Author's note: Because work on the Retrovirus sequel is going slow due to co-authorship wrangling plus the sheer weight that needs to be worked, I thought it would be a good idea to write a small prequel to the sequel. (If you follow.) This will help keep my writing sharp and perhaps give those who are looking forward to it something to chew on. With no further ado, here goes a relatively short work...

Data entry, personal log

Entry 37, second day of the seventh month

The village is excited. Some of the men who have been scavenging around the countryside have stumbled upon some minerals. Turns out that it was a deposit of heavy metals which they believe the Alliance will be interested in. Everyone is very happy. All the adults are talking about how this will get jobs for everyone if there is a large vein of the stuff down there. We're only surprised we had not found it sooner. At least we won't be trying to make a living by scratching at the dirt and hoping for good crops.

The only downer today was old man Ferdinand. He said he was feeling a little sick today, a little numb. His hands were shaking something awful. His words were also coming out funny. We all hope he'll get better. Dad says its just old age. I guess he is getting old, after all.

Data entry, personal log

Entry 38, eighth day of the seventh month

Dad came home very happy today. He said that they received word that the Alliance agreed to look into the mineral deposits. However, it'll take a couple of weeks before they can send a group of surveyors to check it out. They said the delay has something to do with a lack of manpower. All the men are getting excited that they'll be able to make more credits now since the Alliance will certainly need miners to extract the metals.

Ferdinand is not getting better. He's confined in bed and we can sometimes hear him shouting at night. Mother says its because he's having really bad nightmares. The doctor says that he doesn't know what it is but agrees with that its just because old man Ferdinand is getting, well, old. I really hope it isn't a sickness. There aren't a lot of good hospitals out here on the frontier.

Data entry, personal log

Entry 39, seventeenth day of the seventh month

Old man Ferdinand died. Everyone is very sad around here. Mother says that it is better now because at least he isn't in pain anymore. He was shaking so bad before he died. I couldn't help mother run some food over to help him and the family. It was too frightening to watch. He seemed angry, snapping and even trying to bite anything that got close.

I better go to bed soon. Dad is yelling at some of the men outside about making too much noise. Dad's bad mood tends to get let out on everyone if it gets too late.

Data entry, personal log

Entry 40, eighteenth day of the seventh month

One of the men that dad was yelling at last night stumbled and fell on the ground. He couldn't walk straight and just kept falling. At first Dad thought it was just because they were drinking too much but then we found out that they weren't in fact drinking. All of the men weren't but they still couldn't talk seem to be acting just like Old man Ferdinand was. It's so frightening.

The doctor is getting worried. It seems like everyone is afraid all of a sudden. I swear, even my friends seem like they're starting to shake with fear. Dad says that we shouldn't worry about it. Besides, it'll get better when the Alliance surveyors get here. We're all just probably excited about everything going on.

Data entry, personal log

Entry 41, twentieth day of the seventh month

It's so horrible! Half the town is staggering around with the shakes. Most of them can't even talk. They just yell and scream and some even laugh like there is no tomorrow. The doctor is doing all he can but even he doesn't know what's going on. It's getting real bad. I can tell because I saw the doctor today. His lip was twitching like mine do when I'm afraid or sad. We can't even keep the people in their homes because they seem out of their minds. I can't even play with my friends because they aren't themselves. Mom says its dangerous to be around them now.

Dad has decided that we should always keep the door locked and that we should only stay inside. Only he goes outside to get supplies and now he and mom are stockpiling on food. I really hope this all goes away. I really hope everything gets better. I don't like being scared. It''s making my hands shake.

Data entry, log

Entry 42, twenty fifth day of the sev month

So bad. So bad. Dad never came home. Mom does nothing but scream. I looked outside today. Light. Light too bright. So bright. Can't see. Fuzzy. Like my nose. Fuzzy nose. Everyone is sleeping outside. Should probably join them. Smell is strong. Strong smells. Fuzzy. Fuzzy. Bright. Sleep. Sleepy sleep. Shakes. My

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When Alliance surveyors recovered this document, the entire village had been devoid of life for at least several days. The infectious agent that exterminated the whole population has not yet been identified. Council agents have declared a mass quarantine of the area.

The quarantine radius was extended when government agents started to display similar symptoms. All of the infected have since expired. The identity of the pathogen is still unknown...

...Malicious Protein...