This isn't a story involving characterisation too any meaningful degree, but rather my views on how society, the government, military, police, media ect would have coped with the outbreak of "Rage".
I've been working on this timeline over at the Alternate History website too.
So here's my take on the 28 days before Jim woke up...
At 8:38 PM, May 4th 2002, a group of animal rights activists broke into a research lab near Cambridge University, unleashing several chimps which are, unknown to the activists, infected with the highly contagious Rage virus.
Within seconds, all of the activists, and a scientist who had desperately tried to stop them releasing the caged animals, had become infected earlier.
They rampaged through the building, infecting and some cases killing researchers and security guards alike.
Police received their first 999 call from the lab at 8:45 PM, and the first units were on the scene seven minutes later. They arrived just as a dozen infected smashed through the front doors, and assaulted the police officers before they could flee, infecting them.
There were at least thirty infected in the immediate vicinity of the blood soaked research centre and they spread out in search of more victims.
Several car accidents occurred as infected ran across roads in pursuit of victims, forcing drivers to break or swerve.
A group of infected reached Cambridge's main train station twenty minutes later and stormed a waiting train, killing several people and infecting dozens of others.
999 calls from the public alerted police to what was thought to be a mass brawl between drunken students at the train station, and public order units were dispatched as were three ambulances.
Police clad in riot gear and armed with shields and batons charged the infected, who did not seem remotely intimidated, and seemed intent on attacking the officers. A few were successfully detained and restrained by police strapped on gurneys and taken to hospital by ambulance, once the officers saw they were vomiting blood and were clearly very sick.
Things took a turn for the worst when some of the officers were bitten, or got infected blood in the eyes and mouths. Those infected turned in between ten and twenty seconds, the longest known incubation in the outbreak period being thirty four seconds. Within a few minutes, several officers had turned and were fighting with their former colleagues.
The shocked and bewildered officers quickly got back in their vans and withdrew from the area, and formed a defensive line on nearby station road whilst waiting on reinforcements.
By 9:30 PM, BBC news was reporting a small scale riot occurring in Central Cambridge, completely oblivious to the true nature of events on the ground.
At 10:00 PM, armed response units were dispatched to the area surrounding Cambridge train station, as well as the Primate Research Centre, the two focus points of the outbreak. However, the virus continued to spread at rapid rates, with both police and public still, at that point, unaware of the biological nature of the violence.
By midnight, twenty police officers lay dead, with at least the same number infected. Gunshots rang out cross much of central Cambridge, and gangs of youths began looting in the town centre, believing the violence by the infected was some kind of riot by drunk students, and so decided to take advantage of the chaos.
The confusion grew, and several looters were shot in the town centre by police who had itchy trigger fingers after dealing with the infected.
The first infected reached the main shopping area at quarter past twelve, populated only with some students returning from nights out and police officers interviewing witnesses to the looting. Chaos broke out as the infection spread in the town centre, by rampaging infected storming into pubs and night clubs.
By two in the morning, the outbreak was more or less out of control, and hundreds of infected were prowling the streets, and dozens of people were dead. Terrified families were barricading themselves in their homes and huddling around TV sets, trying to find out what was happening.
The Prime Minister Tony Blair was woken at 2:35 AM and informed that a major public disturbance was occurring in Cambridge, and that fatalities had occurred. That was all anyone really knew at that point.