The Virus – By Josephine Ryer, Denmark

What became known as ‘the virus’ started out life as a top-secret experiment funded by the world leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology organisation, Pandorex. Attempting to create a breakthrough drug that would reverse the process of aging, all of Pandorex’s resources were pushed towards the in-depth research and scientists working on the project. Danni’s father was among one of the leading researchers.

Pandorex housed their key research and equipment at a secret laboratory located on the remote Hope Island. This laboratory was secured by a high tech security system of land mines, alarms, and electric fences.

No matter what, Pandorex were determined to create this groundbreaking drug first, and wanted to protect it at all costs. However, no one was prepared for the terrifying results…

Instead of reversing the aging process, the virus worked in the complete opposite, accelerating cell decay, liver damage, sickness and the immune system, so that the body would turn old and worn – eventually leading to death. And there was no way of stopping it, the virus spread like wildfire, affecting all adults over a certain age. The symptoms of the virus and their effects were acute. First the aches of both the head and body, then the skin would turn frail and wrinkly, the hair would lose it’s colouring and turn grey, and continuous sickness would take hold.

Hastily attempting to create an antidote to the virus that they had unleashed, Pandorex tried in vain to reproduce the contents of the formula. Small batches of the antidote were sent off to all the major cities, however there simply wasn’t enough time to both manufacture and distribute it.

An emergency news broadcast was sent out to the entire city, detailing plans for the evacuation, however all the adults died before the antidote ever became public knowledge.

During the latter stages of the virus, the President pre-recorded a special presidential broadcast. On this transmission the president outlined to the city that the virus descended from a passing comet. However, after the transmission ended, the tape continues (though the picture is blanked out) giving the Mallrats the first hints of a cover-up; and eventually leading to them discovering the true origins of the deadly virus.

Some time after the initial virus had swept through the entire globe, wiping out the adult population, the deadly plague re-appeared, mutating into a new more potent strand. Whereas the last strand of the virus could only infect an adult, this new mutating strand could attack the immune systems of the surviving children.

Piecing together the strands of information that they had collected, Amber, Bray, Lex, Dal, and Bob set off on a lone journey to the mysterious Hope Island where they eventually discovered several test vials of the antidote. However, after getting them back to the mall, the group had to give up the vials to Ebony after the Locos helped them defeat both Tribe Circus and rescue KC.

With the antidotes in her possession, Ebony began to test them on an infected Lex who was being held captive in her hotel. This also saw their end, as the remaining vials were poured into the pool, in a fit of rage by Lex.

Forced to leave the city in search of more of the antidote, the Mallrats set off on a journey to Eagle Mountain. It is here that they found the clues that were needed in order to find the batch of antidote that was kept within the city … and also the secret formula.

A power struggle soon ensued with the members of the Mallrats who knew, with those who didn’t, and themselves as a whole with the city itself. However, with enough doses the antidote seemed to have a potent lasting effect, and no more doses were ever needed.

The second wave of the virus had been driven completely out.

For a long time, no other viral or biological disaster would befall the City. With the arrival of the Chosen, and later the Technos, all attention was turned towards freeing the City and recovering lost friends. However, working secretly in a secure laboratory in Ram’s Palace, Mega began to construct a new virus that had the potential to wipe out everyone, and spread through the entire City.

As Ram’s A.I (Artificial Intelligence) program took control of all vital Techno and City systems, the unleashing of this new untested virus was imminent. Sounding an evacuation, the Mallrats struggled to both stop the A.I, and somehow get everyone to safety. The former however proved futile, as Mega sacrificed his own life to stop Ram’s creation. With no other option but to flee, the Mallrats acquired a small boat, and quickly set off to sea. Mega’s virus soon exploded, and engulfed the City centre.

The Mallrats now had no choice but to look towards the open sea. Their home was gone, and treasured friends were still missing, but they would always keep alight a faint spark of hope. And who knows what the future now holds in store…