This is an introduction to a character from a story I co-wrote with some friends.
| A dry biting wind whipped the tattered remains of David's old jacket as he vainly tried to keep the dust from his face with a rag. The sun was setting and he hated the fact that he was once again going to spend a night out in the open, alone.
It certainly wasn't by choice. He had plenty of options. He could have stayed in the comfort of his research lab back at the legion base in South Carolina. He could seek refuge in the resistance camps where he was slowly becoming accepted as a traveling rogue. Hell hunkering down in one of the hundreds of decrepit old buildings would certainly be a step up from this. No, this was his last choice, but it was the only place he could conduct this experiment. So long as this experiment was going on he had to just suck it up.
Dawning his breathing mask he made his way back down below the highway underpass, where his "experiment" was underway. One more check of the readings and I will go find a car to sleep under. No one ever looks under the cars. He sighed despondently and began his work. A 12ft by 12ft. square was marked out, and sectioned into a grid. Each box of the grid held the decomposing remains of an infected body, all of them in the final stage busting with asci sacs full of spores. Each box had been treated with a variation of the antifungal drugs he had been working on. He methodically measured and described each box.
"Box C5 appears to have slower growth than C2 and C3 of the same fungal type. D8 shows actual fungal death, but appears to be from caustic derivatives rather than cellular effects." One by one David read out the results into his tape recorder. Tomorrow he would compare the exact results to his previous notes and see if there were any promising isomers of the drugs which he could then span into another grid. It was long and tedious work, but no research on the planet could be counted as so important.
Finishing his work he hiked a little ways up the road and found a car to sleep under. Sliding into place beneath it he popped out his custom narcotic cocktail. The only chance he had for a decent nights rest. Swallowing the 5 pills he slipped off into a deep and dreamless sleep...
BANG! David's eyes shot open. The creeping light from the east told him morning was here, and the thud told him something had just run into the car he laid under. Rubbing sleep from his eyes David peered out of his hiding place. 1 set of feet, no 2, 5, 10. Schooling his breathing he reached for his shotgun. This was going to be dirty. Taking a deep breath he rolled from beneath the vehicle, coming up to a knee, he shoved the butt of his gun against his shoulder and fired. The blast ripped through the 3 stage 1 infected closest to the rear of the group. Human faces still graced their misshapen bodies, one of them had been a child. David wanted to throw up.
Standing quickly he turned to make some distance before firing off another round. This time only clipping the shoulder of a fat balding man with black ooze dripping from his mouth. David kept running. Suddenly his ears started to ring. A black aura formed at the edges of his vision and he knew he was about to have a seizure. "Damn sleeping meds." He muttered under his breath. "Not now." As he ran he reached into his pack for the antidote. A spasm hit him as he tripped dropping the life saving syringe. As his muscle began to all contract at once his vision caught one thing, A man standing 10 feet in front of him, crossbow already notched.