Jorah and his men, as well as Blake, moved with quiet, sure steps the through the basement of the History Museum. If Vincent was correct, the wall ahead should hold the hidden door to the secret lab.
Stepping beside a huge stuffed buffalo, Jorah examined the wall. A small metal panel was half-hidden by the animal. He opened it. Lights blinked at him. Jorah frowned and waved one of his guards up to look at it.
"Do you know of this?" Jorah asked. "I am not familiar with their archaic technology."
The guard poked at it before sighing. "It is hopeless. This is the best I can do." He brought his weapon up and blasted a laser light into it. Sparks flew, there was a small whine, and part of the wall jerked.
Two guards muscled it open the rest of the way, then stepped in front of Jorah to enter a small, empty entryway.
"A caution," Jorah said, "we avoid killing the humans." The guards agreed as they all crept forward, weapons raised.
The lab was quieter than they expected and larger. The small entry led to a large open room with several doors leading off of it.
Blake raised an eyebrow at Jorah. He nodded, this was going to take a while.
The lab itself was empty, though shadowy movement could be seen behind some of the doors. Jorah instructed two guards to keep an eye on the rest of the room, and the rest of them to start investigating the right side of the room.
The first door was locked. They looked through the tall, skinny window beside it. Inside were people, sick people.
Some barely clung to life. They laid slumped against the walls, bloody foam falling from their mouths as they gasped for a final breath.
Others lumbered from one side of the room to the other. They banged into each other on their endless quest to nowhere.
Jorah turned away. It sickened him to see people in need of help and getting none. Had these sick people been brought here? Or had they been enticed here and then made sick?
The men went on to the next door. Fewer people moved around in this one, and they were still coherent. The men and women conversed as they sat or laid on the beds and chairs provided.
One man seemed to look right at Jorah and his men but didn't acknowledge them. Jorah put his hand to the glass. It was one way, they didn't know anyone was out here.
The next area held the worst of the diseased. Jorah counted twelve of them. They lumbered around the room dragging any stiffening limbs. Their jaws worked from side to side as if in anticipation of a meal. Blood stained their mouths.
One stopped and sniffed at the air, then roared. He ran like a broken-legged rabid dog across the room to a corner Jorah couldn't see.
A shrill scream. A woman slid across the window trying to escape her attacker. She pushed at him with both arms locking them between herself and the sick man.
Jorah's heart shook at the sight. He grabbed the doorknob and twisted. Metal protested, but he continued to turn it, not allowing the smooth surface to slip through his hand.
Another scream as the woman's arms folded. The man viciously bit a chunk of her neck away. A river of blood started down her shoulders.
Her screams continued, stirring up the other sick. With slow steps, they moved toward her.
A guard put his hand over Jorah's, stopping him from opening the door. "It is too late for her, sire, as it is for many others." He tipped his head toward the lumps that littered the floor.
She had not been the first victim.
"Humans. They have turned themselves into animals."
Jorah heard the disgusted growl of his men behind him. Even he had to remind himself that not all of them were like the ones who ran this lab.
Jorah swallowed the disgust that had climbed into the back of his throat. He couldn't look in any more of these rooms. They would take the chance that they were all filled with scientific subjects. Instead, they moved to the refrigerators.
He told his men what to look for, a small clear multi-sided vial. It would be distinct from the long cylinders the humans used.
The men searched cooler after cooler then cupboard after cupboard with no success. With only a few places left to look, they heard someone enter the room.
Jorah and his men froze. Weapons raised, they watched an older man stumble into a desk. He reminded Jorah of a blowfish, short and round. The man held a file open in front of him reading from it. Hardly aware of his surroundings, he didn't notice the intruders at all.
Two of the guards made their way behind the man. They pushed their guns to his back. The man startled, his papers fluttering to the floor in front of him.
"Oh my!," he said. Then "Oh my!" again as his eyes trailed up Jorah's frame. Most of the Atlantians were almost double his height.
"Where is everyone?" Jorah asked him.
"Well. Well," the man in the white coat blinked his eyes a few times as if coming out of a dark cave, "I don't rightly know. Some got sick and were put in quarantine. Others left fearing they would get sick." He looked from one Atlantian to the other. "We were so careful, but it got out after all. I warned them."
"Who are you?"
"Me? I'm Dr. Smith-Harnett."
Jorah gave Dr. Smith-Harnett a fearsome scowl. "We are looking for the Atlantian cure that was stolen from us. Where is it?"
The doctor put a hand to his chin. "The Atlantian cure? Well, that takes me back. Um, did it come from a decorative wooden box?" At Jorah's nod, Dr. Smith-Harnett waved Jorah to follow him.
The guards went on alert, but Jorah ordered them aside. The man hardly seemed like a threat. They followed the doctor to a smaller laboratory.
As the walked, the doctor said, "This whole lab was built because of that little vial you know. The experiments we have done, the things we have learned. Since before my time even, in the fifties, it started."
Reaching into a cooler that stood to the left side of the lab, the doctor pulled out a vial that Jorah recognized. He grabbed it from the doctor and shook it.
"Yes," the doctor said as he grimaced. "I'm afraid to say, there isn't much left."
Jorah shook it again. There was barely enough liquid remaining to skim the bottom. "What have you done with it?" he shouted.
"Wonderful things. Yes, wonderful things. Did you know the cure to cancer was in there? As well as heart disease? We created ways to make people stronger, healthier. It was marvelous."
Blake said, "But we still have cancer and heart disease."
Dr. Smith-Harnett frowned. "Yes. It would have been the pinnacle of my career, but the medical industry had a fit. There is a lot of money to be had with those two, you know. So they just dole out a little bit here and there." The doctor narrowed his eyes at Jorah. "What did you want it for?"
Jorah looked at him with disbelief. "It is the cure for this disease that is sweeping your town."
"It is?" Dr. Smith-Harnett pulled out a little notebook. "I'll have to look into that."
Jorah turned away from the man in frustration. What was wrong with him? Did he not see the seriousness of the situation? It sat here in this lab.
"This is all you have?" Blake asked. "There is no more?"
"No more of the original sample."
"It will have to do," Jorah said, "I hope it will." He looked at the doctor, his voice dropping, "We should throw you in with the sick ones."
A/N: I hope you liked this little journey with Jorah as he finally holds what's left of the cure in his hands. Thank you for continuing to read Sea Bound! And pushing that little star. :)
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Sea Bound (A Sanctuary's Aggression Novel)Science Fiction
#159 on Scifi Hot List. A Golden Pen, Pen and Ink, and Rose Award Winner. In this sci-fi fantasy, Sonora yearns for more than life has given her until the day a shadow becomes a guide to a world she could never have imagined. A new world that offers...