by S. E. Mabson
Would you try a machine that completely heals, even though the side effect is...killer?
|Word Count: 2000
"We did it! Were going to change the world!" Shouted Professor Sniderman.
"Professor, we won't just change the world; we will save it. Nanobots are no longer the future, they are NOW." Dr. Newmont replied.
The two men wrapped their arms around each others shoulder and stared into the joyful abyss that was The HealX. This machine was built to heal any form of physical sickness, by releasing millions of nanobots into the body to cleanse and repair. The two had just completed their final testing. The government issued an ACT requiring hospitals to house the HealX machine. In less then a month every hospital in the United States was stocked.
Nearly two months have passed since the installment of the HealX. Fatal injuries, deadly diseases, and even the flu appear to be of the past. The countries morality was high. That is, until, the side effects of the HealX began to manifest. The countries murder rate began to rise exponentially. Every news station in the country is reporting the crime increase, as well as, the brutal murders of Professor Sniderman and Dr. Newmont. The willing participants of their HealX testing were no longer filled with gratitude. Each of them executed their revenge one by one. Professor Sniderman and Dr. Newmont were found strapped to hospital beds in their lab. Each were missing fingers and one foot, their liver and kidneys. Two hearts rested from a lifetime of pumping on trays beside their beds. Each meticulously chosen attack was symbolic of the ailements the invention healed. The two inventors were the first victims in the HealX epidemic. Nanobots, dwelling in the brains, causing intense urges to kill. Something went wrong with the programming.
The country, soon, was polluted with the stench of blood and rotting corpses. The death rate increased faster then the streets could be cleansed, leaving the country nearly deserted. Everyone who wasn't affected by the machine directly fled the country. The HealX machines were quickly boycotted, though, the damage was done. Rebel camps in subways, abandoned buildings, and bunkers went into commission all over the country. The government at first refused to decommission the life saving machines despite their evident side effects in hopes of repair. John McCullough, leader of RebelX, was prepared to take action. Up to this point the camps were a safe haven from those effected by the HealX. John, however, didn't want to just survive or be safe he wanted to live freely. He, along with RebelX, planned to take out as many HealX machines and supporting politicians as they could. RebelX went out to the hospitals to destroy the machines locally whilst John and his right hand man Frank Scollur sought out the politicians. Congress was scheduled to meet to vote on the machine again in a week. They had to act quickly. Governor of Illinois, Raymond Polanski, was first on the list. Sway his vote or eliminate his vote. That was the plan.
John and Frank traveled down the abandoned subway rails to the center of Chicago. As they came out into the light, they were greeted with menacing grins by three young men dressed in khakis and pastel Polo shirts, splattered with blood drops. The three musketeers were coupled with hand guns.
"Well, well, well, look what we have here boys, some filthy subway dwellers." Mocked the young man in the blue pastel Polo.
"We don't want any trouble, but we will finish whatever you decide to start. Just let us pass through quietly." John replied.
"Here's the thing, we rather like trouble. The last two weeks have been a blast! We have killed...hmmm...how many would you say David?"
"You know I've kept score! Haha! You have 10 points, Mark has 7, and I have 8. Together we have killed 25 people! YEAH MAN! WERE RACKING UP BODIES! David exclaimed.
"You see, we welcome trouble. We haven't used the HealX, but it was the perfect cover for us to explore our...urges...without any limits. We enjoy watching the blood spill from the body. Mmm." Mark closed his eyes and rolled his neck, then cracked his knuckles. "I really want to stab someone now." Mark put his gun away and pulled out his knife, the others followed suit. "You want through? You have to ki-" John shot the three of them in mere seconds. Frank chuckled and shook his head. John and Frank stepped over them and made their way to the governors office. On the way they received word the first two groups cleared their prospective hospitals. The city was growing quieter by the day. The pair made it to the office building without anymore interruptions. A surprise awaited them when they reached the threshold of the Governors office. They peered into his office, expecting a barricade. However, the governor was already dead, along with everyone else in the office building.
The two men turned around quickly to the sound of quickening footsteps. Their guns aimed at the door. The foot steps stopped. They inched closer to the door, anticipating an attack. They positioned themselves on the sides of the door frame with their backs against the wall. Frank slipped his head slightly out the door scanning the hallway for any signs of danger. Frank let out a sigh of relief and laughed. The dangerous predator was merely a dog running through the building feasting on the carcasses. John radioed group three. No response. After three attempts he finally got a response. The screams were so unclear John commanded them to retreat to the rebel camp to regroup.
John and Frank crossed paths with a homeless man sitting at the corner on their way to meet group 3. John tripped over him when they cut the corner running. The homeless man filled with rage rose to his feet. His eyes, locked on death glare, were fixed on John. "That dang machine healed my gangrene growing up my leg, but I'm still unhinged. That lady should a let me die out here on these streets. Before that there machine I would have coward away and let you pass. Now?" He chuckled and grin sneakily. "Now, I want to bash your head in with this here rock." The homeless man took a step towards them. John shot him execution style.
"You're not in the mood for a fight today are you?" Frank grinned.
"No, Frank, I'm not. I am ready for this nightmare to be over. To start rebuilding." John replied.
"Yeah me too man, me too." Frank lowered his head and sighed.
"Lets pick the pace back up, Group 3 sounded like they were in trouble. Let's cut through the subway and see if we can catch them before they get to the camp. They may be getting followed or still in trouble and need our help." John suggested. Frank nodded his head in agreement and the two men trodded off toward the subway again. This time a little more careful where they step.
John halted with a jolt when he heard gunfire and screams. "That sounds like Amy and Trek! It's coming from this tunnel. Lets go!" John and Frank darted down the tunnel, to find Amy and Trek backed into a corner at gun point with their guns. No sign of Sam and Karen. Amy and Trek shook there heads in grief when they saw Johns searching eyes. John and Frank sighed.
"Now, we are going to just wait right here, until its done." The man said.
"Put the guns down." John demanded, with his gun pointed directly at the man, Frank's at the woman.
"Not until our daughter calls saying its done." The woman added with teary words.
"Until what is done?" John asked.
"Our son is being healed by that Nanobot body healer thing. And these two came and tried to stop us! We already lost one child we are NOT loosing another!"
"Haven't you seen what those mini robots are doing to people. It literally created serial killers." Frank added.
"We don't care. Maybe we can help him fight those little things." She responded unconvinced.
"There is an idea. Maybe we can help you. If you don't mind may we go with you? If we can successfully help him stay in control we can save others too."
"You have a deal. We will let them go." The man replied lowering his and his wife's gun. They returned the guns back to Amy and Trek and the group made way to the hospital. The boy had been healed of his cancer. He could feel it. He was celebrating with his sister when the group entered to retrieve them and escort them to the RebelX camp in the subway of Southside Chicago. As they were walking to the camp Amy sensed someone following them. She watched over her shoulder the entire journey, but saw nothing. Once inside the camp they were greeted by worried Rebels. They explained what happened and their plan to help people fight the Nanobots.
"May I be of service?" An unfamiliar voice spoke out from the shadows beyond the entrance to the subway utility and control room.
"I knew someone was following us!" Amy and Trek grabbed their guns and aimed them steady.
"Well hold on a second he said he wants to help, let's hear him out." John motioned for them to lower their guns.
"Why is he sneaking around, hiding in the shadows then?" Trek added with suspicion.
"That's a good question, sir; why are you here?" John inquired. The young man stepped forward into the light. He was about five feet and 10 inches tall, lanky, with brown hair.
"My name is Robert Harney. I am partly responsible for the HealX epidemic." Eye brows rose around the room. John held out his arm to steady the group, whose trigger fingers were all to ready. "I was an intern for Professor Sniderman and Dr. Newmont. I was majoring in Robotics. Nanobots were my personal fascination. It was my idea to use nanobots for their HealX machine. They had tried several different mechanics to no avail. My ideas completed the machine successfully."
"You call this successful!" Trek erupted holding out both arms, looking around the room.
"You miss understand me. The machine is in fact successful. I made a mistake when I attempted to change the coding.They took my ideas and gave me no credit. They treated me like a slave!" He took a deep breath to gain his composure and began again. "The plan was to ruin their reputations. I made a mistake changing the codes and got caught at the computer before I could fix it. I need you help to fix my mistake."
The group protested, but John knew he was the key to helping people truly heal from this disaster and rebuilding the country. What John didn't know was how he could help. Can he even be trusted? He did just confess to sabatoge. John stood, lost in his thoughts, in the midst of his bickering circle of friends who were looking to him for direction. He, however, needed a second to think-alone. John stormed out of the room onto the subway tracks, holding out his hand urging them to stay when he heard Frank calling him. He paced the subway tracks analyzing every outcome. If they were going to trust Robert they needed a safety net, and he knew just the thing. When he had a full proof plan he beckoned Frank. He sought a trusted second opinion on his plan and there was no one he trusted more then Frank. The two were on one accord. They stepped back into the room and requested Robert give them a moment to speak to the group before deciding to work with him. Everyone agreed on the plan and the protection plan in case Robert turned on them too. They called Robert back in and shared the plan with him, all but their safety net.
........To Be Continued........