Children of the Apocalypse
The story so far
There are a number of multi-media files that present themselves on the screen of the tablet PC, in chronological order. Touching number 1 the program starts and on the tablet PC screen appears the face of an older man, graying hair, red rimmed eyes, slightly bulbous nose, lines of wrinkles running away from his eyes and his mouth seems to have a resting state of being down turned. Around his head writhes the snaking tendrils of smoke as he draws heavily on a cigarette and forces the smoke out through his nostrils. Letting go a hacking cough, he then straightens and speaks in heavily accented English that reminds you a of a villain from an old James Bond movie.
“I am Victor.” Drawing on the cigarette again, “I have much to tell you to prepare you for and little time to do so. The last thing you will remember is going to sleep on your first night of your new beginning with M-Corp. That was in 2013. When you came to start with M-Corp it was under false pretences. They had no intention to give you or your families anything they said they would.”
Victor shifts uncomfortably in his chair, draws on his cigarette again, rubbing his left eye as some smoke wafts into it. He continues “From that first night you were without your freedom. You ceased to exist to the outside world and became lab rats for M-Corp’s purposes. Your families, those of you that had them, were all told that there was an accident. They buried their dead and their hopes.
For you however it did not end there. I brought you out of cryo-stasis. Your memories will return in a day or two, it’s a side effect of the freezing process. It is enough to say that the M-Corp technicians pushed you to your limit, finding ways to bring your waiting abilities to the surface. They used a combination of brain electrodes, visual imaging technology and some real life dangerous situations. Through the technological stimulation and the triggering the fight or flight response they succeeded to the point that they became somewhat scared with what you had become, let alone the potential that lay untapped.”
Victor starts to wheeze noticeably and then coughs uncontrollably for a moment, spitting just off screen. His voice is raspy “Now it is 2063. That’s right 50 years later and nothing is the same and will never be again.
In 2014 an outbreak of a highly virulent virus occurred. There was no particular epicentre. Early reports indicated that localized outbreaks happened across most of the European Continent and England, the Americas, Australasia. Initially it seemed like a highly aggressive form of bird flu, a mortality rate of 95 percent. But there were other stories of it making the leap to animals previously unaffected by anything of this kind. There were reports of people going mad like rabid dogs and attacking anyone and anything. There were then sightings of horrifying creatures that looked like they were once people, but were no longer so. Scientist discovered too late that it was an engineered virus, no one ever took responsibility for releasing it. What they also discovered was that it was a mutagenic virus, literally. Those that it did not kill, it changed. Those that it did not change were very few indeed. It destroyed the whole eco-system, the whole ecology was changed.”
Victor leans forward in his chair, shifting slightly out of frame and clears his throat “You see it all happened so fast. Inside a month civilization collapsed. If it was just the virus the governments had to deal with then maybe there would have been a chance. But it was nature and what was left of humanity that those who were either untainted, or who had survived the virus were left to deal with. The large cities went first. They were looted, burnt and in some cases raised to the ground. Everything became hostile in a world unprepared and beyond comfortable in modern convenience. The Middle East and Asia were not exempt in the end. Only places that were extremely cold at the time of the outbreak, too cold for the virus to survive, lasted. Most of those places fell apart eventually, reverting to feudalistic communities in part just to survive. The mutated men and beasts migrated to those places too eventually.”
Victor pauses, lighting another cigarette from the burnt down stub of his current one, he inhales deeply. He breathes out a billowing cloud “This is killing me. It has killed me. By the time you revive I will have placed myself into stasis, trying to avoid what I know will happen next.
Forget about me. I am as they say the old guard. You now have your freedom. I hope that you can forgive me for what I have done. But such potential as yours cannot be wasted. Maybe you are the hope that humanity has been holding out for. There is enough food and water here in the lab for a week. After that you will have to leave the lab to find it and once you leave you will not be able to come back in, it’s a one way door with no one in here to let you back in. In a year’s time on this day Dr Isamu Akio will revive. He will be instructed to wait for you. The City is beyond the lab’s door. It doesn’t matter what city it used to be, it is but a place where you will have to survive. Just remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – Physiological Needs, Safety Needs, Love and Belonging, Esteem and Self Actualization.
You will not be alone out in the City. But you will be on your own I am afraid. That is unless you can find Amber another former “student” of M-Corp and Dr Daniel Anderson." On the screen a picture of a young woman and an older man appear. "They left about 5 years ago, just before the last time I went into stasis. I believe they were headed to the old library.”
Victor goes into a hacking cough that is cut off by him ending the recording. On the screen the other multi-media files wait to be viewed.