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<div style="text-align: center; font-size: 40px; font-family: eurostile; letter-spacing: -1px; text-shadow: 1px 1px 1px #000000; color:666666;">edith elizabeth harte</div>
<div style="text-align: center; font-family: eurostile; font-size: 18px;">dr. edith harte phd</div><br><br>
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You probably don’t, and never will know me. Thus, your conclusions on my character based on my actions are both futile and irrelevant. Besides, I have been affronted with far worse than anything you probably possess in your vocabulary, believe me. Despite this, I have no quarrels with your tiny mind thinking whatever it wants. I only ask of one thing... Listen to my story first, if only to get the facts straight. That’s if you’re capable of such a thing, of course.
My name is Dr. Edith Elizabeth Harte BSc, MSc, PhD. Just for the record, I possess two doctorates. I was, and still am, one of the world’s foremost experts on molecular genetics, virology and immunology. Not that my knowledge of science and medicine stops there, of course. Think of it as my profession, if you will... My true calling. As a child, I estimated my capacity to comprehend science and mathematics to be beyond that of 95.54% of the earth’s population. If intelligence tests could accurately estimate my ‘IQ’, you would see a figure of 185 or above. My brain is to your brain as your brain is to the brain of a Lar Gibbon from the South East region of Asia. Of course, I jest about the Gibbon. Gibbons are completely irrelevant to my story. It was just one of my classic jokes, you see. You probably didn’t even understand it, did you? Anyway, enough about Gibbons.
I was born in London to an American father and a Swedish mother. My father was originally from Texas, but grew up in New York City. He had worked as a stock broker for as long as I could remember, and more than provided for our family. I was privately educated at a boarding school in Hampshire from the age of 11. Prior to this, I attended a private all girls school within Greater London. Did I find the adjustment to boarding school life hard? Not especially. Most people said ‘having plenty of friends helps’. A foolish statement from the mouths of the stupid. Friends are for the weak, those who do not possess the ability to survive on their own. Father divorced mother when I was 12. Much of the divorce is still a mystery to me. I was informed one day by letter that the event had taken place, and assured it was entirely mothers fault. I remember Father telling me in person that summer that she was nothing but a common whore. I didn’t see mother again, but her use had long passed. Looking back on it, It wouldn’t have been a stretch to suggest that father had mother killed. But it is of no consequence now.
Father pulled me out of school at the age of 17, and placed me in private education for the final year of High School in New York City. I believe father had run into trouble with various shady characters in London; not that it did him any good. Two weeks into our ‘new life’ a maid found him dead in our Manhattan apartment, missing his head. I inherited a fortune. It wasn’t difficult to adapt to the curriculum in the US; this SAT test seemed nothing more than a compendium of simplistic puzzles and various activities suited to measuring the abilities of lesser minds. However, I found it more difficult to adapt to the locals. They seemed far more hostile to me than the dim witted girls from boarding school back in England. Apparently the fact that I excelled in mathematics and science was a bad thing. Eventually I outright refused to partake in the activity of ‘gym’. I found my physical capabilities in the class, and I use the word ‘class’ very loosely, to be somewhat lacking. However, someone of my mental acuity shouldn’t have been forced to degrade herself by cavorting with hordes of philistines, whilst simultaneously attempting to retain enough concentration in order to kick a ball in the right direction (which rarely happened anyway) or catch something or other. This, coupled with the fact that my belongings were regularly vandalised in the locker room, gifted me a strong distain for all sports.
What was worst of all was the fact that I didn’t have a single friend. Not a one... Just kidding! Another one of my classic jokes. Of course I didn’t have any friends, and why would I want any? None of them were my equals. None of them could give me things I either needed or wanted. They were useless, beyond disposable. The boys were belligerent bigots and the girls were airheaded morons. Both groups just looking to engage in sexual intercourse with the other. I have never felt the need to engage in this activity, and so I believe myself to be asexual in orientation. However I did have a moment of Lesbian activity for a short while after consuming a small, but potent, dose of alcohol whilst at University. However, like most things, it passed.
My choice of university was a rather difficult one, but I won’t bore you with the details. I decided to accept a place to study at MIT, majoring in Biology. At the time, I still wasn’t certain about my future. 4 years passed very quickly for me. I enjoyed the work, but as always didn’t exactly enjoy the company of others. Strangely enough, I managed to find some likeminded individuals or as likeminded as I could find. I decided to engage in a friendship with them of sorts, if only to inform them of how wrong they were about most things. How would they learn if they weren’t informed of their ignorance? Eventually they ostracised me, which was actually unexpected at the time. But looking back on it, I now realise the signs. All I wished to do was help them, and they shunned me, the fools. That’s when I realised, for the first time in my life that I truly didn’t care about other people.
A masters degree and two doctorates in Genetics, Molecular Genetics and Virology from assorted Ivy League universities later, I finally emerge a woman of science. I was offered a position on a research team at Harvard studying the genetic characteristics of viruses, an aspect of molecular genetics that highly interests me. The learning curve was steeper than anything I had come across before. Discoveries were daily, and our research quickly gained the attention of the scientific community. The work we were conducting had the potential to save millions of lives one day, but all I was interested at the time was winning the nobel prize. I know, a rather embarrassing admittance if I do say so myself. Why would I require such a ‘prize’ to confirm my abilities?
I was eventually allocated team leader, finally given the opportunity to get things right first time for once. It was short lived however, as our funding was mysteriously withdrawn and the team dispended. The disappointment was, for a time, almost unbearable. Only the possibility of a another leading position, in a research team with a focus that was far more interesting, reinstated my mellow mood. Of course, I didn’t know any of this until I accepted the position. I was contacted by what seemed to be government officials. They expressed their keen interest in my previous work on applied genetics, molecular genetics and virology. They requested that I lead a heavily funded, top secret scientific research team as part of a program they called Project RUTH. I was far too interested to decline their offer, and flew out to Nevada the next day via helicopter.
The premise of the project was to, ultimately, insure the survival of the human race. With a rapidly expanding population, the world would eventually become uninhabitable. The fight for and eventual lack of resources would kill of the majorty of people, and the harsh world that followed would likely take the rest. Thus, we did what was necessarily. I, along with my team, created an antiviral resistant pathogen strengthened with chemical enhancements, disguised as a vaccine that was capable of taking down the fittest and strongest of our species. Early tests concluded with 100% fatality. It was glorious, one of the most destructive forces humanity had ever conceived. We called it ‘Directive 17 Omega’. We tested it on criminals, the scum of our society. I had no quarrels with doing so, and I’m not in the slightest bit sorry. I had engineered every failsafe precaution I could think of. The virus was not airborn, thus unable to infect others without exchanging bodily fluids. I created the virus based on certain synthesised DNA structures of the Ebola strain myself to insure that it wouldn’t be airborn. However I didn’t factor in the incompetence of those who were keeping the criminals in custody. The virus takes a day or two to kill off the host at the very least and three weeks at the most. If a prisoner were to escape and infect the general population, the virus could potentially spread nationwide within a matter of months. That was exactly that happened.
The project wasn’t completely deemed a failure at that point. The fact that the virus wasn’t airborne gave us time in which to work on a vaccine. It was already in the early months of synthesis, so we had a head start. We called it D17Z, and it was created in order to insure the initial survival of certain individuals deemed important for the future of the human race. At this point, we had no idea of the long term effects of D170. We had no idea that it could reanimate dead tissue in the way it did. Fascinating if you think about it really. Once the rebuilders had been vaccinated with the D17Z, and the herds of the useless had been fed false hope and a vial full of D170, I was transferred to the Nevada Bunker in order to the survive the mass bombing. However, upon seeing the types of people who had been chosen to ‘rebuild’, I fled to Camp Elko. Of course, my loyalties still lie with the officials, but no way was I going to spend a year surrounded with all those... Those people...
And so I came here. To this lovely, and by lovely I mean this dried up husk of a town which probably should have been bombed more thoroughly. But it isn’t a terrible life. In exchange for protection I offer scientific and medical services to the high ranking members of the camp. Alongside this, I study the infected. I am now not only one of the foremost experts of genetics, virology and immunology, but also on the undead walkers that dot our landscapes. They’re sort of like my children, if you want to look at it in a bizarre, derange sort of way. When it comes down to it, I will not apologise for what I have done. I did what had to be done, and if some people had to die in the process, then that’s too bad for them. Besides, I’m alive, and at the end of the day, that’s all I really care about.
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She closed her eyes, squeezing the bridge of her nose to release some of the strain in her eyes. It was 1am and Edith was still up, still working. She shook her head from side to side, keeping sleep at bay. It had been little over 2 weeks since the infected prisoner had escaped into the wider population. Two of the quarantined officers were dead, and another was dying in ‘intensive care’. Intensive care basically meant a hospital bed surrounded by a plastic, airtight, watertight sheet. Nobody was there to care or comfort him. People simply observed him as he died, Edith included. The pathogen wasn’t airborne, but after the breakout nobody was taking risks. This was the first time she had observed the effects of D170 on an ‘innocent bystander’. Of course it changed nothing; everyone’s body seemed to be reacting to the virus in the same way. Morality had nothing to do with it. But she struggled to feel remorse or guilt for her role in their deaths. They knew what they were getting into. Besides, Edith didn’t believe in the ‘innocent bystander’ hypothesis... There are no innocents in this world.
She took a look through her microscope before taking notes once more. She continued to do so for 10 minutes straight, observing the foundations of what would soon become D17Z. Eventually tiredness took over again, and she had to rest once more. She ran her fingers through her red hair and sighed. “Why do I keep doing this to myself?” She asked, talking to an empty lab. “Just let everyone die, that’s my suggestion.” She was pretty sure she didn’t mean it, but perhaps maybe she did. In this tired state, nothing but the work in front of her seemed to be making sense. Would she have taken on this job if she had known it would be this stressful, this challenging? Absolutely. In fact, it would probably have made her more eager.
By half 3 Edith had had enough. She got to her feet and switched her equipment off, returned the specimens to the fridge and locked up the experiments. As much as she wanted to pretend she was a higher being, at the end of the day Edith wasn’t. She was human like everyone else, and she was a tired one at that. 2 hours of sleep a night for a week will do that to you. She hung up her lab coat and left lab 3, passing Labs 1 and 2 on her way back to her quarters. Those were bio-hazardous areas and kept under tight security. Only certain personnel, which included Edith, were allowed passed the air lock, and only when wearing the proper gear. Labs 1 and 2 were where Edith and her team originally developed D170.
Edith dragged her feet as she walked, her body ached with exhaustion. She was so used to this ‘zombie walk’ back to her room in the early hours of the morning that she had the trip memorised to a point where she could walk it half asleep. Take a left, go up the stairs, take a right and continue for 12.5m. Scan the security card and it’s the second door on the left. Before she knew it the journey was complete. She threw off her clothes as she made her way to the bed, collapsing onto the duvet and instantly falling asleep. She dreamt of nothing, or at least whatever dreams she did have she couldn’t remember when she woke. Edith couldn’t remember a time when she actually dreamt, or a time when remembering her dreams was a possibility. But considering the things she has done, and the things she is going to do, that was probably for the best.