Dark Frontier

Next Problem

23rd May 2159: 7.30 am

“Good to go” said Laura, checking the controls of the Hopper. Her composure seemed to have returned.

Zola had raced to the computer room and easily extracted the data they had required: she had also sealed the tunnel doors between Hesperus Station and the compound, so at least the number of Crazies would be limited. The bad news was that their target was one of the prisoners in the Research Facility, but now they had his bracelet ID they could at least track him. They had given Dave a different story.

“The comms is too damaged for a quick repair” said Franz; in fact he had simply switched it off, slaved to a password. “But we’ve managed to close the Decompression Doors in the train tunnel.”

“We think there are some survivors in the main facility,” he continued. “So we’re taking one of the Hoppers to see what we can do. Help should be here within an hour or so anyway.” Or longer, he thought guiltily.

“Well there are 50 inmates supposed to be stationed there, and 30 staff” said Zola.

“We accounted for six” said Rackham. “And were they tough? If we’d encountered more than a handful at a time we would have had it.”

“Twenty inmate bracelets at Hesperus still” said Franz. “And they are all moving about.”

“But how many are turned?” asked Rackham. “And how? Why?”

“Combat drug” said Laura sharply. “The perfect soldier. Lot 49, or one of it’s derivatives.” All heads turned towards her.

“Lot 49? Never heard of it.” said Rackham.

“Experimental; doesn’t work properly. Serious side effects.” she replied curtly.

“And…..?”

“Look. I don’t want to talk about it. Suffice to say that if this is a continuation of that programme, it’s bad news.”

Rackham hesitated – Laura was hardly one to open up. And he vaguely knew that she had a background in Corp Intelligence, but also that she didn’t take to prying.

“Laura, I don’t want to pry. But this other drug – was it injectable, or could it spread like, a…er, well, a disease?” Laura frowned.

“It was a directly injectable stimulant, derived from some engineered fungus or other; I don’t know the scientific details. Maybe its been developed further. In fact, that’s likely.”

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