartender took money from one of his regulars and dropped it into the till before walking over to address his new customer. He saw the dour expression and knew this man needed a drink right away. One look at his patron’s swollen face and he knew he boxed, maybe professionally, although lightweight by the looks of his build and the way he walked in. As a weight trainer and recreational boxer himself, he prided himself on noticing when a comrade sat at his bar.

“What you after, buddy,” he said lifting his chin and turning the corner of his mouth up into a grin. You’re new in town?”

His patron smiled back. Not mocking. Maybe amusement?

“Just a beer and the menu. I’m visiting an old work place.”

The bartender nodded. “Alright, well before you’re on your way, we have two specials that an athlete such as yourself would be interested in. You’re a boxer right?”

The guy didn’t answer at first, instead staring back blankly and seeming unsure of the question. One too many blows to the head, the bar tender guessed.

“Only what was taught in the military. I found science more my game.”

“You obviously still stay in shape. We have a 300 gram steak that’s been matured and then marinated in a red wine sauce. The chef says it will all be gone within the hour if you’d like to jump on one of those. Or we have the Duo Beef, which is two selected cuts chosen by the chef himself, it’s sure to melt in your mouth. But if there’s something else you prefer from the menu let me know.”

He poured the drink and placed it in front of the boxer and collected his credit card to begin a tab.

The boxer said, “Could I grab the duo beef, as well as the foot-long-pecker, for an entree.”

“They’re both mains... but you need your protein. Not a problem, and those girls over there taking a peek at you, asked if you’re a local, I think they might be looking for someone to show ’em around; if you’re interested I’ll let ’em know. You seem like a stand up guy to me, and can obviously handle yourself.”

The boxer smiled thinking on it for barely a second. “No, better pass. Work to do tonight. Put their next drink on me... what’s your name?”

“Tate,” the bartender replied.

“Nice to meet you, Tate, I’m Larry.”

Tate leaned over to meet Larry halfway to shake his hand so his patron didn’t have to get up from his stool.

“I noticed you’ve a little bit of an accent there,” Tate said while pouring a drink for someone else.

“I was born in Colorado Springs, but went over to live in Australia in my teens after my folks died. Lived with my brother until I found my way into the military.”

The bartender smiled at that. “I hear those Aussie’s are some real rough guys,” the bartender said pronouncing the ‘ss’ in the word Aussie as an ‘s’ rather than as a ‘z’.

“Tough bastards, is the phrase,” Larry said with a grin.

Larry’s entree turned up only ten minutes after he had ordered, much to his delight. Tate poured another beer and Larry carved into the hot pastry foot long roll housing the steaming chicken pieces in a white sauce mixed with mushrooms and spinach. Another ten minutes later and Larry began on his duo beef dinner with pepper sauce, hot fries and glazed green beans with a dollop of cheese sauce on the side.

At the end of the meal, the bartender brought over the menu once again. “Any deserts, Larry?” Tate asked.

“No, can’t. Lots to do. Just have to finish the beer and then best be heading off.”

Larry closed his tab after downing the beer, and wrote up a generous tip. As Larry headed out he looked for Tate, but he must have been out the back, so didn’t get an opportunity to say goodbye, but he did feel better after meeting him.

Larry approached Tech Dynamics on foot as it clicked passed nine o’clock. And, of course, it had closed by now, and possibly did so a number of hours ago. Only minimal lights shone throughout, mostly in the front reception area. The lights lit up the sidewalk and road in front, stealing away a part of the night some feet around the foot to ceiling windows. Larry put his face up to the window while standing on the sidewalk and scanned the inside of the front office. After a full two minutes of close observation, he didn’t see anyone move inside, so decided he would search for a way in.

The street ran the length of the building to the next intersection, he looked up at the sign; Ann Street, he followed it down until he stood opposite a multi-story carpark. The street continued on deeper to where no lights shone.

A metal door appeared to lead inside. The handle didn’t budge, as he assumed would be the case. Breaking the handle off would not achieve anything either, he needed another idea.

Far above and to the right, a door-sized window with four horizontal bars on the lower half stood open. A possible walkway inside.

No people walked the streets except to use the carpark opposite. He fixed his eyes on the horizontal bars fifteen feet above, squatted, then leapt to the first rung. He planted his feet flat against the wall and climbed the rest of way using the rungs as a ladder and climbed over onto the narrow walkway.

He felt his way along the damp walls further into the darkness. The soles of his shoes splashed in puddles. He felt a wave of heat from further along. His sight improved as he approached a corner, although still almost walked into the cream colored wall. He turned left and entered an even darker part of the walkway. Now he knew why this small outdoor area existed. Lined up along the walls were no less than five air conditioning units with blinking rows of lights, each running and blowing humid air out of the large exhausts and into the night.

Near that, a caged off corner, protected by a fence and razor-wire, housed a large electricity meter box with multiple switches and signs, and the words danger and high voltage displayed.

A metal door led through the concrete wall, currently closed and locked, next to the air-conditioners, and had no handle, only a key hole. It opened outwards, making it impossible for him to be able to force it in.

Larry jumped the twenty or more foot drop back to the sidewalk and took a walk, while thinking on how he could get in. He could wait until tomorrow and try to enter with the arrival of the first employee. However, he the idea of people identifying him, did not sit well.

A large building glowed from a few blocks away, the hospital. One of the only places doing any real business in this area aside from restaurants. That would soon change when the viruses came into full production. Larry was sure they would still have a place in the world, at least to speed up recovery, just not as the principal healers.

The streets, vacant, quiet, and touched by fog, resembled an old sepia silent movie—struck yellow by the over head lights. He envisaged a black screen and white reversed text, giving full atmosphere of the silent movie; showing the audience exactly what he thought.

He also imagined how the soldiers he had often worked with felt as they were contemplating entering a hostile building, making way for his team of scientists to get inside. In the past, he had not given any thought to what they went through back then, instead always thinking of his own mission.

He walked past a construction site and caught the tang of newly setting concrete. And there, beyond the temporarily erected fence he could see tools, crates, timber, bricks and other assorted equipment ready for the crew to continue on with the morning.

Larry stopped at the wire fence, and entwined his fingers between the diamond shaped links. The gate entrance looked no easier to get through the here at the fence.

He stepped back from the icy fence and rubbed hands together.

The jump to the second floor railing of the Tech Dynamics lab had been easy enough, so surely the fence would give him no problems.

He threw his jacket onto the razor wire where it landed splayed out in case he had to grip anywhere sharp on his way over. He climbed as far as he could until he came to the razor wire. Then bent down and jumped, while also kicking off from a vertical metal girder supporting an above second story construction, and sailed over the high fence, narrowly missing the razor wire, and landing on all fours on the other side.

Larry surveyed the grounds from his low position and saw no movement. Over his shoulder, no one walked the streets. The night, dead and cold. He rose from all fours and crept to a storage locker under the macabre shadows of the incomplete skeletal building. It stood bent, crouching, like an old man, still in its infant stage of construction.

Gripping the handle of the locker, he ripped the aluminium door open. Metal tore and the door banged open echoing around the work site. Larry cringed and again turned back to the street.

Nothing moved. No one called out. A bang, mimicking his own, sounded far off in distance but no other noises followed. Ten further seconds passed, and he relaxed. He retrieved two screw drivers, a chisel, a hammer and a cordless drill. Everything he may need for breaking in. He had hoped for a jimmy bar or crow bar, but these would suffice.

A scruffy blue bag sat alongside the tools and reminded him of his own work bag. Curious, he undid it and peered inside. Rotting meat and fruit wafted up. He dropped it and kicked out the rotting contents, then held it up. Decomposing goo dripped out making a mud puddle below. Strangely, his stomach grumbled at the sight and smell.

He picked the bag back up and dumped his new tools inside. It still smelt, but not as bad. He put his arms through the shoulder straps and crept back to the fence. He scrambled up to the peak of the fence, this time needing to grip the razor wire part of the fence to get over, and again landed easily. A soft thwack on the pavement the only sound.

He stood and reached for his jacket and saw that it had already torn a little on the razor wire. Larry pulled on one of the arms and the fabric tore. Cursing, he climbed back up and tried lifting it up and down so that it would float off the top of the fence, but this just made it rip more. Fed up, he left making his way back down the pathway, mumbling until he again arrived back at Tech Dynamics.

A breeze caressed his bare arms and he shivered. He waited for some cars to exit the carpark opposite, while trying to appear unsuspecting. A newspaper made its way along the street making soft scraping noises to its next resting place. After a few minutes of not seeing nor hearing anyone, he decided he would break in on the next floor, rather than be seen while he broke in on the ground floor.

He leapt up to the rungs and into the little alcove. Upon reaching the door he put the screwdriver into the keyhole and pushed. Metal ground against metal. Larry then turned the handle hoping he would hear a click. It moved but did not open.

Larry put the chisel between the metal lock and the solid metal door and gave the chisel a good hit with the hammer. It cracked like a gunshot. The lock bent in. He looked around and listened for anyone raising an alarm. Nothing. He smiled. This was just too easy!

Two more hits and the lock disintegrated. A silent alarm probably went off. Maybe it had when he first hit the lock. It would still take a while for cops to arrive. Larry pulled open the door and jogged along through the upper maintenance level of the building until he found a set of narrow metal stairs, so clanged down two at a time to the office and lab rooms below.

Reinforced doors sectioned off each room and hallway, somewhat identical to the Tech Dynamics office in Melbourne. Larry forced the first door, then the next, all of the doors opening inwards into each section or room. The internal locks snapped each time he rammed against them, and finally reached what looked to be a central lab.

All the computers hummed and ticked over as hard drives made data crunching noises, and cooling fans kept processors at the correct temperature. A few screens streamed data in the centre of their application displays. Some ran through the days input while others looked to be assessing DNA, viruses, as well as human tissue that had been set up in a glass container.

Larry read through some data but found nothing he knew a lot about. He then clicked back through to the main menu and continued searching until he found the source of what they were analyzing. All the numbers, symbols, and words may as well have been an alien language, although he did recognise some areas, just not what it meant. He moved to a different computer and found another stream of data scrolling down the screen. The heading read as, A7-452, the same as in his daydream. He turned to the shelves and fridges and saw vials corresponding to other codes on different screens. His viruses!

In another room he found a walk in freezer and opened it up. Boxes and boxes stacked ten high with the same codes, dominating the room. Tech Dynamics had gone into full mass production.

In another room he saw more streaming information and more freezers, although these codes started with R, which had to mean something else. He thought back to the method he used for labeling. Something about R made his spine tingle. The viruses he had deemed too dangerous for testing. They had not even allowed animal testing. Yet as Larry watched the data fly by, he got the distinct feeling that not only had they created the viruses in large quantities, but they had begun testing on people.

These viruses could not possibly be of any benefit to anyone. And the test subjects would never survive.

As he searched further he found something much more sinister. An illegal and dangerous drug that had not been allowed to be manufactured again following world war two. In an unprecedented agreement between the Soviet Union and the rest of the world in 1947 a permanent ban had been placed on the manufacturing of this product, with no allowances for appeal.

Carotranine, known to a few military heads, and each of the governments existing as of 1947, it was a slave drug. Larry had only discovered that it had existed because of a covert “research” mission to the Cheque Republic enlightening him to its use. And now they were using it in conjunction with his viruses.

Carotranine had aided in the coercion of the Russian people in world war two, with a very low probably of dissension. No matter what a person was ordered to do, they would do it. They may still wrestle with the right or wrong of the coercion, but they would rarely find a reason not to carry the instruction or order out.

His introduction to the drug had been at a Ukraine factory in a remote town, previously funded by the former Soviet Union. Larry had accompanied American forces where they were to infiltrate this factory. The mission had been a joint operation between Australia and the US, also labeled as, Not ever to be documented.

Once inside, Larry and his small team had collected samples and data, then evacuated, allowing the American team to reduce the building to rubble. That had been a little closer to the action than Larry had ever gotten, but in such a remote area, far from major cities, they had not been troubled. In fact, they had never seen a single sign of life within or near the facility.

Once back on Australian soil he had begun his research into the use and evolution of the drug. He had found that it was first used by the Russians during the second world war against the Germans. Not in the form of chemical warfare to be used on the Germans, instead a drug used on the Russian people themselves.

Larry had been lucky enough to find a Russian defector who had served with a tank regiment against Germans. When Larry brought up the word Carotranine, the man had nodded, but said no more. It took another hour before he found out why the drug had been created and what it did.

The Russian Government, he had said, were overly confident during the second world war, and with good reason, their soldiers numbered at approximately 5,000,000 by 1941. What they did not anticipate was the lack of their soldier’s willingness to fight and potentially die for their homeland. Him included.

Masses from their great army abandoned the fight against Germany before they had even engaged. Generals, tank divisions and entire units disappeared or surrendered voluntarily. This information had been successfully censored during and then after the world war, but eventually was leaked by the Russian people and later governments, becoming another atrocity of the era.

The soldiers were not the only people disillusioned by the war, but the general population as well. The government had forced everyone into a seven day work week, 12 hours a day to create supplies for Russia and its army. It became a wartime regime which could not be sustained, although heavily enforced by applying severe penalties to employees for not turning up to work, or just for being late. One of the penalties being prison.

Russian morale dropped extremely low, to the point where leaders saw their country on the brink of total collapse. Shooting soldiers for not wanting to fight became the norm. After the initial devastating defeat by the German war machine, a brilliant Russian biologist known as Vera Gorbenko created a serum not too dissimilar to the well known truth serum, sodium amytal and its counterpart, SP-117, although only in the way it blocked certain higher functions of the brain. This drug, when administered, messes with the medial prefrontal cortex, which represents self. Allowing a person to be affected by strongly persuasive suggestions, or in the military’s case; orders. Specifically canceling out conflicting moralistic concerns and care for personal injury.

This suited the Russian leaders and their thirst for victory at any cost. They implemented the drug immediately, dispersing it throughout the populace and promoting it as a vitamin supplement to be taken every day until life returned to normal and the war ended.

After only minimal searching Larry located all the viruses to be administered to the general public. Even the healing virus which would also be mixed with Carotranine and then distributed to buyers.

Larry picked up the computer, lifted it above his head and smashed it to the ground. He felt better. But there were many more. Too many for the time he had. Plus servers were somewhere within the building which fed each computer with data. He followed the blue cabling to the rear of the building, this lead to a central switch, then to a set of modems.

“Assholes,” Larry said, and pulled out as many wires as he could.

He went back to the computers to look for local hard drives, but there were none—the entire server had been established somewhere off site.

“Crap it...” Larry glanced around the room with his hands on his hips and wondered what he should do next.

“Damn you...”

Destroying the computers wouldn’t get him anywhere, he needed to find where the servers were located and then destroy them and the data in one place.

The least he could do here was dispose of everything they had created and hope they hadn’t started production elsewhere.

A yellow flash streaked across the window illuminating everything in the front reception area, ever so briefly. And repeated its blink every half a second. The expected security vehicle had just pulled up out front.

In a rush, he decided he would take samples of the viruses so that not all would be lost, although only the viruses which had not yet been bottled and mixed with the Carotranine drug. Larry picked up a syringe and an untainted virus and injected himself.

“De ja vu,” he said and found another sample and injected that as well.

A car door closed.

He picked up one more and injected that as well. Finally he smashed the rest. The viruses would quickly perish when outside of their supercooled environment. Still, he would never be able to destroy all of them unless he destroyed the building. He stopped for a moment and suddenly realized a new plan.

The front door shook.

After checking that the front door was still locked, the guard put his hands and face up to the glass, straining to see inside and work out why the alarm had been tripped. Also if he needed to bother going inside. The door shook again.

Larry turned and started back the way he had come, navigating his way through each room that he had broken into.

Larry’s head had begun to spin in dizzy swirls, the same as when he had last injected many viruses all at once. His stomach churned.

The security guard shone a light into the front rooms.

One of the broken doors came dangerously close to the front of the building. The guard might see the door had been broken, or maybe even him stumbling around like a drunk, either way he had to get up top and out of sight.

His legs shook. He grabbed hold of a bench while fighting to stay upright. Another step and his legs felt like rubber hoses attached to stones for feet. He slipped and his elbow cracked down onto the bench. The sideways fall stopping him from falling fully flat.

He went through the next broken door into a large room and approached the floor-to-ceiling windows. The room spun and his eyes rolled around.

The corridors swam in strange Tim Burton-like movie sets.

Larry spun around and walked the way he had come, and felt his way past the desks back to another broken door.

He knew that he wanted to get away, the reason, however, eluded him.

He ran his hands over the large glass windows hoping to find a door handle that would allow him to walk directly out on to the street.

Time sped by, although it may have only been seconds. In a burst of frustration, he pressed up hard against the glass window and banged his head against the glass. A trapped fly, confused and disorientated.

A crack spread out from his two firmly pressed hands, then another. Its lightning bolts zigzagging from his finger tips to the outside edge. Again another, until the entire window boomed, exploding outwards.

Larry stumbled through the shower of falling glass pieces. He bled from his hands, his head and chest.

The only reason for him not being cut in two by long shards was that the builders had not taken short cuts, and instead installed proper safety glass that breaks into cubes.

He ran and stumbled along the dark street until he came to a narrow ally where he turned, then stumbled further through the dark.

Still unsure why he had to get away, he did remember a yellow flash of light, and knew that sirens was therefore not a good thing.

He stumbled over a half crushed cardboard box, but managed to stay upright.

With his hands feeling along the nearest wall, he made his way further from the distressing emergency sounds, with no idea of where he was going.

A homeless man lay wrapped in a cardboard box next to bags of garbage. Larry stepped over him. Trash bags lined the end of the alley way. Larry had not the strength to go back, nor could he stop himself from falling. He crashed face first into the bags splitting them with the weight of his fall. Maggots and rotting food exploded outwards.

Unconscious enveloped him before he hit the ground.

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