|Trixie||Midmorning has come to Raccoon City, banishing just one more of the increasingly horrible nights. But the stress and fear never completely leave the hospital, especially with the outbreak of 'rabies' and greater and greater influxes of sick people. Some patients with minor illnesses or injuries end up waiting hours for treatment.
Trixie Mackenzie had come in with an ambulance transporting a young man who had been attacked by an apparent lunatic. She had been waiting to be relieved by another officer so she could return to the station to deal with the paperwork from the encounter, but none had arrived. They were all too busy as the city tried to strain at its seams just a bit more. Having availed herself of the room's shower to clean off the blood from the dead lunatic, she had gone into a waiting area along the hall once she was properly put back together again, to await her relief.
She remains there hours later, leaned back and slumped in a chair, snoring delicately.
|Ashley Graham||It's weird that a pretty buxom blonde walks into the hospital and goes right into a supply closet, right? Just walks right on it. Is it as weird as her coming out again with another girl? The blonde is now accompanied by a brunette who looks tired but relieved. The two girls embrace in the waiting room. "There's a car outside waiting for us," The blonde tells the brunette. "The guys are cranky for having to drive here, but they won't let me walk in the streets right now with these weird random attacks, so ... go ahead and climb in and lie down in the back. I'll just go talk to the receptionist or whoever and get you checked out." The brunette nods and turns to leave, while the blonde makes her way deeper into the waiting room. She's wearing a maroon turtle-neck sweater dress today, with black tights patterned with roses and flowers and brown booties. Her luscious blonde locks have been pulled over her shoulder in a fishtail braid today. The blonde walks passed the sleeping woman with a slight side-eye of concern for the stranger's well-being before making her way to the receptionist's desk which is, sadly, empty. So she leans on it. And waits, idly looking around at the madhouse that is the waiting room. Just packed, this place is. It causes her to bite the lower right corner of her lip in concern.|
|Markus Berger||The waiting room is indeed a complete madhouse and a total, barely organised mess as the hospital is by now far beyond capacity. In fact, by this point barely anyone even has the time to check on anyone waiting... except for Doctor Berger apparently who just happens to walk by at a rather slow pace as he by now is close to giving up on everything and even looks like it.|
|Trixie||Trixie murmurs something unintelligible but agitated in her sleep, then suddenly startles awake with a gasp. She looks around, wide-eyed, then sighs softly and blushes at her outburst. Seeing the doctor in his lab coat, she blushes more deeply. "I'm sorry, Doctor," she says quietly. "I'll be quiet from here on out, really I will." The nap did her a little good, but she still looks tired. The pretty blonde girl at the desk hasn't drawn her attention yet, though that can always change.|
|Ashley Graham||And change it will. Upon seeing the doctor, Ashley pushes off from the counter and turns toward him. A few quick little steps in those cute little booties bring her up along side the man as she two-steps for every one of his to keep up with his longer stride. "Doctor," she says to him. "I've just picked up Candice. She seems fine and you all seem like you could use the space so if it's alright I'm going to take her back to the dorms." Upon seeing Trixie wake and hearing her speak, Ashley looks to the other young woman and gives her a polite little smile and a nod of her head in greeting.|
|Markus Berger||The doctor just stares at both a few moments each before he shrugs helplessly and turns to Ashley first. "Appreciated, not that its going to do us any good. Anyway, as far as we can guess she will be fine so get her away from here." With that said he abruptly turns away and looks towards Trixie instead whose appology earns her a half-hearted nod. "Don't worry, if you are quiet or not not isn't going to change the noise around here by much. At all. Complete desaster... everything."|
|Trixie||Trixie blushes faintly at the blonde girl's nod and smile of greeting, offering a soft, "Hello," in return. She also nods, but her head doesn't come back up afterward. "Thank you, Doctor." She looks around the waiting room and its general commotion. "What's been happening here? I know there's been all these cases of animal bites and such lately, but what's caused things to be a disaster here? Besides maybe overcrowding, I mean?" she asks, uncertainly.|
|Ashley Graham||"She's in the car now," Ashley promises the doctor, as though trying to please or impress him with her level of responsibility. Ah, kids. She doesn't break away just yet, though. Instead she remains poised where she is, tilting her head to move her bright baby blues from Trixie to Markus and back again. She's curious, and it shows openly on her face. Trixie's questions are good ones. What will the answers be?|
|Markus Berger||The doctor just stares at Trixie while trying to sound and look as serious as possible instead of just utterly resigned, although while making sure to only be so loud that Trixie and perhaps Ashley, if she listens closely, can hear him. "I'll be blunt. Absolutely nobody who is infected by the virus is showing any signs of recovery in any way after any ammount of time. In fact, its just getting worse. Mental degradation to the point of extreme aggression, bodily functions slowly failing, rising fevers, wounds becoming worse or even septic..." With that said Markus briefly sighs and shakes his head. "We have even some cases where it was instead human bite marks instead of animal bitemarks. Not to mention... we don't have a vaccine and we keep getting more patients who are infected without end in sight. I hope you can imagine what that is going to mean in barely a few days at the latest."|
|Trixie||Trixie shivers at the good doctor's answer. "I have a pretty good idea," she says softly. "That young man in 129 was attacked by a man who totally looked and smelled as if he'd been dead for weeks or something like. Probably an advanced case of this viral infection. If people can carry and transmit that, we're totally up a stinky creek without a paddle."
She sighs and puts her face into her hands. "Not to pry, Miss, but what happened to your friend Candice? And if you can at all, you might be better off telling your friends to pack up and get out of this town as fast as possible. Things look like they're totally going to get a lot worse before they even begin to get better."
|Ashley Graham||Ashley listens. And her mouth gapes just a little in shock and surprise at how negative the doctor sounds. "But the CDC or something, they'll come in won't they? They've dealt with far worse. Ebola and things like that. They got that under control, they'll get this under control too, won't they?" The blonde shakes her head a touch in disbelief before her eyes flit toward Trixie again. "Candice? Oh, they said it was an allergic reaction. I think it was to the kaluah our friend Jusin slipped into our coffees yesterday," the blonde adds a touch more quietly, a bit of color rising to her cheeks. Underage drinking--such a sin! But there's more pressing matters at hand. Trixie's suggestion causes Ashley to stare at the woman, then the doctor, then the woman again. "But if there's this whole big virus thing going around, shouldn't we be discouraging people from leaving? I mean that's how this kind of thing spreads, isn't it? I mean if I have it and I don't know it and I get on a plane with 150 people who end up in 90 different cities and 3 different countries within a day or something ... that's bad, right?" She looks back and forth between them again.|
|Markus Berger||The doctor just slowly grinds his teeth, his hands visibly balling into fists and opening up again... likely in an attempt to stay calm. "At this rate its likely going to be more than complicated to get out of the city anyway, what with only one bridge being left... not to mention that going by the speed of the virus they aren't likely to get far before its start to become active. Personaly, I just want anyone who is not infected out of the hospital at least." The doctor just shakes his head once more before throwing his hands up in resignation. "Ah... what am I saying. This is going to get much, much worse. In the case of other viruses the infected at least have the courtesy to not go insane, suffer from rapid necrosis and try to tear chuncks out of others."|
|Trixie||"There's been rumors about the possibility of putting the city under quarantine, but nothing with any kind of credibility has come down yet. I don't think anybody but the CDC or a similar agency can do that. And we haven't seen even a phone message from the CDC or anyone else. The whole city government seems to be totally about keeping this mess on the down-low," Trixie replies, not meeting Ashley's eyes. Her own eyes are focused on something a thousand miles away, it seems, and she speaks in a flat, resigned tone. "And that silence from above is totally like the calm before a storm. We're way past the point of controlling this by now, if the mood at the station away from the offices tells the story. Even other members of the PD are talking about getting out of town before things get worse."
She bows her head hopelessly. "Do you know how this is spreading, Doctor? Like, through bites or open wounds, or what? People were calling it a rabies outbreak, and I remember the first warnings we got being to stay away from animals. That spreads through bites, right? If we can tell who is healthy, we'll know who will be safe in leaving the city. 'Cause I don't think the CDC or anyone else is coming if they haven't already."
|Ashley Graham||Ashley listens, looking concerned and thoughtful. She rocks her weight from one side to the other, giving her an idle little shimmy. Her own eyes have since turned down toward the floor pensively. She's quiet after both professionals speak, biting on that lower right corner of her lip again. "Oh man," she sighs. "I'm going to be in so much trouble...." With a reserved sigh, she lifts her head and looks between the pair. "Do you want the CDC here?" she asks, curiously. "I mean, would it help? If not them, is there someone that would help?"|
|Markus Berger||"Indeed. The whole things is being swept under the rug... which is bad considering that we would need a large scale quarantine by now. I can even guess pretty well whose fault it is. Anyway, to answer your questions. Firstly, the main way of infection is indeed bites, both from animals and humans so the transmission is via fluids through bites or contaminated water, but fortunately not airborne. I mention the water since we apparently have some cases where it did not start through bites. Still... bites are the main way of infection and considering the severe mental degradation and high agression of the infected. Well..." With that said the doctor stops talking for a moment and breathes heavily for a moment before he glances towards Ashley. "Honestly? Anything could help by now, since otherwise I can probably put most of the city in a bodybag soon if it continues at the current pace."|
|Trixie||Trixie watches Ashley's idle swaying in silence for a moment or two. Judging by her weary eyes, she could be looking at a bird, a clock on the wall, or even a parked car as much as a pretty girl moving restlessly. but the words of the doctor and the girl seem to bring some semblance of life to her eyes and face at last. "I don't know what good the CDC could do now, but they can't do any more harm that I can see. But how would we get them here? The city government looks like they're just going to sit on this until Raccoon City's nothing but a ghost town. Nobody has the kind of clout to go over their heads... nobody that /would/, anyway."|
|Ashley Graham||That swaying returns, and Ashley's bite on her lip now looks more guilty than thoughtful. Slowly, she raises one hand with her index finger raised, as though she were trying to get someone's attention to call on her for a question. "I do," she says to Trixie in response to her discussion of clout. "I mean, I don't, but..." she pauses, looking over her shoulder to make sure no one else is near enough to overhear. In the madness of the packed waiting room, it's highly unlikely. She drops her voice anyway. "My dad's Jack Graham." You know, POTUS. That guy. "The Federal Government's pretty good at trumping State Governments in times that aren't an emergency. I haven't really been kicking up a fuss to him about this whole thing because I didn't want to get pulled out of school. We have finals up through Friday," she explains. Once more she pauses, to look between them. "But I mean, if I did tell him about how it really is here, I'm sure he'd step in. If it's really as bad as you say, Doctor. That people are going to keep dying. That we're all at risk." Suddenly the realization of her own mortality makes Ashley blanch, a little.|
|Trixie||Trixie stares at Ashley as if she'd just sprouted a halo. "As in /President/ Graham?" she asks, keeping her voice low to the point of nearly mouthing the words. Then she clutches the girl's shoulders, staring into her face as the hopelessness melts away into the sort of subdued exhiliration that accompanies escaping certain death. "That would /totally/ be enough clout. I hope. Miss Graham, you are a /lifesaver/... as in literally!" The last comes out as a soft, excited squeak.
Then she realizes she's squeezing the shoulders of the President's own daughter, and hastily releases her, bowing her head. "I'm sorry... I got way too excited for a second there."
|Ashley Graham||Thankfully, Ashley seems to be used to the limelight of millions, so the limelight of one cop? That she can handle, and she offers a charming, sparkling grin to Trixie as she squeezes her shoulders. "It's just Ashley, Ashley's fine." Now that the face and the name have been put together, they might recognize her from some of those iconic moments. The campaign. The inauguration. The Easter egg roll. A few state dinners. After all, there's no mother or siblings in the picture. Just Ashley and POTUS. As far as the first family is concerned? She's kind of it. And Trixie's reaction amuses her enough that she's able to give an honest little chuckle. "Don't apologize. As long as you didn't pee on the floor, like the dog does. It's a pretty awkward moment to come home and the dog pees on the White House drawing room carpet." There's a touch of disbelief in her tone, as though Ashley herself can't quite believe that experience. But her smile fades as she looks between Trixie and Markus again. "But what exactly do I tell him? I mean he's already going to be pretty mad that this is the first time I'm bringing it up. There has to be some reason why I'm the one telling him about this problem, and not one of his staff members. And I have to make sure he knows how serious it is without, you know. Freaking out about how serious it is. It really is this serious, right?" Ashley asks, looking back to Markus again. "Like, so serious that I need to tell him?" She's unsure, that much is clear.|
|Markus Berger||The doctor meanwhile has just been silently looking at Ashley, although it mostly looked like he was looking past her due to being lost in thought. In fact, he doesn't even look particularly fazed or surprised. "Hmm... Good question. I do believe I know at least something that might get him to take the situation seriously, IF he is aware of what I hope he is aware off." Having said that the doctor abruptly turns around and heads into a distant corner of the room, away from everyone else while gesturing for the two of them to follow him.|
|Trixie||"Thank gawd, no," Trixie murmurs, blushing a little and giggling softly at the mental image of the dog dribbling on the carpet. With the hopelessness of the situation lightened briefly by her laughter, it's a bit clearer just how young the S.T.A.R.S. officer is; she and Ashley could likely have been roommates at college. "Okay, then... Ashley. I'm Officer Mackenzie, but my friends and coworkers just call me Trixie. If I hear someone say Officer Mackenzie, I know I'm in trouble." She smiles wryly at that admission. But Ashley's question draws a thoughtful frown back to her face. "That /is/ a good question..." she murmurs, only to perk up and blink curiously as the doctor beckons herself and Ashley toward a distand corner. "I'm sorry, Doctor... I forgot my manners in all the turmoil. What should I call you?" she asks contritely.|
|Ashley Graham||"What's that short for, Trixie?" Because even in a hellhole situation like this one, girls will be girls and there's just some casual talk that happens to slip through. Ashley's blue eyes watch the doctor's movements, and then she looks at Trixie almost for approval. She is the cop, after all, and a girl with her own Secret Service detail (which is still outside in the car likely rolling their eyes at their charge) probably defaults to the approval of authority figures in these situations. But assuming Trixie makes no moves to stop her, she begins to follow the good Doctor, giving Trixie a passing word. "Well this just got rather clandestine."|
|Markus Berger||Waiting for a moment for both to follow along as he himself stops in the corner Markus briefly looks around before nodding and talking with a even lower voice. "Listen, if he isn't realising the severity of the situation just tell him that the Umbrella related problem has spread from the Arklay Mountains facility into the city. Considering how many people got butchered there to warrant it being bombed... if he is aware of it it should catch his attention more than enough." Before he can actually say anymore the doctor just abruptly shuts up and looks around in what is clearly downright fear... with more than a few glances towards the exit.|
|Trixie||"For me, it already was," Trixie replies softly, following the doctor. "Only I was on the outs until now. And it's not short for anything, I don't think... I've always been just Trixie." Her eyes get wider and wider as the doctor explains his side of things. "Oh-Em-Gee, Doc... this thing is /huge/, isn't it?" she asks, in a very low voice. She doesn't miss that fear in his eyes, and follows his gaze toward the exit doors, frowning faintly as she sees nothing there.|
|Ashley Graham||Ashley sets that fear in the doctor's eyes aside, for now. She's focused on his words. Once he's done speaking, she closes her eyes and shakes her head a bit, as if to kick up all the information he just gave her in the hopes it'll settle in some more sensical way. "Wait, butchered? What do you mean? The explosion in the mountains, that NSA lab or whatever the heck it was? Someone was butchered?" She looks between Markus and Trixie and back again. "What does all that mean?"|
|Markus Berger||"Umbrella, experiments with viruses, Umbrella security and US special forces shooting each other... and a lot of infected tearing other people to shreds. I have said enough." With those words barely spoken by Markus he abruptly rushes past the two at a swift walking pace towards the exit, likely hoping that the cryptic things he has said will hopefully make enough of an impression while he... is now preferably somewhere else.|
|Trixie||"Wait, is /that/ what that explosion was? Ohmigawd... that's just... oh, my..." Trixie whispers, her eyes widening and her hands coming to her face in horror. "I can't handle this..." At Ashley's questions, she adds, "We all knew there was /some/ kind of secret facility up there in the mountains, but nobody knew what it was, or what it was for. No wonder this thing is so nasty. It's some kind of experiment that's gotten out somehow, or something like. Doctor, we've... Doctor?"
She looks around to find him rushing toward the exit. She starts to rush after him, but a moment's thought stays her rush before it really starts. Looking at Ashley with wide eyes, she whispers, "I just figured out how screwed we are... that's why you've got to get out of this city. There's probably no cure for this anymore, if there ever was."
|Ashley Graham||"Hey!" Ashley calls to the doctor, but by then he's already gone. "He was really spooked..." she notes, turning her attention back to Trixie. For her own part, Ashley's eyes are also wide, her face drained of any possible color that she might have had previously, which wasn't much. She looks like death now. Beautiful death, but death. "I mean, I knew about it when I came to school. I bet the Secretary of Defense a dollar it was an NSA listening post." Well, she clearly lost that particular bet. After a moment, her eyes refocus on Trixie and realization to her words trickles across the first-daughter's face. Her hands reach out to try and grasp Trixie's, either offering comfort or seeking it. "If they were researching a virus they were likely researching the cure for it. Maybe they thought they'd contained it, and no one's reporting up the chain that it's not contained. It might still be alright." But she still looks like Beautiful Death (tm). "There's no way out, with the bridges flooded," Ashley reminds Trixie. "And if they try to extradite me with a helicopter or anything, it might cause a panic." She swallows, hard. Oh dear. "I think I need to sit down, if that's alright...."|
|Trixie||Trixie is just as pale as Ashley. She abruptly hugs the young woman tightly, and soothingly, or so she hopes. "I'm not counting on it," she says, keeping her voice low. "That lab's history now, and whatever was in there is likely also gone. That poor boy that got mauled last night is a goner for sure, and so's his friend's father. Much as it hurts me to say it, there's no point in me staying here anymore. This hospital might as well be a mausoleum."
After a long, long few moments, hoping that the pale girl is calmed a little, she draws back a little, to look into her eyes. "We've got to be realistic, Ashley. Unless we chance across a cure, we're better off working on saving the healthy people who are still alive, whle we still have a chance to save anyone at all. Unless something changes for the better very soon, that's absolutely all we can do."
|Ashley Graham||Ashley doesn't seem to mind the hug, and she returns the gesture in kind, giving the officer a little squeeze. She only speaks once she's stepped back. "I'll call Father now," she says softly, looking down for a moment. When she lifts her face to Trixie, she looks like she might cry for a moment, but then that moment passes and she holds it together. "Are we sure we aren't over-reacting, though? I mean it just seems so impossible. A lab-borne virus has been left to run rampant in the streets of an American city. That's just insane, that doesn't happen." The first stage of grief: denial.|
|Trixie||"It /shouldn't/ happen... but it totally /is/ happening, Ashley. I can't even count how many people are already dead or dying, and a lot more will die unless something's done," Trixie replies, her eyes distant and old, resting her hands on the girl's shoulders gently. "Right now, you're the only one who can do anything that will matter. The rest of us are just running in place until something changes. I'll get you somewhere with a phone or whatever you need to contact your father. If you need any more help after that, I'll be glad to give it to you. But we need to get the ball rolling, now."|
|Ashley Graham||No pressure, right? Ashley sort of blinks in the face of this particular burden. "Alright," she finally agrees. "And I mean, if it's not as big of a deal as all that, he'll know too. I suppose it is better safe than sorry." She takes a long breath and lets it out slowly. Then she digs a slender hand into her handbag and comes out with her cell phone. "Wait, no, not that one..." she mutters to herself, digging further until a BlackBerry comes out. "I'll ... go call him and have the detail take me back to the dorms. Father's probably going to insist on an evacuation procedure pretty quickly after that." She pauses, looking fearful and concerned. "What about you, what are you going to do?"|
|Trixie||"Nice phone," Trixie observes wryly as the BlackBerry is produced. Somehow she can pull this off without it sounding the least bit mean. "Unless you need me for anything else, I should return to headquarters. I've got some people to talk to, so that maybe we can get some more people out before things come crashing down or whatever. Take care of yourself, Ashley. And don't be a hero any more than you have to. Just make sure you and your friends stay safe."|
|Ashley Graham||"Federal government has a contract with BlackBerry still, thing's not set to expire for like three years," Ashley notes, more out of conversational habit than any particular interest. She turns the phone in the palm of her hand nervously, but she nods once more. "You too. About being careful and everything else." The blonde looks around the crowded ER with the sickening realization that many of these people will, likely, die. She looks back to Trixie. "I'd better get going." And with that she turns, making her way rather quickly toward the exit. Not quite jogging, but not far from.
Who knows when, or if, they'll meet again.