My current residence has white walls, devoid of features or any marks that would give it personality or age. I hear it is a sign of cleanliness, but to me it feels more like I am living in an abandoned house, sealed away from a world in a distant void, where nothing can touch it. Despite constant movement in the corridors, it doesn't feel like anyone lives here. I guess no one does, not really, just us, ghosts of an incompetent human race trying to create something from our failure.
Avalon is a large installation. I am not certain of how large exactly, as I haven't walked further than the mess hall, the laboratories, housing area and the commander's office, but I guess it has some sort of barracks and a warehouse to justify all the DRF troopers ruining my lunch break. It might be the size of an entire city for all I know, I have never seen it from outside and no one has informed me about where exactly it is built.
That's because I spent the beginning of the outbreak (and my transportation to this place) unconscious due to a car accident. I hit my head pretty damn hard against the panel because of some twat who didn't understand the whole "look both sides before crossing the road". Bloody idiot, I hope the specimens went over him at the pace usually reserved for fucking expensive whores.
I must admit I was lucky though, at least as much as someone can be during the end of the world. The military probably had a list of everyone interned in the hospital when they established the quarantine, so when they saw my name someone who knew a thing or two about academic circles went "Hey, I know this guy, we can use him!" and next thing I know I am in a chopper to a place out of King Arthur's tale, in name if not in deed.
And, like every self-sufficient secret base from a bad movie, this one also submits to the cliché of being originally built during the Cold War. I guess they didn't have anything more creative to house the project supposed to save the Queen.
It is a lovely place, too perfect in its tidiness and sterile food. Looking at the structure, it doesn't seem like millions have died outside. It is the sublime calm in the eye of a storm, all pretty and white while the world falls apart all around you.
Scrap that, actually, it is more like this well-off and happy fellow with HIV positive. Everything seems wonderful on the surface, but the blood is tainted, a corrupting presence which will consume everything in the end, weakening the base and opening it to other evils. The blood, in this case, is the people who work inside. We don't sleep enough, the food is crap, everyone is stressed out of their minds and there's an undeniable dread in the air that no cleaning product can take away. Our deaths have been announced and the reaper is knocking on the door.
We have plenty to do while we wait for someone to answer the door, though. And our predicament offers fantastic opportunities to vent our frustration and mounting perversion.
Take me for example. I sleep three hours a night, and my body has already developed enough resistance that caffeine has little to no effect, what can I do? Sure, I could load up in drugs and be as hyper as a ravenous bunny, thanks to my privileged access, but I know better. I workout, the exercise and adrenaline keeps me alive and aware. There's a C-series specimen (nicknamed "Baggy") we keep locked in the basement, tied so hard that it can't do anything but swallow the rotten tomatoes we give him and moan things that would be very unpleasant to my ears if I could hear. I get this ball-pen hammer and just beat the hell out of it, knowing that it will be mighty fine in the next day.
The feeling of violating what was a former human being is exhilarating…
Well, not really. But it is…Bizarre. Doing this provides an uncomfortable feeling, one that makes sleeping restless, and the adrenaline of hurting a living creature does her job. Not counting the endorphin of the physical activity of course.
Anyway, our scientific team is divided into two groups, Ganeida and Merlin. One interacts with the specimens in several ways (collecting samples, executing experiments, cataloguing their capabilities) and the other goes through the data and tries to come up with something useful. I coordinate both, even though I can't, for the life of me, remember anyone's name.
For example, one of the first things Ganeida realized was the subject's regenerative capabilities, figuring out how useful this could be if applied to someone on our side, we decided to explore further. We tested the limits of this regeneration in several ways, from shooting and setting fire to tying them up in barbed wire and sticking pointy objects into newly created orifices. The body would re-grow around the extraneous articles and do its best to function despite of it.
Now that their ability to recover from abuse was set in stone, the Merlin group started to work on something. We tried to isolate related strains in the blood and tissues we assumed to be related to this capability.
Hell, we even had an offering of "mystery meat" for some hungry and dispensable soldiers to see if anything would come up. Our observation pointed increased aggression, paranoia, mild hallucinations, hair loss and impotence, which was quite frustrating for one of the technicians, who was making money off filming soldiers jerking off to Battle Axe commercials and selling it to porn sites in Spain. I really wish the disaster would go that far south.
Nothing useful, so we went back to normal laboratory work and a few weeks later we had developed a viscous fluid that could be injected into the blood strain to repair tissue damage at a pace even faster than the one presented in specimens. And better, it was pathetically easy to produce now that we had isolated the source.
We tested it into a few wounded soldiers for spectacular results, and a few unpleasant surprises in the way, but it is not like anyone in need of instant healing is likely to live long enough to regret the treatment. After a few more experiments and further refinement we agreed to omit most of the side effects from our report, figuring that Sallus would be too queasy to make full use of this Faustian pact if he knew what it would entail.
Our ambrosia was thus made, and every one of our agents bears it with hope.
Nuna muziko: The Smiths - Sleep