FINAL BLOOD SOURCE
His entire body was pulsing and throbbing, anticipating both the pain and pleasure of the next few moments. He felt feverish as the blood rushed underneath his skin, pushing itself upward, inflating his veins. It could work this time. If it did, he would stay conscious. If it didn’t, he would be dead. This was the last injection. Mark felt the waves of resentment swell up in him again. This time he was doing something about it.
He wasn’t a particularly self aware man, although he had studied philosophy in college. Hegel was his favorite. He had no strong political opinions, no hidden list of topics to debate at a late night party. He didn’t even watch the news; it bored him.
Mark met the woman three years ago. She said the relationship satisfied her, but that it was never really soulful. Mark agonized over the decision to share all of his family photo albums with her. He did and she lost them, all of them. Toward the end of the relationship she somehow went sour, leaving Mark in any abyss of endless questions. It was then that he slowly and quietly became compromised.
Mark’s vision became blurred as a drop a sweat rolled across his forehead, down his cheek and onto the desk in front of him.
“I need to focus,” he said looking around for anyone moving in the hallway. No cameras, no security, not deep within the level four containment lab. He had locked all six doors behind him. Yah, he was alone and hidden.
His eyes converged on the large blue vein protruding from the tender spot just at the crease below his elbow. He placed the needle. It punctured the vein. The milky substance from the syringe began to flow into him. He went calm. Perhaps within hours the inoculation would take and he would be immune to one of the most lethal non-military grade viruses ever designed.
Labeled “Death Star”, by the designer Spec Labs of Chicago, the virus was the grandparent of a much more deadly killer. Spec Labs had developed Death Star as a base weapons grade contaminant. The Death Star virus had to be strong and reproduce rapidly to give the military what they said they needed. From the beginning of the bio weapons program, Spec Labs was chosen as the prime designer for most of the military’s retro viruses. But they never really “developed” a virus, they just engineered possibilities.
Through the years, the biological weapons program was never really abandoned by the government or even put on hold like agreed to by the Geneva Pact. Every virus was re-categorized and re-graded to make it appear that only two viral weapons were being assembled at one time. This was a distortion of the truth. The actual data showed that the research phases had rendered twenty to thirty viral contaminants in storage facilities. These were downgraded and labeled dormant. As a persistent senate committee exercise, these were carefully hidden from probing government officials. However, the retro viruses were actually as toxic as the final product; maybe even more so, due to the reproduction rates carefully engineered into them.
Fifteen years ago, the military put Spec Labs in charge of monitoring the dormant pool of viruses. Security was high but nothing like a military weapons grade protocol. Containment and access should have been as tight as a weapons facility; it wasn’t. Mark had access to Death Star.
Mark swung himself around the pole of the speeding subway train and slid into his seat. He starred at the two men seated across from him. One of them smiled. Mark coughed, spraying a toxic mist at the man. The man turned his head unaware that he had just been exposed to a deadly virus.
“He’ll be dead in four days,” Mark thought, “bleeding out of every hole in his body and gasping for his life in a hospital bed. “But I’ve got to get more of the aerosol into the air. The dispersement has got be greater.” He calculated the infection rates in his head. It had been four weeks since he given himself the last inoculation and left his position at Spec Labs in the Chicago. He had already traveled the transportation systems of Chicago, Minneapolis and Pittsburg rapidly spreading the virus. Now, he was riding the trains of New York infecting as many of the passengers as possible. After all, that was really the point, to create a global viral outbreak. By now, Mark was safe from it, he was sure.
Anxiously, Mark got up from the seat and started back toward the rear of the train crisscrossing among the hundreds of passengers packed into the subway car. He began spraying his poisonous saliva into the air making sure not to draw attention. Most didn’t even notice him. Halfway through the car he bumped into a small, dark and hairy looking man.
“Excuse me mister,” the man said rudely. “Were you spitting? I can notify the authorities!”
“Never mind,” Mark thought at first, but feeling irritated, he barked back at the man.
“Better watch it you idiot! This isn’t your day.”
The man turned away quickly pushing people out of his way, intent on finding the train supervisor. Mark ignored his rant and continued down the train.
At the last car Mark found and empty seat. It was still warm from the last person sitting there. He sat down and closed his eyes. Numbers began to float into his head…numbers of potential casualties, far into the millions.
The next day when Mark awoke he was ready to work. Work would mean traveling to heavily populated areas like museums, attractions and malls to spread the virus. This would be a busy day. He’d have to make sure he was properly hydrated. It was going to
take a large amount of saliva to spread the virus in so many places. He would also need cash to buy water bottles which he would drink part way and then dump the left over in specific places, spreading the contaminated water. There was a lot to do.
He swung his legs over the bed and pushed himself onto the floor. His head began to spin. Mark felt dizzy all over. He felt his forehead with the back of his hand. It seemed like he had a slight fever. “Was he sick? Why the fever…and the dizziness? Nothing to worry about,” he thought. He remembered he hadn’t eaten anything in two days; an oversight in all the excitement. But now, Mark had to have breakfast; breakfast before any work.
Mark leaned over the table and placed his head between his hands gently rubbing the back of his neck. He was getting tired, something he hadn’t counted on. The stiff smelling cup of restaurant coffee next to him should have overwhelmed him. It didn’t, he could barely smell it.
He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out his phone. It was time to check the data. He connected to the WiFi that the coffee shop was so graciously providing and started his search. He knew he couldn’t call up the CDC or anything to do with bio-terrorism. Those sites would be monitored, but national news networks might have the updates he was looking for. While he waited for the pages to load, he shoved the last of the scrambled eggs into his mouth. They were runny; it was a lousy breakfast. The first page came up: “Viral Outbreak In Pittsburgh Has CDC Officials Worried. Ten Deaths Linked To Boston Are Showing A Pattern.” Mark grinned. All of his effort was paying off. He looked down at the web page pushing the last crusty piece of waffle into his mouth.
“Boston?” he thought, “I didn’t travel to Boston. Must have been an infected traveler. Oh well, it doesn’t matter, it’ll spread quickly.”
He turned off the phone and grabbed the coffee. By now, it was lukewarm. Drinking it halfway down, he started to gag. He felt something catch in his throat. “Lousy breakfast.” The thought made him gag again and he placed his hand over his mouth to cough. Nothing happened. He coughed again; still nothing. Something was stuck in his throat and wasn’t dislodging. Mark started to panic; he felt his heart speed up and the pressure rise in his body. Another attempt to cough; nothing. Now he was gagging violently. Several people in the restaurant saw the forceful jerking motions and came running over to Mark’s table.
“Call 911,” he heard a man say. “He’s chocking!”
Mark felt the overwhelming wave of fear envelope him. It felt like he was going to die. Out of desperation, he tried to force out one last cough; the lump dislodged. As he sucked in a painful breath, he noticed the shocked faces of the people surrounding him. Mark looked down at the plate on the table. It was covered in bright red blood. A piece of flesh the size of stew meat was sitting on the plate bathed in a frothy mixture of blood and pieces of his lung.
Mark barely regained consciousness, waking to the sound of the breathing machine beeping wildly. Three nurses entered the room with a fistful of needles and drugs. He couldn’t see their faces as they rushed madly around the hospital bed pulling and inserting needles into his body. All three of them were dressed in yellow Hazmat suits, talking to each other through the protective helmets. One of them stopped and pushed her hand under Mark’s buttocks. Slowly she pulled it back out, her thick gloves covered in blood.
“He’s bleeding out,” she whispered to the others. “Don’t even bother to give him the meds. It’s useless; he’ll be dead in four hours.”
Outside the isolation room, several doctors were reading over Mark’s lab results: “Massive Viral Infection. Type Unknown.”
“Is this the same as the others?” one of them asked.
“It could be the beginning of an outbreak. We have to follow protocol. The CDC will be here within the hour. They’ve been busy in Boston. Now a few cases have shown up here. We need to upgrade him to a level three isolation.”
“How did it start?”
“They’re saying that patient zero has already infected fifteen people in Boston.
Pittsburg is starting to show some cases. They have videos of the carrier, but they haven’t been able to find her yet. They think she inoculated herself with an unknown strain of virus. She’s been riding the subways of several major cities and left some political messages on the internet claiming affiliation and responsibility for the outbreak. There is an up side. The CDC says the virus seems to pick and choose the victims. So far it’s pretty benign to the population at large. They haven’t been able to identify how it hits some people and bypasses others. We’re guessing the infection rate will be low, about a half of one percent. Some flu viruses have a greater infection rate than that. The carrier must have used a low grade virus for inoculation. That’s all they have right now.”
The doctor pointed at Mark’s isolation room signaling all three nurses to begin decontamination and exit the room.
“This guy must have been unlucky enough to come in to contact with the carrier on one of her rides into a subway,” he said looking down at the lab report and folding over one of the pages. “His tests showed that he had a strong immunity to several other viruses. We were hoping the immunity would give him protection against this strain, but it didn’t. This one is deadly for him. The doctor quickly made some notes and closed the chart handing it over to one of the other doctors.
“Let me know when the CDC arrives,” he shouted, heading down the hallway. “They’ll want a report.”
Five minutes later, Mark feebly coughed up his last breath, spewing blood particles into his isolation chamber, never knowing he had been a victim of a low tech bio-terrorism attack.
© Copyright 2016 Robert Trimble. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Science Fiction
Short Story / Science Fiction
Short Story / Science Fiction
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