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Season 03: #SaveHarran

PART 1 - Insert coin

 

Dying Light (c) Techland

 

Schnee von Gestern


 

The GRE: Hero or Villain?

Harran’s future sits at a precarious edge as the Ministry moves to destroy what had once been praised as the Jewel of the East.

Confirmed survivors still trapped in Harran! Thousands of lives remain at risk.

Investigation in the GRE’s involvement with the Harran pathogen cause a delay in antizin production. The shortage will not only affect Harran’s survivors, but put previously evacuated and infected citizens at risk.

Vigils held all across the world to mourn those lost to the Harran disaster. But hope still lives for the survivors awaiting an end to the horrors of the quarantine.

demonstrations have halted relief efforts once again, as …

The GRE, a synonym for lies. Harran not the first outbreak?

Quarantine breach! Human error or malice? Seventeen dead after an infected escaped the original refugee shelter on Cyprus.

Another city on lockdown. Treviso, a scenic town thirty kilometres from Venice, Italy, is under martial law after the Harran virus claimed five lives.

Care packages underway once again. The Treviso incident reinvigorated public effort to see help brought to those almost abandoned.

Harran. Treviso. Now Birmingham, Alabama. Does the world sit at the brink of a catastrophic epidemic?

A year in reflection: How we’ve survived the the Harran pathogen— a story of perseverance and hope.

Hope.

Leo scoffed. Irritation welled at the back of his throat, tasting bitter and pointless. All of this? The whiteboard covered in newspaper clippings, printed tweets, and the occasional handwritten note? A real sorry excuse for hope. It was history at best, slotted together into a narrative so full of plot holes that his head ached just thinking about… thinking about it. Read in the right order, the snippets formed a timeline plucked from popular media, most written by Leo himself. And at the beginning of it all were the first uncertain reports of the unthinkable: Zombies.

Mankind hadn’t weathered that particular news well.

At first, it’d brought people together. They’d faced something new and unknown. Unexplained. Terrifying. But that hadn’t lasted, not for long at any rate. Much like the pale blue words which Leo had put up at the top of his timeline/portfolio of the concentrated apocalypse. Back then, he’d set out to make a difference, and for a while he’d thought he could.

Now, the words were smudged and weak after someone had tried to erase them halfheartedly. Could have been the guy who’d get his office, or an overzealous cleaning lady. Though least the cleaning lady would have known better than to attack dried up marker directly. While faded and smeared, the words still clung on. Poetic. Almost. Even in here Harran put up a fight, wouldn’t allow itself to be wiped away easily.

Except no one could stay up fighting indefinitely.

Mumbling to himself, since Leo liked to mumble, he picked up a marker, flicked the cap off, and set the tip against the far edge of the words he’d been struggling to get trending again. Despite the world’s best efforts to try to forget. He traced the letters, gave them back some colour, and once the marker slid off the n , stepped back to survey the board.

#SaveHarran

Not like it mattered. Someone’d come and tear down the whole board soon enough.

“Harran ist Schnee von gestern...” he echoed his editor. Words that, hours later, still hadn’t lost their sting. How could he— or anyone —reduce those lives still trapped in there to old news? To something that’d mattered back when it’d been fresh? Like those trapped in there had lost value, since they’d not had anyone shout loud enough for them any more. The whole damn world had taken on a stance of discomfort, grown weary of the the thought of having to tend to Harran for as long as it’d take.

Yeah, they’d turned to effort. And everyone hated effort. Plus, there were newer, hotter places to get worked up over. Figuratively, of course.

A knock at his door broke Leo from the spell of standing with the marker still poised.

“Veidt? Leo Veidt?”

He sighed, snapped the cap back on, and tossed the maker onto his desk when he turned. It clattered over his laptop, rolled across discarded papers, and finally stopped against his coffee mug with a click of plastic on porcelain.

“Ja, kann ich Ihnen helfen?”

The man standing in the doorway grimaced, his mouth twisting behind a bushy, blond beard. A visitor’s badge was clipped to his chest, but he didn’t particularly look lost, as much as he seemed determined to be in the right place by the sheer force of his will.

And Leo was real damn certain he’d fallen right out of the latest season of Vikings. Including some early November dusting of snow on a wide shouldered winter coat, which looked like it’d seen enough years to qualify as a heirloom. Not shabby, no, but well worn and well enough liked and tended. He worked a set of gloves off, held on to them in one hand, and swept the other over neatly tied, long ash blond hair.

“Sebastian Hayn. I’ve been following your coverage of the Harran pathogen since the shit with the GRE went down, and I wondered if you were—“

Not a Viking then. Just another American. They’d been showing increased interest ever since Birmingham. Since that was home, and home was always more interesting than— well— most other things.

“I am sorry, Mister Hayn, but—“

“Sebastian.”

Leo bristled. He scooped up his laptop, along with his coffee mug, and gave a pointed nod to the door. “I’m no longer working on the Harran incident.”

If that news had any deterring affect at all on Sebastian, he didn’t show it. If anything, it straightened him up a little. A muscle twitched in his jaw, and his mouth slanted at a determined angle. While not exactly threatening, it didn’t make him look harmless either, and Leo decided on law enforcement or military. Had to be, though that only made the whole encounter that much more perplexing. Wasn’t like the Wandering Eye Weekly rubbed shoulders with either.

“You’re throwing the towel?”

“What? No.” Leo squeezed his laptop in close. “Well. Yes, I suppose. We’ve been encouraged to put our focus elsewhere, so I am going to be elsewhere.” And shouldn’t that be good news for you?

The American viking’s right brow pulled up.

“I’ve been let go,” Leo clarified. That too, still stung. Maybe even a little more than the dismissal of a few thousand lives. Admitting that came with a pang of sour guilt, but Leo had liked working with the WEW.

“Good.” A smile. Mister Sebastian Hayn was smiling , as if a recently independent reporter in the shark infested waters of modern day journalism was good news. Why on earth… “Then I’m not gonna have to try and convince you too much.”

“Sorry, what?”

“How—“ Sebastian pushed himself off the door frame with a shrug of his shoulder. “—would you like helping me get a buddy of mine out of there?”

“Help you with what ?” Leo echoed. Was he being serious? He couldn’t be. Leo squinted and nudged his glasses further up on the bridge of his nose.

What if he is?

No- no- nonsense. He couldn’t be. No one got out of Harran, not any more. Not until someone found a cure. Or everyone had died, which had begun to look a lot more likely lately.

“I must have misheard. You want to get someone out of Harran? Break the Quarantine? On purpose? How? And why would you come to me?” Leo hefted his laptop up more, hugged it tighter. “I write blog posts. I don’t… I don’t climb walls.”

“There’s going to be a lot less climbing involved than you might expect.” Sebastian scratched at his chin. “Hopefully. So, how about it? Help me break out Kyle Crane, and I can promise you they’ll regret letting you go.

Leo blinked. “Kyle who?”