THE PHOENIX VIRUS
Diary Entry – 23rd August 2010
Perseus Pharmaceuticals created a medication they thought was going to wipe out every disease in the world; cancer, arthritis, asthma and even the common cold. The product was called Phoenix. Perseus selected one hundred disease-ridden people to their secret underground facility where they experimented with all their new products called the Cave. Phoenix was administered to all of the patients. Within 24 hours of injection, everyone was cured. But on the 25th hour, a violent change occurred in all of the patients; they all had a desire to eat. The desire became so strong they started feasting on each other. 28 hours after injection, only 32 were left alive, the others eaten and killed. The taste of human flesh sent them into frenzy, and they escaped, killing more and more in the Cave. 35 Hours after the injections, security cameras noticed something they knew was impossible but it happened anyway. The dead got up again. Those who had been bitten, scratched, wounded by an infected person slowly began to change into one of them. 37 hours and the Cave was put into lockdown, trapping in everyone that was inside. 42 hours after initial injection, we received word of a small group of survivors holding up inside the Cave. That’s where we come in.
We are ARTS; Armed Response Tactical Squad. Our job is to go in, extract the survivors and get back out while keeping the infected contained inside the Cave, eliminating any hostile threat along the way. We’ve been given 4 hours to get them and ourselves out, after that, Perseus are going to blow up the cave with napalm with hopes of killing all of the infected. This is where it begins.
Captain Lucas Talon stood with the other five members of his elite ARTS team. Talon was 26 years of age, with spiked fair hair and green eyes. He held an MP-5 by his side, waiting for the group to be let inside the Cave to start the mission. Standing next to Talon was TK Locke, the team’s communications and computer expert. His job was simple, hack through any door locks or computer systems that held them up. The shortest on the team, TK was pretty nervous as it was his first mission.
A representative from Perseus Pharmaceuticals approached the group of seven. Wearing a long white coat, Talon saw his name tag as Dr. Gordon Lovett. Lovett nodded to several of the ARTS members as he passed them but they made no response to him.
“Captain?” asked Lovett nervously.
“When are we going in, Doctor?” said Talon firmly.
Lovett was surprised at Talon’s no BS attitude.
“Right now,” he replied.
Lovett walked over to the elevator that was behind the group and put his key into a keyhole, turning it and the elevator sprang to life. The doors opened and the team piled in.
“This will take you to the Cave, it’s three kilometers down, and so it might take a few minutes. Good luck to you all,” said Lovett as the elevator doors closed.
The elevator suddenly dropped down as it made its way towards the cave.
“What an asshole,” muttered Claire Iris, the team’s medic. “Shouldn’t have created some shit to cure everything, trying to play god.”
“He was trying to help,” defended Jamie Webb, one of the three soldiers whose job was simply to be an assault member.
“Yeah, well he really helped the people down here,” replied Claire.
The elevator was approaching the bottom and Talon prepared. Clicking on the torch on the tip of his MP-5, the team did the same with their various weapons; Claire had an MP-5, TK an M4 rifle and Webb held an MP-7. The other two members, Andy Padalecki and Caitlyn Band had an M16 and P90 respectively. The doors of the elevator creaked open and the team was met with darkness, all of the lights in the Cave were out.
The team’s torches emitted some light into the long corridor before them, but not that much, so all felt a little uneasy. Talon walked slowly into the hallway first, TK and Claire just behind him. The others brought up the rear slowly. After about one hundred meters into the hallway, Talon stopped and looked at a fork in the corridor. There were now three different ways the team could take.
“Which path do we take? Where’s the signal coming from?” asked Talon firmly to TK.
TK pulled out a small computer a tapped on a few keys. A quiet electronic beeping emitted from the laptops speakers.
“It’s about eight hundred and fifty meters down that left path,” replied TK.
Talon nodded. “Can you get some lights on in here?”
TK typed furiously into the laptop and within a few seconds, the lights in the Cave turned on. The team then wished they hadn’t. The hallway was drenched with blood. Smears were all over the walls and floor. On closer examination, you could see trails in the blood on the floor, as if someone had been dragged off by someone, or something.
“Did you say that way?” asked a frightened Andy.
“Yeah,” replied TK.
“Fuck that shit, man,” yelled Webb. “I ain’t going down there.”
“Insubordination in my squad will earn you a bullet to the brain, Webb. Don’t forget that,” threatened Talon.
Webb nodded slowly. “Yes sir, sorry sir.”
Talon led the team quickly down the blood stained hallway, getting closer and closer towards the signal. The team arrived at a locked door, which looked as though it had been beaten furiously from the outside, blood stained fist marks all over it. Talon noticed the electronic lock on the door and tapped on the door to see if anyone was inside.
“Captain Lucas Talon of the Armed Response Tactical Squad, anyone in there?” asked Talon.
“Y-yes! F-finally! We locked ourselves in here! W-w-we don’t know the combination to get back out!” yelled a voice from the inside.
“Hold on! We’ll get you out!” replied Talon. “TK, bypass the door lock.”
TK nodded and got to work on getting the combination to the electronic lock.
“Set up a perimeter guys, Andy and Claire twenty meters to the left, Webb and Band to the right,” ordered Talon.
The four nodded and moved off to make sure nothing was coming towards them.
The door cracked open as TK got the lock down. Inside were three people. The first stumbled out and hugged Talon.
“Thank you so much. They came after us, we didn’t know what to do,” stuttered the person.
“What are your names?” asked Talon curiously.
“I’m Victor White, security guard. That’s Dr. Allison Verona who scans patients for treatment, and that’s Carlos McGrady, one of the cooks here in the Cave,” explained the man holding onto Talon.
“Okay, we’ve got to move and get out of here. How’s our time, TK?” asked Talon.
“3 hours 35 minutes until the napalm,” said TK looking at his watch.
“Okay, time to go. Let’s go home guys,” ordered Talon.
Talon led TK, Andy, Claire and now Victor, Allison and McGrady back towards the elevator. ON the way, they met back up with Band and Webb who were patrolling the corridor. The group moved quickly towards the elevator. They suddenly halted when they came to back to the fork in the corridor.
“You hear that?” asked Webb curiously.
The group listened. It sounded like something was coming towards them from the three other corridors in the fork, like a floor buffer on high. Actually, it sounded like several floor buffers on high. Something rounded the corner of one of the corridors, moving slowly into the corridor containing the ARTS team and the three survivors. It was a person. He wore a white coat, indicating he was a doctor here at the cave. But something was wrong, he seemed to stumble more than walk and he groaned as if he was in constant pain. Talon looked in horror as he saw his face. His face was covered in blood! His mouth was still oozing with red blood, dripping down onto his clothes. His eyes were no longer a colour either, they were nothing but white.
“What the fuck is that?” screamed Band, raising her P90 at the man.
“Don’t touch him! He’s an infected person!” screamed Allison as she saw the man.
The group watched in horror as the infected man slowly got closer and closer to the group.
All of a sudden, a second person, moving the same as the first rounded the corner, Followed by a third, and a fourth, followed by two more. More and more kept coming until the entire fork in the corridor was nothing but a crowd of infected. There had to have been fifty, if not sixty infected slowly approaching.
“What are our orders regarding threats, Captain?” asked Band.
“Eliminate any hostile threats,” replied Talon. “Fire!”
The ARTS team immediately opened fire on the group. The first row of infected were cut down in the midst of all the bullets, the second row going down in the same fashion. Talon and the team backed up another thirty feet from the advancing hoard as they reloaded. Then, something impossible happened. The infected persons they’d jus shot dead, were getting back up!
“What the…” exclaimed Webb as he saw the bodies getting back to their feet.
Aiming carefully, Webb pumped three bullets from his MP-7 into the head of one of the infected. The body fell down and this time stayed down.
“Head shots kill them!” yelled Webb.
The team did so, but it was too hard to aim at one infected, get a head shot, and then move on to the next one. The infected were now fifteen feet from the group and still closing in, and the ARTS team had only taken down maybe twenty infected.
“Time to fall back, guys,” ordered Talon, turning to move down the corridor, away from the hoard of infected.
“But that’s our way out!” screamed Claire.
The entire group turned to run the opposite way, only to be stopped by a second hoard of infected. This group was much large than the first, numbering in the hundreds. Talon couldn’t see where the second group ended it was so big. They were now trapped between two groups of infected!
The ARTS team were firing furiously at both groups, trying to take down as many as possible. Talon grabbed one of his holstered Desert Eagle pistols and tossed it to Victor. TK did the same with an M9, giving it to McGrady while Claire gave one to Allison. Talon looked around for an escape. The two groups were closing in fast. Twenty feet and they would be on top of them. Talon spotted the door that the survivors had been hiding in before and rushed over to it, but it was locked again.
“TK, get that door open!” yelled Talon, letting of a burst from his MP-5 into two infected.
TK nodded and rushed to the door, trying to remember the combination. When he failed to remember, he got out his laptop and tried to bypass the lock once again. There was now fifteen feet between the group and the two hoards.
“Got it!” screamed TK, opening up the door and rushing into the room.
Talon directed the others towards the door, Allison and McGrady rushing back inside, Claire right behind them. The others weren’t moving to the door, they were still firing at the infected closing in. Webb arrived at the door and entered, still shooting out the doorway at the infected. Talon was just in front of him doing the same, trying to cover Band, Andy and Victor.
Talon and Webb watched in horror as the infected reached out and grabbed Victor. One of the infected opened its mouth and bit down hard into Victor’s neck, blood spurting out as he screamed in pain. A second infected bit into Victor’s leg, a third to his torso and a fourth on his shoulder. More and more infected closed in on Victor until he was completely covered by infected, blocking Talon and Webb’s view of him. Victor’s screams echoed out through the corridor and then they suddenly ceased.
Andy reached the door and threw himself inside, some infected clawing at him, but they all missed by mere inches. Band was right behind him, reaching the door, only to be suddenly jerked by two infected.
“Caitlyn!” screamed Webb and Talon in unison, each reached out and grabbed one of Band’s outreached arms, trying to pull her into the room.
Andy returned to the door and helped, grabbing onto Band’s belt to try and pull her into the room away from the dozens of infected grabbing her. Webb lost his grip on her arm and fell backwards to the floor, Andy getting up and grabbing her arm tightly.
The infected started gnawing into Band’s body, blood spurting out from every bite mark as they began to eat her alive. There were too many infected holding onto her, and Talon and Andy knew it was hopeless. Talon let go of her arm and let of a shot into the infected, hoping to get them away from the door. Andy still held onto her arm, her hand clasped tightly around his arm from the elbow.
Band started to get pulled away as the infected mounted all over her. Band’s arm slid further and further down Andy’s arm. Band was trying to hold on so much that her fingernails scratched a large line down his arm. Finally, Andy could do nothing more for Band and he let go, slamming the door shut to keep the infected out.
The pounding on the door began as the infected tried to get in, but the thick door held strong. Talon sat down and sighed. What the hell were those? Looking around, Talon saw TK, Claire and Webb all in shock, slumped up against walls, their eyes filled with tears. Allison and McGrady did the same, shaking their heads at the loss of Victor. Talon turned to Andy who was weeping for Caitlyn at the door. Talon helped him to his feet and put him against the wall.
“You did all you could,” Talon reassured. “C’mon guys, on your feet.”
TK, Webb and Claire all slowly got to their feet, as did Allison and McGrady. Andy slowly walked over and joined the other ARTS members.
“Time, TK?” asked Talon.
“2 hours 48 minutes.”
Talon nodded. Looking around the room, Talon noticed there were no other doors to escape from.
“Are there any other ways out of here?” asked Talon.
McGrady shook his head sadly, but Allison moved to the other side of the room quickly. She knelt down on the floor and removed a grill from the bottom of the floor.
“This vent’s all we got,” said Allison.
“Great,” said Talon sarcastically.
The group spent the next ten minutes gathering up anything useful from the room. They found several torches and one pistol. The group decided it was now time to move through the vents and hopefully find a way out of the cave. Andy wrapped a bandage around the scratch that he’d gained when trying to get Band back into the room. Talon went first through the vent, Webb behind him. Allison and McGrady came next while Claire, TK and Andy brought up the rear.
Before the group were even ten meters from the entrance of the vent, they heard a loud crash, followed by a loud bang. Being last, Andy crawled back to the entrance and poked his head through the vent. The door had been knocked down! Andy scrambled back through the vent and caught up to Talon and the group.
“Go! They’ve broken through!” screamed Andy.
Talon cursed to himself and then turned and crawled as fast as he could through the vent. Talon crawled and crawled until he came to a T-section; he could got left or right.
“Which way to the elevator, Allison?” asked Talon.
“Left!” replied Allison quickly.
Talon turned looked to the left and saw it was clear. He then looked to the right and saw that it was not. A single file row of infected were slowly crawling through the vents.
“Quick!” screamed Talon as he went left, followed by Webb, Allison and McGrady.
Bursts of gunfire went out from Andy’s M16 at the infected that had followed the group through the vent. Claire got to the T-section and looked to the right, seeing the hoard closing in, about six feet from her. She let off several rounds from her M9 pistol, shooting dead the first two infected. ‘That’ll slow them down’ thought Claire, as they’d have to crawl over their fallen to get to them.
TK and Andy also went through the T-section, Andy moving backwards to whenever an infected came into view he shot it dead. After thirty meters, Talon came to another T-section. Looking left and right, he saw that there was infected coming from both sides, thirty feet from the section. Talon noticed a grate below him and pushed his way through, landing hard on the ground in a sealed room.
“Through the grate!” screamed Talon to the others.
A few seconds later, Webb and Allison dropped from the grate, landing on the floor with a thud. McGrady and Claire came next. TK dropped down next, followed closely by Andy. The group looked up and waited for the infected to appear, but Talon was one step ahead of them. Grabbing a grenade off his belt, Talon pulled the pin and tossed it up into the vent. Seconds later, the explosion came and blood dripped from the hole in the vent.
The group rested for the moment to catch their breath. Everyone was out of breath, especially Andy.
“You asthmatic or something, Padalecki?” asked Webb curiously.
“If you were at the rear and fucking inches from those things, you’d be breathing like me too,” wheezed Andy.
Talon went over to the door and poked his head out. He smiled when he saw it was clear.
“TK, time and how far to the elevator?” asked Talon curiously.
“1 hour 40 minutes. We’re 440 meters west from the elevator.”
Talon nodded. “Okay, we’re going to get out into this hallway and run as fast as we fucking can to the elevator, got it?”
The group nodded. Talon stood by the door and made sure it was clear. Meanwhile, Andy lifted up his bandage and looked at the scratch on his arm. He gasped as he saw it had turned green and black. His head pounded and he was becoming short of breath. Looking around, Andy saw Webb was standing closest to him.
Before he knew it, Andy was on his feet and slowly moving towards Webb, his eyes locked on Webb’s neck. Webb screamed as Andy bit down into his neck. Andy ripped a large chunk of flesh out of his neck and proceeded to eat his prize. Webb turned and pushed him away. Talon turned and saw Webb bleeding, Andy eating the flesh, his eyes completely white.
“Fuck me…” Talon muttered.
“Motherfucker!” screamed Webb, grabbing a Desert Eagle pistol and blasting a single round into Andy’s head.
Andy fell down on his back dead. Webb held his hand over the bite in his neck, trying to stop himself from bleeding.
“Your man became one because that girl scratched him,” explained Allison.
“What? Band wasn’t infected,” exclaimed Talon.
“She had been bitten several times when she scratched him. That’s all it takes. The moment she was bitten she was infected. And now so is he,” said Allison pointing to Webb.
McGrady was the first to react, holding his M9 pistol to the back of Webb’s head.
“What the fuck are you doing, man?” asked Webb.
“You’re going to become one of them soon. You can’t stay with us,” explained McGrady.
“Fuck you, cook. You look like you’re about 10 years old, you don’t make the decisions,” said Claire, drawing her pistol and aiming it at McGrady.
“I’m nineteen, bitch,” replied McGrady. “And you know we can’t keep him with us.”
“Doctor, is there an antidote? Something to counteract Phoenix?” asked Talon.
“There is an antidote to counteract the Phoenix in case in went bad. But it was still in production by the time we administered Phoenix to the patients. We never got the chance to use it, we don’t know if it even works,” replied Allison.
“Where is it?” asked Talon.
“You know that room we were in before? That’s it. There was some stored in there,” said Allison.
“We were just there collecting stuff! Why didn’t you grab it?” screamed Claire.
“I didn’t know we’d need it!” replied Allison.
“We can’t go back there,” said McGrady.
“You don’t make the decisions, remember?” said Claire.
McGrady withdrew the gun from the back of Webb’s head and held it by his side, Claire doing the same.
“McGrady’s right. We can’t go back there,” said Talon. “I’m so sorry, Jamie.”
“Fuck…” muttered Webb to himself.
“There is some on the surface, Lovett has it,” said Allison.
“Then that’s what we’re doing. Get ready to run,” said Talon.
Talon kicked the door open and ran out into the corridor, which was luckily empty. Claire, McGrady, Allison, TK and the wounded Webb all followed. After a few minutes, they finally came to the elevator. Talon pressed the button and waited for the elevator to arrive. Webb sat himself down on the ground.
“I feel bad, man,” he mumbled. “If I change…kill me before I hurt someone.”
“I will,” replied Talon.
The elevator was taking its time, thought Talon. It’d been ten minutes and it wasn’t here yet.
“I don’t think it’s coming,” said Claire.
“Something else sure is,” muttered McGrady as he saw the hoard of infected coming towards the elevator slowly.
“Oh man…” sighed Talon.
There were hundreds of them, all slowly moving towards the group waiting for the elevator.
“Grenades,” ordered Talon.
Talon, Claire and TK all stepped forward, as did McGrady after Webb passed him a grenade. They all pulled the pins and threw the grenades into the crowd. The explosion was massive, hundreds of infected immediately exploding in large and chunky clouds of red. But it didn’t take out enough. There were still hundreds of infected moving slowly towards the group.
“The elevator isn’t working!” said Talon.
McGrady, Talon and Claire tried to wedge the door open, while TK looked at his watch.
“Thirty five minutes!”
The trio finally got the door open and looked out into the elevator shaft. Talon looked up and saw the elevator stuck about fifty meters above them. He also spotted a ladder just left of the open doors.
“Up the ladder,” ordered Talon.
Allison went first, Claire behind her and then McGrady. Talon and TK went over to Webb and helped him up. He looked terrible, as if he could change at any second.
“Leave me,” muttered Webb weakly.
Webb collapsed to the floor and pointed to the ladder. “Go.”
Talon and TK went to the ladder, TK starting to climb first. Webb pulled his final grenade from his belt and waited until the infected got closer. Talon nodded at Webb, who winked back at him. Talon started climbing the ladder as fast as he could. The grenade detonated and the whole shaft shook.
Allison reached the bottom of the elevator and couldn’t go any further.
“Now what?” she asked.
“Through the hatch!” said Claire.
Allison opened the hatch in the floor of the elevator and pulled herself through. Claire and McGrady followed. TK and Talon reached the elevator not long after.
“See if it works,” said Talon.
TK pushed furiously on all of the buttons but the elevator was dead.
“Through the hatch, again,” said Talon, pointing to the second hatch in the ceiling.
Looking down through the floor hatch, TK saw that the infected weren’t as slow and stupid as they first thought. They were now moving a lot faster and were climbing the ladders. The need for fresh human flesh had become great indeed.
McGrady crawled through the hatch in the ceiling and lifted TK through. Talon sat near the floor hatch with his MP-5, taking out the infected climbing the ladder.
Talon’s gun went dry, just as the infected reached the hatch. Claire and Allison were now through the hatch and standing on top of the elevator. Talon hauled himself through the hatch and saw McGrady and TK already climbing up the next ladder. Looking into the elevator, Talon saw several infected were following them.
“Blow these cables. Bring it down on top of them,” said Talon.
Talon ushered Allison towards the ladder and then Claire. Claire stopped from going onto the ladder.
“I got the better aim, I can hit the cables,” said Claire, insisting that Talon climbed first.
Talon nodded and climbed up after Allison. Claire aimed her pistol at the first of two cables and shot it. The whole elevator jerked down about a foot. Aiming at the last remaining cable, Claire prepared to shoot, only for her legs to be grabbed and yanked forwards by two infected.
The infected dragged Claire screaming back inside the elevator where the others could hear her screaming as she was eaten alive. Talon drew Desert Eagle pistol and fired at the last cable, sending the elevator hurtling quickly down the shaft, crashing loudly when it reached the bottom.
The four remaining survivors climbed quickly up the long ladder once Talon saw that more infected were coming up the ladder. These guys just don’t quit, thought Talon. McGrady reached the very top of the ladder, where the ARTS team had originally entered. TK arrived behind him, as did Allison and then Talon. McGrady banged hard on the door, which slowly began to creak open.
“I’m coming guys,” said a man on the other side.
“Quick, get them out,” said a second voice; Lovett.
The elevator doors creaked open and a soldier extended out his hand, grabbing McGrady and helping him up. TK, Allison and Talon were all helped up by the same soldier.
“Thank you,” muttered Talon.
“No worries,” said the soldier, Valios Harper with a wink.
“Now, Captain Talon, I have some business to attend to, do you mind?” asked Lovett curiously.
“Not at all,” replied Talon quietly.
Talon noticed something odd about Lovett. He was sweating quite a lot and looked tired and out of breath. He’d seen that look before; Webb. Then Talon saw a blood stain on the pant leg of Lovett’s trousers. He’d been infected! Before Talon could say or do anything, Lovett drew a gun from a holster in his jacket and fired off a single shot…right into the chest of Doctor Allison Verona. Allison stumbled backwards and fell…down the elevator shaft.
“What the hell did you do that for?” exclaimed TK.
“I found her video log…” said Lovett out of breath. “She planned all of this.”
Lovett grabbed the laptop from TK’s bag and inserted a memory card. After tapping a few keys, video started to play. It was of Allison.
“We’ve finished creating the Phoenix. My comrades believe it will be used to cure every single disease in the world, all of them. Sadly for them, this is not the case. It is a weapon. Phoenix is being used by me and others to create our own personal army. And what would you want with such an army; the world. I thank you, Reginald Copperfield for your generous offer, and I accept. A full case of the Phoenix virus will be sent to you. Please, enjoy what we’ve created.”
“What the hell was that?” asked a confused TK.
“Phoenix was never going to cure anything, only to turn people into…zombies; to use as your own army. Allison sold crates of Phoenix to the highest bidders all over the world. This is a video message, confirming the purchase of one crate to someone called Reginald Copperfield. Allison released the virus here on purpose. She released the infected from the confinements to eliminate everyone that was down in the Cave. But the plan backfired, she didn’t get out in time and had to be rescued. She also succeeded in sending up a small group of infected through a second elevator, one used for shipping supplies down to the Cave. I was not so lucky to avoid them,” explained Lovett, pointing to the bite on his leg.
“But now you know. So I ask you this…will you go and stop the Phoenix virus from spreading?” asked Lovett weakly.
“Yes,” said Talon.
“I sure as hell will. I lost too many friends today,” said TK.
“I will do my duty,” followed up Valios.
“What the hell…I’ve lived this long,” said McGrady unenthusiastically.
Lovett nodded and smiled. Then he brought his gun up to his temple and fired. The group of four looked away as he did it. Valios turned to the three survivors.
“We looked up Copperfield. He’s in Haven City,” explained Valios.
“Well then,” said Talon. “Let’s go.”