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The Heart of Darkness


Sarah Tintagyl
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Large gray rainclouds hung over head as the three Artican ships sat idle, miles off the coast of the Commonwealth of Africa. The ships were registered and to authorities everything would seem legal, they were only running through a mantience check in the calm waters of the Gulf of Guinea before making the Trans-Atlantic journey to the Artican colonial post in North America. What the authorities would not see, however, were the squadron of river crafts that were unloaded off the large cargo ships. At nightfall, these small crafts started their steam engines, personally designed by Dr. Y himself and sped off up the Cross River and into the night air of the African Jungle. When daybreak would arrive, there would be no trace of either the Artican cargo ships or the small river crafts and everything would seem normal. At least for now.

As the sun rose over the rain forest canopy the squadron of river craft, each weighed down with tons of cheap building materials and other mechanical parts gently putted north up the river towards the African interior. They passed the small village of Ikang around noon and stopped for food supplies as well as buying a contract with local construction companies for possible help up the river. It would be said that a new company, the Astrid Corporation, was interested in getting into the diamond business. After the contract was bought and additional boats were commissioned, the flotilla continued up the river under the shade of overhanging trees, hiding them from the scorching sun.

Dr. Y had been sent personally from Port Elizabeth, by Bridgette to oversee the construction of a forward base within the African interior. But the heat of the country was already beginning to get to him and no amount of fan power could cool him off.

"It's no wonder that this continent hasn't produced any real successful countries." He wheezed, holding an electric fan in front of his bearded face. The Doctor was dressed in a short-sleeved white dress shirt with khaki pants, and a straw hat, fitting the part of a corporate investigator fairly well. His Russian accent only helped add to his image.

"I take it you're not used to the heat then sir?" Said one of the boatmen. "It stays cool up in Europe. But you'll get used to it, your ancestors did."

"I don't know how. Even the water doesn't look like it would cool you down."

"Ah, well, sir, you wouldn't want to jump in there. Never know what's down in the depths of the river. Things live down there that will make sure you never come back out."

"I guess it would take care of people snooping around for no good reason, eh?"

"You be snooping on the trees sir?" Said the boatman with chuckle.

Dr. Y finally flashed a smile and nodded as he pushed himself off his fold-up chair. "You could say something like that." He surveyed the riverfront with his hands placed on his waist and listened to the exotic sounds of birds and other creatures. This was truly another world, one of the last places untouched by the putrid hands of humanity. It made the Doctor think, was he part of those same putrid hands or did what Bridgette's plan include meant the freeing of this environment from human tyranny. He doubted it, but it was interesting to think about. Somewhere between Vienna and Port Elizabeth, the woman who he had come to regard as a daughter had lost the last remnants of her sanity, but sometimes the insane were the perfect cure for a corrupt world.

Finally the boatman spoke up again and shook the Doctor from his thoughts. "So how far are you thinking of heading up the river, sir? The diamond mines are pretty far up the river."

Dr. Y nodded and returned to the small canopy perched up on the boat. Inside he had his personal belongings as well as a map of the Cross River. Picking it up, he returned to the scorching sun from underneath the tent and traced his finger up the paper river. "I think a few miles south of Ekok would be fine. Close enough to civilization, but far enough to be completely out of the way."

"Well if you're thinking of settling within the forest, I don't think anyone will be around to bother you, sir. It's pretty deep, you'll only get the aborigines."

"And that would be more than perfect." He said and sat back under the canopy and watched as the boats drifted up the river.

---

It wasn't until after the sun had gone down that the flotilla approached the area that Dr. Y had specified. Local guides said that fifteen miles down the river was the perfect place to build a dockyard and whatever else the Astrid Corporation would be interested in doing. However it would be almost impossible to begin construction of anything in the dark. When the rain forest darkened, it wasn't the average night and the Doctor could barely make out his hand, even when holding it in front of his eyes.

Under lantern light, the Doctor looked at the construction plans for the Astrid-Cross Mining Complex. Three buildings were planned, a shipyard for the river craft, a larger warehouse that would serve as a barracks, weapons cache, and a place to hold harvested diamonds, and further back into the jungle, a laboratory was planned. This was Bridgette's main request and while construction of the complex would take place, Dr. Y had another task to do. Retrieve the chemicals listed out for the laboratory's completion and Bridgette's arrival. Some of the chemicals were rather questionable, but he figured that she knew what she was doing. Just probably not the consequences.

Picking up the communication device he had given her back in Trieste, a message was sent back to Port Elizabeth.

[code]

We've arrived on the Cross River and will begin construction
of the complex tomorrow morning. I estimate that it will take
perhaps a month or more before the complex is fully completed
but as you requested, the laboratory will be up as soon as possible.
I look forward to your arrival in Central Africa, Bridgette and I hope
that everything is going well at the Cape.

-Y

[/code]

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The humid air of the African rain forest was refreshing to Bridgette as the solitary river craft drifted down the wide, still expanse that was the Cross River. Through the tress, dim fires struggled to claw through the darkness while the river surface was painted with fire flies of all sizes that illuminated the way north to where the Complex was currently being constructed. Her journey to Central Africa had been pleasantly uneventful. She had received word from De Witt that she had litter to worry about the Arctican control of Transvaal and would be filled in with all movements, in addition, Astrid Corporation's income was secured in the Kimberley and German Diamond Mines of South Africa and there was the possibility of securing more mineral wealth along the Cross River. However, these were all minor things compared to what Bridgette had in store for the new small republics on the Gulf of Guinea. If Dr. Y had retrieved the chemicals that she had requested, they would serve as her Guinea Pigs on a bold maneuver to ensure that the republics were her's to control. The thought made her laugh into the darkness.

"Guinea Pigs on the Gulf of Guinea! HAHAHAHAHA! How ironic!" She said sipping peach vodka out of a flask. "It's all too perfect."

The boatman looked back at the madwoman standing still on the middle of the deck of the ship. Only two weeks ago he had driven this same route with a man of Russian decent. This woman had a distinct German accent, but the sound of her voice had something that the man's had not. There was a grim shriek, the sound that witch doctors said belong to those men and women possessed by evil spirits. He only turned back to the river and watched the fire flies dance along the water.

A few hours later the craft floated up towards the dock house on the river. Upon arrival, Bridgette stepped out of the canopy of the boat and looked at her African base. It was rather shabby still, the dock house was only half complete, but the warehouse had a roof on it and lanterns glowing from inside. At least the detachment she had sent had done what they were supposed to do, build the base and survive in one of nature's harshest environments. The question was whether her laboratory was finished and were the chemicals prepped and ready for her experimentation. She didn't care about anything else at the moment and as the lanterns traveled from the warehouse to the dock house to greet Bridgette's disembarkation, her eyes were fixed on the dimly lit trail that led off further into the forest.

"Ah! Bridgette! Welcome to Kurtz Station, the proverbial Heart of Darkness." Said Dr. Y as he walked down the wooden ramp and took Bridgette's hands. "I trust that your ride up here was pleasant. Ngambe is one of the best river navigators I've had the pleasure of working with."

Bridgette turned back to the boatman and smiled. "You don't say? I have a contingent of men coming from South Africa in a few days. I'd be very honored to have someone of your expertise navigating them up the river."

"I serve my contract Miss. Nothing more, nothing less."

"What village are you from Ngambe?"

"Etono, Miss."

"Very good, I'll have to visit there during my stay. This entire country is very beautiful and I'm hoping to stay for a long time."

Ngambe smiled back, but gulped down to hide his anxiety. Her eyes were as wild as her voice. "It would be an honor Miss, I'm afraid I don't know who you are. But you seem very kind. We would be honored to have you, I'm sure."

"Don't worry, you'll find out soon enough, the entire country will, in the best way possible, I assure you. I'm somewhat of a miracle worker." The word sparked her memory and the smile disappeared as she turned back around to Dr. Y. "Speaking of miracles, is the laboratory completed?"

Dr. Y nodded with a grin. "You'll be happy to know that everything that you requested is at the lab and waiting for your and my scientific expertise to begin whatever experiments you have planned." As he took the woman by the shoulder to begin leading her down the lantern path to the laboratory, the Doctor's grin began to subside. "Though I must say Bridgette, the list that you gave me, those medicines and other chemicals, it sounds like you're starting some kind of zoo. We even had to build cages. Honestly, I didn't know that you were going to want live animals and the smell in the lab is just horrible. What have you got in your head?"

As they reached the laboratory, which was slightly smaller than the warehouse, but more compact and not as shabbily built, Bridgette dismissed the operatives escorting her and the Doctor and posted two guards outside the doors. Walking in she looked at a dingy room with a dirt floor and a few ancient computers hooked up to humming generators in the corner of the room. Along the far table were microscopes, glass beakers and a plethora of other equipment in cellular experiments. Beyond that room, behind closed doors, she could hear the screech of animals, of monkeys hollering and wild dogs barking. "And the rats?"

Dr. Y shuddered at the thought. "Yes, we only needed ten, but there are hundreds now. I had the men build cases for them. They've become huge, ugly things."

"Well then, I guess I should let you in on my little secret." Bridgette said as she jumped up on the table and sat down next to the beakers of chemicals. "Extortion works great when you have a small community you can control. Miners Guilds, anarchic communities, and the like. But if my plans are really going to take off. My plans for the world." Her eyes grew as she spoke. "I need nations at my feet. I need a country's economy and military and my disposal and the only way to do that is bring a country to their knees. Unfortunately I don't have the military mind or capacity to accomplish such a goal, on that avenue. However, if we had a monopoly on a nations survival. I think that would do the trick."

"Biological warfare?"

"Rabies, to be precise Doctor. I plan to create a super strand of Rabies and let it lose on the populations of the Commonwealth and the West African Republic. A rabies virus that has been altered to slow down the eventual onset of death as well as increase the production of epinephrine and mess with the person's amygdala. After the rats, monkeys and whatever else I can infect get a hold of the people of this land. Messing with someones amygdala makes them emotionally unstable and much more aggressive, activation of the SNS will keep them in a perpetual state of fight-or-flight." She sighed happily. "The nation will be in a state of chaos and then I will arrive with the antidote. Astrid will save the day, restore order to these countries and then, I will be in control of their destiny or I will release the rabies again."

The Doctor chuckled and shook his head. "Genius, Bridgette, truly genius."

She jumped down off the table and over to the door to the animal room. Opening it, the animals immediately went into a frenzy as Bridgette smiled. "Let's begin. Shall we."

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The construction did not go unnoticed, but response was fairly low. The location Dr. Y had chosen was about a day's drive from a Commonwealth air base, and close to AA batteries in the area. Officials allowed the construction to go unhindered, essentially looking the other way. Occasionally a spy plane flew overhead, part of regular patrols in the area to keep the border clear of holes. Their neck of the woods was relatively unimportant, but it mattered a hell of a lot to commanders that [url="http://forums.cybernations.net/index.php?showtopic=100391&view=findpost&p=2719145"]L'île du condamné[/url] was secure from any unauthorized "visitors". Usually nicknamed "The Island of the Damned" among the English-speaking population, a regular patrol was sent downriver to keep the border and river flow secure and free of obstructions or unauthorized equipment.

Lieutenant Louis Dupuy was part of this regular patrol. A man with less leadership and courage than a Soviet conscript, it was a wonder he got to the rank of Sergeant. His boney face only made his sad eyes look like they were ready to begin the flow of tears at any moment. A natural Frenchman, he had immigrated to the Commonwealth several years back, and somehow he had convinced himself to join the Imperial Army. He along with about 10 other soldiers were headed down the river, clearing obstacles and checking for anything unusual. Spy planes reported that there was construction ongoing near the river, and commanders had told the LTs to pass it down the line to check it out if the need arose. Another lieutenant, Pelland, ordered Dupuy and a sergeant to cross the river to take a look at it when they had neared it. Dupuy silently protested and cursed the man, but went with the sergeant. He swatted at bugs as he crossed the river, keeping his AK-74 above water. He had no doubts about it's reliability, but was cautious. He didn't want it to jam on him if the workers were hostile.

The sergeant took point, calling out to the workers. Dupuy carefully checked, it was already getting dark. Who would want to work in this damned place anyway?

The silence was broken by the sergeant. "Nothing. Let's get back to the patrol." He cracked a smile under his thick beard. "May have already left us, eh?" Dupuy of course wanted to head back to the patrol...all sorts of crazy things happened in the woods at night.

"Let's wait, Sergeant. They're building a dock here...Why?" Dupuy looked at the sergeant, expecting an answer. The sergeant laughed and kept going. "You watch too many conspiracy movies, LT. I'm headed back." Soon, Dupuy was left alone, and soon raced to keep up with the patrol. He knew he was going to come back to this place, and truly find out what was happening, workers or no. He may not be courageous, but he sure as hell wanted to find out what was happening.

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Over the next two weeks, Bridgette and Dr. Y barely moved out from the laboratory except to escape the stench of the animals for the stench of the rain forest. It became harder when the clear and sunny days that their operation had been blessed with disappeared and the true meaning of the rain forest came through. Water fell down in buckets, leaking through the shabby, rusting ceiling of the laboratory and more than once, Bridgette's cultures of cells had been completely ruined by the arrival of a raindrop into experiments. In addition to the stench of the animals and the claustrophobia that came from the rain, the corpses of animals who had undergone failed experiments began to pile up. The unlucky soldiers who had the responsibility of burying rabies laden animals far into the woods drained the morale of the entire complex.

Sitting on a metal stool over a lantern-lit table, Bridgette moved microscopic pins against a rabies cell. It would be the sixth attempt of the day and her last one of the night. The three other monkeys and two other rats had all undergone the most deplorable of effects to the disease. Two of the monkeys hadn't even concocted rabies from injection of cells into their bodies and the third, plus the two rats had such an extreme case that they died minutes after exposure. If the plan was to work against the African governments, the disease had to spread and thus had to last at least more than a few days. Those effected also had to have an increased level of aggression to help actively spread the disease. Cases had showed signs of increased aggression, but that was no good if death followed.

Looking up from his own table, Dr. Y turned and watched Bridgette actively fiddling between her microscope and the beakers lined up in front of her. He shook his head and sighed, listening to the rain pounding down against the sides of the laboratory. "Bridgette, it's almost two in the morning. How can you even see straight?"

She was silent, but her arms moved in a meticulous frenzy.

He pushed himself up off the stool and began to walk over towards her, yawning as he did. "Come, we can get to work on this tomorrow. The whole of Africa isn't going anywhere." He chuckled, but the woman never moved a muscle in his direction, only continuing her work over the cultures and beakers. "Bridgette?"

Suddenly she stopped and lifted her head back as the mad scientist, with her hair beginning to turn white from stress rested her hands against the table. "Dr. Y. Something like this cannot wait. I have never been a patient person and this will be no different. However," her hand reached over to a syringe and bottled a few milliliters of the substance in the dish. "I believe this is what we're finally looking for."

Dr. Y's fatigue disappeared almost instantly as he looked over Bridgette's shoulders. "What makes you so sure?"

"The cell's mutation hasn't been as profound this time. The last tests, the cell barely looked like a rabies cell and I think just completely exploded throughout the monkeys' bodies. However, these mutations were minimal, so long as they effect the amygdala then we should be in business." She smiled placing the syringe into her lab coat. "Anyways, shall we go see if it works?" The Doctor nodded and Bridgette turned and walked into the animal room. The animals, knowing the lateness of the day were mostly asleep as the door thundered open and the Austrian woman stood with open arms and a devilish grin. A few of the animals who were away, moved back from the doors of their cages. They had seen many of their fellows taken away to the dark room and never returned, only the sounds of howling and screaming penetrated through the door.

She stopped at one of the cell's where a young monkey sat with his back up against the wall. Opening the latch, Bridgette pulled open the door softly and smiled lovingly at the animal. "Don't worry, Mother Bridgette is here, no one is going to hurt you darling." She reached into her pocket and brought out a small cookie. The monkey immediately began to question his fear and slowly was lulled into Bridgette's sense of love and security. Soon, the monkey was in her arms like a little child, nibbling on the cookie as she walked back towards the main room of the laboratory. "That's a good boy. You're a mother's angel, do you know that?" She said putting her nose to the monkey's crumb covered mouth before opening another cage. She took out the syringe and smiled wickedly as she injected the disease into the monkey's arm and placed the animal in the cage, shutting the door behind it.

The two scientists stood there for a moment as the monkey began to squirm, first it started to cry and the crying was replaced by ear-piercing screaming as the once serene animal jumped onto the walls of the cage. It began frothing at the mouth and reached it's grubby hands towards Bridgette and Dr. Y, as if to get it's revenge for being injected with poison. They stared at the monkey's rage for hours as it never seemed to lose it's edge, until at the first signs of daybreak, the disease induced madness began to wear off to be replaced by fatigue and fear. The entire time, Bridgette never lost her grin and when the monkey finally collapsed to the floor she immediately began to clap.

"It worked! My experiment really worked! This was exactly the type of agent I was looking for. The disease is perfect! HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA! It's literally perfect!" She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out the notes to reconstruct the structure for the disease. "Once we have the antidote created, which will just be an overflow of antibodies, the governments will come crying to us to save them." With a face full of glee, Bridgette took one of Dr. Y's shoulders and wrapped her arms tightly around him. "But I know tonight was draining on you, so go to bed, I need to stay up and prepare the final step, unleashing this into the environment."

"You're sure you don't need my help, Bridgette?" The Doctor smiled and patted her on the head.

"Not at all, it should take me a half hour at most. Once one rat is infected, he will infect all the other rats around him. Then all you have to do is release them and keep them out of our complex."

He nodded with a tired cough. "Well then, I'll turn in at about six in the morning. This feels just like working in the Ukraine again. Good night, Bridgette."

"Oh, one more thing, Doctor." She called out while readying another syringe.

"Yes?"

"Tell the Hourglass Commander to shoot any monkeys or rats that wander onto the complex. If a man or woman is bit, come see me immediately to get an antidote. If they don't, they'll have to be shot. Understood?"

"Yes, Madame." He said, leaving Bridgette alone with her work.

Later that night, boxes upon boxes of rats along with a few infected monkeys had been carefully taken out deep within the forest between the Commonwealth and West African border. On Bridgette's direction, these animals, raving mad with the new rabies virus would take to the streams and roads of the nations. Clawing their way through other and infecting them along the way. Eventually, she hoped the rats and monkeys would near villages and perhaps at first everything would seem just as a fluke incident of mad animals, but that would only be the beginning. Before all of Central Africa was hopefully inflamed in a raging madness. This madness all started by Bridgette's insane laughter that echoed out through the night, across the fire fly crowded river.

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When the Hourglass mercenaries arrived, the weather didn't get to them immediately, and they were rather satisfied with their assignment. They were to defend and patrol Saenger's secret jungle compound, probably from wandering border patrols and the natives, make sure nobody got too close of a look.

And now, some time after they had gotten set up and got into the routine of everybody's assignments, the environment began to get to them.

A group of three mercenaries were patrolling the perimeter of the compound, with the Central African jungle only meters away. It was noon, and the sky directly overhead beating down into the treetops, what little open ground there was, and the bush hats of the mercs. The jungle was abuzz with life. Insects, birds, small reptiles, spiders and ants crawled about. The mercs made sure to keep a good distance from the edge of the clearing.

The leader of the group, walking on point was a white man in his thirties, his blonde buzzcut hidden under the wide-brimmed camouflaged hat, an FN-FAL held firmly in his hands. His blue eyes were fixed on the forest to his left. Behind him were two others, a large black woman with a body built like a bull, carrying a shotgun, and another man with a P90. The first few passes around their area of responsibility were uneventful, and soon enough they got to chatting.

"What do they got us shooting monkeys for?" asked the woman. "Thought we'd be beating some natives up right now, m'self."

The lead replied, "Oh, cool it Michelle. No doubt we'll get our chance working for these people. That Saenger's a bit nuts from what I heard."

"Let's hope she's nuts enough to let us get a little rough with the villagers, not nuts enough to let us in on whatever's got those animals screaming at all hours of the night."

The third man, who was silent up till now, spoke up. "What's they got, rabies or summin?"

The lead nodded. "Something like that. At least she's offering us inoculation rather than strappin' us to some dirty table -- augh! !@#$@#$ mosquitoes!" The lead smacked his bicep, then lifted up his hand, a look of disgust on his face. This momentary distraction was enough to get him to lower his guard while something small and furry scurried from the trees and latched onto his leg, eliciting a cry of pain. "Aw, !@#$! Shoot the little mongrel!"

The black woman reacted first, delivering a sound kick to the monkey, which detached it from the man's leg, along with a chunk of skin. Once it was clear of them, the third of the group followed up with his P90, turning the creature's head into a bloody spray.

The lead dropped to one knee to inspect his wound, pulling his pants leg up. "Cover the forest, Michelle." Michelle did so, placing her buffalo figure between the jungle and the wounded while the third man knelt down beside the lead to check his wound. "That looks pretty bad, Konrad. Hold still a sec." He set his P90 on the ground and checked his utility belt before getting out a small bottle of rubbing alcohol and a gauze. Quickly unscrewing the lid and burying the top of the bottle in the gauze, he soaked it in the stuff before applying it to Konrad's wound. Konrad hissed quietly but maintained his composure as the other man cleaned the wound.

Not even a minute after the shots, two more groups of three appeared from behind the corners, sweeping the area with their guns to acquire any hostiles. They lowered their weapons when they saw the monkey's corpse. "Really, Konrad?" one of the group leads teased. "A monkey bit you?"

Konrad looked up at the one who spoke and scowled, a little humor still in his expression. "Oh shut up Erik. Be a good boy and help me up." His comrade chuckled and offered Konrad a hand, hoisting him up and getting one of his men to provide a helping hand while he limped over to the warehouse to get his inoculation. The other members of his group went about burning and burying the infected corpse.

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Dupuy had again been selected to be on the patrol only days after his last shift, where he had stumbled upon the docks that was under construction. It was close to nightfall again, and again Pelland ordered Dupuy across the river to check and clear the zone. This time, he ordered three others with him - a sergeant, and two automatic riflemen. Weapons prepared for potential conflict, the four crossed the river, Dupuy and the sergeant with flashlights on their weapons. They had turned them on once night fell, and strained to listen for any noises. For now, only the sounds of bugs and other jungle creatures filled their ears.

Dupuy's footsteps made distinct crunch noises as he stepped on sticks and leaves, and he soon realized the patrol wasn't the only ones out here. He held up a single hand, halting the others behind him. No one dared speak a word, instead waiting on Dupuy to find out what awaited them. He knew he had heard voices and footsteps, perhaps even a screech...but from what, he had no idea. He gulped as he listened for more signs of life.

Soon, the entire patrol jumped at the eruption of gunfire. The sergeant and riflemen wasted no time in investigating the cause of the gunfire - it was certainly foreign to Dupuy's ears, not a firearm the Commonwealth ever manufactured, and certainly not civilian. Dupuy silently cursed his comrades as they raced into what could be friendly fire, then slowly got himself into a standing position, AK-74 ready, scanning the area. Hearing no other signs of his patrol, he walked into the area they had run to.

The sergeant was overwhelming all voices, if any were attempting to speak. He shouted first in French, then English who was out there, what they were doing, and the usual warning that they were about ten miles from a Commonwealth military base...usual procedure for finding hobos and border jumpers. One of the riflemen, a Corporal Meilleur, had laid his aging PKM on the ground and was speaking into the field radio, contacting the other half of the patrol. A garbled reply came through that an Overwatch Officer was en route to investigate the matter. Dupuy half-listened as the corporal repeated the radio call, his eyes focused on a burning mass of some sort, some figures hunched over it with shovels and holstered weapons. They certainly weren't Overwatch Officers or Commonwealth forces, and this area was too far south to be a PRA patrol, so naturally his mind told him it must have been a West African Republic patrol.

The sergeant didn't see a need to raise his voice more than he needed to, and took a swig of his canteen. Dupuy walked forward, flashlight focused on the figures. "Would you happen to be a West African patrol?" he asked in French. "If you are, you have made a grave mistake."

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The crackle of the fire and the sounds of the jungle filled the air around the black woman and the smaller man as they stood over the burning monkey. "God, do these !@#$%^&* stink," whispered the man. "Can't we just bury it now?" Michelle nodded. "I suppose we should. Don't want the fire to attract anyone."

Just as they had put the fire out by kicking dust on it and switched on their flashlights, covered with a red film to protect their nightvision, the man heard the distinct sound of leaves and sticks crunching beneath something heavy. He took a sidelong glance in the direction of the sound, and noticed four men approaching. He whispered to Michelle, "We've got company."

The black woman smirked. "Like moths to a flame." She picked up her handheld radio and clicked it twice for distress. Nearby patrols heard the clicks, but not hearing any sounds of fighting, reacted appropriately. Two fireteams, three men to a team, detached themselves from their patrol routes and sunk into the forest. Of course, they took a risk this way, both from regular forest dwelling critters and from the infected rats or monkeys. However, it was deemed an acceptable risk compared to discovery by the national defense force.

While the two teams covertly made their way through the forest, intending to flank the intruders, Michelle and the other member of her group approached the Commonwealth soldiers. "Divert your flashlights from my face, please." In anticipation for being discovered like this, Wraith Group had removed the Hourglass patches on their fatigues, and the Commonwealth soldiers would see no identifying marks on their uniforms.

Michelle stopped several meters away from the soldiers and stood her ground. "What seems to be the problem, gentlemen?" Her main intention was to stall while the other fireteams got in position and awaited Saenger's command, whether to kill them or to capture them or what.

To this end, Wraith 2's commander tried to find Bridgette and inform her that they had a situation on their hands.

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Dupuy lowered his flashlight, not expecting a woman. He stammered as he tried to find the words before the sergeant broke in, his gruff voice broadcasting their position to anyone or thing nearby. "You're on Commonwealth territory, and damn close to a Commonwealth military base. Protocol demands I shoot you on sight, but if you're burning something I expect the Overwatch Officers want a word with you." Dupuy certainly wouldn't have chosen that exact phrasing, but...what the hell.

"What my sergeant means to say is," Dupuy covered, shooting the sergeant a dirty glare in the darkness, "was that we are under orders to investigate this area. Locals reported screams late at night...and L'île du condamné is getting full, so we don't need any more crazies out here." He nodded his head towards the smoking carcass. "Have a bit of an animal problem, eh?" The radio crackled again on the corporal's back - the Overwatch Officer was close by, but did not know the exact location of the troops. It seemed like he had sped to get even within spitting distance, let alone close enough for turn-by-turn directions. A private near the corporal offered to head back to the river to direct the Overwatch Officer.

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"A situation? What kind of situation?" Bridgette's eyes flashed in anger and curiosity at the Hourglass operative who had brought her the news. On the outskirts of the complex, a patrol had run into a detachment of Commonwealth soldiers and the parties were in the process of asking questions.

"I came to ask how we should proceed, Miss Saenger. Whether if you want them killed, taken prisoner, or what."

The Austrian woman smiled and turned her hopeful face up to the ceiling. "It would be nice to see what the reactions would be from direct human injection from the rabies virus. But I'd rather not have the Commonwealth government on my ass this early into the game." She turned over to Dr. Y who sat behind the operative, having been working on one of the inoculations. "Doctor, would you mind accompanying the Hourglass gentleman back to where these intruders are causing problems."

"Of course," he said jumping off the stool. "But what exactly did you have in mind for me to tell them? I doubt they're just going to leave."

"Tell them the truth. That this is private property of the Astrid Corporation and that they are technically trespassing. But since we are such gracious host-" Suddenly Bridgette's eyes widened and her grin began to grow.

"Bridgette? Is something the matter?"

"Bring them back to the warehouse, invite them for dinner. We'll infect them here and then turn them loose on their own men."

"Don't you think that's a bit risky?"

"Nonsense, Doctor, what is a reward without a little risk?"

---

A few minutes later, in the underbrush on the outskirts of the complex, the Hourglass operative led Dr. Y towards where the two units were currently conversing. Walking through the foliage, the Doctor smiled as he came into the light of their flashlights.

"Ladies, gentlemen," he began in his thick Russian accent. "What seems to be the problem here?" Then looking at the Commonwealth soldiers he smiled and bowed his head. "Ah, I did not know we were expecting visitors and from the host country itself. The great Commonwealth of Africa. Welcome Comrades, welcome to Station Kurtz of the Astrid Corporation. My name is Dr. Y, can I help you with something?"

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The two teams hiding in the underbrush had a good vantage point by now from which to ambush the Commonwealth soldiers, but at the sight of Dr. Y, they simply observed, providing overwatch just in case. Meanwhile, the bull-like woman and the other man in her team relaxed. Upon seeing the doctor, they figured that Saenger had been notified and supposedly, hopefully, had a plan. If they had started shooting, no doubt a full investigation and likely a larger contingent of soldiers would follow.

So, for now, they silently clicked their safeties back on and let the man speak.

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Dupuy thought he had heard that name before, Astrid...where though, he couldn't recall. For now, at least, it appeared as if everything was normal. He switched his AK to "safe" and lowered it, holding a hand out. "Lt. Louis Dupuy." A short handshake later, the Overwatch Officer had caught up and was instantly on the prowl, hunting for any dissenters. "And this would be the esteemed Overwatch Officer." The officer nodded, his camouflaged hood concealing nearly everything about his identity. His smooth voice demanded attention from those who listened.

"If you will, Doctor, allow me to tour the facility. I am required by law to determine if the facility is structurally sound, especially since this appears to be a private job." He also leaned closer to Dr. Y and the Hourglass operatives, keeping his voice low. "And if you are cooperative enough, I will ensure no other patrols step near this area, leaving you to do...whatever it is you do here." For Overwatch Officers, he was rather generous.

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"Well I appreciate your generosity, Comrade," the Doctor said bowing his head. "If you would all follow me, I can take you back to the central complex. I'm afraid there isn't much. Warehouse, dock space for river transport, and a laboratory. There is a botanist along with us, she is currently taking samples of the plant life in the region, Astrid is a pharmaceutical company in addition to mining and robotics and the rain forest offers ingredients that cannot be found anywhere else on earth." He pointed down the path to the complex and gestured to Dupuy and the Overwatch Officer. "Gentlemen, right this way."

It was a short walk back to the complex and the lanterns were already hanging off of the entrances to both the warehouse and the dock yard. Hourglass operatives, now dressed in Astrid Corporation Uniforms walked the ground, continuing the necessary construction on an actual barracks, machine shop, and other necessities, now that the station had produced an income.

"I'm afraid there isn't much to look at," said Dr. Y as he pointed to the construction sites along with the warehouse and dock yard. "We only just arrived two, three weeks ago and haven't had much time to turn this area into a home. The bosses back in Port Elizabeth and Kimberley want to see diamond production, not quality living for their workers." He laughed. "But our facilities are yours to tour, I would love-" The sudden snapping of twigs caught Dr. Y's attention as a shadowy figure moved out from the underbrush. She wore a long white lab coat with safari-wear underneath, her blonde hair was cut short, just above her shoulders and the long bangs fell down her face, completely covering her right eye. She gave a friendly smile to the Commonwealth soldiers, but underneath was the sight of wickedness.

"Ah! Doctor..."

"Kismet. Victoria Kismet. You gentlemen must be the Commonwealth soldiers. I heard the ruckus going on a little bit ago. I hope no one got hurt."

"Not at all, Victoria, I was just showing these gentlemen the complex."

Bridgette nodded her head. "Well perhaps they'd like to have a bit to eat before they continue into the forest. I've had the cook prepare some of the lamb that just got sent up from Port Elizabeth. It's probably being served now."

"Of course, gentlemen, would you care to join us."

Bridgette clasped her hands behind her back and closed her eyes. Rabies could be transferred in other ways aside from animal bites and injections. Fresh lamb with infected blood mixed into the gravy being served and only giving it to Commonwealth soldiers. They wouldn't know what hit them and then after a speedy exit, they would be the first humans to show the mad Austrian, the power of her experiment.

"Right this way." She said and guided them into the warehouse.

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The soldiers, tired of mess hall meals and MREs, graciously took the offer of the cooked lamb. As they filed in for their quick meal, the Overwatch Officer respectfully declined, placing the facility higher priority than the meal. As Dr. Y showed him the warehouse and laboratory. Dupuy focused himself on the lamb, said a short prayer, and began his final dinner. As the sergeant, corporal and private wolfed down the lamb and gravy, he took a bit more time in eating his, a little more reserved than the others. He noticed an iron flavor in the gravy, but chalked it up to local flavoring and spices. Soon, the Overwatch Officer had finished his tour, and ordered the squad to wrap up. Wiping his mouth, Dupuy grabbed his AK74 and headed back to the forest. The officer thanked the doctors for being cooperative and soon left, along with the patrol.

Hours later, the patrol shift ended. Dupuy and the others felt horribly sick to their stomachs. They headed to the base medic, who waved them away without a second thought. A few drugs later and a night of rest, and they were dead.

At least, not until they rose up from their beds in the morning. Caught off guard, the base succumbed to the infection with a seemingly random cause. Overwatch Officers watched the area, cautious to go further. After long enough, the infected military personnel wandered about the countryside, biting anyone they came in contact with. Overwatch Officers returned to the facility, this time with General of the Army Thomas Garnier and Director Frontino. With a detatchment of the 2nd African Infantry, they set up loudspeakers and demanded to speak with Dr. Y and "Victoria Kismet".

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"Well this is music to my ears." Bridgette said gleefully the moment the loudspeakers blasted their notice throughout the complex. The moment the Commonwealth patrol had left, she had assigned that Hourglass operatives should be on constant guard for the arrival of other Commonwealth soldiers and government officials. But the leader of the Commonwealth itself, well this was a surprise and a delightful one at that. She clapped her hands and took one of the inoculation syringes, placing it in her coat pocket.

"But who knows how many men they've brought with them Bridgette, there could be hundreds of soldiers out there." Said Dr. Y as the loudspeakers continued their threats. "They might not hesitate to gun both of us down."

"For what? That a patrol got sick? This the rain forest Dr. Y, people get sick and die all the time. They don't have a leg to stand on."

"It's their country, they can kill whoever they want and we don't really have many people who will miss us." He said with a frown.

"Well we do have Michael, but that's a trump card I'd rather never have to use." Bridgette shook her head and smiled. "No, they can't kill us, unless the Director would rather see his country succumb to the disease. Only I can cure it. Of course I'd rather not admit that first, but if things get bad, then we have our card to play." She made sure that any traces of the antibody formula, notes and papers were immediately destroyed, if needed, Bridgette could recreate it out of memory. Then after taking a syringe of the rabies injection and putting it next to the inoculation, Bridgette opened the door of the laboratory and strolled out with Dr. Y towards where the speakers were broadcasting.

After a few more minutes, Bridgette, Dr. Y, and a handful of Hourglass operatives strolled towards Director Frontino's command center. When the Commonwealth leaders approached her, the Austrian clasped her hands in front of her and bowed her head. "This is quite a surprise, Your Excellency." She said, her wicked smirk forming. "We have already been intruded upon by a patrol and treated them with the most hospitable charity. But if the Commonwealth's military is going to be stopping by our compound every other hour, perhaps we need to review what it means to have private property. One of your officers already said we would be left alone. What is the meaning of this visit?"

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Bridgette was led into a dimly lit room, with Director Frontino, General Garnier and several Overwatch Officers present. Three Commonwealth soldiers stood guard at the doorway, preventing any sort of escape. No faces could be seen from the Overwatch Officers, but it was likely the same Officer Bridgette had already met was present. Frontino held no humor on his face, his eyes hidden by mirrored sunglasses. General Garnier stood by his side, stiff as a billboard. "I have no time for games, woman." He folded his arms and paced, the Overwatch Officers silently watching for any signal that allowed them to go weapons free.

"As you probably already know, a patrol recently came by here. They came into the facility, they ate the food, they died. The medic on their base reports no abnormal bites or scratches. These men reported no cuts or wounds of any other sort." He slowly took the sunglasses off and set them on a nearby table, leaning back. "These four individuals, out of God knows what sort of madness, bit and presumably infected an [b]entire goddamn base.[/b]" He seemed to catch himself, apologizing for his language before moving on. "Now, the Overwatch Officer was also here. He did not succumb to the same insanity as his comrades."

General Garnier stepped forward. "Need we remind you failure to comply will most likely result in death?"

"Now, what exactly is happening here?" Everyone seemed to lean in closer, awaiting the answer that Bridgette held.

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Bridgette chuckled as she laid her chin gently on her hand and stared at Frontino across from her. "Well Director, I mean this is the rain forest. People succumb to diseases all the time. You see rather quick to judge our compound on apparently infecting your men with some kind of illness. I mean I do admit, it is a pity that your government jumps to baseless conclusions because men happened to eat some cooked lamb."

Her smile grew as she looked at her fingers and twirled them in the air and running them across her lips. "We're simply mining for diamonds I believe." The smirk returned. "Though I have seen a few rabid animals wandering the woods. You know I wonder, Director, do you maintain good security around aboriginal and smaller towns and villages, on the edge of the rain forest. You haven't heard of any other cases of people biting each other have you?"

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A team of three Hourglass mercenaries accompanied Bridgette to the Commonwealth command post. One black man, in charge, and two white men behind him. They all carried F2000 rifles, the same as the Hourglass operators had used in Austria, and also with Berettas in their holsters. They were dressed in the Astrid uniforms issued to them, and had no identifying markings that would connect them to Hourglass.

Back in the Astrid compound, the commander of Wraith 2 sent an encrypted signal directly to Hourglass HQ. It was bounced off an Arctican commercial satellite owned by a company that Hourglass contracted with for precisely this purpose. The message was simple: COMPROMISED

In the meantime, the Hourglass operators that hadn't gone to accompany Saenger patrolled the forests nearby, staying vigilant for possible Commonwealth attacks while Bridgette was away.

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"So far, no. Only the soldiers biting each other." Frontino placed a hand against his forehead, rubbing it. Damn this foolishness. His father would have ordered the entire facility bombed overnight. As he was about to speak again, an Overwatch Officer leaned over and whispered something in French in Frontino's ear. He sighed, placing the sunglasses on his face again. "It appears I have another matter to attend to. I just got a report a similar case occurred closer to Sarnunga." Garnier began speaking in French into his radio, ordering the 2nd African Infantry to relocate to the new outbreak. The Overwatch Officers too began filing out, all except one and Frontino.

"Hear me, and hear me well, Doctor." Frontino waved a single finger at Bridgette's face, only about a foot or two away. "If any of this madness is tied to you, I'll..." He paused, looking for words. Finding none, he merely exhaled and dropped the hand to his side. "Damn it all. Your little mining project can continue. You see a monkey with rabies, you shoot the damn thing and report it." He turned to exit, the Overwatch Officer glaring at Bridgette under his hood.

"But perhaps..." he turned to face her again, a new light in his eyes. "You seem intelligent enough. I know nothing of your field of science, but I do know the science of politics. Perhaps we can...strike a deal, you see. If you feel as if it's worth your time, meet me at the People's Pavilion in Sarnunga. Near the statue of my father." His curiosity satisfied, he and the officer left, the muted slams of their staff cars and the roar of military trucks filling the air.

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Bridgette sat in the empty room staring at the door for a few minutes longer after the Commonwealth leaders and guards left. It was too easy, they had just let her go without even prodding deeper into the compound's operations. A few easily placed lies had gotten the authorities completely off of her tail and not only that, she had interested Frontino enough that he had requested a private meeting with her, a deal. She held the keys to the survival of the Commonwealth and once Frontino would know there was no getting rid of her, easily that is, Bridgette could demand any concession she desired. Simply put, if her hopes were met, she would never have a problem with income or security ever again.

Stepping out of the Commonwealth camp, the Austrian walked through the foliage towards the Hourglass operatives standing along side Dr. Y. The moment she stepped into the light, each one of them jumped in surprise. "Bridgette! You're okay!" Said the Doctor as he ran up to her. "I figured you'd be in there for a lot longer, maybe shipped off to one of their jails. What did they say? What did you tell them?"

"That we're a mining operation and it would be best to leave us be." She grinned. "Oh, and that the animals are starting to effect people. I think he got the hint."

"Do you think they'll be back?" The Doctor asked as they journeyed back towards the mining station.

"Not at all, though tonight I have to take a trip back down the river and then off to Sarnunga, I'm being offered a deal. This plan worked faster and better than I could have ever imagined and Africa is just beginning to feel the storm."

---

It was about a day's journey from the Kurtz Compound on the Cross River to Sarnunga. Bridgette set off on her journey early in the morning, before the sun had even rose in the sky and had pulled into her destination well into the afternoon. The city was alive with people, bustling around with their day to day business, unknowing that soon they could all be lying infected with her virus, which was making it's way across the African interior. She made her way to the statue of Frontino's father, positioned near the center of the city and waited. She was dressed in a pink sundress and light jacket and would easily be made out from the crowd. But for all that, there were Hourglass Operatives scanning around her, waiting for a moment when something could go wrong. If the Commonwealth government tried to do anything to Bridgette, they could rescue her and with the rabies virus on her, as well as the antidote, she could rescue herself if need be.

The statue amazed her however and she wondered how long it would take before her own visage was immortalized throughout Africa and the world.

All there was left to do now, however, was to wait.

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The Rabies disease had first spread among the border villages immediately infecting and killing sixty villagers in the space of a few days. Local authorities had detected the sudden outbreak among the local population, informing the Agency for Disease Control in Yaounde which immediately enforced a Level One Quarantine on the infected area.

President Stanley Mgambo ordered that normal Rabies drugs be stockpiled in case of any cases entering the major cities. However the current number of cases made for grim reading. Their were rumours that some of the deaths had been the result of infected attacking their own families, but more evidence of this would be needed and the current Quarantine would keep the disease in check for now.

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Frontino arrived with his usual entourage of Overwatch Officers, a sharp and simple suit on, cigarette in mouth. The Overwatch Officers kept their distance, keeping an eye on Bridgette and the civilians in the area, on watch for any hostile moves. With the latest case only twelve miles outside city limits, Frontino knew that Bridgette held more information. The sun beat down on the People's Pavilion as Frontino approached Bridgette, arms folded behind him.

"Well, no time to beat around the bush." He flicked the cigarette away and looked Bridgette directly in her eyes. "I don't have time to screw around. I have a full-scale pandemic on my hands, and everyone's looking to me for an answer, of course." He glanced for a minute at the statue, almost as if asking it for help. "I know damn well that you know more than you're telling me. I lied God knows how many times to my father to get what I needed, so I know a liar when I spot one."

He paced in front of the statue, never taking his eyes off of Bridgette. "If you were anyone else, I would have you killed instantly. But you control that entire facility, you slipped God-knows-what into the palms of the right people to get you that deep into a forest unhindered, at least not until our patrol investigated you."

"There's rumors going around among the lower ranks, nonsense about zombies. But we both know that's ridiculous, right?" He grimly smirked as he lit another cigarette, the Overwatch Officers still circling around the two like vultures.

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"I'd beg the contrary Mr. Frontino," Bridgette smiled, "After all, the reports of your men who were infected by the disease were walking around their camp biting people. Though there are the cases of the rabid animals as well, so it could be a plethora of things."

Her smiled grew wider as she bit her finger seductively. "So, you think I'm hiding things from you Mr. Frontino and you are at the people's mercy with a pandemic on your hands. I shudder to think if it would travel to other countries and you might be held responsible. Or even if that wasn't the case, if you have a nation of rabid humans and animals that need to be purged off the face of the earth. But perhaps, that grim future doesn't have to come to pass at all. Perhaps, the Commonwealth of Africa can all be saved, for a price."

She looked into his eyes with an easy calmness. "Of course we are both people with big ambitions and if I would perhaps save your country from certain demise. What in turn could you offer me?" Turning she looked at the Overwatch Officers and batted her eyelashes. "For starters, I could use a few of them. They'd go well in my entourage."

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The Officers gave each other a quick look as they made their pass at Bridgette's comment. Frontino took in a deep puff, allowing the smoke to curl into the air.

"Doctor, the Commonwealth will provide you whatever you need. On only one condition of course. You give me the antidote, and we'll produce it in our own labs, distribute it to our population and allow us to test the effects on the disease...it'll give the Army boys something to shoot at." He smiled once as he turned to walk away, stopping only a few feet away from the statue. "Betray us, however, and I'll have your head on a silver platter and that facility destroyed." Two Overwatch Officers began heading towards Bridgette, still keeping eyes on Frontino and civilians around him.

They both bowed as they got to Bridgette. "Your orders, Doctor?" They stood straight as rods, their hoods concealing any eye movements. One prepared his knife, the smooth sound of machinery revealing the short 2-inch blade pop out of his wrist. If a civilian, or worse, an infected, came too close, he could deal with it, and fast.

---
[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb71glw5wUA&feature=related"]Fate[/url]

Thomas Garnier was in Frontino's office, reading a newspaper from the West African Republic. "So, did you find anything out?" Frontino sighed and walked to his chair, rubbing his forehead. He took a look at his surroundings, just now noticed his walls were cream, various memorabilia scattered on the walls, relics from his father's reign. Even his desk was his father's, an old oak wood design, probably from Germany or Austria.

"Lord, Garnier, I got a lot more than that."

"Frontino, I watched you two down there. I think you found something out, and I need to know." Garnier got up from his seat, setting the paper down. He stood in front of the old desk, his blue eyes piercing Frontino.

Frontino muttered below his breath, "I practically gave her the Commonwealth is what I found out."

"YOU WHAT?!?" Garnier was obviously furious, placing his hands on his head and pacing around the room in disbelief. "Frontino, [b]have you gone mad?!?[/b] You've given a scientist from the backwoods the entire goddamn country! Do you have ANY idea what this will do if we can't contain this infection?"

"THOMAS! Good God, man, I don't like what I had to do either. We need her if we want to survive. It's either die to the infection, or the riots that will ensue, or side with her and protect our people from certain annihilation! You tell me, what's the better option?!" Frontino placed both his hands on his face, the stress of the situation showing in both of the men.

Thomas sighed as he finally stopped pacing, almost right back where he started. "Frontino, it is my duty to follow your every order. But in this case, you may be wrong. If this goes south...you know what will happen."

Frontino lowered his palms, looking at Garnier once, then turning to face the window, the people still milling about below. "I know."

Edited by Markus Wilding
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"Those conditions will work Mr. Frontino," Bridgette said as she took the antidote's serum out of her coat pocket and handed it to the Director. "You mention betrayal, which is funny because I will make sure that if you do the same to me, this country will never survive another year. Rabies is just one disease I can cook up, whether within your country or throughout the world so I suggest you work with me, happily, instead of trying to weasel yourself out. After all," she said putting her dainty hand onto his shoulder. "You and I can work well together and I can promise you, I will make you a very rich and powerful man. Perhaps one day we will have all of Africa at our disposal and then you can thank me for the slight bit of trouble I've caused you. Though, this antidote is not to be released under any circumstance. You can use it to cure your people, but hopefully the virus has traveled to at least the West African Republic by now, I want them to beg for their mercy like you did. Then we can cure them."

She giggled as he continued to walk away in a cloud of smoke, "Once the nation is cured, you can leave me the keys to Sarnunga, I won't need to go anywhere for a long time." Then turning to the Overwatch guards she looked them over and nodded. "Well aren't you two just perfect marines. We might have to work on loyalty issues here, but I think I can trust both of you, considering if I die, so does the Commonwealth. That said, I've been needing more resolute bodyguards, specifically trained for such a task and I think you two will do quite well." She said patting both of them on their cheeks. "Feel free to ask any questions that do not pertain to my operations or experiments and of course, whatever Frontino payed you as Overwatch Officers, consider it tripled once this cure is finished." She waved them on to follow her as they headed back towards the harbor to begin the long journey back to Kurtz Station.

"Isn't power grand?" She said looking back at the Officers and smirked, she had plans for them as well.

---

"He really said that? That the Commonwealth will provide you with anything you require?" Dr. Y said nearly flabbergasted over their cups of tea in the laboratory. "So everything is a success then?"

"Well the beginnings of success," Bridgette said sipping down the black liquid. "With the world pushing itself closer and closer to a World Conflict, the Astrid Corporation can continue to grow and prosper. We'll build ourselves a shadow empire that will cross the entire world. Pulling the strings of leaders from Africa to Oceania. But the Commonwealth was the key, we have a viable base point now, a constant income from the government, and safety to expand." She nodded to herself, "Once the disease spreads further, perhaps to the West African Republic we can help the Commonwealth expand themselves. Give back to our subjects and all that jazz."

"It's almost a shame things didn't work out for you in Austria, Lord knows what could have been accomplished in Europe."

She smiled and put the tea cup to her lips. "One day." Then springing up she held up her index finger. "Remind me after we relocate to Sarnunga to send a message to De Witt."

"About?"

"I'm thinking of buying Hourglass." Bridgette said with a grin.

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With serum in hand, Frontino got to work on curing those infected close to Sarnunga. The soldiers already infected were killed, with the exception of about ten. These ten were rounded up and sent to L'île du condamné for containment and testing.

The ten were kept separate from the other prisoners, and a noticeable amount of scientists and soldiers had arrived on base. These soldiers and scientists studied the effects that various weapons has on the infected, and if more were needed...well, nobody would miss the inmates. After about a week of testing, the scientist detachment sent the following note to Frontino's office and Army medical staff.

[quote][font="Garamond"]COMMONWEALTH MEDICAL STAFF
L'île du condamné
JUNE 20TH, 2011

IT IS the opinion of the medical staff at L'île du condamné, the virus known to the Commonwealth Medical Staff as "Rabies-B", will be classified as a Level 1 disease and has been placed on Commonwealth Public Disease Watch at Position #1. In addition, Rabies-B has been known to cause the following symptoms:

- Slowed heart rate
- Loss of advanced motor functions
- Loss of sanity
- Extreme preference for human flesh
- Death and reanimation

The disease is highly infectious - a mere drop of infected saliva in the wrong place will infect an individual immediately. Infected individuals showed preference of biting as a method of transference, and had a horrifying preference for human flesh. In fact, one test showed that given a choice between fresh veal and human meat, the infected individual will choose the human meat 100% of the time.

Testing was done to determine the most efficient method of execution. While most infected fell to multiple gunshot wounds, a single headshot provided the most efficient and quick death. Loss of limbs was no matter to the infected individuals - rather, most seemed content to continue on their quest for human meat until death arrived or there was nothing left to move.

Attached are audio transcripts and video of test subjects in their various states from headshot death to MGSW (Multiple Gun Shot Wound) death. In addition, I advise all Commonwealth Military soldiers be advised to watch these videos and learn their movements. If these individuals are found before a cure can be distributed, they must be shot on sight, preferably in the head.

Dr. Brie Déziel, Commonwealth Medical Chief of Staff[/font][/quote]

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