After some discussion it is decided that you will be dropped into London, taken as far as possible by the Royal Navy and then making the rest of the way yourself on a powered inflatable. The Major discusses this and makes notes of equipment that might be needed, checking it off against a list of material kept on the laptop that was used for the presentation. You only half pay attention, your mind racing, wondering what you've let yourself in for as the cilvilian government and the military representatives hammer out the details and then finally, the meeting ends and you're left to your own devices.
Determined to see a little bit more of this place you make your way out from the hospital, suddenly realising when the cool fresh air of the outside hits you just how thick with the stink of disinfectant the hospital was. The air is cold, frosty, outside and stings your mouth with a metallic tang as you breathe in deep and exhale, expelling the last of the dank hospital air from your lungs, driving your hands into the pockets of your hooded top and striding away.
Outside of the hospital grounds things seem a little more lively. There are people, lots of people, everywhere. They're just not driving and there's no power for the streetlights or the houses. It seems only a few places, meeting places that can provide for lots of people, have power. Supplied by generators. Even with airlifts and assistance it seems fuel is in short supply and as you pass a small park - dotted with tents and miserable looking people - you see that they've attacked the trees for firewood and now there are only stumps left.
A pub is lit up like Christmas, and heaving with people, more huddled around its picnic tables in the cold, they would have been tourists in happier times. A group, dressed up in hiking gear for the warmth, leaves just as you arrive and you insinuate yourself into the pub, squeezing through and finding just enough elbow room at the bar. There's no beer, precious little spirits and most are just drinking water. The chalkboard above the bar informs the clientele that they'll be brewing their own in the cellar soon and most people are getting their food and drink with ration books that seem to have been hastily made on some laser printer. You find one in your pocket and get yourself a meal.
They've done their best, reconstituted potato made with smash and powdered milk, a little wild herb mixed in, corned beef fried up with some onion powder. Its simple fare, but filling enough. As you eat people seem to naturally give you space, seem to sense that you're strange, 'other' somehow, but through the hubbub you catch snatches of conversation.
"...and then it all went black. I mean real black, like underground, but this was midday..."
"...My daughter's still over there. I'm going to fucking swim back over unless something gets done..."
"...and I swear to you, I heard something growl from under the bed and I don't mean a dog..."
You leave the meal half finished and leave them to their stories, wandering out onto the roads, picking your way through the throngs of people, following some instinct out onto the northern cliffs overlooking the ferry port and the yachts. The ports groan with ferries and boats, even little ringhys and rowboats. The larger yachts are lit up and have people staying on them, the ferries seem to have been turned into refugee camps. Off the shore you can see elements of the Royal Navy, strung out like a cordon between the island and the shore of England beyond. The sky is a riot of stars from the lack of light pollution. The island is dark, England is darker and if you squint through the crisp, cold night air you can make out the hint of the land in the far distance.
It makes you uneasy though you can't say why and your feet lead you back to the hospital.
Breathing the chemical air again you wind your way through the corridors, seeking your room when you hear a terrible shout, swiftly silenced. The faint glow of light coming from a corridor off to your right. Your room is the other way...
What do you do?
Go to investigate the scream.
Go to your room.
Explore deeper into the hospital.
Leave the hospital and try to hide on the island.
Leave the hospital and try to find your own way to the mainland.