Hunter's Point South Park
Long Island City, Queens, NY, USA
July 4, 2023 @ 9:40 PM EDT
If this were any other sort of situation, Samira would be laughing. The super soldier serum? She doubted its existence. It wasn't hard to. If Americans had come up with something that incredible their technology would be on par with Wakanda's, but it was nowhere close. Now she was being told that it was real. Even worse, it was real and the 2.0 version exploded above everyone in the park tonight. No consent involved, no trials to work out the kinks. A wave of disgust rolled over her when she realized that they
were the trials. God only knows what was going to happen to her in 24 hours.
With her phone still in her hand, she unlocked it and opened up a blank text message. "Add your number."
She said, handing her phone over to Caty. The rest of the survivors were surrounding them asking a million questions at once. She couldn't even hear herself think right now. She knew she wouldn't get much more of an answer tonight. The crowd in front of them were impatient enough. If the 911 operator was correct, then ambulances would be arriving any second. It would only get crazier from there.
Samira took back her phone right before the park lit up on a flood of lights, some from the ambulances and cop cars, others from the cameras of news crews. They were like vultures. Wasting no time clamoring over anyone and everyone that they could talk to. Samira grabbed Caty's arm to capture her attention for a brief moment. "Thank you for trying."
She squeezed her arm with a sad smile on her face. It was obvious to the young woman that Caty and her friends tried to stop this from happening. She wanted to alleviate whatever guilt the poor girl had.
One voice rose above all the rest and demanded the reporters back away. Stepping out of the thick wall of bodies was a guy in a suit. With a flash of his badge, Samira was finally starting to understand just how serious this all was. FBI, science divisions, news reporters, super serum. She looked around the park to see how many ore agents were corralling the reporters away. That's when she noticed the triage. People who seemed fine were getting into police cars and being taken to hospitals. Those with major injuries were being loaded onto gurneys. Samira thought she saw the boy on the docks being loaded into an ambulance on one. But the worst part were the tarps. Giant tarps laid out all over the park. Every time they confirmed another death, they moved the body onto the plastic. She choked out a sob, no longer bothering to wipe the tears from her face. It didn't matter anymore. There were so many more tears to come. "I'm sorry, but I have to go."
Without a backwards glance, she ran off to where her father laid. Most of the lives lost would be laying on a tarp, but not her father. Samira would have no problems demanding more for her dad, given his status.
Meanwhile, Cam couldn't decide if he was lucky or unlucky. He should probably start at the beginning. Tonight was the first night he wouldn't have Bob leaning over his shoulder critiquing his every move. He could actually prove that he was more than this punk kid who got lucky on a dare. He knew there was a lot riding on tonight, but he was ready. His first real night on the job was going awesome. He flirted with these models from London. He liked their accents, they liked his hair. He made a ton of tips. This wasn't like bartending at a hole in the wall sort of place. Casa Enrique was pretty expensive. 20% of pretty expensive meant more cash thrown his way. Even the shitty tippers usually tossed him a dollar or two. His award winning smile kept people coming back to the bar for more. At one point he was sure that he had at least ten drinks lined up, each of them different. But it didn't matter. He was on a roll.
Well, he was until he broke the glass in the ice tray. The clear glass blended in perfectly with the ice, so the whole thing would have to be tossed out. Bob fetched a new one and told Cam to take a break after he dumped the ice outside. When he stepped out into the alleyway there was some homeless guy puking by the dumpsters. "Gross."
So he decided to carry the tub over to the park. It wasn't too heavy to walk a block away. He could dump the ice out onto the grass for it to melt. He'd even dump it in a corner so the broken bits of glass wouldn't be in the middle of the lawn. But, most importantly, he could sneak a peek at the fireworks. Back home on Long Island people would buy tons of illegal fireworks and shoot them off in the streets. But seeing some sparklers from your backyard versus a totally professional display on the water were two different levels. His snap story would make all his friends jealous.
When Cam arrived at the park, he stood near the back. He couldn't be here too long, and didn't want to have to fight through people to get back to work. The first firework looked really weird. Setting down the tub of ice and glass that was beginning to melt, he reached for his phone to record it. "Maybe this is some new thing they're trying."
By the time he had his phone out trying to record the fireworks the fog settled over the park and he couldn't breathe. Doubled over and coughing, Cam could feel the cold through his sneakers. His eyes were watery with tears, but he forced them open to look down at what was causing the cold. He had stepped into the ice tub. Shit.
As quickly as it started, it was gone. The fog cleared and Cam could see again. Great. Now he'd have a wet shoe for the rest of the night and whatever pepper spray he inhaled made him miss the fireworks. His break time was probably up by now anyways. Dumping the tub out onto the grass he stood up and saw people dropping like flies. Was this some kind of a joke? Like those flash mob things? Then he saw the seizures and knew it wasn't a joke. A baby near him started to cry as their mother dropped to the ground. Everywhere he looked people were bleeding and seizing on the ground. He was starting to think he was having a seizure too because his thigh was vibrating. Wait, no. That was his phone. Answering the call without looking at it, Cam was frozen in place. "Carmine, where are you? You better be back here in five minutes or I swear to God-"
His job! Right. "Bob, I can't. Something really freaky has happened down here at the park. I think people are dying. The fireworks started and then there was this fog and now people are bleeding and having seizures and I can hear the sirens coming. I-I can't come back. I gotta go to the hospital. Whatever made all these people sick, I inhaled it."
He didn't even wait for an answer before hanging up. He switched on the camera on his phone and started to record...all of it. Bloody faces, crying family members, stranger seizing on the ground. He even caught the news crews forming a crowd over by the docks. They must've found people to interview already. Then a guy in a suit from the FBI stepped in front of him and demanded that he stop recording.
Cam slowly lowered the camera and ended the video. "I gotta go to the hospital. Get checked out. I was here when the stuff exploded."
He quickly turned away from the agent and headed towards an EMT who directed him to a cop car. Cam was terrified that the fed was gonna take his phone. He knows how this works. People record UFOs and the government hacks the videos and messes them up. Well that wouldn't happen to him. He had proof of what happened. Emailing himself the video, he then called his mom. After all, he was going to the hospital to be checked out after inhaling poisonous gas. "Ma! Ma! I swear I'm fine. They've got me going to the ER at Bellevue Hospital. I promise I won't leave until they check me out. Ok. Love you too."
When he stepped into the ER things were crazy. Hospitals were already crazy, but this was on a whole different level. It was like they didn't know what they were looking for. They just knew that people were sick. Cam didn't have much time to observe it though. His family and friends were blowing up his phone with texts asking what happened and if he was okay. Unsurprisingly, his mother told the whole world that he was at the park. Italian families were no joke about drama. He heard from more cousins in the last hour than he had in the last ten years.