Feral II: Outbreak
Date: June ??, 2130
Events: Unknown. Contact with outside world stemmed for almost two years.
“It’s time to get up, sir.” The world comes into sharp focus quickly. “Wake up, sir. When you’re ready, please head down to the meeting room.” The man in white nods to you as you sit up on your bed, before stepping out into the hall.
Subject: Agent 141, Codename Darwin
Status: Training complete.
Down the well lit corridor, you turn into a cool, well-maintained red-carpeted room, a long oak table stretching away from you. Situated at various seats are several men and women, some in suits, others in lab coats. One beckons for you to have a seat; the rest look quite anxious.
History: Subject was responsible for containing an extremely hostile specimen on the Kaho‘olawe Island Research Facility on August of two years ago.
Merit: Agent has proved to be tenacious, resourceful, and decisive, capable of survival against extreme odds, thus codename “Darwin.” Kept in good shape over the past two years, the board has approved Darwin’s first assignment.
“Agent Darwin.” One of them, the man at the far end opposite, nods politely to you. “I’ve heard quite a bit about your progression in the facilities. How are you feeling today? I realize it takes a while, but have you gotten comfortable with your new, err… skin?” He inquires. Looking down at your palms, nothing would seem different; but turning your hands over, you examine the scaly, supple and clean reptilian carapace that has replaced the back of your arms and legs, your back, your neck, and your lower torso; from between the painful shredding when your arm was bitten by 83457 back at Kaho‘olawe, and the heavy burns sustained on your back in the subsequent tactical bombing… as well as what would be expected of you following, the carapace was the ideal way to go; fairly protective, more durable than the human flesh still over most of the front of your body as well as your face; little else has changed about you in the span of time since.
“Darwin, we’re all very sorry that we’ve had to… detain you this long.” The man looks at you through lying eyes. “It’s just that… the pathogens you’ve been exposed to, we weren’t sure what could have happened had you left. However, it has been determined that you are safe to leave, and just in time; we need you to do us all a favor.” The others nod, shifting uncomfortably. You’ve been screwed left and right by these guys. But you know better than to put up a real fight. This facility is heavily guarded; by real soldiers. Not those inexperienced lupines you managed to dodge back at Kaho‘olawe. Real fucking marines here, and even they are a bit edgy around the few slightly less than human hybrids such as yourself strutting around here. Maybe it’s the fact that your skin is scaled now; maybe it’s the fact that you just get a kick out of unhinging your jaw (something you couldn’t do until recently) and downing an entire ham sandwich in one gulp front of one of the guards every now and then.
The man at the end of the table is starting to speak again… doubtful you care about what he has to say, but even so, you might as well listen. Won’t be able to leave until you know what’s going on.
So put on your rubber gaiters. You’re gonna need ‘em to wade through all the bullshit.
“You may have been told, how the lupines and several other species had made their way off the island. How so many of them have started their own nations; parts of Africa, South America, Asia… there’s literally millions now. They’ve designed a retrovirus, and those who are infected with it, many of them voluntarily, are incubated and change their species to that of the specific virus within a matter of weeks. It’s a slow and relatively painful transition. But it used to be you had to be repeatedly injected with the virus for it to work.” The man in white pointed out several items on the overhead projection. “The problem is, now, they’ve jacked it up. They now have a one-time, airborne version. It’s real, and it’s in production now. Some of the only specimens that have been infected are now being detained in this very facility. They were caught within a matter of days of their test infection.” He shakes his head. “Director Marshal?”
“We’re admitting it; we’re scared, all of us.” Another man, this one in a grey suit, gets to his feet. “In almost every one of these nations, they’re arming; they’re going to spread this virus across the globe with atmospheric missile strikes. Their governments have claimed that humans have discriminated, murdered, waged war on them unjustly, without acknowledging their own underhandedness. What’s worse, the delegates we sent to pacify them, a pair of nagae, Rezeies and Mira… have gone missing as of late. It’s no doubt they’ve been imprisoned, and our options are limited. Because of the mix of populations and widespread numerous locations, the ever growing support and increasing numbers of their kind… Darwin.” He eyes you. “There may be no bloodshed, but this could very well be the end of the human race unless we do something.” He leans forward over the table. “You’ve recently been given the first experimental vaccine to this virus, but it’s likely unstable. Temporary. It will only help if you’re exposed within the next two or three weeks… days… so I’m told.”
“We need you to ship out immediately. You will be working with a specially trained team – a group of the best. The primary production facility of this virus has been located in a heavily populated city in southern Russia, and we want you to go with our boys to shut it down.” He flips the projector slide, and it pans to a reptilian visage, a lithe but powerful scaled humanoid body. “This…” He continues. “Is general Szelar. Human name unknown. He’s one of their big guys, ex human, in charge of the whole operation. It’s been reported but unconfirmed that the entire strike could be initiated at his very whim once the setup is finished. He carries a transmitter, supposedly, which is why we’re going in in such a small outfit. We can’t afford them speeding up this whole damnable mess into a matter of mere days and having him blast those things into orbit.” He shudders. “We need you guys to go in now. We’ve got a camouflaged flight scheduled to drop your team off at a civilian airport. And be ready for anything, not that we have to tell you.” He examines you as though patronizing a seasoned veteran. “But even after what you’ve been through, there’s a lot you haven’t seen. There’s a lot out there we even know we know nothing about. They’ve got horrifying tactics and methods, and only your wits are going to keep you from their reach.” Marshal explains. “Now, before we get you going, do you have any questions?”
Like it or not, it’s only a matter of a few hours before you’re moving out of the New Mexico former prison. Although its purpose hadn’t been changed one bit…
The team is actually not a rather pleasant bunch; most of them clearly fear or resent you without speaking so much as a word in greeting. The platoon leader is a stern man, bald but bearded, one “Sarge” Reading. They all eye you every now and then, only so human… bedecked in your dusty jeans, a bomber jacket, a white shirt and boots… smooth, shining scales up the back of your neck and hands…
Only a matter of time before you’re on that flight… hours pass, more briefings as you wait, getting stares as you chew on a rubbery burger, finally downing the last half whole just for the look on their faces, and polishing it up with a crappy sprite that tastes quite chlorinated…
The pilot’s voice crackles over the radio after an eternity…
“Team, we are now approaching for descent, we’ll be nearing the city limits in two… please buckle up for the time being… and good luck – hang on, transmission – this is Flight 901 inbound to… we’ve been over this already… holdit! SURFACE TO AIR!” The pilot screams. Static. “Hold your… FUCK…! Brace…”
Even as you’ve begun to buckle in, most of the team is thrown from their feet as the plane bucks, a deafening roar rattling your bones. For a brief instant, you’re sitting upside-down as the plane jerks to the right. Your stomach begins to knot as the entire left half of the liner peels, the nose tilting – several of the others are ripped free, pulled out the side… Reading crawls to the front of the plane, desperately making his way for the cockpit…
Impact. Darkness. Nothing.
“Steele! Crowe! Secure the perimeter!” A voice barks as the world comes into sharp focus. “Scout for survivors!” As you crawl free, pushing yourself up from a pile of debris, looking up you see Reading pointing off in the distance. He glances back to you with disapproval. “So you made it, halfbreed? Lucky for that skin they gave you, no? Well, don’t just sit around, at the back of the plane is a weapons cache – not that we were going to take them at first, but we’ll need them where we’re going… don’t give me that look! We’re proceeding as ordered – crash or not.”
Making your way back, you find indeed a smashed open compartment beneath cut rug… digging through the small selection, it seems that most of the items are busted, save for a few clips and the latest model – an M16A5 – as well as some thin Kevlar. Not flak, but a Kevlar vest – a little heavy… maybe some plastic plates in there. Maybe. It’s whatcha got – make use of it.
“You – DARWIN.” Reading snaps. “Scout ahead a half mile or so. I want to be in the suburbs and hidden before nightfall. Lucky for us, this is a city of both humans and monsters, so it won’t be so hard to blend in… just don’t let anyone see you with that gun. Don’t stare at me! Get yer ass out there and get back quick.” He orders, before turning his attention back to the other two.
It’s the first time you’ve had the chance to leave the watch of big bro… just what are you going to do about it?