Professor Malcolm Biederman had been monitoring the news all week. First the reporters talked about the avian flu: how San Lazaro had been unusually badly affected; how various vaccines were failing to contain the spread. Then it was all about how the airports were shutting down and the military was taking control of the city.
A lot can change in a month. San Lazaro was a modern, attractive city, popular for its West Coast location and diverse population. But the winter of 2050 was unusually mild; a perfect breeding ground for the latest bout of avian flu. Parts of Asia and Europe had already been struck and now the virus had reached the United States. When the first cases emerged, the media termed the event Day 0. The virus mutated rapidly. Even the elite team of scientists sent to deal with the outbreak were helpless, unable to make any progress in finding a cure.