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The Oakland Project

The Oakland Project

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Published by Lauren Brent



AJ’s Guide to Prolonging the Apocalypse starts off with an apocalypse that is already in full swing. The published accounts of the infection start in Stanford, but that’s not where things originated. There is one group of documents known simply as “The Oakland Project” that is the most accurate account of what happened. Most of these have been collected and stored in the library in Mangiafuoco, but one volume - the final volume - has yet to be recovered. Though its whereabouts are as of yet unknown, its contents have been seen by a select few people.



This is that volume, you are one of the select.



Proceed at your own risk.



AJ’s Guide to Prolonging the Apocalypse starts off with an apocalypse that is already in full swing. The published accounts of the infection start in Stanford, but that’s not where things originated. There is one group of documents known simply as “The Oakland Project” that is the most accurate account of what happened. Most of these have been collected and stored in the library in Mangiafuoco, but one volume - the final volume - has yet to be recovered. Though its whereabouts are as of yet unknown, its contents have been seen by a select few people.



This is that volume, you are one of the select.



Proceed at your own risk.

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Published by: Lauren Brent on Dec 18, 2012
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AJ’s Guide to Prolonging the Apocalypse starts off with an apocalypse that is already in full swing.

But the origins of said apocalypse are a little shady. Both Elena and Tony have done what they can to piece together the events that led to the state their nation is in but, as extensive as their research and documents have been, they are only the official, published accounts of what went down. The accounts start in Stanford, but that’s not where things originated. There is one group of documents known simply as “The Oakland Project” - a series of journals about the strange events that took place leading up to the outbreak - that is the most accurate account of what happened. Most of these have been collected and stored in the library in Mangiafuoco, but one volume - the final volume - has yet to be recovered. Though its whereabouts are as of yet unknown, its contents have been seen by a select few people. This is that volume, you are one of the select. Whether you read beyond this page is completely up to you, but be warned: this is a first-hand account of the events of what has now come to be known as “the Oakland Project”. Though a few details remain a mystery, one thing is for sure: the events that took place in Oakland, California, have changed the world as we know it, and for the worst. Proceed at your own risk.

Chapter 1 March 18 Molly finally relented. She and Thomas are packing up their house tonight and moving to San Francisco. Colleen has complained about it for days, but she’s agreed to put them up until they find a place of their own. I’m just glad they’re getting out of Oakland, and not a day too soon it would seem. Dr. Michealson brought in a new group today. At first, we thought they were more patients, but after catching more than one of them talking to his own reflection in the mirror, we realized what they were: actors. I almost asked the doctor what he needed actors for, but I stayed my tongue. Best not to draw attention to myself; I don’t know if I’m allowed to even record what I’ve been writing down. Still, its unsettling. And while I can glean a little relief knowing both my girls are out of the city, I do wish they were further away. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve got a feeling something awful is about to happen. Still no change in the rats. March 20 We have to start the tests over. Dr. Michaelson came to see the rats today and when he saw there was no change, he lost it. Trashed the whole lab. I tried to stop him, tried to talk some sense into him, but he wouldn’t hear it. It was like he was possessed. Only after he had destroyed everything - the containment cages, the samples, our computers - did he stop and tell us to start over. What he wants us to start over with, I don’t know. We spent the whole of the day trying to contain the rats again, having to settle on boarding up one of the larger animal cages and hoping the little things don’t chew through the wood in the night. Carlos is still missing; I’m sure it won’t matter, seeing as none of them showed any signs of change, but still. You grow close to your test subjects, even if they are just rats. Tim says we should try to use what little virus might still be alive in the rats, but I don’t see what that will do. None of this makes sense to me. When I took this job, I thought I’d just be an assistant. Dr. Michaelson and Tim have since put me in charge of too many things. I’m not qualified for this kind of work. None of us are, to be honest. I had lunch with a few of the other people running the tests and found they’re like me: no formal schooling, no interest in science at all. At least four other

people applied for this job, thinking they’d just be assistants. Unqualified lab technicians, actors... I wish I knew what was going on around here. Molly would know. Molly’s good with puzzles. I sure hope Carlos is alright. March 25 We found Carlos. Still no change from what we could see, but he’s obviously been through something awful. He had a panicked look on his face - do rats have facial expressions? when we found him and he actually bit Tim when he tried to retrieve him. Tim was mighty upset... so upset that, had Malory not caught and contained Carlos so quickly, I’m certain Tim would have killed him. We got the rest of the day off after that, which was odd. Also, another group came in today. So far as I can tell, these ones are actors, too. Either way, I have a free afternoon. I think I’ll go see the kids in the city. March 26 Tim didn’t show up for work today. Odd. March 27 Still no Tim. We decided to go ahead with the tests without him. Dr. Michealson supplied us with a crate of fresh rats; we injected about five of them with the stuff Tim made, using the rat blood. I still don’t know what he’s trying to do, but I’ve decided to try a little experiment of my own. I noticed Carlos has been acting strangely. All the rats are very social, both with each other and with the rest of us. I thought his biting Tim was a result of some traumatic incident he’d been through, but since reuniting him with the others, I’m beginning to think that’s not the case. The others have begun to avoid him, and he doesn’t seem to mind. He still has that panicked look on his face, and there’s something odd about his movements. I think he has a cough. I’m going to keep an eye on him. March 30 Still no Tim. He’s not one to miss this much work. When I interviewed, he seemed very enthusiastic about these tests and experiments. Throughout the course of knowing him, I noticed the same excitement. I don’t understand why he’s just left. I think I’ll ask Dr. Michealson tomorrow. Speaking of Dr. M, he brought us new rat cages today. Carlos’ condition - if you can call paranoia and being anti-social a ‘condition’ - has only gotten worse. We have a few fresh rats left, so I’ve decided to try something out. I’ve placed Carlos and the new rat - I’m calling him Benni - in a cage together. So far, nothing has happened. Benni is cautious of Carlos, but seems as social as the others used to be. Carlos won’t acknowledge him, though. I’ve injected Benni with the rat blood used on the other new rats. There seems to be no change in them, but we’ll see.

I wonder where Tim is. March 31 Carlos is dead. Malory and I came in early this morning to run some extra tests on the new rats before the others - and maybe Tim? - got in. As I was making the rounds, Malory started screaming. I found her at one of the cages, pointing and screaming. The whole thing was filled with blood. Carlos’ body - or what was left of it - lay in one corner. In the other was a bloated version of Benni. I’m no expert, but it looks to me like Benni may have eaten Carlos. I’m so upset. I didn’t mean for this to happen. Poor Carlos, I shouldn’t have done that. I bet Dr. M would be excited, though. At least now he has some damn results. Though, what they mean, I don’t know. I don’t think Tim is coming back. April 5 I spent a long time on the phone with Molly and Colleen today. I didn’t really say much, just listened to them tell me about their day. Colleen is still Colleen; I don’t think she’ll ever change and I love that about her. She’s always been so strong and sure of what she wants, and she’s always been worried about me. She wants me to come out to San Francisco and stay with her. I almost took her up on it. Molly is pregnant. She and Thomas found out today. I wish I could be more excited than I am. All I can manage to feel is worry. Worry worry worry. I should have followed my instincts about this place. It’s wrong, it’s all wrong. Something awful is going to happen. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I went and saw Dr. M this morning, to report what had happened between Carlos and Benni - Benni has now begun to behave as Carlos had, it’s strange - and ask about Tim. But when I got to his office, his door was opened a crack and he was speaking to someone. They were talking about Tim, about how he was responding to something. The other man seemed to be concerned about the “rapid rate at which he is deteriorating”. Dr. M agreed, then said - and this is a direct quote - “the time has come to move to human trials.” I ran. I didn’t know what to do. I was so shocked by what I heard, so frightened that I wasn’t supposed to hear it that I ran. I sat in the cafeteria for hours and I talked to my girls. I wanted to tell them to run, to get out of the state, out of the country, but couldn’t. I didn’t want them thinking their ma was a crazy. That was probably a mistake, I don’t know. I’m not supposed to even be here. Human trials? Aside from Benni and Carlos, the injections have done nothing to the other rats. What on earth could be making him think its time to start testing humans? That doesn’t make sense. I wish Karl were here. I want to go home. April 8 Malory called in sick today, so I went in early alone. Thank God. Benni was dead in his cage; it looked like he had chewed off his own foot, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I think he may have eaten it. I don’t understand. He had plenty of food.

The other rats - the second wave - were all dead as well. Blood everywhere. I asked Jim when he came in if they’d been acting weird, he said no, just that they hadn’t been eating. They probably tried to eat eachother, like Benni. Odd, Carlos didn’t try to eat anyone, and the first wave of rats is still alive. Carlos didn’t start acting strange until he was separated from the others. I hated to do it, but I separated Agamemnon from the rest. We’ll see if this affects his behavior. If it does... Hell, I don’t know what it means. I think I just want a reason to stall human testing. This could be it. Fingers crossed. April 9 Agamemnon is acting as paranoid as Carlos now. He tried to bite me when I went to feed him. I don’t understand what it means, of course. Dammit. I wish Tim were here. Or Molly. Maybe I’ll call her tonight. April 10 I called Molly last night and tried to explain the situation as vaguely as possible. She said she didn’t know of anything official, but asked if maybe it was like the way she had been as a child when she was ill; she was okay when she was around the family but if she had to be alone while sick, she’d feel worse. She might be onto something. Agamemnon is still as paranoid as ever. Jim injected him with the rat blood today, just to see what’ll happen. Malory is still sick. I’m worried. April 11 Agamemnon and Malory are dead. Cause unknown for both. Agamemnon was in his cage. He hadn’t tried to chew anything off, but he was furless when I found him. I haven’t seen Malory; Dr. M gave us the news on her. We’ve segregated Algernon. If he’s paranoid tomorrow morning, we’re going to Dr. M. This stuff can’t be used on humans. April 12 More actors today. I don’t know where they’re going but I never see them leave. There are close to 70 here now, and I don’t know where they’re staying or why they’re here. Algernon was indeed paranoid today, but Dr. M wouldn’t meet with Jim about what he’d found. He’s going to inject Algernon with the rat blood mixture and film him over night. Maybe Dr. M will look at that. It’s strange, though. I understand why the rat blood injection would affect the second wave rats; it wasn’t their blood. But it is Algernon and Agamemnon’s... maybe that’s why it affected them the way it did. What is this stuff? I’m calling Molly again tonight. Maybe she and Colleen will be willing to go to San Diego for the week.

April 13 Algernon is dead. We found him in the same state as Agamemnon. Jim and I watched the video. We’ve both turned in our letters of resignation to Dr. M. I don’t know what this stuff is, but it can’t be used on humans. We’re leaving the video for Dr. M to watch, but we can’t stick around anymore. We’re getting out of Oakland. If this had anything to do with Tim and Malory’s deaths... I just need to get out of here. April 20 Got a call this morning, saying that a number of the lab workers from our wing had fallen ill. All of us needed to go back in for some tests. I didn’t want to; I don’t want anything to do with this organization anymore. But if there is a sickness, and if it has anything to do with what got Tim or Malory... Molly’s pregnant. I don’t want her to get anything. Colleen tried to talk me out of it. She said if I wasn’t feeling anything, I shouldn’t need to go in for tests. She’s got a point but... I keep thinking of Algernon and Agamemnon and what happened... better safe than sorry. When I arrived, Jim was waiting for me. He didn’t look well. They’d given him an injection, he said, and that I should avoid it at all costs. Tell them you’re fine, he said. Even if you have a tickle in your throat, tell them ou feel fine. Don’t get the injection. Dr. M seemed disappointed when he couldn’t give me the injection, but they’re keeping me over night for observations. I don’t want to stay here anymore... I don’t even feel like I can eat the food here. I’m worried about Jim. April 22 I had to eat something. I held out as long as I could, hoping they would let me go. Instead, they began to interpret my lack of food as a sign that I wasn’t feeling well. It was soup or an injection. I don’t feel good about it, but Jim said something interesting earlier; he said if they wanted to put something in my food, they could easily put it in what I’ve been drinking. I didn’t think that through, obviously. I’m not good at stuff like this. Speaking of Jim, he’s going down hill. Looking at him, you’d think he hasn’t eaten in months, but it’s only been a couple days. His skin is pale and his eyes have a weird color to them. There are some strange murmers going around, too. I can’t make sense of them, but I’ll keep my ear to the floor. Is that a saying? April 23 Tried to call Molly today. I don’t have any service. One of the orderlies saw me with my phone and had a fit; he took it away, and people came in a while later and took them away from everyone. I’m starting to feel like a prisoner. I’m also starting to feel sick. April 26

They’ve finally given me an injection and, while I don’t trust the stuff, its given me a break from vomiting. I’m certain there was something in the food... or maybe they’re right, maybe there’s just something in the air around here. Either way, I don’t feel safe. It’s nice to be able to breathe again, but I don’t know how long it’ll last. Looking at Jim, I’m not excited about how this is going to affect me. My ribs hurt from the vomiting, and I think I might have pulled something in my back. It was a bad few days. Once I could talk again, I requested to call my daughter. The woman I spoke to said she’d see what she could do, but... you know when you go to a hotel and ask at the front desk for more towels, and the receptionist looks at you with a smile that says “fuck you and fuck your life”? I got that vibe from this woman. I doubt she’ll do anything. I want to talk to my daughters. April 27 I don’t know what they gave me, but I feel great. The pain in my back and ribs is gone. I woke up this morning and went for a run. Three miles. I haven’t done that since college. Not even hungry. I tried to eat something at breakfast, but the smells in the cafeteria made my stomach roll. So I went for a run. I feel great now. I skipped lunch - it’s not all that mandatory but I’ll have to figure something out for dinner. They check roll at dinner, and if I don’t eat they may need to give me another injection. Maybe I’ll just get a salad. And some water. I’ve been super thirsty all day. It’s all I want. Water water water. Can’t get enough of it. God, I really feel great. April 27 (cont) I tried to eat something at dinner and threw it all up as soon as I got back to my room. I feel okay, it just... it was weird. I ate soup, that was it. Just some soup. But it sat in my stomach like... like a block of cement, and by the time I got back to my room, I just needed to purge. I’ll have to figure something out... I can make it okay on water alone, no doubt. At least for a while. Something like 20 days? I don’t know. I think Molly said that once. I wonder how she’s doing... I should see if I can get some more water before bed. April 28 Couldn’t sleep last night. Or I didn’t need to? I don’t know. I slept all this morning, but I’m back in the lab now. I snuck in here last night; the rats are all gone now, but I found some squirrels running in the garden. The samples we used to inject the rats are gone, too - no doubt Dr. M has taken them... God I hate him - but I have some notes in one of my previous journals. I’ll spend the rest of the night going over those... I’m not a scientist or anything but I feel really good about this. I think I can recreate the injections. I want to run some tests. I think I know what went wrong with the rats. April 29

Slept through the day again. I don’t know what it is, I just feel more comfortable at night. It’s easier to get around. I make an appearance at dinner - I’ve gotten so good at just moving my food around, I’m kind of proud of it - and then sneak out after room checks. It’s so easy. Everyone here is remarkably dull; I think they expect everyone to have the same reaction to the injections as Jim has. Come to think of it, they’re going to start wondering about me... I should start acting sick. I’ll talk to Jim tomorrow, see what his symptoms are. I hope it’s vomiting. A little make up and a bagel, and I’ll be golden. I’m going to get to work on the injection today. The squirrels are doing alright. I think I’m going to figure this out. April 30 Jim is dead. They found his body in his room this morning. Dr. M seemed mighty angry about it. He began to yell at the orderlies to hurry the fuck up. Seems like there’s another stage to all this injection business. I finished the injection last night, but I had to sneak back into my room before I could test it. I brought the squirrels with me, though. It might be safer to do the experiments in my room. I have them under the bed now; I’ll be injecting them soon. I have to move quickly. I don’t know why. May 1 They took blood from all of us today. They said it’s just to run a couple tests, but I know better. This is stage two. Luckily, the work with the squirrels is going well. They’re quiet in the day, like me. But at night they have a lot to say. I injected them last night and separated them into different cages. When they woke up this evening, they were paranoid and skittish. Perfect. I’m going to draw blood from them and try to immitate the altered injection that Tim had us make for the rats. I’ll then reinject them and go from there. I think this stuff... whatever it is... doesn’t affect animals at first. But it also adapts. The reinjection makes the animals susceptible. If I’m right... I worry for the rest of us. Jim and Tim and Malory have already proven that this stuff can affect humans on its own. I fear for the adapted version. Luckily, Dr. M didn’t listen to Jim and I the first time around, so he doesn’t have Tim’s notes. I do. My tests should go faster. Though I don’t know what I’ll do with the results. The rats give me pause, though. I keep thinking of Algernon and Agamemnon, how they were completely hairless when we found them. I sure hope that doesn’t happen to me. I like my hair. It’s such lovely red hair. May 3 Too much has happened. I shouldn’t have pretended to vomit so much. They hauled me in for another injection and... I can feel this one. No three mile runs for me. Not anymore. I’m just sleepy... and finally hungry again. And still thirsty. But it’s the hunger that gets me. The smells of the cafeteria seem even more volatile than before and when I tried to eat, I vomited again. Everything. And I’m still hungry. I don’t understand. This is rather worrisome.

The squirrels are dead. Hairless, just like the rats. I don’t understand. I held off writing this, thinking I’d be dead by today. But aside from hunger pains and feeling lethargic, there’s been no change in me. I don’t know who else has been injected, so I can’t speak for them. May 4 I’m not sneaking out tonight. I thought about going back to the lab and trying to get a few more supplies for some experiments. But there’s something in the hall. I don’t know what it is... I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s out there still, though, I can hear it. I think it smells the squirrels. I hope that’s what it wants. It moves so fast. It was at the end of the hall when I saw it; I was only a few steps out from my door and it ran me down. I barely got in here. Something else that bears noting: I’ve had a small headache all night. When I saw that thing... it was like I felt it before I saw it. My headache got worse. Way worse. It’s still pounding, even now. I wish it would go away... the headache and the thing outside. I just wish everything would go away. I wish I could hide under my blankets and make it go away, like when I was a child. Child... child... that makes me want to call someone. But who? I wish this headache would go away. May 8 Every night there are more of those things. Every morning I pull myself out of bed to see how many prisoners we have left. Every time, there are less. I think I know what’s going on, but my head hurts. I can’t think. May 11 I call us prisoners now. I’ve requested to call my daughters a number of times and every time, I’m denied. I’m not allowed to go home, even though I’m not the least bit ill... at least so far as they can tell. People are just disappearing and every night there are more of those things. They’re letting us watch tv now. I don’t know why I’m taking notes in real time, I just have a feeling. I’ve had a lot of those lately. It’s just some show. I don’t know... wait. Here we go. Breaking news. Female anchor. She looks... upset. And familiar. Maybe I’ve seen her on a news program before, I don’t know, I’m too tired to think. There’s a disease, cantagion. No. It’s on the screen now. Can-tagion. That’s how they’re spelling it. Contagious cancer. How clever. Stay indoors. Wash your hands. Eat only canned foods. Well that’s all fine and dandy if you have canned foods. There’s more. Airborne. Stay indoors. What’s next? Don’t breathe? This is ridiculous. And it feels... fake. I wish I could call my daughters. Something tells me they aren’t seeing the same thing. They’re ushering us back to our rooms now. Better put this away. I’m starting to think they shouldn’t see it. May 12

She was one of the actors. The news anchor, that’s why she looked familiar. She was one of the actresses Dr. M brought in a couple months ago. I thought something was fishy about that news cast. I’ve stopped getting up so early. I’m tired all the time, and it doesn’t help that I’m forcing myself to stay awake just to see what I already know: there are less and less prisoners every day, and more and more of those things at night. Would it be presumptious to draw a connection? We don’t have group meal times anymore. They bring the cans to the door. Leave them. Two knocks. Wait thirty seconds. Collect the food. Cans that aren’t collected become meals for those things. I don’t collect the food. There’s no point. I can’t eat anything anymore. And I am still so hungry. May 15 My hair started falling out today. May 18 They’ve ushered us into the viewing room again. I’m going to assume there will be more breaking news. But first, I have to stay awake through another piss poor attempt at viewing. How irritating. Everything is irritating these days. Those things are growing in numbers and my headache is almost constant. There are only about twelve of us in here today. My, how things have changed. And honeslty, if there is another breaking news segment, it’ll say a lot about the people that run this place. What they’re doing... these aren’t experiments, not entirely. They don’t expect us to live. Or they think we’re all that stupid. Maybe we are. After all, we took this job. Here it is. They’ve a cure! Now they’re instructing everyone to visit their local hospitals for injection. I feel like I should say something. But I won’t. It’s fucked. It’s all fucked. I give up. I just want this headache to stop. May 25 Something’s wrong with the vaccine. No spontaneous news bulletin for this one. I overheard the orderlies as they dropped off the food. People are eating their families. Their vaccine is different than what I was injected with, I’m sure... it has to be. But... I’m just so hungry. May 26 Something happened this morning. I don’t know what it was. I slept through the whole damn thing. I got up tonight feeling better than I have in a while. No headache. I thought about going for a walk, but when I left the room... this place is a mess. Something got out. I fear for this city. I’m going to make a call. May 27

Molly and Colleen want me to come to San Francisco and stay with them again. I’d love to; I want to see my family, but I think that ship has sailed. Whatever this is, I have it. It’s slow... slower than they expected and somehow different, but I’ve got it for sure. Neither of my girls have heard of it, however. Which is as I feared; this whole thing was just a big social experiment. The news broadcasts, the jobs... it was all a fake. I don’t know what they were hoping to achieve, but things went wrong. Things got out. I hope my girls are safe in San Francisco. I hope they can at least contain it in the city. This is going to be my last entry, I think. I’m going to lie low, try and fight whatever this is. Find out more about it. This would be easier if I knew what to look for, but maybe it’ll be like the squirrels. I knew what to do with the squirrels. Maybe I’ll know what to do here. Maybe that’s what this does... maybe. Maybe. ?????????? god haf mersee on this werld. wut wuz creeayted heer is not uv this werld. dogtor m creeayted deemunz. beefor thay wer gust mawnsturs. they ayt and they screemed and they wer diffrent. now they r deemunz. Shee iz a deemun. i no now. y i dint chaynj lyk the uthers. its the saym that mayks her deemun. but aym chaynjing now. aym sendeen this too may gurls. too worn them. hur naym is ay jay huck. shee will deestroy the werld. i luv u molee. i luv u cawleen. i luv u awl. -----Tory Helmkamp

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