At a remote U. S. Army base, a weaponized strain of influenza known as “Project Blue” is accidentally released inside a secret underground laboratory. Charles Campion, a soldier charged with security, manages to escape from the building because the doors do not seal when the light goes red. He escapes the base by car with his wife and child. By the time the Army tracks Campion down to the East Texas town of Arnette and establishes a cordon sanitaire around it, he, as patient zero, and his wife and daughter have already died of the Project Blue virus and spread it to numerous others beyond the cordon. The virus is 100% contagious and resistant to antibodies or vaccines. A pandemic of apocalyptic proportions is triggered, and the Shop agents send carriers to other countries, eventually killing off perhaps 99. 4% of the world’s human population, as well as dogs, guinea pigs, horses, and apes.