New series High level of violenceGraphic horror

 

Rage

 

A NEW CAPTAIN SCARLET STORY

FOR HALLOWEEN

 

written by Nike

 

 

October 31st, 2069. 60,000 feet above the Hawaiian Islands...

 

Scarlet was resting in his quarters, lying on his bed. It had been quite a quiet day, starting with just regular routine checks. Early in the afternoon a report came in about a possible Mysteron threat. After investigation in Jakarta, it turned out to be a false alarm.

Sound asleep, he didn't notice the two green rings that swept across the floor of the darkened room. They stopped at his bed for a brief moment, before they continued their way towards him. Following the contours of the bed, they moved upwards and across the sheet, before stopping over his unconscious body.

"Scarlet..." a deep, inhuman voice sounded inside his head. "Our next strike is imminent..."

He woke in a shock and sat up. He saw the two green rings disappear from his body and he jumped out of bed against the wall. He stood next to his bed and looked down at his sheet for a moment, stunned by fear and his eyes huge.

The nightmarish voice that he had heard countless times still sent shivers down his spine when he heard it. He didn’t imagine it, the Mysterons had been here, with him. His senses told him they were gone now, and he knew this was far from a hallucination, their next strike really was imminent. There was no time to waste; he turned on the lights and walked towards his wardrobe and pulled out his uniform as quickly as he could.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"You're sure, Scarlet?" Colonel White asked the officer standing in front of his desk.

"Yes sir, it woke me up. I'm sure it was no dream, Colonel," Scarlet replied as he looked back at his commander, who was – quite understandably  –  a bit sceptical of his story.

"Right," Colonel White said and looked past Scarlet towards Lieutenant Green.

 "Lieutenant Green, make this a Red Alert. We have reasons to suspect the Mysterons are about to attack."

Lieutenant Green immediately got to work and turned back to face her computer. A brief moment later, alarms blared through the whole of Skybase.

"Attention all personnel, Spectrum is Red. Will all senior staff report to Central Control and all non-essential personnel await further orders from their superiors. All captains, report to Colonel White's office immediately. All Angels on emergency stand-by."

She looked back at Colonel White after she switched off the intercom. "We're on Red Alert, sir."

"Thank you, Lieutenant,"  the colonel replied as he glanced at Scarlet.

"Now what?" Scarlet asked him.

"We await the next move, we are ready to move in at the first sign of trouble," the colonel replied as an elevator came up and Captains Blue and Ochre walked into Central Control.

 

 

"ARE YOU READY FOR MORE?" A deep, creepy voice echoed only just above the pounding music, through the huge room filled with party-goers. The partying youngsters lively replied.

"ALRIGHT THEN, TIME FOR A PARTY!" The crowd went wild and a holographic image of dancing figures projected on the wall. The opening notes started to play and the entire room was darkened, so that the only light in the room was coming from the holographic picture.

Suddenly brightly coloured lights flashed and the crowd started to dance and go even wilder. This event was the annual Halloween Party at Norfolk, Nebraska, a small town some hundred miles Northwest of Omaha. Inside the newly-built party centre, were some nine hundred people attending.  But the partying teenagers were unaware that an unwelcome presence had just arrived.

As another set of lights turned on, and a laser show started, two green rings projected on the wall, but this light show wasn't planned...

The Mysteron rings followed the shape of the curved wall and disappeared through an open vent on the ceiling, then they made their way through the air shaft towards the maintenance room. Inside the unmanned room, rows of massive tanks were positioned, some filled with liquid oxygen and others with liquid nitrogen. They were used to keep the atmosphere on the dance floor as comfortable as possible.

The green rings made their way towards a pipeline that ran from the wall to the tanks and stopped at the pressure valve. After a few moments, it started to turn under the Mysterons' influence.

The booming of the music drowned the soft hissing sound as the pressure inside the tanks quickly rose. The Mysteron rings disappeared and the gauge on the pipelines continued to rise.

The numbers on the digital display turned from green to yellow as the pressure passed two hundred... When a few moments later the gauge reached three hundred, alarms started blaring.

Below on the dance floor, the red alarm lights went unnoticed and before anyone realized something was very wrong, the first tank exploded in a bright orange fireball. The shockwave caused a change in pressure, thus making the second tank explode, and starting a chain reaction that within seconds, engulfed the entire building in a blazing inferno.

The dance floor was filled with flames and all those who were inside the building were either burned or crushed. Within moments, the building was nothing more then a collapsing ruin and the Mysterons' rings reappeared and swept over the rubble.

A bright green glow came from underneath the ruins and the light faded moments later. From underneath the collapsed building, some nine hundred genetically modified replicants appeared, climbing from underneath the wreckage, their blood-filled red eyes glowed green for a short moment before turning red again.

 This was no ordinary Mysteron attack – if there were any – but in a '28 Days Later' style, all resurrected party-goers had been subjected to a infection in their blood and saliva, filing them with a zombie-like rage, and in minutes, they were about to attack the surrounding 25,000 residents...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sergeant Doyle sat upright in his bed; the massive explosion he heard in the middle of the night woke him, his wife Alice, and possibly his children, from their sleep.  The brown-haired, thirty-seven-year-old looked at his wife lying next to him, her eyes wide open and a worried look on her beautiful face.

"What was that?" she asked to her husband, who was quickly getting out of bed to grab his phone. 

"Not sure, sweetie. But I'll call the station, maybe they know more," he said to reassure her. But before he could dial the number, the station called him.

"Doyle here," he said as he answered the call.

"Sir, sorry to wake you in the middle of the night, but there has been an explosion at the Party Station Centre," Officer Fraser said with a shaking voice.

"The annual Halloween Party was tonight, right?" Doyle replied as he turned on the lights and looked for his clothes.

"Yes, sir," Fraser answered. "We were there earlier this evening. Nine hundred eighteen people were at the party, so the Station was pretty much full. We have no news at the moment, I'm going out there right now.  The fire brigade has already been put in the picture, so they should be there in a few minutes."

"Good thinking. Call the hospital and get some ambulances there, I'll be on my way in a few minutes." Doyle hung up the phone and looked at the woman lying in his bed.

"What's going on, James?" she asked her husband. She sat upright and her eyes followed him as he walked through the room, gathering his clothes from the floor where they were dropped last night.

"There's been an explosion at the Party Centre, I'm going out there right now," he said as he grabbed his police equipment. "I'll be back as soon as I can."

"Be careful," she said.

"Always," he replied, and he kissed her on the forehead, then left the room, closing the door behind him.

While walking through the corridor towards the stairs he heard a door creak behind him. He stopped and turned around; he smiled as he saw his seven-year old daughter standing in the open doorway, holding a teddy bear in her left hand, and the door handle in the other.

"Hey, Karen. What are you doing awake at this time?" Doyle asked softly as he walked towards her and lifted her up. In the darkness he could see her bright blue eyes and long blonde hair.

"I heard something go bang, and it woke me up. Is something wrong, Daddy?" His scared daughter asked him. 

"Well, there was an explosion on the other side of town, so Daddy was called to go and help there," he explained as he walked with her back into her room and lay her down on the bed.

"Is there fire?" she asked, her eyes huge. He knew she was terrified of fire.

"Yes there is fire,  sweetie, but don't worry, it is very far away. Daddy heard the fire crews are already on their way, every flame will be put out before it is even light, I'm sure," he reassured her. "But I have to go now, or else the guys at the station might think I turned into a pumpkin on Halloween night." Doyle smiled, as his daughter laughed.

"Okay, well go then, Daddy, I love you!" she said and quickly turned around as her father put the teddy bear in her arms and covered her with the folded sheet laying on the bed.

"I love you too." He quickly got up and walked through the room, careful not to trip over any toys. He passed through the corridor and passed the bedroom door of his thirteen-year-old son, Nigel. He walked down the stairs to the front door, grabbed his police winter hat, jacket and car keys.

He left the house and locked the door behind him. Snow was forecast to fall tonight, but luckily, none had fallen so far. He walked towards his black, four-door pick up truck and opened the driver’s door.

Damn it, it's freezing cold and no hot coffee before work, he thought to himself as he started the engine and drove away. 

 

While driving through the sleeping town towards the Party Centre, all street lights, signs and store windows suddenly turned black. He stopped for a moment and saw in his headlights snow starting to fall. What a stupid time for a power failure, he thought and he suddenly realized the fire at the Centre might be more severe then he first thought.

"Do...le!" The radio in his car suddenly sprung to life and he took his wireless speaker microphone with his right hand.

"Go ahead, is that you, Fraser?" Doyle asked and waited for a reply.   

"Ye... Do... come ..ere..." he heard a static reply though the radio.

"I can't hear you, Fraser. Are you all right? Are you at the fire yet?" Doyle asked as he confusingly waited for a reply.

"Don't ...ome... sta... away... Ooh Go..." Through the speaker, a loud noise was heard, followed by  screaming voices and a the sound of a racing car engine, before the radio turned static.

"Fraser, come in. Come in, Fraser," Doyle replied and waited for an answer. Nothing. "I'm on my way, E.T.A. seven minutes. Over and out," he added as he hung his speaker microphone back on the radio. He looked at the night sky ahead; he could clearly see the glow of the fire now, it turned the low hanging clouds bright orange; it was a creepy sight.

Suddenly, without warning, a massive, sleek Trans Global Transportation Truck with a broken window in the driver’s door, came racing from around the corner, spinning wildly out of control and nearly missed Doyle's truck as it crashed into a nearby building.

The driver must have become unwell or something, Doyle thought and pulled his car over to the side of the road. He quickly grabbed his microphone and pressed the "Station" button.

"This is 3827-Doyle, I was on my way to the Party Centre when a truck appeared and crashed into Ken Puglia's Movie Store. The driver must have become unwell, send in an ambulance."

"Yes 3827-Doyle. Ambulance is on its way," a female voice on the radio replied as Doyle put on his gloves. He opened the car door and stepped outside into the freezing night.

 He quickly ran towards the crashed truck and saw electric sparks jump from the massive vehicle.

He climbed up the side of the truck and opened the door to the driver's cabin. The older, male driver, probably in his early sixties was leaning forward on the wheel, and Doyle grabbed his shoulder and pushed his unconscious body backwards into his seat. He saw blood dripping from his eyes, nose and mouth and checked for a pulse... none.

Suddenly he heard a deep, almost inhuman scream in the distance. He jumped out of the truck and grabbed his side-arm. He glanced across the deserted intersection, which was quickly beginning to be covered in snow, which was falling faster and faster by the minute.

He hung his gun back in its holster and walked back towards his car when he suddenly saw the shape of a person standing on the other side of the road. He squeezed his eyes together and looked at the man, who gave him a cold stare back that sent chills down Doyle's spine.

"Sir? Are you okay?" Doyle asked loudly across the street when the heavily panting young man suddenly came running and screaming towards him. He grabbed his side-arm again and pointed it at the man who was now just a few seconds away from him.

"Don't move! Stay where you are!" Doyle ordered the man. He didn't want to shoot some drunk when a building full of partying teenagers had just exploded.

The man growled low as he came running across the road. Doyle moved his finger from the butt of the gun to the trigger and he prepared to fire. He could see the sclera of the man's eyes filled with bloody veins and realized he must had consumed more then just alcohol.

Out of nowhere, a police pick-up truck came from the left around the corner and hit the man just before Doyle pulled the trigger; the car stopped, tires squealing and drove over the man a second time in reverse.

The car then stopped in front of Doyle and the passenger's door was kicked open; inside was a dark-haired, male police officer with a trimmed beard. It was Fraser.

'"Get in!" Fraser ordered and Doyle put his gun in his holster again and got into the passenger seat.

"What the fuck is going on?" he asked Fraser, who quickly sped away, as Doyle looked back over his shoulder to the run over man, who was lying motionless in the snow.

"I'm not entirely sure, but whatever happened at that party, they used something that caused severe anger; all those kids were full of rage," Fraser said, but Doyle looked puzzled.

"What do you mean 'full of rage'?" he asked.

"Those kids were bleeding, as if they are infected or something, blood was dripping from their eyes, nose and mouth. It's like an extreme case of Rabies or something, I don't know." Fraser explained. "And they were screaming and attacking everyone and everything. The others are dead, Doyle. I was the only one to escape. We’ve got to evacuate the town right now, we need to get to the station," he finished as the car raced through the silent town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Colonel, I think we got something." Lieutenant Green's voice broke the tense silence in Central Control.

"Go on, Lieutenant," the colonel demanded.   

"We euhm..." the lieutenant began, "in Norfolk, Nebraska, Party Centre Station exploded, it was full of partying teenagers. They were... Wait..." She suddenly stopped. "I got the Norfolk Police Department on the line."

"Put them on," Colonel White said, as he got up and walked towards the lieutenant’s computer. A brown-haired police officer sitting inside a speeding car appeared on the screen.

"Oh, thank God, I got through to them. Fraser, I've got Spectrum," the man said to another, unseen individual. And he looked back at the screen.

"This is Colonel White, we believe you asked for Spectrum's assistance?"

"Yes, we need help desperately. We need to evacuate the town right now!" the panicked police officer said. He looked away from the screen and pointed outside of the car. "Turn here to the right, then it's the fourth house on your left."

"Go on," Colonel White asked calmly, as he nodded to Scarlet and Blue, who immediately made their way to the waiting Albatross down in the Hangar Deck.

"I'm Sergeant Doyle, and I'm with Officer Fraser, Norfolk Police Department.  At two-eleven local time, the Party Centre Station exploded, it woke me and my wife up. I quickly got out of bed and got called in, they needed all the help they could. On my way over..." 

Doyle stopped talking and looked at his colleague. "Here it is, I'll go and get them, you get Spectrum up to date," Doyle ordered, and he disappeared from the image and got out of the car. In the background he could be heard yelling his wife's name as he ran towards his home.

Officer Fraser came in the picture and continued the story. "Sorry, Colonel, we got to the station, but it was overrun. So Doyle wanted to get his family first," Fraser said,  and he looked around for any signs of trouble, but by the look on his face, the streets were empty.

"Overrun? Has there been rioting?" Colonel White asked the policeman.

"No sir, there has been an outbreak of some sort of infection, everyone became extremely aggressive and as soon as someone is... bitten or spat on, the infection spreads and causes rage in everyone. It started at the destroyed centre, but it spreads fast through the entire town, we need your help before it spreads any further!"

Fraser was shaking and waited for his friend and fellow officer to return.

"Mister Fraser, there is a Spectrum team on its way and I'll order an evacuation right away," Colonel White told the frightened man. "Get to safe ground and report on your position. Officers Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue are on route, their E.T.A. is forty-two minutes."

"We will be expecting them, get here as soon as you can."

"We will, Skybase out," Colonel White said. "Lieutenant Green, get me the Federal Emergency Management Agency right away, we need to get that town clear as soon as Scarlet reports what's going on."

"SIG, Colonel, FEMA will be on the line in seconds," Lieutenant Green replied as she quickly made contact in her computer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Alice! Alice!" Doyle called out as soon as he entered the house and ran up the stairs. Before he reached their bedroom he knocked on the doors of their kids as he ran by.  "Kids, wake up now, we have to go!"

When he got to their bedroom, he found Alice already awake and dressed. She looked at him when he entered.

"Why, what's going on?" she asked him, and before he could reply, the local air raid siren was heard, echoing from the distance. It was a sound that terrified everyone that heard it.

"We have to go now. We got an outbreak of some sort, but we need to go now!" Doyle hurriedly said as he grabbed his wife's hand and ran back to the door. She was confused and had no idea what to say, but she trusted her husband blindly and ran with him.

"Go get Karen, I'll get Nigel, get them to dress warm, it’s snowing," he said.

Doyle opened the door to his son's room; as always it was a mess: clothes and schoolwork everywhere, and the occasional high-tech gadget scattered across the floor and when he turned the light on. "Wake up, son, we got trouble, we need to get away from here, now," he said. He saw his son wake up slowly, his curly hair a mess, his eyes sleepy and just as blue as his sister's.

"Go away, man, it's like four in the morning!" the boy replied and turned around. Doyle walked towards him and pulled his sheet away from him.

"Now, we ain't got time for this, we have to go right now," Doyle said, and Nigel squeezed his eyelids together as he looked at his dad against the bright light on the ceiling.

"Why, what's going on?" he asked as he sat upright. Before he got an answer, his father threw him a pair of trousers and a sweater.

"Get dressed, I don't know everything yet, but we got rioting in the streets or something. It's coming this way," Doyle said, as he looked for socks and shoes under his son’s bed.

"Holy shit, Dad!" Nigel exclaimed, as he suddenly noticed the blaring alarm in the distance. He wasn't sure if he should think this was awesome or scary. But if his dad was concerned, there was good reason to be worried. He jumped up and got dressed, then he grabbed his bag and they left the room.

Downstairs, they found the female side of the family already waiting and the four of them left the house.

Fraser looked very relieved when he saw Doyle and his family come outside and they got into the car. Alice sat in the back with the children and Doyle sat back in the passenger's seat.

"Any news?" he asked as soon as Fraser started the engine and drove away.

"Spectrum is on its way, their E.T.A. is now twenty-nine minutes. We need to get to safe ground and contact them from there," Fraser replied.

"Great, where do we go then?" Doyle asked as he turned on the radio, hoping to hear any messages from local authorities. He quickly found the right frequency.

"... That's the current situation, it is best to remain inside and close your doors, windows and turn all the lights and other distracting appliances off, we will..."

Suddenly the announcer was interrupted by a loud bang and several low growling and screaming voices could be heard before the radio turned to static again. Doyle turned off the radio and glanced over at Fraser, who was equally confused.

"That broadcast probably came from the CRTV station, so it's spreading fast. That is just a mile or so away from here," Fraser said to Doyle who nodded in response and looked over his shoulder to his worried family. He knew he had to keep them safe, they had to get away from here.

"You okay, big girl?" he asked his Karen, who was hugging her mum, cheeks streaming with tears in fear. She slowly nodded as the car entered a part of the town where the power was off and it was all dark again, except for the headlights of the car. It had stopped snowing,  and the entire town was covered in a white blanket of snow and the cloudy sky was slowly clearing.

A few moments later, five sleek, white aircraft flew over with incredible speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Destiny Angel to Central Control, we have reached Norfolk. Half of the town is in the dark; the electricity must have been cut off," she reported as she looked down at the quiet town.

Suddenly she saw something that caught her eye.

"Skybase, I see people running, I'm going in for a closer look." She slowed down her speed. She turned the lightning-fast aircraft around and made a second sweep of the town, but this time, just over two hundred feet above the ground.  She saw people covered in blood running across the street after other people who were running away. She saw how one man fell over and was caught by his pursuers and brutally butchered.

"Skybase... I..." Destiny didn't knew what to report it in as and sighed.

"Go on, Destiny, what can you see?" She heard Colonel White's voice on the radio.

"People covered in blood, chasing other people and... killing them," she reported, horrified by the scene happening below.

"Are you sure, Destiny?" The colonel's surprised voice sounded through her cockpit.

"Yes, sir, I made a second sweep to make sure. Those people are on a rampage through the town."

"SIG, Destiny. Scarlet will be at the scene in fifteen minutes."

"Wish him luck from me," she said with a sigh as she took to the sky and joined her fellow Angels in their formation and they continued their patrol on the area.

 

Some times later, as Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue’s Albatross was approaching Norfolk, they received a call from Colonel White, who informed them on the latest news’ updates.

"We just received a message from Sergeant Doyle and Officer Fraser," the colonel explained. "They’re waiting with Doyle’s family just outside the city centre, at the Skyview Park, near the lake. They say the infected are swarming the town and are quickly spreading beyond the town's borders." He paused a moment, before continuing: "Destiny also reported that the infected are highly aggressive and are rampaging through the city, so our initial report is probably no exaggeration. Report back as soon as you have more information, Captain Scarlet."

"SIG,  Colonel," Scarlet replied. He looked at Captain Blue, who was sitting in front of him, at the rear of the Albatross cabin.

The two men were dressed in full cold weather gear, thick white outfits with several coloured stripes on it, indicating their colour code, and a grey winter hat. The cold weather outfit had no shoulder epaulettes or the standard Spectrum cap, but it did have a holster for the officer's sidearm and several pockets for other Spectrum equipment, including the SpectraTech Communicator.

"We are nearing our destination, Captains, make your way to the Rhino," the pilot said.

"SIG," Captain Blue replied and unlocked his safety restraint and pushed it up; Scarlet did the same and they walked towards the hatch that was positioned on the wall. Once Blue opened it, Scarlet climbed down first via a ladder to Spectrum's Tactical Response Unit, the Rhino. A hatch on the top of the massive armoured vehicle was open and they climbed inside.

Once inside, Blue closed the hatch and Scarlet turned on the internal systems. All the screens flashed to life and the cabin was filled with a red LED light.

"This is Captain Scarlet, ready for deployment, systems SIG," Scarlet said through the intercom to the Albatross' pilot.

"SIG, captain, we will be arriving in three minutes," he replied.

"What do you think, Paul?" Blue asked Scarlet.

Scarlet  could tell from his voice alone that Blue was nervous, and when he looked at his American colleague, he knew it for sure. And it wasn't just him, even Scarlet was nervous. The whole "the Mysterons warned him" thing, made it feel even more like a trap, like their alien foes were leading them here.

"I think they are playing with us, Adam. Something is wrong, and I don't mean wrong, like a Mysteron attack, but they told me they were going to attack, and that makes me suspect it's a trap."

"I know, I got that very same feeling, like a fish on a line," Blue replied, as the massive aircraft changed from horizontal to vertical flight and began to lose altitude.

"All right, gentlemen," the Albatross pilot announced. "I'm sending data to the Rhino now, and give you the green light when you're ready to go. Good luck, Captains." A countdown appeared on the screen, together with a 3D visualization of the Albatross landing.

A few seconds later, with a soft bump, the aircraft touched down. Blue could hear the hydraulic machinery work as the Rhino and its deployment platform were lowered to the ground. A green light appeared and he drove the massive vehicle forward, into the snowy landscape.

Blue looked at the rear camera screens and saw the Albatross raise the deployment platform and take to the sky once again.

"Colonel White, we have just landed, we're on our way to the survivors."

"SIG, Captain Blue. Good luck," Colonel White said as they drove towards the snow- covered beach of the small recreational lake. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"They should be here by now," Doyle said as he looked at his watch. It had been three minutes since they saw the Spectrum plane land behind the trees. It was slowly getting light and the sun was rising behind the trees on the horizon.

"Look, there it is!" Karen said, as she pointed to the grey vehicle speeding towards them as it appeared from behind the trees. The Spectrum vehicle stopped a few metres away from the five survivors. Two hatches – one on each side – opened, and two Spectrum agents came into view, both carrying a large Spectrum rifle.

"You all right?" the man in the red outfit asked in concern as soon as he got out.

"Yeah. We're fine, shaken, but we're all fine. So far," Doyle said as he shook the hand of the man.

"Captain Scarlet," the officer introduced himself. Suddenly, a bleeping sound was heard and Scarlet pulled out his SpectraTech Communicator and answered the incoming call.

"Yes, Colonel White?" Scarlet asked.

"Any news, Captain?"

"We found the five survivors.  They’re all right, we need to get them air-lifted out of here. Could you send the Albatross back here? We will go and continue to investigate into the town." As Scarlet spoke, Blue, was securing the area by scanning his surroundings, with his gun aimed to wherever he looked, ready to fire if needed.

"SIG, Captain," Colonel White replied, "Lieutenant Green, contact the Albatross pilot and have him pick them up immediately." White's voice was heard over the radio before Scarlet turned it off.

"We got problems, and I mean problems," Blue suddenly said as he did a step backwards and quickly glanced over his shoulder to his colleague. Scarlet ran towards him and looked to where Blue was pointing, closely followed by Doyle and Fraser.

"Oh shit," Doyle said as they saw dozens of Infected roaming some three hundred meters away on the side of the lake.

"Colonel White... We're in trouble," Blue said through his SpectraTech.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Hold on, I'm coming in!" The Albatross pilot voice was heard through the SpectraTech that Scarlet was holding as the massive grey aircraft appeared on the horizon.

"You better do this quick," Scarlet shouted back. As soon as the Infected had spotted the survivors, they came running towards them, and as the Rhino was a two-man vehicle, there wasn’t much chance of all seven of them fitting inside.  Captain Blue and the children had climbed into the vehicle,  and now, Scarlet and the others were running away from the Infected and towards the rendezvous point as fast as they could. 

 

"Hold on, this can get a little rough, guys," Blue said to the children, who both had a terrified look on their faces. Karen was crying and her brother did his best to comfort her as they both sat in the passengers’ seat.

Blue raced away from the other survivors, straight towards the Infected. He could see them running towards the vehicle.

"Close your eyes and ears kids!" Blue ordered as he reached for the Rhino's weapons buttons on his steering column; a split second later the vehicles' two front-mounted cannons were revealed and Blue prepared himself to fire.

He was disgusted with what he was about to do, but knew he wasn't about to kill innocent people, only Mysteron replicants... and he opened fire.

With every short burst of bullets, the Infected replicants were shot to pieces. Blue’s  face turned into one of extreme concentration as he shot every Infected person running towards them. The children started screaming at the sound of the machine guns and Blue felt the adrenaline rush through his body.

Suddenly the face of an infected man appeared on his control screen, blocking his view. As Blue tried to shake him off, the vehicle spun out of control.

 

While he was running, Scarlet looked over his shoulder and saw how Blue took out the Infected with the Rhino's twin cannons, but he suddenly saw his fellow agent lose control and race towards the lake.

"Adam, you've got to stop, or you'll end up in the water!" Scarlet shouted through his microphone, and he saw Blue make a sharp turn to the left. With a hard bang the vehicle stopped in the snow, just a few metres away from the water's edge.  The Rhino was tilted on a twenty degree angle on its side; one side had sunk into the snow and sand, and another was up, its wheels no longer making contact with the ground.

 

"God damn it!" Blue snapped out and tried to get the vehicle moving again. But it was pointless; the Rhino wasn't going anywhere. 

He looked at his left and saw the kids hadn't escaped unharmed. Blue was safely pinned inside his safety restraint, but the children weren't, and they were thrown through the vehicle's cabin when it crashed and were sitting at the gas pedals of the other seat, out of reach for Blue.

He unlocked his restraint and leaned towards them; Karen was shaking her brother, who was unconscious. He checked for a pulse.

"IS HE DEAD?" the little girl screamed.

"No, he’s just unconscious. He took quite a beating, but he's all right," Blue said with a sigh of relief as he felt a slow but steady pulse on the boy's neck. Apart from a small cut on her face, Karen was fine; Nigel however had been thrown face down against the gas pedal.

Blue crawled across the Rhino's instrumentation panels and gear towards the little girl, who was sitting on her knees by her brother. Blue was laying the boy in a bit more comfortable position, with the seat supporting his head, when suddenly, he heard a bang on the side of the vehicle, and then another, and another...

Blue looked at the control screen and saw dozens of Infected swarming the armoured vehicle... This is not good, he thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Blue, come in," Scarlet said as he stood by the landed Albatross.

"You getting anything?" Doyle asked him as he stood next to Scarlet and saw Alice and Fraser climb up the ladder and into the aircraft. Below the cockpit of the Albatross was a hatch where a ladder could drop to the ground from, allowing entry and exit to the craft. Scarlet shook his head as he tried to get through again.

"Don't play with me, Adam. Come in, Captain Blue," Scarlet tried again, but it was hopeless. He could see the Rhino on the other side of the lake, probably a mile or so away.

"You and get on board the Albatross, I'm going back for them," Scarlet said as he checked his weapon.             

"No way, I'm coming with you," Doyle said as he picked up the weapon that Fraser dropped down through the hatch from the Albatross' cabin.

Scarlet looked at him, and saw in his eyes that he wasn't kidding. And he couldn't blame him, if it were his children out there, there was no way anyone could stop him from going out there.

"All right, let's go," Scarlet said. He didn't make any effort to talk Doyle out of it and he informed the colonel of their plan.

Scarlet looked up into the hatch of the aircraft and told the pilot to take off.

"No arguments, go and leave.  To have you get infected would only make things worse than they already are!" Scarlet called out to the pilot.

 A few moments later, the massive Albatross aircraft roared into the sky.

"Alright, Captain," Colonel White replied after Scarlet had finished speaking. "I've been in contact with FEMA and the U.S. Military will arrive in thirty minutes on site. They will pick up remaining survivors and evacuate the town. After that, they will quarantine the whole area."

"SIG, Colonel. Scarlet out," Scarlet replied. He put away his SpectraTech and informed Doyle, who was waiting next to him.

"Here's the plan," Scarlet began, "unfortunately the Albatross can't land near the Rhino because there are too many trees around, se we need to get your kids and Captain Blue out of that Rhino and back here, so the Albatross can pick us up again."

The two men started walking towards the Rhino, careful not to attract any attention from any nearby Infected.

The Albatross was circling above them, high in the sky and safe from any Infected.

 

Meanwhile, inside the Infected-covered Rhino, Blue glanced at Karen. The little girl sat on the seat next to him, her legs drawn up to her chest and her arms wrapped around them. They both listened to the constant pounding from the vehicle's exterior by the horde of Infected outside. Even though Blue knew they were safe inside the airtight and sealed vehicle, the sound was still far from reassuring.

"So..." he started. "Just a little longer, and we're gonna be out of here, trust me." But whatever he was trying, it wasn't working, as the girl continued to silently sob.

He looked at the control screen that displayed the surroundings, but there was nothing to see except the dozens of bleeding and screaming Infected all over the vehicle, desperately trying to get in.

Blue looked at them disgust. Their faces were pale and light grey; their eyes were wide and he could see the blood leaking from them. Apart from the pounding, he couldn't hear the Infected, and he was glad for that. Their constant screaming and growling would have made the little girl freak out.

You guys are evil, and one day we will get back to you... Blue thought about their alien foes. In the early days of the War, the threat wasn't all that apparent: Under the Mysterons’ control, Scarlet tried to sabotage Skybase, and Black was resurrected as their main agent. But apart from those extraordinary facts, the Mysterons weren't acting all that differently from any enemy he had faced before.  They attacked cities, presidents, oil fields... All normal terrorist targets.

But over time, the Mysterons had shown their powers, bit by bit. He hated to admit to Scarlet's theory that the Mysterons were just playing with Man. Spectrum did everything it could to counter them, and their sadistic enemies were just playing with them.

Scarlet never wanted to think about the day they decided to stop playing around and wipe the Earth from the solar system, but Blue did it often. They had to find some sort of an advantage and do more then just react; because one day reacting wouldn't be enough any more.

But he had to worry about that some other time; right now they had a more imminent problem.

 

"Colonel, I've got some news," Lieutenant Green said carefully, and by her voice the colonel knew she wasn't happy with the news she just heard.

"Go on, Lieutenant," he said.

"The Infected have reached surrounding towns. So far reports of Infection have been noted in Warnerville, Battle Creek and Meadow Grove," she reported.

"Get Doctor Gold up here, Lieutenant," the colonel ordered.  He wanted to know what was happening down in the city, and Doctor Gold was the best expert who could help him figure it out.  There was no known virus that could cause rage like this, and mad cow disease or rabies also didn't fit the bill quite right. It was more then obvious that the Mysterons were behind this; they had tried an attack like this before, in the very early days of the war, more then a year ago.

Susan Todd, a scientist who worked for Hydra Laboratories, had been soaked in poisoned rain and was very badly hallucinating, to a point where she became paranoid. Later investigations showed the rain caused severe aggression in animals and humans.  If they hadn't stopped the second experiment, thousands of people would have  massacred each other.

They failed that time, Colonel White thought. We have to make sure they will fail again.

A few moments later, Doctor Gold came walking in, and Colonel White demanded to know what the doctor thought of the whole situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scarlet held his rifle up, aimed and opened fire. Doyle did the same thing. They were standing some twenty meters away from the Rhino and began to kill all the Infected swarming onto it.

Just as the swarm of Infected covering the Rhino were killed, more Infected appeared from all directions from behind trees, houses and hills, running through the snow towards them, screaming. Scarlet and Doyle were having trouble shooting all of them before they reached the Rhino.  On top of that, a blizzard had just started and visibility was quickly being reduced.

After a few moments, the incoming horde of Infected was decimated, and Scarlet ran towards the Rhino and climbed on top of it. He knocked on the hatch.

He got no response and climbed in full view of the control screen, hoping that Blue would see him. Suddenly the hatch opened and he saw Blue, Karen and the unconscious Nigel sitting inside.

Karen jumped up and out of the Rhino towards her father, who was relieved to see his kids again.

"You alright?" He asked his daughter who had stopped crying the moment she saw him. and He looked over to Nigel, as Blue lifted him out of the Rhino and walked after them.

"He's fine, he is just unconscious. We took quite a beating in that crash," Blue explained to the worried Doyle, who immediately visibly relaxed.

They quickly covered the ground between the Rhino and the pick-up point. As they were about to reach their destination, suddenly, yet another horde of Infected came from over the hill on their right, screaming as they ran towards them.

"Go go go!" Scarlet yelled.  He stayed behind and opened fire, as the others kept on running.

"Come on, Paul!" Blue called at Scarlet.

Suddenly Scarlet's weapon clicked... It was empty. He threw the large rifle on the ground and grabbed his side arm, continuing to protect the other survivors as they ran like hell.

 

Blue looked over his shoulder and saw Scarlet quickly falling behind, the freezing, hard wind preventing him from hearing Blue calling him.

Scarlet always did his best to protect everyone, and this time it was going to cost him.

 

Scarlet slowly lowered his weapon and saw loads of screaming Infected coming towards him, his eyes turned huge like dinner plates as he realized he wasn't going be able to get all of them before they reached him. He started running, as fast as he could. He looked ahead, but couldn't see the others any more in the snow-covered landscape.

‘’Shit," he muttered, as he suddenly realized he had been left behind. He ran as fast as he could to the rendezvous point; it couldn't be far any more, but to tell the truth, he had no idea where to go in the worsening blizzard.

He looked over his shoulder and saw the screaming Infected run after him. All normal emotion had left their face, pure anger was the only emotion left as they kept on rushing towards him.

Suddenly, he saw a man with blood-filled eyes intercept him from the right, growling as he jumped towards him. Scarlet lost his balance and fell into the snow. He kicked the Infected in his face and heard his neck break at the impact.

Scarlet quickly got back up his feet, but it was too late to run any more. He was grabbed by several Infected and fell to the ground again, as he was hit over and over again.

He saw one of his attackers leaning over him, an evil smile on her face, and her teeth covered in blood as she scratched and hit him on the head. She spat her infected blood in his face, and he closed his eyes and mouth as he took more rage-filled beatings.

The pain was getting unbearable, and he started to scream. He felt the blood get in his mouth and eyes... This can’t be good, he thought, and seconds later, he felt painful spasms starting in his arms and legs. He started to scream in pain and salivate heavily, coughing. A few moments later he coughed up blood as internal bleeding started to happen in his throat. 

He felt anger rise into him. He couldn't control his thoughts anymore; he thought of the Mysterons, and them killing his best friend Conrad, and turning him into an enemy. Thoughts flashed by and his voice got lower, his painful screaming turned into a lower, more growling sound and then he knew no more.

Scarlet got up, his eyes blood-red. He was Infected. He started running with the rest of the horde, in the direction of Blue and the others.

 

 

 

 

 

"Look, there it is!" Blue called out, as he pointed at the landing Albatross. Doyle saw the grey aircraft touch down just some twenty meters away and thought about the man they had just left behind.

"What about Scarlet?" Doyle yelled out, trying to stay intelligible above the noise of the roaring engine of the Albatross.

"Scarlet will be fine," Blue reassured him.

"How do you know? We can't leave him here, Captain," Doyle said, overwhelmed by the fact Blue was going to leave the man that came back for his family behind.

"Let's get you to safety first; Scarlet knows what he is doing. First we've got to get you and your family out of here."

"But Captain..." Doyle resisted as he climbed up the ladder, followed by Captain Blue.

"Take off," Blue ordered the Albatross pilot who replied with a reluctant:  "SIG." The massive aircraft took off and proceeded to the evacuation point that the US army had set up together with FEMA several miles away on a large open clearing in the forest.

 

"Colonel, Scarlet is still down there," Blue said to Colonel White over the microphone, once the survivors were dropped at the EVAC point and the Albatross took off once more.

"What happened?" White asked, confused.

"We ran back to the Albatross, but Scarlet got left behind when he tried to keep the Infected at bay. I'm not sure if he made it, he got out of sight before we reached the pickup point," Blue explained.

"Go and find him, Captain," the colonel ordered. "The storm will pass in thirty minutes, and the US Army will begin gassing the entire region with VZB-Gas as soon as the wind weakens. So make sure you are clear before they begin to attack."

"SIG, Colonel," Blue replied and the Albatross hovered above the Skyview Park. He looked down, and saw the lake and the snow-covered Rhino, but he couldn't see Scarlet anywhere.

He suddenly noticed a large horde of Infected running just some twenty five meters behind a young woman, who was running for her life and waving at the Albatross above.

"Take us down, we’ve got to rescue her," Blue ordered the pilot and the plane swiftly landed on a clearing, some two hundred meters away from the woman.

Blue quickly climbed down the ladder out of the craft and saw the woman running towards him. But when he looked past her, he saw something even more startling: running amidst the horde was Scarlet.

Blue raised his weapon at his colleague, who was covered in blood and his eyes as red as his designated colour code. He took careful aim and gently stroked the trigger as the terrified woman quickly ran past him and climbed up the ladder into the craft.

"Sorry Paul," Blue whispered to himself and pressed the trigger, and he saw his colleague fall over as the bullet hit its target. Now he had taken out Scarlet, the rest of the horde was just meters away and he quickly turned around and climbed back up the ladder into the craft.

When he was halfway up the ladder, the first Infected reached it, and started climbing as well. Blue rushed inside and retracted the ladder, and suddenly saw the blood-covered face of the Infected man appear through the opened hatch. Blue quickly drew his firearm and shot him, just as he entered the cockpit. The man's lifeless body fell down the ladder and knocked down several other Infected who were following him up the ladder.  Blue quickly closed the hatch and the Albatross took to the sky and hovered above the area.

Blue looked down through of one of the cockpit's windows and saw Scarlet's lifeless body lying in the snow, all the other Infected running, screaming and searching for more victims.

He turned around and looked at the exhausted woman they had just rescued. She sad huddled on the floor, gasping for air.

Blue walked towards her and put a hand on her shoulder; he too was breathing heavily.

"You okay?" he asked her, and she looked up at him.

"Yeah, thanks," she replied with a shaking voice. "What's going on down there, who the heck are those people?"

"Not sure," Blue said, "It's some sort of infection, but it's not good."

 

They flew around for more then twenty minutes, hoping for the horde to disperse so they could go in and get Scarlet. So far it hadn't, as if the Infected knew what Blue wanted.

On the horizon, a large U.S. Vampire Squadron appeared. Blue knew they were about to gas the entire region, and judging by the last reports, they would have to gas a very large area. Over a thousand and five hundred square miles, including  six towns, a total of sixty thousand civilians.  Although more than thirty-five thousand were airlifted in time, the largest part of the remaining twenty-five thousand were infected.

"Spectrum, this Captain Casey, we are coming in to deploy VZB, please stay clear."

"SIG, Captain. We will rise to an altitude of three thousand feet, how long will the bombing take?" The Albatross pilot asked through the radio.

"The bombing run itself will take mere minutes," the Vampire leader explained. "The entire target zone will be covered in approximately fifteen minutes, and it will take another seventy-five minutes before the gas drops to the ground."

The Albatross pilot acknowledged the information, as they shot past the Albatross at incredible speed.

 

"All right, here we go, men. It's for the best," Casey said through the radio to his men, as squadron broke formation, each plane taking a different, pre-set course.  "May God have mercy on their souls."

He pressed the red button on top of his control stick and every ten seconds, a small canister was dropped. The canisters exploded as soon as they hit the ground, spreading a yellowish gas that dispersed fast over a large area.

The bombing lasted for five minutes and the gas continued to spread for another ten, just as planned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ninety minutes after the bombing started, the gas dropped slowly to the ground, so it was deemed safe to return to the area. After reuniting the rescued woman with family at the EVAC site, the Spectrum Albatross returned to the Skyview Park.

It dropped from the sky and landed smoothly on the open clearing, not far from where Scarlet was lying.

The hatch opened on the underside of the plane, and a ladder dropped down. Captain Blue came climbing down, wearing a tight gas mask. He was closely followed by the co-pilot who was also wearing a gas mask.

They walked through the snow, which had a yellowish look to it, thanks to the gas that was covering it. They looked around and saw dead bodies lying all around them. The gassing was successful, the Infected had died.

Blue walked towards the spot where he had shot Scarlet, and he saw his colleague lying between all the other corpses, his blood-filled eyes wide open, face stained with blood and his body covered by snow and the yellowish dust.

"Sorry, buddy, but I had no other option," he said to Scarlet's lifeless body. He nodded at the co-pilot and they covered Scarlet in a body bag before lifting him up and carrying him back to the craft.

 

Back on Skybase, Scarlet was rushed into Sickbay, and Doctor Gold performed emergency treatment. Scarlet showed all the signs of retrometabolism, and the gas was quickly removed from his bloodstream, but the Mysteron Infection, which was quite clearly visible on Doctor Gold's blood tests, was not showing any signs of decreasing.

Colonel White ordered Scarlet's body to be restrained, as they had no idea what was going to happen when he woke up.

 

A few hours later, Scarlet did wake up. He looked at the bright lights on the ceiling and saw Doctor Gold leaning over him. He smiled when he realized he was safely back in Skybase.

"Can you hear me, Scarlet?" he could hear the doctor say, and he tried to reply, but his mouth was so dry that it burned and prevented him from answering. So he just nodded instead.

Suddenly he felt a familiar pain shoot through his body; he closed his eyes and felt his entire body shake and lost all control over it whatsoever. He started to cough, and felt blood  flow from his face. He started to scream as the ‘rage’ infection took control over him once more.

Doctor Gold jumped backwards and looked horrified at him when he saw what happened. Scarlet's eyes turned red and again, there was a rage-filled blank stare as the Infection cut out all his consciousness.

Scarlet, restrained to the bed, was going berserk; he broke one of his restraints. Security personnel came rushing in and seeing no other choice, they shot Scarlet with stun-guns.

He stopped moving as the electric sparks shot through his body.

 

Colonel White, Captain Blue and Destiny Angel saw it all happen from the gallery behind the transparent glass wall, looking out over the operating theatre. Blue and Destiny looked away, horrified at the sight.

But within a few moments, Scarlet awoke again and started another rage-filled bout; he was about to break a second restraint.

"Shoot him," Colonel White ordered, much to Blue and Destiny's disbelief. And a few seconds later, the security personnel looked at each other in disbelief and aimed their guns at Scarlet and simultaneously fired.

Scarlet fell lifelessly back in the bed and Doctor Gold looked at Colonel White, unsure what to do next.

 

 

 

 

The next day, all the captains and Doctor Gold sat around Colonel White's desk. An uncomfortable silence hung after they heard the news Doctor Gold had just given.

"How long will it take?" Colonel White asked the Austrian doctor.

"It's hard to say.  Every time Scarlet is... killed, and his body retrometabolises, the Infection decreases by a few percent, so that means he is healing, but it will take days or even weeks to fully restore," the doctor explained. He stopped for a moment. The look in his eyes behind his glasses gave away his disbelief.  "The problem is that the Infection, although it does decrease, acts like a virus. It's not a virus, but it spreads like one, quickly multiplying as soon as he regains consciousness, it also only multiplies when he is conscious. It's complicated to explain," he finished with a heavy heart and a deep sigh.

"So, as long as he stays unconscious, he heals?"  Blue asked in concern. " Is that what you're saying, Doc?"     

"Well, I'm not sure if I should have used the word unconscious. Dead is the word I didn't want to use to describe it, but I think it fits in this case," Doctor Gold explained to the surprised Captain Blue.   "He only heals when he retrometabolises. So we need to keep him in a dead state until a hundred percent of his blood is clean."

"So how do we do that?" Blue replied.

"I guess the best way to do it, is to continue it the way we are doing it now: as soon as he wakes up, we stop his heart. We have him hooked on an electrical device that is programmed to do the reverse of a pacemaker," Gold told everyone. He had to sound like he was doing the right thing, but killing someone just as they are regaining consciousness was pretty much against everything he had learned during his years as a doctor.

"This morning, it took around seventy seconds before it started," Blue said with a heavy heart. "We had a normal conversation for almost a full minute until the infection hit, which is a real improvement to yesterday when he was brought in. We all saw that, he fell under the Infection's control within fifteen seconds."

For the past twenty-four hours, Blue had barely left Scarlet's side and he was there all four times his friend had woken up.

"In the meantime, I will do my best to find a cure to speed up the process," Doctor Gold assured his colleagues, who were all more than a bit upset by this latest Mysteron blow. "Until then, there is nothing we can do but to let Scarlet do all the work. Like I said, it will take time, but he will heal."

"Thank you, Doctor," Colonel White said.  He glanced at Blue. "Sergeant Doyle and his family are all right, Captain Blue, if you would like to know," he said, and Blue smiled back at the colonel.  "The boy had a mild concussion, but is fine now. The gassing was also successful: it killed all Infected and no more cases have been reported."

 

Later, Captain Blue grabbed a quick coffee in the canteen and then proceeded to Sickbay and entered the gallery. He was unexpectedly greeted by a waiting Lieutenant Green, who was leaning forward on the metal railing in front of the glass and looking at the bed where Scarlet lay, covered in dried blood.   As soon as she heard the door open, she turned around and saw him walk in and she smiled to him.

"Hi, I thought I'd go and keep you company while you are out keeping watch," she said softly as he walked towards her.

"If I knew you would be here, I'd have brought another coffee," he said with a smile on his face and gave her a quick kiss.  "How is he?" he asked as he leaned next to her and took a sip of his drink.

"Still no change, what did the doc say?" she asked him.

"He's gonna be fine, but it's gonna take time, weeks maybe. But he'll do his best to help him, to go and find a cure or something." He looked at Serena, who grabbed his right shoulder and hugged him. It felt right to have her here and he smiled once more.

"Thanks for being here for me, Serena," he said and he kissed her.

"Hey, I love you, and I want to be there for you when you need it," she replied.

Blue looked through the window at Scarlet. He felt so sorry for him, at least now they knew he was going to be fine, and as long as they kept him unconscious, he wouldn't know what was going on.

But it was harsh, even on someone who was indestructible.

 

 

 

 

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