This is Issue #29 of Dead Frontier by Walkerbait22, titled Falling Apart. This is the fifth issue of Volume 5.
Issue 29 - Falling ApartEdit
Every scientist and soldier is gathered in the facility’s conference room. Dr. Stowe sits at the head of the table, with General Reese and Dr. Choi on either side of her. The table seats 15 other people; the rest stand around the room.
Dr. Stowe stands and clears her throat, leading everyone in the room to immediately halt their chatter. She takes a deep breath and moves her hair out of her face. “I know it’s late and I’ve woken many of you up, but Dr. Choi and myself have...discovered a few things about the TWD-1 virus.
“Joel,” she says, pointing to Wiggins standing in the corner of the room next to Chloe, “has been testing the blood samples I ordered you to give all day. We, um...” She wipes a few beads of sweat from her forehead. “We’ve concluded that everyone is infected with the virus.”
The room erupts into angry, frightened chatter. Stowe bangs on the table with her fist a few times to once again gain their attention, but it doesn’t work. Confusion overtakes the room, and the questions bombard Dr. Stowe and Dr. Choi.
“When did you find this out?”
“That doesn’t make any fucking sense! How can you be sure?”
“Does that mean we’re all dead?”
General Reese stands. “Everyone!” he booms. “If you want answers, Dr. Stowe is willing to give them, if you’d just be quiet!” Everyone’s mouths are shut instantly, and General Reese sits back down, his face red with anger. “Eleanor, please continue.”
“Joel presented to me with a few theories as to why, since we are all infected, we haven’t yet perished and come back as an infected. One was: the virus slowly takes over our bodies until, eventually, we die and come back. The second theory, which is the one me and Dr. Choi tested, was that once you die, as long as the brain isn’t injured, you return. You reanimate. It’s...disturbing, and I didn’t believe it at first--neither did James--but testing on S010 has, in fact, proven that this is true.” She puts her finger up to silence everyone before they can erupt into another frenzy.
“We have S010 on tape,” Stowe says. She nods to Choi, and he stands and walks to one of the computers. A few seconds later, the tape of Stowe and Choi experimenting on Wanda appears on the largest screen in the room, albeit with the sound cut off.
Chloe watches, horrified, as Choi lethally injects S010. She’s on the verge of tears as she watches the old woman die. Choi fast forwards the tape two hours, and everyone’s eyes are glued to the screen as Wanda...reanimates, as they’ve taken to calling it.
Panic surges throughout the room. People flood out of the doors of the conference room, eager to leave the facility and return back to their families. "Everyone, please!" Stowe shouts, but then stops. It's no use. Of course with a revelation like this, people would be scared out of their minds. She watches as soldiers and scientists alike flee, until only Chloe, Stowe, Choi, Reese, Wiggins, Ackerman, and a few other scientists remain in the conference room.
Stowe plops down into her chair and buries her face in her hands. "It's over, David."
Reese places an awkward hand on her shoulder. He's not one for affection. But, surprisingly, he has tears in his eyes. "I have family in Indiana."
Stowe stares up at him. "You're...you're leaving too?"
"What's the point in staying here?!" he suddenly explodes, rising from his chair. "What good am I here? The majority of my men are gone. Running to be with their loved ones, if they even have any left. Why can't I?" Stowe begins to speak, but he stops her. "This is it. This is the end."
He storms out of the room, to the shouts of panic in the hallway, and closes the door behind him. Chloe wipes her eyes and hurries out as well. She squeezes through the scientists and soldiers and finds a vacant elevator. She presses the button for the floor that leads the where the majority of soldiers stay.
She speeds down the hall and sees men sobbing that she never thought she would see cry. They take whatever belongings they have. Chloe heads to the room of the one person she thinks that can help her free the subjects. Private Tyler Munoz.
She opens the door to the last room in the hall and sees Tyler sitting at the edge of his bed. He looks lost almost. Seeing Chloe enter the room snaps him back to reality.
"Tyler," she says.
He looks up at her. "What...what are you doing here? Aren't you leaving?"
She ignores the question. "I need your help. To take the subjects and get away from here."
"Because I know you're a good guy. You saw what they did to that woman. S010."
Tyler looks like he might vomit. He opens his mouth to speak, but nothing comes out. Instead he just nods his head. "I...I heard rumors of the Air Force setting up a refugee center or something. I don't know even know if it's true."
Chloe is shocked. This is her first time ever hearing of any refugee center. "Maybe we could go there," Tyler continues. "Take the subjects there too."
Chloe takes a seat on the bed next to him. "Wait. Where is it?"
"At O'Hare airport. That's what the guys were saying, anyway. But they thought it was all bullshit. Maybe we should tell Stowe and Reese--"
"No," Chloe says as soon as she hears their names. Stowe and Reese have already taken finding a cure too far in her eyes; she wouldn't want to bring them to a potential safe haven and have them ruin it. "Tyler, are you willing to help me?"
"What if we get caught?"
"Then we get caught, and Stowe and Choi will be pissed. But that's not the point. This isn't right, what they're doing. Holding captive test subjects and performing inhumane tests? Over half of the world is dead; we don't need any more evil than we already have." She feels her hope slowly fading because the unsure look on his face. He groans and runs his hand through his dark hair. "Please."
Tyler takes one last long look at her. "Okay."
She gives a small smile. "Do you have your key card?" He pulls out a keycard--every soldier is given one to get in and out of the subjects' rooms--and hands it to her. "Okay. Here's what we'll do..."
Chloe and Tyler walk briskly down Corridor one. She has the keycard tight in her hand and reaches the first door on the left. She slides the card in, waits for a high pitched beep indicating it is unlocked, and turns the handle. Billie sits on the stiff bed, and she is immediately alert when Tyler and Chloe enter the room.
Billie recognizes Chloe as the woman who took her blood and asked her millions of questions. "Don't be scared," Chloe says immediately. "We're here to help you okay?"
Billie eyes her skeptically. "You hold me captive in here and I'm supposed to believe you want to help me?"
Tyler reaches into the bag strapped around his shoulder and pulls out a handgun. He hands it to Billie, and she takes it from him apprehensively. "We'll explain once we've got you and your friends out of here. Just trust us."
"...Okay." Billie stands and follows them down the corridor. Chloe slides her key card into another door and opens it to reveal Dwight sleeping. He jumps up, startled, and places his fists out in front of him.
"Dwight, it's okay," Billie says. Dwight exchanges glances between the three of them.
"What the fuck is going on?" Dwight asks.
"We're busting you out, man," Tyler says, handing him a handgun. "Just in case anyone gives you trouble."
Dwight smiles and observes the gun in his hands. "Sounds good to me."
When the four of them are outside Adam's door, Chloe stops Tyler. "This'll go faster if you take Corridor 3 and I take 2. You." She points to Dwight. "Come with me."
Dr. Stowe and Dr. Choi stand over Melody lying on the operating table. They are going through the same process they went through with Wanda, but Melody's reanimation is happening much faster. Just over thirty minutes. Her chest starts to move, indicating she's begun breathing, and her eyes open to reveal the sickly combination of grey and green.
"Thirty two minutes, nineteen seconds," Choi says. "That's...pretty fast for a reanimation."
"But she wasn't bitten," Stowe counters. "With a bite they turn in, what? Twenty minutes?"
"I wouldn't really know. I've only seen one person ever turn from a bite. And it took him almost an hour."
Stowe is flipping through her clipboard when she asks, "And who was that?"
Stowe looks up, taken off guard. "Oh. I'm sorry."
"So am I." Choi looks down at Melody snapping her jaws at him and grimaces.
"I wouldn't want to sound intrusive, James, but how old was your father?"
"74. You think maybe age has something to do with the rate someone reanimates?"
"I don't know. It certainly looks like it, but we can't be sure at the moment. There could be a variety of factors. Health, weight, gender..." She flips a page in the clipboard and observes Hannah's file. "S006. She's a similar height and weight to Ms. Adams. And their ages are only a little less than ten years apart."
"Want me to bring her in?" Choi asks.
"We'll go through the same procedure as 002 and 010."
Choi gives her a thumbs up and leaves the room. He takes the elevator to Corridor 2.
Finn is sitting on the bed with his knees pulled towards his chest when Chloe and Dwight enter his room.
"Just leave me alone! You fucking--" he shouts, until he sees a familiar face. "Dwight?"
"Yessir," Dwight says. "We're getting the fuck out of here." He can't help but focus on the large bandage covering the side of Finn's face. Dwight offers him a hand and helps the younger man up; Finn winces at every movement, the gunshot from days ago still bothering him. "Good God, man. You look like a shitstorm rolled through. No offense, though. I'm sure I do too."
"You do, asshole," Finn says as they exit the room and enter the corridor. Suddenly they hear loud footsteps.
"Shit..." Chloe mutters. She ushers Finn and Dwight back into the room and slams the door shut. They hear an eerie whistling accompanying the footsteps down the corridor.
Choi whistles a tune as he walks down the corridor. He pulls out his key card and slides it into the door of Hannah's room, waiting for the familiar beep. Hannah's heart drops when she sees him again, that same evil smile on his face. She backs up against the wall as he closes the metal door behind him.
"Hi," Dr. Choi says. Hannah is disturbed by the cheerfulness of his greeting. "I see your bruise is getting better." The bruise from Ackerman's assault is now a pale blue, but it still aches her.
"Don't come near me," she says, her voice quivering.
In the other room, Cole presses his ear against the wall. He can faintly hear the conversation between Hannah and the doctor. She told him earlier about the scientists' true intentions--to perform inhuman experiments--and now hopes Hannah isn't next.
"Dr. Stowe has ordered me to bring you to the lab. This is just procedure."
"Fuck your procedure."
Dr. Choi gives a small chuckle at her retort. "I like you. You've got real attitude. Kind of funny, actually."
Hannah takes a deep breath and closes her eyes. "It'd be better for both of us...if you left."
Choi raises his eyebrows, slightly confused by her remark. "And what I'm doing is what's best for humanity. So, I'll tell you again: Dr. Stowe has ordered me to bring you to the lab."
He approaches Hannah, ready to grab her, but he hasn't noticed she's had her hands behind her back the entire conversation. She reveals a shard of glass; earlier, she broke it off of a glass of water they'd given her.
Choi has no time to react as Hannah plunges the shard into the side of his neck. Blood spurts out of the wound when she removes it, but immediately afterwards, she stabs him again. This time in his Adam's apple. Choi lets out a pathetic scream and collapses to the ground with the glass in his neck. Hannah stares down at him, watching slowly as blood pours out of him and his life fades away.
She slumps to the floor and pulls her knees to her chest. She's a sobbing mess until she hears a beep come from the door. Her heart pounds against her ribs until she sees Finn and Dwight standing behind a young scientist.