Holocaust: The Evolution

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
When Captain Jason Archer and his ARTS (Armed Response Tactical Squad) are thrown into a deadly mission involving the Phoenix Virus...READ ON TO FIND OUT :)

Submitted: October 19, 2010

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Submitted: October 19, 2010

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Holocaust: The Evolution
 
A common plan to have during the two world wars was what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. Now, in the year 2010, the most common plan to have is what to do in case of infected people. On the 23rd of August, 2010, at a “secure” research facility known as the Cave, Perseus Pharmaceuticals experimented with a new vaccine called “The Phoenix”. The vaccine was supposed to be the holy grail of medicine, curing every single disease imaginable, from the common cold to cancer. But something went wrong. The Phoenix changed those it was administered to. It mutated them. Mutated peoples today are referred to as “infected”.
A rampage began with many deaths along the way. An ARTS (Armed Response Tactical Squad) was sent in to clean up the mess. They succeeded, only to learn that the Phoenix Virus had been sold to people around the world.
The Phoenix Virus at the Cave was just the beginning. Several weeks after the incident at the Cave, the virus was released in Haven City. The city tore itself apart as its civilians tried to flee the ever growing number of infected.
ARTS have once again been called on to correct the situation. Priority one: quarantine Haven City. No one gets out alive.
 
Jason Archer, a young man of just twenty three had been promoted. Captain; The rank everyone in ARTS wanted. To lead your own team was to gain the respect of everyone around you. Archer loved the attention he’d been getting lately, especially that of the female kind. Archer’s first mission was one that ARTS had become involved in some time ago. Once again, the world needed their assistance.
Archer sat with his team, numbering to six including himself, in the back of a military truck. Archer looked out of the front window and saw the city lights of Haven City dwindling in the distance. Buildings were ablaze and the noise was faint but distinguishable; screams and gunfire ringing throughout the streets. Archer clutched his gun a little bit tighter as the truck got closer.
“Two minutes, guys” announced the driver.
Archer nodded and caught the eye of Olivier Reilly, Archer’s “more than a friend” friend. Seeing as how there were rules about fraternizing with fellow soldiers in ARTS, the pair never really did anything about their feelings for each other. Each chose to suppress the feelings, rather than show them.
Reilly gave Archer a sly wink as the truck stopped and Reilly leapt from the back onto the ground. Archer and the other team members followed. Archer looked around and sighed at the site. It was a marvel; truly amazing what was happening. Countless numbers of trucks and vehicles of all sorts were arriving all the time, bringing with them large concrete walls. The thick walls were being erected all over the city. Standing eighteen feet tall, once the city was fenced off, the infection of the Phoenix Virus would be contained.
Most of the city had already been sealed off, just a small area of about four hundred meters left to go.
Archer spotted General Harry Thompson, the head of ARTS, conducting operations across the way. It was he who Archer was to report to.
“General, Captain Jason Archer, reporting for duty,” Archer greeted as he and his team stood at attention.
53 year old Thompson turned and saw Archer and his fresh team. Tall, dark and extremely tired looking, Thompson had not slept in the four days he and his men had been sealing off Haven City.
“You made it,” greeted Thompson with a nod. “You’ve got an assignment…but you’re not going to like it.”
“I’ll do it regardless, sir,” Archer replied.
Thompson laughed. “That’s why I chose you, son.”
“What do you need done?”
“Reginald Copperfield, the mayor of this city, was the one who released Phoenix here. He bought it from Doctor Verona, the creator, and used it to destroy the city. In Oliver Tower, the center of the city, he kept files on his computer, files of the other buyers of Phoenix. We need those names to stop them before they do this to cities all across the world,” explained Thompson.
“We’re going to get files?” exclaimed Cage. “That’s fucking suicide!”
“Stow it, Cage!” snapped Archer, turning his attention back to the General.
Cage was only a young soldier at 21. Archer liked him, at times. Cage had proved himself a decent marksmen with a rifle so Archer had selected him as the team’s sniper. The only thing Archer did not like about Cage was his hotheadedness and blunt honesty. If an order came along that he did not agree with, he could be counted on to let it be known.
“I need you to get to Oliver Tower, download the files to a flash drive and then get back out before the walls are all up. You’ve got ninety minutes. At 2300 Hours, we’ll be done and our orders, directly from The President, say no one comes out after that time,” Thompson said.
Archer frowned, “Ninety minutes? Are we being dropped in, sir?”
Thompson sighed, “I know it’s hard to believe, but most of our choppers have been commandeered by our “friends” at the Army. Apparently securing Washington is more important than any other city. You’ll be going to Oliver Tower on foot. If we’ve timed it right, by the time you get the files a chopper will arrived piloted by USAF pilot Danny Sloane; he’ll extract you from the roof. The President doesn’t want any chances taken. His orders were absolute; as of 2300 hours – no one gets out, infected or not.”
“Yes sir, we won’t let you down,” Archer responded with a salute.
As Thompson departed, Archer turned to face his squad. His min was racing with hundreds of questions; what did an Infected person actually looked like – he’d never seen one before. Were they fast? And if so, how fast? How many shots from a rifle did it take to bring them down? Do they travel in packs or is it every Infected for himself?
Archer turned to his squad. Olivier Reilly stood silently awaiting orders. Archer could see that Aaron Cage was already less than enthusiastic about the mission at hand; he stood staring at the ground, the way a toddler would when it was denied a candy bar at the supermarket. Yvonne Haas, the granddaughter of a suspected high standing Nazi in the SS during World War II stood at attention, her finger tracing the outline of the trigger or her weapon – an M16A rifle. The other two members of the ARTS team were William Baxter, a 24 year old whom had been selected for the elite American Military Force known as Delta. Baxter was due to join Delta but had been persuaded by General Thompson to join ARTS instead. Eventually, Baxter chose ARTS as it paid better and he had never regretted the decision. The final member was Catherine Shaw, nicknamed “Hell Cat”. She had started out as a bounty hunter and had gotten a reputation as “one not to be taken lightly.” Cat liked to rephrase this as “one not to be fucked with”. Both were capable soldiers and Archer viewed them as two of the finest soldiers he had ever seen in ARTS.
“Our mission is to head to Oliver Tower and obtain - ,” started Archer before Cage cut him off.
“To obtain fuckin’ files. We know, okay? We just overheard General-fucking-Patton over there,” snapped the young soldier.
Archer sighed, “Listen, Aaron – you’d best un-fuck yourself right now or I’m gonna shoot you in the head for insubordination, okay?”
Cage went silent and went back to staring at the ground.
“Orders?” Reilly asked softly.
“Time to get moving, we’ve got ninety minutes and counting,” said Archer, clicking on a 90-minute countdown on his watch. “Let’s do it.”
 
As the ARTS team moved into the city, Archer planned to have the team move quick and fast through the city, block by block. With ninety minutes to cover several kilometers this seemed like an ideal plan until Archer and his team actually entered the city. When he had viewed the city from the helicopter on the ride in Archer had seen buildings ablaze and had heard gunfire from afar. But now it was eerily quiet.
The street in front of Archer and his team was deserted except for several abandoned cars. A rat ran from a sewer pipe and crossed the street before ducking into another pipe on the other side of the road.
“That was a big fucking rat,” Cage muttered.
“Did you see its eyes?” Baxter asked, “They were red.”
“Red? What does that mean? It’s Infected?” Cage replied.
“Maybe,” said Baxter.
Cage, “Fuck me…if the Phoenix Virus is infecting animals…what does that mean exactly?”
Archer sighed, “We’ll handle it later, guys, let’s keep moving.”
The team kept moving down in a parallel formation – Archer, Reilly and Baxter on the right side of the road, Haas, Cage and Hell Cat moving down the left. When they reached an intersection, the two soldiers in front would check around the corners and if it was clear, the others would leapfrog over and cross the intersection and then the process would repeat.
After twenty minutes, the team had come across not a single living soul. Several bodies had been seen but apart from that the mission had been relatively quiet. Archer checked his street corner and saw that it was clear – he signaled behind him silently and Reilly and Baxter ran past, quickly but quietly.
“Contact!” said Haas from the other side of the street.
Everyone spun around and saw that on the left side of the intersection, about thirty feet from the corner that Haas stood on was a group of three people. They looked just like any other person, only they were all on their knees picking bits of flesh and guts from a dead body on the ground.
“That’s fucking sick,” Haas muttered as she shouldered her weapon and prepared to fire.
“Hold your fire, Haas!” ordered Archer, “We don’t need any unnecessary attention. Shots might attract others.”
At that instant one of the Infected looked up and saw the ARTS team. Slowly the Infected person pulled themselves off the ground and started shuffling towards the group.
“How about now?” asked Haas, rolling her eyes.
Archer shot Haas a disapproving look and then sighed, “Engage.”
Haas smiled and aimed down the sights of her gun. She fired three times in quick succession – the Infected man’s head exploded in a shower of black blood. The body dropped to the ground and did not move again.
“Too easy,” breathed Haas.
The other two Infected that had been feeding off the dead body looked up and began moving towards the group just like their comrade. Haas lined them up too and dropped them both with a few shots each.
“Let’s keep moving. We’re on the clock here,” Archer said as he started moving down the street.
Everyone else followed except for Baxter who stayed staring at the now dead Infected. He could not grasp that things like this actually existed – it was all just too surreal.
“You coming, Baxter?” Hell Cat asked.
“Yeah…coming,” muttered Baxter and he joined the rest of the squad.
 
60:00…59:59…59:58…59:57…
Archer looked up from his watch and looked around. They were nearly halfway to Oliver Tower with still an hour left. It was not great, but it was not terrible either.
“We’ve got to pick up the pace a bit, guys,” Archer said and started moving down the street at a gentle jog.
Up ahead Archer could hear gunfire and shouting. He picked up the pace even more and eventually arrived at what appeared to be a crude roadblock set up by the Haven City Police Department. The Department had parked several patrol cars along the road, blocking it off but it was no perfect – Infected could still climb over or slide through the small gaps. A group of about a dozen police offers were holding the line, firing over the roadblock.
“Well fuck a duck!” exclaimed Hell Cat as she looked over the roadblock and saw what had to be hundreds of Infected peoples shuffling towards them.
While the rest of the team were both amazed and shocked by the number of Infected, Archer could only think about one thing – to get to Oliver Tower they would have to pass through this roadblock and continue through the Infected hoard.
“Help ‘em out,” Archer ordered as the group ran up to the roadblock. “Who’s in charge here?”
A young patrolman who was trying to reload his service pistol looked up at Archer. He looked surprised and relieved to see a heavily armed soldier in the middle of Haven City.
“Uh, Commissioner Jeff Davis is in charge here. Just there,” said the man, pointing to a man who was shooting a pump-action shotgun into the crowd of Infected.
“Commissioner Davis! We need your help,” said Archer as he approached the man.
Davis turned around and looked Archer up and down and snorted, “We’re the ones that need help, soldier boy.”
“We need you to clear us a path through here. It is important for us to get to Oliver Tower,” Archer said.
Davis snorted again and let off another round, “Right – I’d be heading the other way, boy – ain’t you seen all these fucking mutants here?”
“We just need you to lay down a base of fire and clear a path for us momentarily so we can get through,” Archer explained.
Davis stopped to reload and looked at Archer. After reloading Davis sighed then turned to a pair of Constables.
“Morris, Michaels – clear a path for these suicidal idiots. Get Raze and Charm to help. You’re funeral, mate,” said Davis as he shoulder his shotgun.
 
“Get ready to move, guys,” said Archer.
An Infected got close to one of the parked patrol cars so Archer shot him several times and the man went down. Standing with some officers, Archer saw that Hell Cat was eating up all of the action, jamming the trigger of her MP-5 down and instead of reloading straight away, swinging up a second MP-5 when the first ran dry. Cage had set up his M401 sniper rifle and was picking off Infected with head shots, one at a time.
“Alright guys, let ‘em have it!” Commissioner Davis ordered.
The officers all opened fire in a single concentrated fashion – the Infected fell like dominos. Archer vaulted himself over the cars and lead the way down the path that was cleared, albeit only momentarily. Reilly, Haas, Cage, Baxter and Hell Cat all followed.
“Crazy bastards…,” muttered Davis as the ARTS team faded from sight.
 
As the team of six moved down through the streams of Infected it became clear that the further they ventured into the city, the more Infected there were. It seemed as they were closing in on them from all sides.
“I’m not liking this, Captain!” yelled Reilly as she gunned down several Infected that were only a few feet away from her.
“Me neither,” replied Archer as he mowed down several more hostile targets.
Suddenly Archer’s stomach dropped as he saw what lay in front of them. A fire truck had overturned and it looked to have created a massive accident when the Infection must have first broken out. Several other cars were wrapped around it, blocking off the entire road. Archer looked both left and right but saw nothing but Infected people – they were boxed in!
“Aw, fuck! Great leading, Captain!” snarled Cage as he swung his sniper rifle around his back and pulled out a pistol and began shooting.
Archer looked around for some alternative – they couldn’t go over the wrecked cars – some were still blazing and it would be far too hot and unstable. They couldn’t go left or right as they would be overwhelmed by Infected and they certainly weren’t going back the way they came. Reilly could tell what he was thinking just by the look in his eye.
She suddenly looked to his feet and screamed out, “Down there, Jason!”
Archer looked to his feet and saw that he was standing on a steaming manhole. It wasn’t great but it would do. He dropped to his knees and stuck his fingers into the holes and yanked the heavy steel cap out of the road.
“Into the hole, quick!” Archer ordered.
Reilly didn’t need to be told twice, nor did she bother to use the ladder rungs in the manhole. Instead, she dropped down into the hole like a pin. She landed with a soft splash a few seconds later and gave the all clear. Haas and Cage went next, dropping down into the sewer below.
“We’re leaving Baxter! Cat!” yelled Archer.
Hell Cat was now holding a pistol in each hand and was picking off Infected that were closing in from two different directions. Baxter was taking careful shots, conserving the ammunition of his FN-2000 machine gun. When Hell Cat’s pistols ran out of bullets she turned around and winked at Archer, “Crazy stuff, Cap’n,” and dropped down into the hole. Baxter backed up to the hole and dropped inside. Archer followed and landed hard in the foul smelling water below.
Archer pulled himself to his feet and looked up. He had not placed the cover back on the manhole and hoped that the Infected would find it too difficult to maneuver themselves into the hole.
“Oh shit! Help me!” shrieked Baxter suddenly.
Archer whipped around and clicked the flashlight on the tip of his weapon. Baxter was still sprawled on the ground in the knee deep water. A large rat was perched on his knee above the water. Hell Cat jammed a fresh clip of ammo into her pistol and blew the rat apart with a well placed shot.
“Jesus Christ…,” muttered Baxter, “Thing scared the shit out of me…”
“You know, for being Delta and all, you’re a fucking pussy,” Cage said with a sly smile.
“Fuck you,” Baxter snapped and pulled himself to his feet, groaning slightly.
“You alright, Will?” Archer asked.
“Yeah, I just landed awkward; twisted my ankle. I’ll be fine.”
Archer checked his watch – they had 45 minutes left and were now underground with no idea when another manhole would appear and lead them to the surface.
“We need to haul ass,” Archer said, “Let’s go.”
 
The team moved quickly through the sewers – quicker if anything as it was more than likely that they would not run into any Infected down here. As the minutes ticked past they finally arrived at another manhole.
“I’m going to go and check where we are, stay here,” Archer said as he climbed the ladder.
Lifting the lid off of the cover Archer peered into the street at ground level. He looked around and saw no Infected. He also saw a street sign which gave him his bearings. Archer climbed back down to rejoin his squad.
“We’re only about a mile from our objective. If we hurry we can…,” Archer stopped talking when he noticed that the party of five had increased by several people.
Reilly, Haas, Cage, Baxter and Hell Cat were holding their weapons, aiming at several people who were on either side of the group. Archer counted eight in total, four on either side. Each held weapons that were not military or police issued – they were personal guns.
“Who are you, guys?” asked Archer.
“We’re the owners of this here area. And you guys are trespassing,” said one shotgun wielding man.
“You don’t think there are more pressing issues than trespassing right now?” Archer asked calmly.
The shotgun man shrugged, “What’s important to you ain’t necessarily important to us.”
Archer sighed, “My name is Captain Jason Archer of ARTS; Armed Response Tactical Squad. We’re on a mission of vital importance and we’re on a time limit so we need to get fucking moving! If you’re going to shoot us, shoot us! If not, fuck off!”
Archer was surprised at himself – he didn’t usually get angry but with the deadline drawing closer and closer it was time to get serious. The man with the shotgun slowly nodded to himself and stopped aiming the shotgun at the ARTS team. The others did the same.
“My name is Harrell. Joe Harrell. People call me Crazy Joe. We’ve been down here since them people started biting…and eating, you know? You all just spooked us, alright?”
“Alright, fine, whatever. Can we go now?” Archer said.
“Y’all going to find a…cure or something for this plague, yeah?” Crazy Joe asked.
“Well…our mission may lead to something like that in the future but I can’t give you any guarantees. But right now – we really need to move or we’re going to be trapped here forever,” Archer replied.
“What do you mean?” Crazy Joe asked.
“The city is going to be quarantined completely in about forty minutes. After that, no one gets out,” Archer explained.
“But what about the people that aren’t Infected, like us? Are we just supposed to…wait it all out like a fuckin’ hurricane?” yelled Crazy Joe.
“Calm down, Crazy,” said one of the men behind Joe.
“I ain’t calming down, Donny! We’re going to be trapped here like fuckin’ animals in the zoo…we’re coming with you,” said Crazy Joe.
“What?” exclaimed Archer. “That’s not happening.”
“Fuck you it isn’t happened,” said Crazy Joe, cocking the shotgun, “You guys have some sort of way of getting out, right? An extraction or something, yeah? We’ll you’ve just gotten yourself a couple of extra passengers.”
“The chopper won’t take…fourteen people for Christ’s sake,” Reilly started, “How are we all going to get out?”
“How about we cross that bridge when we come to it,” said Crazy Joe, “Now why don’t we…do you hear that?”
Archer heard it too. He whipped around and saw behind Joe’s men a group of Infected had caught up with the group. Two of Joe’s men were dragged down and bitten by the Infected before anyone knew what exactly was happening. Baxter and Hell Cat whipped up their weapons and opened fire.
“Everybody out!” Archer yelled.
Crazy Joe turned to the young man behind him, Donny, and grabbed him by the collar.
“Get out, Donny! You’re mother would kill me if something happened to you,” Crazy Joe yelled.
Donny started climbing up the ladder followed by another member of Crazy Joe’s clan. Crazy Joe let off a few rounds from his shotgun, downing an Infected. Archer and Reilly were doing the same. Archer nodded to Haas and she went up the ladder next, followed closely by Baxter.
“Ladies first!” said Archer and Reilly couldn’t help but blush as she climbed the ladder next.
Cage and Baxter watched helplessly as two more members of Crazy Joe’s group were dragged down by Infected.
“There’s too many of them!” yelled Cage
“We’re retreating! Move it!” yelled Archer.
Baxter’s gun went dry and he turned and went up the ladder next. Cage went to follow but was stopped when an Infected person, this one moving faster than all of the others, leapt from the hoard and tackled him around the waist.
“Cage!” exclaimed Archer as he took aim at the Infected trying to bite down into Cage’s flesh.
“Get if off me!” screamed Cage, flailing his arms wildly trying to beat the Infected off of him.
“Stay still, dammit!” cried Archer as he tried to line up a shot.
Cage screamed out in pain as the Infected finally found its mark, its rotted teeth sinking into the shoulder of the young soldier. The Infected proceeded to bite into Cage’s neck and again on his throat. While all this was happening, Crazy Joe had gotten the rest of his group out of the sewer and turned to Archer.
“Leave him!” cried Crazy Joe as he started to climb the ladder, “There’s nothing you can do for him now, leave him!”
Archer hated to admit it but Crazy Joe was right – Cage would either be dead or Infected in a matter of minutes. Archer turned and raced up the ladder behind Crazy Joe. When both reached the surface they slammed the lid down on the manhole, hoping it would be enough to hold the Infected at bay.
Looking around, Archer saw the four other members of his ARTS team and only three members of Crazy Joe’s clan.
“Cage?” Reilly asked, but she knew the answer before she’d even asked.
“We need to move,” Archer said quietly as he started walking down the street.
“This is just all kinds of fucked up,” muttered Hell Cat, “Dying in a fucking sewer – no one deserves that; not even Aaron.”
Reilly helped Hell Cat to her feet, “Let’s follow the Captain, guys. You alright, Will?”
Baxter was sitting on the ground with his hands by his sides. Tears were streaming down his cheeks and he looked pale.
“I can’t handle this shit…I can’t…,” Baxter wept before throwing up on the ground next to him.
“On your feet, soldier,” Reilly said as she took Baxter’s hand and pulled him up.
Baxter went and joined Hell Cat and Haas slowly and silently followed them. Reilly looked to the remaining three; Crazy Joe, Donny and the last surviving member of his entourage.
“I guess you guys are coming with us,” Reilly said quietly.
 
30:00…29:59…29:58…29:57…
 
Archer stopped in the middle of the road and looked up at the sight before him – just two blocks down was Oliver Tower. They’d made it. Now they just had to get to the Mayor’s office and download the files and then head to the roof to be extracted. Archer also performed a quick head count – with the five ARTS members including himself and Crazy Joe and his two comrades there would be enough room in the helicopter. They would all be able to get out of the city safely.
Then he saw it – at the base of the Tower were hundreds upon hundreds of Infected people. But there was something different about them – most of them were slow moving and were dazed like the Infected they’d seen earlier, but others were moving faster and some were even climbing up the outside of the Tower.
“Well we need to get to the top of this Tower, get the files and get to the roof in thirty minutes,” Archer explained, but he knew that they already knew what needed to be done.
“We gotta go through them things?!” exclaimed Crazy Joe’s friend, Bill, “That’s crazy! I ain’t doing that!”
“Then you can stay here,” Archer replied coolly.
Bill, a man who looked as though he spent most of his time on the streets went quiet, staring at his shoes. Archer looked around and saw Donny, the young kid from Crazy Joe’s group muttering to himself. He couldn’t be sure, but he thought he was saying “I’m going to make it, I’m going to make it,” over and over again. He eyed the shotgun he held in his hands and wondered how many times the young kid had fired the gun.
Archer eyed Crazy Joe next – he seemed to be the only one of his group that knew how to handle a weapon properly. Archer made a mental note to ask him if he’d ever served in the military, but there would be time for that later.
“I think it’s time we got moving, Captain,” Haas said nervously as she eyed the manhole they’d just left and saw it slowly being lifted up off the ground by the Infected that were below in the sewers.
Archer watched as Reilly calmly walked over to the manhole and waited for the cover to be completely lifted off. She came face to face with an Infected man. His eyes were nothing but the whites, his teeth were rotted and his breath stank of raw meat and blood. Reilly kicked as hard as she could into the face of the Infected which fell off the ladder and down into the sewers, landing on top of what must’ve been dozens of others. Reilly pulled the pin on one of her grenades and dropped it down.
The blast went off and the group watches as parts of Infected were blown up from the manhole and littered the street around them. The smell was awful. Archer had to fight the urge to vomit, but both Baxter and Donny could not hold it, being sick all over the street. Archer turned back to the tower and saw that Reilly’s antics with the grenade had attracted some of the Infected crowd that had been gathering at the base of the tower.
“Oh great…,” muttered Donny as the Infected shuffled towards them.
Crazy Joe cocked his shotgun and opened fire on the closest Infected. The Infected had limbs blown off of them, showering black blood everywhere, but even after losing limbs they kept on coming. Joe had to take a careful aim with his shotgun and completely blow up the head of the Infected to finally get it to stop.
“If I have to keep doing this precision shooting shit I’ll be outta bullets in no time,” complained Crazy Joe as he reloaded.
“Looks like Sloane is early!” cried out Reilly as she pointed to the sky.
Archer looked up and saw a Black Hawk helicopter approaching the tower.
Archer checked the time quickly – twenty-five minutes left.
“Let’s go, guys!” Archer cried as he opened fire on the Infected hoard and ran towards the doors.
Reilly and the others all followed, firing every which way to keep the Infected at bay, but there were just too many of them. Hell Cat’s lack of conserving ammunition finally caught up with her when both of her MP-5’s ran dry and she had no extra clips. She discarded both weapons and drew out her two pistols, but they too were beginning to run low on bullets.
“Joe! Help!” shrieked Bill all of a sudden.
Crazy Joe and Archer turned around to see Bill was no longer running with them. Instead, he was facing back the way they had come, staring at an absolutely massive Infected person. Archer couldn’t believe what he was seeing – the person had to be at least eight, maybe nine feet tall. It had large, bulky muscles and looked something like the Incredible Hulk, only much worse. It’s skin was pale and looked as though it were bursting trying to contain all of the extra muscle on the Infected person. It slowly walked towards the group, its eyes not just white like other Infected, but blood red. Tears seemed to stream from them but Archer thought it may’ve been blood oozing out.
Archer dropped to one knee and took aim. He fired an entire clip from his M4 assault rifle, each scoring a direct hit on the massive Bulker; but nothing seemed to phase it! He might as well have been throwing rocks at it for all the bullets were doing!
Slowly but surely the Bulker started to speed up. It went from a slow walk to a gentle jog and then slowly moved into a steady run. Archer knew they didn’t have nearly enough firepower to stop it so he gave the order to run.
Archer lead the way towards Oliver Tower with Reilly on his left and Crazy Joe on his right. Together they cleared a path to the front doors, Hell Cat, Haas, Baxter, Donny and Bill following. Archer found the doors of the tower to be locked, but someone had smashed open one of the glass doors so he jumped through. Helping the others through, Archer looked past and saw that the Bulker was running at full speed towards them!
Crazy Joe, Reilly and Hell Cat all fired their weapons at it, Joe’s shotgun, Reilly’s MP-7 and Hell Cat’s pistols. They all slammed into the Bulker, bits of skin, muscle and blood erupting from each wound but it was though the Bulker could feel none of it, it just kept coming!
“Bill, move it!” screamed Crazy Joe but it was too late.
Bill turned around and saw that the Bulker was nearly upon him. He raised his shotgun and prepared to fire but he was too slow. The Bulker trampled him and in an instant was reduced to nothing but a bloody red mess. The Bulker roared triumphantly and continued its course towards the tower. Archer and Haas pulled Donny through the broken glass door and the team moved away from the doors and headed straight for the stairwell.
“Why aren’t we using the elevators?” asked Donny but his question was answered when he saw the building had no power.
Archer kicked open the stairwell door and leapt inside. Reilly, Baxter, Hell Cat, Haas, Crazy Joe and Donny all followed. Donny slumped down against the wall and tried to catch his breath.
“Donny, the door!” screamed Crazy Joe as he saw the young kid had left it wide open.
No one saw it coming – the massive arm of the Bulker reached inside and wrapped its massive fingers around Haas who was busy reloading her weapon. She shrieked loudly as it pulled her towards the door.
“Haas!” exclaimed Archer and Reilly together, both diving after their comrade.
Haas had her arms outstretched and manage to grab onto both Archer and Reilly.
With all their might they tried to pull her back into the stairwell but the Bulker was just too strong. Crazy Joe and Hell Cat grabbed onto the waists of Archer and Reilly and tried to help keep Haas in sight. Donny went to help and managed to get a hold on Haas’s protective vest. While all this was happened, Baxter sat quietly on the stairs, staring blankly into space.
“Help me! Help me! Please!” wept Haas as she held on for dear life.
“We’ve got you, we’re not letting go,” said Archer as he pulled with all his might.
Haas was jerked back suddenly and was now being held by the Bulker at the top of the doorway. Archer and Reilly’s feet were now off the ground and only being held back by Hell Cat and Crazy Joe.
“Jesus, Baxter, help us!” screamed Hell Cat as she saw her teammate staring blankly at the wall from the steps.
Baxter made no response, just continued staring at the wall. The Bulker suddenly roared louder than ever before and gave one last pull on the body of Haas. There was a horrible ripping and spluttering noise. The tension of holding on to Haas was released as her eyes went wide. Archer and Reilly fell back to the ground, holding Haas with them. Crazy Joe and Hell Cat slumped down on the floor trying to catch their breath. Donny sprung up and slammed the door shut quickly – he knew the Bulker couldn’t fit inside the stairwell but the other Infected could.
Donny turned around to face the others and screamed at what he saw. Archer and Reilly hadn’t noticed until Donny had screamed – Haas was missing from the waist down. The Bulker had completely torn her legs right off, leaving behind just her upper body. She was somehow still alive and in little pain.
“I don’t feel right,” Haas muttered in barely a whisper, “I don’t feel right…”
Archer held onto her and hushed her, “You’re fine, Yvonne. You’re fine. Just…just breathe, okay? We’re going to get you fixed up and sent home. You’ll be alright.”
Haas suddenly stopped breathing and her eyes rolled into the back of her head. She went still and did not move again. Archer took a deep breath and closed the lids of her vacant eyes. Archer looked around; Reilly had tears in her eyes and could not take them off of the gruesome sight of Haas. Donny was sitting in the corner with Crazy Joe trying to console him. Hell Cat was sitting next to Baxter on the stairs. Baxter looked terrible. He buried his face into Hell Cat’s shoulder and wept – it had all taken its toll on him. He had reached the breaking point. But the mission wasn’t over yet – they still had to get to the top of the tower. As much as Archer wanted to just stay on the floor and rest he knew they had to get moving again – they were on a deadline.
The door to the stairwell suddenly started to get pounded from the other side. Archer didn’t have to say anything – the group all got to their feet, though Baxter had to be helped by Hell Cat.
“As fast as we can, guys!” said Archer as they ran up the stairs, taking them three at a time.
When they were several floors up they heard the door below them get smashed open and the groans of Infected as they began making their way up. Archer started to grow more nervous as the higher they climbed, the more Infected they found. The stairwell was littered with bodies of Infected every few floors. The Infected had been shot dead – someone else had been through here before them. Did that mean that there were Infected waiting at the top? Archer decided to cross that bridge when they got to it.
A few floors before they reached the top, Archer stopped and waited at the top of the stairwell for his team to get past. Reilly went first, followed by Donny who was helping Baxter and then Crazy Joe and Hell Cat bringing up the rear.
“Cat, grenades,” Archer ordered.
Hell Cat grabbed the last two grenades from her vest and Archer did the same. They waited until they could hear the Infected and then pulled the pins and tossed them down. The grenades went off and the Infected shrieked loudly. Archer knew it wouldn’t have killed all of them but it would slow them down.
Gunshots suddenly rang out throughout the stairwell. Archer and Hell Cat ran up to the next floor where they found Reilly and Crazy Joe opening fire on a small group of three Infected. These infected were like those they had seen at the bottom of the tower – the ones that ran fast and could climb. They had been feasting on a body – one that looked to have been alive not long ago. After they killed the three infected runners, Archer took a closer look at the body – he could not make out much as most of the skin was missing but it looked as though it had been a woman. Her clothes were torn but Archer could make out two things – she was wearing a police uniform and had a badge on the front of her shirt that read: H.C.P.D. Laura Charm.
Archer suddenly realised were they were – the Mayor’s office! The mayor, Reginald Copperfield was nowhere to be seen but that didn’t need him – they needed his computer.
“Secure the room as best you can,” ordered Archer as he sat down at the desk and flicked on the computer.
Archer felt a surge of panic when he was greeted with a screen with a progress bar on it saying “Erasing files…”
Archer quickly cancelled the erase and found that there was still tons of data and files that had not been deleted. He inserted a flash drive into the USB port and began downloading everything onto the drive.
“More infected coming,” Hell Cat announced from the stairwell door.
Archer checked the progress – 2 minutes until all the files were on. It was going to be close. Archer then remembered that the USAF pilot, Danny Sloane, was already here. They’d seen the Black Hawk helicopter arrive from the bottom.
“Hell Cat, take Baxter, Joe and Donny up to the roof and get them on the chopper. We’ll stay here until the download finishes,” Archer ordered.
“Okay, Captain…whoa!” Hell Cat said suddenly.
“What is it?” Archer asked.
Hell Cat frowned, “Uh…I thought I just saw…outside the window…I think someone just fell off the building…”
Archer went to the window and looked out. He couldn’t see anything from this angle but he couldn’t worry about this now – they just needed to get out of here.
As Hell Cat, Baxter, Crazy Joe and Donny made their way to the roof, Reilly kept checking the stairwell to see the progress of the Infected.
“You wouldn’t happen to have any grenades left, Jason?” Reilly asked nervously.
“Fresh out,” replied Archer.
“Great,” muttered Reilly.
“Come on, come on,” muttered Archer to himself as the download began counting down from 30 seconds.
Reilly began firing down the stairwell. He couldn’t be sure but he thought he could hear gunfire from the roof as well.
“Hurry up, Jason!” yelled Reilly as she continued to shoot Infected who were getting closer.
The download completed so Archer pocketed the flash drive and made his way into the stairwell with Reilly. The infected were making their way up in the hundreds. Reilly and Archer took down as many as they could and then ran for the roof. The burst out the door and onto the roof, slamming the door shut behind them. Archer turned around and saw something he didn’t expect to see.
Hell Cat and her group weren’t on the helicopter – in fact there wasn’t even a helicopter on the roof. What was on the roof were two individuals, one man wearing military fatigues and a young girl by his side. The man was holding a Desert Eagle pistol and had it pointed at Hell Cat who was aiming back with her two pistols.
“Who the fuck are you?” asked Hell Cat.
“Who the fuck are you? I was here first,” replied the man.
The roof door started to shake as the Infected arrived.
“Captain Jason Archer of ARTS. Put your weapon down – we’ll continue this later,” Archer said as he took aim at the man.
The man immediately lowered his weapon and looked at Archer.
“ARTS? M-Me too…Talon. Lucas Talon of ARTS,” the man mumbled.
Archer couldn’t remember but he was pretty sure that Lucas Talon was the ARTS Captain whom was sent to deal with the original outbreak of the Phoenix Virus at the Cave all those weeks ago. Archer lowered his weapon and nodded for Hell Cat to do the same.
“What’re you doing in Haven City?” Archer asked, “And who’s the girl?”
“This is Missy. And I’m looking for Copperfield. Well I was – I found him but then one of my own men turned out to be working with him,” Talon explained.
“Why are you looking for Copperfield? And why didn’t you report back to Thompson after the Cave mission?” Archer asked.
Talon went to answer but Reilly cut in, “Can we have this conversation later?”
She pointed to the Super Stallion helicopter that was approaching the building. Talon and Missy moved off the helipad to let the chopper land. When it did, Archer lead the team onto the chopper.
“Cap’n Danny Sloane; I’ll be your pilot today,” said the pilot with a joking smile.
The Super Stallion lifted off and began to make its way out of the city. Archer looked back down and saw the Infected making their way onto the roof of the tower.
It was over. There mission was complete and they were going home now. Archer looked around. Hell Cat looked exhausted. Crazy Joe was looking out the window while young Donny had fallen asleep in his seat. Captain Talon had his arms around the young girl, Missy, who was crying into his shoulder. Archer looked next to him and caught Reilly’s eye. She smiled at him and silently took his hand and squeezed it tight. Archer smiled and squeezed back. At Reilly put her head on Archer’s shoulder, Archer laid his head back and closed his eyes.
 
In his seat, Baxter stayed quiet. He felt strange. He didn’t feel like he should. It wasn’t just because of the mission, or because he saw Aaron Cage and Yvonne Haas killed before his eyes. It was something else. Baxter remembered back to when they had first leapt down into the sewers. When he landed a large rat had crawled onto his leg. Baxter looked around to make sure no one was looking and he cautiously rolled up his pant leg to reveal a green-black bite mark. He was Infected…


© Copyright 2020 Cabe. All rights reserved.

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