Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by kspence92, Dec 27, 2011.
So you are writing a different continuity from Death of A Nation?
He said it was fine.
This is an excellent tl, just binged it and loved it all!
Well, I got an idea in my head because of this TL, so I'm taking kspence up on the post on Page 29 to add our own stuff. I thought I would try my hand at something that addresses at least some of the problems with 28WL. A big caveat that some of the problems simply can't be addressed in full, specifically the premise itself is kind of bonkers compared to a far more sensible, careful reclamation from secured areas. But hopefully by adjusting some events and giving reasoning that might explain some other decisions, it might be able to bring it up from disbelievable to merely improbable.
The Green Zone, or District One, was to be the public face of the United Nations British Reclamation Project. The UNBRP was primarily a NATO mission, in turn primarily a US affair, with support from remaining UK forces who had escaped the island in its final days some months earlier, or who were stationed overseas at the time of the outbreak. So rapid was the sweep of infection that UK forces around the world could not, in the main, be recalled in time to be of use, and most were redirected to Northern Ireland or friendly countries. The District One mission was the major American project, however — UK forces were more interested in a slow, methodical sweep from safe areas such as the Isle of Wight, Anglesey, and assorted Scottish islands which had avoided infection. Nonetheless the propaganda value of reclaiming the desolate capital was obvious, so with PM Brown’s blessing, the Isle of Dogs was secured, cleared of bodies, and made fit for human habitation.
Reclamation and, with it, repatriation of the some millions of British refugees and expats who lingered abroad, was of obvious and enormous utility. The global economy had taken a tremendous beating from the annihilation of one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world. Restoring the UK was therefore not only of great value for sentimental reasons, nor of relieving the pressures of a massive refugee crisis, but it was widely believed that the major investment in rebuilding would help kick-start the economy. Despite advice from some in the CDC and HHS warning that the UK should be quarantined indefinitely, President Bush reluctantly abandoned his plans to launch an invasion of Iraq, devoting America’s vast resources instead to their British friends.
So it was that by mid-November 2002, thousands of repatriated UK citizens were inhabiting the Isle of Dogs, alongside a sizable contingent of US military forces. Power had been restored, as had clean running water. The starved corpses of the infected, along with their victims, were cleaned away, while testing revealed that whilst the corpses teemed with the assorted diseases that typically accompany deaths on such a scale, Human Cortico-Deficiency Virus was inactive and unable to pose an infection risk. Aside from some samples collected during the initial outbreak and kept under the highest biosecurity measures, it was widely said to be extinct, despite the concerns from health agencies who urged caution. This was met with celebration by the public around the world, none moreso than the British in exile, although there remained a strong inclination to ensure security in the face of further outbreaks.
The Green Zone was the prototype for these security measures in a dense urban environment. First, apartment blocks were to be retrofitted with heavy doors at each apartment and on each floor, work only getting underway in earnest when the Second Outbreak began. The thinking was simple; the infected would have a hard time beating down a sufficiently strong door, and even when they did so, breaking into an individual apartment would only gain them a small number of potential additions to their ranks. Thus it was believed that a suitably reinforced building could allow survivors in an outbreak to survive for a long time (Ideally indefinitely) while military forces worked floor by floor and room by room to reclaim a building.
The shortcoming here is, of course, that people do not spend their entire days in their apartment, generally speaking. The US military was handling a lot of the critical work in District One, but the thousands of civilians were not there to be dead weight. There were plenty of tasks which needed to be done, some of it approaching a support role for the military, much of it the more mundane work of everyday life, manning stores, keeping streets clean, assessing buildings and conducting repairs, and so forth. How, then, could an urban environment be secured in light of this? The answer was to establish shelters into which people could flee at a moment’s notice; properly stocked, these could allow dozens or even hundreds of people to take refuge for at least a few days, after which it was believed the outbreak would be under control, or would be out of control, making it a moot point. Discussions were ongoing over whether to ensure these shelters should carry a stock of cyanide capsules, to allow people a peaceful exit should they find themselves stranded in an infection and without supplies.
This was the secure and improving base from which a typical military patrol set out on November 13th to conduct exploration of a sector of London beyond the Green Zone. These patrols were common affairs, as the military needed intel on the surrounding areas if it was to move in and perform cleanup operations. Knowledge of particularly heavy concentrations of corpses, of broken gas or water lines, burned-out buildings, unstable infrastructure, vehicular wrecks, and more, was all vital. It was also hoped that at least some of the artistic and cultural artifacts of London might be recovered, so an eye was out for intact galleries and museums, typically the smaller ones who didn't benefit from major evacuation efforts. When this particular patrol was checking a grocery store and came across a haggard, dirty survivor, it was cause for celebration - a rare light amid a dreary and soul-crushing task. Alice Harris was clearly a traumatized woman and went with the soldiers only when they physically (If gently) guided her. Even so, she was not the first survivor that had been found by US forces, and she was duly brought back to the Green Zone in the patrol’s humvee. Perhaps a dozen others had previously approached the gates or been found on patrol, the lucky few who had managed to hide themselves away with enough supplies, and enough luck, to survive the infection. Emerging when the infected starved to death, these few wandered the barren city scavenging for tinned food, as Alice had been doing.
Andy and Tammy Harris were the only two children in District One, having been brought over as a special favor to their father, Don Harris. Don was the ‘Chief Caretaker’ in the Green Zone, a title which hid the extraordinary degree of freedom he was afforded. As caretaker, Don’s role was to conduct ongoing assessment of structures in and immediately adjoining the zone, to ensure their safety (Most especially against the outbreak of fire), and to aid in refitting buildings with anti-infected measures, such as the abovementioned reinforced doors. That this role was delegated to a civilian caused no small amount of ire from the military, but they were told in no uncertain terms to shut up and play nice, and that the British had to be seen to take a preeminent role in retaking and rebuilding their island.
Andy and Tammy, utterly bored by the absence of either school or diversion, were sitting idly near the entrance, watching the soldiers go about their business. Idly chatting and tossing pebbles, they were surprised to see the early return of the patrol, doubly surprised to see that the patrol was escorting a woman, and barely able to comprehend that said woman looked a lot like their mother, a woman who their father had reported dead months earlier. Before they could call out she was hustled into a medical clinic, but the two children immediately sprinted to find their father. They breathlessly informed him that they had just seen their mother, and he, disbelieving, in turn charged off to the clinic to see for himself.
Holding such a person in a mere clinic seems, now, to be a shocking and shameful lapse in security. Yet prior to the Second Outbreak, no carriers were known to exist. Moreover, they were reasoned to be impossible, not for reasons of biology but logic — anyone who encountered the infected closely enough to catch the infection would be killed, even if they were themselves immune. No carriers had been found during the First Outbreak, none had been discovered since, and the astounding ferocity of both the virus itself and its infectees suggested that no carrier would ever be found, for none existed. Similarly, extremely intensive testing had revealed that only two species other than homo sapiens were susceptible to infection, those being chimpanzees (The original sources of the infection in a Cambridge laboratory) and bonobos. Whilst it was thought theoretically possible that an animal could pass the infection on through, for example, a dog biting an infectee, escaping, and then biting a healthy person, this was considered a remote possibility in the extreme, as well as one rendered moot by the extinction of the virus.
Andy Harris burst into the clinic his wife had been ushered into just a few moments after her arrival. She lay down on a bed as a doctor and nurse were beginning their inspections, but had got no further than a general look at her state of being - dehydrated and suffering from severe mental trauma, and with the legacy of an eye injury of some description - and blood pressure when he arrived. Crying out that it was his wife, the medical staff agreed to give him a moment alone, but sternly informed him they would return very soon to conduct the needed tests. As their brief tests showed no indication of severe infection (In this case thinking more of cholera than rage), they believed it an acceptable risk. After the reunion, after all, Andy Harris could himself be quarantined for a short while to ensure his wife had not brought anything untoward in.
He entered the room, gasped on seeing his wife, and sobbingly approached. Looking at her through tearful eyes he begged forgiveness for abandoning her, then embraced her. Then, fatefully, he kissed her. Alice herself was in such a state of mental shock that she said nothing throughout this exchange, and had not the wherewithal to think she might be a carrier. In any event, within a few seconds Andy was feeling the first symptoms of infection, and his final coherent thoughts were of horrified disbelief, before he went down in the great, hot sea of rage that had him bite his wife’s throat out and drive his thumbs into her eye sockets. Hearing the commotion, the doctor and nurse came back, and were immediately pounced on by Harris. Within a minute of the kiss, three were infected, and they spread out exponentially from there.
This outbreak began at 1644 GMT. By 1650, the infection had reached some twenty-five people, all civilians who had been in the medical complex or been in the street when the infected burst out of the clinic seeking new targets. It was at this point that the military command received news of the trouble, and immediately assumed (Correctly) that an outbreak was beginning. An assortment of protocols went into effect over the course of the next few minutes, the first being General Lockdown Order #1, or colloquially ‘Code Yellow’, directing civilians to stay in place if they were in a secured location, or to seek the nearest shelter if not.
As alarms blared across the Isle of Dogs and service personnel hurriedly geared up, the civilians attempted to find shelter, but as most had been out at work, the shelters were rapidly overwhelmed by thousands trying to gain access. The real outbreak began here, when the original infectee, Don Harris, charged into the rear of a tightly packed group of civilians who were trying to push into an underground parking garage. Panicked by the nearby infected this crowd was unable to act in a calm or rational manner, and Harris crashed raging into the group to spread infection with incredible speed. Although soldiers were already en route to support and protect the designated shelter sites, by the time they arrived at 1655, dozens were infected. Unable to close the shelter’s door due to the crowd, almost the whole of this population was infected, with only a few actually killed by infected in the target-rich environment, along with a ‘lucky’ handful who were killed in the crush before the infection reached them.
The soldiers had reported the situation and reinforcements were on their way, but predictably, some infected had peeled off and attacked the squad. Despite a valiant effort that put down several infected, the squad was overwhelmed and killed or turned, these being the first military casualties of the Second Outbreak. Even at this point there were thousands of civilians safely sheltering in various buildings and shelters which had been better able to enact Code Yellow, but this still left large numbers on the streets, and hundreds of freshly infected began to tear London apart as they pursued them. Several shelters could have accepted significantly more numbers, but refused to open their doors to admit anyone else. Whilst this secured them in the short term, it also ensured the infected kept growing in number as they found desperate groups hammering on doors and gates and pounced.
At 1705 the military was in full response mode, with everyone now armed and responding to the crisis. It was still believed that the situation could be contained. News of one shelter’s failure was met with dismay, but it did not really change the core plan, nor the calculus which underlined it. And had the military been emplaced appropriately from the very beginning of the outbreak, there is every chance they would have succeeded, but as personnel and squads attempted to actually reach their designated sites, they were set upon by infected. Though individuals and small groups could be put down, gunfire attracted more, and squads trying to reach a destination would commonly fire to extirpate three or four infected only to bring thirty or forty down on their heads within seconds. This pattern repeated across the Green Zone as the infected rapidly spread out, catching civilians who were trying to find open shelters or get home as well as overwhelming groups of military.
By 1730 the situation had grown untenable and US military command ordered A) The shoot on sight order for people in the streets without confirmation of infection status (’Code Red’) and B) A general evacuation of remaining military units as well as the few civilians who could be reached and confirmed free of infection (They were still at this point unaware of the source of this second outbreak, and thus not concerned about carriers, only the obviously infected). However, the situation in the streets had reached such a level that even this order was in vain for much of the military. Outside of the command center, equipped with a rooftop helipad, few of the military would be in a position to act on these orders. At this point, Tammy and Andy had retreated into a building for safety, where they encountered a Doyle who had abandoned his post in refusal to shoot uninfected civilians. They hurriedly explained what had happened. Though unsure as to whether their story meant anything about the outbreak, it was the only lead he was aware of, so he sought contact with command and managed to reach Chief Medical Officer Scarlet Levy, who immediately came to believe they held information that both explained the outbreak and, even more vitally, suggested the existence of asymptomatic carriers.
Scarlet confirmed that Andy and Tammy Harris were the children of Alice, and then ordered Doyle to ensure their physical safety at any and all costs. Doyle, already disposed to helping children, acknowledged these orders and began to plot their escape. However, as military command evacuated from London to a fallback position at Heathrow Airport, Levy was unable to convince General Stone of her theory’s merit, and she elected to abscond her post rather than evacuate. Commandeering a humvee she drove through the infected streets to locate Doyle and the children, staying in radio contact until she arrived.
Whilst she was able to safely reach them, she was set upon by infected as she left her vehicle, barely making it safely into the building. Retreating upstairs in the hopes the infected would spot another target and leave, the small group of four shared their information and circumstances. Levy shared her theory that Alice Harris had been a carrier of the Rage Virus, and that as a result, Andy, Tammy, or both, may contain the keys to a cure or vaccine. They then discussed plans for extrication, assuming no official help was coming and knowing that Code Red involved more than merely shoot on sight orders. The USAF and Army Air Cavalry would soon be deploying more severe measures in an attempt to exterminate the infection while it remained on the Isle of Dogs, which would at least secure the safety of other reclamation zones on mainland Britain.
Doyle suggested attempting to contact his friend, helicopter pilot Flynn, and asking for help. Lacking a better option, Levy agreed, and Doyle contacted his friend and asked for help, explaining he had been stranded with another officer. Flynn was not eager to abscond with a chopper, but loyalty to a friend won out - still, there was no way he could land in the infection zone, both for personal safety and because he would assuredly be shot down. They agreed to attempt to rendezvous in Regent’s Park, Flynn believing he could get in under the radar there, and worrying about the consequences after saving his friend and CMO Levy.
Lacking a means to escape on the river, where they would surely be shot, the attempt would be made on foot. A desperate scramble through the infected streets would, against the odds and despite Scarlet being shot in the leg, see the four reach the Greenwich Foot Tunnel just in time to escape the Air Cavalry’s firebombing Unfortunately, whilst this did kill a proportion of the infected, a significant number remained — and they were reinforced in short order by the civilians who left their shelters in a bid to avoid burning or suffocation, driving them into the arms of the infected. Additionally, a number of infected had already escaped the Isle of Dogs and would have to be hunted down. General Stone ordered new, even more severe measures be taken, and chemical weapons were readied for deployment by USAF aircraft while kill teams donned level 4 MOPP gear and equipped flamethrowers, intending to burn out the remnants of infection from London.
Flynn contacted Doyle informing him of this plan, and that infected were spotted outside of the Green Zone. He also urged greater speed, knowing events could overtake them. Nonetheless the group were able to reach Regent’s Park safely, but Flynn was outraged to see that there were two civilians with the soldiers, and his outrage only magnified when Doyle informed him the plan was to evacuate these children to France. He was willing to risk his career and freedom for a friend, that much he could justify to himself while still considering himself fundamentally loyal and obedient to military protocol. The new information made this a prospect he had not agreed to, but the matter became academic as, before Flynn was able to land, a large crowd of infected emerged in hot pursuit of the group. As they fled across the park and through buildings in an attempt to lose them, Flynn deployed his Aerospatiale Gazelle’s rocket pods in a heavy volley that decimated the infected, buying time for escape. As he increased altitude he got back in radio contact with Doyle and, angrily, agreed to a new rendezvous point in Wembley Stadium
Doyle’s group were seaching for an abandoned vehicle which looked roadworthy when events began occurring in rapid succession. First, they spotted an intact car that looked a likely candidate. However, before they could assess it properly, a small group of infected who had survived the rocket barrage rounded a corner behind them and charged. Even as they climbed into the car the USAF bombing run commenced, which did initially save their life by compromising the infected, it also ensured they were stuck inside the car as a group of kill team soldiers began marching down the street to deal with both the infected and anyone else they came across. Unable to start the engine, Doyle exited and push-started the vehicle, allowing the other three to escape as the team burned Doyle alive.
Though the car would get them out of range of the soldiers on the ground, the AH-64 Apache that soon tracked it down would not be so easily avoided. Abandoning the car, the three ducked into a London Underground entrance to escape the assault from above. Levy was aware that the chopper would remain on-station until a ground team arrived, so was already advocating for traveling through the tunnels on foot; the matter was forced when Don Harris arrived at the entrance of the station. Whether this was coincidence or whether he had a specific intent to track down his children cannot be known, but the horror of it was enough to ensure the three were willing to risk travel through the unpowered, abandoned subway tunnels.
Though equipped with Doyle’s rifle’s night vision scope, the unpowered subterranean world was fraught with intense danger. Attacked by an infected, the three split up in panic — Levy is set upon and beaten to death. A moment later, her body is found by Tammy, who manages to retain her senses enough to stay quiet and retrieve the rifle, using it to search for her brother. Arriving at a train platform she sees Andy just as he cries out in terror, then pain, as Don lunges and bites him on the hand. Tammy’s enraged scream brought Don’s attention, but as he sprints towards he she manages to open fire with the rifle and kill him.
Andy, sobbing, flees into the subway tunnel, with Tammy in pursuit. Steeling herself to have to put down her brother after doing the same to her father, and losing her mother earlier that day, it is a testament to Tammy’s fortitude that she proceeds on her mission. Yet, miracle of miracles, she finds Andy not convulsing or already turned, but sobbing in pain and fear, cradling his injured hand. Cautiously putting the rifle aside, she embraces her brother and realizes that Levy’s theory was correct, and Andy is an immune carrier of the Rage virus. Quickly, Tammy calms her brother and tells him that once they reach Wembley, they will be evacuated to safety, where he will be able to — as she put it — “Save the world”. They hurry through the Underground until they are able to safely exit and arrive at Wembley Stadium, where Flynn is waiting for them.
Flynn is both heartbroken and angered to hear that his friend Doyle has been killed, and that Levy is also dead. However, when Tammy explains her brother’s immunity, then proves it by showing the bite on the boy’s hand, Flynn realizes that their deaths were not in vain and is forced to admit that he is obliged by friendship to carry on Doyle’s efforts. He agrees to fly the children to safety. Flynn did not believe General Stone would be well disposed towards an AWOL pilot claiming he carried immune children, so he ultimately agreed with Tammy to try Doyle’s plan — he would evacuate them to France, where they would be able to safely rest and plan their next move, making contact with authorities in a manner that would not result in the deaths of the children.
The Aerospatiale Gazelle is a light helicopter, and Flynn had deactivated all tracking devices hours earlier when he agreed to evacuate Doyle. The flight east, then south, around London, over the mouth of the Thames, and over Kent and then the Channel was difficult, but he kept them as low as his considerable skill allowed to try to avoid radar. Whilst news of the Second Outbreak was filtering out of the Green Zone there was still general obliviousness to the situation, and the apparent safety France had experienced since sealing the Channel Tunnel combined with the belief in the virus’s extinction left their security lax enough to let the aircraft slip through. This oversight would doom not only France, but far beyond, to all the horrors of the Rage Virus. Within minutes of landing in a field in a village near Boulogne, a sudden sneeze would infect a curious farmer who came to investigate why a chopper was on his property.
That was good, spooky but good...
@Auricom Thank you for trying to fix the many flaws in 28WL - your outline does make some sense.
I do refer still to my previous answer regarding the Rage Virus reaching France- esp as soon as the balloon went up in London the French would snap their defences back down hard to prevent an escape/landing. From the Navy/Air Force to Villagers being told not to go any where near people they don;t know- esp any English regardless of how well they looked.
However, I acknowledge that like the Battle of Yonkers in WWZ one has to have a certain amount of 'suspension of common sense' when it comes to these things.
Far as my head canon goes 28WL didn't happen.
@Ogrebear Agreed, I don't think the virus has a chance of crossing the Channel after the initial 28Days outbreak (and if it did, there would be no qualms whatsoever about using any and all means up to and including the force de frappe to ensure the Pas de Calais was absolutely flattened) but I wasn't quite willing to deviate from the movie's final shots.
Thank you for the kind words to both of you
Great write up! One question though, in your write-up, Blair is still the PM? So he did not resign?
You did great work here in making sense of the movie scenario. I'm sure it wasn’t easy to do.
Thank you! And yes, that seems to have been an oversight on my part - I'll change it to Brown, I think he was still PM per kspence's timeline at the time of 28 Weeks?
Thank you very much!
Edit; Along with correcting Blair to Brown, I made a couple of other fixes, mostly just reducing the occasions I repeated a word or phrase close together.
First, great of managing to “fix” a lot of flaw of the second movie.
However, even assuming than the chopper manages to land, northern France in this TL would be militarized to a point that would make the AtlantikWall looking like a beach ressort.
This and month of tactical thinking about how to contains infected (once you calmly thought about it, I guess you can makes wonder with one APC or with simple soundboxes in term of safe diversion potential) and preparing the population on how to react if the rage virus spread (safely barricading the door of the upper floor of a building will slow down a lot the spread out), not even speaking of evacuation/contingency plans would probably allow the French and European authority to contains the infection around Calais.
The Last Train
A brief moment of risk in France during the first stages of the Rage Virus came as a Eurostar came through the tunnel full of infected- however by the time the Virus hit London and therefore the Eurostar trains, the French military where already prepared. After frantic calls from the train driver (who could see the passengers being infected via CCTV, as could the terrified control rooms) the train is automatically shunted to a Calais siding with all its doors sealed by the computer systems- the anti-terrorism toughed glass of the carriages having kept the infected sealed inside. The uninfected driver is extracted from his sealed cab as is the Chef du Train [guard] from the rear cab. When he retreated to his cab the Chef took 6 passengers and 2 children with him (all the could fit). All would be thoroughly screened for Rage.
The train is systematically torched via flamethrower. Once alight, it is machine gunned along its entire length to ensure nothing makes it out alive. Once the firing stopped after 10 minuets there was a pause to see if anything made it out. To everyone's shock 3 horrendously burned infected emerged and tried to reach the soldiers - they didn't last long.
After this incident the all the emergency bulkheads in the tunnel are sealed on the French end, despite pleading from the the British controllers. Even ventilation shafts was sealed with concrete plugs. A 24 hour high readiness guard is posted at the tunnel mouth in case someone managed to reopen the doors. Explosives are rigged around the entrances as well, though these would never be used. After 2 weeks some of the troops are removed from the tunnel guard to deal with the worsening situation at the port, but the guard is kept.
During the Clearance of Britain over 400 bodies would be found piled against the British side of the doors- survivors who had attempted to walk the tunnel only to fall victim to the infected who found them.
I wonder how Blair would be viewed in this universe, without an Iraq and a failure to contain the virus. But then anyone in his position would've failed since the government were just as clueless. Something tells me the Labour Party and maybe other parties won't be getting elected again.
Blair would remain controversial. Many will praise him for trying to handle the crisis in the best way he can (even though it failed, I won't blame him because no one expected the virus to be the fast) and many will hate him for being either incompetent or a "coward" for evacuating from London to York to Edinburgh then finally to Belfast.
Yet, his in-universe book is a New York Times bestseller.
Blair was extremely popular until Iraq came along so I suppose that might help, someone with the likes of David Cameron or worse, Theresa May might even get assassinated after an outbreak.
Cameron's tenure is butterflied away and the same could be said for May. Now their survival is even into question...
If it happened in Brexit Britain I mean. Who would lead after Brown, would elections be set up?
That's where it becomes unrecognizable where it's up to the author who leads after Brown. Ironically, a form of "Brexit" occurs in this scenario as Britain is isolate from Europe like in OTL 2016 when Brexit occurred, many drew parallels to 28 Days Later.
WI the Rage outbreak had occurred in, say, Cambridge, Massachusetts?
Yeah, I do see some confusion, but, once Bush realizes the scale of the outbreak, IMO, he authorizes a solution to the problem. A sunshine solution, if you get my drift (the poor people in the Boston metro area, though; in my scenario, though, it's either them or the whole East Coast)…
This is similar to the Crossed scenario, but the Rage are largely mindless...
The USA have the following advantages compared to Britain
- A larger territory
- less population density
- way more military means, both in terms of armed forces and armed civilians
Even without considering nuke, they will have way more time to react. Given the fact than the infected "immediatly" transform, even without using nukes (the time involved to take the decision might sadly be not enough to avoid loosing the Boston–Washington corridor, but I wonder how hard it would be to seal some line of defense around natural obstacle, let's say the Mississippi or the Rocky Mountains.
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