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Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Rising - Chapter 61: Change Of Plan

General Graham hung up the phone and only just resisted the urge to pick the portable comms unit up and throw it across the stone-floored entrance hall of Hartley House.

The general hated taking orders from anyone at the World Health Organisation, but he especially hated taking orders from that pencil-pushing bastard Ellis. All Ellis cared about was the treaty and following the conditions of the agreement between humans and vampires to the letter. He didn’t care about the effects of the Rising, only what it meant for the people they were supposed to protect. All he cared about was getting paid.

General Graham didn’t believe in the treaty but he followed it. He had no choice. After all, the plan had been laid down fifty years ago when it became clear that medical treatment for the virus might be possible.

Both species knew they needed to secure their future. If the vampires broke the treaty, they knew they wouldn’t have the numbers to mount an effective resistance against the humans, and if the humans broke the treaty, there would be widespread panic if the vampires came out into the open. Now, fifty years since the treaty was signed and five hundred years since the first agreement between humans and vampires, the plans for the species to co-exist would come to fruition.

Fearing what would happen on the day of the Rising, General Graham had unofficially empowered Commander North with the task of developing a weapon that could be used to wipe out vampires once and for all. This had to happen before their numbers grew too large to deal with. But just as Doctor Owen and Doctor Forrest had almost completed work on the primary treatment, they had both gone missing and all the work they had done was quickly disappearing from their locations around the city.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the World Health Organisation had just called and told him to scale back their operations until tomorrow morning, when they would be informed of their new mission. If he didn’t recover the doctor before that operation, he suspected it would be too late.

Too late to stop the Rising.

General Graham stepped out of the main doors and looked across the grounds. Debris from the previous day’s battle was still scattered across the lawns, which had been torn apart by gunfire and the falling remnants of the wooden lookout towers. The falling rain was quickly turning the once-beautiful grounds into a muddy bog.

The general’s attention was taken by a battered truck chugging down the gravel drive. It stopped at the front steps and two men immediately jumped out. They took one of their men in their arms and ran up the steps into the house. General Graham winced as he saw the burns on the face of the unconscious casualty, whose camouflage gear was charred and falling apart.

He walked down the steps to meet Captain Sayers as he got out of the truck.

‘We need a recovery crew to go to the Expressway,’ Captain Sayers said, ‘We’ve got two trucks sitting on the road holding up the traffic. This is going to make the news. Too many people saw everything. Private Blondheim was blown in half trying to stop the explosion. It’s a fucking mess.’

‘I’ve already sent a team to pick up the wreckage,’ said General Graham.

‘If we’re going to stop Agent Simpson and pick up the doctor, I’ll need more men.’

‘There has been a change of plan. The World Health Organisation are pursuing this line of investigation. We will remain here and await their call.’

‘What? With Agent Clarkson out there? We need to stop her at all costs. She’s going to screw up everything. I’ve just lost good men today to a chick on a motorbike. We’ve got to get back out there and take that bitch apart!’

‘Keep that attitude in check, Sayers. We all have orders. I have mine and you have yours. Shit rolls downhill.’

‘Yes sir,’ Captain Sayers said grudgingly, ‘How is our resident vampire?’

‘Stein’s still alive for now. Have you got a use for him? I was thinking about leaving him out here to get a suntan.’

‘The detective is still missing. He could still help us out.’

‘Okay, you check on him. Unless he’s causing any trouble, we’ll keep hold of him until this is over.’

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