A menacing prisoner hosting a deadly disease escapes quarantine confinement.
SOTER, corridor 4D, Nevada
It was a quarter past twelve, a quiet night layered with an air of tranquillity and a touch of enigmatic charm. Jimmy was working as a night-shift guard at a militant medical research facility known as SOTER. As he was quietly enjoying the serenity of his night-shift job, he paced along the dark corridor and checked up on a group of virus-hosting patients, known collectively as the Beta.
They had been confined in the special isolation wards under strict medical quarantine. The vacant expression written on their countenances was pitiable – a dark testimony to the harsh bitterness that they had to struggle through having to cope with their illness. Their skin was as white as snow and the pupil of their eyes were crimson like the colour of blood. The lurid appearance of the patients was the result of mutation after having recovered from a deadly infectious disease that once threatened to annihilate the global population fourteen years ago.
The silence of the corridor was broken by a familiar voice speaking through Jimmy’s radio, “Hey Jim, your shift ends early at 2a.m. tonight. Wanna hit it off with a little booze and the good company of fine girls with huge titties at the gentlemen’s club?”
Jimmy chuckled and shook his head incredously at his friend’s lewd suggestion, “You and your titties… horny bastard. Yeah sure, I haven’t got to see some pussy in weeks and I was thinking I might just need to have a few brain cells killed and become as dumb as you.”
“Screw you, dick! It’s on then. So how’s it going on down there?”
“Quiet as a tomb. Everything still checks out fine so far… Hey Aaron, I thought Chuck is supposed to be on shift tonight. I wonder why he hasn’t been picking up his radio for sometime.”
“He is supposed to be on duty tonight. Lazy son-of-a-bitch is probably snoozing on the job again. I just sent him off to corridor 4C to check up on one of the patient’s cell which had its internal monitor feed short-circuited. I bet… hey something’s wrong, camera 4C has just blacked out too. You might wanna check it out.”
“On my way.”
A sinister hunch tugged at Jimmy’s heart as he approached the designated area. His footsteps were significantly faster than before. When he finally reached the corridor, he discovered his colleague Chuck lying motionless on the floor disrobed with blood oozing from his mouth. The look of petrifaction was evident in his eyes. Not far above him, a camera had been severed and thrown onto the floor.
Jimmy rushed to his colleague and checked his pulse. Nothing.
“Oh my gawd,” Jimmy reached for his radio again, calling to the security room, “Aaron, Chuck’s out. One of them bastard freaks must’ve escaped somehow and killed him.”
“Gawddammit. Secure the area. I'm sealing off the fourth floor and calling in reinforcements into your area. Backup is coming on your way right now.”
Jimmy turned off his radio and reached out his right hand to close Chuck’s eyelids.
“Rest in peace mate. I swear I’ll kill the motherfucker who did this to you.”
Soon after, Jimmy heard a set of footsteps rushed from behind with a torchlight shining ahead of him. The shadow of another guard approached from behind him and shone the light on Chuck’s corpse and muttered heavily, “Looks bad.”
“That was fast. Looks bad? Hell yeah. Hey man you’re not gonna like what you’re gonna hear,” said Jimmy, turning behind to look at the security guard, “Chuck got killed by one of the…”
Jimmy gasped for air as the security guard choked him and lifted him up by the throat, raising him from the ground. Apparently Jimmy was wrong: it wasn’t a security guard; the pale skin and the cold touch of the person’s hands clutching at his throat could not be mistaken – it was the Beta mutant that had killed Chuck. Jimmy struggled and tried kicking the mutant in the crotch. No use. The mutant had grabbed the leg with his free hand and broke it. The pain was excruciating. Jimmy could barely utter a yelp in his current state. Unable to choke out a word, Jimmy pleaded with his watering eyes and searched for a hint of mercy in his captor’s icy blood-red eyes.
The mutant simply glared back at Jimmy’s, his eyes devoid of empathy and glimmering with malevolence. His lips merely curved into a thin smirk and, without another word, clenched his fist violently. The force snapped Jimmy’s neck with a sickening crack, effectively killing him in his hand before dropping the body to the ground.
Jimmy’s attacker seemed apathetic to his deed and went on to search the late guard’s remains. Amongst them he found Jimmy’s wallet and opened it.
“35 Bancor. Cheapskate douchebag.”
The mutant then went on to relieve his victim of his pistol and found three extra magazines, his lips shaping into a malevolent curve. Understanding that his time was limited, he promptly proceeded towards the quarantine cells, unlocking them using Chuck’s security card.
“Move out buddy. You’re free…” the mutant muttered as he spoke to each patient in the cells he unlocked, encouraging them to leave with him from their confinement.
He managed to unlock five doors before he was denied entry at the sixth door.
The mutant knew the urgency of his escape and he quickly checked on his fellow escapees. Amongst six of them, he recognised Evan, a dishevelled woman in her late 20s and Dakota, an emotionally disabled girl in her mid teens.
“Patrick.” The woman Evan greeted him, before angling her head, signalling him to look behind.
Dead ahead at about twenty metres, a screen panel above the elevator door indicated that the lift capsule had risen above the third floor and was approaching towards the fourth. On instinct, Patrick sprinted towards the door with incredible velocity and waited at the side. A split second after the door had barely opened, Patrick swiftly opened fire at a guard waiting by the side of the lift before bursting in to break the neck of the other guard hiding at the other side of the lift. Before the door had even opened fully, Patrick had effectively incapacitated both of the guards assigned to assist the late Jimmy.
Dakota merely cringed and let out a weak bleat at the brutal sight, gaping at Patrick with a look of petrified befuddlement in her eyes. Patrick turned towards Dakota and offered a sympathetic and somewhat apologetic expression in response to her shocked dismay. He turned his attention towards his escape party and yelled at them to hurry up. The party was quick to obey except Dakota, whom Evan quickly carried in her arms and rushed towards the elevator. Dakota was visibly shaken at the sight of the two dead guards nearby her.
“Check their notebooks,” ordered Patrick, “We need to have a layout of the map of this place. We’ll head out to one of the hangar bays where we can escape.”
“I’ll check it,” volunteered an old man who looked as if he was in his golden years, reaching out and browsing through the schematics at the notebook screen. “The nearest hangar bay is at level 1, corridor J. But they’d probably have sealed the place off by the time we arrive there. I suggest we head down to control room 2 at level 2 to isolate external command.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Patrick was quick to hesitate pressing the buttons and instead immediately reached out to one of the deceased guards, seizing his thumb to press the level 1 button for him. Amy put Dakota down and hurriedly reached for the guards’ guns, tossing a spare one to a fellow mutant who promptly catches it. Evan undid the safety lock and loaded her gun, her eyes wearing a look of battle-hardy vengeance.
“Everybody stand back at the corners.” Evan ordered.
“Here we go.” Patrick said in a flat sinister tone.
SOTER, Corridor 2C, Nevada
The corridor room nearby the elevator shaft on level two was filled with the dire warnings of the alarm siren. A squad of ten heavily armed guards had ambushed the lift, apprehensively watching the indicator screen above the lift opening door as the elevator approached the second floor.
The instant the indicator screen had flashed ‘2’, the guards rapidly opened heavy fire through the elevator door.
“Raining heavily!” Patrick remarked.
As soon as the door had opened, Evan swiftly kicked one of the dead guards with such a violent force that it literally flew his body out of the elevator, temporarily distracting the guards. The split-second delay was just enough for her to seize the opportunity to shoot through two of the guards’ heads as the body served as a temporary shield whilst it was flung in mid-air. In the flash of the confusion, Patrick had managed to finish off another two guards.
A panicked guard was quick enough to react to the violent mayhem and threw a plasma grenade towards the elevator. However, one of the mutants had aptly noticed the flying grenade and immediately fired his gun at the explosive, triggering a fierce detonation in mid-air and summarily killing most of the other guards. The frightened grenadier hurriedly scurried away from the scene.
Patrick smirked and walked calmly out of the elevator towards the frantic guard and shot him in the leg, crippling his getaway. The guard in a desperate attempt to defend himself, hurled his gun and aimed in the direction of Patrick’s head. However, it was at best a vain attempt at bravery as Patrick shot the guard’s hand before he barely had the chance to pull the trigger.
“I surrender! Mercy!”
Patrick fired a bullet through the injured guard’s head, sealing his poor and cruel fate.
“Did you really have to do that?” Richard enquired disapprovingly.
Patrick simply ignored the question and replied, “Which way to control room 2?”
Richard grimaced and simply walked passed Patrick, silently leading the way with a rather disgruntled expression etched on his face. However his pace was met with an abrupt interruption as his face smacked against something hard out of nowhere. Apparently, an invisible shielding had been raised in his way. They were trapped. Patrick yelled in frustration and punched the shielding so hard that it fractured the gun that he held in his hand, which only served to annoy him further as he began kicking the invisible barrier in vain.
One member in the group quietly picked up a grenade from the dead grenadier and detonated the air shaft, creating an alternative pathway for the escapades. Evan lifted her eyebrows and smiled at him, impressed by his resourcefulness. The boy briefly returned her smile wryly before turning his eyes down towards the floor and stepping back, making way for her to enter into the shaft first. Evan promptly jumped into the air shaft and offered her hand to the boy.
The boy hesitated momentarily before timidly taking her hand and was lifted into the shaft. The rest of the crowd followed and crawled along the shaft.
“Down here.” Richard remarked.
SOTER, Control Room 2, Nevada
The noise of a sudden crash of an air shaft grill startled the staff members at the control room. Patrick jumped down and immediately opened fire indiscriminately at the staff members in room, some of whom were unarmed.
“Nobody move!” ordered Patrick.
However, one of the staff members moved quickly to activate a distress signal calling for additional security forces to protect the area. Apparently the man did not mind the risk of sacrificing his life for his peers in his bold and potentially-suicidal action.
Patrick fired his gun at the heroic man, furious that he had dared to defy his demands. His first shots crippled both of the man’s legs before continuing to fire at his stomach. It was as if Patrick had deliberately shot him such that the man’s inflicted wounds would cause him to experience a great deal of pain but would not have resulted in a quick death.
A fellow staff member, motivated by the altruism displayed by his fellow comrade, decided to mirror the martyr’s heroism; he swiftly wielded his pistol and fired at Patrick. Patrick responsively dodged the bullets’ deadly paths with unbelievable dexterity, barely missing them by inches. Two more staff members followed suit, taking out their guns and confidently fired at Patrick. It was as if the altruistic heroism behaved as a catalyst, freeing the staff workers from their state of submissive panic and awaking their will to fight for their lives.
Evan promptly jumped from the ventilation shaft onto the ground to assist Patrick in the fire-fight. However she soon realised that the fight was more or less meaningless in contrast to their main priority to isolate the room from external command and gain control to access the nearest hangar bay. Nonetheless she acted quickly and effectively neutralised the surrounding hostiles alongside the homicidal Patrick.
“We didn’t come here to do this.” Evan remarked.
Evan proceeded to shoot a technician in the leg and point the gun at his head.
“I think you would mind dying more than me.”
However, her gun was gently put down by someone else. It was the quiet boy who had helped them cross the shielding. Evan stared at him curiously. The boy did not return the eye contact but simply attended towards the controls. He seemed to know what he was doing and did not appear to require assistance.
Additional security forces had arrived at the room and begun attacking the Beta.
“Alacrity would be very much appreciated my young man!” exclaimed Richard.
The boy did not verbally respond but worked more frantically.
Within the minute, a window flashed across the computer screen:
CONTROL ROOM 2 HAS BEEN ISOLATED FROM EXTERNAL NOVA COMMAND WITH A FRACTAL ENCRYPTION CODE
HANGAR BAY 3 LOCKDOWN OVERRIDED BY CONTROL ROOM 2
COMMENCE EMERGENCY EVACUATION OF HANGAR BAY 3
COMMAND SEALED WITH FRACTAL ENCRYPTION CODE]
“Are you done yet?” shouted Evan, momentarily shooting a glance at him. The boy replied with a thumb-up.
“Let’s go!” ordered Evan.
SOTER, Hangar Bay 3, Nevada
By the time the group had arrived at the hangar bay, the room had already been deserted. It was the golden opportunity to escape.
“Over there.” Evan spotted, pointing to a nearby lightweight air-shuttle.
An alarm bell rang, signifying the oncoming onslaught of combatant-merchants arriving to stop them. The boy quickly rushed to the control panel nearby the opening, sealing off the gates. As the group rushed into the air shuttle, they were startled by the deafening detonation of the gates, accompanied by the violent shots of gunfire that greeted them into the room.
“You guys go ahead!” Evan yelled, opening retaliatory fire at the attackers. Patrick promptly hoped into the pilot seat in the shuttle whilst the boy aptly assumed the co-pilot position standing by him.
“You know how to fly this thing, kid?” Patrick queried, paying the boy a momentary eye-contact knowing his tendency to return only silent responses. The boy returned the glance and nodded affirmatively.
“Alright then, we’re flying! Hold on tight!”
As the shuttle commenced takeoff, Evan quickly retreated inside whilst the exit ramp closed in. Evan leaned against a nearby wall and slide downwards with exhaustion and breathed a sigh of relief even if she knew that it was only worth a moment. It was a fleeting feeling inside her, she was finally free and out of quarantine confinement after fourteen months of imprisonment. Tears of joy streamed down her cheeks as she retracted into a curled ball, dropping her pistol and weeping.
The boy smiled as the air shuttle took off into the open night sky, gaping with awe as he feasted his eyes upon the picturesque view that lay beyond the window. Out there in the vast skies lay the constellations of stars twinkling among the heavens and the fractured moon glistening along with its floating fragments. It was as if they were greeting him welcomingly at his debut into the outdoor world for the first time in fourteen months. It was a spectacular experience. However, it was not long before the moment of bliss was intruded by Patrick’s voice holding its usual tone of menace.
“I’m spotting two enemy hostiles approaching fast!”
Two jet fighters were speeding fast on an intercept course towards the air shuttle. It was not long before they caught up with the jail breakers.
“Okay kid, brace yourself! It looks like we’re gonna have to engage in some evasive manoeuvres! Buckle up everyone!”
Patrick took the air shuttle into a sharp rise in the sky whilst swerving it hard to port as the tailgating jet fighters commenced opening fire rounds at them.
“Hold on tight, people!”
The shuttle had just missed most of the enemy fire, save a round or two which punctured the hull on the starboard side. Dakota flinched anxiously from the impact. Fortunately the damage was only superficial. However, more was yet to come.
“Shit, I’m reading a missile lock!” Patrick exclaimed, manoeuvring the shuttle to enter a dive whilst veering hard to starboard in the hope of losing the enemy’s aim. Alas, the enemy pilot had already launched its missile.
“It’s coming towards us fast!” the boy exclaimed, speaking out for the first time, as the proximity alert rang forebodingly.
“Brace for impact!”