July 8, 2016
189. PATIENT ZERO
Somewhere in the US, unspecified (Core Reality); Late 21st century
Power Rating: 1 – 100
POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS
Patient Zero has no natural hyper-abilities. She is extremely intelligent – or at least at one time she was…
As Bridgette Day, a high-ranking official in the Department of Homeland Security, became more and more involved in her mission to stop Knox Hyde and Project INTEL, the controversial government surveillance program he had begun to implement, she received a USB drive from the Alpha Initiative hero squad, which allowed her to remotely hack Hyde’s computer. In the files she found a folder titled “Patient Zero.” As she opened the file, she became immersed in the contents. Before her eyes were all the details of Knox Hyde’s first human test subject in the INTEL program.
WEIGHT: 119 lbs.
This individual was the basis of all the project’s research. Unfortunately, there were no details about the individual, other than a few bits of information she was able to extract, by reading documents, and listening to audio recordings. The patient was of Honduran descent, born in the US. She had no listed known friends or professional associates, but she was said to have been a scientist for a secret organization, which was left unnamed. In addition, the woman had been captured during an operation where the FBI raided an illegal hyper-serum drug circuit.
The file indicated that “Patient Zero” was the lead scientist of the underground laboratory, and unlike the majority of her peers in the underworld, who created subpar, or wholly ineffective hyper-serums, this woman’s work was 99.9% safe and effective. She was a bona fide genius, and she was at the forefront of the criminal hyper-serum market. It was no wonder Knox wanted her for INTEL. So, he placed a request with the FBI to have her transferred to his custody for research, to improve Homeland Security’s fight against the domestic threat of scientific and intellectual terror. Then, after reading this, Bridgette stumbled upon some video recordings as well.
She played the visual file labeled “Day One”, and sat back in preparation for some disturbing things. However, it was only Knox interrogating the woman. For hours, he sat questioning her about her scientific methods, her serums, and who she worked with. Patient Zero was a brick wall, though. She gave Knox nothing. This endeared her to Bridgette, who murmured to herself a “you-go-girl” chant, as she continued to defy Knox’s annoying and abrasive line of questioning. After a few more moments, the video ended. Bridgette moved to the next visual file.
As soon as it began, Knox was seen standing behind a woman dressed in black. She was beating Patient Zero. Relentlessly. Blood streamed down the captive’s face, and she remained slumped over in her chair. Nevertheless, she still refused to talk. Bridgette squinted her eyes, and gritted her teeth at the sight of the violent interrogation. Knox yelled between beatings for Patient Zero to give up the information he wanted. With a steel resolve, the captive remained silent. That was the end of the second video.
For quite some time, Bridgette continued to watch footage of Patient Zero getting interrogated. Not all of it was violent, but when it was, it was torturous. The captive never gave up a single piece of information. That was, until the 23rd visual file, for this was when Knox raised the stakes. The INTEL program scientists had implanted the first version of the intellicap technology into Patient Zero’s brain – it was designed to monitor and inhibit intellectual activity, especially the parts of the brain that facilitated hyper-serum development. It was the crux of Project INTEL. After Patient Zero had recovered from the surgery, Knox revealed to her that he was aware of another piece of information about her past – they had discovered she had a daughter. They apprehended her, and brought her into the interrogation center. Then, Knox left Patient Zero in a room with her daughter.
The 19-year-old girl cried in fear. She did not know what was going on, and all she could tell her mom was the agents who picked her up said if her mom did not cooperate, they would have her expelled from Platinum City University, and evicted from her apartment. Furthermore, they would seize her bank account, repo her car, and leave her homeless on the streets. Oh, she also was told if her mother still did not comply after that, they could not prevent something from “happening” to her, as the streets of Platinum City can be an unforgiving place for young women.
Patient Zero was furious. Tears of rage streamed down her face. She had been making illegal hyper-serums because the government lab she worked in initially was closed down due to budget cuts, and it was the only way she could think of to make big money fast, in order to pay for her daughter to go to college. The government had let her down first, and then they arrested her, before torturing her and threatening her daughter. She wanted to continue to defy them with every ounce of strength in her body and willpower in her soul, but they had finally broken her. She had no choice. She had to cooperate, for the sake of her daughter’s safety and future. Thus, once they removed her daughter, she told Knox she would go along with what he wanted.
The next dozen or so visual files were recordings of Patient Zero performing her magic. She was brilliant in designing, mixing, and manufacturing hyper-serums. Her scientific genius was incredible. When other scientists were only able to produce hyper-serums that resulted in completely undetermined powers, anywhere from 17%-43% of the time, Patient Zero was able to customize each serum to produce a desired power, with virtually 100% success. The only other known scientist in the whole world who could rival her was Vic Carnel, who, by the way, was also listed as a target of Knox Hyde in the files.
As Patient Zero worked, the intellicap mapped her entire brain, recording all of its functionality in relation to the specific regions that were used for scientific creation, as well as the function of general advanced intelligence. The data was transferred to INTEL servers, where it was analyzed down to the most minute detail. This information was then used to upgrade the intellicap numerous times, as Knox’s team continued to perfect the technology. Finally, when they decided they were ready to move on to the next phase, they implanted the updated version of the intellicap into Patient Zero’s brain.
Next, they instructed her to create more hyper-serums. However, this time, they programmed the intellicap to block the brain functionality needed to do so. Patient Zero stood still, staring off into space, confused. She knew she possessed the ability and knowledge to make it, but she could not bring her brain to recall how. That was when it dawned on her – Knox had successfully developed a method to restrict intelligence. Her days of scientific brilliance were over, and not only was she at the mercy of the US government, but she also played a hand at endangering all the other genius minds in the world. She just stood there, staring blankly, her frustration precipitously falling into deep depression, as Knox laughed maniacally at the groundbreaking success he’d achieved.