© Copyright 2009 - Darkraptor1 - Used by permission
Storycodes: FM+/m; isolation; rubber; wrap; cocoon; bag; encase; entomb; storage; reluct; X
Everything was black.
The voice…it wasn't familiar…it wasn't someone Jerry could recall hearing before.
“Jerry, are you awake?”
It took several moments of blinking before the darkness faded, normal vision taking its place. That was wrong…it shouldn't have taken this long. Even on his worst mornings, Jerry couldn't recall feeling this wrong. Something didn't feel right, out of place…like something didn't belong.
It only took a second for him to realize that something was definitely wrong. He wasn't in his bedroom, the one he had slept in for years. The room….this room he was in was made of what looked like clear glass mingled with white plastic, almost like a hospital room.
That scared him. Waking up in a hospital room with no idea how he got there couldn't be good.
“Jerry, over here.”
A glance at one of the walls showed a woman on the other side, wearing a dark business suit with a pair of sunglasses to match. She was talking into a microphone.
“Are you awake yet?”
Jerry scoffed. That should have been obvious. “Who are you?”
“Are you in any pain? Feeling sick, uneasy, nervous?”
"Should I be?" Jerry asked cautiously.
The woman at the microphone down and whispered something to two men standing next to her…men, Jerry noticed, who were wearing hazmat suits.
“Who are you?” He asked again, his fear rising ever so slowly.
“My name is Elaine, and I'm with the government. You're safe. Nothing or no one in here is going to hurt you.”
Lifting the sheets on the bed up, Jerry saw that he was in standard hospital clothes, several sensors taped to his chest.
“You mind telling me where I am?”
“You are in a quarantine zone of a military hospital, five stories underground.”
Jerry wasn’t one to panic easily, but that piece of information almost caused a panic attack. It was only with great determination and focus that he was able to steady his breathing and not freak out.
“Can you please tell me what I’m doing here?” He asked calmly, taking deep breaths.
“What’s the last thing you remember?”
“What’s the last thing you remember?”
“Are there any gaps in your memory?”
Why would there be? His memory was excellent for someone his age. No problems at all, that's what his medical records showed. Why, he should be able to remember…
Jerry frowned. Something was wrong. He suddenly found that his memory of the past few days was a blank spot, a blackness that provided no information. In fact, he couldn’t even remember the last few hours, or the last thing that happened before he had fallen asleep.
He looked around, searching for a clock or a calendar. “What time is it? And for that matter, what day is it?”
“It’s Sunday the 15th“
The 15th?! But that was impossible! The last day he remembered was the 10th. He had gone in to take a tour of a lab that day and then… that was all he remembered.
Suddenly feeling a horrible queasy sensation, Jerry turned to the lady outside the glass. “What’s going on?”
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out Jerry. You don’t have any memory of the last five days? No fragments, scraps or things that seem out of place?”
Elaine sighed. Turning, the microphone away, she leaned over to talk into a cell phone. “No, he doesn’t remember anything. At least, he says so, but he doesn’t seem to be lying. Vitals confirm that.”
“Who are you talking to?” Jerry demanded, annoyed at being treated like an object.
Elaine looked up at him. "My superiors."
"Yes. I'm afraid to say that you're a person of great interest at the moment, but not in a good way."
All the secrecy and subtle dodging of truth was starting to infuriate Jerry.
"Will you cut the crap and tell me what's going on?!"
Elaine sighed, closed her cell phone. "Four days ago, there was an accident at Green River national labs. There was an explosion, and several gases were released. Unfortunately, most of the workers, lab personnel, and guests were exposed to the gas… including a deadly virus."
Jerry didn't like the way this was going. "Virus?"
"Yes. We don't know how yet, but the virus managed to escape its container and spread through the circulation system of the building." Elaine sighed. "It wasn't long before everyone in the building was infected. When we arrived, only a few were still alive."
Jerry was deathly quiet as his mind raced, suddenly realizing what was going on.
"I... I was one of them, wasn't I?"
"Well… I guess that explains the sealed room."
"You were the only person still alive. But the virus is still inside you, circulating through your system."
"What exactly does this virus do?"
For a moment Elaine seemed unsure if she was going to speak or not. She leaned over to the hazmat personnel and talked to them in quiet whispers. Then she turned back to Jerry.
"Normally the virus attacks the victims from the inside out. But in your case, the virus isn't attacking your body. For some reason it's circulating, multiplying by the hour."
"The virus is replicating itself at an alarming rate, faster then anything we've ever seen before. It's similar to cancer, only much faster."
Elaine kept talking, but Jerry wasn't listening. His fearful brain was starting to think, putting two and two together. The sealed room. The agents in hazmat suits. Even Elaine's tone of voice suggested that there was something more sinister at work that they weren't telling him about.
"Pardon me for interrupting," he said, "But what does all this mean? You people can cure it, right?"
A moment of silence.
“For now, you have to stay under quarantine. No contact with anyone else, no exposure to the general public. We can’t let this virus spread, lest it cause an epidemic.”
Jerry was very quiet as he spoke. “And how long will that last?”
“Until you’re cured.”
Jerry couldn't really accept what he had just heard. On a logical level, he knew fully well what Elaine had said and the implications of her words. But on an emotional level, he was numb.
As he looked over the room, the thought of spending his immediate future in this bare room was not a happy one.
“So I'm going to be staying here, right?” He asked Elaine. “Because this doesn’t really look all that comfortable.”
Surprisingly, Elaine shook her head. “No, you won’t be.”
It sounded like she was hiding something… or knew something that she didn’t want to share.
“Something in your voice tells me something’s wrong.” Jerry said.
Elaine didn’t answer. She was clearly uncomfortable.
“I’m not sure what you’re going to like where you're staying.” When Jerry didn’t answer, she continued. “I’d like you to see something Jerry.” Reaching into the chest pocket of her suit, she pulled out what looked like a black tissue paper. She placed it into a small container, which was then put inside a tiny airlock and pushed inside the room.
Getting out of the bed, Jerry walked over to the airlock, though he was startled to find that he felt quite weak. Reaching it, he took the tissue, though from close up, it didn’t look like tissue paper. It looked more like a piece of very slick, very shiny rubber.
“What is this?”
“It’s a new material our labs have been working on. It looks and feels like rubber, but it’s actually a very strong membrane that can filter out all manner of chemicals and viruses, ensuring that only air can come through. It’s even water proof.”
Jerry worked the material through his fingers. “Why are you telling me this?”
“Because you’ll need to wear it.”
“What? This little thing?”
Elaine shook her head. “No. This”
Reaching down, she held up what looked like a body glove constructed out of the rubbery material Jerry was holding. It shone brilliantly, its black surface reflecting the lights in the hallway like a mirror. She put it inside a small airlock, which promptly opened on Jerry’s side.
He picked it up. The suit was incredibly slick to the touch, almost like it was wet, even though no moisture was present. It was so shiny, Jerry could see his own reflection in it.
He couldn't help but snicker at how absurd this sounded. “Is this some kind of joke?”
“No.” Elaine said, her voice quiet. “It is not a joke.”
The joking attitude went away. “So… I’m supposed to wear that?"
"All the time?”
“You can’t be serious.”
“As long as you wear the suit, there’s no chance of the virus escaping. Nor will there be a chance of you being infected with something else.”
“Thi… this is crazy! I can't wear this all the time! You know I'm going to have to take it off to pee.”
Elaine shook her head. “You won’t have to.”
“What do you mean I don't have to?! You have got to be joking!”
“Jerry, you need to wear this. It’s for your own safety and ours as well. Please, put it on. I don’t want to tranquilize you and have my men put you in it against your consent.”
Jerry’s eyes narrowed. “I see… this is a kidnapping now, isn’t it?”
Elaine groaned in frustration, shook her head. “It is not a kidnapping. We are doing this for your own safety, and for ours. I don’t like locking you up Jerry, but you’re under quarantine. We just can’t have you running around in the streets. We have to take the necessary precautions to make sure that…”
“Cut the crap, okay?!” Jerry snapped. “How long am I going to stay in here? How long does it take for this virus to die out?”
Elaine was silent for a moment.
“It doesn’t die out.” She said. “At least, not from what we can tell.”
Jerry’s anger turned to fear. “What does that mean?”
If Elaine’s silence was awkward before, it was nothing to her silence now. “It means… that we don’t know if we’ll be able to cure it, or remove it from your body.”
Jerry was silent.
“The best we can do now,” Elaine continued. “Is to freeze it. Halt its advance and keep it from spreading. That means we have to place you in suspended animation. You’ll be put into a medically induced coma so your body will slow down. All your internal systems essentially come to a halt, and with it, the spread of the virus. When we find a method to cure you, we revive you, kill the virus, and you’re good to go.”
Jerry only shook his head in stunned disbelief.
“We have our best scientists working on it," Elaine continued. "Considering how good they are, they should be able to come up with something fairly quickly.”
“But… what about my family? What about my job, my life?”
“Your family will be notified, as will your employers and friends. But we have to do this Jerry. There’s no other choice. I’m sorry, and if we could do this any other way, we would.”
Jerry was silent. For a few minutes he said nothing, did nothing but stare into space, then look at the suit in his hands.
“If you want, we can give you something to put you to sleep, then we can handle everything.”
Jerry shook his head. “No… but I don’t have much of a choice, do I?”
Elaine shook her head.
So that was it. One way or another, he was going in. The only question was if he was going to do it himself, or if others were going to do it against his will.
Out of the corner of his vision, Jerry saw the hazmat agents waiting.
Two unappealing choices. He sighed.
Putting the suit on the bed, Jerry quickly disrobed. He knew that he was being watched by both human eyes and cameras, but at the moment he didn’t really care. He just wanted to get this over with before the reality of what was happening hit him.
Naked, he took the rubber suit and stepped into it, began to pull it up and over his feet and legs. Though thick, the material was surprisingly slick as it went over his skin. It was cold at first, but it slowly began to warm up after a few seconds.
Jerry hoped that the suit wasn’t going to reach a point where it was uncomfortably warm. If he was going to wear this for a while, then he hoped it wouldn’t become a burden.
Once his legs were covered, the rubber went up and around his groin, then his waist. When it reached his shoulders, Jerry took hold of the sleeves and slipped his arms in. A few twists, shakes, and he was essentially done, the last task being reaching behind his back and taking hold of the zipper, bringing it down to his crotch, where the other zipper was pulled down over his groin.
His head was still uncovered, but now Jerry looked like someone whose skin had been replaced by black rubber.
From outside the room, Elaine nodded. “How do you feel?”
A few stretches and twists revealed the suit to be surprisingly tight and firm around his body. It gripped his skin tightly, refusing to give. Yet it was surprisingly comfortable and pleasantly warm. Despite the circumstances he was in, Jerry couldn’t help but feel slightly aroused.
“So what now? Do I take some pills or something?”
Jerry’s gut twisted. “Don’t tell me I have to wear something else.”
“I’m afraid so.”
Something black and shiny was slipped in through the airlock, bigger and bulkier then the suit.
Walking over (rubber covered feet squeaking on the floor), Jerry picked up the object, surprised at what he found. It was a gas mask, heavy duty too. The rubber on it was even thicker then on the suit he was wearing, and it was designed to completely cover the wearer’s head, a collar attached at the neck to completely close it.
“You’re telling me that I have to wear this mask too?”
Elaine nodded. “I’m afraid so.”
Jerry glanced around. “Did I pass out and get carried onto a kink film shoot or something? Because this seems really fishy.”
“I told you Jerry, we need to put as many barriers between the virus and the outside world as we can. Right now, we don’t know if you’re breathing it out. We need to take every precaution necessary.”
“This still seems really fishy.”
“Jerry, please put on the mask.”
It still seemed stupid, but Jerry could see other people beyond the tinted windows. They were like Elaine, dressed in those dark suits that government types wore, but they were bigger and more numerous, along with several new agents in hazmat suits. If this really was a practical joke, then the people taking part were dong their utmost to make it seem real.
Yet, deep down inside… Jerry’s gut told him that it wasn’t a joke.
Sighing, realizing that there was very little he could do, Jerry moved to put the gasmask on.
It was halfway to his head when he suddenly felt something in his gut. It was small at first, barely noticeable. But after a few seconds the feeling turned into pain that spread through his gut, to his arms and legs and his head.
The gasmask fell to the floor as Jerry griped the edge of the airlock to steady himself.
He wasn’t able to answer at first. It took several moments before the pain subsided enough for him to speak.
“I’m fine.” He said, sweating. “Just some pain in my stomach.” Then, after a moment, he added, “That’s not good is it?”
Elaine shook her head. “No. That means the virus is moving even faster then we thought. You need to hurry.”
Reaching down, Jerry retrieved the gasmask. “Yeah. No pressure.”
Holding it up, he slowly put it on, lowering it onto his head, the thick rubber gripping his hair.
It took a few moments, but the gasmask fit into place, the zippers were pulled down, and the collar was buckled down as tight as it could go while remaining comfortable, the mask completely enclosing Jerry’s head, leaving nothing exposed, no skin visible save his eyes, still visible behind the mask’s eyepieces.
It was surreal, being inside the mask, having his vision reduced to two tiny holes. Smelling the thick, pungent rubber. Hearing the hiss of the respirator as it filtered each breath he took.
Jerry felt like a captured alien placed under quarantine.
The main door into the room slid open, allowing several hazmat agents entry, as well as Elaine, now dressed in her own bio hazard suit.
“Well done Jerry.” She said as she walked up, though keeping her distance from him.
Her voice was heavily muffled through the rubber, though Jerry could still make it out. “So am I done yet?”
“I’m afraid not.”
“For fuck’s sake, what do I have to wear now?!”
One of the hazmat agents walked up, carrying a heavy box filled with yet more black rubber. But rather then being one solid piece, it seemed to be almost like a long, rubber snake coiled up inside.
“This is another finding from the lab,” Elaine said. “That was designed for battlefield medical personal.” Reaching down, she took out one of the coils, held it up, revealing it to look like a long, rubber bandage an inch thick. “It’s a special kind of bandage made from the same material as your suit, only it sticks to itself like glue, allowing only air in and out. It’s never been field tested, but I’m afraid we have to try it out on you.”
“Me?” Jerry shook his head. “But I’m not injured! I don’t need any damn bandages!”
“Jerry, we need to put everything we can between the virus and the outside world. Your suit and mask is one layer, but we need another one. If we took these bandages and covered you completely, it would add another layer of protection.”
If Jerry had thought that these people were crazy before, this all but confirmed that idea.
“You’re insane!” He said. “You want to wrap me up as a mummy?! Well fuck that! I’m not doing it! I’m not!”
The hazmat agents flinched, a few reaching for what looked like tranquilizer guns. But Elaine stood her ground.
“Robert, listen to me. Listen to my voice. You’re very sick. If we don’t do everything we can to help you, then you will die. Or worse, this disease will spread and infect others, possibly even the entire world. If we act now, we can stop that. I know it’s not comfortable for you, but we need to do it. Please, let us help you.”
Eyes spinning, Robert looked at the hazmat agents, at the agents outside the room, and all the guns they were carrying. Fighting them or trying to escape would be a loosing proposition, and be doomed to failure. Not to mention the fact that these people were much less likely to treat him well if he did run.
No matter what he did, there was no way he was getting out of here.
Jerry didn’t explicitly give permission for the agents to advance, but he did nothing to stop them as they cautiously walked up, each carrying rubber wrappings. Gritting his teeth inside the mask, Jerry stayed still as his arms were placed at his side and tied in place with the straps.
A quick tug showed that while the wrappings were flexible, they weren’t going to give.
Two agents knelt in front of Jerry and tied the end of a strap around his left ankle, followed by gently pushing his legs together, whereupon they started to wrap his legs together, the thick rubber clinging to his body glove.
Up and up they went, covering him and winding the straps around his body. The agents worked fast, almost too fast, just barely enough to make sure each strap was tight and well applied. If anything, they seemed afraid of doing this, though Jerry couldn't fathom why. To their credit, the agents tried to be as gentle as they could, attempting to avoid creating pressure points around Jerry.
On his end, Jerry stood still and didn't move as they wrapped him up, the rubber going over his waist, then up and around his chest, then finally stopping around his collar.
When they were done, Jerry looked down. His body was completely covered in shiny black rubber that clung tightly to him, so tightly in fact, that it felt like it was bonding to him. Flexing his body and limbs was possible, but movement, outside of hopping, was impossible. An annoyance, but with the way the straps had bound together, it was actually quite a sight to see. A real life rubber mummy, ready to be encased and enclosed within a coffin.
Elaine walked up, inspecting the wrappings while two agents held Jerry up, their firm hands ensuring that he didn't fall. A minute passed before she stood, looking satisfied.
"It's good." She said. "But we need to do one more layer."
Jerry groaned, but otherwise stayed silent as the agents came back and began to wrap him up again.
The wrappings took less time, and in fifteen minutes Jerry was bound and encased within three layers of black rubber, almost a full inch that made it difficult to even flex. The hands still held him tightly, a relief, as it was difficult staying on his feet. He was starting to sweat slightly though…it was getting warm inside his cocoon.
It didn't help when the agents took clear glue and covered the straps in it, adding a nice shine, but also ensuring that the straps were indeed air tight, trapping more body heat and making the barrier truly inescapable.
Jerry knew it was useless trying to fight at this point, or even to struggle. He was in completely over his head, and nothing he could do would save him from his fate. His choices… his only choice really… was to surrender and allow the agents to take control of him, and trust that they wouldn't harm him.
Elaine walked up. “Jerry, can you hear me?”
“We’re almost done. I’m sorry about the wrappings, but it had to be done. As I said, we had to put every barrier we can put on you to prevent the virus from escaping. There's now almost no chance of the virus escaping now."
That brought a small measure of comfort to Jerry. At least the damn thing was being contained and all this was actually doing some good.
“There’s two steps left Jerry, but they won’t take long. We’ll need to put you inside a body bag to add one final layer, and then we’ll put you into the coma I talked to you earlier about.”
It wasn't surprising that the fact that yet another layer of restraint made Jerry upset. But unlike the past revelations, he didn't struggle or fight this time. Not only was it useless, considering he couldn't move his arms or legs, but he just didn't have the heart for it.
The body bag, constructed out of thick neoprene like material, was brought over and put on the ground.
"Can you move?"
Looking down at the entrance to the bag, Jerry quickly figured out what she was talking about. He managed to hop over and land on top of the bag, allowing the agents to reach down and pull it up around his body. While giving enough room for the rubber straps, it was a tight fit, even more so when it was fully on his body and zipped up, glue applied over the zipper, all the way up to his collar. Belts and straps were then put around the bag and tightened down, further locking Jerry inside and ensuring his inescapable imprisonment.
While Jerry looked down and silently pondered his latest restraint, Elaine turned to the other agents. "Bring the tube in."
Nodding, the other agents left, leaving only two in the room, standing at the entrance to the chamber. The two agents holding Jerry up slowly lowered him down, carefully laying him on the floor. When that was done, they too left the room.
The silence was almost deafening, save for the hum of overhead air conditioners, and the soft hiss of Jerry's gasmask.
"Jerry," Elaine said. "You're probably thinking we're insane for putting you in all this. And you have every right to believe that. And while we do want to contain the virus… I think it's time I told you another reason why we have so many layers."
Inside the gasmask, Jerry looked up at her, eyes focused on Elaine's face, but he said nothing.
“I need to tell you exactly what the virus does… it works by slowly eating away at the adrenal cortex in the victim’s brain, as well as the strength centers. In time, those who aren’t killed by the virus outright gain superhuman strength, but they don’t have the means or the will to control it. They are worked into a physical frenzy until they literally exhaust themselves to death. They're completely uncontrollable, which is why we've put all these restraints around you… in case you suddenly changed. That's why we were worried when you had that pain in your gut earlier… that's a sure sign that it’s advancing much faster then we originally thought.”
Jerry said nothing.
Where there should have been words, there was only silence. The sting of this revelation was hard to bear, perhaps one of the hardest to bear, the reason for all the restraints… and the fact that he could possibly die.
The hazmat agents returned, wheeling a tall, man sized tube into the room. Any chance for Elaine and Jerry to talk was taken away as the hazmat agents picked Jerry up and carried him over. He didn't resist as an air hose was connected to his gasmask, or as he was hoisted up and lowered into the tube.
Inside, it was a very tight fit, with only two inches or so between the bag and the tube, giving Jerry no room to squat or sit, giving him enough room only to stand in his bag.
Above him, the tubes lid was being slid into place, Jerry's air hose pulled through as it was sealed in place, locking Jerry inside.
He breathed deeply, trying to stay calm, even as he had the horrible feeling that he was a butterfly about to be put into storage.
No sooner had the thought passed then Jerry heard a loud schulucking sound. A thick, green liquid suddenly landed on the floor of the tube, right on the feet of his body bag. He looked down, saw that it was like a thick gel.
More of the liquid suddenly began to pour into the tube, quickly beginning to fill Jerry's narrow prison. Looking down on it, he watched as it went up over the bag's feet, then up his legs, quickly reaching his knees, then mid-calf. Even through the rubber that sealed his body away, Jerry could feel the bone chilling cold. If it were not for the rubber and neoprene, his skin would have been frozen solid. It was a very unpleasant feeling, and he shivered as much as the bindings would allow him.
The gel continued upwards, soon going over Jerry's waist, then up and over his chest. Jerry was completely helpless and unable to do anything to stop the liquid. He could do nothing, only watch and wait for this fate to be played out.
Finally, the gel reached his neck… then slowly covered his mask, passing over the eye lenses and turning everything green. It was only a few more feet until it had reached the top of the tube, filling it completely.
Now completely surrounded by the gel, Jerry remained frozen in place for several seconds, afraid to even move, for fear of the gel seeping into his mask. When it seemed that the seals kept it out, he tried to move, only to find that it was like trying to move through molasses.
A few more moments and another, rather unpleasant surprise came as the gel began to harden. Not totally solid, but to the point where it was impossible to move. Breathing was still possible, but otherwise, Jerry might as well have been buried in concrete.
For a few moments nothing happened. And in those moments, Jerry began to fear that something was wrong, that a mistake had been made and that he wasn't going to be knocked out as Elaine had promised, that he would remain inside this tube, awake and helpless, unable to move or even call for help. Had she lied? Was he really a test subject, an experiment of some kind?
He looked through the mask, gel, and tube, trying to see her. Jerry could just make out her form in front of the tube, where she watched him. He couldn't make out her expression, which did nothing to ease his fears.
This was for the best, he told himself. This was to save his life, and to save others from the virus he carried. This entombment was necessary, and it wouldn't be forever. He kept saying it to himself over and over.
There was a hissing sound.
Jerry froze, looked around. He couldn't detect anything, couldn't make out the source of the noise, but he soon realized that the air tasted funny. It didn't take long for him to realize that he was being gassed.
It only took a few moments for the gas to take effect. The fear began to leave as Jerry felt an onslaught of incredible fatigue and sleepiness coming over him, his eyelids growing heavy, almost closing on their own.
It suddenly seemed silly that he had been so afraid. All he had to do was close his eyes and sleep, and everything would be okay. Jerry didn't know that a calming agent had been slipped into the gas, but he didn't care. The tightness and the inability to move suddenly didn't seem all that bad either… in a way, it was like being tucked into bed.
It took thirty seconds for the gas to do its work. Jerry's body finally shut down, his muscles relaxing, limbs and body going limp as the deepest sleep he had ever known closed in.
As his eyes closed, and as the darkness came around him, Jerry's last thought was the hope that this would be over soon…and that a cure awaited when he would get out.
Then the darkness came, and it claimed him.
Elaine nodded. "Good. Hook him up, then move him to storage."
The form inside the tube was still now. The only sign of life was the air slowly coming in and out of the breathing tube, along with the beeping of the heart and breathing monitors.
"Why did you tell him that?" One of the agents asked. "About a cure? You know we don't have any in the works. Hell, we don't know if this thing can be cured."
"It was the least I could do to give him some hope." Elaine said, her voice tinted with sadness, "And besides, we may indeed find a cure some day. But until then, he'll just have to stay in there."
Both watched as the tube was wheeled out, the form entombed within remaining deathly still.
"What about his family?"
"We'll have to tell them." Elaine said.
"The whole truth?"
A nod. "Yes."
"What if they sue us?"
"I had thought of that possibility." Elaine answered. "I'll give them the offer to go into storage with him, so that if he gets out, they do too."
Elaine watched as the tube got into the freight elevator, where the doors closed and started down into the deepest levels of the facility.
"It's the least we can do." She said quietly.
"He could be in there for the rest of his life."
Elaine pulled out a flash drive around her neck. It was a plain silver drive, but on it was all the data known about G-Virus Red. If any cure for the virus was to be found, then it would come from the data on the drive.
She turned and started towards the door.
"Then let's work to make sure that doesn't happen."
Then she went through the door, and was gone.