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"What is this place?"

"A bunker, leading to some labs and offices, where I work. We'll be safe down here."

"Okay, But what is all this doing down here, under a convience store?"

"These go on for miles, Hope. It's not just here."

"But what are they doing here? What is their purpose?"

He turned his head towards her's and lowered his voice, "I'll tell you everything, the first chance I get, it's not safe to talk here. There security cameras and voice recorders everywhere."

She nodded and watched the door glide open. Peering inside to where the doorway lead, it was pitch black. Max stepped in and lights flickered on. Hope walked in after him causciously, letting her hands fall to her sides, but still keeping a tight grip on the rifle.

The room they were in was all white and clear. The floor, walls, and ceiling looked as if they were made of fine glass. Lights illuminated from all around them, inside the walls and ceiling. Hope squinted, "Too bright."

"Heh, yeah.", Max walked over to another keypad, the only object in the room. Glass in the wall in front of him slid upwards, revealing an elevator door.

"You can put the gun away, better yet, leave it here."

"I like where it is."

"We don't allow weapons after this point."

"Does it matter?"

"I suppose not anymore."

Max stepped into the elevator, Hope followed and stood by his side. He pressed a button on the keypad and the elevator started moving downward.

"All this devastation in one night.", Hope whispered and shook her head.

"Yes. All because of my father and I." "What?", Hope turned to him, "What'd you two do?"

Max leaned against the wall of the elevator. "My father and I had a fight, over his research. I believed it was wrong, he believed it was for the good of mankind. He locked himself in his laboratory over a week ago, with his lab rats. Humans. Bums, criminals... God only knows what he did in there. Well, nothing worse than what he had already done." His expression was a bewildered one, he rubbed over his eyes and neck, sighing heavily.

"And?"

"He had been testing a type of gene found in certain animals, no one knows what it is. Only he did. I do now; he called the gene ACA."

Hope's eyes widened as they looked over the plains of Max's face as he let out more information, bit by bit.

"He extracted that gene, those - those cells from the carrier animals. He made them into a liquid, a chemical. The chemical was unstable, after forty-eight hours, it would die out in open air. It had to be in living tissue to work."

"Work? What does it do?"

"Yeah, it was supposed to be some kind of supplement that slows the aging process and improves the state of the human body. Hopes were to use it to help paralyzed people use their limbs, walk... But that was all a lie.", he ran a hand through his light brown hair and continued on.

"He told his supervisors that it was for purely medical reasons, but it was all just to get funding for his experiments on human life. He was really working for some underground military organization. Working in biological warfare. He injected the chemical, ACA, into about fifty men. Results were not stable, they mutated since their bodies could not accept the change. The blood in them caused the ACA to multiply. They turned into hideous killing machines, carrying over characteristics of animals their sample of ACA came from. Their first victim was my father."

"I'm sorry..."

Max nodded. "They escaped, all of them. Some were shot and killed by security guards, but not many. The rest, they got out into the city, feeding on anything living. In one night... they ruined Rosen Clauden and sent its population to a nosedive."

"How did they escape?"

"I'm not sure."

She gave him a skeptical look, but said nothing else. The two stood silently, Hope leaned her head against the wall and looked up. The elevator stopped. The doors opened to reveal a plain lobby, with a desk in the right hand corner, a tan door to the left of it, and a brown couch in the opposite corner. At the desk sat a man dressed in a blue uniform, a magnum was on the desk top. The man spotted Hope's rifle and quickly picked up the magnum and aimed it steadily at her.

"It's okay, Rob.", Max held his hand up in a casual manner.

Rob nodded and lowered the gun, placing it back on the table, "How is it out there?"

"Bad. Everything is fucked up. Royally."

"I figured.", his eyes went over to Hope, he raised an eyebrow.

"This woman, she helped me. Her name is Hope. Hope, Rob. Rob, Hope."

Rob offered out his hand to her, she shook it. "You from around here?", his eyes caught a flash of yellow in her pocket.

"Kind of, I'm near the farming area.", she stepped to the side and sat the rifle on the couch.

"That's why you made it. You didn't get the full force of those monsters. Hey, you're certainly well-equipped.", he motioned at the rifle.

"I killed one a-- Huh?"

"That rifle. And I saw the tazer in your pocket. Where are they from?"

"Oh. The rifle is old. The tazer, I always kept as a--"

"Hope, how did you kill it?", Max asked suddenly.

She let out a frustrated sigh, "I shot it in the head, then in the chest."

Rob shuddered, "Chest. Did you hit the heart?"

"Maybe, I shot it through the roof of my jeep, so I didn't really see...", she lowered her head and looked at the floor.

Max sighed and got up slowly.




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