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Rated: 13+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2016583
Will you survive The Fall?
[Introduction] Terror spread through the seven continents as a new disease was discovered. Warnings were soon put out everywhere, informing people that the disease was highly contagious, spreading through skin contact and bodily fluids. The disease soon came to be known as The Fall. It can infect anyone at anytime, and does far worse than kill. Once infected, the disease takes around a day to manifest itself. Those who are infected, the Fallen, are turned into shells of the people they used to be. The Fall takes away all human emotion, leaving nothing behind but anger.

The world has fallen. There are now two sects of belief. The Solstice, or those who believe in a new age brought upon by the disease, wish to manipulate the Fallen in the interest of warfare. The Resistance, on the other hand, will do whatever it takes to salvage what remains of humankind.

****************************************


Rules
1. Do not in any way disrespect other members. There are no limits within the bounds of the story, but as far as direct communication goes, BE RESPECTFUL.
2. Do not kill off another character without the author's permission.
3. No character can be all powerful.
4. You will have a week to make an addition before being skipped. If you need more time, just let me know first.
5. Unless we have agreed otherwise, no one starts out immune to the disease.

For your first addition, I ask that you fill out a character template.

Name:

Age:

Gender:

Fallen/Human:

Alliance:

Appearance:

Family:

History:

Personality:

Other:
Name: Arielle Nicole Ezra

Age: 22

Gender: Female

Fallen/Human: Human

Alliance: Resistance

Appearance: Arielle is relatively tall for a girl, and holds herself high regardless of the situation, partly to give off an aura of confidence and partly just because she wishes to ward off pity. Her legs are long and contribute most of her height compared to her torso. Arielle's reddish brown hair is usually kept layered and falls just past her shoulders. Due to inconvenience for the most part, she never allows it to grow too long. Her light blue eyes are not exactly striking, but rather tend to have a calming effect on certain people.

Family: Arielle's home life was pretty normal before the breakout of the disease. Her father had died in war when she was three, and rather than be a shadow of her past he was someone she considered to be a role model. Elena, her mother, was focused solely on raising her and her younger brother, Lucas. The rest of her family is quite distant after the death of her father. Arielle has an extremely close relationship with both her mother and her brother, always feeling the need and desire to take the role of their protector or to follow after the footsteps of her father in character more than in action.

History: Given the amount of time she spent fixating on her father's life, many found it fitting that Arielle got involved in humanitarian work the minute she could. She had never been an introspective person, and found it far easier to focus on the needs of others rather than her own. When The Fall hit, she returned home immediately to the tragic news that Lucas, an aspiring medical student at the time, had been infected. These were the times before more cautious measures, and after seeing him restrained, Arielle decided that she had to do something to stop the terrors she had witnessed.

Personality: Arielle is extremely talkative and kind to everyone she meets, no matter what their intentions. Though she is wary of other people, especially men, she strives to please others so long as it does no harm to herself. However, if someone strikes a nerve with her, she tends to get immediately defensive. Arielle spends a lot of time on her own but tries to be around other people too. Human beings in general are a fascination for her, seeing as she hardly understands herself. Beauty as well catches her attention easily, and she is quick to fall to temptation. Arielle is not the most trusting of beings, but that doesn't usually last too long. Once she is proved wrong she is quick to befriend anyone who does not have poor intentions. Overall she always tries to keep a positive attitude though she may be feeling the exact opposite after the loss of her beloved brother.

Other: Though she is an established member of the Resistance against the disease, Arielle has a tough time disposing of those already infected.
Name: Thornton "Babylon"

Age: 14

Gender: Male

Fallen/Human: Human

Alliance: Not allied

Appearance: Thornton is short and pale with brown hair and blue eyes. He can be seen wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. Thornton is a scientist, and due to a fire that took away his left arm and both legs, he used his knowledge of genetics and engineering to creat bio mechanical limbs. These limbs look relatively normal but are horribly grotesque and have a metal sheen with circuits showing in some places.

Family: When the disease struck the world, Thornton was left alone with no one but his pet fox Plush, whom Thornton brings everywhere he goes.

History: Thornton was left behind in a safe house called Babylon. Thornton didn't make much friends so he mostly just read and played games. Later, Thornton left with his inventions, his personal possessions, and Plush.

Personality: Kind and caring, Thornton loves all people. Since he travels alone be tales things with experience and seriousness, but his eccentric behavior makes him a wild card. Thornton is devoted to the spread of knowledge and power, but also wants to cure the Fallen. Thornton is also highly curious and mischievous. These traits gained him the nickname Kit.
Name: Treynora Codename: mother

Age: unknown

Gender: Male

Fallen/Human:Fallen

Alliance:none/self

Appearance:Long, silver disheveled hair, green eyes, thin..almost skin and bones, dirty and raggedy clothes,

Family:Brother: deceased. Mother and Father- unknown.

History:Treynora is no stranger to heartbreak. At a young age, she was targeted by bullies and teased for her look and slight accent everyday. She barely made it through school without crying when she'd get home. At the age of 14, her brother died of a mysterious illness and still to this day is not known what took him. At the age of 19, her family figured out that, since the outbreak and the rise of the fallen, that Treynora was infected. They disowned her and told her to leave their house immediately. Treynora respected their decision, even if it was hard for her to take and she left them behind. She has since become very cautious almost to the point of paranoia and does not trust anyone. She is very seclusive and reluctant to confide in anyone besides herself.

Personality:Treynora is different than other fallen. Somehow she has managed to retain alot of her human-like qualities. Compassion, fear, excitement, rational thought are all present in her, unlike her fellow fallen who are mindless husks of what they used to be. Still, she finds herself in extreme sadness since she is still drawn to the base desires of other fallen and occasionally wants nothing more than to be angry and fight. She constantly hopes that one day someone will put her out of her misery and kill her, although her base nature, as a human and as a fallen, is to ensure that never happens.

Other: The Solstice has since discovered her and given her the codename Mother. They know she is not the source of the outbreak, but wonder how she is one of very few that retain their base nature after the turn. They actively hunt her to put her in testing to discover her secrets, hoping she carries a solution to control the fallen.
Name: Ioan (Pronounced Yo-en) McCullough

Age: 26

Gender: Male

Fallen/Human: Human

Alliance: None

Appearance: Ioan is fierce and masculine in appearance, his height a towering 6’5”, his build strong and incredibly fit. Light gray eyes are occasionally hidden beneath a mess of disheveled black hair; his intense and analyzing stare a bit disconcerting to those who don't know him. His strong jaw is perpetually darkened with the stubble of a beard, the whiskers parted with a scar that cuts though his left cheek and onto his jaw. Though his posture tends to be a bit rigid, he has a fine smile when the mood strikes him, which is not often. His back, arms and pecks are tattooed with Celtic symbols and runes, a fitting match for his still thick Scottish accent. He tends to dress casually, favoring a t-shirt, button up, jeans and well-worn black boots. Though he is naturally intimidating, he is also uncommonly handsome; a combination that he does not exploit, and yet still works in his favor more often than not. He travels often and travels light; armed to the teeth but able to move quickly. His only slowing feature being Adeline, whom he carries tucked into his chest and hidden beneath a heavy brown leather coat.

Family: His only living family is his nine month old niece, Adeline.

History: Born and raised is Glasgow, Scotland, Ioan grew up in a secure home, with parents that loved him and a younger sister, Kate, whom he was happy to torture. At 16 his parents were killed and he and Kate were taken in by his Aunt and Uncle, who lived in Georgia. At 18 he became a US citizen and joined the military, eager to find some semblance of meaning. He thrived as a soldier, living happily and eventually moving with his fiancee to Kansas, where his sister Kate and her husband were expecting their second child. When the fall began, it claimed Kate's family, as well as Ioan's fiancee, Ana. Kate was soon taken from him as well, dying shortly after giving birth to Adeline. With nothing left but the baby he moved, and has not stopped moving since.

Personality: Quiet and calculating, Ioan is a surprising contrast to his alpha-male appearance. Analytical, intelligent and loyal to a fault, there is little Ioan would not do for those he loves: or more appropriately, little he would not do for Adeline. Strong both mentally and physically, Ioan is a steady presence; even tempered and consistent when he is allowed to be, passionate, unfaltering and determined when it is necessary. He is a man of few but meaningful words, encouraging and caring when his heart is not hidden behind layers of consuming pain and unshakable self-control. Before the Fall he was kind, charming, selfless and remarkably generous; a man of honesty and integrity. Though he embraces analysis and has a mind for mathematics, he is highly creative by nature, easily adaptable and able to problem solve extremely well. Since his loss he is a fraction of that man, what little caring remains in him is reserved for Adeline. To the world he is reasonable but without hope, and though he is far from warm he is certainly not cruel.

Other: His extensive military and police training make him an asset to the Solstice, which he has no interest in joining. Though his morals more closely match those of the Resistance, he does not trust their altruism. Because of this he remains alone, doing what he can to find a safe place for Adeline, who like her uncle, is dark haired and bright eyed. Ioan has no problem taking lives, Fallen or Human, if it means keeping her safe.
Name: Klaus Fleischer

Age: 49

Gender: Male

Fallen/Human: Human

Alliance: Solstice

Appearance: Klaus is 5’7 ft tall, fashionably thin, shoulder-length grey hair, one blue and one green eye. He wears grey suit with light green shirt and white medical coat at work.

Family:Step-sister- Greta- human, and father Albert- human

History:Klaus’ past is mostly classified. What little is known is that he is german bio-engineering genius, who is in charge of the Fallen Collar program that aims to control the rage- plagued victims of the virus. Most of his subordinates fear him, and there are many who would try to replace him, but his knowledge and abilities make him irreplaceable. Fleischer seems to trust only one person- Ann Sullivan his assistant.

Personality: Klaus is a genius biology scientist and as such does not give much space to feelings or psychology. Cold and calculative, Dr Fleischer has an inhuman strive to accomplish his goals, pushing and squashing his way to success. Klaus is a typical sociopath, with incredible IQ that boosts his ego even more. Some speculate that he is asexual, but the truth is that the only thing up until now that he has admired other than himself is Ann and since she is an assistant, considers unprofessional having any interests in her.

Other: His sister Greta is part of the Resistance, and believes that not the Fallen but people like Klaus are the true enemies of mankind. Klaus hides secrets and has knowledge of the Fallen much more advanced than he shows anyone.

Name: Carter Donaghy (Don-a-he)

Age: 24

Gender: Male

Fallen/Human: Human

Alliance: Solstice, stationed at Fort Shelby

Appearance: Carter stands about 6’1” with a medium build. He has blond hair and dark green eyes, as well a slight smattering of faint freckles across the bridge of his nose that leads down to full lips. He dons the army uniform--a collared shirt and pants in dark grey and dark green camouflage. Since he’s on reserve, it is usually acceptable for him to wear a simple T-shirt with the pants. When he’s off duty, he can slip into a T-shirt and jeans. Occasionally, he lets his hair grow a bit longer despite protocol.

Family: The Donaghy family boasts an enduring legacy within the United States Army. His older brother, Captain Ace Donaghy, 31, followed in the footsteps of their father, General Harlan Donaghy, 54. Before him, they were three more generations of Donaghy soldiers. Even his fraternal twin sister, Gage, 24, is enlisted for non-combative service as a civilian minister at Fort Shelby. Carter is also on reserve duty as an army translator or linguist. Prior to the outbreak, he and Gage rarely saw their older brother and father as they served on active duty in the field. But due to increased need for organization and protection against the infection, various soldiers of all ranks have returned to the base. With their military background, Ace and Harlan are staunch advocates of the Solstice. Carter aligns himself with his family for now, but his sister secretly supports the Resistance.

History: As twins, Carter and Gage are very close. They trust and respect each other. Carter looks up to Ace, but the elder is seemingly starting to harden like their father. While Gage is graceful and caring, Ace is blunt and driven. Harlan is very focused and stern. He cares about his children, but he has always been an army officer before a father. His wife, Olivia, succumbed to cancer a few years after Gage and Carter were born. Harlan believes in hard work and honor. In his eyes, the best thing society can do for the Fallen is find a use for their strength and anger. Harlan would say there is no greater purpose or reward than serving their country in whatever capacity deemed necessary.

Personality: Officially the baby of the family, Carter is very much shaped by his family and their experiences. When he was younger, he and Ace were much closer. For this reason, Carter does display some of his older brother’s characteristics. He’s strong, works hard and takes initiative. He also has Ace’s curiosity and humor. While he’s not as considerate as Gage, Carter tries to demonstrate some of her sensitivity and kindness. Due to their father’s upbringing, he is extremely loyal and protective. Though he is disciplined and professional in his working role, Carter is more relaxed and friendly than his other family members.

Other: He is close friends with Sergeant Dylan Thomas, 26, another army brat who basically grew up on the base. Years ago, Dylan went through initial basic training with Ioan McCullough. Sergeant Thomas recently returned from active duty. Due to a great loss of soldiers to infection, Dylan has been charged with handling Fort Shelby’s screening processes. With the spread of The Fall, the military has ordered each base or branch to guard the uninfected in their area. Dylan often utilizes Carter’s communication skills to help register uninfected humans seeking shelter on the base. With the aid of a medical team, they screen and decontaminate all who enter the gates. If an infected arrives, Captain Ace Donaghy is in charge of disposal or detainment for later use. His orders come from General Donaghy, who receives orders from the White House. The US government is working hard to remain intact, but its governing and military branches are beginning to crumble. The Fall is taking over, and the Donaghys are working hard to keep Fort Shelby strong as long as possible.
Name: Kore (Cor-ray) Bashir
         Called Lady Nyx by clients and strangers

Age: 28

Gender: Female

Fallen/Human: Human

Alliance: Herself, though she will take 'jobs' from both the Solstice and the Resistance as she has no ties to either organization.

Appearance: Kore is the daughter of a half-Ethiopian/half-Greek woman and an Egyptian man. Her skin is the color of an espresso shot as it settles (the lightish caramel-brown), with barely-visible freckles along her nose and cheekbones as well as her shoulders. She stands at just two inches shy of six feet and is a naturally voluptuous woman with curves that could drive a man wild; hard work keeps her slender and well-toned. Kore keeps her hair in a longish mohawk, allowing it to fall to one side or the other over the shaved portions of her head. She inherited her father's thick black locks (rather than the kinkier curls of her mother), but keeps them dyed silvery-blonde (just the 'hawk, not the shaved sides). Her eyes are a striking golden-green, but retain the almond shape, thick lashes, and heavy lids of her Arab heritage. She has an oval face with strong bone structure, a straight nose, and full lips (all inherited from her mother). Kore is exotically beautiful; the kind that is unconventional and thus far more likely to be divisive than agreeably pretty. Typically, she is dressed in tight-fitting clothing, the better to take advantage of the distraction afforded by showing off her curves, with the exception of a leather jacket or vest, which she leaves open. She is not particularly feminine in her tastes, preferring a punk edge and dark colors.

Family: None. They're all dead. Her mother died in childbirth with her, and her father never re-married. He died of the drink some time ago.

History: Kore has been taking care of herself since before she can remember. Her mother, Elene, died giving birth to her, something for which her father, Adisa, never forgave Kore. He had been a school teacher (as had Kore's mother), but turned to the bottle for sorrow. For a time, he was able to carry on and maintain himself and Kore, but eventually, he was forced to retire and begin living off of social security. The two of them had never been rich, but eventually they ended up just about penniless as more and more of Adisa's checks went to feeding his alcoholism. Adisa was a cruel drunk, and would often beat Kore as punishment for 'killing' Elene; Kore learned to tolerate pain from those sessions. Eventually, she learned to be fast, and to dodge her father's attacks. From the age of ten, Kore was subsisting upon what nimble fingers could steal and tears could wring; from thirteen, when she realized the boys were staring at her breasts, she began trading sexual favors for cash. When she was fifteen, she and her father lost their house and were turned out into the street. Adisa did not do well on the streets and was dead within six months; Kore, on the other hand, thrived in the kill-or-be-killed environs of the back alleys and shelters. A childhood of desperation had made her hard. She understood the power having control of food and supplies gave a person, and made a name of herself as a procurer of goods, and a brawler of some note. When the Fall hit, Kore did what she had always done, what life had taught her to do: she survived. In fact, she did more than that: she thrived. In this new society, she is a powerful woman and has created something of a street-level empire for herself; to many, she is simply Lady Nyx, who can procure for you exactly what you want (even if what you want is secrets or someone dead)...for a price.

Personality: Kore is an extremely practical woman. She will do whatever she has to do to survive. This is often seen as ruthlessness, or even as a sadistic streak, but there is not much that is sadistic about her. She has no love of pain; she will simply inflict pain if it is necessary. Kore has an empire to run, and a professional status to maintain; anything that endangers these things will be removed. There sometimes appears to be a lack of real emotion, whether joyous or sorrowed, in her. She is known to take many lovers, but only because her body requires such pleasures, and to eat sumptuously, but only because good food is something she has worked hard to earn. She shares the whole of herself with no one, though some can say she is possessed of a fierce intelligence and others note she has a biting humor. An observant soul would note the careful way she doles out bits of herself for different people and understand it as a defense mechanism; someone that observant would also know to keep their knowledge quiet. Customers know her as a professionally discreet woman who gets the job done and never asks questions, so long as payment is on time. They also know she cannot be paid to reveal secrets she learned while contracted to anyone else; confidentiality is a guarantee. Lady Nyx is, to customers, something of a cruel seductress, but it is just a role she plays; the reality is so much colder, and so much deeper.

Other: Kore laments the fact that her education suffered as a consequence of her childhood, and is a voracious reader and learner as a result. She keeps this 'weakness' to herself, but has a great love of books and will often go to great lengths to procure them. Though her bibliophilia is well-known, most assume it is a personality quirk; in reality, Kore wants to learn. There is one other 'quirk' Kore possesses, and that is a love of children. She is unfailingly kind to them, and extraordinarily patient. Most everyone just assumes it is one of the many oddities of the Lady Nyx; only a very few people know it stems from her own, painful childhood, and those that do know, know to keep it quiet.
Name: Grayson Rhys

Age: 26

Gender:
Male

Fallen/Human:
Fallen

Alliance:
None

Appearance:
Grayson has hair that is the color of charcoal. It's long, straight, and rests on his shoulders. He has a medium build, lean and well muscled from his rigorous training football routine. He stands tall at 6'3, with penetrating cerulean colored eyes. He has a smile that has melted many heats, but since the fall there has been nothing to smile about, and the smile has been replaced with a semi-permanent scowl even when he isn't angry.

Family:
As far as he knows they are all dead.

History:
He remembered bits and pieces of his past that come to him often times in dreams. He knows he is the oldest of three siblings. His mother was a highschool teacher that taught music. His father was an electrician, that spent a lot of time away from home, but would always be there for his football games. Grayson’s more recent memories are that of Dr. Alexander Bastian, an older man in his late 70's. Dr. Bastian used Grayson’s rage to trap him in a cage, so that he may inject him with an experimental drug. The drug had the desired effect of making Grayson self aware of things other than anger, but with the downside of losing some of his long term memories.

Dr. Bastian had monitored Grayson for six months, and while Grayson maintains the basic look of the Fallen, he is no longer infected, and doesn’t carry the disease, so passing it on is no longer an option for him. Dr. Bastian found that Grayson can’t be infected by the disease again, but all of his attempts to manufacture a cure from Grayson’s blood have failed making Grayson’s for all tense and purposes a special case. While trying to make another attempt at catching one of the Fallen, Dr. Bastian was killed.

Personality: Grayson stays mostly to himself, and chooses not to talk or have any interaction with others because of the way he looks. During the times he has gone out of the building Dr. Bastian took him to, he was treated poorly. Grayson makes it a point to avoid others if he can help it. His returning memories are making him more curious about where he is from, and what has become of his family.

Other:
TBD
I was never a morning person before... Before. It had always taken me at least an hour to fully wake up, and even then I wouldn't have the willpower to respond to him. He used to talk a mile a minute about how excited he was about some new idea he had dreamed up and I would just mumble my acknowledgement and get on with my morning. Along with my mother, we used to go camping by the lake every year. Every year we'd take a boat out onto the lake, and every year he'd push me in before jumping in himself. I loved him.

But he's dead. At least I think he is. My baby brother was 18 when we got a call from the hospital he volunteered at, saying he had been infected. He was "one of them". They took him away from us, but I could tell by that time that he was already gone. It was useless fooling myself into thinking we could bring him back, save him somehow. Even if he's out there right now, my Lucas is gone. That thing was not my brother.

So when I was greeted yet again by the sound of a blood-curdling scream from outside the encampment, I hadn't even completely opened my eyes. Probably another Fallen idiot wandering around the wrong place.

"Arielle!"

The voice had come from near my tent and sounded as though it belonged to one of the younger ones. I didn't keep track of most of their names. I figured it was best to get attached to as few people as possible, not that it hurt any less when we lost a member.

I put my jacket on over my plain shirt and pulled on my boots. I had gotten used to sleeping in my clothes, though we didn't get much sleep anyways.

"What's up?" I asked the young boy standing outside my tent, trying to ease his apparent nervousness.

The boy hesitated. "Um... Well the guys told me that you'd want to know. One of them says that Klaus was seen nearby recently, so we might have to relocate if we don't get reinforcements soon. He said that there was talk of a cure."

I raised my eyebrows, unable to tamp down the surge of hope that filled me. "A cure? What do you mean a cure? Does he have it?"

"They were talking about a guy who's immune to it now. They say that he might be the key to a cure."

If there was even a possibility that I could get my hands on that cure... No. It wasn't possible, and I knew it. "They're just messing with you, kid. It doesn't exist."

I believed that wholeheartedly, really I did. But that didn't quite explain why I was packing my gear and making plans for a group of us to go find Klaus.
I walk on a beaten road whistling with my inventions in a pocket dimension storage cube and Plush. As we walk I see some Fallen. I whistle and a drop is summoned that cuts up the ground and traps the being. The Fallen is not worthy to die. The way I see it, there are the Fallen that can be brought back, and those who can't. I kill those whom have no chance of being cured from a scientific mindset. I have injected myself with nanobots that make Plush and I resistant if not immune to the virus. Of course, as an unaligned being, everyone is after us with everything they want to throw at an outlaw like I technically I am. If I ever find them, they would surely murder me. I whistle a melancholic tune as I look for someone to accompany me. I call out once, then twice, then three times. Nothing. I am alone as of now. I look ahead and see the skyline of my destination: the once great sprawling metropolis of Chicago. I grin and dash there one a hovering device with Plush at my heels.

"TO THE CURE!" I shout as I jump a cliff.


A heavy, stale air engulfs the amy base. Outside the concrete buildings and rounded canvas tents, the ground is a mass of hardened dirt with very few patches of dulled, dying grass. An occasional rain will turn the grounds into mud, which soon bakes in the heat. The sun scorches overhead, and flakes of dirt are floating in the too few breezes. The atmosphere is smothering for those who dare travel outside too long. And it's not the heat that paralyzes; it's the fear.

Behind the massive stone archway and iron gates, Fort Shelby was once filled with life. The mess hall, bunkers, armaments, and other buildings were bustling with soldiers driven by honor and purpose. They were clad in their camouflage fatigues with their hair shaved, shoulders straight, and hearts ready. Her walls and her people are now a shell of the base's former glory.

Running a hand through his blond hair, Carter's fingers tangle in his growing locks. General Harlan Donaghy would not approve. Despite the dire circumstances, his father always demands adherence to the proper procedures. Carter is clean shaven and still wears his grey and green cargos, but he has opted for a simple black T in place of the traditional collared shirt. It is too hot for the full uniform. And despite his father's wishes, the proper procedures no longer apply in this frail new world.

Sheltered inside the barbed wire and towering stone walls of Fort Shelby, Carter has little idea what remains of humanity at large. He only knows the briefings supplied his by father and his brother, Captain Ace Donaghy. Per his orders, Carter currently stands in an Observation Post stationed high at one corner of the base. From behind the bullet proof glass, he can see only a sea of brown that stretches for miles. Beyond his view, he knows there is forest of parched dying trees. An occasional survivor free of the disease sometimes stumbles out from its branches. But more often than not, the forest only "gifts" them with more Fallen.

"Hey blondie," a familiar voice whispers low, warm breathe tickling the hair at the nape of his neck as a strong hand grips his shoulder. It is the only sound in the small booth. The number of soldiers and civilians present on site is dwindling. An eerie silence has replaced the marching and shouting that once echoed across the grounds. With the Fall spreading at an astonishing rate, uninfected friends and allies are a fleeting godsend. They are rare. Cherished. Gone.

Carter rolls his eyes as his lips give him away, curving into a small smile. "Sergeant Thomas," he greets, shrugging off the older man's arm. He turns to face his longtime friend, his green gaze drifting up. Despite his penchant for bending the rules, Dylan is wearing his brown hair shaved short and his full uniform. He also sports a wry grin and a hint of dark stubble. He raises one brow perched above his steel blue eyes and leans back against the glass wall.

They grew up on the base together--Dylan, Carter, and Carter's twin sister Gage. Long before Gage donned the cloth, they used to play hide and seek in the Fort Shelby's tiny white chapel. They'd duck between the cherry wooden pews and chase each other out the doors to wrestle in the grass. At night, Carter and Dylan snuck onto the obstacle course to race each other through climbing, crawling and running drills. Carter was always faster. Dylan was always stronger. Not long after Carter turned 17, Dylan completed his basic training and left on active duty. He served three tours of duty before returning. It was the longest they had been apart. He returned last year before the worst of the outspread.

"Anything new?" The brunette asks, nodding his head toward the earthen abyss outside. Carter shakes his head, his eyes downcast. No recent survivors or Fallen had crossed their land in weeks. In some ways, it is a welcome reprieve. In other ways, it feels like the calm before the storm. "I wouldn't worry about it," Dylan tries to reassure him. "No new batches means we can focus on the ones already here."

Batches are the groups of wanderers or new troops brought into the fort to study, treat or detain. Guards defend the front entrance, supplied by a full armory. Snipers and watchmen stand watch from towers like the one Carter and Dylan now occupy. The mess hall stands at the center of the grounds with the chapel next to it. The bunkers and other assorted buildings sit in rows on either side. The medical facilities, storage rooms, and "disciplinary barracks" are underground. Though their numbers are dwindling, there is still a body filling each necessary position. General Donaghy requires it. When one of their own falls, Captain Donaghy is quick to replace them. In their eyes, it is the only way to maintain order. It is their only way to survive. And all too soon, it will become an impossible goal.

Fort Shelby currently has only two medical officers: First lieutenant Trey Johnson, trained in primary care as a garrison hospital commander, and Colonel Isabel Medina, a high-ranking squadron surgeon. Carter knows these officers well from assisting them with new batch screenings. His primary role as the military linguist is to translate and interview. He asks where wanderers have come from, why they are there, and who have they come across. He also helps in observing their behaviors, such as appetite and sleep patterns, to check for signs of infection. Dylan serves protection duty for Carter and the medical officers during these screenings.

The better part of Carter's job comes after Colonel Medina has given a wanderer a stamp of approval and they officially become a survivor. Survivors are free to live as protected civilians at Fort Shelby. New troops are also screened to ensure they are not fallen. Carter then offers translation for more everyday, mundane interactions in the mess hall or in the chapel. He also gets to enjoy standing by his sister's side each Sunday to translate Gage's sermons for her small congregation.

"Everyone passed the tests last night," Carter responds, referring to the former evening's batch of new recruits all screening as uninfected. "But no signs of wanderers can't be good." Pacing back and forth behind the glass, he continues, "Does it mean they're all gone? Or does it mean they're hiding? Are they even smart enough to hide? Why would they hide? Are they up to something?"

"Hey man, calm down," Dylan says, reaching out to grab his friend's arm. He stops the younger man in his tracks. Stepping forward, he uses his other hand to ruffle Carter's messy hair. "Your father will hate that," he chuckles.

Carter stands still without making a sound, his eyes blinking to adjust to how close his friend is. "Yeah, good thing he's not here. Ace and Gage won't tell on me. What about you?" Dylan's smile grows, and Carter feels the cool surface of the thick glass press against his back as his friend takes another step forward.

"No sir," Dylan answers, his voice somehow lower than before. "I actually like it a little longer..."

Part of Carter's job is listening and translating, but another part of it is observing. With Dylan right in front of him, Carter can see his friend's gaze flit from his blond hair down to his lips and then up into his green eyes. Dylan had been gone on active duty for almost six years after he turned 18. When he returned last year, Carter thought his friend somehow looked exactly the same and yet entirely different. Dylan probably thought the same about him, and he seemed to look at Carter differently now. Standing so close, Dylan's smile softens and his gaze flicks away. Carter knows he should say something, but he doesn't know what--

"Look," Dylan says, tapping at the glass. Carter turns his head to peer over his shoulder. He scans the musty field of endless dirt, his eyes landing on nothing in particular. "No, over there," Dylan corrects, pointing. Carter fully turns his body to get a better view, trying to ignore the feeling of his best friend standing right behind him. And then he sees it. They are hazy dots, mere blips in the distance. Yet after weeks of no signs, there they are. Wanderers. Fallen.

© Copyright 2014 Apoorva, Thornton, Scythe, Kat, Richard_freeman, Aiken4LOTR, Professor Q, Lonewolf, (known as GROUP).
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