Lost Humanity: Trans Atlantic

Stephen W. Griffin By Stephen W. Griffin, 22nd Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

This originally had been meant to be only one section of the next chapter, Broken Lines, but it carried on for eleven pages, until finally I decided to release this as its own chapter. It's shorter than the others, I think, but still a hefty read.

Heathrow International Airport, England UK 9:30 AM, GMT, April 4

Lieutenant Jonathan Baker looked at his brother and superior officer, Captain Sean Baker, with worry from across the passenger section of the helicopter. They'd all heard that there was some sort of crash at the airport, and that the fire had been put out, but then word got out about riots and a plague. After it went beyond what the SO19 could handle, the call had gone in to SAS, and teams were already being sent out throughout the surrounding area, but Baker's squad was being sent in to the point of origin to see what could be found on the aircraft that released the plague ridden passengers to start the riot.
Understandable that they'd be sent, their squad was among the best, and with the SAS, that was saying something. Captain Baker alone had set some records on marksmanship and speed trials, and Jon wasn't a poor mark either. Along with them they would be taking Sgt. Kevin Hollis, who was currently humming some jazz tune, Specialist George Jerdeon, their half Belgian medic, and a new recruit who had so far performed fine, but hadn't really meshed with the team, a redhead, Private Porter. All of them were good at their jobs, and aside from Porter they were all experienced. In the cockpit the pilot and copilot were nattering on about something nonsensical, but Lt. Baker ignored it. The two were suspected of holding more narcotics on base than the evidence locker in urban London, but the two were never caught with anything, and were probably the best chopper pilots around. Perhaps that was why they weren't searched more often. Sean Baker didn't approve of what they tended towards, but it wasn't his call, and it was hard to seriously dislike either of them for long.
All the same, Jon wasn't sure they were prepared. Had a swarm of armed gunman taken to airport by force, with hostages and snipers and possibly a bomb, Jon would feel more ready for this, but instead they were going in to a building with nothing but unarmed and sickly civilians. It didn't seem right, and Jon wasn't sure bullets were exactly the cure that people should be hoping for, but the orders had been clear. Lethal force authorized within the airport, rescuing civilians was not a priority, and anyone who they found was to be searched for bite marks. Those with bite marks are to be shot. Even for people as thoroughly trained to follow hard orders as the SAS, no one wanted to do that, and the plan was to try as hard as possible to avoid contact with any infected civilians.
“We're touching down now sir,” Darren Allen chimed in from the pilot's seat.
“Alright, once we're on the roof, it's strict low noise for the ground team, we'll enter at the roof access, and make a straight path for the terminal where the flight we're looking for docked. Keep your eyes open, and don't get within three yards of anyone unless you have to. Masks stay on at all times. Once we've secured the site and made a quick search for anything obvious, or the pilot, assuming they didn't leave the cockpit, we'll return here for pickup.” As the captain finished going over the specifics again the chopper settled to hovering a couple inches from the ground, and finally touched down, at which point the whole team was on the ground in less than a second.
Baker signaled Hollis to take point as they approached the door, and the whole way down the flight of stairs after kicking it in they were running through it like this was any other mission, checking corners and hugging to the walls. As they reached the door to the main floor of the building tension was starting to work its way back in. There wasn't far to go before they reached the terminal, but as the epicenter of the outbreak it was likely to still have something around. The reports suggested the bulk of the infected had gone on to chase the crowd that was slowly stampeding through the gridlock of cars, growing into an even greater mob by the hour. A genuine clusterfuck, and probably a lot worse a job than this, but that was there and this was here.
Everyone took positions around the door, and the captain readied to pull it open. In the back of his head Jon thought that the positions they were taking were pointless, as no one on the other side would be pointing guns at them, but disrupting what they were practiced in could do far more damage than the act of taking cover when they didn't have to. And besides that, there was no reason to think some poor soul had managed to survive here by force of arms. But the best thing to hope for would be that there was nothing.
Not that that was how it would turn out. The moment his brother opened the door, Baker could see a number of people around, including a woman in a blue jacket and blue jeans who was looking him directly in the eye. She snarled, and the others all turned.
“Sir?” Jerdeon asked, aiming his weapon at the woman as she started to approach them.
“Hold fire...” Baker redirected his voice to the woman, “Stop there ma'am, we are armed and will shoot!”
She didn't slow, or acknowledge the command with anything more than a snarl. Baker fired a warning shot a few feet in front of her, which was summarily ignored. “Hit her in the leg, drop her.”
As the woman was drawing closer Specialist Jerdeon squeezed off a round into her leg, and the woman toppled snarling angrily, but now the remaining eight infected people in the room had begun awkwardly and stiffly moving towards the door. It was like they were trying to run, but all of their limbs were asleep.
“Holy shitfuck! She's getting up sir!” Porter cried out, and began to mutter profanities under his breath.
“Shoot her again, take out the legs on the closest ones.” The squad riddled off a number of single shots, dropping each of their targets to the floor, until each of the eight and the first woman had fallen. Porter had knee capped his targets. A distastefully permanent injury, but at least it took those two out of commission without killing them. Or at least, it should have. None of the people in the hall stopped coming forward. Most of them merely stood again, including the woman who was sporting a bullet wound on each leg, bleeding out slowly. The second shot had hit the inside of the thigh, which should be poring blood like a sieve. It was bleeding, and her leg was giving out with each step, but there was a lot less blood than there should be, and she shouldn't be making any steps at all. There were only three who didn't get back to their feet, and each of them tried. Porters two targets clumsily crumpled in on their shattered wrecks of knees, and one of Hollis's shots had cleaved through a shin bone. They launched to their feet regardless, and the squad watched with horror as the man's leg snapped under his weight, and folded to the side, with the bone sticking through the skin and blood oozing out. That should be a full on spray, but instead there was nothing but a slow pore. And the man didn't even seem to notice, beyond deciding to pull himself along by his arms, pushing forward with both his good, and his broken, leg.
“Holy shit!”
Captain Baker didn't wait any longer, and gave the order, “Shoot to kill.”
Within moments there were eleven shots, and seven bodies on the floor with head wounds, in one case with two head wounds. The other two infected had been struck in the chest, one twice, right where the heart should be, or at least the lungs. They didn't seem to notice, and instead kept shambling forward. Porter fired his gun and hit one in the throat, spraying blood out, but not stopping it. It did slow down at least. Lt. Baker took aim and pegged each in the head once, dropping both of them.
“Looks like you gotta shoot 'em in the head, sir,” Jon said to his brother.
Sean looked around carefully, and nodded. “We're not taking any chances, aim for the heads, fire on anyone who doesn't speak... or who has this crap coming out of their mouths,” he said while pointing towards the strange yellowish puss coming from the mouth of the woman closest to them.
Porter looked around... “and if they don't have the spunk mouths?”
“Don't shoot without my permission.” The Captain gestured to move out, and the team filed through the door, watching down the halls in both directions, and keeping their eyes on the doors into shops and bathrooms on the sides. They began moving towards their objective, dropping another hostile along the way.
They were nearing the spot when a fit woman in an EMT uniform with blood on her uniform came around the corner, shouting. “Hey, over here!”
The squad turned to train their weapons on her, when they saw another person in EMT garb, this one chewed to hell and clearly an infected shambling out behind her, and getting closer. Before it caught the former colleague, Jon fired a round into the forehead of the infected EMT, only to watch as the woman turned to her comrade, addressing him by name. Shit.
“NO!” The woman shrieked, and got down on her knees, and began trying to hold the man's gray matter in while he lay immobile on the ground. She began wailing, and in the distance a couple of howls answered it. Shit.
The captain grabbed Jerdeon and ran forward to the woman, pausing at two yards. “Ma'am, have you been bitten?”


“What?! Have I been bitten? Fuck you! Rob wasn't gone yet! You were supposed to come to save us, not kill him! Why did you do that?” The woman shrieked, and began cradling the man, Rob, in her lap. If her uniform wasn't a mess before, it was now.
“Ma'am, I need you to step away from the body, and place your hands behind your head.” This was turning awkward fast. It had been assumed that anyone found here not infected would be cooperative, just glad to have someone keeping the plagued people away from them, but that didn't look like it was going to happen. Not here. Shit.
“Why? So you can shoot me without having to look me in the eye? Is that it? Is that the brilliant cure you idiot grunts have in mind? Death by firing squad? I can- I-” She seemed suddenly conflicted. Maybe she wasn't as convinced they were in the wrong as he thought. “No, no, Rob wasn't one of them yet, he still had a chance, one you took from him!”
“Ma'am, we can't do anything about that now, and if you're right... we can't do anything about that now, but if you're uninfected, we can get you out of here, but you need to stay calm, and cooperate.” Sean lowered his weapon, and stepped forward with a hand out.
“And if I've been bit? You shoot me too? Well, tell you what, you trigger happy fuck, I'll bloody prove I'm clear!” And at that the woman started stripping down to undergarments, furiously oblivious to her surroundings. Perhaps it was the wrong time to notice a thing like this, but she was attractive, in excellent physical condition, with a light brown skin tone. And no bite marks. An infected started running from down the hall, which Porter silenced with a shot. “So you aren't even asking questions later now I take it?”
“She looks clear sir... you can redress ma'am, what do we do?” Jerdeon looked to the captain.
“Keep an eye on her. Ma'am, what's your name?”
The woman began re-donning her bloodied uniform, and scowled at Baker. “Chelsea Brown.”
“Alright, miss Brown, stay close to Jerdeon here-” before the captain could finish Allen chimed in over the radio.
“We have a bit of a problem here sir... looks like a number of people made a break for the roof, they're infected though, and I think they spotted us... they don't look right sir. Request permission to take the bird into the air to stay out of their reach.”
Mark Thane, his copilot, spoke up then, “I'm right sure they aint looking for some helicopter rides, like. And I don't feel like giving them it neither, even that one girl there, she's right fit, but see, their mouths are leaking this stuff, and I don't think I want it on my nob.” Thane had the unfortunate habit of getting mouthy when unsupervised.
“Take her into the air, we'll rendezvous with you at a new location if they don't clear out. How are you for fuel?”
“Alright, but I wouldn't want to buzz around this place indefinitely, so we're going to try finding a clear spot to land, and then take off if things come our way again.”
“Sounds good, stay in contact.”
“And slap Thane.”
At that Baker returned to the task at hand. The terminal was in sight, and they just had to peek in. Once again he gestured Hollis to the lead, and they entered the docking walk way to the plane. He gestured Porter and Jerdeon to watch the rear, and gestured towards the EMT to tell her to stay put, which she seemed to understand. No guarantee she's listen, but she didn't seem the type to disobey for the sake of it. As both Bakers and Hollis approached the entrance to the plane they could hear growling, and the sound of something hammering steadily. The captain leaned against the wall and peeked around a corner into the plane, gesturing with his fingers. There was one in sight, but more could be heard. Sean made a gesture, and then moved around the corner, taking a shot at the one infected, a flight attendant, who had been growling sullenly at the door to the cockpit. The pounding down the plane stopped, and two distinct growls up close sounded, with one or two more further down the plane. A man and woman rounded the corner, and each was dropped in a single shot. Quickly the younger Baker and Hollis moved in to aim down the aisle of the plane. A form was slowly crawling forward on the ground, covered in crusted blood, and looking like he'd been trampled. Hollis shot it, and looked around. The floor and wall had light splotches of blood and puss in a few places, and the door to the cockpit looked scratched up. There was still noise coming from further back in the plane, a small chorus of several wails. The captain entered the plane and stepped up to the intercom between the flight attendant station and the cockpit, and picked up the speaker.
“This is Captain Sean Baker of the SAS, we're here to investigate what went on here, is anyone still alive in their?” Baker waited for a response. There was no indication so far that the plague would spread by air, but there was no reason the pilot or copilot should be any worse for wear, not with all the effort put into making airline doors secure after the incident in 2001. Baker spoke again, louder this time, “Is anyone in there, please respond.”
There was still no response, but from just down the hall a female voice chimed up, shouting, “We're he-” at which point it became muffled, and there was a sound of struggling. Lt. Baker and Hollis moved down to the source of the noise, which was the bathroom stall. The door was caved partially in, and covered in bloody hand prints of various sizes. There was a thud, and a grunt from inside the bathroom, followed by some sharp whispering back and forth. Two voices, one male, one female.
The male voice spoke up, sounding cautious, and on edge, “Who is out there?”
The female voice broke in again, frantic and annoyed, “Please get us out of here, I want to go home!”
Both of them had American accents, which made sense, given the flight's origin point. “I'm Lieutenant Baker from the Brittish SAS, we can get you out of there, but you need to tell us what happened, alright?”
“Oh thank you! Thank you so-”
“Where will you be taking- oohf” another thud and grunt, followed by a squeal from the girl.
“Shut up Dan, they aren't going to shoot us!”
“Oh really? Do they know that it only gets the people who've been bit?”
“They probably know more than we do!”
As amusing as the couple's bickering was, Baker decided to put an end to it. “Please, calm down, we aren't here to shoot you. We would like you to allow our medic to inspect you both for bite marks, but after that you can join the woman who's with us and we'll get the two of you out of here.”
“Just one other person?!”
“Why did it even take you so long to get here? How bad is it out there?” The man in the bathroom was starting to sound very serious. Obviously he'd put together what all of that must mean.
“It's a bit of a shit storm out there, but we've got you now, can you tell me what happened here?” Baker began pulling at the door, and as soon as he did he felt pressure applied from the inside as well, until the mangled door sprung open, and the two Americans tumbled out.
Hollis snickered, “I guess the two of you picked a good time to join the mile high club.”
Both of them stuttered out indignation and swore, and a remark of “again?” seemed to come from the girl, as that's really all she was. She looked mature for her age, but she couldn't be any older than sixteen, which made the twenty something who was in the stall with her a somewhat questionable character. Both seemed to be tripping over one another to explain how wrong that was. “We're brother and sister damnit!”


Hollis laughed more, and Baker was sure he heard a “sure” in there, but he felt like the two Americans were telling the truth. There wasn't a lot of resemblance, but it was there, and it explained how ready they had been in the stall to beat the crap out of one another.
“Our medic, Specialist Jerdeon, is out on the walk way, but before you go see him, can you tell me anything about what happened on here?”
The girl spoke first, “Everyone started going crazy after they got bit by this guy in the back, who was real sleazy. He kept trying to hit on everyone, even me, and eventually he bit a flight attendant. After that he wound up getting worse, and biting a few more people before everyone finally got him strapped down to a seat in the back, and everyone moved away from him. But then the people he'd bitten started to go crazy, and start biting people too.”
Now the man took over, “We tried keeping all of the people who were sick to the back of the plane, but it wasn't a popular decision. There were a lot of fights over it, and the sick people in the back made a push... I don't know, it was all a lot of fighting. I remember... fighting... when it started to look bad I made sure Rachel here was in the bathroom. I wound up being one of the last people not bit, and popped into the bathroom with her last second.”
He seemed finished, but the girl had more to say. “There were still other people out there, they screamed to be let in, but Dan said not to-”
“I was out there, there were only three others who weren't bit that I knew of, and they were not the ones asking to be let in.”
“We left them out there, we sat and we listened to them get torn apart!”
“We didn't-”
Before the argument could go further Baker cut them off once more, “What your brother did probably saved your life, now please, why don't you go see our medic now.”
The two walked off, still whispering to each other, staying very close. Hollis waited till they were out of the plane, and commented to Jon, “You know, it really depends on what part of America they're from if that whole 'we weren't shaggen' story is true, I've heard some great jokes about those red necks.”
“Oh stow it. Captain, any word from the pilot yet?”
Captain Baker turned from the intercom and rolled his shoulders, a habit of his, when he was getting angry. “He's in there, I heard moving around. I'm going to keep trying. Any luck with those two?”
“Not much, but we'll have more time to ask them later. They mentioned a guy in the back who was the first case on the plane, who was strapped down. I think that's one of the ones in here who keeps making noise without coming forward. We're going to check it out. “
“Stay careful.”
“We will sir.” Hollis and the younger Baker brought up their weapons and began slowly going down the plane. They didn't get far till they saw proof of the fighting Dan had mentioned. An armrest had been ripped from one seat, the drink tray was tipped onto its side, and there was a fair amount of blood on the floor, along with a body. They walked down the plane, the whole while being howled at by what sounded like two passengers. About halfway through coach he could see them, thrashing against their seats in the very rear. Not taking any chances, Hollis and Baker continued to check each seat for threats. Hollis tapped Baker's shoulder twice, and nodded towards a seat on his side.
No sound or movement were coming from it, but the child carrier was still the most horrifying thing Baker had seen so far on this mission. Taking a closer look, and hoping to find it empty, Baker recoiled from what he saw. Whatever this disease did to people, it had kicked into overdrive on the infant, covering the whole face in sores. Baker couldn't tell whether the bit or the disease had killed the child, but he was relieved to at least see that someone had tried to treat the wound on the infant, meaning it wasn't abandoned outright. It was a poor sign that this small gesture was the good news of the trip.
Tearing himself away, Baker and Hollis slowly approached the two bound passengers. Both were bruised, and where they were tied down with belts and sheets they had rubbed the bonds through their skin and into the flesh, not that this stopped them from trying harder still. There were three other seats with belts and sheets attached to them, but it was clear that those hadn't held forever. Of the two that remained, one was a flight attendant, the other was a particularly ugly man, probably the source of all of this, if Rachel and Dan were to be believed. “Check his pockets, I'll hold back the head while you do.”
Hollis grumbled as he complied, keeping a wary eye on the man who's pockets he was searching. He came away with a case of pills, a wallet, and a phone. “Let's see who we have here... one Robert Struin, aged forty-seven, sex male, lives in Boston... and has over a hundred bucks in his wallet. Well aren't you the big spender.”
“What about the pills?”
Hollis started reading, and chuckled, putting on a sales pitch voice, “Love Assistant! Be the object of everyone's desire, with this new trial drug by Beoquadier inc. designed to work with your body to turn you into an irresistible sex machine... ooh... hah, get this, 'we're sure there will be no harmful side effects, but as the privileged testing team, you will be able to take hold of this groundbreaking experience before anyone else as we finalize the records on this drugs safety. How much you wanna bet that this little jar is holding the cause of this?”
“A love pill... making these? That doesn't seem a little far fetched to you? This plague is intense, it would have to be manufactured, it is too perfect, and it came out of no where, how would someone make it by accident?” Not that there should ever be a reason to intentionally make something like this, but there were still people sick enough to try.
“Well, the date on the dosage stamp says he started today.”
“A fake meant to doom the world?”
“Sir... that line I read you earlier from the bottle... it's attributed to a Dr. Struin... I think our man is the one who made this.” The two of them looked down at the snarling ugly man in his chair, while they tried to make sense of what was going on. It had to be made intentionally, but the man used it on himself, and judging from the behavior described by Rachel, he expected the product to be working as planned... so the man who made it didn't intend for it to do this. But how can something turn out so far from what is expected?
“Let's go see if the Captain has had any luck.”
“Yessir.” Hollis nodded in Struin's direction, “What about these two?”
Baker frowned, and thought about it for a moment. There wasn't anything they could do to help either of them, and he wasn't even sure he wanted to help Struin, if that was really the man responsible for all the crap going down around him. “Leave them... if there's a cure, they'll have broken out of those before they starve, and it saves us having to deal with them ourselves.”
“Sure thing sir,” Hollis said, popping the phone, wallet, and pill case in a pouch on his vest, before following Jon to the front of the plane, where it sounded like the captain had finally gotten through to someone on the other side of the cockpit door.
“-you, now please, open the door. We can get you out of here.”
“Leave me alone! You want them to die, I heard you killing them, you're like him, you're all trying to kill them!” The voice over the intercom sounded distressed, and out of control.
“Heinz, none of us wanted this to happen, and we're here to stop it.”
“Then why wait so long? Why wait for it to take them all? That's what I asked him, and all he could say was that I had snapped! I know what is going on here!”
“Then prove it to us, come out here, and explain what is going on.”
“And then BANG BANG, you kill me too.”
“Damnit, we have two of your passengers safe and sound, we are getting out of here, now do you want to come with us or not?”
“Heinz, Heinz, Heinz damnit, we're leaving, last call, are you coming with us or not?” Sean Baker waited a moment, receiving only silence, before turning to his brother and sergeant. “Any luck back there?”
Jon reported their findings to the captain, along with the running theory about what happened, but it all meant pretty much nothing. Hollis had the pills, which could go to some guy in a lab coat to figure out if it has anything to do with the plague. As they walked out towards the entrance to the terminal where the others were, Baker's radio called in, ahead of schedule.
“Sir, this is Thane, we got shot at, some shits down there really did want a ride this time, bad enough to shoot at us. Piss poor shots, them, but they hit the fuel tank once or twice, so we's leaking pretty bad up here. We don't think this bird will stay in the air long, so we're going to have to set her down on the roof somewhere, can you be there to meet us?” Shit.
“We'll exit from the door we came through to enter, if you can draw anyone on the roof with the plague over towards the other end and land, we'll pop out and drop them from behind. Got it?”
“Got it, we'll hit the roof in ten, you think you can be there that fast?”
“Easy, see you there.” Baker walked to the front of the group, where the three civilians were huddled together, while Porter watched the terminal entrance. “We're heading for the roof, and then signaling for a second chopper to base. We'll get to the roof access we came in from, and wait till 1045 to surface, and then head towards the West end of the roof, where Allen and Thane will have the chopper setting down, with a small number of infected heading towards them. Porter, you take point, Hollis on the rear, Jerdeon stay towards the middle and keep the civvies in tow, LT, you go with Porter, got it?”
Everyone chorused agreement, and the group started rushing towards the roof access, dropping two sick people while they ran. At one point Dan stumbled and fell, before hastily getting himself up, but beyond that the civilians never got in the way while they ran towards the door. Heading up the stairs they arrived with two minutes to spare.
“Allen, we're ready when you are, feel free to touch down now.”
“Got it, we've got a trail of six of them, easy pickings sir, but we didn't want to risk it ourselves, being proper sissy pilots, like.” Baker was sure they were having a laugh at that, since neither of the two were exactly what anyone would call helpless on their own, but they seemed to delight in treating the ground troops they ferried around like they had all the muscle in the world.
The team filed through the door, and quickly spotted its targets. Lt. Baker quickly dropped four, while Porter and the captain bagged one each. The group ran over to the end of the roof where the helicopter had touched down, and the SAS team quickly took up positions around it while the captain walked up to Allen. “Have you radioed for backup?”
“Yes sir... you're not going to like this sir, they told us they couldn't send anyone. Shit's gotten real bad out there, they're telling me to stay put.”
“How long?”
“Shit, they don't know.”

Heathrow Airport, London, Essex UK 11:23 AM, GMT, April 6, 2009

Heinz listened for a time, as it became clear the soldiers were gone. “And now it is all clear. Donner, you thought you had me with them, but I saw right through it!”
Donner, now dead for hours, having been beaten to death by his copilot, said nothing, and never would, but all the same Heinz felt it appropriate to gloat over this victory. He still wasn't sure why Donner wanted to kill everyone, but he remained convinced that his pilot had worked out a scheme with ground control to turn the plane into a crypt. Eventually someone else got through, and was briefly able to open the door, but soon the agents of Donner were able to regain control. Eventually they came to coax out Heinz, but they failed, much to their displeasure. Carefully stepping over Donner's body, lest it attempt to reach up and strike Heinz dead once more.
Reaching the door unscathed, Heinz opened it up to finally run out into the open, free of this death trap. Donner can kill this plane, maybe, but he cannot kill the world. Onward, to the lively streets of London, where this nightmare is finally behind him!

Pulling its ankle through the last belt, the thing that was once Doctor Robert Struin began making its way to the front of the plane. That's where the things it would bite had gone, and it wanted to bite. That was a good thing. Biting. This simple animal didn't know what good was, or bad, but it knew that biting would make it feel... better. Not biting that man who touched it had been worse. It wanted to bite, but it did not, and so felt worse. But now it would bite.
Reaching the front, where there were bodies of others with the bite on the ground, it heard a noise, and stopped. A laugh was coming through the closed door next to the exit, and with a shout a sweaty and bedraggled man flung open the door, only to scream in terror as the thing that once was known as Doctor Robert Struin bit hard on Heinz's nose, and ears, and shoulder. The biting was good. It felt better.


Apocalypse, Apocalyptic, Duncreek, Horror, Lost Humanity, Stories, Story, Zombies

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author avatar Stephen W. Griffin
Hello, the name is Stephen and I write what would mostly be classed as horror for the entertainment. I wouldn't advice it for children, but it is fun stuff all the same.

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author avatar Stephen W. Griffin
24th Jun 2010 (#)

Lost Humanity: Broken Lines now up.

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