Updated: Jul 21, 2019
The third chapter is below.
I was planning to post the whole book chapter by chapter but it's now going to be free to download from Sunday 28th July to celebrate my daughters 19th birthday, it will be free for a whole week.
Countdown begins NOW!
If you're enjoying the book so far and can't wait until then it's available from Amazon for £2.35 here
Well that hadn’t gone well. Show a girl your chest and she passes out!
That morning in anticipation of her arrival he had laid out small syringes, blood collection tubes, a tourniquet and some cotton balls. Everything they needed to know could be learned from a few blood samples.
He had stopped to collect his breath as he’d looked at the collection of instruments and then double-checked his schedule. He’d pushed his sleeves up, although they were already rolled up high, it was a reflexive habit, as he couldn’t bear the feel of fabric restricting his arms. When he was getting keyed up about something, it was something he did repeatedly.
‘Hey, I’m talking to you, Lincoln!’
He had turned round quickly to see Hugo glaring angrily at him.
‘Sorry Hugo, I was busy making sure I hadn’t missed out any of your instructions.’
‘We won’t get this chance again, not in a long time, so just make sure you don’t make a single error.’
‘You can count on me, you know that.’
‘Yeah, ‘ Hugo had run his fingers through his hair, starting to calm down, although he still had a frown, ‘This is the chance we’ve been waiting for, so the Establishment will start taking us seriously.’
‘No violence though, I don’t want the Immune damaged. It could have very negative repercussions all round.’ Lincoln had tried to sound as firm as he dared with Hugo,
‘Agreed, everyone knows that if we step over the line from being a pressure group to taking a forceful stance, then we’ll simply be labelled terrorists and then we’ll be in more trouble than we could handle.’
‘Tell that to Angus!’
‘Angus has been reigned in. He knows the stakes are high.’
Hugo had moved over to the bed that was prepared for the Immune and touched the sheets,
‘Pink sheets? This isn’t a pyjama party! Just remember she’ll be our hostage and as her main keeper the last thing we want is for her to form an attachment to you.’
‘Doesn’t matter if she does, it won’t be reciprocated.’
He had added quickly. The idea of an Immune had filled Lincoln with a mixture of fear, jealousy and unfortunately, admiration. They were so rare, with rock star quality and this one was also a world away, so wealthy, isolated and spoilt, the very idea of her annoyed him. She could afford the best treatment, the best prosthetics and new organs and she didn’t even need them.
Feeling a rush of irritation he had busied himself with rearranging the equipment in size order.
‘How long will it take to test her blood?’ Hugo had asked, ‘We want to confirm to the world that a Complete Immune is in our possession.’
‘Oh it will be pretty quick. I will know by tomorrow morning.’
‘Excellent, then we can push on to Stage 2 tomorrow.’
‘I’ve already told you that’s impossible. I want to carry out full MRI and ultrasound scans. The only time I can do that is when Nathan’s on duty in the hospital. He said he’s not in until next Wednesday.’
‘Lincoln, waiting that long will be such a gamble. We’d be giving them 5 days in which to find her.’
‘We agreed I could carry out the tests! Using the genes of a Complete is all very well, but what if we discover that she carries other genetic traits; look at the horror the cure has caused.’
‘No you’re right, if she’s to be the basis of our future gene pool, she must be absolutely clean.’
‘Right, then Stage 2 will just have to wait.’
Hugo had sighed, loudly,
Lincoln had joined the Faction when he was still at medical school. He had wanted to be a doctor to help combat the effects of FED. He had known about FED all his life. His parents both had it, neither of them particularly severely and for a while it looked as though he wasn’t going to be affected, but after being struck low with an ordinary bout of flu he developed a terrible fever overnight and by morning black swellings appeared all over his body. These then turned into huge painful blisters, which instead of healing crusted over then flaked off taking massive chunks of suppurating flesh with them. Because it was so severe he was rushed to hospital where it became clear he would need both arms amputated and a new chest cavity. His organs were undamaged, but his heart had been affected somehow and was under supervision. It was thought to be a form of myocarditis and caused by his immune system getting confused and attacking his heart. He was being constantly monitored and they fitted him with a clear plastic chest covering so that his heart could be observed without intrusive surgery.
He was on the list for a new heart but the system tended to favour those who could pay the highest price. If there had only been a vaccine, he would still be Complete. A Complete is not Immune but by luck or owing to taking the cure, they have no limb loss. Being Complete was considered highly desirable amongst the elite and they spend thousands of pounds on disguising their disabilities and paying for realistic prosthetics. This was the opposite of the less privileged who if they didn’t have bright and obvious new limbs, were happy to have their disabilities on display.
His medical background made him highly valuable to the Faction and he passionately believed that the Establishment had made misguided decisions in trying to combat FED. FED was a particularly virulent strain of Flesh Eating Disease that hit globally 500 years ago and slowly decimated the population until now. Indigenous populations were the first to be wiped out, followed by less privileged nations, until only the wealthiest cities remained. Small infected villages and towns declared themselves quarantined but it didn’t stop the spread. If FED didn't kill you then associated infection would. Only the strongest survived. Nearly 450 years it took to find an effective cure but the cure came with a price. Not only was it prohibitively expensive but the new generation of children, although disease free, were born with hideous defects; deformities so monstrous and painful that euthanasia at birth was the kindest option. The human race was diseased and dying out.
The Establishment had one hope and that was to experiment with embryos that came from naturally immune parents. The number of Immunes was low and they tended to be found in isolated pockets in rural communities. Although she didn’t know it yet, one of these Immunes was Deter.
But while the Establishment were focussing time and money on breeding the disease out the Faction wanted a quicker solution. They wanted Deter so that they could analyse her blood to help create a vaccine. Surely this was the most logical and effective solution?
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