Islands - The Epidemic by Patricia Smith

Islands - The Epidemic by Patricia Smith
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Six months into an experiment to prove self-sufficiency is possible at the bottom of the sea, a war breaks out and soon after the five hundred specialists lose contact with the surface. Five volunteers decide to return to the surface in the hope their communication blackout is due to equipment failure and to report back their findings.
Palov Kilchinski stared the length of the room, his eyes fixed on the top of the stairs.

Seconds earlier the whole world had seemed to momentarily jump and, as his senses tingled painfully on high alert, an explosion followed by a rolling roar impacted the twin doors leading into the basement.

Triggered by a sharp shot of adrenaline, his blinkered, tunnelled vision focused on the timber. As the wood visibly billowed, swelling and straining against the lock and hinges, Palov instinctively stepped away – but it did not crack and the frame held.

Fine dust escaped the base as the doors shuddered back into their seating, ballooning down the stairs to amass in a slow moving eddy until a dense shard-filled fog blocked the exit.
Escape was not Palov’s concern; nor were the alarms which warned the building was ablaze, or the screams of survivors from the floor above.

He scanned the basement for structural damage. At the far end of the room two wide cracks had appeared. One snaked down the wall to almost floor level; the other ran the length of the concrete ceiling, splitting the basement in two.

He turned to his colleague. “Check the seals are intact.”

Mikile Brunev – the only other in the building who was privy to the true nature of the facility – crossed to a touch screen on the right of a heavily fortified metal door and studied the readings.

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