This is Issue #25 of Dead Frontier by Walkerbait22, titled Zero Zero Five. This is the first issue in Volume 5.
Issue 25 - Zero Zero FiveEdit
Cole feels the truck come to a stop after what seemed like hours of driving. Finn is now sitting up with most of his face covered in blood.
"I think we're here," Corporal Ackerman says, standing and stepping over Cole, Hannah, and Finn to get to the doors. He opens the back doors of the truck, and an intense light bursts through. Cole squints his eyes at the sudden brightness.
"Bring them out," Ackerman says to Munoz and Hall. They assist the still-handcuffed Cole, Hannah, and Finn from the truck. Hannah's mouth bleeds, and it looks like her jaw may have been dislocated. A fresh bruise runs down the side of her face. Cole wishes he could do something, but he is helpless.
They aren't outside, but underground. They are in a large empty parking lot illuminated with artificial light. Their footsteps echo throughout the large area as the soldiers lead their three captives to the other end of the lot, where two large, red double doors stand out against the grey walls. Ackerman holds the doors open for Corporal Hall, Munoz, Hannah, Cole, and Finn. The doors reveal a long, white corridor with many doors on either side. Hall slides a key card into a slot on one of the doors and pushes Cole inside. Ackerman and Munoz lead Hannah and Finn to two separate rooms.
The door locks immediately when Hall closes it. The room is extremely similar to a standard hospital room, with white walls, tiles, a computer on a desk, a scale, and a bed. Except the bed has leather straps for detaining any unruly patients.
Hall takes out a key and releases Cole from his handcuffs; he rubs his sore wrists as soon as the cuffs are off. Hall suddenly grabs a syringe from the desk.
“Please lie on the bed,” Hall says.
Cole stares at him wide eyed. “What the hell is this?”
“Please lie on the bed.”
“What’s that for?” Cole asks, pointing to the syringe filled with a mysterious clear liquid.
“It’s for any subject that we find difficult to detain.”
“ ‘Subject?’ “ Cole echoes the corporal’s words.
“Please lie on the bed,” Hall repeats in his robotic voice.
Cole finally complies and sits on the stiff hospital bed. He never takes his eyes off of Corporal Hall.
“Lie down and place your ankles and wrists into the straps.”
“Look, man, I’m not going to try anything. Just tell me what’s going on and--”
“Please do not make me ask you again, sir.”
Cole gives a hefty sigh. He’s scared, tired, and worried about everyone else, and every second he gets more frustrated by the soldier's monotone orders. “Can I just talk to someone who’s in charge?”
Hall sighs. “I’m sorry sir, but this is just procedure.” He grabs Cole by the neck, and Cole tries his best to break away from the soldier’s hold by kicking him in his legs and midsection. But it’s as if Hall doesn’t feel the blows; he just jams the syringe into Cole’s neck.
After a burst of sharp pain in his neck, Cole sees everything go black.
“This is Doctor Eleanor Stowe, reporting from Corridor 2 Room 1 with Subject zero-zero-five. Subject appears to be regaining consciousness after approximately two hours.”
Cole’s eyes flutter open, and he realizes he is strapped to the bed. The bright lights of the room blind him for a few seconds, and his vision is fuzzy, but soon he sees a dark haired woman in a white lab coat standing over him.
“Sir?” Dr. Stowe asks. Cole sees that she has a small device, about the size of a cell phone, and is recording her every word with it.
“...Ungh..?” is all Cole can manage to say.
“Good. You’re awake.” She glances at her watch and speaks into the device. “Subject zero-zero-five is now awake at 6:12 P.M. on April 2, 2012.”
“What..going on?” Cole pulls at his bindings, but Dr. Stowe places a hand on his shoulder. He stops immediately.
“Don’t do that,” she says.
“You’re in an underground medical facility. I can’t disclose the exact location, but know that you’re still in Chicago. I’m Eleanor Stowe. I’m one of the scientists here.”
“Where’s everyone else?” Cole’s vision is still a bit fuzzy, so he blinks his eyes a few times.
“Your friends are in pretty much the same position you are. But some were more cooperative than others.” Dr. Stowe clears her throat. “Sir, I’m going to have to continue with procedure.”
Dr. Stowe proceeds to ask Cole a slew of questions--what’s your name? When were you born? Allergies? Medical conditions? A family history of medical problems?
She records all of his answers with her device, and afterwards, Cole is exhausted. Dr. Stowe then walks over to the desk and pulls out one of the drawers and retrieves a syringe. Cole is startled as he recollects what Corporal Hall did to him.
“Relax, Cole,” Dr. Stowe says. “I just need some more of your blood.”
“More of my blood?” Cole looks to his left arm and sees a bandage. “Why?”
“For tests.” Tests? What kind of tests? A million different questions run through Cole's mind.
Dr. Stowe sticks the needle into his arm, and he winces. He watches as the small amount of blood is sucked into the syringe.
Dr. Stowe walks down the corridor, her heels tapping loudly against the tile. She reaches the elevator and presses 5. The top floor. She carries a crate of ten blood samples: one from each of the subjects. When the elevator finally reaches the top floor of the underground facility, she walks down the long hallway to General Reese’s office. She forces smiles to some of the other doctors and scientists milling around the floor.
She taps the door with her foot since her hands are full. A few seconds later General Reese opens the door. He looks as serious as usual. “Come in.”
Dr. Stowe lets herself in and places the crate on Reese’s desk. “More samples.”
“Good. Good,” Reese says. He sits at his desk. “How are they?”
“Most of the subjects were cooperative. The ones I observed were, anyway. I had Chloe and James get information on the others.” Dr. Stowe takes a seat across from Reese. James Choi and Chloe Connors are two other scientists working in the facility. Chloe is in her twenties, and Stowe sometimes worries about her because of the young scientist's naivety. But, Stowe can't deny that Chloe is extremely bright and an important asset in finding a cure.
James Choi, on the other hand, is in his forties. An experienced scientist, he understands the trials and tribulations of the job and isn't afraid to go to great lengths to succeed, especially if it means finding a cure to the infection. The amazing praise he'd get if he found a cure wouldn't hurt, either.
A long silence falls over them until Reese asks, “Is it stupid, what we’re doing?”
Stowe raises her eyebrows. “What do you mean?” She didn't show it, but she felt a little offended that he would accuse her and her colleagues' work of being 'stupid.' After all, it seems like he just sits around barking orders, exerting as much power as he can.
“This cure. Eleanor, five billion people are dead. That’s over seventy fucking percent of the world’s population, and that number’s increasing every single day. Is it even possible to come back from devastation like that?”
“Those numbers are true, sir, but we can’t just not try. We’re working on a vaccine. We have the subjects to test on, and maybe, by some miracle, we can get the world back on its feet. It could take years, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.”
“I...Okay. Yes, you're right.” Reese sighs and rubs his temples. Then, he looks up at the doctor, the utmost seriousness in his eyes. “I’m counting on you, Eleanor. Don’t let your morals get in the way. Finding a cure is our number one priority.”