Wow, I actually made a part 2… I guess I’m starting to like this story. It’s coming along slowly because I have summer school and an exam every week. I did a slight wtf jump somewhere and still trying to fix it… no inspiration is flowing today. Enjoy and as always – it’s unedited and filled with mistakes, so tread lightly. Leave a comment if you found it amusing, good, bad, or anything.
It’s been a whole week. Early morning and late evening, the stress was kicking in. My fingers were so adapted to the whole procedure; I couldn’t even hold a spoon without pressing my thumb unto the tip of its handle. It wasn’t a very technical job but the pay was good.
The cafeteria seemed so vacant, just a few souls lingering about. My supervisor used to sit by herself. She’d seldom speak to anybody beside job related topics. She would always have her hair tied in a bun and her big conspicuous glasses always slipped down her small nose. Her name was America, strange name for a strange girl.
“Good morning, Ms. Rosa, how are you?” I sat next to her. She didn’t even look up but still managed to respond, somehow.
“Mr. Guerra, I’m okay but I’ll be back to work in a few minutes.” Her voice was as cold as the first day that I met her. “And you should hurry up too.”
“Hey, I was wondering… Can I ask you a question?” She didn’t even flinch. “It’s kind of a strange question so try not to laugh.”
“Mr. Guerra, I can assure you that I don’t have a very good sense of humor.”
That explains a lot. “Okay… Here goes: have you heard anything, any rumors or anything at all about G-5 and what lays beyond that gate?”
She stared at me, silently, examining if I was pulling her leg. “Are you serious?”
“G-5 doesn’t even exist; it’s a myth used to scare newbies,” she grabbed a tiny red pill and swallowed it with some fruit juice. “That’s like asking if local folklore is real.”
“Between you and me, there is some freaky stuff happening and it’s all tied to the G-5 stories.” Sitting up, I stared into her small blue eyes. “I saw the place.”
Her face shifted from a burst-into-laughter to a are-you-serious expression. Slipping into her white lab coat, she grabbed her water bottle and finished her juice. I sat next to her, carefully measuring her mood. She wanted to say something but it seemed as if she couldn’t quite piece it together.
“You say G-5?”Skeptial, as always.
“I did but I’ll continue after we get back from our shift,” as I stood, she grabbed my shoulder and shoved me into the chair.
“You are not going anywhere,” she wouldn’t let me go without a thorough explanation.
“I got lost a few days ago and followed the wall. I thought that the wall would lead me straight to a gate… it did but it wasn’t the gate I was looking for. G-5 stood ominous, it was still active but there seemed nobody inside. An old guard told me that freaky stuff happen on the other side of that gate.”
She bit her lip. Placing her hands inside the pockets of the lab coat, she played with her eyes. Looking around, hoping that nobody was eavesdropping on the conversation.
“G-5 is not supposed to exist and even if it did… there is no sane reasoning for keeping such a place,” she raised her fingers. “Testing and Experimentation are within G-2, Research within G-3 and Production within the G-4; there is no reason to have a G-5.”
After a few days of traveling to and from the city, I decided to stay within the compound. The apartments were small yet comfortable; a bet, a closet, a small bathroom and a small table. There were nine buildings, all ordered into three triangles. I saved time and money, things that were precious to me. That morning, Ms. Rosa sent me a message: I want to see the G-5. She seldom talked but the moment she did, things got serious.
That evening, I waited for her outside the building. Late as usual, she was a thorough worker – probably suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. She was wearing a small black dress; the lab coat was for show as she worked inside an office.
“How were the numbers today?” I looked at my watch, it was already past six thirty. The sun had already set.
“Ha ha ha,” she replied dryly. “Was that a joke?”
“I just don’t see the need for a lab coat inside an office.”
“It’s part of procedure, okay?” Her high heels knocked the sidewalk with such force, it echoed amongst the building. As tall as monoliths, these building were dead remnants of a green area that was burned to the ground to make way for this facility. “I have to keep a close eye on those numbers. Stabilizing the environment means that reactions take place at a controlled pace. I’m mother nature.”
“Morris told me that these bioluminescent plants were your idea.”
“In a way, yes. I was working with splicing jellyfish DNA with living things. It was a pretty straight forward work, testing the whole splicing business and then it hit me: save the grid, plant living light posts,” she grabbed her phone and showed me the digital photos of the first experiments. “We made trees but thought that small and medium sized bushes would do the trick.”
“But you still use LED light.”
“Yes, but these bioluminescent plants generate around 45% of the light needed to traverse around the compound. A simple way of saving money and keeping this planet clean.”
We walked into the cafeteria of a nearby building to grab a bite, already sensing that the adventure would definitely take its time. The place was empty, except for two or three persons still eating and the staff. The air conditioner had been turned off but a soft breeze was being pumped from the outside. It was dark, probably around seven thirty but you could see, through the transparent windows, the glow of the bioluminescent shrubbery; a light blue glow.
“So, you were in the Botanical Gardens, next to the Biodome?” I played around with my soup. “There’s a research lab within the confines of the glass dome, right?”
“Yes, I was. I worked there with another colleague; we were in-charge of the Cytogenetics Department and Cryogenics.” She fixed her blonde hair, as it dangled from between her fingers. Making a short ponytail, she continued: “She was moved to the Necrobiology Department… I think she had a degree in Thanatology or something like that.”
She sat fixated on her spoon, swirling things around her plate. “Taphonomy too, I guess. She was well versed on every topic pertaining to death.”
“No shit, she was modern day necromancer.” I moved my plate over to a side. “We’re way off topic. The thing is, this G-5 does exist and I want to know why it’s not on the map.”
The LCD screens, overhead, were pouring an absurd amount of local news. Something was going on outside, riots and blockades. Due to this very incident, many were unable to make it to work. The floor was tense, on the eve of the Phage’s release, the Research City was undermanned. The Black Stars were patrolling within the building, almost as if bracing for something.
“Is it that bad?” I asked.
“What is?” She looked around at the passing heavily armored soldiers.
“The riots outside the Research City.”
“Even if a volcano erupted, the walls of this city are reinforced. They can take artillery fire and not crumble.” She slid off her coat. “The Black Stars are the anti-contamination unit. They are called in when a severe outbreak occurs and quarantine is evoked upon the facility; and when I say evoked I mean that they force you to sit by and die.”
Carrying gas masks connected by a large tube over to a tank strapped to their backs, every soldier carried a semi-automatic rifle, a riot shield and a couple other firearms. The rifles were covered in a black ink-like substance with a bayonet on its tip, its long handle was lined with a sharp blade – the rifle could double as a spear or an axe, by the looks of it. The riot shields were darkened, metal plates with a small slit at the tip and hole on the right side. These men were armed and ready for an invasion, not a contamination breech.
Their shadows painted the glimmering tiled floor, as their shoes echoed with each step. The white walls that furnished the building became dull and gloomy. I became tense. I always got tense around soldiers, especially those who looked as if they were about to butcher a community.
“Something’s not right,” a woman’s voice could be heard from over a distance.
“To hell with this,” someone else commented.