• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 05


Clint pondered on the universal conundrum – at least among those of his profession: why were hazmat suits still so bloody cumbersome in the twenty-third century? They were barely a step up from the pre-sanitary models of the twenty-first century. He decided to vocalize his discontent.

“Why is it–?”

“If you finish that fracking sentence, I’ll stick you with this sampler,” Jean grated into her throat mic while raising a skewer-like tool.

“I was just–”

“You go through the same routine every job. You know the suit material is more secure and the seal-bonding stronger … and yet on and on you go about ease of movement. Were you planning a ballet?”


Jean went silent and waddled towards the school’s annex for a closer look. The building had been sealed with Secureplast: the knife-proof, bullet-proof, sound-proof polymer developed to isolate outbreak sites. Only a transmission on a coded wavelength would unlock the bonds of that seal.

Clint knew his wife too well. He shut up and hung back.

“What’s the protocol?” Jean asked in a her professional voice.

Clint knew she wasn’t talking to him.

“Visual HSV1,” he heard a dead voice respond. Eyes on a cold sore.



Clint had read of a time when such an outbreak was a trifling affair, back when the human constitution was more durable: back when they had something they called resistance. “Can’t even use that word these days.”

“You say something?” Somehow Jean managed to attach a glower to her tone.

“Clearing my throat.”

He couldn’t imagine how The Redactors had missed the archives he’d been reading. Complacency in despotism, he supposed.

His reverie was interrupted by a slight aberration on the surface of the polymer shield. A mental prompt had the specialised visor zoom in on the movement.

Someone had managed to crack a bathroom window and had reached through it to push at the inner surface of the translucent prison.

Jean had either failed to notice, or was ignoring it.

“How do we proceed?” she asked in a flat tone.

“Secure and scorch,” that same dead voice at headquarters instructed.

Jean retreated to where Clint stood and enunciated the code for the satellite strike into her mic.

The sky lit up.

“Monica’s daughter goes to that school,” Clint noted. Monica was a neighbour.

Jean ignored him.



His tinted visor dulled the intense beam from orbit which melted the polymer in upon the building, ensuring that nothing escaped.

A final incandescent pulse and the entire mass flared to nothingness.

His wife took off the headgear and smiled.“We could stop at MicroHut for a sit-in meal on the way home.”

For once, Clint really didn’t want to talk.