What had happened? the scientist thought, looking around the trashed laboratory. How did it happen?
A lot had gone on while he'd been locked in one of the storage rooms for almost six days. Something from the top shelf had fallen and knocked him out while looking for a bottle of O7-I6L—a new type of compound used for cleaning lab equipment. Lucky for him the room was also equipped with a toilet and had basic survival supplies stocked up.
When he had regained consciousness, the emergency flood lights were on in the room, giving him enough light to try his card in the reader. It hadn't work. Just about a week later the overhead and ground fluorescents kicked back on and the card reader's indicator light beamed to life.
Emerging from the room, with the exception of paper reports and various lab equipment sprawled on the floor, he found the hallway corridor bare. He went back to the lab and found the place ransacked. There was no one around either—that was strange. This place was busy year round, regardless of what was going in the world.
Moving to his station, which in particular was overturned, the scientist couldn't think of a reason for any of this—They were looking for something, he then realized. But what could it be?
It dawned on him.
The serum to cure the Virus.
The scientist got down on one knee and opened the bottom drawer; it was now empty but wasn't worried about that. The drawer had a false bottom which contained a lockbox housing the serum. Grasping the steel box, the scientist entered the five digit combination and inserted the key he retrieved from his pocket.
There you are, he grinned, looking at the two rows of six vials containing the thick yolk-like liquid. The scientist grabbed one and placed it in the inside pocket of his lab coat, just in case. He replaced the one he took with a vial of colored sugar water. Closing the lid, he removed his key and headed for the lab's exit.
Reaching the elevator, he pressed the lit UP button and waited as the electric motor retracted the cables which held his only escape. When the dull silver doors slid open, he heard a slight tapping sound behind him. It sounded like claws of an animal against the tile floor. Turning around and looking once he hit the button for the entrance level, the scientist saw nothing. Probably just the pipes, he thought. This place was activated almost a hundred years ago, back in—The tapping noise began again. He looked out one last time as the doors slid closed.
The rise towards the surface wouldn't take long since he activated the distress code which increased the electric motor's power and brought the person above ground sooner.
Just as the elevator was about to reach the surface, it came to an abrupt halt which almost made the scientist drop his lockbox. He began to fiercely hit the top floor button over and over; it didn't move but the doors slid open and the lights went out.
Just great. Now I have to climb the rest of the way out using the ladder. He, like all other scientists, were informed that in the case of a severe power outage that the floor before surface level had an escape ladder. At least I didn't have to climb ten flights of stairs to get here, he thought with a sigh.
Exiting the elevator, the scientist found a similar view: papers, lab reports and other equipment skewed across the floor. Still clutching the lockbox, he made his way towards his one remaining mean of escape. Turning the door's heavy wheel to break its seal, the tapping noise began again; it was louder this time—and much closer. Stepping into the room, which turned out to be a massive elevator-like chamber, the scientist saw that the ladder had collapsed about halfway to the surface.
They was no way out.
"Damn," he sighed and went back through the door into the corridor. He decided to go back to the lab and find some sort of exit maybe another scientist knew about.
Scrambling through other desks, he threw things about which had been searched before for the sample. The tapping noise returned yet again; this time it had to be in the room. Not having anything to fend off whatever was making the noise, the scientist ran out of the lab and back towards the elevator.
He was going to take refuge in the elevator car but from what he saw, it was gone. Gazing down into the shaft all he could see was darkness; he figured it must have dropped or something.
" 'Least I wasn't in it when it did."
A sound of some sort made him turn his attention upward; he was then hit in the face with a pair of large boots and knocked on his ass. About to get up, the scientist came face-to-face with the business end of two submachine guns. He noticed that behind each weapon was a person dressed in a black or maybe dark gray battle uniform complete with gloves, a balaclava and gas mask with blacked out lenses.
"Hold it!" one of them said. "This must be the scientist we were informed about." He noticed the lockbox the scientist was clutching; lowering his weapon, he outstretch his hand and said, "You need to come with us—" he stopped mid way. "What's that?"
The scientist looked over his shoulder and saw what the soldier meant.
Moving slow towards the three of them was a bipedal beast that was near seven feet tall and looked like its skin had been removed. Veins and muscle tissue were visible and its eyes were a grotesque purple with pupils that glowed a bright orange. But what caught their attention the most were the five claws which extended close to a foot in length on each hand.
When they came in contact with the wall and tile floor, the scientist then knew what had been the cause of those noises. But how had I not seen it before?
The beast then disappeared but the sounds remained.
It can camouflage itself!
One of the soldiers grabbed the lockbox and shouted, "Shoot!"
What the scientist hadn't realized was the soldier meant to shoot him not the beast. He died within seconds of the soldiers opening fire, leaving his dead body to be food for the thing.
"Evac!" the soldier commanded and the two of them ran back towards the elevator shaft. "Move!" he shouted to the other soldier as they secured themselves back onto the cable they had used to slide down on. The soldier then called over a radio: "Bring us up!" He and the other soldier began to shoot at the beast as they were brought to the surface with haste.
When they reached the top and were unsecured by fellow soldiers, the first one brought forward the lockbox and handed it to his superior. "As requested; the key was unable to be retrieved but I believe that won't be a problem, sir."
"Good job, soldier," the superior said. "Now we'll be able to finish this."
The soldier wasn't sure what his superior had meant since all of London was more or less a city of the dead.
The United States, all of North America by now, had been lost three months ago; South America soon followed. Within a week of Australia falling, all of Asia had been affected and soon merged into Europe. As of three days ago, Africa had begun to fall apart just as quick as everywhere else. The entire planet was pretty much a wasteland now.
At least we never have to worry about that old bloke Kim Jong-un declaring war; hell, that thing hasn't been around for decades and now both places are dead.
The soldier went back to the temporary armory and turned in his MP7A3.
"Horrid down there?" asked the soldier behind the counter.
The first soldier replied, "Yeah. It's was weird. Especially since I had to eliminate a human in order to retrieve the lockbox before evacuating."
The other soldier looked at him funny. "There are still humans on the planet? Thought we had killed all of them decades ago." He then noticed a crack on the other soldier's gas mask. "Looks like you need that repaired."
"Yeah I know. Do you have time to get it done?"
The soldier in the armory nodded.
Removing his mask, the other soldier noted the difference between his and the other soldier's features. Unlike himself who was a Model 2074 and had a simple flesh covering, the soldier was all mechanical beneath his mask, meaning he had to be an older edition, a Model 2048 maybe.
Looking over the gas mask, the Model 2074 thought to himself, Weird how a human could be down there. Such fragile objects; it's a good thing we destroyed them before they could hurt anyone. And now we're in danger of being shut off completely unless we find a way to stop all of these horrible events. I hope it's not an end for us machines.
The Model 2074 then went to work on the mask.