"I 'm corporal Donner, but my friends call me Tom," he introduced himself, offering an outstretched hand.
"Henry Cooper but my friends call me Coop," I said, avoiding his outstretched hand. I didn 't want to touch him with my possibly infected cut.
"His friends call him Hank," Dean said, stepping to my side.
"I guess that was in another life," I explained.
The other smiled uncomfortably and lowered his hand. "We all had another life."
"Dean Walker," my friend stated grabbing Tom 's hand and shaking it vigorously. "Coop 's best friend!"
"Tom," the corporal said repeating his name.
"Where 's Jerry?" Dean asked making a show of looking around.
Donner looked questioningly at Dean, unsure of what he meant.
"Don 't get him started," Amber said. "He 's our plucky comedy relief."
The corporal looked like he understood. "I 'll inform the Captain you 're here."
As Tom went left to speak with his commanding officer I whispered to my friend, "Cut the clowning around. We 're in a sticky situation here."
Dean looked a bit crestfallen at my reprimand. A moment later Donner returned.
"The Captain will see you now."
Expecting the worst, I swallowed hard and lead the others through the open door. The Captain rose from his leather seat and extended a hand toward one of the seats on our side of his desk. I waved off his offer preferring to stand.
The others remained standing too. I don 't think any of us felt comfortable with what we had to do...
... middle of paper ...
...both a chemist and a biologist who are coordinating their efforts with our team of physicians. We have things well in hand."
I couldn 't imagine what he was thinking well in hand meant. It wasn 't like they were bringing the dead back to life.
"I 'd like to speak with them," I asked.
"That 's why I called you here. They are waiting for you right now."
Stryker rose to his feet and took a moment to adjust his clean, pressed uniform. He beat me to the door and indicated that I should pass through first.
In the outer office, the captain informed corporal Donner that we were going to the lab. Once our coats were on we proceeded outside and walked briskly through the compound. In the rear, a lone, cinder block building sat apart from the others. A high fence topped with razor wire surrounded the structure. The guards saluted Stryker and immediately let us pass.
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