The Cure that Changed the World

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A woman searches for a cure for her daughter. But what is good can also turn out to be very bad.

Submitted: April 24, 2008

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Submitted: April 24, 2008



 “Grandma, tell me a story!” Sara pleaded.

“No, Sara, it’s time for bed now. We just read a story together, and you promised to go to bed afterwards. You need to be up early tomorrow for school,” Sara’s mother said, exasperated.

“But I want to hear a story from Grandma. She’ll be leaving tomorrow – ”

“You had all week to hear stories from her, and now you want to hear a story?”

“Mom please…”

“Let her hear one more story, Melissa. A couple of minutes of sleep lost will not be the end of the world.”

“Thank you, Grandma, thank you!” Sara exclaimed excitedly.

“Settle down, Sara… and listen to a tale of a world from a long long time ago.”

 § § §

Talia bent over her work. She knew she was close, but she couldn’t quite overcome this last hurdle. Something was not right, something that was obstructing her from inventing the cure that would change the world. She needed one last thing to fall into place to allow her to control viruses and bacteria alike with very little cost. And this technology would allow doctors all over the world to easily cure their patients of every disease in existence. Epidemics and minor illnesses alike would become a thing of the past. If only she could figure out what was going wrong.

Finally she sighed and stepped back from her instruments. She was exhausted and could barely think straight. Clearly the breakthrough would have to come another day. She packed up everything she was working on and stepped outside her laboratory. She walked out of the building and to her car, where she told the computer she wanted to go home and settled in to rest during the ride. She fell asleep, and was surprised to hear the monotone voice announce, “Arriving at 13 Jefferson Street.” She waited until the car had parked, and then went into the house.

As soon as she was inside, her daughter came running up to her. Talia quickly put down her briefcase as Corin swarmed over her. Laughing, she picked her daughter up and whirled her around in a circle before putting her back down again. Corin was growing quickly, and Talia knew that soon enough she wouldn’t be able to do that anymore.

“Guess what we did today!” Corin exclaimed.

“I don’t know. What did you do in school today?”

“We got to play games. And they were so old! They said humans had ad – advanced?”

“Yes, sweetheart, that’s how to say it. Advanced.”

“So, humans had advanced so much and things we’re used to now were unknown for a long time. And they showed us examples of how much computers have changed. All the games that were the best they had back then were so slow and strange….”

“I guess you’re much happier now about what you have. They’re teaching you not to take everything for granted and to understand the amazing progress humans have made over a short period of time. Those games you played were probably the best there was when I was growing up. Think how much more we can do now with what we have.” Talia explained to her daughter. “And always remember that such advances come with responsibility to use them well.”


“Yes, a duty a person has to do something. In this case, people who use the technology have a duty to remember where it came from and try to use it for the betterment of other people.”

“That’s why you do what you do, right? That why you…”

“Research. Yes, that’s why I try to find more technology to help people who are in pain. And now you should be getting back to work before dinner so that we can play a game or something after dinner.”


After Corin had gone to bed, Talia stayed up thinking. She knew her daughter only had so much time. She had lied earlier. The reason she did her research was not for the betterment of humans in general, although that would be a result. She was trying to find a cure for Corin so that the disease she had been born with would not kill her before she got to really live. Talia could not let that spark of life go out. She could not let her daughter die. She needed to get over that last obstacle, to find the result she had been searching for so desperately since Corin was diagnosed. With these thoughts, Talia fell into a troubled sleep.

Another day at the lab. Another fruitless day where I will go home disappointed and without a cure, Talia thought. She was about to quit for the day, having had no amazing breakthrough. And time was running out. For years she had been stuck at this point, unable to make the final link. Now Corin was a teenager, so much closer to the death that was sure to come sometime when she was twenty, unless a cure could be found.

She had one last thing to try before going home. One last thing that was going to be like everything else. She set everything up, then stood back and watched. At first it didn’t register in her mind that something was happening this time. She had done so many experiments over the years that she wasn’t expecting anything different. When it finally registered, she was overcome with joy. She had found it. Finally, after all these years, she had found the last link. And she would be in time to save her daughter.

Talia sat down again to keep working. There was more to be done, but now she was on track and nothing would stop her.

§ § §

“So what ended up happening Grandma? Did Corin live? Did she get the cure?”

“Yes, Sara, she did. Her mother worked long and hard and in the end she got her cure. And she lived on, and everyone lived happily ever after.”

As Sara’s mother led her up to bed, Grandma thought about the painful lie she had told. Yes, Corin had gotten her cure and lived on. But not as she told Sara. Nobody lived happily ever after in this story. The technology that Talia created out of love, in an effort to heal her daughter, had much larger ramifications than she intended. At first it was used to heal the sick. But later, when the countries grew fearful of each other and war threatened, it was used to create weapons. Weapons that were unleashed and destroyed the world. The only humans left alive were those that managed to get into the shelters that provided a completely artificial environment with no connection to the world outside. The building housing this environment was large, but so many people were left outside. So many died in terrible agony. All because of the misuse of technology and fear.

She had not told Sara of any of this. Of the horrors technology could create in the wrong hands. Of the panic and suffering and destruction. Of the terrible truth that everybody was forgetting as the years passed. But someday she would have to tell Sara of this, as her Grandmother had told her. Someday she would have to break Sara’s innocent belief in the goodness of humanity and technology, because the truth must be passed on. It must never be forgotten; it must never occur again.

© Copyright 2019 Zaria. All rights reserved.

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