The mental alarm bells are now blaring in my head, as I imagine they are in everyone else’s as well. Whoever this guy is, he’s not letting anybody escape his sights. Floritelle tries to lose the man by making as many random turns as possible, but the man follows so closely that he can anticipate the movements.
It’s then that the man starts shooting. Rau and I immediately duck in case he breaks the windshield, but the bullets end up hitting the rear bumper. We’re okay. For now.
“Listen, we can’t slow down,” Marks says, I’m guessing to Rau and me. “So you’re going to have to stop that guy.”
“Are you fucking insane?” I nearly yell. “I’ve never even used a gun before!”
“I would, but I won’t have a very good shot, or any room to properly hold the gun in the front here,” Marks says.
“I’ve got this,” Rau says. He picks up a shotgun and looks back at the man. The man has fired a few more bullets, and there are now holes in the windshield. Rau does his best to aim through the hole and ends up getting one bullet through. It punctures the motorcycle’s front tire and the man falls off.
“How the hell did you learn to do that?” I hiss at him.
“Floritelle taught me gun basics before we left,” he says as if that’s what every person does normally.
We keep going, not bothering to check up on the man. I can hear him yell, though: “I’M GOING TO ELIMINATE EVERY LAST MICROBE OF PLAGUE IN THIS CITY!” Apparently his idea of saving everyone is killing everyone. I can’t help but wonder how many people he killed actually had the touch plague.
We had certainly driven off course, so it takes a bit for Floritelle to get us toward Parliament Hill. I can finally see the Parliament buildings, so I wonder where the hell this laboratory is. Floritelle turns the vehicle into a random garage which has seemingly been abandoned. He presses a button on the console of the van and the door closes behind me. We’re in darkness, until overhead lights start to come on. A door opens at the other end of the garage and Floritelle guides us through it.
Before long, we’ve gone through a long tunnel and are now in yet another garage.
“Well, that was quite the adventure, wasn’t it?” Floritelle says. Marks is looking his usual expressionless self, and Rau looks a little annoyed that the trip was such a bizarre event. I’m still shaking a little bit from the encounter with the “hero.”
We get out of the van and Marks and Floritelle lead us out of the garage and through yet another long, white hallway. The difference here is that we pass by actual doors this time. I try to read as many names as I can as we pass. Wayne Cheung, Head Researcher. Dawn Jones, Lead Forensic Investigator. Siobhan Casey, Lab Assistant. The list went on and on.
Finally we arrive at the end of the hallway. Marks is just about to open a door to our left when the door in front of us opens. A burly man is pushing a deep black buggy of some kind. It’s covered with opaque plastic sheets.
“Pardon me, folks,” the burly man says as he wheels the cart by us. Rau and I stare at it and then at each other.
The door Marks knocks on says Dieter Jordaan, Facility Manager. “Come in,” says a faintly musical voice. The four of us enter the office. Sitting at his desk is a man with short, scuffy blond hair and a slightly unkempt beard and mustache.
“Dr. Marks, Dr. Floritelle! Welcome back,” he says. He has a hint of an accent. Not quite British, so considering the name he’s probably South African. “I heard about the incident with your vehicle, Dr. Marks. Sorry that happened.”
“Yes, well, not everything can run smoothly in times like this, can they?” Marks answers.
“No. No they can’t.” Jordaan sighs. “Well, you must introduce me to our new patients.”
“Yes, of course,” Marks says. “This is Eleanor Stiles, and the gentleman beside her is Mohammed Rau. Ms. Stiles is from Toronto and Mr. Rau comes from Thunder Bay.”
Jordaan gets up from his desk. “Nice to meet you both,” he says, offering his hand. I don’t take it, nor does Rau. “I understand your anger,” he says. “Our collection methods are… unorthodox, to say the least. But we are trying to save lives here, and with your help we’ll be able to finally make a cure for this awful plague that is ravaging the world.”
I believe Jordaan’s apology to be sincere, but I am still beyond pissed that this had to happen. I was almost killed twice on the way here, and now come the potentially painful medical experiments coming up next.
“Should we get them to the common room for now, sir?” Floritelle asks.
“That would be a good idea. Considering what you all went through to get here, some rest certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing,” Jordaan replies. He looks like he’s about to say something else, but then his phone rings.
“This is Dr. Jordaan…Yes…I see…Okay…Transfer her to B7. That will be all.” He hangs up. “My apologies, this is a busy operation. Anyhow, I think that’s all for now. Dr. Floritelle, Dr. Marks, please escort our patients to the common room.”
Our handlers nod and lead us out of the office and then to the door across from Jordaan’s, which leads us to yet another hallway. None of us say anything as we walk, but Rau looks especially grim. Has he seen something?
We arrive at the common room Jordaan spoke of. While I expected some basic couches and a pile of old magazines, what we saw was a lavishly decorated space with multiple TVs, a high-end stereo system, chairs and couches and a mini-buffet in the back. Once again, private money is miraculous.
“Mr. Rau, to get to your room, you’ll need this key card. To get to the room. simple exit this one and turn right until you reach the end of the hall. Ms. Stiles, you’ll need to go the same direction as Rau, only turn right at the end of the hall and you’ll see a room marked for you.” Marks then hands us our keycards.
“Feel free to relax as long as you see fit. As you can see, we have food and entertainment available to you. Enjoy,” Marks says. The two scientists walk out.
Rau immediately whispers in my ear. “There’s something you need to know,” he says.
“Why are you whispering?” I whisper to him. I feel like I’m playing a game of Broken Telephone.
“They’ve got cameras everywhere, so they might be monitoring us.”
“Okay, fine, what do you need to tell me?”
“I got a look at a map of this place when we were in Jordaan’s office,” Rau says. “It was divided in a grid, so as soon as Jordaan mentioned something about B7 I had to see what that was on the map.”
“So what is it?”
He pauses and swallows. “An incinerator.”