The space ship shuddered as it sped away from the huge fireball. In the distant the red glow grew brighter as the edge of the planet glowed like blood spurting from a wounded body. Layla looked back from the desolate space ship with a pang of guilt and sorrow. How she wished there was a different way out!
She thought of her daughter Maya who waited for her; on the Moon—their home for the last few years.
Layla rushed to the main control room as the ship stabilised after thrusting out of the Earth’s atmosphere. The crew of four was reduced to just her. But thankfully the mission was accomplished! She was now sure that the Earth and Mankind stood a chance—a chance against the deadly Zombie virus!
Layla thought of the day she was picked up for the mission by the Lunar Colony Command Chief. She stood in her crisp and medalled uniform taking orders from General Toshi.
“Layla, the entire future of mankind and Earth rests on your shoulders.
“You’ve to get to the centre of the colony of the Zombies. Get the Magnetronix software that controls their brain and destroy the deadly virus that they have concocted in that shithole of theirs. ”
“And then. . .?”
“Get out ASAP followed by Scorch Earth Policy.”
“What? Nuke all of them?” she remarked bewildered.
“Yes, a million people to save mankind and this planet!”
“Yes, Sir.” She shuddered as the thought gradually sunk in her.
She would be the one who would press the trigger!
The Zombie virus had wreaked havoc. It had already spread to a large pocket in Asia. The virus defied all known human defences. It was genetically engineered to hide itself from the immune defence mechanism of humans. It was spreading like wildfire. And there was no way to detect it before it found its target—human brain—specifically the parietal cortex. It bound to certain neurons that controlled the conscious decision making process. It just deactivated that centre, in effect turning the living person into a zombie!
Ji Pin beamed at his success. The first phase had been impeccable.
“The virus has achieved a phenomenal reach. Now we’re ready for launching the next phase,” he briefed his commanders from his comfortable bunker in Gobi dessert.
“Sir, our Magnetronix device placed on the back of the ear of the Zombie target will give us total control. We will target a million zombies in the first phase.” The General, an expert in biological warfare said.
Ji Pin’s lips arched a crooked smile.
World governments debated the next action. They had to stop it or lose control of the Earth. They dreaded the madman’s plans.
To the horror of everyone WHO chief concluded : “I am afraid, there is nothing we can do. The Virus has been reengineered using various strains. Currently we are in no position to stop it or cure it.”
Now it was up to the military leadership.
The Chief of Military Strategists said, “We have an action plan—the only way to stop the contagion and wrest back the control.”
“But it will have a lot of collateral damage,” said Security General.
“Yes. We have to wipe out everything. Once Ji Pin takes control of the Zombies, the world will head towards an uncharted territory.”
After heated debates and discussions they finally made their decision!
Layla suited up for the launch from the Lunar Base. She dreaded that she would be strapped to a billion Megatons of fuel. But a job needed to be done.
Captain Gordon appeared unusually ruffled. Perhaps the enormity of the task had got to him.
Tashi, as navigator and Vikram, their engineer, both avoided eye contacts.
The Ship hovered over the cold frozen dessert of Tibet. Once on auto pilot, they descended in their capsule to the Zombie land.
They disguised themselves as the security of the Main Research Facility.
“Why are we doing this? Anyway we’re going to nuke everything,” Tashi said acerbically.
“Be quiet. We need to destroy the virus strain housed in the nuclear strike resistant bunker facility.”
“We have to be sure that everything is destroyed.” Layla added.
They navigated the maze of tunnels dodging and sometimes neutralising the guards.
The scientist working in the main lab was alerted as he saw them. He tried to press the alarm but a clean shot on his forehead brought him down.
“Get the codes cracking,” Layla instructed.
Vikram accessed the mainframe and offloaded the security crack. The code hacked its way into the system.
They heard a whirr as the locks opened. A huge steel reinforced cabinet opened. The vials holding the virus glowed in a fluorescent light.
Vikram pressed the big red button to activate the self-destruction mode.
The vials got crushed and the fluorescent fluid oozed and vanished inside its belly. A beep announced the completion of the process.
But something unexpected happened. They were hit with darts filled with the same fluorescent fluid!
“Oh shit, we are hit.” Captain said.
Layla narrowly escaped the dart as she bent to check her communication-set.
“I am clean,” she said.
“That’s good news, Layla. There is no way to save us. You have to complete the mission.”
“How can I leave you behind? It’s insane,” she almost screamed.
“For Mankind’s sake you have to do it, Layla.”
Retracing her way to the capsule she bade them a teary farewell.
She trembled as she sat on the Captain’s chair.
“Mission accomplished. Lost three assets. Permission to launch the Dirty-Bomb,” she spoke into the communication channel. A long pause and she heard the dreaded green signal.
With shaking hands she punched the codes. She closed her eyes and pressed the red button.
The atmosphere lit up like a thousand suns and a big ball of fire mushroomed up.
Photo By: Unsplash
Find Pandemic event guidelines: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/pandemic/
Join ArtoonsInn Room8 on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WritersAndReadersRoom/