"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." -Mark Twain "Welcome back to New Day on CNN...." Jessica Meligan jolted awake and caught herself with a quick, reflexive grab before she slipped off the edge of her couch. The room around her was dark. The only light present shone from the flickering TV screen directly in front of the worn, tattered, and ripped couch she called 'bed.' Groaning, Jessica clutched at her forehead and searched for her alarm clock, not wanting to worsen her throbbing headache by staring directly at the glowing screen. She found it right where it had been, sitting atop the kitchen counter to her right. "Fuck." She had slept through her alarm: she would hit rush hour today. Jessica grimaced and, with a Herculean effort, stood from her couch and fumbled for the TV remote, shutting the screen off, plunging her small, two-room apartment into total darkness. As quickly as she could, Jessica made her way over to her bathroom. Gritting her teeth, she flicked on the light switch and held up a hand to help block the sudden swath of light that flickered into being. Within twenty minutes, Jessica stood showered and dressed in a bland grey button-up shirt and dark grey slacks, an employee badge hanging unceremoniously from her neck. On her way out the door, she snatched a bottle of water from her pitifully under-stocked fridge and an Advil from the medicine cabinet. She downed the pill, opened the door, and took her first step out into the near-blinding morning sunlight. Wonderful. --- As per usual, Jessica found herself caught right in the middle of the rush hour from Queens to Manhattan. Luckily she had managed to snag herself a seat by the door of the train car, but her moment of relative solitude aboard the busy train was short-lived. On her next stop, a swath of humanity poured through the automatic doors, crowding the train to the brim, everyone pressed shoulder to shoulder. Normally, Jessica would have brought along music, but her headache from the night's events had not passed, so there she sat, massaging her temples with her eyes shut tight as she waited for the Advil to kick in. "I don't care what the news says," one woman was muttering to her companion ahead of Jessica. "This is getting worse and worse every day. CDC warnings now? And they just now picked up on this? My neighbor said there were four of them just a block over. Four! I think something's going on and no one's telling us." "What? You seem some bullshit on some guy's Twitter feed and suddenly the world's ending? Could just be some kids," the woman's companion grumbled. "Then a lot of kids are into making this up," she responded, indignant. "Could be-" "Could be anything. If anything, even if the news did bother to cover this shit, they'd be spinning it out of control like they always do. Since that hasn't happened yet, I'm inclined to believe nothing is amiss." Jessica quickly lost interest in the conversation and tucked her head back against the plastic bench, a hand meekly reaching out to grab at the pole near the doorway as the train slid to a stop. Eight more to go. --- By the time the Queens-to-Manhattan train reached its station, the Advil had begun to work its magic and Jessica could properly decently enough. She pushed and shoved her way through the crowds in the train, only to find more in the station itself. Whatever the woman from earlier had been talking about did not surface itself here: Jessica looked around and found the normal humdrum of New York City life in full swing. Just another day... Upon exiting the underground train station, Jessica slipped a cigarette pack from her inside jacket pocket and lit one as she made the walk from the station to her firm. Two blocks up, one block left. She paused momentarily to light the cigarette and take one draft at the corner of her first street, waiting for the pedestrian light to flick from red to white. Right as the red 'halt' symbol shifted to a white walking stick figure, her phone vibrated in her left rear pocket. As she broke into a brisk walk over the street, Jessica grabbed the phone out of her pocket and slid up the lock screen. the boss; Are you coming in to work today? At this, Jessica blanched in the middle of the street, narrowly avoiding an impatient cab driver as she stood flabbergasted at the screen clutched in her hands. Was she coming into work today? This was coming from the manager who took sick days as a personal offense. What on earth had driven him to actually ask? Usually he just accepted an absent employee and berated them later. Yes, just got off train stop. Know I am late, will be there in 5. She shoved the phone back into her pocket and continued on. It wasn't until the office was in sight - an old residential apartment building converted into an office space - that the phone buzzed again. Sliding her employee badge through the secured front door, Jessica double-tasked opening the door and checking up on the phone. the boss; Alright. Be quick. Jessica rolled her eyes and shut the door behind her. Right from the stairs, the only way through was up three flights of stairs. The rooms below the third floor were dedicated to server space and air conditioning, with offices located high-above. With only a hint of sarcasm, Jessica waved to the security camera scanning the front doorway and made her way up the stairs. "Alright," she began as she opened the door to the third floor offices: a wide, empty space with cubicles that only covered people up to the waist to 'promote collaboration' along with various couches and other casual set pieces. "What happened? Did I sleep through the latest and greatest development in IoT?" Michael, who stood flanked by the rest of their small firm's employees, fixated a stern gaze on Jessica then nudged over to the television set propped up in a ceiling corner. Jessica, smile fading, turned her attention over. On the screen, police were in the process of establishing a barricade on an empty New York street. Below it, the headline: CDC releases statement that unknown virus is "more urgent and pressing than first expected" issuing warning for citizens to stay indoors. "Have you been living under a rock?" Michael asked. "I'm surprised you even came into work today." "When did this break?" Jessica retorted, placing her bag down against a nearby counterspace and taking a seat. "Just this morning." Of fucking course. The one day I forget my alarm.