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"Good. How many survivors?"

"Well, the Beta, for one. A woman from the country, and myself. There was a security guard. But he became infected."

Rob scowled, waiting to make his move.

"Woman?"

"Yes, sir. She seems to have military training of some sort. An ex-T.I.X.C., probably around 25. I know nothing else about her. But, I believe she has the Beta hostage."

"Haha, what strange irnoy! Well. You must re-aquire the Beta. And kill the woman, she probably knows too much now."

"I'd be more than happy to, sir. But, what irony?"

"They're a non-goverment organization, they deal with genetic outbreaks and epidemics. But that is of no importance now. If the Beta is wounded by one of the test subjects, infected with ACA. He will no longer be dormant, you must get him back, Ms. Clauden. It is crucial."

"Y-yes, sir."

"After being infected, the ACA will trigger the Beta within ten hours. If not controlled, he will be an even greater danger to us all than those worthless lab rats."

"I know, sir."

"Contact me once you have the Beta. And get my city up and running as soon as possible. I'll be there when I can."

"Yes, mayor."

Rob's eyes grew with fear. The mayor himself was in on this.

---

"Where do we go now?"

"I don't know. The streets, I guess."

"I need to get back to my truck."

"The quickest way to get out of here is through that tunnel. But it's not safe."

"We have less chance of being found... Where does that lead to again?"

"An animal clinic. Right into a gas chamber, where they used put animals to sleep. It was attacked right after this lab."

Hope loaded the magnum and motioned her head toward the tunnel opening, "Alright. We can thank our little friend for blazing our path."

"What? No! I'm not going in there! There is no way in hell!"

"Suit yourself. I'm not getting caught by your crazy sister."

"But what about Rob?"

She grew quiet, then spoke, "If you want, you can go get him. I'll go up through the tunnel and make sure it's all clear. I'll guard it and make sure nothing goes in. That way, you and Rob can get through easily, sound good?"

"No, I don't want you going in there alone."

"Why not? I'll be fine. I have enough ammo."

"No."

"Max..."

"No!"

"Damn it. We'll never get out of here if you keep this up.", she hissed.

"I-I just don't want you to get hurt. That's all."

Her eyes softened for a few seconds, then hardened. She knew she had to get them out of this city.

"I'll be fine. I promise. I know what I'm doing."

He sighed loudly and dropped his hands to his sides, "Alright, I'll meet you up there, be careful."

She smiled and nodded, and headed toward the tunnel.

"Hope?"

"Yes?"

"Nevermind."

She glanced back one last time at him, then ran into the tunnel.

---

Rob slowly got up. Gripping his magnum tightly he snuck up behind Sarah.

"Infected, huh?"

"Wha--?", she turned and looked at him, then at the bullet hole in his chest, "How?"

"Bullet-proof vest, sweety.", he grinned.

She growled and grabbed the rifle again, aiming at his head. Before she could fire, he lunged forward and hit her over the head with the stock of his magnum. She fell to the ground, unconscious.

"You stupid b--"

"Rob!", Max came bursting through the door.

"Aah! Christ! Don't do that, you moron!"

"Sorry, man. But, we have to get out of here now!"

"What? And go where?"

"Outside, out of this hell hole of a city."

"Where's the girl?"

"She's in the tunnel, clearing a path. Where's my sister?"

Rob walked over to him, "Uh...", he pointed at the bullet hole then at Sarah. Max walked over to her, and gazed at her unconscious body.

"Aw, geez. Rob..."

"She ain't dead. But, she is in on this whole thing. Even the Mayor is. I heard a conversation they just had on the computer. She's just using you man. You're nothing more than another experiment."

Max's gaze darkened, "She stays here. She'll be fine in this lab. It's well protected." He turned and walked past Rob, who followed.

"So, we're heading to the main lab?"

"Yeah.", he panted loudly and breathlessly, even though they were just walking.

"You okay, man?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm good."

They stopped in front of the control room door.

---

Hope shivered as she walked through the gloomy dirt tunnel. Keeping her gun poised and her ears listening for the slightest thing that sounded out of the ordinary. The only sounds were her foot steps on the ground, a faint dripping, and her shakey breathing. Finally, she noticed a ring of light, meaning that there was some type of trap door leading up into the clinic.

She poked the door with the top of her gun, it lifted slightly. She stuck the magnum in her jacket and zipped it up. Slowly, she gripped onto a make-shift ladder and climbed up. She reached the top and carefully opened the door, clinging to the ladder with one hand.

The bright florescent light blinded her for a bit, but her eyes quickly adjusted. She climbed out and took out the magnum, staying low to the floor and looking around. She was in a white room with a table in the center, a door with a small window stood in front of her. She slowly stood up, peering out through the window.

"Oh my God.", she gasped softly.

Mauled bodies littered the floor, along with seemingly dead animals. Hope put her hand over her mouth and looked away. She tried to see if the door would open, but found it was locked. She gasped again, quietly and slumped down against a wall, holding her head as she tried to hold back tears.She looked up and shook her head slowly.




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