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Monday, 18 August 2008

The Rising - Chapter 21: No Bodies

Captain Sayers stood on the edge of the lake, looking across the rippling silvery surface. Have they really dumped a huge gunship in here?

The water was disturbed by a froth of bubbles and two masked heads emerged. General Graham walked over and joined Captain Sayers at the edge of the water to meet the divers as they made their way out of the lake. The divers removed their masks and the one in front spoke before the officers could ask the obvious questions.

The helicopter’s down there, sir.’

Any sign of the doctor and the others?’ asked Captain Sayers.

No, sir. No bodies.’

Good work, men,’ said the captain, checking his watch, ‘They can’t have gone far. Go and get out of your suits. They’ll need shelter and transport so we’ll start our search at the cabins by the lake.’

But there’s dozens, maybe hundreds of cabins, sir. We can’t search every one.’

Leave that to me,’ Captain Sayers said. The soldiers ran back to their helicopter, preparing to dry off and change into their combat gear as quickly as possible. Sayers was already asserting his authority, doing whatever he could to show that he was in change. He was the one who would succeed where others had failed.

Thoughts of failure made his attention turn to Captain Stein. General Graham instinctively knew what Sayers was thinking.

You’d better keep your sniffer dog on a short leash.’

Are you leaving us, sir?’ Captain Sayers asked.

Yes I am. I’m going to leave you in charge here, Captain Sayers. I will join the others at Hartley House and await your call. If you need any intel, contact Private Hindle. He should be at Hartley House already.’

Thank you, sir. I will not disappoint you.’

Good. It is absolutely imperative that you recover the doctor. As long as he remains in the outside world, our work will be in jeopardy. Everything we have worked for over the last five hundred years depends on finding him.’

You can depend on me, sir,’ Captain Sayers said as he looked at Captain Stein, ‘We’ll find him.’

General Graham left Captain Sayers to round up his men and marched to his helicopter. He was confident that this was the best man to lead the search for the doctor and his small band of fugitives but wasn’t as confident that they would be found.

Sayers shouted to his men. ‘Get Stein in a set of boots. He’s coming with us.’

As his helicopter lifted off, General Graham’s thoughts turned to the day ahead. Before long, his hands would be tied and he would be forced to call off the search. The chances of finding the doctor and getting him to a facility where he could complete the work on the primary treatment by the end of the day were so remote as to be unworthy of consideration.

He almost had to laugh at the situation. They were on the run because they believed in developing a treatment to relieve the symptoms of the vampire virus, which in turn would allow the species to co-exist. But if they knew what he knew, they would almost certainly be compelled to work together.

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