Kahl walked into Logan’s office, and sat down.
‘So kind of you to show up,’ Logan said, ‘and do you have the results?’
‘Rogers is sorting them out as we speak. No new breakthroughs though, if that’s what you wanted.’
Logan twisted in his seat. ‘This is ridiculous! How long are you spending on the vaccine? We should have figured out why the virus keeps mutating by now!’
Kahl sighed. He ran his fingers through his grey hair. ‘You just don’t see the bigger picture Logan. What we have here is not a cure. It is something so much more.’
‘Are you even trying to stop this superflu? The mortality rate is still at 100%; soon we won’t have anyone left to test on!’
‘When was the last time you went to the surface, Dr. Logan? There are busloads of new victims arriving every day! We are like, how is it you Americans say, “Children in the candy store.”’
Logan was actually quite shocked. ‘How can you be so callous? They are real people out there, not just your next victims!’
‘Please stay calm,’ soothed Kahl, ‘all will become clear in time.’
‘What do you mean-’ but Kahl was already walking out the door.
All will become clear in time. Just what is he doing in the east wing thought Logan? Might just have to take a look one of these days.
Above ground, Private Mendes cowered in the corner, trying his best to shelter himself from the chill of another night in the guard tower. He stood just shy of six foot with black, close cropped hair. He was 27 years old, born in southern California, to a Mexican father he hardly knew, and an American mother whom he had loved deeply. She had died one week before he signed up for the army.
So cold, so bored he thought. He pointed his M4 rifle into the courtyard and looked through the scope, just for something to do. There were a lot of people out tonight; rumours were that they were running out of floor space for people to sleep on. They’d run out of beds a few weeks ago.
Moving slowly from face to face, he could see the virus. Four people sat in a row almost represented the stages of it, the first pale faced, that frightened look in his watering eyes. The next wrapped in a blanket shivered, yet sweat still shone on his forehead. The third and fourth were holding each other tight, a couple maybe? He focused on the fourth. No colour remained in his face, and he barely had the strength to sit up. Huge grey patches under his eyes made him look like a panda. Violent coughing fits caused looks of pity in those around him.
Maybe I should put him out of his misery thought Mendes. It would be so easy. His finger stroked the trigger. Just then two hazmat suited guards came and hauled the man to his feet. The woman with him wailed and tried to hold on to his leg. One of the guards kicked her in the face, knocking her unconscious. Mendes leaned back in shock, and others on the ground rose to their feet angrily. A third guard fired some warning shots in to the air, causing everyone to hit the ground.
Those people are pissed off thought Mendes. You could feel the tension in the air. People had come expecting answers, and understanding. Mendes had heard stories of people paying thousands of dollars just to get a passport for here. They won’t stand for this treatment much longer.
Dr. Rogers walked down the corridor into the east wing, deep underground. The offices were empty; all the lab rats had left for the night. The sound of his footsteps echoed as he walked towards Kahl’s office, the printouts in one hand. As he got closer he could hear a conversation. There was Kahl’s, the calm and assured voice with the faint European accent, but another, just out of earshot. Rogers slowed down. The corridor was dark, the only light coming from inside the office. He peeked around the corner, and looked in through the door. It was just ajar, and Rogers could see Kahl, his tall gangly figure sat behind his desk, but not the other speaker. He held his breath and strained to hear what they were saying.
‘Like I said, he still thinks we have a way of stopping it.’ That was Kahl. ‘He has no understanding of the direction we are taking this.’
‘And he doesn’t suspect anything?’ that was the mystery speaker.
‘Not a jot. Our experiments are rapidly progressing. I expect a major breakthrough in the next few days.’
Rogers fumbled in his lab jacket for his tape recorder. The mystery man walked into view. He was immaculately dressed in a non-descript black suit, with a white shirt and black tie.
’My employers are rather anxious for this…prototype of yours. I trust you do not forget how important it is for this to remain a secret,’ the suit said.
Rogers pressed the record button, but the tape jammed causing a loud squeal. He quickly jabbed the stop button, but dropped the printouts. The suit and Kahl had stopped talking. Rogers stepped back into the office adjacent to theirs and held his breath. Slow, deliberate footsteps exited the office. Rogers saw the printouts he had dropped, and reached out with his foot, trying to drag them towards him. The footsteps got louder, and stopped. Rogers tried to melt into the wall. The printouts were just peeking out of the office. His heart was dancing in his chest, and he could hear a deep breathing, almost next to his ear.
’Must have been the air-con,’ said Kahl and he walked back into his office, closing the door firmly.
That was close thought Rogers, way too close. He shuffled down the corridor away from Kahl’s. His mind was a mess. Whose employers? What breakthrough? There was nothing for it; he had to get away from here. It was getting too dangerous.