A/N: This chapter had been in my mind for a long time; I just haven't the time to encode it until now. Anyway, since there's about to be a Prototype 2, I would like to make it clear that this fic occurs after the first Prototype, and that Prototype 2 will not happen here.
And another thing: Since he became a prawn, or Poleepkwa, Wikus was given the new post of Director of the Department of Off-World Affairs for the GENTEK-controlled MNU, which handles contact between the Poleepkwa and MNU.
Arnold Backfire was in pain.
He didn't know why he was in pain, but it certainly wasn't because of what he ate. He had gotten used to Earth—that's what the natives called their planet—food when he first set foot on their world, so that wasn't the problem. But he did get sick of those tasteless foodstuffs quick, and he decided to try to recreate Poleepkwa cuisine with what little stuff that he could use. There was that indigenous bird that he captured and cooked for himself—his fevers began the day he ate that flying creature. His limited knowledge of local fauna means that he doesn't know if these birds are home to an indigenous virus that was deadly to the Poleepkwa.
But what he knows is that his fevers haven't gone away after three days, and Poleepkwa fevers never last for more than a single Earth day. Something in the bird had made him sick, and he didn't know what it was. That made him sicker.
"Backfire!" shouted one of the Multinational Union guards as he entered his shelter. "Roll call was twenty minutes ago! What are you still doing here?"
Backfire replied, "I have a fever, damn it!" but all the guard heard were grunts and clicks.
"All right, whatever," said the guard. "Let's go, Backfire!" He tried to lift Backfire out of his bed, but the Poleepkwa coughed, sending black alien blood onto the guard's face. "Ah! Shit! Command, this is Ntambo in District 10! I have a spitting prawn here, and I need a containment unit!" He wiped the blood from his face. "You're going to pay for that, prawn!"
"All right, Darcy, what happened to you?"
"That prawn spit on me!" replied Darcy Ntambo, the guard that was spit on by Arnold Backfire.
"How many times do I have to tell you, they're Poleepkwa, not prawns!" said Wikus van der Merwe. "Besides, I think he didn't mean to do it on purpose."
"Not on purpose?" Ntambo leaned back on his chair. "Director, he didn't come up during roll call! I think that's motive on his part!"
"Fine, say whatever you think."
Ntambo suddenly sat up. "Director, do you think what happened to you will happen to me?"
Wikus thought about it. "I don't know, Darcy. I can't say for sure. The fluid that I ingested three years ago will turn you into Poleepkwa, all right. But Poleepkwa blood? That I would love to see! But if you really want to find out, then you'll have to quarantine yourself."
"But why can't you do it?" Ntambo protested.
"I'm the Director of Off-World Affairs for MNU. Health concerns do not fall under my department."
Wikus got up and escorted the young guard out of his office, and then he walked towards the MNU Building infirmary. There, the head doctor, Dr. James Kazama, was waiting for him. "Sorry for the delay, Doctor," said Wikus, "but Mr. Ntambo wanted to have a private word with me first."
"That's fine with me, Director van der Merwe," replied Kazama. "Let's begin, shall we?"
"We've held Mr. Backfire in quarantine ever since he was brought in here. We found out that he had been suffering fevers for three days, and that regular Poleepkwa fevers never last for more than a day. We've administered the regular battery of tests on him, but all we've discovered besides the fever is nothing else. We need to find out what happened to him that made him catch a fever, so that we can treat it, if possible. That's where you come in. You've been exposed to Poleepkwa culture, and you've mastered their language. We're hoping that you can be our translator for him."
"Gee, Doctor, I don't know," replied Wikus, wiping the sweat on his forehead. "I mean, it's an honor to be a translator for you guys, but at the same time, I don't think I can do this. The Poleepkwa language is a complex language that can only be spoken using a Poleepkwa's mouth. And being a tonal language, all sorts of misinterpretation could happen if I don't click my tongue or grunt in the right way."
"Well, Director, let's hope that that doesn't happen," said Kazama, entering the quarantined section of the infirmary. There was only a single bed in the room, and on that bed lay the Poleepkwa Arnold Backfire. He was hooked up to a heart monitor and an IV line. Two guards stood on each side. Kazama waved them away, and then he took a seat beside Backfire. "Hello, Arnold," he said. "I'm Doctor James Kazama, and this is Director of Off-World Affairs Wikus van der Merwe. He will help me communicate with you."
"Wikus van der Merwe?" Arnold asked in Poleepkwan. "The Wikus van der Merwe? Oh, I've heard so much about you!"
"I hope all of it is good," Wikus also replied in Poleepkwan.
"Are you kidding? Both Commodore Christopher Johnson and Grand Master of Fredonay Guy Williams speak highly of you! How can I help you, friend Wikus?"
Wikus nodded at Kazama. "Mr. Backfire, when did this fever start?" Wikus translated for Arnold.
"Three days ago."
"And what did you do three days ago before you had this fever?"
"I ate my dinner."
"What did you have for dinner?"
"A bird. A black bird."
"Must be a crow," Wikus whispered to the doctor.
"Why did you have a bird for your dinner?"
"It resembled the tiktik on my homeworld, except with only two wings. I assumed that it would taste like the tiktik, but it appears that I am mistaken."
"Why would you try to catch your own food? Both the South African government and the Red Cross have established soup kitchens in District 10."
"Not all of us Poleepkwa like your local foods, good Doctor. No offense."
"None taken. But did you check the bird if it was injured or sick in any way?"
Arnold laughed in the way Poleepkwa laughed, with a series of grunts and clicks. "The Poleepkwa does not check if a tiktik is clean because my planet is not polluted like yours. Once again, no offense." Suddenly, Arnold began to twitch, and he grunted in what can only be a Poleepkwa scream. The line on the heart monitor began to swing wildly, as if his heart was beating erratically. "Somebody get me a tranquilizer!" Kazama ordered. The two guards struggled to keep Arnold in his bed, but he kept trying to push them away. A nurse arrived bearing a syringe filled with a straw-colored liquid and gave it to Kazama, who stuck it into the IV line. Meawhile, Wikus was trying to coax Arnold to calm down, but it was as if the Poleepkwa couldn't hear him anymore. With nothing else to do, he moved away.
The straw-colored tranquilizer seemed to have an effect on the Poleepkwa, since Arnold stopped fighting with the guards, but then, black blood began to ooze from more than a dozen places on Arnold's scaly skin. The guards instinctively moved away as some of the blood began spurting into the air, and then Arnold began to twitch again, just as the heart monitor flatlined. As knowing next to nothing about Poleepkwa physiology, Kazama assumed that the twitches were death spasms. And then, they stopped.
"What did you stick into him?" Wikus asked the mortified doctor.
"A tranquilizer based on the venom of the South Sea conch. It's effective in knocking out large animals like those dinosaurs on that island in Costa Rica, but extremely lethal in humans. But I don't understand. Before, this tranquilizer didn't kill any Poleepkwa subjects that were injected with it. Why did it kill this one?"
"Maybe what caused Arnold's fever had a fatally severe reaction to the tranquilizer," Wikus replied.
"Maybe," replied Kazama. "Well, the time of death was exactly twelve o'clock at noon. Get him in a body bag, and send him over to the biohazards room. I want to work on him and find out what caused his fever and death."
"Yes, sir." A few minutes later, a body bag was brought in, and one of the guards opened it while the other went to pick up Arnold's body. Suddenly, the Poleepkwa grunted and slashed at the guard, who screamed at both the apparent reawakening of the dead and the attack on him. The other guard left the body bag on the ground, took the FN F2000 slung on his shoulder and fired a burst at the reanimated corpse's chest, and then a single shot to the head. A low hiss of air escaped the corpse's mouth, and then it died again.
"What was that?" asked Wikus, shocked at the speed of the events. "Was that a zombie?"
"I don't know, Director," replied the guard who shot the corpse. "But it definitely wanted to attack us."
Meanwhile, Dr. Kazama was trying to persuade the guard that had been attacked to let him take care of him. "Let me take a look at that wound, Willi!"
"It's nothing, Doctor, seriously!" replied Willi Zoon, an Afrikaner guard. But there were three deep gashes on his arm.
"That's nonsense, Willi, and you know it! Now, it's either you come quietly with me, or I force you to!"
"Fine," Zoon muttered through gritted teeth. As Kazama escorted him out, the doctor turned around and said, "Clean up that mess! And the damage you caused on that bed will come out of your next paycheck!"
"Gee, you save a person's life and then they tell you that you'll pay for the damages," the guard muttered as he lifted the Poleepkwa's body into the bag. He also picked up the four cartridge casings lying on the floor of the room and pocketed them. He was about to leave when a hand grabbed his shoulder. It was Director van der Merwe.
"That was nice quick thinking you did back there," he told the guard. "How can you have such fast reflexes?"
"Oh, I just play too much zombie video games," the guard replied sheepishly.
"That's nothing to be ashamed about, man. In fact, I fokken' love zombie video games! Especially Left 4 Dead!"
"Really, sir? Which character do you like to use?"
"I think it would be Francis."
"Yes, man, and I'm not going further than that! Anyway, what you did saved a lot of lives today. Maybe I'll put in a good word for you, Mister…"
"Mhlanga, sir. Yanuzu Mhlanga."
"Oh, so you're Fundiswa's younger brother? How's he doing? I heard that he finally got out of jail for good behavior."
"Brother Fundiswa's fine, Director. He's told me a lot of stories about you. I really liked that time that that Poleepkwa threw the candy bar you gave him back at you."
Wikus sighed. He remembered that day, and was sure that he would never forget it as it was the day that his conversion to Poleepkwa form began. "Oh, well, congratulations for saving all of our fokken' rears back there. Send Fundiswa my regards, OK?"
"Yes, Director," replied Yanuzu.
Later that day, after his shift had ended, Yanuzu Mhlanga went into an Internet shop and posted a detailed account of the encounter on an investigative journalism forum. His post immediately received a ton of replies from other Net surfers, ranging from demands of proof of his account to questions about his sanity, to plain, undisguised skepticism. Yanuzu knew that, and he also knew that there was one other investigative journalist who was surfing the forums that knew that he was not a crackpot, and that everything that he posted was the real thing: Dana Mercer, sister of the controversial Alex Mercer, the man who started the Manhattan fiasco and nearly caused GENTEK to go bankrupt.
A/N: This story slightly coincides with the Lost World movie, in that people know about the Jurassic Park and Isla Sorna. Also, Fundiswa's brother Yanuzu knows Dana Mercer.