Agent Simpson stood outside the door of the medical room, watching the body of Detective Ryder twitch and shake the stretcher he was tightly bound to. The lamps around the room cast oversized shadows on the stone walls, exaggerating his movements and magnifying the pain she felt for him.
He doesn’t deserve this, Agent Simpson told herself. His smarts and bravery had helped The Brotherhood find the doctor before he knew what he was getting involved in. He had succeeded with considerably fewer resources than Captain Stein had at his disposal.
She had hidden her intentions from him and was starting to question her methods. If she had told him everything when they first met, would he have been better prepared? If he knew about the war with the vampires from the beginning would he be standing next to her rather than lying on a stretcher, convulsing violently in a fit caused by the experimental treatment Doctor Owen had given him?
But how could I have told him anything? He never would have believed me.
If he didn’t pull through, she didn’t think she’d be able to forgive herself.
Captain Stein’s heavy boots stomped down the hall and stopped next to Agent Simpson.
‘Sorry about pulling a gun on you before,’ she said, ‘I know I broke the rules.’
‘You’re right,’ he replied, ‘but you were right about something else. He did help us get to the doctor.’
‘How is the doctor?’ she asked.
‘He’s spent the last twenty-four hours in the company of his wife, then vampires, then us. I think he’s sleeping now, or trying to at least.’
‘Does he know about his wife?’
‘Yes, but he’s just as worried now that the police have her. She’s out in the open now. All it will take to get to her is one infiltrator in the police department. As far as we know, they might already be overrun with bloodsuckers. There’s not much we can do about it tonight though.’
‘Any news on Doctor Forrest? He wasn’t home when we picked up the doctor.’
‘No, there’s no news on him yet. We’re widening the search but if the vampires have him, they’ll be keeping him under closer wraps than they did with the doctor.’
‘Did you call regional headquarters?’
‘Yes. They’re sending a couple of helicopters to pick us up. Like you said, we have to assume we’re going to be targeted tonight so we’ll leave a team behind to take care of them when they arrive.’
Agent Simpson felt slight relief. The helicopters they were sending would undoubtedly be heavily armed and well-manned. They could feel relatively safe on the ride back to regional HQ.
‘What about Tom Ryder?’ she asked.
‘What about him?’ Captain Stein seemed taken aback at the suggestion there was any question in the matter. ‘We’ll patch him up and send him on his way.’
‘We can’t do that,’ said Agent Simpson, raising her voice slightly. One more ignorant comment like that from Captain Stein would tip her over the edge. She had thought she was getting through to him.
‘Why not? If he wakes up human he’ll be okay.’ Captain Stein knew this was an ignorant attitude but he didn’t need or want the hassle of taking a potential vampire with them. It was the last straw for Agent Simpson.
‘That’s not true and you know it!’ she argued, ‘The treatment is still in the experimental stage. Doctor Owen wants to monitor him and suspects any improvement will only be temporary. Tom Ryder is the best chance for the doctor to move on at an unprecedented rate. He may not look it but he’s very excited to have a live specimen to work on.’
Captain Stein’s shoulders slumped. ‘You’re right. We’ve got to take this guy with us.’
‘He’s a very important subject. If he has been infected, this will allow us to experiment with the virus like we never have before. The longer he stays human, the more hope we will have for the future.’
A door behind them opened and Doctor Owen emerged. ‘She’s right, you know. This man is the most important person in the world to us right now. His blood can tell us a hundred times more than we already know and let us take giant leaps in finding a cure.’
Agent Simpson suspected the doctor had been listening to their conversation from behind the door for a while.
‘Yes, well you know how I feel about that,’ said Captain Stein.
‘Yes I do, Mister Stein.’ He opened the door to the medical room.
‘What are you doing?’ asked Captain Stein.
‘He’s been out for exactly three hours. It’s time to take another sample.’
As Doctor Owen sat on the edge of the bed and took his fourth blood sample from Detective Ryder, Agent Simpson thought about the exchange of words between the Captain and the doctor.
‘You don’t think he’s going to find a cure, do you?’ she asked Captain Stein.
‘I think if the doctor works hard enough, he’ll find a treatment for the virus.’ Stein still didn’t seem enthusiastic about this possibility.
‘So what do you have a problem with?’
‘He shouldn’t be looking for a cure. Once someone is reborn they become a member of another species. Pure evil.’
‘You know that no scientist has got any proof of that theory but surely the answer can’t be killing them all off?’
‘Right now it’s the only option we have, Agent Simpson.’