August 17, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - No Cure

[Posted by Ted H]

About 2 and a half months to go before NaNoWriMo and I've no idea what to write. Either continue "Race for Safe Haven" or write a new "James Blake" novel...choices, choices, choices...

Either way, I have enough RfSH updates to cover the gap between now and November.
10 more Sundays. Include my MLB awards joke and a Halloween special, that's 8 more Safe Haven updates.


[Race for Safe Haven - No Cure]

            "Almost there," Tara said as she helped Jenny to the stairwell through the dark "You can rest at the stairs." Jenny struggled to talk clearly and Tara couldn't understand it, but Jenny made no effort to stop her journey. "This place is safe," Rhett said as he walked over, slinging his shotgun around his back "Need help?"
            "I got it," Tara said. They reached the stairwell and Tara dropped Jenny onto the bottom step. Jenny put her head low and tried to rest. "Most of the group is keeping their distance," Rhett said "You're not afraid of getting sick?"
            "If I did, I'd deserve it," Tara said as she shined her flashlight up the stairs to see what she and Jenny had left to traverse. "You can't keep beating yourself up," Rhett said, but Tara ignored him. "C'mon," she said to Jenny "The sooner we do this, the sooner you can rest." She reached for Jenny's arm and helped her lift to her feet. "I can get Steve," Rhett said "Probably go a lot easier." Again, Tara ignored him. Rhett followed them up the stairs and onto the second floor, where everyone was standing around moping.
            "Problem?" Rhett asked.
            "The Guard outpost over here was overrun," Matt said.
            "How do you know?"
            "Because these two are all that's left of it."
            Rhett looked over to Mike who seemed disheartened by the news. Tara moved with Jenny further in, looking for a soft spot to drop Jenny off. "What's wrong with her?" Brandon asked, noticing Jenny's sick look. "Infected," Mike said without looking up. "Was she bit?" Brandon asked, looking Jenny over and not seeing any blood. "No," Mike said "Why does it matter? She's dead anyway."
            "She wasn't bit!" Brandon shouted to Williams "Where's your bag? Maybe it's not too late!" Williams hobbled over to Jenny and motioned Tara to follow him. He led her to a desk where Jenny could lie down. Brandon followed with the messenger bag, but Williams motioned for him to hold on. He checked Jenny's pulse, felt her head for her fever and looked at her eyes with a flashlight.
            "What do you mean by it's not too late?" Matt asked Brandon.
            "There's a cure," Brandon said with a smile.
            "It's not a cure!" Williams quickly corrected him "It's an inoculation. It prevents you from getting sick by most means, maybe even reverse the disease in its early stages."
            "Wait," Tara said, a troubled look on her face "There was an inoculation? Why the fuck is this just now being made?"
            "It didn't exist when this all started," Brandon explained "The best scientists DC had to offer made it. They released the recipe to all the shelters so they could make their own. The plan was to vaccinate everyone before we sent them to Safe Haven."
            "Were you one of those scientists?" Laura asked Williams.
            "I wish," Williams said "I'm not nearly smart enough for that. But I was smart enough to follow directions, and replicate properly."
            "So that prevents people from getting infected?" Jason asked.
            "Yes and no," Williams said "Airborne infections as well as minute doses acquired from insects and similar sources are no longer a problem. Now simply being in a room with an infected is no longer a major risk. You can still get sick though. There's no defense against bites unfortunately, or any large amount of infection getting into your bloodstream. And open sores are still a potential death sentence."
            "What about Jenny?" Tara asked.
            Williams took another moment longer to look her over before stepping away. "I'm afraid her infection has progressed too far," he said "I'm sorry. Giving her an inoculation would only be a waste of a dose at this point, and we have far too few to spare."
            "We might as well use what we have left if these people are susceptible still," Brandon said. Williams nodded and Brandon opened the bag and pulled out a metal case. "How many do we even have left?" Williams asked as Brandon pulled out all the full vials and counted. "Five," he said "That's all we have left."
            Silence filled the room as the seven healthy people all eyed each other. Rhett watched Mike look at each and every person in the group, struggling to make a decision in his head. "How hard is it to make more?" Jason asked. "Without a working lab?" Williams said "Not happening. With a working lab? Not enough time to synthesize if you're already infected."
            "So what you're saying is two of us are going to die," Mike said as Williams nodded.
            "I don't wanna die!" Laura exclaimed as she stuck her arm out to reach for a vial from Brandon.
            "No way," Jason stepped in "What good are you lately? The ones to get it should be the most likely to survive out there."
            "Then that rules you both out," Steve said.
            "Guys!" Matt cried out while stepping between everyone and Brandon "Let's try to figure this out without fighting like animals!" Everyone settled down for a moment while Matt continued "There's no easy way to do this. Unless we get volunteers, then we need to convince two of us to pretty much wait to die."
            "Well, actually just one of us will have to die," Laura said as she pointed to Rhett "Why is he still here?"
            "Excuse me?" Rhett said.
            "We're in Albany. That was the deal; Get to Albany, then we cut you loose. Well, we're in Albany. Goodbye."
            "Fuck. You," Rhett said "If you think for a minute that I'm leaving here without a vial, just because you don't like me..."
            "What are you gonna do about it?" Laura asked as she stepped closer to Rhett "Shoot me like Eric?"
            "Shoot who?" Williams asked.
            "I'm not committing suicide just so your fat ass can continue to leech off the apocalypse," Rhett said.
            "You don't have a choice," Laura said with a grin "We got you to Albany, now git!"
            "If you think I'm above going through you to survive this shit..."
            Laura scrunched her face up and slowly pulled her knife out from behind her back. "No fucking way!" Tara said as she got in Laura's face "You are not escalating this. He will fucking kill you, and have every right to. Just like he had every right to kill Eric. You want to act like the right choices are easy to make in all this? Here's an easy choice; none of us should live through this!"
            "There might be more!" Brandon yelled. "What?" Mike asked as Brandon nodded towards Williams. Williams sighed as he looked to Tara before looking Mike in the eyes. "Possibly," he said "The lab at the shelter, they may have been able to put aside a quantity of inoculate before things deteriorated. If I'm wrong though, then I'm sending you into the heart of zombie-central with no real prospects."
            Everyone looked to Mike as he weighed the options. "We don't survive without these shots," he said "I'm going for it. I can't make anyone go with me though."
            "Then we inoculate you first," Williams said "The labs are so inundated with infection that the only way you survive entering is if you get the shot. Anyone going with you gets a shot as well."
            "So taking the suicide mission is the only way to get the shot?" Laura asked, her arms in the air "That's not fair!"
            "It's not your call to make," Rhett said as he stepped forward "I'm in." Matt quickly volunteered as well as Steve. Laura stayed back with her arms folded. Jason was reluctant  to join, prompting Tara to instead join. "What a waste of a anti-virus," Laura said as she walked away in a mood.

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