The Manehatten Virus Chapter Six: The Common Angel of Death
Thirty Two Days After the Outbreak
"As of today the H5N1 virus has claimed one point five million lives and has infected over two million ponies. In other news the EDC has just announced that their initial assumptions on how long the pandemic would last were wrong. They thought that like all pandemics this one would run its course in ninety days. Now here to explain this is Dr. David Maneston." The camera panned over to show a dark furred pony wearing a face mask. "Now doctor why has the EDC changed their mind?" asked the reporter. "Well," began the doctor, "previously all pandemics have only ninety days before they began to plateau, but with avian flu this is completely different." "Why is that?" "Well the reason all pandemics burn out in ninety days is because it's infected so many ponies that the more ponies have immunity than those that don't. Well this is a problem with avian flu, because of its high mortality rate. To put it simply it's killing at such an alarming rate that nearly everypony who catches it dies, and the key to gaining immunity is to get infected and live." "But that's not happening." "I'm afraid not. With the viruses' current mortality rate we expect avian flu won't plateau after a certain day, but after a certain number of ponies are dead." "So how many is that?" "From what we can tell around forty to sixty percent of the population would need to have immunity. And since it kills seventy percent of those infected we expect the number of dead to be around two point nine billion to four point five billion." The shock on the reporters face was clear. "So in order to have forty percent of the population with immunity over three billion would have to die?" "That is correct. Yes. However the pandemic wouldn't be over. It would just stop progressing. It could go on for six months or more after it peaks. So the total loss of life could be somewhere around four point five billion, or sixty four percent of the population. " "So almost two out of three are going to die?" "Yes, that is correct." "So how long will it take for the pandemic to peak?" asked the reporter. "Around one hundred fifty days until it peaks and one hundred eighty to two hundred fifty until it ends all together. But we expect to have a vaccine in ninety days. Hopefully it won't mutate before then." "Mutate?" "That's when the virus has a few of its genes manipulated by coming in contact with another virus or by shifting over time. It's the reason why we need a new flu vaccine every year. Basically if it mutates we'd have to start over on all of our vaccine research, because in a way it's a different virus; a slightly different virus, but none the less different." "So how do you think the people will react if your worst case scenario comes true?" "I'm not a psychologist I study viruses, but I would expect riots, mass looting, murder, rape, martial law, quarantines maintained with lethal force, closed hospitals, detainment without cause, and millions upon millions of unburied bodies. After a while the virus will be the least of our worries." "Closed hospitals? How can they do that?" asked the reporter. "Well we have a limited supply of antiviral drugs and we'll quickly run out of Tamiflu, which is the only treatment of H5N1. Plus the hospitals are only built to hold a few thousand ponies at the most. They could never handle two thirds of every city needing to be put in ICU."
Twilight was adjusting her dress when Spike walked into the room. It was plain, black, and made of a silk-like fabric. She looked over at him and turned off the television with a glow of her horn.
Spike was wearing a small suit with a red bow tie. The tie wasn't exactly fitting, due to its bright shade, but it was the only one he had. The young dragon looked up at Twilight and thought she looked rather nice, and then he remembered what they were dressed up for.
Twilight's ears perked up slightly, when she heard something. There was the sound of hoofsteps coming down the stairs. The two looked in the direction of the sound to see Rainbow Dash, who was still staying with them. She had on a black dress, as well, with lace along the edges. "I'm ready," she said in a hushed, emotionless, tone. "I am too," replied Twilight. The lavender unicorn then looked down at the little dragon and asked "What about you?" "Me too."
Rainbow Dash walked over to a small table, by the door and picked up a white face mask. She lifted it up to her snout and put the loops over her ears. Twilight and Spike did the same. "Ok let's go," Twilight said to the two. The lavender unicorn slowly extended her hoof and opened the door. The cool air instantly hit everypony's face. Twilight stepped out of the library and began towards the town church. Spike locked the door and closed it behind them.
The three slowly trotted down the streets of Ponyville, with Rainbow Dash and Spike walked on each side of Twilight. No one spoke; no one wanted to.
"Get off of me!" shouted a blue furred pony, who was being arrested. The three just ignored it and continued walking. Several ponies were out in the streets trying to get whatever they may need; however most didn't acquire them legally. Suddenly a pony darted out in front of them; she was carrying a television. "Hey!" shouted an officer. "Just ignore it," Twilight quietly said to her two friends.
As the three continued down the path they saw where the mare had taken the television from. There was an electronics store with the front window shattered. Glass covered the streets in front of it. "We're almost there," Twilight quietly assured them.
The church was finally coming into view. There were several ponies gathered around it. There would have been more, but some were sick, some were scared, and many were dead. After all Pinkie Pie did know everypony in town. Everypony loved her. Twilight knew it was going to be hard to say good bye. Pinkie was such a lovable pony. She had always found a way to put a smile on her face. This thought made Twilight's heart sink like a rock. She felt as if she was going to break down at the doors of the church.
Suddenly Twilight felt a hoof on her shoulder. She looked over to see Rainbow Dash looking at her with the same expression. Twilight quickly wrapped her hooves around Rainbow Dash's neck and brought her into an embrace. They both began to cry.
Spike just looked at them. He didn't feel anything for Pinkie. It just hadn't hit him yet, that she was really gone.
Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, princess Celestia walked up to the three of them. "Hello Twilight," she said sadly. Twilight and Rainbow Dash instantly broke their embrace and looked up at her with tearful eyes. Her majestic mane waved in the windless air, as always, and her eyes were just as tearful as hers, but there was one thing different about her; she was wearing a N100 respirator.
Twilight quickly began wiping her tears away as she looked up at her. Rainbow dash, who was still crying slightly, began to bow. "No," Celestia said sternly, trying to hold back one emotion with another. "Don't bow. Not now." Rainbow Dash lifted her head up and began wiping away her tears.
"Princess Celestia, I thought you were busy in Canterlot," said Twilight. "I was, but I told them any papers that need to be signed they could do it themselves. This was far more important." "As did I," said another familiar voice. Princes Luna, who was wearing a mask as well, stepped out from behind her sister and said "I wish I could see thou on better terms, but I feel as though I needed to see thigh Pinkie one final time." "Of course," replied Twilight. "Perhaps we should go inside," suggested princess Celestia, as she gestured a foreleg forward. The lavender unicorn sniffled slightly and replied "Yes, we probably should."
The church was full of ponies. It took Twilight a minute before she finally saw one of her best friends. It was Applejack. She was sitting at the front of the room with her head hung and a tissue in her hoof. "Over here," said Twilight, as she jerked her head in her friend's direction. She, and the rest of the group, began to trot towards her.
Twilight rested a hoof on Applejack's shoulder, which caused the tan pony to look up at her. Her fur was soaked with tears; the rest was covered with a surgical mask. "Hey AJ. How are you holding up?" She looked back down and answered "I don't know." Twilight sat down next to her and said "Hey, it's going to be ok." "God Twilight I love your optimism. Keep that lie alive ya here." Twilight was a little shocked at her friend's words. "W-What?" she asked. "We're all gonna die Twi. Open your eyes. This is it." "Applejack, no. Don't say that." "Pinkie was just the first of us. But rest assured that the reaper will come to each of our homes. Except he won't be dressed in black; the angel of death shall wear white. Your friends are the cause of your demise Twilight. So it's time to loosen your, false, grip on what you hold dear. Friendship is dead!" The tone of Applejack's words caused a few ponies to look at her, including Rainbow Dash and Princess Celestia. "Are you ok?" asked Twilight as she placed a hoof onto her friend's shoulder. "Don't you touch me!" she shouted. A few more ponies cast their gaze in the their direction. "Applejack it's ok." The tan furred pony quickly slapped Twilight's hoof off of her shoulder. "I said don't touch me!" "Uh Applejack," began Rainbow Dash, who was sitting next to Twilight, "Are you ok?" Applejack didn't reply; she just seemed to look straight through her friend.
The tan furred mare's eyes began to roll back. Then suddenly she fell to the floor. "Oh my god!" shouted Twilight. "Somepony call nine one one!" screamed Rainbow Dash. Twilight knelt down by her friend and laid the back of her hoof onto her forehead. It was at least one hundred six degrees and soaked in sweat. "She's burning up!" Princes Celestia and Luna walked over to the mare not exactly knowing what to do. "They said that they could get an ambulance here in thirty minutes!" called a voice from the back of the room. Just then, Applejack's head began to jerk back and forth and her legs kicked and spasm. "She's having a seizer!" yelled princess Celestia, in a fearful voice. Twilight rested her hoof behind Applejack's head, so she wouldn't hit it on anything. As she held her white foam, with some red mixed in with it, began to ooze out of Applejack's mouth. "We don't have thirty minutes!"