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#1: Rebirth - About - Go to Chapter 1

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Monday, 8 September 2008

The Rising - Chapter 30: Back To Mantek

Jane fished around in her pockets and pulled out her World Health Organisation security pass. She stopped their car at the security booth at the front of the Mantek pharmaceuticals complex and hoped that she still had clearance. She showed her pass to the security guard and he snatched it out of her hand. His attention turned to a sheet of paper on his desk.

Jane looked in her mirror to check there were no vehicles behind her, in case she had to shift into reverse and make a quick exit. She rested her hand on the gear stick as her foot hovered over the accelerator.

Your details check out okay,’ the security guard said, ‘Follow the road up to the main building and check in with security there.’

Jane thanked him as he raised the barrier and they made their way into the compound. Ahead of them she saw almost the exact same sight she had seen two days earlier. The corner of the research building had been destroyed, blown up by a bomb planted by The Brotherhood to stop Doctor Owen’s work on the cure for the vampire virus.

Their only priority was to produce a treatment that would kill all vampires but only Doctor Owen knew how and he didn’t believe in their cause. Both he and Jane believed in producing the treatment that would cure all vampires. The treatment would be the first step towards co-existence, but they would need Doctor Forrest’s help and the clock was ticking.

Jane stopped the car in front of the building. They got out and walked up the steps into the reception area. Without getting out of his chair, the security guard gestured for them to come over to his desk. He asked Jane and Doctor Owen for their security passes. Doctor Owen showed his Mantek pass and Jane flashed her WHO badge. The security guard was sluggish in his actions after a long night and cast his dark eyes across their credentials.

I’ll need you to sign in,’ the security guard said.

Why?’ Jane asked, trying not to get aggressive but knowing that she didn’t want to leave any evidence of them being here.

Orders from you lot,’ he said, pointing at Jane’s WHO badge, ‘Until they’ve sorted out the mess upstairs I have to make sure everyone signs in and out.’ He passed Jane a clipboard and pen.

Damn it. He’s already seen my name on my badge.

Reluctantly, Jane signed and printed her name. She fought the urge to sign a false name, knowing that it would probably cause more problems at this moment in time. She passed the clipboard and pen to Doctor Owen, whose face told her that they’d just made life more difficult for themselves.

When the security guard was satisfied that he’d done his job, he went back to reading his day-old newspaper and Jane and Doctor Owen disappeared round the corner.

We’ve got to be as fast as we can,’ Doctor Owen said as they walked up the stairs, ‘Anyone who turns up will know what time we were here.’

How long will this take?’ Jane asked.

We’ve got plenty of blood samples in the car so we won’t need to pick any up from here. All I’ve got to do is load samples of the primary treatment into a case and download our research data onto a memory stick from the central server.’

And you know exactly where everything is?’

Yes. A long time ago, Doctor Forrest and I agreed that if we were ever in any danger or our work was compromised, we would have a plan to cover our tracks and carry on with our work.’

On their way to the storage room they had to go past what was left of Doctor Owen’s lab, the sight of which stopped him in his tracks.

Oh my God,’ he exclaimed and edged his way through the splintered door frame into the dry, dusty shell of the lab where he used to work. Dumbstruck, he stood open-mouthed for a moment, overcome by the wreckage.

The cold night wind blew in through the massive hole in the corner of the room that had been ripped open by the bomb. Two days on, the smell of charred wood still hung in the air. Doctor Owen saw a spot on the floor that hadn’t been burned by the explosion, behind the heavy metal refrigerator that had been twisted into an unnatural shape. A patch of blood had dried into the floor.

Is that where Danny was killed?’ he asked, thinking of his assistant, who he had left on his own in the lab that night.

Jane didn’t answer his question. She touched him on the shoulder. ‘Come on, Andrew. We’ve got to get this done. We’ve got four more sites to visit after this.’

Doctor Owen snapped out of it and turned to look her in the eye with a renewed focus in his mind. He wasn’t going to let anything like this happen to them.

Get what you came here for and get out. Don’t stop to smell the roses.

You’re right. Let’s go.’

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