_grimtales_ (_grimtales_) wrote,
_grimtales_
_grimtales_

Patient Zero_ 013

The Major begins to give his presentation, the curtains drawn, the projector plugged in to the power supply coming from the portable generator outside. The putt-putt-putt sound of it underlies everything he says, lending it a strange and slightly surreal air, this military man forced to speak over it, it undermines his authority and the seriousness of what he is saying.

"We believe it started in Scotland, at least, before communication lines broke down but it spread rapidly by means unknown to all the major population centres, apparently by indirect infection of some sort. As Doctor Wyndham has covered in previous meetings we don't yet know the vector for the condition."

The slide changes to show an image of Northern Britain, focussing on Scotland and highlight the few large cities in red.

"Within a very short time, less than a day, we completely lost contact with Glasgow and Edinburgh and already the first hints of similar problems were occurring in England and Wales., starting wherever there were large concentrations of people and spreading outwards to market towns and villages."

"At first the police were overwhelmed with calls, murders, rampages, theft sprees and other, stranger reports which, given the existence of our friend here..." He gestures to you. "...we can no longer entirely discount."

"At the same time hospitals began to recieve people with injuries, suffering from hallucinations, flare-ups of mental illness and so forth. All of this happened extremely rapidly, too rapidly for us to be able to cope and the deployment of the military and police, many of whom were already 'infected' just made matters worse. Within two days every major population centre was affected by the madness and the last order we recieved down the wire was to affect an evacuation."

"As of now the free and uninfected population of the United Kingdom, so best as we can tell after only two weeks, is around half a million people, not including ex-pats, diplomatic staff and military personnel stationed overseas when this hit. Spread between Wight, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man and some of the Scottish islands. We have small forward observation bases in some of the Port cities but, as we have discovered, these are no longer secure."

"Our problem, Prime Minister, is that we have no real idea what is going on. We do not know how the ailment spreads, what its origin is. Our friend here is the only successful sample to be returned from an infected area. Attempts to explore in force either meet with failure - the immunised troops lack imagination and capability - or infection, when we send a mixed or non-immune group."

"The few reports we have managed to analyse appear to be nonsense but, as I said, in light of our friend here they might need to be reassessed..."

He pauses a moment, looking embaressed.

"There were reports of....uhm... 'goblins' attacking a hospital in Cornwall. A V2 rocket, apparently, exploded in the East End of London, not an unexploded leftover from the war you understand, but a new one, falling out of the sky. This is just the tip of the iceberg and we have many of the reports transcribed for your later examination. Many of them will be hallucinations of course but we've all seen or heard things since this started that don't make any sense."

The slide show changes from population census data and maps of the spread of the insanity to blurry photographs of strange and distant shapes, one of which looks very much like a pteranodon, the rest are too indistinct to make out in any meaningful way.

All of this sparks memories in you, the ground rippling beneath your feet, the sound of snapping scissors, colours in the sky... but it just won't quite come back to you for some reason.

"We have a short space of time to understand what is going on and to begin to work towards some kind of solution before our sovereignty is no longer respected. Despite the naval blockade several fishing trawlers have been stopped and even sunk by the various navies enacting the blockade and scavengers and looters will begin to get the same idea before too long, as will nations. The US command in Afghanistan and Iraq has already taken control of our troops stationed there and what remains of the Royal Navy is spread out around the world."

"We are the only ones able to investigate properly because, at present we are still being respected and are being allowed to enact the blockade ourselves across the channel using Navy elements and HMS Ark Royal. Already we could not continue operations if we were not generously recieving supply from our European and American allies whom are also providing food and other supplies to the secure islands by airlift. We have already taken advantage of this... ah, privelidged position to fly a few recon missions using an old Optica aircraft flying out of Sandown and refitted microlights. The lack of truly decent camera equipment and skilled operators is a problem but we did get these pictures of London.

The slide shows a montage of shots showing London completely shrouded in dark fog that somehow sends shivers up and down your spine.

"And that is pretty much where we stand at the moment. Diplomats believe we have up to three months before these markers start getting called in and some cruder solution to the problem is sought. Our near neighbours are increasingly paranoid about a breach in the containment of the mainland and our friends further afield seem to view this as some sort of opportunity. Sooner or later the mask will drop and some extreme elements of the French right wing are already calling for a scorched earth policy toward containment."

He sits and immediately everything is shut down and the generator cut off again to preserve fuel, the curtains opened to let the sickly winter light back into the room.

The Prime Minister looks to you again, steepling his fingers and considering for a long time.

"Do you have any more questions or shall I just get right to it?"
Poll #931948 Patient Zero: 013

Any more questions?

Tags: patient zero
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