Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Indict

Year One

We heard the news, all of us. All of the people on the world heard it. It was not so much of a broadcast across the papers and the television and the internet, but it was a broadcast through the Homo sapiens DNA. We all heard the news.

I was the prominent world-leading scientist’s assistant. Because of that, I survived. She did not. Her name was Lydia Chovsky. She dealt in time, space, the continuum and travel of. Not many would consider this to be the world-leading branch on the Earth, but unbeknownst to the common humans, it was. It saved the species, after all.

She was the head of the physics department, but she was also on the Council. Dr Lydia was witness to much odd and sometimes ‘fun’ experimentation. Dr Heind was a close friend of hers and he tended to ask her to witness an unusual medical examination, experiment or surgery. She often wrote her own reports, just in case Dr Heind became invalid.

I met her by ‘chance’ when a wild theory of mine got me noticed by the USN, or the United Science of Nations. It is alright to tell you this now; the organisation has been out of power for one hundred and twenty years. Everything has been out of power for one hundred and twenty years.

That was how long it would take before Earth was safe. Certain things needed to die, to be killed off. A team of the top medical doctors calculated it to be seventy years, but we wanted to be sure, really sure. That was how long for this disease to pass through the rest of the remaining population and for those infected to die off. There was no vaccine for this disease, much like the past SARS and bird flu and AIDS and certain cases of cancer and the many prions out there.
There might still be small pockets or groups here and there, in the most remote of places, but I don’t think we need to worry about that now. I hope that is the case, at least. It will not go without testing, of course. I do not rely on hope anymore. I cannot do that. As Leader, I cannot. I wish I could, just like those primordial Homo sapiens could. With all I have seen, I believe there are still pockets of the Diseased. Diseases do not like to die. Nothing does.

Year Two

Subject: Jeremy Tindelman
Age: 7
Height: 4’ 3”
Weight: 100 lbs.
Patient Number: 25717

Observations: At 0200, Patient 25717 was shown into the lab. He had convulsions, similar to epilepsy. The patient was strapped down. Blood was drawn. Fifteen minutes later Dr Heind began the examination. The patient responded violently towards light, especially when flashed in his eyes. Five minutes later, at 0230, the convulsions raised in intensity. Heart rate was at 200 and rapidly increasing. The patient spewed blood, all orifices bled. The patient’s left eye and aorta burst and veins popped, causing massive internal bleeding. The heart was left indescribable: one massive hole and the cells left completely indistinguishable. The lungs had several punctures and filled with blood. The liver was ripped to pieces. The spine and chest cavity held blood. The bone marrow was liquid, completely destroyed. The brain liquefied and leaked through the ears, nose, mouth and down through the throat. Dr Heind took several blood samples. Dr Mendelssohn and Dr Klein took several biopsies.

Blood Sample 1: Taken at 0205. No signs of viral or bacterial infections. The dissected platelets held an unidentified protein.

Blood Sample 2: Taken at 0235, from the chest cavity. No viral or bacterial infections, like sample 1. An abnormal amount of platelets.

Blood Sample 3: Taken at 0235, from the head. Same as sample 2.

Blood Samples 4-10 are the same as sample 2 and 3: Taken from the lungs, heart, bone marrow and spine.

Biopsy from heart: Cells were destroyed, indistinguishable. It was nothing like human or any other animal cell recorded. Cells were crushed into a mass, nuclei destroyed beyond recognisable.

Biopsy of brain: Stems cells were elongated and most were broken into several pieces. They were recognisably stem cells.

Biopsy of liver: Cells torn apart. Almost like the heart cells, however several cell organs were left intact while there were very few whole cells.

Dr Lydia Chovsky, 2006.

Year Three

I entered Dr Lydia’s office with a sheet of permission. I handed it to her. She skimmed over it and looked up at me from the sheet. She raised an eyebrow. “You believe that you are ready to begin experimentation, Major Courts? We have very bad luck with your line of work, you do realise that.”
I nodded and shifted position. “Yes, I do realise that. But Dr Chovsky, you know what a great deal this is to me. I have read over the past files and I cannot find fault in my machine. I do not believe it will bring attention to us from the government. If you are that unsure, then look over my work. Look over the diagrams and my notes.”
She looked faintly bemused. “I will sign this, Major, but remember that if this machine brings the government to our doorstep, you will disappear forever. There is no going back.” I nodded. I knew what I was dealing with here. I gave up my life to pursue this line of work and I was finally getting close enough to the final stages. “However I am pleased that you are making progress, Major. If you did not show a result within a year, you would be in a very dangerous position.”

Year Four

I walked around the machine and looked over at the desk smothered with blueprints. I sighed with the pleasure of finishing a great task and touched the machine. I walked over to the incubator in the right corner and held up an egg, my first of many-to-come subjects. I opened the hatch of the machine and placed the egg inside.

I entered the closet which held a few lab coats, a radiation apron or two and many various types of helmets. I picked up a hefty steel welding visor and lugged a radiation helmet onto me. I picked up thick gloves made of the same materials as my apron. I walked over to the blast room and began setting the controls up. I flipped the switch that turned on that warning red light outside the lab room. I began my work: watching lights flicker, flipping switches, and finally switching on the important and gigantic lever that diverted the power to the machine. Light indicated it worked and the machine disappeared.

The machine reappeared. I checked the radiation levels in the room and all other sort of levels that could possibly endanger my being. I opened the hatch to the machine as Dr Lydia entered the room and looked around. She raised an eyebrow and said, “The… fiftieth one, I presume?”

Year Five

Subject: Colonel Jack Sumner
Age: 35
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 167 lbs.
Patient Number: 25721

Observations: Patient 25721 entered room at 1450 hours. Heart rate was at 120 and patient was tensed. There was slight convulsing. We took a blood sample. The patient was not able to make any form of speech, but made grunting noises. The patient responded to our questions, but was unable to speak. The patient developed a twitch, located in the neck and right arm. Dr Heind commenced the stimuli test done on Patient 25717. Similar results, especially to the light. As time passed, the patient began jerk and twitch. Convulsions worsened. Heart rate increased to 180. The patient began sweating profusely. The grunts became more like screams, showing pain. Fifteen minutes later, at 1505 hours, patient’s right eye exploded and heart rate stabilised at 195. The patient began jerking at his straps. Dr Heind’s assistant took a blood sample without luck. The patient refused to cooperate or could not. He drooled and his eyes seemed crazed. He started screaming. He began to attempt to rip out of his bondages without any luck. The patient’s heart rate went up to 200 and past. The convulsions started again, worse. The patient began to throw up blood. Blood started leaking through the ear, nose, tear-ducts and anal orifices. The brain began to leak out the patient’s nose. The patient died at 1523 hours. Autopsy showed that the heart was thoroughly worn through and aorta was ripped. A few ventricles in the stomach and lungs broke, leading to the throwing up of blood. Some vessels in the brain also broke and also the brain itself had begun to liquefy. Another blood sample was taken.

Blood Sample 1: High adrenaline. A foreign protein was detected in the platelets.

Blood Sample 2: High adrenaline and a high count of platelets, although less than that of Patient 25717’s count.

Blood Sample 3: Same as sample 2.

Biopsy of Aorta and Heart: Both had same results, the cells had begun to break apart when the heart stopped.

Dr Lydia Chovsky, 2007.

Year Six

Dr Lydia walks into the lab and picks up the nearest jumble of burnt mass of wires. She raises an eyebrow and looks over at the woman picking up a burnt and exploded egg. The doctor sighs and walks over.
“The… fiftieth one, I presume?” The woman dumped the egg in the trashcan and stood up, brushing off her radiation apron.
“Ah, yes. I think that’s the number now and that red light outside the room is there for a reason. I’ve stopped counting, really. I think we’re missing something. Maybe if you actually showed up once and a while we might figure it out, but in the mean time we’ll be keeping this up, depleting our funds. I suppose your funds, too.”
“I’ve got unlimited funds, major. You’re on your last limb. If you cannot find a break-through, you’re done here.” The woman glared at her and strode out of the room.
“I’ve told you, I am not a major anymore. Remember this super-secret top-security organisation we’re in? My home country thinks I am DEAD now, not many dead majors.”
“You mean not many active dead majors.”

Year Seven

I was putting my old blueprints away when it happened. An assistant I was rather fond of was in the room. He started shaking and shivering. I began to move over to him to see what was wrong when I started shaking and shivering too. His eyes were wide and he was staring off into nothing. I could not help but do the same. I saw things.

There was the entire nation, the world encompassed by my fellow Homo sapiens. We were all linked together, I could feel it. I did not feel safe. We were not happily linked, but there was a part of me scared. I was frightened. Something was wrong and it was disastrous. I wanted to cry out; I most likely did. All of us were afraid and we all knew it. What we were afraid of exactly, I am unsure. It was big and it was inevitable. There was no stopping it. We knew it would spread and fast. It shall encompass the entire world and Homo sapiens will be no more.

I fell forward, screaming. I had lost my balance. The assistant looked up at me, sweating and breathing hard. “It has begun,” he said. His eyes were wide.

Year Eight

I looked over my blueprints and my notebooks on last time before I stood up. I had work to do, a lot of work. Every scientist on the compound is being forced to go to a meeting. I have too much work to do and this epidemic break-out of a deviant strain of something unknown is not in my field. I do not care, not yet. All scientists within this compound do not concern themselves deeply in other fields. It pulls them away from accomplishing their own work. Dr Lydia is the only one I know that concerns herself too much into the realm of Dr Heind’s little medical playthings.

I sighed and began to close everything down: lights, computer, everything but the device monitoring my machine of time. This meeting I was forced to go to is to decide on Dr Heind’s future at this compound. Because he has not produced a specific result for two years, all the scientists must decide whether or not his current work is important enough to allow Dr Heind to stay. These meetings normally do not fare well for the scientists in question but Dr Heind is high up in our politics. I wish for him to leave. He unnerves me.

Year Nine

I made the final adjustments on my machine. This new power system should work. The last one produced a poisonous and flammable gas within the life form when it was forced to enter the speed of light, the speed at which we may travel time. At first I thought it was the travelling itself, but I refused that to be the case. Why would metal survive but my hardy little eggs should not? This time I used my own version of the Tipler cylinder instead of electromagnetism. My Tipler cylinder did indeed rotate, but it was not forced to such an ungainly length and could go anywhere it needed or wanted instead of only being able to go where it has already been. There was my original circular and rotating piece, but I added into it a cylinder which pumped up and down in the middle of the circular piece. This created the correct type of friction to create a miniature black hole for the time it was moving. The cylinder held several rare crystals which were the power source for creating the black hole. The crystals restored energy by the active life forms around them. Only human or another life form as mentally active as that could power up a crystal.

With these new modifications, I hoped for my egg to survive. I donned my apron and helmet and gloves and began to turn on my machine. Unlike the last one, this must be turned on by outside force. No computer was capable of doing so. It required an arcane knowledge, something only known by someone in tune to the space-time continuum. Every control changed slightly compared to where, when, who and what was. I specified the when and pulled the lever to begin the process. I stepped back as the circular and cylindrical pieces moved and rotated. There was a power surge, the lights in the lab dimmed. I could hear, no feel the rushing of the crystals working and the black hole forming. The egg sat silently. The lights went out. When they returned, my machine was gone. I looked at my watch.

Year Ten

We were all called into the medical conference-room today. Dr Heind and his assistants were solemn. Their medical experiments on a handful of unfortunate individuals were not going well. The team was in trouble. They could not figure out what this epidemic was, how to cure it and whether or not the occurrence a few days ago was actually related to the epidemic and how did that occurrence happen in the first place. The first victim they knew about was in Cardiff, Wales. It was a young man, Captain Ian Middler. He was a pilot. He fell ill; the doctors thought it was a seizure. After he died, a doctor who witnessed the autopsy noticed it as an odd case. Two days later, Jeremy Tindelman came in with the same symptoms. The doctor called us up and Tindelman came here. After the boy, there was Suzie Bates, Miranda McKay and Todd Derringer. They were all alike in their sickness. Then Colonel Jack Sumner came along and he ended up differently. Not only did he last longer, but he was able to show what happened psychologically to the patient; he became violent and bloodthirsty. After that, the next patients were in the same lot. If not held down, they would attempt to attack others. They let one loose on an animal once. The animal died.

After hearing their long plea for salvation, we began to vote. I pressed the No on the computerised ballot in front of me in an assured manner. No matter that he was the best doctor we had, there was something wrong. This entire matter was wrong. I did not want him working on this epidemic or anything remotely near it. Of the people who voted sat silently as the others meditated on the offer. Everyone was given an hour to decide.

Year Eleven

It had been only twenty minutes after the voting began when it all started. My assistant ran into the room. “You need to turn on the telly, Major. Channel 3, news.”

I went to my computer and ran the channel through. The news footage had already started. At the bottom of the screen, there was a call number for specific medical help and to stay where you were. The newscaster reported, “-And do not panic. I repeat, do not panic. For all who are in Cardiff and the surrounding outskirts, this is quarantine. Stay where you are. For those who just tuned in, Cardiff as been quarantined. An epidemic has gone out of control and medical professionals are attempting to see what they can do. Do not attempt to reach your loved ones within the city, you could become infected. Officials have got this under control and are doing all that they can to reduce the victims-” I began to record the report and left the lab. I did not need to see this now. It only confirmed my suspicions on Dr Heind. This was most assuredly the disease that has claimed so many of their patients and baffled the entire medical branch. Even the timing was suspicious and blatantly so.

I entered the voting room and looked up at the counter. The vote for Yes had risen from when I left. He was going to stay. I left.

Year Twelve

I was in the lab taking readings. I was still unsure of where my machine went. It was not unusual for this to happen. If I got it wrong, it would not come back, hopefully in my life time, but there was a possibility of it just disappearing. I sighed, not only did I lose my machine but I was also waiting for my reprimand. We were not supposed to drain the base’s power; it tended to make the government suspicious.

My readings showed me nothing, so I sat down at my computer and waited. Sure enough, the Council’s courier appeared and handed me a letter. Just as I reached out for it, the lights dimmed, flickered and ended. There was black pitch of nothing and then I heard a sound; it was the sound of rotating cylinders and circles. It was not squeaky or un-oiled, but not smooth either. The sound was of a machine working, the parts creating friction and doing precisely what they are supposed to do. The sound ended and the light reappeared. My machine had returned. I momentarily looked at the courier’s surprised face then ran over to the machine and opened it up. Sitting there was a quaint little omelette on a plate, a fork and a note. I was puzzled. I picked up the note. It said:
- Good job, you are on the right track. Try not being so enthusiastic next time; the machine is more sentient than you realise.

I looked at the note fondly, and picked up the omelette and fork. I offered them to the courier, who shook his head quickly. He left.

Year Thirteen

An irate Dr Lydia entered my lab, where I was polishing my machine. I was ready to send her off again. This time I was going to take that advice and try not to be so strong in my emotions. I did not want to have to rely on some other person or possibly even the future me, to return my machine.
“You realise the trouble you are in for this, major? The government is homing in on our position. They are beginning to figure it out. They are not stupid, you know that. We have enough on our hands than dealing with your disgusting pet project. Dr Heind and his men are trying to fix this horrific mess and one more clue to the government and everything will be lost. From now on, you are to suspend all work and shall be confined to your quarters.” Five detaining personnel entered the room.

Year Fourteen

The lights showed red. The alarm sounded. Heavy iron doors cut the compound into quarantined sections. Dr Lydia Chovsky readied her single-hand shotgun and ran towards the quarters. She pounded twice on one of the doors which were reinforced like all quarantine doors. Five knocks came from inside. Dr Lydia swiped her card on the door and pressed seven numbers on the number pad. The door retracted and Major Ophelia Courts found herself with a single-hand shotgun pointed at her face.
“Your name?” said Dr Lydia. Major Courts raised an eyebrow.
“ I am Major Ophelia Courts, or rather ex-Major Ophelia Courts.”
“Good, and where are we and what is your purpose?”
“The location is classified and I have no bleeding clue what my purpose is. I like physics, though, especially the kind that deals with time.”
Dr Lydia glared at the Major and said, “I ought to shoot you just for being so damn cheeky. If you haven’t heard, that alarm means quarantine. The compound has been compromised.”
“What happened?”
“Everything. The human race is dying. The entire world has been compromised, if you wanted to get technical. It was the unknown epidemic Dr Heind was working on. It continued to mutate. He never figured it out, no one did.”
“And why take me out of quarantine?”
“You know how to run the time machine. Your assistant tried to, but it did nothing. It just sat there. We figured you put a lock on it.”
“I did not. It is sentient, must not have liked him.”

The Indict

One of the new Council members came into my tent. He came to report that there had been a sighting of a group of humans in the woods outside of camp and they looked Diseased. He said that the camp was beginning to pack up, just as planned. If any single human was seen outside of the camp members then we were to move forward in time. We did not want to take chances. Chances meant death.
I started to pack everything. All my belongings, all work and notes, my futon and tent was packed and brought into the time machine. It was bigger than I first made it. Dr Lydia and my assistants had hooked it up to larger ship. The original was still there, thankfully. The last bits and pieces of the camp came in when a group appeared over the ridge: the Diseased. The doors locked shut. We sat there momentarily, staring at the group. I could barely recognise them. They had not aged, but so much as changed. They were filthy and wild and ill. They were travel-wearied from time. We could not help but stare at our old colleagues. Dr Lydia and Dr Heind were there. Dr Heind had fallen before I was let out of my quarters but I had witnessed Dr Lydia being attacked and bitten. I was forced to close the hatch on her.
I leaned forward and began to pull the levers: the one to the left, then to the upper right and then the fourth and fifth and sixth. My time machine reacted and began its rotations. On the fifteenth lever, or the indict as I liked to call it, I reached to major lever of power and switched it on. I looked up as we began to dematerialise.
I felt my machine ripping the continuum. We were alone, the machine and I. I felt its power surging through me. We re-materialised in Dr Lydia’s office. I had a chance to look at the papers on her desk. A medical report of Jeremy Tindelman was sitting there, ready to be faxed to Dr Heind. I felt the ripping again and felt us moving forward. I appeared and appeared. I witnessed the creation of my machine and witnessed the experimentations done on the victims of the Disease. I watched myself smile with pride when the machine came back with the omelette and note and I laughed to myself at the courier’s surprised face. I materialised in the security room during the quarantine. Everyone was dead; they had shot themselves or swallowed the proper cyanide pills issued. I looked at the screens, watching everything happen. I saw Dr Lydia and I running to my machine. I watched passively as I saw Dr Heind and his assistants stumble forward and intercept Dr Lydia and I. I was ahead of them and looked back when I heard a scream. Dr Heind leapt forward and Dr Lydia was brought down. He bit her. She screamed and shot him in the face. I had already reached my machine and opened went through the hatch. I looked behind and saw Dr Lydia running towards me. I closed the hatch and the machine started up.

My machine and I reappeared in a medical lab. Dr Heind was alone. He looked up at me and I could not help but stare at him. He raised his hand and dropped the phial he was holding. It broke. He calmly walked forward and pressed the alarm button. Lights showed red and the medical quarantine began. My chest started to feel heavy. I had trouble breathing. My machine began flashing back and forth. I could feel my machine was hurt. The rotations were struggles. The power was failing. It struggled backwards; I felt it searching through my childhood. It zoned in to Cardiff. It felt a great surging power from there. We materialised in an old hangar bay, in a corner behind some crates. A captain was washing on of the older planes wistfully. He looked over to where I appeared.

A/N: The blogger messed up the layout of the story, so I did the best I could (so no indented paragraphs randomly and such).

For those of you still wondering, an indict is fifteen years. It is no longer in use for measuring time, but I liked the word too much. It sounded faintly scary and intense. I hoped that this story reflected it, but at least I tried and that counts for something. On the other hand, I might change the ending. I am still a bit unsettled on it. It seems all too deus ex machina (in a bad way, I assume) and there are loopholes in it. I'll see how others feel about it.

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