The Apocalypse Bug
By Bethany Swingle


Part One--Life Must End Before It Can Begin

Her eyes focused on the page, but her mind did not understand the words. Her thoughts had drifted elsewhere. Since this day began she couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. What it was she didn't know.
Things had been happening. At first, they'd seemed small and unimportant. But, now, she didn't know. You learn quickly at the CDC about observation. The Centers for Disease Control favored extremely well kept records. So, when the chimpanzee had appeared with no paperwork accompanying the transfer, she'd been worried. Although she worked on Biosafety Level Four with horrific diseases like Ebola and Marburg, she'd never grown accustomed to the test animals. The Chimp attracted her attention the moment she entered the lab. Only an hour before he'd been fine. But, now, he seemed to have come down with a truly terrifying pathogen.
How could his entire medical condition change in one hour? She pondered the question and decided that she simply had to find an answer.
Now, she was staring at the file by his cage. "Subject 11." She frowned as she spoke. She knew that meant there should be 10 more sick animals. But where were they? And, what were they trying to do? She recognized something as she scanned the page. "My God!" She uttered fearfully as she gazed at the writing. "They're gene-splicing." The world's most frightening disease. It was a genetic hybrid. A virus, part Ebola, part Bubonic plague. "What are they doing to you?" She whispered to the chimp. "Don't they know biochemical warfare is illegal? I have to find out who's doing this."
She walked over to the intercom and spoke into it using the sweet, innocent voice she knew he could not resist. "Hi, Frank, Listen, can you do me a favor?"
"Anything for you, Darling!"
"Frank."
"Sorry, kiddo, what do you need?"
"Well, I'm working in the lab, and I came across something funny."
"Yeah?"
"Well, there's a chimp in here, and he died. I need to know the doctor in charge of him. He'll want to know the chimp's condition."
"Oh, wow! That is important. Well, let me see. Look's like your beau, Doctor Ted Johnson."
"Thanks! I'll call him right away."
She turned off the intercom and stared at it for a moment. She tried to hold back the strangled cry that was trying to emerge from her throat. "I don't believe, I won't. It can't be him. It can't be." She hurried through the chemical bath and out of her regulation space-suit like uniform to her office. She collapsed onto the chair and cried. Finally, after the sadness had been spent, she knew what she had to do. She turned on her computer and started. In minutes, she was in files she'd never seen before. It took her a moment to hack into them, but now she was reading things she could hardly believe!
"What are you doing?"
"Ted! What are you doing here?" She jumped and tried to hide her fear. She stood up and at the same time pressed a key erasing what was on her screen and sending the urgent email she had just completed to an old friend.
"Frank called me, he said you were asking questions. You should know better than to stick your nose where it doesn't belong, Kelly."
"I was just playing a trick on him, that's all. You know how he's always coming on to me. I was..."
"You were asking questions. You know what curiosity did to the cat."
"Ted, are you drunk? Do you know what you're doing? You're threatening me, and that isn't like you. I love you, you know that. I would never snoop about any of your projects. And even if I did, it would only be to learn from you. You're the best geneticist in the US." Kelly tried to convince him. She knew if he found out, she'd be as good as dead. She didn't notice the form come up behind her. But she did feel the slam as something hit her skull, then she blacked out.


Cade sighed. It was another slow spell, none of the quatrains fit with anything. Eddie had been over every one of them a hundred times. And nothing. That was more frightening than any of the Gua experiments could ever be. Suddenly he heard a shout from inside the trailer. Cade hurried in. "What is it Eddie? Did you find something?"
"I can't believe it."
"What?"
"I haven't heard from her in years, and all the sudden she's writing to me." Eddie paused as he read the rest of the email. "Shit! Foster, we've got to get to Atlanta, and now!"
"Why?"
"A friend of mine. She's a doctor at the CDC. I haven't talked to her since her internship ended. I met her when she was interning at a hospital in Maryland. She was a really nice girl, but she was kinda strange."
"She wouldn't sleep with you?"
"Nope, said it'd ruin our friendship." Eddie shook his head. "But that's not the problem. She's in trouble. Big trouble. Wait, just read this." Eddie moved the computer screen over so Cade could get a view of what was written there.

Dear Eddie,
I know I haven't written to you in a long time. Hell, we haven't seen each other in years. Anyway, I'm in trouble, serious trouble. And, something tells me you're the only one who can help. There's something fishy going on at the CDC here in Atlanta. I broke into their files, it's unbelievable! It talks about Aliens called "Gua" doing experiments to create some "Apocalypse bug." I need you to help me find somebody called the "Twice-blessed" Man. The program mentions him a hundred times. They're scared of him.
Hack into the "Angel's unaware" mainframe. Find an address for a girl named Nissa, I'll meet you there. If I can. I know they're going to come and get me, so If I don't make it there within an hour, Leave! I don't want to take you down with me.
Kelly


"You're positive that's her, and not a Gua just trying to trap us." Cade asked, sounding almost like Eddie in his paranoid line of questioning.
"It's gotta be her, this email address isn't even mine. It's a friend's. He's supposed to keep a look out for her, if she emails it she's in trouble. It's her, it even sounds like her. She was a friend, and I gotta help her."
Cade looked into Eddie's eyes and saw the urgency in them. "Okay, looks like we're going to Atlanta."

Kelly sat completely still as the electric current flashed through her body. Shock therapy wouldn't make her talk. Nothing would. She'd learned as a child how to separate her mind from her body so she wouldn't feel pain. Her father had been abusive, it was her only means of keeping her sanity.
"Are you going to tell us now?"
"Never."
He sighed. "I'm growing impatient, Darling."
"Too bad, looks like you aren't as high and mighty as you think you are."
Ted glared at her angrily and left the cell. Kelly whispered a thankful prayer to her CIA friend "Jake" as she popped her wrists out and pulled them through the cuffs. She rubbed them after she popped them back into position. "Houdini, I don't how you did it, the wrists are painful enough!" She laughed.
She took in every aspect of the cell she was in, and then smiled. She was still in the CDC building. They'd just put her in a quarantine cell. They weren't as smart as they thought they were. She heard the foot fall in the hall and slipped back into her seat positioning her hands so they appeared to still be in cuffs.
Ted smiled as he entered the room. He brandished a weapon now, a Smith and Wesson police special. "Well, if the electric current won't make you talk, maybe blowing out your knees will."
Kelly bit her lips nervously and then spoke. "Ted.....I'll...I'll talk. I'll tell you what I read in the computer and how to make the perfect virus, just don't do that." Ted smiled and laid the gun down on the table that housed all of the torture tools Kelly'd already become acquainted with.
In a flash, before he could react she grabbed the gun.
Ted laughed. "You won't shoot me. You love me, remember. You were going to marry me."
Kelly's eyes narrowed as she pulled the gun up and took aim. "You know what Ted, love is blind, but not stupid."
"Isn't murder a sin?"
"Somehow I don't think you count. But, just in case, see you in hell." She pulled the trigger and watched the bullet enter Ted's left temple. The body began to shake, and then disintegrate before her very eyes. She didn't wait to see what else would happen, instead she ran out the CDC building. She was leaving the life she had loved so much behind her.

To be continued................................