Meeting the Infected

The Bodsbay bridge, named after Lieutenant Wayne Bodsbay who oversaw it's construction, was really little more than a narrow strip of steel grating which ran from the platform on the Hope side to a platform on the Quarantine side. A pair of hand rails ran the length and some aluminum tubing held it all up. Two people could walk down it side by side, but only if they didn't mind rubbing shoulders. Also, it wasn't quite high enough up to keep ocean spray from dampening the bottom of pant legs, this making for a generally miserable trip across for Krueger. Rick Davenport followed close behind, keeping his pistol holstered but his hand at the ready to draw it. The twins followed with their usual back-and-forth the whole way. And Noah, with fresh grease stains on his shirt, followed at the rear.

"Have any of you delt with the infected before?" he asked loud enough to be heard over the chop of the sea.

The response was a chorus of "no".

"They used to be human, the same as you and me. Still are in most ways, except one: they are carriers of the zombie pathogen. That's right, they were bitten or otherwise infected but haven't turned into zombies. If they bleed on you, spit on you, hell if they sweat on you, you run the chance of becoming infected and turning into a zombie. As you can imagine, this makes them both sought after and feared. Many civilians and even soldiers call them 'half-zombies'. So they're kept here on Quarantine Zone. They're cared for but kept separate. ...Isolation has obviously taken it's toll. Last year, three of them committed suicide. There's no telling what they may do, so keep your distance," he said.

As they stepped off the bridge, the squad came to a makeshift barricade of rocks, dirt, and scrap wood. A pale man and woman crouched behind the fortification, leveling a pair of stollen rifles at them. They each wore a red painted metal collar with 'INF' stenciled across it in black.

"Hands where we can see them! Now!," the man screamed.

"Easy, now. If we wanted to kill you, we'd have come a little better prepared," Krueger said, raising his hands nonetheless.

Gods, he wished he'd had time to run back to the barracks and get Linda. He felt naked with just his sidearm.

"What is it you want?" the woman asked.

"For starters, I'd appreciate if you took your fingers off those triggers. We're not here to fight you," Krueger said.

"And your not here to help us, either. Are you?" the infected man said.

The woman shot him a look but let the question stand.

"Sir, that depends on what you want," Krueger said.

He'd been told to do whatever it took to resolve the situation. So if he had to give a little to get a little, he was willing to go down that road.

"We want off this rock!" he yelled.

"Well, you're not getting off this rock," Krueger said. "Weather you like it or not, you're infected. Cross this bridge and within a week, the people you infect will have turned into zombies and eaten you and everyone else on the island."

"You son of a bitch! We didn't choose to be this way!" he yelled and raised his rifle to his shoulder.

"Ben! No! He's right," the woman said, snatching the rifle by the barrel and thrusting it downward.

"I don't care! I want off!" he screamed at her, pathogen filled tears rolling down his cheeks.

"Look, you can shoot at me or shoot yourself, even. It doesn't matter, because I'd rather die than let you cross that bridge. But what I can do is make your life over here more bearable," Krueger said.

"How?" the infected woman asked.

"Am I to assume that you speak for everyone?" Krueger asked.

"No, I suppose not. You'd have to speak to Bodsbay," she said.

"Bodsbay? Sir, isn't that-," Davenport began.

"Yes, the very same," Krueger cut him off.

Ironically, after building the bridge, Lieutenant Bodsbay had been accidentally infected and found to share the same immunity as those he had built the bridge to help quarantine. Technically he still held a rank, but was forced to move to the compound on Quarantine Zone nonetheless. Ever since, he'd become their defacto leader.

"This way. Ben, stay here and cool off, okay?" the woman said.

In short order, the squad was lead to a modest looking fenced-in compound. Pale, sullen faces stared out at them. What a sad, desperate lot. And desperate people were known to do desperate things. Krueger hoped that his squad wasn't in over their heads.

OOC: Sorry for taking so long on this post. Blame Thanksgiving! Speaking of which, I am sincerely grateful for such an awesome group of players to explore this bleak, zombie infested world with.

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