A New Day

A New Day

Danny whips the truck around, tearing through the ditch and causing the doctor to howl, as the dead get to the bridge. For a second the ditch seems to want to keep the truck right there, but the wheels catch and it shoots out onto the dirt road throwing up a dust cloud of Georgia clay. Bart follows with the four wheeler and soon they leave the bridge far behind.

The leftover adrenaline sits in the pit of everyone's stomach. It is not a pleasant feeling. Dr. Chambers tries to get comfortable and reaches up under his butt to move something. It's the shotgun, tossed in the truck bed during the fight. He checks the action and breaks it open. Discarding the expended shell, he loads another and closes it up. He leans back against the siderail and leans the muzzle over his shoulder so it doesn't point into the truck and closes his eyes, pain obvious on his face.

Danny drives away from the bridge and the dirt road curves around and then straightens out until it dead ends at another dirt road going north-south. Knowing the swamp is still to the south, he turns right and heads north until the road joins another, larger, dirt road. Continuing north, there is only forest or clearcut areas on the side of the road for a mile or so, then an intersection comes into view with a large area of gravel on the left. Danny pulls over next to a pool of what looks like green slime. Thankfully, it doesn't smell very bad.
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Pulling up next to the truck after driving next to the green pool Bart says,

"Wonder if this is some sort of algae pond for purification or something. Guess this is as good a place as any to get our bearings and figure out what's what."

Once they were out of the sight of the walkers on the bridge, Amy remained relatively quite, save for assuring the doctor was alright as could be every other time he winced in pain. Her mind kept racing to speculation about who these kids were, where they were from, and more importantly if anyone still alive was looking for them.

As the truck pulled up along the green sludge pond, she follows up Bart's curious comment. "Might be a lagoon, but I don't see any water or wastewater treatment facilities around." Realizing that it probably didn't matter, she turned her attention back to the task of figuring out the situation at hand. "Maybe one of these kids know where we are," she says to Bart before posing the question to the older girl, who at least seemed less traumatized earlier. "Hey," she begins, "you know where we are?"

After putting it into park, Danny turns off the car but leaves the keys in the ignition. Getting out, he looks at all the choices of roads and scratches his head.

Lot's of choices from here... Amy, see if they know where these roads go? He looks at the kids and smiles at them. Walking over to the doctor, he sighs.

Sorry about the bumps Doc - it looks like it's gonna be rough for a while longer.

Melanie introduces herself and her brother, explaining that they were lost and everything mostly looks the same around here. She said that she was driving for a half an hour on the back roads after the highway was blocked and she doesn't know this area.

Little Jay immediately jumps over the side of the truck and examines the pool of muck, ten year olds being attracted to muck like bees to honey.

Garcia dismounts with Danny and begins a scan and circuit of the area, establishing security at the front of the truck. After a minute he walks around to see the muck, too. "Go for a swim, Jay?" he says as he pushes the boys shoulder for fun.

The boy reaches out, grabbing the sergeant's uniform to steady himself. Then he grabs Garcia's leg and futilely tries to push him in. "You first!" the young man shouts. Garcia laughs heartily.

The doctor turns his head as Danny make his apology. "Thank you, lieutenant. I'll be alright for now". As he speaks, a small klaxon alarm comes from his pocket. He reaches in and retrieves a small electronic device, examining it intently. After a moment, he hands it to Danny. "You probably need to know this."

To: All CDC Personnel

From: Director, CDC

The Centers for Disease Control in Stovington and Atlanta are now on lockdown. All personnel not in a Center are advised to find safety where they may. The President has declared martial law in all locations under the authority of the United States. All citizens are directed to remain in their homes and avoid contact with infected persons. Martial law to remain in effect until order can be reestablished.

Pesonal Note: I doubt it will ever be. The unknown infectious agent remains so despite our greatest efforts. Preliminary projections put the infection rate at sixty seven percent. It may be as high as 70. Avoid the infected at all costs. Physical contact is extremely dangerous.

We continue our efforts here, in Stovington, and in Atlanta. As long as we have power and satelite communications, we will continue to work with our counterparts in Europe and Asia.

Good luck, everyone.
God Bless you.

Danny curses under his breath, really not sure what they should do now.

Wordlessly he passes the it to Bart so he could read the news also. Sighing he lights up a cigarette, mumbling I guess I picked a bad time to try and stop smoking.

He watches the boy playing near the water as he smokes and tries to come up with their next move...

Bart was standing over the doctors shoulder when he received the message and he can't help but ask,

"You've had comms this whole time?"

Dr. Chambers looked back at Bart. "It's not 'comms', chief. It's basically a pager. When the Center has an important message, it goes out on this. There are automated messages for many different contingencies that all get reported on that. This is actually only the second time it's gone off in eight years with the CDC." He reaches into his bag and pulls out an electronic device that is really a phone. "I've got this SATphone, but it lost it's fill in Jacksonville. I haven't been able to use it."

With a sigh of disappointment Bart responds,

"What do you need to link that phone back up?"

And then he speaks to the group as a whole,

"So what's the plan folks?"

Danny tries blowing a smoke ring and fails. He smiles at Bart and says, That means it needs software for it to work in secure mode. I don't think we have any easy way of reestablishing a link back to the satellite.

Pausing for another nicotine hit, the cigarette pulses with an angry flare as he continues, What should we do now? From that messenger it sounds like everything has gone to hell. There are a couple of bases nearby well relatively nearby... I don't know if that's a good idea or not. Besides that we could try to find a Police station or a DPS station that might have a car pool and more supplies... Maybe we could find another copter and fly someplace remote to hole up until things die down.


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