Tamarrud

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Chapter 5: The CDC

Standing miles away, the center for disease control remains barricaded by objects and mercenaries. They, all geared up and alert, protect those inside working hard to create a cure for their mistake. Their trucks are lined up outside the garages, glistening with water. A male private hoses them down while a female private washes with a blue sponge.

“You think they’re gonna send us out?” the guy asks. The girl shrugs.

“I don’t know. Why can’t they see the citizens don’t want to be chipped?” she wonders. The general, a man in a black coat approaches them. His leather combat boots splash on the excess water.

“They don’t want to be chipped because they believe the chips are hindering. Like rumors that the flu shot gives someone the flu.” He says removing his hands from his pockets. His graying brown undercut was slick on his head, a 5 o’clock shadow occurring on his square chin. His brown eyes stare intently at them.

“But why do they think that? We’re chipped and we aren’t sick,” she continues. She wipes the sweat from her brow, the sun beating down on them.

“Would you care to see why?” he asks. The two privates stare uneasily at each other. “Follow me,” he adds. They turn off the hose and drop the sponge in the bucket. The three walk inside. The entrance resembles a court yard. Children in grey clothes run around playing with a red ball. They kick it high and it rolls in front of the general. They look apologetic. He kicks up the ball and smiles, playfully tossing it to them. Their faces lighten up as they kick the ball softer.

“Ah, young minds. So easy to mold. They’ll make excellent scientists,” the general states. They come to a door. He scans his hand before the door opens. They walk down a long hallway. To their left are windows revealing operating tables. On their right are labs with advanced equipment. The scientists are hard at work mixing chemicals and substances. They come to the end if the hall. He scans his hand again. The door slides open.

In the middle of the room is a giant lass tube filled with a light green liquid. But that isn’t what took the privates attention. They were focused on the chubby grub like worm floating in it. It slowly twitches.

“What the hell is that?” the guy asks. The general turns and smiles at his shocked face. He looks at the guys name tag.

“This, my dear Carson, is the cause of Pax-A. Its original intention and purpose was to eat away at the bad things. Cells that cause cancer, sexual diseases, and so on,” he explains walking around the room. The worm convulses. Seconds later, smaller worms come from it. A scientist operates a small RC drone that grabs the worms and puts them in separate jars.

“General, I feel the worm is becoming agitated. This is the third convulsion today,” a scientist states. The general ignores the comment and moves on, the two privates following. He takes them back to one of the rooms with the operating table. The general goes to the speaker on the wall.

“Bring in someone for training,” he says as two mercenaries drag in a fighting man. He kicks and screams against them. The privates stand shocked by the door. “Ah don’t be scared. We won’t let him hurt you. Much,” the general smiled as they took a syringe out. They had a small jar with a worm that they took liquid out of. They stuck the needle in the man’s neck. He stopped struggling moments later. “You two want to me mercenaries right?” he asked as the two shook their heads.

“But not in this way,” the girl whimpered. The man’s skin became sweaty and clammy. They continued to hold him down, but they strapped him to the table. Small cysts formed on his arms and legs.

“What other way would there be? Like I said earlier, we won’t let him hurt you. By hurt I mean bite,” the general informed. The man’s teeth started falling out. Jagged ones pushed through. “This specific strain of Pax-A is intended to cure asthma. It should clear the lungs and open them more,” he explained. The man’s chest rose and fell rapidly before it stopped all together. Carson slowly walked over to him. He stared down at the body nervously. The man broke through the straps and grabbed Carson biting into his neck. The girl reacted quickly with a scream and two gunshots. One into the scavenger and one into her friend. She dropped the gun shaking. The general slowly clapped. He gave her a smile before opening a pad on the wall. He pushed a few buttons before a giant vacuum type device sucked out all the contaminated air.

“Why did you let him do that?” she asked tears filling her eyes.

“I wanted to see who would react first if their lives were in danger.” the general confessed. “Rayne, this was the ultimate test for you. And you passed,” he continued.

“At what cost? Killing two men by giving one the virus and having me kill the other? There were plenty of other tests we could have done to prove our skills than this,” Rayne said. She pushed her way past the general and out of the room.

“See to it that she gets sized with a uniform and given a proper gun. We’ll send her out on patrol with another chipper,” the general ordered. “She’s far too upset about killing one of these monsters, so let’s see how she feels after going out there,” he continued crossing his arms.

Rayne sat in the logistics room on the table. Her legs hung over the edge casually as she swung her feet back and forth. Her uniform lay on the table next to her. She grabbed a boot and held it in her hand. Another member came in smiling.

“Hey how’s it going?” she asked as Rayne sighed.

“It was going good. Could be better though,” Rayne said removing her shirt. Her lean body developed goosebumps from the cold air. Her skin was slightly lighter than what was exposed. Her chest was small and her ribs could just barely be seen. Rayne had a rash on the side of her neck that wrapped around her chest to the middle of her stomach. It was slightly off color than her normal peach skin tone. A birthmark she assumed because she had it since she was young.

“You ready to go out there and do some chipping?” she continued as Rayne let out a slow breath.

“I guess so,” she said pulling the uniform over her head. It was fresh and starchy, the clothes feeling a bit uncomfortable. The two women went out of the room and to the trucks that were finally cleaned. Rayne climbed in the passenger side while the other woman climbed in the drivers side. She pulled the truck out before turning around looking at supplies.

“OK we have enough rations to last us a few days if we get stuck out there. Hopefully that isn’t the case though,” she said happily putting the truck in drive. “When’s the last time you went out?” she asked as Rayne stared out the window.

“Before the outbreak. I ran in here for safety. Haven’t been outside since,” Rayne confessed as the CDC gates opened. The two women drove out, Rayne watching the building grow smaller and smaller as they went deeper into residential territory.

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