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Chapter 2: Base Camp

Tatsuya sits on the raggedy couch. Bexley is propped on his shins as he massages her shoulders.

“That was too close last night,” he comments. Bexley continues to stare forward.

“We didn’t even get what we needed from the run. We’re running low on supplies. I’m glad Keenan put a ban on people having kids. There are too many mouths to feed,” Bexley says sadly. Tatsuya kisses the back of her head.

“Don’t worry. We’ll have our baby. In the new world. I want my kid to grow up strong and not afraid of these freaks,” Tatsuya says happily. He returns to rubbing her shoulders. A woman screams. Tatsuya pushes Bexley forward. He grabs his gun from under the couch cushion. He runs out of the room to where the noise is.

“Someone help! Please!” she wails. She’s knelt over a teen. His skin is sweaty. He has blood coming from his ears and nose. Tatsuya holds the gun keeping the people back.

“Nobody get near him!” Tatsuya shouts waving the gun about. Keenan arrives on scene.

“Everyone with children get out! Go to the sanitation rooms. Clean yourselves,” Keenan orders. Nobody hesitates before they all rush away.

“Please! You have to help us,” the woman cries. Keenan refuses to get near them. The boy has cysts on his arms and legs. They look like they’re about to burst.

“What are his symptoms? Who has the check list?” Keenan asks. Bexley limps in with a piece of paper. She hands it to Keenan who looks it over. “Hes sweating, hes got a fever, and those cysts contain the bacteria.”

“Hes been coughing and sneezing a lot too. He’s had a little nausea, he can’t sleep, and this rash started forming on his neck a little while ago,” the mother adds. The boy starts to shake. He foams at the mouth. His eyes turn silver and green. Tatsuya grabs the boy while Keenan grabs the mother. A cysts pops on Tatsuya’s arm.

“You need to get out. Take him to a safe zone,” Keenan says shoving her toward the door.

“Please! You have to help him!” she cries as Keenan covers his nose and mouth.

“There’s nothing we can do with him. You’re endangering everyone here the longer you wait,” Keenan pleads the woman grabs Tatsuya’s gun. She aims it at Keenan.

“Help my son,” she threatens. Keenan whips his pistol out quickly shooting her in the stomach. The woman cries as she bleeds on the ground. Keenan grabs her and drags her out the door. The sun is barely peeking over the horizon.

“Scavengers!” Keenan shouts. The woman lays on the ground crying on top of her son. Keenan shoots her in the head. “I wont let you suffer like that,” Keenan whispers. Two scavengers and their dogs grab the woman and boy before disappearing.

Hours later the phone rings. A crew member hands it to Keenan.

“Hello Mr. Rassi. My name is Doctor Jordan Doup. I would like to ask a favor of you,” Jordan asks. Keenan scoffs.

“Why would I help you? You are killing us one by one!” Keenan shouts.

“We here at the CDC wish to make the world a better place and the first thing that should happen is we should be working together,” Jordan explains.

“How can we work together when you’re chipping people? You send your militants out after us when we don’t need or want your chips,” Keenan protests.

“The chips have a tracker in them and if you were to come into contact with a sick person be it a loved one or child, you wouldn’t get sick. You’d have to come to the safe zone and we’d quarantine you to keep the city safe,” Jordan explained. Keenan rolled his eyes.

“There’s no such thing as CDC quarantine. People come to you and never come back. I’m done with this conversation,” Keenan growls hanging up the phone. He turns to look at Tatsuya’s horrified face.

“Whats wrong with you?” Tatsuya questions. Keenan walks past him. “Keenan!” Tatsuya shouts.

“I’m not going to let them take us down. They created a virus. It’s rapidly mutating and they let it get out!” Keenan yells back. He hands Tatsuya a wet wipe. “You’ve got that stuff on your arm. Go to sanitation,” Keenan orders. Tatsuya wipes the cyst puss off his arm.

“We need to do another run. We didn’t get what we needed,” Tatsuya says brushing Keenan’s comment off. “Can you and I at least do that without sacrificing an innocent family?” Tatsuya says harshly.

“I will go with you once you go get sanitized,” Keenan says. Tatsuya nods before heading to the showers.

Keenan goes to the data room. There are tons of computers sitting around, some collecting dust. Lights gently flash occasionally. Keenan sits at one of the computers. He plugs in a USB. A ton of files pop up on the screen. Keenan scrolls through them. He finds a file with a picture and medical history of every person in the camp. He locates the woman and her son.

“I should have known they were with the CDC,” Keenan whispers staring at the genealogy. The woman’s husband worked as a scientist alongside those who created the pathogenic worm, Pax-A. The origin for it was to create a cure for cancer and other non-curable diseases but something went wrong. Something always go wrong. Someone added something they shouldn’t have and that’s when all hell broke loose. Tatsuya walks in drying his hair with a towel. His abs shine from the water. His grey skinny jeans hang loosely revealing his blue and green plaid boxers.

“You ready to go?” Tatsuya asks pulling a black shirt over his head. He puts a black beanie on and stuffs a pistol in his pants.

“Yeah just wait a second alright?” Keenan says looking at the screen. He pulls up a symptoms list from the past year. The virus had only been around for a year. It started off as common cold side effects fever, vomiting, clammy skin. But as the months went on and people became crazed, the virus mutated. The symptoms became more complex and more noticeable. “I’ve never seen cysts on the list before so I want to add it first,” Keenan says typing in the information. Tatsuya hops on a computer and pulls up a map of where they’re going.

“Yeah that stuff was disgusting when I washed it off. Super gross,” Tatsuya says shaking his head. He prints off the map and folds it in his pocket.

“No we aren’t going there. Not this time,” Keenan says as Tatsuya stares at him.

“Where are we going? The school is the closet to the base camp. Unless you want to try and break into the hospital? Those medics have that place on lock down, Keenan. Their mercenaries will kill us,” Tatsuya protests. Keenan pulls up another map. He prints it and hands it Tatsuya.

“We’re going here,” Keenan states.

“The mines? Are you kidding me? I’d rather take my chances with the mercenaries,” Tatsuya whines.

“We both know the miners have better weapons and supplies. If we go to the school we’re only going to find food. We need weapons and ammo. The scavengers are becoming bolder. They’re adapting and soon we’ll be out manned and out gunned,” Keenan explains. Tatsuya sighs and rubs his head.

“Yeah. You’re right we need better weapons. To the mines. We need to go now so we can get back by sundown,” Tatsuya says. He tries to appear happy but the thought of a long journey makes him uneasy.

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