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All Lies and Jests

Short story By: HikeSlowly
Thrillers



We thought that the vaccine would protect our leaders against the GLF24 virus.

We were wrong.


Submitted:Oct 4, 2013    Reads: 33    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


"The news came out of Iceland on October 4th, 2024, that a multinational group of researchers and scientists had finally developed a vaccination against the bioterrorism virus that had been killing American government officials since September 2nd. Schools stopped classes as teachers rushed to faculty lounge televisions, businesses men and women gathered in break rooms, and bystanders rushed to coffee shops and cafes to watch the breaking news report. The lead scientist, Carlos Sandoval of Mexico, explained that the vaccination had been in testing phase for the previous five months. They had observed no adverse reaction from willing human subjects, and the vaccine prevented both inception of and transmission of GLF24. Although testing time usually amounts to several years, Sandoval explained, the immediate need for protection prevented researchers from carrying out more experimentation. Vaccination would be completely optional for those qualifying.

The following day, the list of those eligible for vaccination was released. Four weeks later, the United States Congress had passed legislation mandating its legislative, executive, and judicial leaders at the federal level to receive the vaccination. Journalists flocked to the Capitol Building that week to document the historic event; cheering crowds gathered outside the White House, and Washington college students skipped class to celebrate in the streets. The national nightmare was ending. The government could return to business as usual. Soon the faltering economy, infrastructure, education systems, welfare, and all other facets neglected as the terrovirus tore through the leaders would be restored. Even better, the research group continued to report a lack of negative side effects, and maintained that the vaccine would be available to all citizens within eight weeks. National morale skyrocketed, presidential and congressional approval ratings peaked, and the even the effects of the recession seemed to be lessening.

Four weeks ago, a conspiracy theorist website released confidential documents reporting the deaths of human subjects used to test the vaccine. The research group did not respond.

Two days later, Carlos Sandoval joined the President of the United States for an international press conference. The human subjects had died.

We thought we had time. The subjects had been injected months before our leaders. But they had lied. The subjects had only been injected two weeks beforehand. The pressure had become too great; the researchers needed to produce results. They falsified their results and removed three scientists who objected to their actions. Through tears, Sandoval apologized to the American public. Our leaders had less than one week to live.

It is February 19th, 2025. Congress died on the same day. They remained in session until the last member had passed. The President died three days later, along with half the Supreme Court. The rest passed away the next day.

Texas declared independence four days into the reelection. Some senator from Vermont tried to declare national martial law, but the military had disbanded and returned home to form State Safety Coalitions. The SSCs were the powerhouses of State government, but the Governors made the alliances. Within weeks, states banded together to protect trading and agriculture interests, but not much mattered because the rest of the world had stopped exports and imports from the states, and every grouping but the New Confederacy, which included Louisiana, soon ran out of oil. Shipping stopped. Food supplies dwindled as citizens resorted to looting and bartering for goods and medicine. The SSCs tried peacekeeping at first, but most only held their family's interests at heart and became overpowering bureaucrats in the system. Communication broke down, but word was that the Pacific Rim Union spread itself too thin on military power, and that the violence was the worst there.

But every grouping, or as we took to calling them, Reunion, had its difficulties. The Northeast Shore couldn't convert its industrial factories to medical producers quickly enough, and people were rioting for lack of basic drugs and prescriptive medications. Independence Corridor was unable to produce basic food necessities, forcing citizens into overhunting. The Appalachian Byway was in constant war with the New Confederacy over control of the Mississippi River. The Great Plains seemed relatively stable, but they endured constant attack on all borders from Reunions seeking to overtake their agricultural and energy reserves. The Rocky Desert endured blizzards and firestorms that were unable to be attended to, and hundreds of thousands became homeless within weeks. And the Pacific Rim Union descended into anarchy due to lack of SSC strength. Within weeks…"

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The Georgetown professor switched off the tape as class change began, reminding exiting students of their upcoming assignment to produce a dystopian short story by next week. When the room was empty, he sat down behind a desk piled with papers and examinations. Leaning underneath his chair, he pulled free a golden key from between two slats in the floor, and proceeded to unlock his desk drawer. Inside, a small wooden box sat alone. The professor glanced up, grabbed the box, and gingerly opened the lid, revealing two glass tubes.

One was labeled "GLF24."

The other was labeled "vaccine."

He closed the lid and glanced at the New York Times on his desk. The date read September 1st, 2024.

He grinned.





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