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40 Information, Relief and Rescue Departmen

 04:16 PM - Central Business Park, Pasay City, Relief and Rescue Center

In the middle of the Central Business Park, there were a lot of large commercial establishments that was owned by private companies before the outbreak. As there were a lot of people working in the area and the people going to one of the largest malls in the Philippines, the Mall of Asia, the place was lively and the business was booming. But now, there was almost not a single soul in sight in the vicinity of the establishments except for several patrolling soldiers dispatched by the military.

There was a certain building there that was owned by a Telemarketing Company, it was widely known Call Center to many people in the same industry. When the reclaimed area was turned into a massive evacuation zone by the military, the very same building was converted to a service building of the Information, Relief and Rescue Department.

Cubicles where call center agents were using in the previous days to answer calls and inquiries from customers were now occupied by military personnel and volunteers who were in charge of accepting rescue and information inquiries from survivors who were still able to access the internet and calls from landline and private cellular connections.

In one of the cubicles at the corner of the room, a woman in her mid-twenties sat answering a call. She had a dyed brown hair that was tied in a ponytail which complemented her energetic eyes, small nose, thin pink lips and her oval face. She could be described as good looking but still a bit lacking to be called as beautiful generally.

Right now, her eyebrows were twitching as she tried to control her temper as she "calmly" answered the person on the other line of the phone. Her voice raised a bit that it she even gathered the attention of the other volunteers around her.

"Sir! The rescue should arrive as soon as possible so please wait at your current position, don't make loud noise and keep safe. There are other calls that are needed to be accepted so I will end this call."

Fully flared up, she did not wait for the person on the other line to talk anymore. She put down the phone which made a loud clacking sound.

She sighed and pinched her nose bridge as she found the work here being hard to deal with.

She was a call center agent that works in this building before the outbreak.

When the outbreak reached this place, many of her teammates and co-employees fell into panic. Even though she was always a goofy person, she was calm when unexpected things happened. With her taking the leadership over her colleagues, they managed to secure the second floor of the building, but it was not without casualties.

As the building had too many glass walls and windows, they could see what was happening outside. To describe it, it was a nightmare. They saw people eating other people, even worse, a father who literally ate his own daughter.

Many of them could not help but cry. They tried calling for help with their phones but never managed to successfully do so. For her though, she was not scared about what would happen to her, rather, she was thinking of what might happen to her family.

The nightmare did not take too long though. The military came sweeping the place of the man eaters and they were also saved. Medics attended to their issues as there were some of them who were wounded. There, she saw her close friend who was the leader of the medic squad.

She told her friend about her worries about her family and her friend told her to volunteer into the military as they were lacking in manpower. Furthermore, volunteers would get incentives such as their families being prioritized during rescue missions.

With those incentives, she readily agreed and was assigned in this department due to being familiar with the place.

Her family was rescued soon as their house was not far from this place but of course, she could not just ditch this work after achieving her motive.

Still, she could not help but think that her friend pitted her into a stressful job.

"Laura, you seemed to be stressed."

Speaking of the devil, a woman's voice was heard from behind her.

"Just who do you think is the reason huh, Teresa?"

Laura looked at the woman behind her who was wearing military fatigues.

"You should just endure it a little more, your shift would end soon right?"

"I know but these people calling are such stupid fools who think that they are the only people who needed to be rescued."

"You can't blame them. Everyone is in panic after all."

Teresa sighed.

"Anyways, what are you doing here?"

Laura asked while fixing her hair.

"My shift just ended so I figured to check on you."

"I see, so you came to boast about your free time?"

"Is it bad if I want to watch your work?"

"Seriously, you..."

She did not finish her sentence as a chat notification appeared on the computer in front of her.

"There is another one. I just wish that this one wouldn't stress me out."

"Go ahead and answer it."

Laura gave a skeptic glance at her friend before sending message on the chat box.

>> "This is the Information, Relief and Rescue Department, how may I help you?"

<< "I just want to confirm if you guys would be able to send rescue to us."

Laura sighed in relief and looked at her friend who was watching behind her.

"It looked like someone reasonable to talk with."

Her friend said and she could only nod. She had some chat sessions before and all of them are demanding rescue at the first sentence. This was the first time she encountered a calm sounding reply.

>> "Can I ask what should I call you?"

<< "Is it really important?"

Laura's lips twitched as she thought that the person she was talking to now was an eccentric one. However, it was still better that her previous sessions.

>> "It's not that important but I would still want to know how should I address you. A Sir or Ma'am would be fine."

<< "Then, Sir should be good."

>> "Okay Sir, you said that you want to ask for rescue?"

<< "Yes."

>> "Could you tell me where your location is right now? And how many people are needed to be rescued?"

<< "We are at the City Mall Bacoor right now. Please wait for a bit, I'll send someone to count how many people are needed to be rescued."

>> "Yes Sir, it is fine."

Laura raised her eyebrows and looked at her friend again.

"It looked like they managed to secure the mall, or at least a part of it. If he needed to count how many people there are, then they must have joined forces to secure the area."

Then, the reply came.

<<"There are 47 people. 4 are children."

The two women were surprised. That was quite a large number after all. Laura started browsing the rescue distribution on her computer as well as the available forces in charge of rescue operations. Now, it was the most crucial part for Laura.

>> "Sir, I would like to apologize. The number of people in your group is large and the available personnel and transportation on standby aren't enough. We needed to wait for the dispatched rescue squads to return before we can send rescue to your location."

Laura was already prepared to receive rude words from the other side or even curses but then, she was surprised.

<< "Is that so? What is the estimated time it would take?"

The reply remained calm. Since Laura was satisfied with this person's attitude, she decided to be honest.

>> "Sorry Sir, it would be impossible to estimate the time before we can send a rescue. First, the time for the rescue squads to return depends on the danger they could face on the road. There is also a queue for people who were asking for rescue and some of them are needed to be prioritized."

"Do you really have to say all that?"

Teresa reproached her friend for being too honest.

"It's not like I'm not allowed to right?"

"What if he gets dispirited or something?"

"I have a hunch that he won't."

"Are you sure?"

Teresa was skeptic.

"Look."

Laura pointed at the screen.

<< "I understand. Then please send rescue as soon as it is possible."

<< "Also please make it possible within 3 days. Our food stock won't last longer than that."

Laura nodded when she saw the last message while looking at her friend with a smirk on her face.

"He is not unreasonable right? I just wish all the people asking for rescue would be like this."

"You're the one who was being unreasonable. Quick! Reply to his message."

>> "It will be noted. Just please stay away from the infected and stay safe."

<< "Alright thank you. If something unexpected happened, I will try to contact again."

>> "Yes Sir, feel free to contact us. Our department is always on standby."

There was no other reply after as person on the other side went offline.

Laura stretched her arms and back as the session finished. She looked at the time and looked at her friend.

"I still have another half hour before my shift ends. Are you sure you're just going to wait there behind me?"

"Sure!"

"Haah. Alright."

Laura always felt lost when talking to this friend of hers.