Sound was the first thing to return. A low repeating rhythmic droning sound. It felt like a lifetime before he could move. But when he could, the first thing he saw was Dave.
"Hey mate, i heard what happened." his face was full of concern.
"Why did they kill her?, They were letting us out" Jim’s voice was barely above a whisper.
"They said she was infected mate. Said she must have got infected when she went to town."
"Infected with what though?"
"Their calling it MBP, i don’t know what it stands for, but that’s what Aimee had mate. Its ripping through the Spanish islands now." for the first time, Jim had a good look around the room. Steel lined walls surrounded him, it looked like a doctors examination room more than a cell though. Dave looked around, as a door behind him opened. A tall round faced man entered, and walked to the bottom of Jim’s bed.
"Hello Jim. I’m Dr Bellows. Your on board HMS Ark Royal. I see you had your nose broken, are you in any pain?" His eyes flicked between the two men.
"No, i can’t feel anything. What the hell is going on?"
"Just rest for now Jim, the sedative they gave you will wear off soon. We will talk then ok?"
"I’ll stay here with you mate, don’t worry." Dave tried to comfort him.
"I will come back later, you both have some catching up to do." The doctor walked back to the door and without looking back he left the room.
They sat in silence for several minutes, then Jim spoke first.
"She hardly spoke, all morning. When we saw them bombing the road, she just started to cry, then she didn’t really speak."
"Maybe she was already feeling the effects mate. Maybe she was already coming down with the infection."
"I need to know what this infection is, How she caught it. I need to get out of this room."
"Hey slow down. We don’t have the full run of the ship you know. We’ve been told to stay here, in the infirmary."
"They have to tell us what going on. I need to know why she died."
With this Jim sat up. He swung his legs off the side of the bed, and slid off the edge. Dave rushed around to help him, but Jim was already on his feet.
"I need some answers. Now"
Several hours later, all of the rescued tourists were sat in a briefing room.
It was usually used to give pilots their instructions, but for now it was the only place big enough to hold them all. Jim sat with Dave and Ella.
"Welcome everyone. As you all know, I am DR Bellows. I will be showing you a series of short films, then I will answer any questions you may have."
With this the lights went off, and the wall behind the doctor lit up. It was being used as a projection screen.
The first film displayed a man in what appeared to be a hospital. The camera appeared to be placed high in a corner. He was strapped down onto a bed and a man in a large blue airtight suit was injecting him with something. The man was screaming, but the language used was unrecognisable. The film seemed to pause. DR Bellows stood at this point, "We are forwarding several hours. The whole experiment took over 9 hours to conclude." he then returned to his seat.
The film went forward at high speed. It was clear that the man was still there, still strapped down. The film slowed down to normal speed again.
The big over sized blue suit appeared. He pointed to the restrained mans ears, blood was running down the side of his head. The blue suit then pointed to the patients nose, blood was starting to appear there too.
Convulsions shook the patient. A loud screeching sound could be heard. The straps holding him down were being stretched enormously. Before blue suit could move out of the way, the straps snapped. the patient lunged forward and grabbed the suit by the helmet. Even though his legs were still restrained, his strength seemed to be incredible. The suit helmet came off, and blood was sprayed all over the technicians face. The film forwarded again and now both of the men in the room were showing signs of the infection.
Dr Bellows again stood up. "This is how the infection spreads. Fluid transfer, in this case blood. The next film gives you some more information."
The film restarted, only this time it was set on a street. The camera must have been a security type, mounted above a shop front, only this time it had no sound. It showed a groups of infected people running at a police line. The officers were shooting into the group, but they seemed to have no fear. After a few seconds, the firing stopped, and the officers moved forward. They were checking the bodies of the fallen infected. After a minute or so, they moved back into their firing line, it seemed more targets were approaching. Again the officers opened fire, and just like before the infected fell where they were shot. This time it was different though. The first infected people who had been shot, started to move. Slowly arms and legs started to move. Stiffly and with great deliberation, the fallen infected rose to their feet. Bullets ripped through them, but they no longer had any affect. The gunfire was concentrated on the closest figure, but only when a round hit him in the head, did the man fall. this time for the last time. the policemen seemed to learn this lesson very quickly, and the remaining infected were soon dispatched with bullets to the head. After a few seconds, the film ended.
Dr Bellows stood up, and the lights came up.
"These short films were first seen on the internet. We don’t know how they got there, but they were ignored as hoaxes to begin with. The infection is called MBP, but most people now infected are called the Fallen. It is man made and it works in two stages. Firstly it causes various blood vessels to the brain, to swell and eventually rupture, then it causes the brain to...."
He was cut off by Jim. "What do you mean people now infected?, how big is this thing?"
"Well i suppose i could explain the mechanics of it later. Basically every continent in the world has encountered either first, or second stage Fallen."
The whole room was as silent as a tomb. No one moved a muscle.
"So what is the second stage then?, in lay mans terms please doctor." The man speaking looked around the room, "As I’m sure we all thought we saw dead people getting up from the floor."
The doctor coughed nervously, "Well the first stage is as you have seen, extreme aggression, no powers of reason, no self preservation. It’s almost like pure rage and anger. The second stage is somewhat different. When the infected person dies, after a number of minutes, er....." he seemed to struggle with the explanation. "They seem to rise from the dead and for unexplainable reasons feel the need to feed on any kind of animal tissue available." He rushed the last part out.
"You’re telling us they turn into zombies?" Jim said incredulously.
"ER, well not zombies, but er.." the doctor stumbled with his words.
"Dead things that eat living things are zombies doc". Somehow Jim didn’t seem surprised. After what he had seen he could have believed pretty much anything by now. The rest of the room however had exploded into a frenzy of questions and raised voices. Jim looked to Dave, "I need to get out of here."
"Come on." Dave said, then started to push Ella’s wheelchair towards the doors, Jim followed.