June 26, 2013
One of the most difficult parts when dealing with a large outbreak is to take care of the bodies. Whether it be a wave of typhus or sweeping plague of polio. The cure had to be created and the vaccine had to be distributed. In World War II, concentration camps had their own set of “special” prisoners that had the specific job of doing what was necessary in taking care of the deceased. They were dubbed, the Sonderkommando. And while I wasn’t forced into the job nor was I a prisoner, it was a difficult assignment.
The orders were simple. Capture all of the living infected and transport them back to the medical facility, Vaccilita. We traveled from city to city, suburb to suburb, collecting all of the still salvageable infected and bringing them back to the facility located just outside the safe zone.
The Zone wasn’t overrun by the military nor was it scary to live there these days. It’s been four years since the Outbreak and things have evolved into a functioning and comfortable place to live. There weren’t many rules to break other than the normal societal rules that led the world before the Outbreak. Don’t kill anyone. Don’t loot. Don’t break anybody’s things. You know, just don’t be an asshole. You could leave the perimeter with out many security hold ups. You could come back, only having to endure a quick DNA scan. There were even some people living back in their homes in the satellite areas near the Zone. With the more infected we captured and turned, the more space we needed to start living again. And the walls that were initially built to keep the ravenous infected out were nearly obsolete. There weren’t infected within fifty miles of the perimeter anymore. We were good at our jobs and our teams that took care of the rest were premiere.
The sun was peaking over the horizon when the truck engines ignited. I had just poured my coffee and knew by the sound of the trucks that I had approximately three minutes before heading through the Zone gates for the majority of the day. We packed supplies for the team and kept them in the cargo truck that tailed the convoy, which consisted of two loading trucks and a lead pick up with a variety of navigational equipment and first aid. As a group, we were well trained and versed in techniques to avoid the bite. It tended to be an issue if we got bitten. Unlike four years ago, it wasn’t a death sentence, nor was it a threat to all human life, but it was dangerous, nonetheless.
The disease was a scary. It attacks the nervous system and burns pain receptors. It severs the brain to body connection and creates a rabid, seething killing machine in less than two minutes. But it’s not really the bite you have to worry about. It’s the infected. In their prime state, their disease won’t kill you. Their gnarly teeth ripping the trachea from your throat will. Their fingers digging into the skin and muscle on your back in search of a good grip on your spine will. Their ferociousness will get you before their pathogens.
Which is why we have to stay vigilant. With every trip our goal is to restrain and transport thirty- five to fifty infected to Vaccilita for rehabilitation. That means we face danger and death and contagion almost every second on the job. Our job is to be constantly on the line. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Delivering these people into the future with a healthy chance at a new life is what I want to do. It’s what I promised to dedicate myself to since I was one of the cured.