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69 The Last Day in the Mall

 Mark started to look around the car and check everything. The car was surely customized for luxury. The car was 290 inches in length and 80 inches in width. The driver's area and the passenger area were conjoined making either area accessible from both sides.

The passenger seats were lined along the sides of the vehicle. The chairs were more of a living room sofa than a normal car seat. At the back, there was an entertainment system and a compact bar where wine glasses were neatly hanging from the rack. There was also a small refrigerator that was as tall as the compact bar.

The entertainment system consisted of a large monitor and several large speakers what were fixed on the upper back side of the vehicle. Behind the bar and refrigerator which was the area under the entertainment system, there was a space that could be used for storage. Looking at the back of the driver's seat, there was a small cabinet and mounted on top of the cabinet was a touch screen device.

Mark started checking the driver seat. He tried to start the car and it smoothly started. He immediately stopped it as the sudden start of the vehicle seemed to have caught the attention of the survivors resting on the other side of the east wing.

Looking at the gauges, he saw the fuel was only half full. If he remembered correctly, the fuel capacity of this car model was around a hundred liters of diesel. He did not remember how far that amount of fuel would go so it was better for them to stock up on fuel if they could.

Checking the GPS system, it was kind of useless now. It required a cellular network which was not working anymore. It could also work with a wireless internet connection but there was not a single one available right now and he was unable to check it.

He then looked back at the passenger area. Mei was checking the contents of the refrigerator. From his side, he could see several expensive wine bottles inside. He was not an alcohol drinker and was not interested in being one and as such, he did not recognize any of the brands indicated at the labels.

When he looked at Abbygale, she was also rummaging on the cabinet just behind him. When he saw the contents of the cabinet, he immediately jumped over towards the little girl. He pushed the cabinet close and picked up Abbygale bringing her away,

"Gege, is something wrong?"

Mei noticed the strange behavior Mark displayed and asked.

"Mei'er, take Gale and wait outside."

Mark did not answer her question and just requested for the two girls to wait outside of the vehicle. Abbygale looked confused as she was suddenly lifted up but did not resist while Mei obediently brought the little girl with her.

The confused girls just stared at the car as Mark closed the door on them.

Inside the vehicle, Mark opened the cabinet once more. The contents of the cabinet were toys. However, not the kind of toys that was meant for children. Pulling the cabinet below open, there was a small box where several foil packs were lined up neatly. The traces of circle shaped rings can be seen on the surface of the foil packs indicating what the contents were. Beside it was another box containing capsules of an unlabeled medicine and tablets on a circular shaped blister pack.

Mark could now guess the exact purpose of that fat man, for him to own a vehicle designed like this. To think that that hateful fat guy was a womanizer. He was sure that it was the power of money. Though not all, many women were attracted to rich men no matter how they looked like or their age was as long as they had a lot of money.

He continued to scour the whole vehicle. The cabinets under the seats, the storage area and the compartments above the passenger seats, even the small compartments on the driver's area were not spared. Mark also turned on the entertainment system using the touch screen on the cabinet behind the driver's seat and browsed the contents of the database where he also found numerous premium "research material".

Mark proceeded to delete all the "research material", packed up all the "toys" into a bag he found in the cargo area and went out of the vehicle while he decided to keep the contraceptives on the lower cabinet. It was of course, not for his use but for his friends. Some of them were already married and will surely bring their spouse with them. Who knows what they would decide to do when no one was around.

When he went out, Odelina had already returned along with several people. Bernard and James was among the people she brought and they were carrying various tools.

They all looked at Mark with confusion when he went out and also glanced at the bag he was carrying.

"Master, what is that?"

Odelina asked which made the employees look at her. They still had not gotten over hearing someone actually call another person as "Master". It really sounded foreign to them. And even stranger that she popped out of nowhere calling Mark "Master".

To her question, Mark only gave one word as his answer.

"Garbage."

Mark then looked around trying to remember where he had seen a garbage bin around and saw it near the entrance of the East Wing part of the basement parking.

Without saying anything, he went through the group towards the garbage bin and dumped the whole bag into it. After returning, he told the rest to start with the modifications.

Actually, Mark was confused as to why these people were eager to help him but he then learned that it was their way of thanking him. Even if he looked like a merciless and unsociable person to them, he was actually the person who did the most which led them to this point. Not mentioning securing the TechZone, he also went to find medicine for a sick child. There was also the event last night where led the plan to lure the infected away and he ended up half dead to stall time for the military to come in.

***

Day 2 - 4:59 AM - City Mall Bacoor, Basement Parking, East Wing

It took them almost the whole day to plan the suitable modifications and refitted several parts of the vehicle. They also went far and painted the new installations black.

Everyone stood in front of the car they worked hard to make.

The front bumper was installed with a V-shaped ram slightly wider than the actual width of the vehicle. It was necessary as the vehicle was too big. The ram could help the vehicle push other cars to the side in one go opening a path without needing to stop.

The windows were covered with grid shaped metal railings. On the right side of the car, the railings covering the windows were made retractable using springs and could be pushed backwards when the door was opened.

On the wheels, the outer part was covered with a circular metal cover almost the size of the wheels which was connected to the sides of the car and could be detached and attached anytime needed. The cover was slightly shorter having a good amount of allowance to make sure that the cover would not hit speed bumps on the road.

As Mark was concerned for the electric supply of the car that was needed to make its features fully functional, they went further and installed several solar panels on the top of the vehicle and was also covered with grid shaped railings.

They had no trouble finding the materials they needed as the warehouse was fully accessible for them.

While they were working, the survivors and soldiers around became interested and watched the whole process and were amazed when they saw the result. Unfortunately, this was not their car at all.

As for the interior, there was not much to change. He just added a small kitchen cabinet containing plates and glasses at the back beside the refrigerator and few appliances like a small rice cooker, an electric stove and an electric thermos. He actually wanted a microwave but he could not find a compact one in the warehouse.

It was now time for the test drive.

Mark went on the driver's seat while Odelina took the seat beside him under the envious stares of Mei and Abbygale. It was decided since she was the only person that could drive in their group except Mark. Because of that, the two unwillingly scrambled for the nearest seat behind Mark.

Seeing the antics of the two, Mark frowned.

"If you two don't behave, I will kick you two out of the car."

And with that, the two finally stopped and sat quietly.

Under the gazes of the people outside the vehicle, it moved. Driving across Basement Parking, the East Wing, to the Central and returning to the initial spot.

Mark had a few errors driving where he was reprimanded by Odelina. Still, he successfully finished the round.

"Master, you should practice some more."

"It's just minor errors."

"Mistaking the brake for the gas was not a minor error."

"I still finished the lap without accidents though. And this car was way lighter than the car I drove before so it was easier to drive."

"What car did you drive before?"

"A Passenger jeepney."

"And when was that?"

"Four years ago."

Odelina glared at him and sighed.

"When we leave, I'll be the one to drive. Is that fine Master?"

Mark nodded. After all, that was one less trouble for him.

After getting out, Mark thanked the employees for their help and all of them decided to celebrate. The military was done packing the supply they was going to carry and the other stuff left was now free for everyone to take. They took some cold drinks and delicious food and went to party.

The other survivors were also allowed to participate. Even if they tried to not make loud noises, it was a fun occasion to the survivors who felt nothing but fear as the apocalypse ensued.

Reyah and Sariya also joined in. It seemed that Sariya was all better now and to say, she became way stronger than your average four year old.

It was also the first time Mark saw Odelina's children. While the three happily spent the time of the party, Mark could detect the cautiousness the two children had towards their mother. It seemed that what happened yesterday left a crack in their relationship. Odelina also seemed to notice it as he had a sad look on face at times she looked at her children.

Ange and Paula was also there. Even though they were glancing at Mark's direction every now and then, they did not manage to get the courage they needed to approach him.

Mark on the other hand spent the time on a far corner away from the crowd. Even though the atmosphere was festive, he was not comfortable participating in a gathering of large amount of people. Of course, Mei and Abbygale stayed beside him.

They all went to celebrate this time for two reasons. First, it might be the last time to see Mark and his group. Another was because it was the last day they will spend in this mall. It was already confirmed that the rescue squads were already on the way and will arrive in a few hours.

Some of the soldiers also joined in for the fun. Many people wanted to drink alcohol but they persevered. They were still not in the right time for them to pass out drunk. Maybe, they could do it after arriving at the Evacuation Zone.