Title: Flash Fiction #17
Fandom: The Walking Dead
Word Count: 956
Characters: Dr. Judith Warren-Jenner, Dr. Edwin Jenner
Author’s Note: corellian_sugar requested a fic about TS-19 – this is the first part of that. She was never named in the show and I know who Judith is in the comics but she really liked this name – it felt right, so I’m going with it. This is part one of at least two; this part sets up the rest. No one knows (or has said) how all this started; this is just one idea of how the virus that created the walkers came to be. Dr. Jenner said that it had been 194 days since Wildfire was declared - roughly 6 months. That's what I'm basing my timeline on. The G.K.E. virus is why they’re called “geeks.” I have very little medical experience & no scientific background but I hope this works and makes sense.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the characters from The Walking Dead – I just like to take them out and play with them from time to time. This is unbeta’d and unedited – all mistakes are my own. If you see anything that needs correction, please let me know! Concrit is always welcome!
[Roughly six months ago]
Dr. Judith Warren-Jenner walked into the conference room, gratified to see that most of her colleagues were able to step away from their work to attend the meeting. As she strode to the head of the conference table, she shared a private smile with her husband, Edwin. He’d known something big was going on but, to his credit, he respected that she was unable to share details until the meeting today. She could tell that he desperately wanted to know, and she loved him all the more because he resisted the urge to even ask. As she walked past him, she brushed her hand across the back of his shoulders, trying to communicate through her touch just how much she loved and appreciated him.
Judith settled her briefcase on the table in front of her and cleared her throat, signaling to everyone that the meeting was about to begin and all conversations should cease. “I want to thank you all for taking time away from your important work to attend this meeting today. I think that, when you hear what I have to say, you’ll agree that the best and brightest minds of the CDC will be required and that cooperation will be essential.”
She motioned to her assistant, stationed at the back of the room, and he began handing out packets of information to the scientists as Judith continued. “I’m sure that most of you have at least heard of the G.K.E. virus. For those of you that haven’t, the G.K.E. virus is a strain of mutable virus that was rumored to be in development for use in biochemical warfare. It was to be used in liquid and gas form. Unfortunately, as many of us feared, the scientists working on this virus were successful. They developed the virus and were in the process of testing its effects when the virus was stolen and apparently released. The worst part of this is that neither a cure nor a vaccine had been developed before the virus was stolen.”
Murmurs of shock and dismay broke out through the room. Judith raised her hands, signaling for quiet. “I understand how you feel. This is the medical community’s worst nightmare: a rabid strain of virus with unpredictable effects and no cure or vaccine set loose among an unsuspecting populace. However, this is where we come in. We, along with our European, African, and Australian counterparts, have been sent as much information as possible, along with the original development notes. We have been charged with the monumental task of not only recreating the virus itself, but creating a cure and vaccine against the virus.”
Judith paused for breath and looked around the room. Every eye in the room was trained on her; she saw her own fear, distress, determination mirrored in the faces looking back at her. She took a deep breath and continued.
“You have your packets of information and your directives. My office will be open to any of you should you have questions, comments, or concerns. I don’t believe I need to stress to you how important it is that we complete these objectives as quickly as possible. You’ll have unlimited access to any of our labs and equipment, as well as the full cooperation of our European, African, and Australian colleagues.
We must find a cure. We must find one soon. I know that most of you already have highly important projects on your plate. I urge you to pass these off to members of your teams so that work can continue on those as well as the G.K.E. projects.
As of 13:00 today, the CDC’s Center for Global Health has declared a state of Wildfire. I don’t have to tell you what that means. Ladies and gentlemen, good luck.”
With that statement, Judith picked up her briefcase and quickly left the room as her colleagues broke into conversation, discussing how something like this could happen as well as various theories on how to combat the G.K.E. virus. She was gratified to see everyone stirring to action, rather than giving in to panic and fear. The G.K.E. virus was terrifying, and the fact that it was loose…
Judith walked into her office and stopped short; Edwin had beaten her there somehow. He sat behind her desk, leafing through his copy of the G.K.E. paperwork. When she came in, he stood and walked to her, taking her in his arms. “Judith, are you ok?” He held her tight, stroking her back and willing her to let go of the tension she’d been holding for days. “Honey, I wish you’d been able to tell me about this. I hate the thought of you bearing this burden on your own.”
Judith laughed weakly. “It’s what I do. Director of the CDC isn’t all fun and games.” Looking up at him, she allowed her brave mask to crumple just a bit. “Edwin, I’m terrified. Seeing what this virus can do… it’s been released already. We’re so far behind and we have to completely rework the virus and find a cure. It feels impossible.”
Edwin gently squeezed her shoulders as he looked her in the eye. “But we have one thing they didn’t have.” At her questioning look, he smiled and said, “We’ve got you. You’re the most brilliant scientist I’ve ever met. If anyone can figure this out, it’s you. Okay? Now let’s get to work, Dr. Jenner. We’ve got a world to save.”
Judith smiled, feeling confident for the first time since she’d gotten news of the G.K.E. virus. Taking her husband’s hand, she scooped up her lab coat and her badge and turned to walk out the door. “Dr. Jenner, let’s go work our magic.”