We’ve already seen how the Biowarriors deal with pathogens as they’ve worked to destroy the Combine’s virus in Alex’s body. But what about other, historical diseases? How would the Biowarriors fare? Let’s take a look at the disease with the largest human toll in history, the Bubonic Plague, and how the Biowarriors would respond if Alex were infected.
The Black Plague
Spread by rats carrying infected fleas, the Black Plague results in an infection of the lymphatic system, usually from a bite. Very rarely, the bacteria may infect a person though inhalation of another human’s cough. Because ships, docks, and warehouses were infested with rats, it was usually the working class who became infected and spread the illness into the city. Because of this, there was a rising demand for labor during both significant outbreaks, which resulted in huge economic milestones, literally changing the course of history.
The Black Plague first spread through the Mediterranean in 542 during the Roman Empire. It was called The Plague of Justinian after emperor Justinian I, who was infected but recovered through extended treatment. In this first outbreak, it’s estimated that the disease killed over 50 million Romans and more as it worked its way though Asia Minor and west into Greece and Italy. Procopius, in his book, The Secret History, blamed emperor Justinian for the plague, claiming that he was a demon who created it himself.
The second and most famous outbreak occurred in the late Middle Ages, arriving in 1347 and killing a third of the entire human population. This was the deadliest outbreak in human history, and as the disease cheapened life, it resulted in warfare, looting, theft, and revolt. The Black Plague began when the Mongols attacked Italian merchant ships in the Crimea. They had to dock and defend themselves, and when spring came, they unknowingly carried the Black Plague from the Mongols into Europe, killing hundreds of thousands.
The Black Plague vs. The Biowarriors
As soon as the flea bites Alex, Alpha-1 sounds the alert. He’s never seen this type of illness before, and immediately recognizes its presence in the blood stream. Calling up the troops, Blastor, Cid, Nero, and Sensurian head out to the point of infection. Sensuiran, with her lightning-quick speed, arrives first. Because the plague immediately attacks the messenger cells, the bacteria overwhelms her, cutting off her signal the troops.
With Sensurian down, Nero takes her place, but the bacteria has traveled. It’s no longer at the point of the bite. He shoots down the central nervous system looking for a signal. Finally, he finds them in the gut. They’ve taken over the stomach and moved through the fat to infect Alex’s entire midriff. By this point, he’s coughing and feels ill. He never felt the bite, and isn’t sure what’s happening to him. Nero sends a signal back to the Council of the Mind, and Alpha-1 reorganizes the troops, sending them hurtling toward the battlefield.
In the stomach is where the battle begins. If they don’t stop the plague bacteria now, it will travel into the blood stream where it will multiply and travel throughout the rest of Alex’s body. If this happens, the Biowarriors lose.
Blastor arrives on the scene. He’s the commander, and leads his troops behind him. Flanking the bacteria up from the intestines are Cid, Neutralizer, Scathe, Phagien, Syrinx. Blastor goes to work, annihilating the bacterium with his cannons. He fires toward the groups of bacteria clinging to the stomach wall, incinerating and crippling them.
Cid and Syrinx, working as the silent assassins, pick off the bacteria as it attempts to travel down through the intestine or through the cell walls. They’ve contained the Black Plague in the confines of Alex’s stomach, a pivotal moment in the battle. There’s nowhere for it to escape, as long as the Biowarriors aren’t overwhelmed.
Acid pops and flies through the stomach, coating the Biowarriors. They’re knee-deep in the marsh, firing their weapons at the multiplying bacteria with seemingly little effect. There are just too many of them. That’s when Neutralizer, Scathe, and Phagien come in.
Neutralizer flies through, covering huge swaths of the bacteria with his cloak, and releasing his acidic enzymes. They melt away and disintegrate into the stomach fluid, no longer a threat. Scathe swells to ten size his size and strength, smashing the bacteria and lacerating it in waves with his tentacles. Beside him, Phagien does the same, and together they beat the intruders into the wall of the stomach, smashing them into a pulp.
The smog of battle clears, and the bacteria are dead. There’s a silence on the battlefield that hangs heavier than the sound of fighting. Blastor takes a look around the stomach and realizes Sensurian is gone. He flies off, traveling back to the point of infection, where he finds her crumpled body. She’s breathing, but not well. Picking her up, he travels up the central nervous system and into the brain to the Council of the Mind. Lying her on the grand table, they gather around her, breathing life back into her and healing her wounds.
She’ll be okay, they tell Blastor. But he’s not going anywhere until she makes a full recovery.