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 Human Cortio-Deficiency Virus, or more commonly known as "Rage". Despite desperate pleas from one virologist who catches them in the act, they open the cages and are immediately rushed by the contagious primates, leading to the first human cases of Rage.
Police received their first 999 call from a terrified security guard in the lab complex at 8:45 PM, and the first units were on the scene seven minutes later. A single police car was dispatched with two young male officers who were unsure of what to expect other than there had been a break in and a fight seemed to have broken out.
The two officers were arrived just as several infected burst through the front doors. The infected refused to heed the officer's stern warnings to stay back, instead lunging at the bewildered policemen and murdering them both on the spot before they could call for assistance.
Loss of communication with the dispatched officers alarmed Police HQ in Huntingdon, and several more officers were sent to investigate the area, which had since abandoned by the infected who had wandered off in search of more victims. The mutilated bodies of their colleagues were discovered soon after prompting a large police mobilisation in the area. Several police cars began to patrol the streets around the complex in search of the cop killers, finding blood stains and signs of violent struggle in several streets. Members of the public rushed out their homes to tell the officers that mobs of vandals have been running up and down the streets chasing people and smashing windows.
Less than a mile away several car accidents occurred as infected ran across roads in pursuit of victims, forcing drivers to break or swerve. Some infected were knocked down, only to get back to their feet and attack the drivers who got out their vehicles to help what they assumed to be drunkards running out in the middle of the road, adding to the slowly but steadily increasing number of infected on the streets.
A single infected wearing a lab coat staggered into Cambridge train station, foaming at the mouth and covered in blood. Several people who had just finished their shifts and were waiting on the train home had no idea of the chaos that was about to unfold. An off duty nurse rushed over to help the man upon seeing his convulsions. It was the last mistake she would ever make as he tackled her to the ground and vomited several times on her face. Most people stood there dumbfounded, but two young men decided to take it upon themselves to do something about what they believed was a drugged up rapist. They too, like the well-meaning nurse, had just made their last mistake as both she and the man who had attacked her suddenly launched themselves at the would-be heroes. From there it spread like wildfire.
999 calls from the public alerted police to what was thought to be a mass brawl between drunken students at the train station. Specialised public order units were dispatched as were three ambulances. CCTV footage showed the attack clearly. Those behind the cameras were bewildered as to how the number of people involved in the altercation was constantly increasing. Two members of the British Transport Police who were doing a routine patrol of the station attempted to intervene, only to become causalities themselves and join in on the growing violence. As the fighting increased, people began to flee the train station in all directions, with the growing crowd of infected in pursuit.
At Police HQ, dozens of specially trained public order police were gearing up, equipped with stab vests, helmets, riot shields and heavy duty batons. Orders went out to seal off the streets in the immediate vicinity of Cambridge train station and arrest those involved in the riot. Within thirty minutes the riot police arrived at the train station and found it the same as the research facility – abandoned and soaked in blood. The infected had already left in search of new victims and were prowling nearby streets, attacking anyone in sight.
A decision was taken to secure the streets where the worst of the violence was being reported and seal off those streets. This was when the first real contact between Cambridge riot officers and mobs of infected occurred. They formed defensive lines, banging their batons on their shields and marched forward in formation in an effort to intimidate the infected, who were still believed to be rioters at that point.
Things took a turn for the worst when some of the officers were exposed to infected blood. Within a few minutes, several officers had turned and were fighting with their former colleagues, dragging them to the ground punching and kicking, even clawing and biting them.
The shocked and shaken officers, horrified at the savagery they were witnessing being committed by both civilians and their own suddenly foaming and mad colleagues, quickly got back in their vans and withdrew from the area to reevaluate the situation. They formed a defensive line on nearby station road whilst waiting on reinforcements from other police stations.
Around nine o'clock, reports of violence were reaching BBC news in London, though details were sketchy with vague reports of disturbances and vandalism. Journalists could not reach the scene as the roads were closed off to all but emergency service personnel.
An hour later, armed response units were dispatched to the area surrounding Cambridge train station as reports of attacks increased dramatically. Initial attempts by armed officers to slow down the "rioters" by aiming for the legs seem to slow them down, but don't deter them from attacking. Rumours began to spread on the internet of mass murder and chaos but main stream media was still largely unaware of the facts yet.
By midnight, thirty two police officers lay dead, with at least the same number infected. Several paramedics and firefighters had also lost their lives or joined the throngs of 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 drunken students, and so decided to take advantage of the chaos to loot and vandalise property.
Despite the best efforts of the police, small numbers of infected were able to get by the roadblocks and reached the main shopping area at quarter past twelve in the morning, 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 packed pubs and night clubs causing untold casualties.
By 0200 the outbreak was more or less out of control, with crowds of infected several hundred strong and almost four hundred people dead, most of the bodies lying where they fell. Police were continually being forced to withdraw from engagements with the infected, and could not understand why some of their friends were turning sides and fighting alongside the rioters, a fact they wasted no time in reporting to HQ.
The city centre was entirely overrun by 0230 along with several residential areas. 40% of the city's police force had become casualties by this time and the rest had been largely scattered and forced to withdraw to regroup and consolidate their forces.
Tens of thousands of civilians found themselves barricaded in their homes with no help to be had. The police simply couldn't respond to all these distress calls and advised people to stay behind locked doors and stay quiet.