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Monday, 22 December 2008

The Rising - Chapter 75: Hitting The Road

Are you sure you don’t want me to go with you?’ Jane asked.

Becky checked her pistols were loaded and secured them in the pockets in her suit. Like a pilot going through pre-flight checks, she methodically checked each pocket and space on her belt to ensure all her equipment was loaded and accounted for.

No,’ she said, ‘Without you I can take the bike. I’ll be a lot quicker on my own. You have to stay here and protect the doc and your samples.’

What if you run into trouble?’

I don’t think I will. The sun won’t set for a few hours so I doubt I’ll run into any bloodsuckers.’

What about The Brotherhood?’

Becky lifted a radio out of her huge box of weapons and turned it on. The only sound it emitted was the low crackle of radio silence.

Hear that? That channel is usually buzzing all day long. Even when there are no operations going on, there’s always chatter over the radio. But today, ever since I picked you up: nothing. Either they’ve got bigger fish to fry or the general has called for radio silence. With a bit of luck, either of those options will keep them out of my way for the next hour or two.’

You’ve got the addresses of the labs, haven’t you?’ Jane asked.

Yes. I know where both of these places are. Shouldn’t be too much trouble.’

And you’ve got my number to call me in case there’s any problems?’

Becky looked at Jane like she was answering to an over-protective mother. ‘Yes, I have. What time’s curfew? I want to make sure I don’t get grounded.’

Sorry,’ Jane said, ‘I just want to make sure we’re all organised before you leave us.’

Look, I’m not going to be long. One hour, maybe two. The doc’s got plenty to do until I get back. Just wait here, keep an eye on him and keep watching the news.’

Becky put her helmet on and said her goodbyes, then closed the visor and headed for the door. Jane followed her out and watched her get into the elevator. She looked over the edge of the balcony. The rain was still pouring down. Jane thought that she’d love to be able to have nothing to worry about other than the changeable weather but the last forty-eight hours had given her so much more to think about.

Jane had been moving non-stop ever since she got the call that woke her up from her pleasant slumber and called her back into action from her holiday. She had taken the time off while Doctor Owen was finishing off work on the primary treatment, expecting to return to her superiors and receive instructions to move his work to a secure location.

Everyone’s plans had disappeared into thin air when The Brotherhood decided to take the matter into their own hands and destroy the Mantek lab. Now they were on the run from The Brotherhood, the vampires and the police. And Tom… Poor Tom.

From eleven floors up, Jane heard the faint sound of an engine revving followed by the sight of Becky shooting away from the apartment block towards the city.

Grey clouds blanketed the skyline in the distance. Even though the sun wasn’t due to set for a few hours, the city streets were becoming darker. Looking down, Jane saw a few street lights flicker into life, a sure sign that night time was coming in quicker than expected.

Jane turned round and went back into the apartment, locking the door behind her. Doctor Owen was sitting at the kitchen table, never looking up from his microscope. It was small and most unsuitable for the work he needed to do but it was all they could manage to take when they had escaped from The Brotherhood.

They had retrieved the samples and documents from their car, only to find that some of their hoard had been destroyed during their battle with The Brotherhood. One of the cases had taken a direct hit and had leaked infected blood all over the boot of the car. Some of the backup cartridges had taken direct hits as well, reducing them to nothing more than a pile of mangled plastic and tape. They both knew they would have to dispose of the car soon and find a new mode of transport.

He placed a small drop of blood that had been taken from Tom about twenty-four hours earlier into a petri dish and placed it under the lens with the highest magnification. He then unwrapped one of the syringes Becky had given them and removed the cap. Very carefully, he pressed the plunger and allowed one drop of the yellow liquid to fall onto the blood sample. He examined the reactions in silence for what seemed like an eternity.

What’s happening?’ Jane asked.

Doctor Owen rubbed his eyes as he looked up. In addition to the tiredness that was written all over their faces, he also wore an expression of total disbelief.

As far as I can tell, the syringes that she said she found two years ago are filled with the same treatment I developed last week.’

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