The scene spread out in front of us was a myriad of bodies all bustling around the immense hall. There was just so much going on. My eyes, that were mere hours ago unable to do anything, now flashed around trying to take as much in as possible. Men and women alike darted from place to place. Some carried rifles and some sported swords. Still more were carrying large heavy crates that showed the rather ominous biohazard symbol on the side. There was even what looked like a group of people dressed in space suits.
I turned to see the lieutenant smiling at the look of awe that had crept onto my face.
"Quite impressive isn't it." he chuckled. I just stood there staring around, mouth hanging open. The lieutenant started off through the crowd and I hobbled after him. We pushed our way through the crowd until we reached a tramline with little carts that hummed back and forth across the room and through tunnels set into the walls. There we hitched a ride on a cart heading to the far side of the cavernous hall.
"Where are we going lieutenant?" I inquired.
"Please, call me Phil!" he replied "We're heading to the labs there is someone you need to meet." And so we sat in silence for a while as the cart hummed its way along the dark tunnel. After what seemed an age we emerged from the stone shaft into a blaze of light. Blinking my eyes rapidly to clear them, I stared around. Surrounding me were hundreds of people wearing lab coats. We got off the tram and walked down the hall towards the far end of the corridor. We Phil pushed through the doors and held them open for me. I hobbled in after him and scanned the room. The two men who stood inside turned to greet us as we entered. One was wearing a white lab coat which clashed terribly with his flame red hair. He was tall and thin, with pale skin and ice cold blue eyes which seemed to cut right through me. The second man could not have been more different. He was short, stubby even, with grey hair that he wore short with a scraggly beard. His eyes were also blue but they looked around with the tired indifference of a person who had been through a lot of suffering. He wore the same green fatigues as the man in the entrance had, but his were adorned with a myriad of badges and colours.
"Thank you Lieutenant. You are dismissed!" the shorter man told Phil who snapped a crisp salute and exited the room. Then turning to me he said, "Welcome Mr Butcher. We haven't much time so I'll get to the point. My name is General Harold Meatherow and this is my colleague Dr Darius Fenchurch. We have a proposition for you!"
"What is it?" I inquired.
"Well, when your blood was tested at the hospital they ran across some anomalous results that they dismissed as computer fault. However the truth is far more interesting." Dr Fenchurch began, "You are familiar with certain diseases being able to affect a person's DNA sequencing. One of these diseases causes a small part of a person's DNA not to develop at all, leaving a resultant gap in their genetic code. This disease is one of the rarest known to man and can only be treated with a certain form of DNA grafting. We regret to inform you that this is what the hospital found in your blood." Feeling the blood rushing away from my face I clutched at my crutches to prevent myself from toppling over from shock.
"You needn't worry. We have the facilities to cure you right here. However there is one small hiccup. We cannot graft human DNA into your body. The only form of DNA we are able to perform this procedure with is Avian." Fenchurch continued, completely oblivious to my now pale face and unbalanced stance. "In theory this is easy. The only problem is the chance that your body will reject the sample."
"What will happen to me if it does reject the graft?" I asked, my throat dry as bone.
"I'm afraid you'll most likely die!" came the predictable reply.
"And if I don't go through with the grafting procedure?"
"Then you will slip into a brain-dead state where you will be unable to do anything at all"
"So you're basically giving me a choice between having a one hundred per cent chance of being a brain-dead vegetable or a ridiculously slim chance of behind part bird!" I said to him.
"To put it crudely yes!" Fenchurch replied.
"What the hell are we waiting for then? I'd rather be dead than a vegetable!" I exclaimed.
"That's the spirit! C'mon doctor let's get the lad fixed up!" The General cried.
"Very well! If you'll follow me Mr Butcher." Dr Fenchurch led me through the white door at the end of the room and through into an operating room. I lay on the cold metal of the bed and was strapped down. A man wearing full surgical gear swabbed the back of my hand with a swab and I caught the stench of alcohol. The need le barely stung as it slid into my flesh and a moment later I was sinking into unconsciousness once more.