Chapter Two: Secret
She came to several hours later in a hospital room, surrounded by flowers and gifts from the students she taught, she assumed. There were chocolates galore, but no sign of any visitors. She forced herself into a sitting position before calling the nurse into her room.
The nurse entered. An android, medical type 3159: a Ribune. This was not the first time she had seen a Ribune. There are usually three or four equipped to every doctor.
“State your Serial Number.”
“Ma’am, my Serial Number is 57412.” The Ribune answered.
“Good, 412 fetch me the remote to the television.” She demanded of the droid. The Ribune responded promptly by handing her the remote control to the old fashioned flat screen television on thae wall. “Thank you. Now, 412, state to me my visitors.”
“File not found.”
Alice tilted her head curiously at the response of the nurse. Usually, nurses are required to keep a list of the visitors, for security purposes.
“What room am I in?”
“File not found.”
“What is my name, what patient am I?”
“File not found. You are patient 15547, Unknown. State of patient: Critical. The patient suffers from severe blood loss and possible delirium. The patient is to be evaluated expeditiously by Doctor Wrathe. Puncture wounds were found on the neck near the jugular. Wounds were symmetrical. Patient has been in a comatose state for 15.521 hours. Patient awakened. Writing report. Report sent and filed.”
“When will Jermaine be arriving?” She asked, now sitting erect, though the action made her dizzy.
“The Doctor is 14.2 Miles away. He will be arriving in exactly 5.245 minutes. His current location is latitude-”
“Enough, question cancel.”
“Response halted. Confirm.”
“Confirming. You may leave now, 412”
“As you wish.”
With this, the robot left, the curiosity hanging in the air. It was odd to her that her own Ribune knew nothing about her but her patient number and diagnoses. She would certainly have to look into this later.
She turned the television on and watched a few shows before coming across the news. Something in the statement had caught her attention.
“This is Rena Knight with WGOTV on the site of a vicious attack on one of our higher ups. Alice Carter, Head of the Intelligence Bureau was attacked in her home less than twenty four hours ago. They refuse to let us onto the crime scene, but what the doctors have told us is that she had two symmetrical wounds on her neck, as if bitten by a Methuselah. Here is Chief Samuel Wright, of the Security Bureau to tell us more about the situation. Chief Wright, is there anyway to confirm that it was indeed a Methuselah that attacked Miss Carter?”
“We have chalked it up to being an attack from one of her former victims trying to psych the system out.”
“Wait one minute, Chief, victims?” The woman with blonde hair and brown eyes looked into the camera with a confused look.
“Yes, well, not technically victims. The families of those she had convicted and condemned to life outside Sheridon.”
“I see, interesting. But why would they use Methuselah to try and psyche the system out? I mean, shouldn’t they use something more mature? Something they knew would disturb the Uppers?”
“We’re assuming that they wanted to give her a shock. As you already know, she was attacked not long ago. She began to ramble on about a man who has been dead for centuries. She claims he is Methuselah. We believe that her mental state is currently unstable.”
“I see, well then. This is Rena Knight with WGOTV, and let’s all wish our beloved Chief of the Intelligence Bureau a speedy recovery!” She smiled into the camera as if she had just won the lottery.
Soon after, the television was turned off by Jermaine.
Alice glared up at him and motioned towards the television.
“What is that, Jermaine? The last thing I need is my people thinking I’m crazy!” She was enraged.
Sitting down on the bed next her, he spoke calmly, “I need you to calm down. I don’t think you’re crazy, and after I ask you a few questions, we’ll sue WGOTV for everything they’re worth. How’re you feeling?”
“Well, Jermaine, if you must know, I’m pissed off! How did they even get the information on the attack earlier? What the hell am I a media morsel? I’m not standing for this!” She made a motion to stand up, only to be forced back down by two of Jermaine’s Ribunes. Naturally, she fought against them. She had too much work to do to be playing sick.
“Alice, you need to calm down. You can’t go back to work without a note from me and your new home won’t be ready for another week or two. We’ve got your Halo-book and your Laptop Computer here in this room. So why don’t you calm down for me. What is it you think you saw?”
“I saw him! I saw Aeliric f*cking DeParion!” her voice sounded like a high pitched squeal.
“Alright, and what is it the two of you did?” Jermaine responded, scribbling things down in his holographic notebook, better known as a ‘Halo-book’.
“What the hell kind of question is that, Jermaine?! What does it look like we did?! He bit me! He’s alive and he’s a damn Methuselah! I want all of my units on him now!” She hissed, finally struggling away from the offending mechanical arms.
“Yes, yes, in due time. Now… Are you sure that was all that happened?“ His tone annoyed her almost as much as his question did.
“What the f*ck, Jermaine?! Of course I‘m sure!” The Ribunes took a step forward at her tone of voice.
“Heart rate rising. Sedation recommended. Confirm.”
“No. Stand down.” Jermaine demanded.
“You’re damn skippy, stand down. Can’t you go anywhere without those damn things?! Technology has become such a curse…” She grumbled; her mind now spinning to the previous question.
“Listen, Alice. When we found you, you were lying in your bedroom in a white, silk gown… One people generally save for Honeymoons. There were white flowers and gems in your hair…” He responded.
She hesitated. ‘White, silk gown? I don’t even think I own one of those… Gems…? Flowers…?’ she thought to herself. Sitting back, she rested her palm against her forehead. The last thing she remembered was being in the storage room. She supposed she should start from there.
“The last thing I remember was being in the storage room. He bit me and then he just stopped, like he didn’t want me to die.” She looked up a Jermaine, who seemed to be amused by her answer.
“Well, Methuselah are supposed to be bloodthirsty animals. Who’s to say I didn’t save you with a silver bullet and some garlic?” He responded. Great, this is what she needed; someone who spent their entire day fraternizing with loons to start mocking her.
“I don’t care if you believe me or not, Doctor Wrathe. You were a lost cause to me. Even as a child. Why do you still monitor me like a child?” She spat back, leaning against several pillows and pulling the soft white sheets and blankets up a little further.
“Because, if you’re not watched carefully, your whole ‘Methuselah’ rampage is going to throw the entirety of Sheridon into chaos.”
“Oh, what the hell does that matter? No one believes me. Not the higher ups and not that pretty p***k from WGOTV, Rena Knight….” She mumbled under her breath. The silence that followed that comment hung thick in the air. It seemed to be harder to breathe, and her eyes began to burn. Was she going to cry? As she felt one warm tear slide down her cheek, she wiped at it viciously with her hand. “I know no one believes me, and it makes it hard because I know what I saw…”
“785, 784 leave the room, please.” Jermaine demanded to the nearby Ribunes. The stiff creatures seemed to stiffen more.
“Doctor Wrathe, that action is unadvisable. Repeat action and confirm?”
“Leave the room. Confirming.” And with this, the robots left the room. He looked at her swiftly, his eyes no longer showing concern, but urgency. “Alice, it is not that the higher ups do not believe you, I assure you they do. They are simply ignoring you, because it would mean there have been breaches in the dome…”
“Breaches?” She stopped for a minute, letting the thought roll around in her head. “There was never any confirmation that Methuselah even existed anymore outside the dome.” She caught a glimpse of Jermaine rolling his beautiful green eyes.
“Alice, what do you think they are protecting the people in the dome from, hmm? Germs? Viruses? No, none of that is true. This dome was created to protect the population against Methuselah. And if there is one there is more. This action has opened Glithe’s eyes to how careless he has been with the protection of his people, and thus will throw the commune into mass panic.”
Alice could hardly breathe. So what he was saying, she thought, was that they do know she’s not crazy, but they are ignoring the problem at hand because that meant that they had been careless? Infuriation mixing with confusion and fear, her expression was unreadable.
“Alice? Please… don’t overreact. I’m talking to the Commune now about brushing this off and sending a search of some of our most talented hunters after Aeliric, but what I need from you is cooperation. I need you to tell me that you will not fight against me with this. I am only looking out for you.”
“So, these news shows of me will stop, and I will be able to go back to work? You want me to pretend like he’s not after me?!” Her voice did not sound as enraged as it did ringing with disbelief.
“Basically. You will be equipped with a Mjolinor. It will protect you from any harm.”
“Really, do you think I want any of your ‘machinery’?” She growled loathingly. “I think all of them should just be cast outside the dome…”
“You know, it was your neighbors Mjolinor that found you… if it hadn’t found you when it did, you would have either gone into shock or bled to death…”
“That sounds extremely appealing, right now…” She mumbled, arms crossed. The hospital room had grown cold, and she pulled the covered up further, as if trying to shield herself from the cold. “Fine, I’ll cooperate under the condition that I can get out of here sooner. You had better tell them to hurry up with my house…” Without another word, Jermaine nodded in agreement and left the room.
For several minutes, she sat and pondered what Jermaine had told her. They had built the dome to protect the people from Methuselah, so why were they ignoring the attack on her? Shouldn’t that make them tighten security and be more aware? Of course not. Now that she was really thinking about it, they would never go that far for her. ‘Glithe’ would never go that far for anyone. We were merely pawns in his little game: Pieces on the board. She felt herself become enraged with the mere thought of it. Then again, maybe it was the medication in her talking. She was sure after Jermaine spoke to them, that everything would be handled promptly. An attack on the Head of the Intelligence Bureau was a serious threat. It was obvious, no matter what it was, that their objective was to throw the dome into panic. She would not let them win.
She flipped through the channels on the television, bored. So far, she had come across two of the oldest animations of all time. Bleach and King Arts: The Animated Saga. She had bared a couple of moments of it before she decided enough was enough. She turned the power to the television off and settled down to get some sleep, ignoring the aching pain in her neck. The Ribunes had been in every four or so hours to change the bandages. The medicine they had been using to try and keep the wounds closed was now having no effect. The blood flow was slowing, but had far from ceased.
‘Methuselah…' She thought when her head hit the pillow. She had always known that Sheridon had a secret about the outside world that it wanted to keep from its people, though she was unsure as to why they would have lied about the existence of them, or come up with a false reason as to why everyone must remain in the dome. Now that she thought of it, the dome would be an ideal place for a Methuselah. The dome has no actual UV rays, merely blinding lights, which means that Methuselah could live amongst us peacefully, and without being noticed. It would only be a matter of time before they created a machine that would announce the presence of the undead. She knew the Ribunes could tell, but they would not announce it aloud. Not unless it’s heart rate quickened. Fat chance of that. She decided that she should sleep on it. After all, she had a long day, ignoring the fact that she slept through most of it. Closing her eyes, the sleep came to her almost instantly.
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