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62

 4:07 PM - Central Business Park, Pasay City, Research Building

At the far corner south west of the Central Business Park, there was a several story building that was converted into a research laboratory. Here, the elites of research that majorly focused on medicine and microbiology was gathered to research for the possible cure and to research the nature of whatever was causing the outbreak.

In the lounge of the building there was a middle-aged man who was eating with his two young assistants. His name was Isaach Co, a half-Chinese biology professor in the University of the Philippines six years ago. He was known as the crazy professor due to his high immersion on his research back then when he was teaching.

It was six years ago that he was taken in by the government to research a confidential and valuable specimen and thus, he worked under the government until now.

Isaach was about to finish his food when someone he knew entered the building. He smiled and waved towards the visitor.

"Hey! General, aren't you too early? Don't tell me you didn't sleep."

The person who entered was the highest officer in this evacuation area, Gen. Miguel Perez, who was followed by several of his men.

The general ordered the people following him to wait at the entrance and walked towards the professor.

"I already slept for a few hours Prof. Isaach. I think, it's you who did not sleep at all."

"Right! I did not sleep at all! See this?"

The professor pointed at his unfinished food.

"You think this is breakfast? I just had the time to eat dinner!"

He grumbled. But towards his grumble the general just laughed.

"Well then professor, with that all-nighter I'm sure you gathered a lot of information right?"

"Miguel, can we stop it?"

"You started it, Isaach."

The two men laughed as they clasped their right hands and bumped their shoulders.

This showed the close brotherhood between the two. They were highschool classmates who both did their best in their fields and rose to success.

"You want my report right? Just let me finish my food. By the way, these two are my assistants. The young lady is Nia and the young man is Allen."

The professor pointed at his assistants who were sitting at the opposite side of the table. The two assistants bowed their heads slightly in acknowledgement. There was no reason to introduce the general as they already knew who he was.

***

After eating his very late dinner, Prof. Isaach together with his assistants brought Gen. Miguel towards his office.

"Nia, get the reports in the other room. Allen, turn on the monitors."

As they stepped into the office, the General saw several flat screen monitors hung on the wall beside the door, a large office desk and several cabinets filled with cluttered files and books. These were Prof. Isaach insisted on bringing away from his private laboratory.

The two assistants immediately followed the Professor's instructions with high efficiency.

Prof. Isaach then sat on the chair behind the desk and waved at the General to come in. Then, Nia, who went into a door opposite of the office entrance came back holding several file folders and neatly lined the folders on the desk.

"Here are the reports you wanted."

The Professor pointed his open palm towards the folders on the desk.

"Why are the reports separated?"

"Information about the pathogen, infected mutants, human mutants and miscellaneous stuff from left to right."

The general then moved the folders into one stack and put it at the side of the desk. He looked at the Professor and seriously asked.

"Isaach, I want to ask your opinion about what is happening right now."

"You want my opinion?"

He looked back at the general with a skeptical look.

"The earth is doomed!"

He stretched his arms diagonally upwards and yelled.

"Can you elaborate?"

"Can't you just say that you want me to summarize the contents of those folders in front of you?"

Hearing the question that was returned to him, the general nodded.

"Alright, let me explain."

The profession inhaled and exhaled deeply.

"First, we are all infected. Me, you, everyone! Including animals and plants! Though there are no sudden negative side effects to us for now but who knows what will happen in the future."

Before the professor could continue, he was interrupted.

"Wait, wait! You said there are no negative but are you saying that there are positive effects?"

"That's right. The strain that initially infected all of us is not harmful but rather helpful. It is slow but it is changing our bodies into something better. It is slow that no one will realize it in a short while but probably in another month or year, the changes will be noticeable."

The professor reached towards the stack of folders and pulled one folder opening in and pointed and information regarding a six year old boy. Then he pointed at one of the screens where a child playing was shown.

"You did not do anything to this child right?"

The general looked at the Professor in askance.

"You know that other's called me crazy but I'm not a monster, mind you. That child is only there for observation. He is there because that child almost died several hours ago due to a gun shot. The wound was not fatal so he was saved by a surgery. Look at him now. Do you think that a child running lively like that was someone who just undergone surgery.

After the surgery, he was burning with fever and after ten hours, his wounds closed. During the time he was healing, we conducted tests and it showed that the pathogen in his body was actively mending his body and DNA structure.

We tried the same to several of the notorious criminals you brought here to experiment on. Unfortunately, most of them remained normal except for one who was currently healing there."

The professor pointed at the screen where an unconscious bald man was shown.

"By the way, there are a few more children being observed having fevers right now. The analysis showed the same symptoms as the previous boy. The problem is that not all of them received a fatal injury. Some just fell burning with fever for unknown reasons. The pathogen in their bodies is active but we couldn't still find out what is going on with their bodies."

Looking away from the monitor, the general asked.

"If we are all infected, why didn't we turn into those flesh eaters outside?"

"It's because the strain that is inside us is different from the ones inside the bodies for that zombie like infected. I called this as the "Neutral Strain".

The professor flipped over the papers in the folder again and pointed at a picture of clustered micro cells.

"This is the strain inside our body. As you can see, it is neither a virus nor bacteria. Because of this, the research for the cure was stumped. It has some of the properties both bacteria and viruses had and some properties that it didn't have.

Anyway, the "Neutral Strain" in our bodies won't make us turn unless we are bitten."

The professor pointed at the next picture. It also had similar appearance to the first picture but had thick tentacles and was dark colored.

"This is the reason why people turn. I call this the "Agitator Strain". This strain lives on the saliva of the people who turned and if the saliva entered our bodies, we will become one of them. It is due to this strain having a large influence and mutating the "Neutral Strain" to this one that I call the "Unstable Strain" or the "Mutation Strain"."

Prof. Isaach pointed at a picture in the next page. A picture of clustered splatter shaped cells was present.

"This strain is highly unstable that it mutates the body and turning the host. Also, this strain reacts if there is a present catalyst inside or outside the body of the host and mutates into a new strain while mutating the body of the host further."

While the General was seriously listening at what the Professor was saying he took another folder from the stack and flipped it open showing a page with a picture of a mutant man. The mutant man looked normal except for the thin fur covering its arms and legs and his teeth that had changed into fangs.

"This person mutated in front of us all after he was bitten. Before the mutation, we determined that this person was bitten by a dog that was not vaccinated yet. Look at him, doesn't he look like weredog? I tried using a sample of the "Unstable Strain" and mixed it with a sample of Rabies Lyssavirus and the result, the "Unstable Strain" mutated into a different one similar to what we found inside that mutant.

Using that as basis, we tried mixing other things like viruses, bacterium, chemicals and everyday things you can find and each catalyst caused the "Unstable Strain" to mutate into a unique strain using a proper amount of the catalyst. It also showed us that there are endless possibilities that the infected can mutate.

Be prepared that more powerful ones will appear sooner or later."

Prof. Isaach's last sentence placed an unquestionable pressure on the General's shoulders.

"There are different strains but what did you scientists named this pathogen?"

"Isn't it obvious? It is a mutagenic pathogen so for convenience sake, we called it "Mutagen".