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Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:19 am
So this is my first try at a story. My spelling & punctuation are appalling(sp?), but I have ms word... so maybe it will be... not so bad. But PLEASE send me a PM to correct any errors (tense, perspective, hardwear, whatever... I am trying to learn!). So anyway, here goes.
Green Eyed Monster
The creaking of the stairs broke the silence as a figure slowly, stiffly descended. Driven forward through the darkness by hunger, every tentative cumbersome step is nearly a toppling, cart wheeling fall. Finally he reached the ground floor, where his eyes were immediately stung by the few shafts of light that snaked through the drawn blinds. Shambling forward, mostly blind now, and hunting by scent, he neared his target. Intent now, arms outstretched, fingers straining to reach his gurgling prey, Alden Wilkins grasped the coffee machine with a satisfied groan “Ooooh yeaaah.” Without looking up he nudged open the nearby cabinet, reached in, feeling around till the handle of his trusty morning mug was in his grasp.
“Mmmm… so good” Alden mumbled between sips. He wiped the sleep from his eyes, then looked at his watch to see if more haste was needed. “Right on schedule” he thought. He had not been late to work in 3 years, not since the flat tire. He had two cans of tire inflator/sealer in the trunk now, and a triple-A card as well. Alden didn’t like being late, he didn’t like things not going according to plan in any regard really. Some people might call him anal retentive or perfectionist, some might even say (and have said) obsessive compulsive neat freak. Of the three descriptions, Alden might have agreed to being a bit of a perfectionist, but really he thought of himself as someone who just liked to have a plan. He recognized that circumstances change, and that life was a fluid situation, but that there was always a “right” course of action to resolve any dilemma. Sure you might have to adjust your course, depending on what complications arise, but in the end, the obstacles you face in life only required proper analysis, educated judgment and determined action, to be surmounted.
Alden’s thoughts swerved back to the subject that had occupied his mind, more or less singularly, for the past few months. Polynitrogen fuel, highly dense in energy, but so far, barely metastable in any usable form. Most chemists assume octaazacubane to be only useful as an explosive, but he was determined to stabilize a form of the molecule, and make it safe for ground transport fuel. He knew it could be done, he could feel it, like a word on the tip of your tongue or some dream you awoke from knowing it was good, but not exactly why.
“The stability and the safety has to be achievable in one process, one compound that binds the nitrogen cubes, stabilizing them vibrationally, while restricting the oxidizing reaction” he thought for the millionth time. Alden stared down at his coffee, as he took a bite of bagel. “Caffeine?... some kind of alkaloid as a binder?...” He grabbed his keys off the counter, and spoke into the small digital recorder attached to the ring, “Check into the pseudalkaloids… or some derivative…” Looking at his watch again, he let go the record button, and muttered “Crap, need to wake Sam”.
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:32 am
The night before, Julianne Bentley swung wide into the driveway after a long day of work. Getting out of her Lexus, she looked toward the house with dread, her husband Stan had been sick for days. She knew there will be puke to clean-up, soiled bedding to wash, and other vile remains for her to spend her precious down time taking care of. Worst of all, she thought, was the whining. “Oh, my stomach hurts… oh it hurts” Julianne muttered mockingly, as she wheeled her rolling laptop bag up the curved walkway. The house was quiet “Let me guess…” she whispered to herself, continuing the thought in her head, in case hubby was listening “probably asleep on the couch, kitchen a mess and miraculously over his sickness” that last part she emphasized with a physical eye roll. “Unlocked, damn it!” she grumbled angrily, stepping into the house “How many times Stan… you have to keep the doors locked, especially if your sleeping!” She mphasized the last part by yelling it really loud, hoping to wake Stan’s lazy ass up. With no answer, Julianne fliped on the two light switches, left of the front door. She stood staring, mouth open in hesitant confusion.
The kitchen was a mess, but not the kind of mess she expected. It was really a mess, like a “bunch of dogs got into the cupboards & trash” type of mess, only they didn’t have a bunch of dogs, or even one. They had a cat, but the cat did not do this, she was sure. She slowly walked further into the house, now able to see the entire kitchen. There were empty packages torn & strewn around the floor, chips, crackers, dry pasta and rice, almost everywhere. Two of the cabinet doors were on the floor “Why would you take the doors off the cabinet?...” she thought. “...I mean… they just open… they didn’t have locks, what the fu…” Then she noticed the oddest part, as if there was some part more odd than another. There were brown smears on the walls & the open fridge doors. At first she thought “Feces… good god, he is sick.” As she looked closer, she realized it wasn’t crap, it was too reddish in color, she thought it looked like dried blood.
Julianne slowly stepped back, her mind raced to find an explanation that wouldn’t require her to run down the street, screaming. Then it actually came to her “Its blood from the beef… not my murdered husband…” She said quietly, hopefully. It looked as if every package of meat was empty, but most had blood dripping off or pooled nearby. The other food items seemed mostly accounted for, scattered across the floor & countertops, but the meat was gone, every bit.
She walked through the kitchen, taking it all in. “He… better have… a damn good explanation…” she quietly growled. Closing the fridge doors as she passed, she tried to think of some reason, any reason, not to kick his sorry ass out, sick or not. “Stan!” she yelled, entering the narrow hall to the master bedroom. “Stan! are you here?” she demanded, rounding the corner into the room. Stan was there, he was sitting on the bed, eating the cat. A minute later Julianne Bentley was running down the street, screaming.
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:48 am
OMGosh!!! MOAR PLEASE!!! I'm hooked and it's not just cause I need some story to hold me over since MJOTZY hasn't had an update in two months!!!!
"eating the cat" -loved it, had to go check on MY cat; but loved it!!!!
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:41 pm
Excellent start! I loved the last bit too, what made it hilarious to me instead of scary was that my cat was actually in my lap demanding to be petted when I read it
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:32 pm
“What on earth are you eating Phil?” Maresa asked playfully, looking at Philippe with one eyebrow up. She watched with mock disgust, as he dug another escargot from its shell, while rolling his eyes. “Do they not teach you what food looks like in American schools?” he asked, dipping a snail in a small bowl of sauce. “You can probably differentiate between a Big Mac and a Whopper though, no?” Philippe said dryly. Maresa Wilkins liked Philippe’s accent, liked listening to him talk, not in an inappropriate way but because it reminded her of Hungary. Maresa loved the US, but losing touch with her long time tutor Madame Sophie, was one of here big regrets.
Maresa and Philippe finished eating, and returned to sorting and answering mail. Maresa’s official title was assistant to the Secretary of Cultural Affairs, Philippe’s title was Assistant to Maresa. She had her own small office in a complex a few blocks away, but occasionally worked on projects and even routine tasks like mail, at the Governor’s main office when needed. She answered the inquiries that she could, like the one asking if the Governor could come and speak at Malden Grade School, to celebrate Casimir Pulaski Day, that was not going to happen. The ones she couldn’t answer, like the request from a European Pharmaceutical for information about possible tax incentives to relocate, she would pass on to Deputy Chief Ross, and from his office up the chain, if need be.
In the background, the pretty blond talking head from Fox news argued animatedly, with a smaller head, in a box to her left. The volume on the wall mounted flat screen was usually kept off to avoid distraction, but Maresa could not ignore Philippe’s incessant staring, as though mesmerized by the silent debate. “Come on Phil, watch the yammering bimbo on your own time… “ her words trailed off, as she read the chyron running across the bottom of the picture. The Army National Guard had been called in to help quell a disturbance at a Florida hospital, no terrorism suspected so far, at least 12 dead, no word on a cause or any time estimate for a resolution. As Maresa and Philippe watched & read, their attention was drawn to the live footage box, above and to the right of the blond. It was a slowly panning helicopter view of the outside of the hospital, and what looked like two people, had just fallen or jumped through a third floor window, crashing to the ground. Large and small bits of glass glinted in the sun, scattered around & between the two bodies. The camera zoomed in, as a dark pool was already growing around one of the forms. The other body stirred, then jumped up and sprinted off, one arm grotesquely flailing in wrong directions, then the small screen turned black.
“Was that real?” Philippe asked, after a few seconds of slack jawed silence. “I… don’t know, it kind of looked like stunt men, right?” Maresa said, grabbing the remote to turn up the volume. The blond was quiet, looking slightly down, and holding one hand to the side of her head obviously engrossed in whatever instructions were being fed to her earbud. The squinty eyed man in the small box to her left was still saying “…and if this administration can’t find a way to…” as she cut him off. “Sorry Bill… um, yes… we apologize to any viewers offended by the… uh, disturbing footage that appeared on our live screen…” She nervously shuffled some papers “…we will certainly have more on that story soon.” The live screen was still black, but a moment later the black was replaced by an aerial view of an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:19 pm
Iiiiiiiiiiiinteresting. Good start, keep it up!
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:58 am
Yeah, real good start! Keep it coming!
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:45 am
Tampa General Hospital sat on the north tip of Davis Island, in Tampa Bay. A roughly square complex of buildings, it was surrounded on three and a half sides by the waters of Tampa Bay. It was also surrounded by officers of the Tampa PD, and the TPD Tactical Response Team. A make shift command center was set up at the intersection of the eastbound Davis Bridge main entrance to the complex. The small group of tents and vehicles was more or less centered on the back side of a six story hospital annex building that was separate from the main complex. Captain Murphy Allen stood behind a long folding table just under the edge of a pop up tent, answering reporter’s questions. “Captain Allen!” a local channel 10 reporter yelled, cutting off another reporter. “…How do you know this is not terrorism?!” he finished. Other reporters nodded in approval of the obviously important question. “Well, at this time we are aware of only three assailants, all of which are known hospital employees.” Murphy continued “And as far as we know, no weapons have been used… only uh, direct physical… assaults.” A female reporter jumped in, as soon as the Captain uncomfortably ended his sentence “What type of assaults are these? We have reports of torn limbs & multiple bite wounds… is this true? And can you confirm 12 deaths?” Murphy turned around and momentarily talked with a suited man behind him, then turned back to the bundle of microphones. “We can confirm there are fatalities, but we are not able to give a specific number at this time, and as to the method of assault, we have to complete a full investigation before we can say for sure.” Captain Allen continued “Our Tactical Team is ready to…” but was cut off by popping gunfire echoing it’s way to the gathering. The tents & circled police vans of the command post were obviously some distance removed from the shots being fired, but most of the reporters either dove under near by police vehicles, others ran towards the USF building across the street. As camera crews and onlookers scattered, Murphy Allen, followed by two other officers, moved toward the west corner of the annex building that blocked them from the besieged hospital complex proper.
Murphy keyed his two-way radio as he jogged “Wills... Wills damn it, report, now!... anyone?... Somebody better tell me what the hell is going on!” No one replied, as more shots reverberated between buildings & out over the water, then screams. By the time he rounded the corner of the building enough to see the action, the two other officers, Bill Kennedy and Ryan Parker, had caught up and flanked him with weapons drawn. The three men halted, stunned momentarily by the surreal violence unfolding in front of them. Fifty feet away, in the middle of the road, they saw two uniformed officers battling a large vicious animal. The animal looked like a person dressed in a hospital gown, but their minds knew it couldn’t be a human, because human beings don’t tear the faces off of other human beings with their teeth. The officer that wasn’t being torn to pieces, was hitting the creature in the head with his baton, but being thwarted as the beast turned, keeping it’s prey between itself & the swinging club.
The men stood transfixed for what seemed like minutes, but actually it was only a second before Kennedy took off at a sprint toward the melee, growling “Fuck this!” At the same time, Murphy’s radio chirped, and began speaking “Captain!... one of the… whatever they are, just jumped in the bay!” Captain Murphy looked around, the situation was out of control, and he was not even sure what situation that was. He was hearing more pops, and in his peripheral vision he was pretty sure he saw Kennedy shooting the thing in the hospital gown, while grabbing it by the hair. Parker spoke, very softly “Captain, I think that’s… Kelly’s car…” he was staring west, toward the furthest squad car from them, when Murphy looked he saw movement in the space under the car, he was almost thankful he could not see the full extent of what was happening on the other side of the cruiser. Even at a distance of a hundred yards, the rapid savage motions, and flashes of red, told him too much. His eyes lost focus for a moment, he looked down at his radio trying to recover, and shivered a bit. Then something snapped in Murphy Allen’s brain, not a snap exactly, more like a switch turning on that has a slight short, so it pops a little when you flip it.
“Parker, go… kill everything.” Murphy said in a calm voice, still staring down at his radio. “Kill everything and everyone who’s not a cop… Do it, now!” He shouted the last part, looking up and shoving Parker towards Officer Kelly Monahan’s squad car. He then spoke into his radio “All units, engage hostiles with lethal force, repeat, lethal force authorized if any suspect refuses stop orders” He walked forward, crossing the road toward the hospital’s ER entrance, where a bloody faced figure had just emerged. He removed his Glock from it’s holster, and pulled the slide back just a little, looking in to make sure a round was chambered. Closing to within twenty yards of the bloody thing wearing blue nurse’s scrubs, he saw that it finally noticed him. The monster’s eyebrows went up, in recognition and anticipation, it’s mouth parted & turned up at the corners ever so slightly, and one small line of saliva slowly ran down its chin. Murphy Allen leveled his pistol, said "Stop" and began firing at the monster while still walking toward it, the thing had just started to move toward him before he emptied his gun into it, at least he was pretty sure it had.
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:43 am
oooooooh Maldon you had me at "action" !!! lmao sweet!
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:09 am
Samantha Wilkins was sitting at her desk finishing her homework, when she heard a vehicle pull into the drive, she thought it sounded like the truck, dad. She was half way down the stairs when her father came through the door “Hey dad, you bring dinner?” she asked. He held up a white paper bag with grease stains near the bottom, while continuing to talk into his phone, probably Chinese she thought. “Well, why not?” he was asking, obviously annoyed. “Mom?” Samantha asked. Her father gave her a quick nod, and pointed a finger at the bag of Kung Pao chicken & pork fried rice he had plopped down on the counter. He was still talking to the phone, as he walked through toward his office, "...just doesn't seem like the time..." Getting a bowl from the cupboard, she said “No problem dad, I’ll just keep myself company while I eat!” Her father stuck his head back in the room “Sam, I’m sorry…” his mouth sat open, as he tried to think of what to say “please just eat and get ready for bed… ok?” She rolled her eyes at him, while chewing. “Love you honey!” he said, closing his office door. Claudia must have been asleep on the sofa, she shuffled into the kitchen rubbing her eyes. “¿Su padre está en casa?” she asked. Claudia had been their nanny/tutor since Samantha was two, and spoke to her only in Spanish. “Sí Claudia, regresa a casa por favor y toma algún alimento chino” Samantha answered, spooning some of the food into a tupperwear.
An hour later Samantha lay in bed replaying bits of her day, as she always did before letting sleep take hold. She heard arguing below, “Mom must be home” she thought. Her parents didn’t often have loud fights, and when they did she usually pull a pillow over her ears and try to sleep, but this sounded different somehow. Her mom was saying something like, “That’s why I have to go!” Her dad came back with, “Well if this is so damn bad, then you should not be away!!” Samantha quietly padded out to the top of the stair where she could hear more clearly. “Listen…” her mom spoke slowly, in her argument-defusing tone, “…the CDC is down there, it seems like whatever it is, is contained.” She paused, “It will only be a two day trip, including travel… I’ll be back Friday night… ok?” She normally didn’t notice her mom’s accent, but when she was upset (like now), it became more pronounced. Her dad said “I don’t really get why you have to go anyway, you’re a little low on the totem pole to be attending a Governor’s meeting.” “Ouch”, Samantha whispered to herself. “Alden, you know I’m not in this job for status, Pat trusts my feedback and opinions on things… I was asked to go, and I want to go.” Her father’s response was so quiet she had to strain to hear, “Maresa… you know I just worry about you, I… we would be lost without you.”
Her heart skipped a beat. “Without you”, what did that mean? She was scared, her dad sounded scared, so her being scared only made sense. She kept listening for a while, but heard nothing else. Samantha tried to analyze what little info she had, as she tip-toed back to bed. Her mom “had” to go to some governor’s meeting somewhere, that might be dangerous, for some reason. Her dad thought whatever this danger was, it required the family to stay close together, here. The CDC, whatever that that might be, was “down there”, where ever that was, and something unknown was “contained”, down there. As she tried to sleep again, Samantha couldn’t get the phrase out of her head, “without you”. She was thinking she would find out what this was all about in the morning, one way or another, when she began to dream. She was looking for something she had lost & couldn’t find, looking everywhere frantically but it was gone, some thing or it might have been someone.
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:52 pm
Looking around in the near pitch black, Alden was confused. He could hear a muffled voice, and could see a few tiny specks of light. It was hot, like oven hot. He tried to stand on the uneven surface but the ceiling was too low & he bumped his head. Then he saw a light coming from the floor, it was a thin line of light, in a square shape. The attic, he realized, somehow he was up in the attic. Crawling across the beams carefully, knowing one wrongly placed knee might bust through the drywall, he made his way to the hatch. He pulled up the panel and tossed it aside, he could hear the voice clearly now "Wake up!" Looking down he saw Maresa lying on the couch, Samantha was by her side, saying “Wake up, I need you to wake up!” His wife didn’t move, Sam shook her arm, but still she lay unmoving. Alden looked for a ladder, but there was none, and the access opening seemed too small, and getting smaller. His daughter was yelling now, “Wake up dad!”
Samantha was looking down at him in the dim light when he opened his eyes. “Where’s mom?” she demanded, looking past him to the empty spot in the bed. Alden realized the pillow and sheet under his head was damp with sweat. He blinked away the sleep and looked at the clock, five thirty. “Dad!” she said impatiently, “where did mom go?!” He answered in a voice more gravelly than he expected, “She had to go on a short trip, she’ll be back before the weekend.” He thought Samantha looked stricken at the news. Trying to comfort her, he added “Honey, don’t worry… she”. Samantha cut him off, “Where did she go?... when?” He realized she was really upset. “Sam, what’s wrong, why are you freaking out?” he asked. “I heard you guys fighting last night, you were… worried, about her going to… where ever it is.” Alden feigned a smile and said dismissive, “Oh silly Sam, I wasn’t worried, I just don’t want Mom to be away from us, cause we miss her… Everything is fine honey, I promise she is in no danger.” He hoped she had only overheard what he thought she overheard. “She had to leave on the red-eye, but she kissed you goodbye in your sleep.” She stared at him with suspicion indicated in her furrowed brow, “So… you meant we would be ‘lost without her’ for two days?” He grabbed her in a big hug, “Yes, yes, I just know how tough it is for you… for us, when mom’s away.” He kept up the illusion of lightheartedness, “Come on kid, lets get you fed and ready for school.”
Alden turned on the car radio after dropping Samantha off at school, and waited anxiously for the bottom of the hour. He was hoping for new details from Florida. Finally the ABC news man came on, anesthetizing gas leak at the hospital, that’s what she was saying. Maresa had told him that would be the official line, after he swore to not repeat any of the confidential info she would share with him. One hundred twelve dead, he repeated the number out loud, in amazed horror. A quarter of Davis Island quarantined, along with half of adjacent Harbor Island. Approximately two square miles of surrounding shore area, also quarantined. It took up most of the national news brake, and at least half of the local part. Even having been redacted it was a huge story. There was no mention of the CDC, though he knew they were there and in charge. No mention of people behaving like lobotomized cannibals, raging on some combo of PCP and anabolic steroid, who had their cheerios pissed in. Alden wondered if the CDC could actually keep the real facts out of the press for any extended period, as he pulled into his reserved parking space. He decided the truth would eventually come out, that is, if and when they figured out what the real facts were. Then he wondered if he was overreacting, was anyone else really worried about this? Anyone who doesn't live in central Florida or have a spouse in the governors office? Maybe not, but it unsettled Alden unlike anything had since his time in Eastern Europe, and the cancer of Soviet Communism he observed there.
Archer Daniels Midland was only six miles from Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Alden was in his lab twenty minutes after telling Samantha to “have a good day”. He spent the morning with his team, working on a new variation of refining switchgrass ethanol. On a normal day, he would spend at least a little time “borrowing” a bit of the company mainfame’s CPU power, to find a polynitrogen stabilizer. Alden had figured out a way to run models that would be indecipherable to anyone else, though he didn’t think anyone would dig deep enough to find his personal research files. Today all his down time was spent calling Maresa, though she had not answered, and checking the news. Finally just before noon, she answered.
“Hello love” his wife sounded exhausted. “My god Mar, where have you been?” “Right here… we were in meetings all morning, a lot going on.” Not sure if she would be able to say much, he asked “So, any um, news?” She spoke with exaggerated casualness, “Same old, same old… yeah, I’ll be home late on Friday.” Alden decoded the message to mean, she couldn’t talk about any of it now, but would have info when she returned. “How is Sam doing?” she asked. “She misses you, but she’s fine… you know how tough she is.” He didn’t see a reason to be specific about their daughter’s morning wig out. “Any news from there?” she asked. He thought that was an odd question. Then she said, “Yeah, you should watch that.” “So I should watch the news?” he asked, trying to understand the cryptic words. “Ok honey, I have to get back… don’t forget to go online and pay those bills, love you… see you Friday.” “Alright, look for news online, I got it.” Alden said, knowing that had been more code, since all their bills were auto-debit. “Be careful with yourself… we’ll see you at the airport Friday, we love you!” He was about to close the phone when she added, “Oh Alden!... remember to stop by Costco and get some extra groceries for the party… love you, bye.” There was no party that Alden know of, so it meant something else. “Political party?” he thought. “Uh… ok I will get that done…” but she was gone. Thinking about how she said it, he thought she may have emphasized Costco and Groceries more than the other words. So she wanted him to go out and get extra groceries? Like preparing for a storm or something maybe, that thought was not comforting, not in the least.
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:08 pm
Nice development of the story!
Loved the code bit!
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:21 pm
The after lunch meeting with Deputy Director Thomas was to include six of the eight Great Lake State governors. Each had a number of cabinet and assistants along. Maresa Wilkins was part of Governor Pat Gray’s small entourage that also included the Secretaries of State and Transportation, as well as Directors of the Department of Public Health, Emergency Management, and Military Affairs. Lower level cabinet members, including Maresa’s boss, were not invited. The attendance of the assistant, to a secretary who did not rate an invite raised more than a few eyebrows.
In earlier meetings with lower level CDC representatives, Maresa’s group had learned of a few details they hadn’t already known, but this final meeting was supposed to be where the full truth would be laid bare. Deputy Director Victor Thomas was the last to enter the conference room, he took account of those already seated, then took the chair at the head of the huge expensive looking walnut table. “Does everyone have one of these reports?” he asked, looking over his glasses at the group. When the group arrived there had been one of the blue, ring bound documents in front of each seat on the table. No one said anything, assuming it was obvious they each had a report, since they all had one open, and were reading it. Governor Tillis wasted no time on pleasantries, “Director Thomas, do we have this thing contained… under control, or what?” Not waiting for an answer he continued, “We’ve been getting mixed signals and vagaries all day here, and this report is”. Thomas cut him off, “Governor, please let me run down what we have… before I address any specific questions.” Maresa could feel the indignance well up in the room, after all, a bureaucrat treating a governor in such a way. “Humph!” she thought, trying not to smile.
“First, please make sure any recoding devices you may have are turned off, all information disseminated here will be ‘eyes and ears only’ unless otherwise stated.” He looked at each Governor, as if waiting for hidden recorders to be pulled out, and shut off. “Ok then, if you will take the report you have in front of you, and put it away somewhere, we can get started… that is just a record of this meeting, for public consumption.” He took a deep breath and opened the file he brought in, “Ok… two nights ago, in Tampa, police found a woman running down the street, screaming for help. She had bite wounds on one leg, and was being chased by a limping, bloody man who turned out to be her husband.” Thomas cleared his throat before the next part. “The man had killed and eaten their pet cat, after consuming any and all meat in the house… He then attacked the wife when she confronted him about the cat.” He turned a page, “The man was able to chase her for two blocks, despite a broken fibula & tibia… the wife had slammed the heavy front door on his leg as she tried to escape.” Thomas scanned ahead on the page, apparently skipping non essential notes. “The man was unresponsive to commands, and resisted arrest by biting an officer. He was then tazed, and subsequently went into some kind of coma… we assume because of the tazing.” Thomas began speaking from memory, only looking down at the file occasionally. “All those with injuries, including the comatose attacker, were taken to Tampa General Hospital, two officers stayed there including the one with the bite wound.”
“Fine!... so we know how the insanity started… but how did it spread to the rest of the hospital… and what the hell is it?” It was Governor Paterson of New York who said what most of them were thinking. Thomas closed the file, and put it down. “We don’t know yet, we are still piecing that together. There are only a few witnesses left alive, who were inside at the time… and who were not… effected.” Pat Gray spoke up, “You have some of the ‘effected’ in custody? We had been told that all those effected had died.” “Please, please… if you let me finish, most of your questions will be answered… to the extent they can be answered.”
“We think those who were in contact with the effected, were themselves fully effected… infected, whatever, within 12 hours. This is an unprecedented rate of virulence, if this is an organism at all… So far, we haven’t been able to find any of the markers you would expect, if this was some type of virus, bacteria, fungus, or any other known microorganism.” Thomas continued reciting facts in an almost mundane fashion, Maresa assumed this was due to the numerous meetings the man had been in already.
“Again, we are not sure yet exactly through what vector or vectors people are exposed… So far direct contact seems likely, inhalation of airborne particles seems less likely.” He paused for a quick glance at his file. “Everyone who was bitten, was effected. But three people, including patient zero, had no obvious skin breaks but were still effected.” He looked around, making eye contact with some, then began reading directly from the file. “Even though some who had skin to skin contact with effected persons did not acquire the condition, we want any and all emergency responders, or other personnel who may need to deal with effected persons…” He paused for a breath, and a look up to make sure he had the group’s attention, he did. “…to assume that any physical contact will cause exposure, and acquisition of the condition.” He put down the clear plastic covered folder, and with a grim expression waited for questions.
The implications of what had been said were sinking in, governors were whispering to staff, notes were being written and passed. Governor Paterson was first to speak. “So… are you implying that this thing… will spread? You have patient zero… you have the area contained… Why are you assuming this craziness will show up elsewhere?” Victor Thomas took off his glasses and set them on the table, “It already has.”
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:05 pm
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:46 pm
Very good story. Thanks
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:32 am
He noticed the pool was more crowded on his umpteenth run through the security cameras. “Hmmm… maybe they go into the pool thinking the bodies at the bottom look yummy, and drown trying to get to them.” I sure don’t know why the first one had to try, he thought. Singing, he complted the twisted nursery rhyme “Perhaps they’ll die…” He didn’t really think of his situation that flippantly, finding humor in a pool full of dead people was just a coping mechanism, something to fight off insanity. Captain Felix Serrano sat alone on the bridge of the Celebration cruise ship Paradisio, checking monitors, reading messages and planning how he would get off the doomed ship. “Paradisio” he scoffed. It would have been a hard name for any ship to live up to, much less a budget cruise ship. Now he was certain the presumptuous title had cursed the vessel and all those aboard. His friends had always said he was too superstitious, even for a sea fairer, but after this he knew he had not been superstitious enough. He should have retired last year when the offer was made, twenty one years was three times seven, a good number to go out on. Oh well too late now he thought, as a change in the ambient sounds broke his trance. It was not the steady pounding at the door, that had stayed fairly consistent for the last few hours. It was a momentary lull in beeps and dings from the com center, he realized. Communications had been abuzz for three days, long range HF squawking requests from the Coast Guard for updates, sat/com’s station was pinging in messages from at least five government agencies and Celebration’s home office. He was not worried much about the distant voices demanding updates or even the nearer ones making threats, he had already told them everything he knew and followed their directions, give or take.
The Paradisio was ostensively holding a fixed position just over twenty miles Southwest of the Narrows Bridge, the bridge being the gateway to New York and Jersey’s sea ports. Felix was sure it had been the CDC that convinced the other agencies involved to keep his ship at sea. Felix knew very well why, since he had seen the spread of whatever this was first hand. But it didn’t mean he was happy about it, he wanted to be ashore and away from these monsters. He knew government types could not be trusted, his own company was worse, they would sell him out in a second to improve PR or just to save a few dollars. Toeing the company line or at least appearing to, was one of his specialties, but not this time. In the light winds and nearly nonexistent currents, Felix could have held the ship to within thirty feet of a given GPS position for hours, but he wasn’t. The ships autopilot could have kept it inside of a quarter mile circle, which was what the Navy commander had demanded. Felix had told them his GPS antenna was damaged and the gyros were down, so autopilot was out of the question. This of course was not true, but he wanted them to think his ship was less able than it was. He had let the ship drift with the slight Easterly wind, then under corrected, pretending to be less able than he actually was. He had ‘accidentally’ moved the ship almost two miles closer to port, in the hours since the hold order was given, and was still drifting. The Coast Guard had not mentioned the deviation from orders yet, they were however adjusting the positions of the two cutters flanking him to remain relative.
“Captain Serrano, any word from the Navy?... are they sending people soon?” the inter-ship com crackled. It was Raffaele Tucci, his second officer, he and another crewman Felix did not know by name were holed up in engineering. Felix replied to the only other sane people he knew were aboard the ship “Not yet… they're still trying to figure out how to get us off of here” No pressing reason to tell them what he really thought, that there would not be any rescue. Why would they risk exposing a rescue party to whatever this was, much less bringing it ashore. Just to retrieve a few unimportant foreigners? No, they wouldn’t, hell, he wouldn’t either if he was in their position. In fact he thought they might just follow through with their earlier threat to disable the ship, or just sink it outright. Felix hadn’t mentioned that part to his two remaining crew either. A captain with his hands tied by higher powers, who could do nothing to help his stricken passengers and crew, would have diminished respect. He had let them believe it was a mutual decision, between himself and the authorities, that kept the ship at sea. While in reality it had more to do with having a fifty some millimeter gun “…put some holes in your engines if you get any closer to New York”, or something to that effect. The com popped again “Sir… what should we do?” Don’t get eaten, he thought “Just stay on top of the systems… make sure we can have flank speed at a moment’s notice, and keep all engines running, at least at idle. Double check all battery banks are fully charged as well, and stay safe.” Tucci replied after a short delay. “Sir… we don’t need all engines for flank speed… keeping them all running, even at idle, will cut into the fuel…” The captain cut him off. “Trust me Raffaele, if we need to move quick I don’t want to be waiting for engines to come online.” “Yes sir.” He had restrained his urge to lambast the crewman for second guessing him, no real use in it he thought. He wondered why they hadn’t noticed the real problem, food and water. Their remaining fuel they had could run all engines at idle, simultaneously for nearly a month. The water and food the two trapped men had, on the other hand, wouldn’t last but a few days. Felix had less than that, maybe a days worth of random snacks and drinks. He had no time to grab any supplies on his way to the bridge, since he had been chased all the way by a group of psychopathic passengers. They were still there, pounding on the door, and trying to break through the reinforced window. They wouldn’t be able to he thought, it had been upgraded the year after 9/11 to full bulkhead strength, for security. The constant pounding though, the yells and grunts and screams, that might drive him insane if he had to listen much longer. He knew he wouldn’t have to though, he was leaving.
Felix considered himself a real captain, in the old vein. The lives of his passengers and crew were as important to him as his own life, or his family’s. He would have gone down with this ship, without hesitation, if doing so would have saved those in his charge. This was not that kind of situation though, he had done everything he could do, they were all but in port. Despite being attacked by his own passengers he had brought them home, he could even see the bridge tower lights as darkness fell. These others had taken over now, and kept his ship from harbor. In his mind they had assumed responsibility for all the lives involved. As far as his code of ethics was concerned, his obligation had been satisfied, he was off duty. His plan was simple, create a diversion then get the hell off the ship. He had already laid in the course, straight for the bridge passage. Felix knew that when he engaged the Paradisio’s automatic pilot at full flank, the ships surrounding her would rush to intercept, and wouldn’t see the single raft left behind in the darkness. The wind blowing ashore would do the rest. With the sea anchors weighed, he would be on dry land before daybreak. He had lowered one of the emergency raft barrels and a rope ladder down to the water right after they ordered him to hold position. He hadn’t had a plan at that time, just a fear of being trapped with no escape route. Access to the interior of the ship had been blocked by the green murderous freaks, but the doors at each end of the hundred twenty feet long bridge were still clear. They led to the side deck breeze ways of the ship, where the raft barrels were stowed in racks against the inside wall. His getaway raft was moored to the railing of the port side deck, waiting for him to abandon his ship. He would be abandoning his career as well, though he considered the situation untenable, he knew his company would blacklist him. They might even try to bring him up on charges. He would be lucky to pilot a shrimp boat after this, everyone knows the captain of a ship is just never the first one in a life raft, no matter what. Much less the only one in a life raft, maybe the only one to survive, as he feared might be the case.
Felix thought he would try diplomacy one more time, before taking that final step. He punched up the frequency the Navy had been using, “Navy Commander, do you read?” An unfamiliar voice shot back “Paradisio, is that you, over?” The reply sounded harsh, almost scolding to Felix. For a moment he forgot he had been ignoring calls for at least an hour, oops. “Yes, Captain Serrano here… have been busy hiding from cannibal tourists… over.” Felix weighed his words and tone carefully, trying not to appear too desperate, while still trying to convey the importance of getting his ship to port. A different voice spoke next, probably the Commander he talked to before. “Paradisio Captain, what is your situation? We see you are drifting some, are your engines or controls an issue? Over.” “No sir, we are tip top over here… Just trying to stay safe. We’re wondering when we might put in to port… or have transports receive our healthy folks?... over?” There was a long pause, almost three minutes by Felix’s watch. “Paradisio Captain, we are still waiting for further CDC guidance to proceed. For now we need you to head at best speed to these coordinates, and set anchor… till we can figure this all out. Sending numbers now, we will get back to you when you’re under way, out.” Felix didn’t need to look at the numbers to know they were sending him further out, but when he did look he was amazed. 39.000000,-71.00000, it was over a hundred sixty miles South East of his location, two hundred miles out in the Atlantic. He didn’t even bother telling them he couldn’t release the anchor stays from the bridge. It didn’t really matter, he wasn’t doing any of that.
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:32 pm
(I have a bad feeling this guy is going to end up spreading this all over NYC, isn't he?
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:05 pm
Me likey this story!
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:46 pm
A chorus of gasps circled the room like ‘the wave’ at packed baseball stadium. “What do you mean ‘it already has’, Where?!” demanded someone, “When did this happen… and how?!” demanded another, people were standing, actual fingers were being pointed, the room was officially in a panic. “Please people!” the Deputy Director pleaded. “Everyone talking at once is not going to help me give you this information. If you want to leave this meeting, do so now… if you want to stay, have a seat!” Some sat right away, some stayed standing, shooting eye daggers at the Director. “Please listen to me gentlemen and ladies… We recognize the responsibility you shoulder, as chief executives of sovereign states. We’re trying to give you information and insight that will help you protect your citizens. We don’t yet have a handle on this thing ourselves… obviously, but please be patient and let us finish this.” The remainder of the group sat finally, Pennsylvania’s Governor Linden was the last. Maresa thought he might storm out, but logic must have won out over the urge to grand stand.
“We have two confirmed cases in Green Valley Arizona, one subject was killed, the other… well, escaped.” More gasps. “We think she is somewhere west of the Coronado National Forest, we have a team there and state police are searching. We have five more quarantined who had contact with the effected couple. We are not sure yet if any of them will acquire the condition… but they’re being held safely, till we figure out the gestation period on this thing.” He looked up from his folder, then quickly back down, as if to signal ‘No that’s not all, so don’t bother asking’. “Atwood Tennessee, we didn’t find out about this… outbreak, till things had gotten out of hand.” Maresa quietly Google mapped the town on here phone, the proximity gave her a shiver. She wrote out a note and slid it to Governor Gray - ‘Only 200-300 miles NW from here’. “This was the first appearance of the… phenomenon, we think. It probably started a few days before the Florida man first showed signs.” Governor Tillis asked, “Wait, what exactly does that mean, out of hand… how ‘out of hand’ is it?... And why are we calling the Florida guy ‘patient zero’ if Tennessee was first?” “We are calling the first known case, in a given area, patient zero… If that person has no known connection to any other hot spot, and no sign of exposure by physical contact, ie wounds. As to how ‘out of hand’ it is…” Thomas paused and sat back in the chair. As he looked around the table, Maresa thought his eyes were saying ‘I hope you guys are sitting down for this’. “The town, is pretty much a total loss, over run.” Groans echoed through the room, heads shook in disbelief. “We are in phone contact with a few survivors holed up in attics and closets, inside the town… And we have about thirty or so ‘refugees’ who fled the town, again some of those will probably acquire the condition.”
“Jesus H Christ!” Governor Paterson blurted, “What are we doing about this?” “Governor Bickett is in contact with the president, and FEMA director, they are hashing out a strategy to try and contain this… State police are blocking all roads out of town, as of two hours ago. Anyway, it’s being handled the best it can.” “It’s being handled?” Paterson asked, incredulously. “Why not the National Guard… they were called out for just one hospital in Florida, right?” “No sir, that was a press screw up… they saw a Guard truck near one of the road blocks from their chopper and assumed it was on duty. But it was just an Air Guard truck on the way to MacDill AFB, caught up in the stopped trafic.”
“Ok, the last occurrence of this we know of is a cruise ship, it’s sitting twenty miles of the coast of New Jersey. It was bound for New York from Lisbon. The captain is still at the helm, but unfortunately… we think the crew and passengers may be up to ninety percent affected. We are having the captain take the ship out & away from the shipping lanes till we decide what we can do with it. We had to hold up all shipping through the area, so no other ships would be affected” “How many people are on that ship?” Maresa couldn’t help but ask, though she knew it would be seen as presumptuous. “Uh… a little over three thousand we think. But this one is the best contained outbreak we have had.” She wondered if she was supposed to be relieved that three thousand people were brutally killing each other out at sea, instead of on land somewhere.
The Director turned a few pages, after finding his place he started again. “Ok, here’s what info you can give to your state and local police… What to look for, look out for. Please use restraint in passing any of this on to the media, the longer we can avoid panic the better. So, some of you may have heard a rumor that those affected look… well, are green. This is true, though not always easy to see. Up close though, in good lighting, it is pretty apparent. They are not only green, but a ‘wet’ looking green… almost, shimmery.” Thomas was looking off into space as he spoke, Maresa was sure he was describing the appearance of those affected from memory, that he had seen them up close, and in person. “An early sign of infection… contamination, whatever, is that the eyes seem to turn green first. Not green like ‘she has green eyes’… not green irises, but the entire eye, whites included, it all turns a light glossy green. And if you’ve heard they are tougher than normal, unusually tough… they are. Some have taken fifteen or twenty bullets to bring down. A few have been hit many times and not gone down at all. We thought this was due to a lack of pain response… but the skin on these guys…” He shook his head as he spoke, as if having trouble believing his own information, “The skin, muscle… maybe all tissues, get somehow physically toughened, by whatever this thing is. Tough green skin, it’s the strangest thing…” he seemed lost in thought. He chuckled a bit as if recalling a joke. “We had uh… bent or broken a few 16 gauge needles trying to test blood from these… things. So we went to a larger gauge… and it took so much effort to push it in, it got stuck in the skin & broke the Luer fitting. We had to pull out the needle with pliers. Now we’re using an old veterinary syringe to…” Pat Gray interrupted Thompson’s rambling “Deputy Director, can we wrap this up? Please just give us any salient points… and let us get back to our states.”
The Deputy Director regained his composure “Yes, I think we can conclude this. You all have our direct line numbers, let us know immediately if you suspect an occurrence. You will all be contacted by FEMA director Alvarez or someone from there, we are coordinating with them and Homeland. The main thing is, we stay on top of this thing… Clamp down hard if an exposure is suspected, get it quarantined before it breaks out of a given area. We don’t know what the hell it is yet, but we have been successful at containing it when we find it. So keep the channels open, and don’t try to handle an incident by yourself” Meresa listened as Thompson rambled on some more, about how the situation was well in hand, how they were near a breakthrough in figuring out what it was, and how everything was going to turn up roses and daffodils, before finally closing the meeting. She knew better, she knew how people acted under the pressure of totalitarianism. This problem would not stay quiet much longer. People, especially Americans, don’t like to be hemmed in, kept in the dark or lied to. Much less quarantined or taken into custody, at least not without things like due process, habeas corpus, access to attorneys and all those other constitutional guarantees. They will rise up she thought, hell a room full of lawfully elected Governors almost rioted, and they were only discuss the problem, not being detained unlawfully and indefinitely. The general population will be far less understanding than some gaggle of mincing politicians, there would be real trouble. If many more of these outbreaks happen, it will get very ugly. She thought of the riots and mass fighting she had witnessed in Armenia, the dead littered the streets, fires consumed entire towns. America was different, she knew, conflicts were settled by law here. But it was a short fall to chaos, a few rights ignored out of necessity, a few more freedoms given up for the common good, one more tiny bit of liberty traded for safety, and it could happen here.
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:33 am
Captain Felix Serrano took a deep breath and punched in the code to prioritize bridge control, eliminating any override control by engineering. He then started a slow sweeping turn, while throttling up all engines. He intended to draw the other ships into turning themselves about, in advance of his ship. They did turn, and much after than him. Anticipating the cruise ship’s new course, the smaller cutters easily out turned it, bringing them around to a Southeast heading before the Paridisio was even ninety degrees around. Felix punched up the autopilot at full flank then, followed by full port bow thrusters, quickly pulling the heavy ship back toward it’s original Northwest heading. The top heavy ship listed hard to port, slinging items off the bridge consoles. Felix’s heart pounded, he could feel the adrenalin pumping into his blood, numbing what should have been fear. Checking his radar, he grinned, the two cutters were stalled in the water, maybe confused. The Navy ship that had hung back though, was quick to maneuver to an intercept course, but had nearly a mile of gap to make up. The radio squawked “Paridisio Captain!... Change your heading to the ordered one… immediately!!” He ignored it, “Let them eat static.” He said, exaggerating his accent. He turned the speaker off, proud of his appropriate quote use. He had been told many times that he looked like a young Ricardo Montalban, and even spoke his English with a similar accent. Felix’s ruse had worked almost as well as Khan’s, though he only meant to escape his pursuer, not battle him.
After five minutes he could see the Navy ship was not gaining on him, barley keeping up at that. The autopilot was set to continue on the Northwesterly course for ten miles, then to stop and hold there, but he was uncertain if they would catch up in time. He wanted them rushing headlong after Paradisio, so that he & his raft could fall back unnoticed. He wondered then why he wasn’t afraid, standing on the precipice over what he knew was an irreversible and ill-advised plan. The not being scared, it did frighten him just a bit. Maybe it was the power that abated his fears, he could feel it coursing through the ship, vibrating the floor under his feet in perfect simpatico with the rotation of the twenty for foot tall screws. Even from a hundred feet down and seven hundred feet behind him, he could feel each of the props’ huge blades brutally attack the ocean.
The routing scheme had worked, he was faster than them, maybe the fastest cruise ship on the ocean. An old engineer had given him the idea, it was one of those “Someday we should try this crazy idea” type of ideas. A combination of settings optimizing power delivery to the two main drive motors, stealing every available watt of power the ship had. To his knowledge it had never actually been used in practice. The limiters on the drive motors were bypassed, which was not unheard of at flank speed, for short runs. The routing of the total output of all six generators to the now uncapped motors was only done during the shakedown cruise, and only for a precise and limited duration. Tapping the full power of the three battery banks to boost available motor amperage above the already ‘too high’ level, while at the same time charging the batteries with the other two smaller generators, was just not done. The total was twenty five percent over the drive motors ‘max intermittent duty rating”, and he was running them flat out for ten miles, which was not intermittent use. Felix felt a new vibration, a constant shudder in the floor, it was cavitation he realized. The automatic pitch compensators must not be handling the power boost well. He changed the blade angle manually, until he felt them bite into the ocean, it felt like overdrive. He pulled up the main drive power use meter, it read 75,030kW. It was almost ten percent over his estimate. “They can’t catch me” he said to himself.
Felix had planned it all out, he was to radio the Navy Commander at this point, say his controls had been overridden by a distraught crewmember in engineering, and that they would have it under control soon. He figured this would stave off any hasty actions on the Navy’s part, but for some reason he was not making the call. Ten minutes into his escape, and his pursuers were falling behind, maybe he could actually make port, some port, “any port” he said aloud. His crew & passengers deserved better than what was in store for them out at sea, to be left to starve or be cannibalized, while a bunch of Washington suits decide their fate. What the hell, he would be so deep in the legal shit for abandoning his ship anyway, how much worse could it be if he brought it in against orders?
The answer came in the form of an orangish red string of lights flying past his starboard window, and disappearing into the ocean. For an instant Felix tried to figure out how the ship’s mast cable lights had been flung forward, as though on the end of a giant whip. He realized, as a few of the lights skipped up off the water and disappeared into the night, that it was tracer fire. The bastards were shooting at him, or at least shooting near him. “Wow, an actual shot over the bow” he said grimly, waiting for bullets to start flying through the bridge. Maybe they missed, being so far away, he thought, then he felt a low thumping in his chest. They were shooting again, he closed his eyes and braced himself. But it wasn’t shooting, not from those ships, they were two miles back and well out of sound range. It was a helicopter, and it was close.
The entire bridge lit up then, a light brighter than noon day sun coming in through the starboard windows. The chopper slowly circled to the left, keeping the ridiculously bright spotlight shining in through the glass. Felix felt defeated, “Shit! So close… a few more miles and they wouldn’t dare shoot us… much less sink us, not in full view of shore.” A moment before he was watching the lights of Coney Island’s ferris wheels and coasters, growing on the horizon. Now a military helo was a hundred feet in front of him, matching his speed & probably about to rake the bridge with machinegun fire. Felix had instinctively jumped down behind one of the bridge consoles, but he knew the thin metal wouldn’t even slow the bullets down when they came.
“Stop this ship now, or we will disable it, you have one minute!!” came blasting from a loudspeaker on the chopper. He should stop, give up. No reason to die over this, it would be counterproductive, the point after all was NOT to die. But this sentiment didn’t go unchallenged in the besieged Captain’s mind. He found himself feeling more and more hostile, less able to control the anger at those involved in trying to keep his ship stranded indefinitely at sea. It was not like him to be violent, but it occurred to him that wheeling the ship around and ramming the Navy frigate might be the best plan. He shook with surprise at the thought, and realized they could out maneuver him anyway. “Thirty seconds!!” came blasting from the chopper. If only he had a rifle or something, anything to get rid of the light in his eyes, the noise hammering his ears. “Dammit dammit dammit! Think Felix, buy some time… somehow.” His head swam with unsatisfactory options, one stupid plan after another, then it hit him. He could still win, beat these fools at their own game. He grabbed his handset, switched it to external PA, and hoped he would be heard over the rotor’s scream, “Navy helicopter!!... we are trying to stop the ship… or turn it. Some controls damaged, some hijacked by engineering! Please send help!!” Felix smiled at his own brilliance, no way they would blow him up now. They would assume destroying the bridge might lock the controls at the present settings. And there wasn’t enough time to get a fast boat out to the Paradisio, before it was close to shore. The helicopter swung further to port, circling the bridge area, swinging the light around, seemingly searching the front of the ship. “On the bridge!!... show yourself, starboard bridge door!!” Felix knew he had to go out there, convince them he was trying to comply. He thought the best way would be to ‘wave them in’ as though pleading for help, as if he thought they might be able to land somewhere on the ship. First he checked his panels, seeing how much time he needed to buy. Only eight miles out, if he angled towards Breezy Point. Under fifteen minutes to the breakwater and the safety of witnesses, he adjusted course & headed to the door. He double checked through the door glass, making sure the breezeway was still free of cannibals. His security terminal had shown the doors to the deck from inside were still sealed, but better safe than eaten. The grey Blackhawk helicopter hovered closer now, fifty feet from the door. He could feel the rotor wash pushing against the door as he shouldered it open.
“Keep it simple” Felix said to himself, squinting up into the copter’s massive spotlight. Look pathetic and scared, he thought. He waved his arms in the standard ‘get me the hell out of here’ distress pattern, then pointed into the bridge with a ‘please help me stop this crazy ship’ gesture. The bullhorn on the chopper keyed again “Stay where you are!!” Felix assumed they were conferring or radioing or something. He smiled inwardly as minutes passed, each one bringing the ship closer to shore. Outwardly he shaded his eyes from wind and light and tried to look concerned. The chopper slowly rotated in place, bringing it’s length parallel to the ship side. He could see the man with the bullhorn stepping up to the open side door. “We will send a team to help you!!” A thick rope uncoiled from the left side of the doorway, as the chopper maneuvered up and over the ship. Felix could see the rope was already attached somewhere above the door. The blood drained from his face, they might as well have said ‘prepare to be boarded’. He was screwed, they would see there was no damaged equipment, they would lock him up on some island forever. He snarled under his breath “Why couldn’t they just leave me the hell alone?” Felix had his teeth clenched and was growling, he wanted to scream, but barely restrained himself. He watched as a heavily geared up man stepped up to the rope, ready to slide down to the open side deck. “This is my ship… this is my God damn ship…” he repeated, trying to think of something. He watched the big grey dragonfly trying hold steady overhead, he realized the pilot needed the ship as steady as it was, just to keep this close. He could swing the ship back and forth with thrusters and rudder, then it would be too unpredictable for the helicopter to keep a position over. This was not keeping it simple Felix thought, as he bolted for the open bridge door.
This was not who he was, he was a good and thoughtful man, not some impulsive renegade. Yet there he was, engaging the starboard thrusters at full and ten degree right rudder. At normal cruising speed this maneuver would only accomplish a slow sweeping turn, but at thirty four knots the hull swayed top left, like a school bus on a slalom course. Felix ran across to where he could see out the door, back towards the intended drop point. “Oh no.” he said quietly. The doors, he hadn’t considered the stress on those doors, a hundred crazed passengers mobbed against them, trying to push their way onto the side deck. The hard turn to starboard must have added weight to their push, just enough weight. The doors were off the tracks, one was hanging by it’s pneumatic piston, still attached at the top, but off to the side of the opening. The other was not in sight, maybe under the feet of the crowd that now flowed out onto the side deck. Machinegun fire, the door gunner had opened fire, spraying the mass of green horrors. Felix was happy for the distraction but didn’t know why they were so quick to fire, till he saw the soldier. He had made it down the rope, and now was being torn apart. Another man was trying to climb back up the rope from it’s middle. Felix grabbed the door and slammed it closed, locking it as he watched the carnage through the door glass. Some of the monsters fell to the gun, others grabbed the rope, trying to reach the man who now hung from it, being swung around like wet laundry. The chopper had steadied itself, and gone lower now, almost level with the breezeway deck as it hovered beside the ship. He figured the pilot did this to allow the stranded man to climb back aboard, but the others were climbing across as well, and faster. They would have to cut the rope, or release it, and very soon. The pilot started to pull away, slowly dragging rope and crazy people up off the deck. Then it caught, maybe on some piece of railing hardware, Felix couldn’t see through the crowd of bodies alive and dead, that smothered the area. Felix watched as the chopper struggled against the taut rope, the railing metal groaned and the wooden top rail cracked, but the rope didn’t pull free. One of the crew was struggling with the rope attachment point above the door and the gunner was reloading, when the first crazy person caught up to the guy on the rope. The climbing soldier kicked at it, but that only seemed to encourage the thing. It grabbed at his boot, trying to bite it, but got what looked to be a broken neck for it’s troubles. The suit wearing beast went limp & fell off the rope, unfortunately there were more on the way. Another man in the copter started shooting a small rifle at the crazed passengers clinging to the rope, it was a complete and utter cluster-fuck. “What the hell have I done…” he stammered.
As he stared at the mess, one of the goons on the edge of the mob noticed him through the window and let out a yell, pointing at him, as if in accusation. More of them turned and saw him then, and some started heading his way. Felix double checked the lock and backed away from the door just as a green tinted face slammed against the window. The teeth in it’s gaping mouth scraped against the glass, like nails on a chalk board. That instant, an explosion rocked the ship, knocking him to his knees. The helicopter he thought, probably crashed through the lido deck, he was in such deep shit. He crawled to the door to look, but blood covered most of the window, franticly grasping hands were smearing the rest. His ears rang as he stumbled toward the only exit left now, the door to the port side deck. Maybe he would be ok, the raft was still waiting, everyone on the chopper was dead, so no witnesses. He was cut off in mid thought by all hell breaking loose.
The forward windows of the bridge exploded in left to right succession, Felix spotted the helicopter as he dove to the floor. Obviously it wasn’t the chopper that blew up, since it was now blasting his bridge to pieces. He low crawled toward the door as fast as he could. “Maybe just jump in the water and cut my losses.” He thought. He could hear the chopper shifting right, was it stalking him now? At least it had stopped shooting. He was ten feet from the door when parts of it started flying off & the floor in front of him erupted in sparks. Pain sprang up in several places at once, his left knee and shoulder, neck, and left side below the ribs all sent signals of burning pain to his already overtaxed brain. He more or less ignored it, and escaped back towards the center of the bridge, out of the gunner’s angle of fire. Almost every window in the bridge was destroyed, the port side door was hanging by one hinge, and he was pretty much a sitting duck for the next attack. Maybe he could hide in the officer’s head, the small bathroom/closet just left of the center bridge door. As he crawled over to it, more sparks appeared from various spots around the bridge. Felix looked up at the door lever from where he was slumped on the floor, it seemed very high up. Another explosion, heat and flame rushed into the bridge through the square hole where the port door glass used to be, leaving burning debris littering the floor. This time his ears didn’t ring, they just went quiet, like he had earplugs in.
He pushed himself up onto his knees and almost went down immediately, his left knee insisting he not try again. He looked out over the ruined consoles and through the shattered windshields at the approaching shore. The bow was pointed at the tip of Coney Island, he could see the tiny lighthouse at Sea Gate there. Maybe the ship would run aground right in the backyards of those seaside mc mansions, how fitting. The helicopter was back, spotlight searching for him in the darkness. He realized they would probably send another missile, this one would kill him. He didn’t know why they had missed wide with the last one, until the voice from above made it clear. “We opened your port doors up for you captain!! Your passengers should be there soon for a tour of the bridge!! Keep them entertained will ya?!!” The helo pulled away hard, towards the stern and up out of sight. He figured they must have blown the port pneumatic doors, letting the monsters out onto the side deck, as he had inadvertently done to them. The door to the bridge on that side was swinging in the wind now, lock lever no longer operational, so as soon as his guests arrived, they could come right in to visit. Get into that closet he thought, maybe the lock will hold them off till help arrives, of course the ‘help’ would just throw his ass in jail, at best. He felt more missile hits, this time they seemed far off, probably them trying to hit the engine room.
The ship still barreled forward, unhindered by the assault. The salty night air rushed in through the window openings, giving the bridge a cool and open, clipper ship feel. Felix wished the windows had always been gone, or at least able to be opened, especially for beautiful nights like this. He crawled to the captain’s chair, tufts of stuffing hung from holes in the back, but it still felt solid as he hoisted himself into it. His dress whites were mostly red, soaked with blood or shredded. The trickles of leaking blood kept him warm he thought, then realized that was probably the shock talking. Taking inventory of his wounds he came to the conclusion that the green cannibals might not get him after all, unless they hurried. The blood loss from his neck was surprisingly heavy, and holding his hand over it did little to stem the flow. He chuckled at what a mess he was making of the white leather chair, the same chair he had suspended a crewman for getting a small stain on the year before. A loud metallic clank brought his mind back to the present, he spun to see a blackened horror of a face snarling at him through the port door’s window hole. The stupid thing was pushing the door against it’s frame, instead of pulling it open, which would have been easy. A twinge of hope flickered in his mind, but then flew away again, as he remembered how cold he was getting, and why. The other things would just pull the burnt one off soon, and get it open anyway, they are nothing if not persistent. The beach was within sight, he knew the keel would hit the sandy bottom soon, drafting twenty plus feet it wouldn’t get within two hundred feet of shore without running aground. He strapped on his seatbelt for the first time in six years & tried to brace his feet against the panels, preparing for the jolt of hitting a sand bar. As he looked out over the water, trying to estimate the impact point, his eyes were drawn to a dark shape. Almost a mile away he thought, but so large it was unmistakable even that distance, even in the moonless dark. He reached for the controls, easing the small joystick to the left. He assumed it would do nothing since the screen was dead, but he had to try, that would be a death of legend. The old girl responded like she had been just waiting for him to ask. “Oh yeah.” He said in a whisper. The ship turned slowly, missing the shallow sandbars of the point at Sea Gate. Felix knew it had to be madness that gripped his mind, there was no other reason he would contemplate such an act. Murder, suicide, mass destruction, these were not things he even fantasized about, much less considered actually doing, but there he was preparing to ram a supertanker. It was then that Felix realized he was probably turning, becoming one of those things. Once he focused on that, he was sure he could feel the tendrils of evil reaching into his mind, and filling it with horrible ideas. It was better this way then, whatever this disease was he would cleanse himself of it, and his ship, with fire.
Felix knew ships, he had captained or piloted almost every kind of watercraft, from shrimp boat to oil tanker. This tanker, the one he was closing on now, was not big as far as supertankers went, but it was big enough to classify as “super”, and it was full. He could tell that easy enough by how low it sat in the water, it was big, fat and slow, hell it wasn’t moving at all. The black hulk was outside the shipping channel, not as far out as Paridisio, but at least a thousand meters right of the inbound lane. He was afraid it would try to evade him once it became obvious what his intentions were, within a few minutes he was proven right. It had been sitting stationary in the water, perpendicular to the channel when Felix first saw it, as though backed into an unseen parking space at the edge of Gravesend Bay. The crew had probably been waiting for word that the out bound lanes were clear, held up by Paridisio’s “situation”. Maybe they had been warned, or maybe the sight of an erratically piloted cruise ship made them nervous, either way they had turned to starboard and were headed toward the Narrows Bridge at best speed. They were running, running from him, Felix felt like a stalking cat, fast and agile, while his prey was a lumbering wounded giant. The tanker was full of refined petrol, he was sure, since there was no other cargo a tanker would be headed out of harbor with, it would go up like the fourth of July. Felix swept his ship out wide to port, a slow arcing turn to keep his speed up. He would catch the ship before it reached the bridge, tear her guts out and burn everything. Felix saw his reflection in one of the only remaining monitors, not having power had made it into a fine mirror in the darkness of the bridge. He searched for the tell tale green patches, they all seemed to get them, before becoming complete cannibals. Couldn’t see anything for sure, but it was dark, and he was so bloody. He smiled at what a mess he was, arched over the chair arm, favoring his damaged ribs to an extent that he resembled some humpbacked villain. He realized then how prophetic his quoting khan had been, and how like a movie his life would end. Mortally wounded, Sitting on the bridge of a ruined ship, preparing to use it as a tool of revenge, he laughed out loud at the absurdity of it all. The heavy tanker was still trying to make way, but by his guess it hadn’t reached ten knots yet, there was just too much weight, it would not escape. Felix began a slow sweeping turn back to starboard, the flashing lights meant to warn him off, only help him line up on her midship. He would have growled out “I stab at thee, etc. etc. etc.”, but having read Moby Dick many times, he had his own favorite Melville’s lines. “All men are born with halters round their necks, but it’s only when caught in the swift and sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the subtle, but ever present perils of life.” As he said it he realized it was not he, who was caught in the swift and sudden turn of death, but instead he was the one tightening the lines around the necks of others. That revelation didn’t bring the dismay he thought it should, and the lack of dismay only brought on a slight unease, the unease was quickly brushed off & forgotten. He was fully committed, hading directly at the tanker, and beyond the point of no return, when he felt his ship slow. It wasn’t drastic, but it was sudden, a second later the sound of an explosion reached his ears & vibrations rattled the floor under his feet. It had not been some little rocket from a chopper, something big a bad had happened to the stern of his ship. But it was too late, he feathered the screw blades to allow the best coasting speed, and zeroed in on the tanker. At the last minute the captain of the Chevron North Star (Felix could see the name clearly by then) must have realized Paradisio could not be outran, and tried to outmaneuver instead. The tanker reversed full, in hopes of causing Felix to overshoot, but it was fighting too much momentum, it’s speed dropped quickly, but Felix easily adjusted course to keeping his bow aimed at her middle. The Paridisio’s sharp angled bow cut through thirty feet of the North Star’s double walled hull, before the bow radar dome jammed into her side. The impact was at a forty five degree angle to stern, which saved the North Star from being cut clean in two, but it was small consolation. Both of her middle compartments were open wide, spilling their volatile contents into the bay, and she was bent almost like a boomerang at the middle.
The impact had thrown Felix forward into a console, nearly knocking him out. He shook off the haze and looked out in amazement at what he had done, five million liters of fuel were pouring into the water, and his ship was jammed into the side of a tanker, while still at full throttle. He was surprised there was no inferno yet, the fumes were causing his eyes to water and throat to burn, meaning whatever it was, it wanted to ignite. The thrust of Paridisio’s screws pushed the tanker toward shore, and shore seemed to be moving toward the entangled ships, as they approached the Narrows area of the waterway. Felix saw lights flickering on in the buildings of Fort Hamilton, and it gave him an idea. He reached under the console & felt around, but it wasn’t there. He knew there was an emergency kit mounted under it, somewhere. After unstrapping and dropping painfully to the floor, he found it and pulled it loose from it’s spring clips. Just as he pulled out the item he needed, he was thrown under the consoles and into the storage holds below. At the same an enormous thud reverberated through the ship, metal creaked and groaned as they had finally stopped. Felix pulled himself up on the console and looked up at the Narrows Bridge almost directly above him. They had hit the Eastern tower barrier, the North Star’s bow jammed into the rock wall, as her stern slowly swung towards shore, still pushed by Paridisio’s power. A moment later another softer impact, as North Star’s rear end jammed into the sand of Fort Hamilton Beach. He moved slowly toward the starboard side of the bridge, trying to ignore the jumble of burnt hissing monsters, jammed through the exit door’s empty window hole. They reminded him of when the Three Stooges would all try to go through a doorway at once, and get stuck, and start slapping each other. When he reached the far side, he had a better view of North Star’s port side, by then only ten degrees off of Paridisio’s starboard. Helicopter blades beat the air, his friends were back. The big grey bird lowered over the tanker’s stern, a soldier with a rifle leaned out and aimed in Felix’s direction, shots rang out, Felix returned fire. Two rifle rounds hit him, one passed through the right side of his abdomen, the other entered his sternum and exploded out through his spine. Captain Felix Serrano collapsed in a heap, dyeing before he hit the ground. In his final flashes of consciousness, Felix Imagined the flare he had fired flying under the chopper, landing on the tanker’s deck, and igniting the petrol accumulating there. He even thought he felt the heat of the huge fireball, as it expanded, consuming all the oxygen in a quarter mile circle. His very last thought was of the grey navy chopper, engulfed in flame, and spinning out of control into a burning sea of death.
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:39 am
What a way to go out!
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:17 pm
Damn.... now THAT was a great extended and realistic action scene! I'm just glad the assholes in the chopper got theirs too heh
I was rooting for the captain all throughout
way make a likeable character sir!!
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:17 pm
Yeah, MOAR! (It's your turn, anyway!
Re: Green Eyed Monster
Posted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:02 pm
Great job I both rooted for and against the captain at the same time! Looking forward to so much moar!!!!!!!