Sample And Hold (1st extract)

His poet’s tongue flicked at her nipple playfully and she moaned. She was not the most attractive woman who had been at the bar but according to his Geiger counter she was the least irradiated. He wanted to fuck someone where it wasn’t the equivalent of sticking your cock in a reactor and asking the gods of this fucked up world to bless you with cancer.

He was moving around the small villages in this area stealing samples of blood wherever he could, working on a vaccine to cure a plague that was, at the moment, contained. He was a member of the skeleton crew that claimed the title CDC. Centre for disease control? What a fucking joke. The whole world was sick and they were just some kind of notional balm to stop the dying from storming the city and demanding justice from the healthy fucks who had sanctioned the wars knowing that they would remain untouched in their lead-lined bunkers.

He was healthy because his job was considered important, but the way he was going he wasn’t going to pass the medicals for much longer. He was smoking Hiroshima 45s and the occasional hydroponic weed from the great lakes cannabis factory. He took masking drugs and system purge drugs that caused irreparable cell damage but which kept him his job. The stem cell nano factory at the base of his spine was having a hard job keeping up to him. Did he want to die? Sure, who didn’t?
if you were alive in this day and age where half of the planet had been left scarred by nuclear war and you didn’t want to end it all you had to be either masochistic or retarded or both; he was none of those.

She was exhausted after he had pounded her into the mattress and fell almost immediately into a deep sleep — not a good sign as far as he was concerned. She probably had something terminal. He reached over and pressed the remote control button on his brief case that would send out the mechsquito swarm to collect the blood. He was almost done in this locale and then he could go off and start collecting samples elsewhere.

He wanted to do things and she didn’t look like she was going anywhere soon so he would have to work round her; he’d have to ignore her. That wasn’t hard for him. He barely thought of the people out here as being human — why? Because their mortality rate cancelled out there presence faster than you could do anything to help them. Still, they might hold the key to saving the remainder of the human race.

There was a pandemic brewing and, with radiation weakened systems, who would survive? There were a lot less people alive and kicking for a disease to take on these days. There was very little support infrastructure and what officials there were passed laws designed purely to keep themselves alive. Public service was a dead notion — they held office because they wanted office space and the protection that officialdom offered them and that was that. The CDC stood between them and the hordes — this was how they saw it. If you were capable of stopping a disease or curing something the masses revered you and the elite saw you as useful — you had it good on all counts.

The pandemic? They called it rape and it boiled in the blood and bodily fluids of the sex organs and only there. Why? They weren’t sure yet. Why were some spared? well, if you ignored the stupid biblical prophecies that were being bandied about by the nutjobs who still believed in a god despite all the contrary evidence, it seemed there was some unique DNA sequence that was capable of switching off the cells in the viral version and the bacteriological one. He’d analysed countless samples thus far and they hadn’t been to isolate the exact sequence. Even if they did manage to narrow that down they weren’t sure why it occurred in some people and not others. They also needed to know with what kind of frequency it occurred.

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