The Infection | Teen Ink

The Infection

April 25, 2013
By Cicero, coulmbia, Missouri
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Cicero, Coulmbia, Missouri
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Favorite Quote:
"Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen!"
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"
-Karl M

Seven years ago, Sarah Neckell and her assistants developed a bacteria, that when mixed with plant seeds, could create plants resistant to nearly every climate. The resistance level of the plant depended on the species of the plant, so some plants were more resistant than others. Sarah was called a hero by the world, as this saved millions from starvation. The bacteria seemed to have a small side effect on the plants, a slight change of their color. It also caused young girls to grow faster than normal, but not taller. Sarah never asks for money for this “miracle bug”, and freely gave it to every country that would accept it. Few countries did, for fear of a hidden side effect, or religious reasons. The food these plants produced was tested by government agencies around the world; all found that the food was safe for human consumption. But Sarah was a very paranoid doctor, and government test meant nothing to her, for they were conducted poorly, in her opinion.
Six months before the US or any government started their food testing; Sarah informed the US government about her breakthrough. She requested seven death row inmates to test upon; and after explaining what she needed them for, she was granted them. Sarah was also given a high security lab to conduct her research, in Sutton Nebraska. This was all given on the condition that the inmates were never let out. Every day for a year, the inmates were given food produced only by the resistant plants. They were asked to record anything strange, as well as their thoughts. The inmates were also required to do various exercises during the day. Sarah watched carefully, and for a year nothing happened. Three months had passed since food from the revived plants hit the market. This food had a nickname, zombie food. No one could explain why people everywhere went crazy over this food; it was the same as the normal equivalent. It might be due to internet rumors, that said zombie food that many health benefits.
Six months had passed since governments around the world had given it the green light. One year, since Dr. Neckell had started her research. Sarah was hoping that nothing would turn up in the next few days, so the food could stay up for sale. She gave her two assistants a week off, and they quickly hurried away, it was their first time off in a year.

The assistants came back a week after their departures to find a trashed lab. Broken glass, overturned desks, lights flickering on, only to quickly flicker off. Papers were scattered everywhere, and the smell, a horrid smell neither of the assistants had ever smelled, reeked in the air. One of the assistants gagged when he looked into the nearest cell, with its glass viewing wall broken one could easily see the rotting, mutilated body that inhabited the cell.
“Something ate it” he choked out. The other assistant was horrified when she looked over at the body,
“We need to find the Doc” she whispered. They nodded in agreement, and spilt up, one headed for the emergency alarm switch, the other to the interior of the lab. Before long the assistant that went into the lab ran, in a panicked way, towards the other assistant.
“Something’s h-!” and she was cut off.
“What did you say?” the other asked, he walked towards the last sound she made. The lights off in the section in the lab flickered on; long enough for him to see what was in here with him. There on the floor two inmates feasted on his friend. The assistant didn’t scream but he ran, ran a mad dash for the door. He approached the entrance and started typing in the pass code to unlock the door. As if on cue, as he punched the last digit in, one of the inmates lurched out of the darkness, and stood between him and the door. He heard the ripping and tearing of his friend in the distance, and knew this was his fate, if he couldn’t escape. He could see the inmate clearly now in the daylight. Blood dripped down his face and off his chin, into a crimson puddle on the floor below. He was hunched over and his eyes, his whole eye, were now a dull, glazed, and yellow. He dragged his nails on the floor, creating a high-pitch screech that chilled the assistants’ bones. I’m being hunted he thought as the inmate lunged at him, raking his nails into the assistants left temple. This blow knocked him to the ground as the inmate started a series of swipes to the head. This is how I die he thought, strangely calm, and blacked out.

He was awoken by an officer, who was violently shaking him. It took the assistant awhile to understand the officer was asking if he was alive. He opening his eyes and felt the warm blood that covered his face, drenched his hair, and covered the upper half of his body. With all his strength he flung what little remained of his hand on the officer’s shoulder and croaked, “Stop zombie food”, and died. After hearing this, governments around the world banned the sale of zombie food, and burned the remaining crops. Their thought was that, enough of the foods consumption would create something similar to what two inmates turned into. They though that only constant, long term consumption would cause this, so they thought.

One year after the Sutton incident, Paul Ryan leaned back into the arm chair behind the oval office desk. He took a deep breath in, and let it out. A few minutes ago he had thanked the American people for elected him president again, and then walked into the White House. After failing miserably in 2012 with Mitt Romney, he had finally been accepted by the American people. It was his first day in office. Today he got to lie around and explore what would be his home for the next four years. He got up and walked out of the office, two men in solid black stalked him from a distance. They had made him jump when he had first met them, they moved so silently, so robotically, it wasn’t natural. Although they still freaked him out, he was getting better at hiding the fear they put him in. They walked to the elevator, the president pushed the button and they waited. The door opened with a cheerful chime, but there was someone already in there. The man was dressed similarly to the secret service, but this one was thinner, had a stance of someone with a great burden. The man wasn’t older than 45, but he looked like a 60 year old. Stress really takes its toll on some people Paul thought. The man waved his hand in a shooing motion, the two secret service men nodded and left. They stood there in silence, staring at each other.
“Well Mr. President?” he asked
“Well what?” responded Paul
“Are you going to join me Mr. President?” he asked in a very annoyed tone. Paul looked at the man funny and walked in.
“2nd floor please” Paul said. The man acted like he didn’t hear, or didn’t care as he proceeded to push the hand bar down, as if he was trying to break it. “What are you doing?!” Paul demanded. Once again the man acted like he heard nothing, the bar folded down, as if it was meant to do so. The panel with the floor buttons sprung off, and swung to the right. Where the panel used to be, twenty buttons appeared. Paul looked that the buttons with an astonished looked on his face. The man pushed the button labeled negative fifteen. “I’m the President of the United States of America, and I demand to know what the hell this is!”
“You’ll know soon enough Sir.” The man snickered as he said this.
“What does that mean?” Paul yelled accusingly.
“God you’re a whiny brat.” he replied, laughing. Paul was growing red; this man knew exactly how to make him angry. “You wanted answers, and here they are”. The Doors opened, Paul opened his mouth to yell at the man, but nothing came out. “Welcome to sublevel fifteen” the man said and he walked out. Paul stumbled out; the sheer size of this place was impressive. The place was about the size of a 5 by 5 grid of football fields. The ceilings were twenty feet high. He could see large TV screens in the distance, the area seemed to be roped off but it was hard to tell. “Will you stop gawking and follow me?” Paul could only nod, and obey. “Back when Truman renovated the White House it was brought to his attention that an underground complex could help function as a nuclear bomb shelter and major base of operations. It was approved three years after World War II ended. Few knew that construction was happening in this area, fewer knew that it was under the White House.”
“How many people work here?” Paul asked
“Will you shut up?” the man demanded, “I’m getting to that”. Paul looked at his shoes in shame as the man continued. “It was finished twenty years after its start, since then this place has become one of the most secure area in the world, and the most secret. This area is equipped with thirty-two Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, thirteen tanks, and is constantly able to summon three thousand infantry within half an hour”
“You mentioned something about a command center?”
“Finally!” shouted the man “Intelligence! You are correct, this is a command center” he pointed to where the large TV screens where in the distance. “We normally don’t show the President this unless it is absolutely necessary that we do.” Paul eyed him curiously as they weaved their way throughout the wires and pipes. The man he was following was walking at an alarming rate, almost like a jog, Paul had a hard time keeping up with him.
“Wh-what did you” sputtered Paul as he tried to catch his breath. The man gave him a cold stare until the President had composed himself. “What did you mean by we normally don’t show the president?”
“Unless is a matter of national security we never speak of this, or think of it. With you all coming in and out every four years or so it poses too much of a security risk.” He answered. Another man walked out of the shadows, he saluted the man, and swiped a card that opened the door the command center. Paul jumped, he hadn’t seen that man, and just like the Secret Service, he moved without noise. The man was in an army uniform but it was solid black. Even his helmet was solid black. He was in black combat boots and had black combat gloves on, it seemed like he was meant to only be seen by those who knew that he was there.
“Anything else I can do for you General?” He asked. The General shook his head slowly and the man walked silently back to the darkness.
“So what should I call you?” Paul asked
“General. Just General” he replied, “You won’t find me from any paper trail so don’t bother. Now, please enter”. Paul walked in; the command center was more impressive than the complex ever was. The computers, the screens, everything was years ahead of the most advanced prototype the best technology company had. In the middle of all the computers sat a table. It wasn’t fancy just a simple wooden table, that didn’t fit with the rest of the room. At the ends of the table, a giant screen with a map of the world was shown. There were tiny red dots all over certain areas of the world. At the other end the same thing was being projected. Paul sat down in an empty chair and moved up to the table.
“Shall we start gentlemen?” a man across from Paul said. The man was in his late 50s, but he wasn’t sure, whether it was his actual age, or whether he looked like that because of stress. He had snow white hair, a solid black tie, and a red dress shirt. He had on dark sunglasses so no one could see what his eyes looked like. The General nodded his head and spoke,
“Mr. President, all those here have, except you, been briefed on this matter. Unfortunately you won the last election; the last president had already been briefed on this matter, so now we must start the whole process over again.” He took a deep breath in, and sighed. “As you most likely know, Dr. Sarah Neckell created a bacteria, that, when introduced to a plant seed, would create alterations. These alterations would cause these things to become very, very drought, temperature, and flood resistant. But the plants would turn color slightly, and caused accelerated growth in young girls.”
Paul though back, he remembered how the “zombie food”, as it was popularly called, was suddenly recalled, and burned. He recalled the outcry by humanitarian organizations and poorer countries around the world, when this cheap source of food was taken. He shook his head and refocused on the General. “But what you don’t know is the reason that this was recalled”.
He clicked his pointer, and a new picture flashed up on the screen, one of an apartment complex. “Dr. Neckell came to us with a very important piece of information six months before it was given to the FDA for approval. She showed us the data and projections of her food. She asked for seven death row inmates, she also asked for a private secluded lab. After reviewing her data, our scientists told us that what she was doing should work. They also told us that the tests she was proposing, were 100% humane, and showed little risk at all.” He clicked his remote again, changing the picture to an inmate running on a treadmill. “Upon hearing this we got very impressed and agreed to everything that she had asked for. The inmates were picking by those who volunteered and were least violent. Every day for a year these inmates were fed food only produced by these altered plants. They were asked perform various exercises throughout the day, to record their thoughts. This continued for a year before something happened.”
The picture was changed back to the apartment complex. It looked the same but there were military response units all around. “The Dr. gave her assistants a week off, but here where we start to assume things. Sometime within that week the inmates started to….” He paused, looking for the right word, “change. Two broke out of their cells and killed the five other inmates. The official report said Dr. Neckell had a mental breakdown, and started to spout highly classified information. It also said that we had taken her into custody after she had killed seven people. Truthfully we have no idea where she is, or whether she’s alive. These inmates took on pack animal instincts, and a taste for human flesh. But their intelligence shot up, shot way up. They attacked the wires so that the lab was dark, with the occasional flickering light. They also attacked most of the security footage, but they didn’t attack the footage shot after the assistants came back”
The picture was changed to a video. Two people walked in, and started talking to each other. Those must be the two assistants thought Paul. They looked around curiously at the mess the lab was filled with, and slowly walked through it. They stopped suddenly and looked into the first cell they came to. One gagged and the other looked terrified as the saw something in it. After a quick decision one ran deeper into the lab; the other ran towards the emergency switch. The general walked in front of the screen and clicked the remote.
“I warn you” he said, “the things that those….those creatures are about to do is very disturbing. They destroyed the cameras deeper into the lab, so we can’t follow the assistant that went father into it, so we don’t know much about what happened to her after this point. But we have an idea thanks to the other one” the general restarted the video and walked back to his seat.
The assistant that was running to the alarm whipped his head in the direction that the other one had ran, and came to a stop. You could clearly see him asking something, as he walked towards her. In mid stride he stopped, his eyes widened as if he just saw that some myth was really true. He spoke not another word and he ran a mad dash for the exit. He fumbled with the key pad, but got it open within a few seconds of getting there. As he turned to the door, one of the inmates stepped in front of the door. Paul really couldn’t see what the inmate looked like, the camera angle and lighting of that area was to poor. But he did see that he was hunched over, so low, that he could drag his hands on the floor. The inmate cocked his head and launched itself on him, swiping and clawing at the poor mans head. The struggle lasted around a minute before the assistant stopped fighting back. The inmate proceeded to sink his teeth into the assistant arms, ripping out what he could. The other joined him, and the feasting lasted for about seven minutes before they both shot their heads up in alarm and dashed out the unlocked door.
“This is where we lose those things; we end up finding them an hour later, after they had killed a farmer, his wife, and his two kids. They were shot on sight, and were killed. We had an animator create what one of these things look like and here’s what she made,”
The video changed to a spinning model, the camera zoomed around a hunched over man with his arms dangling to the floor. The camera stopped moving, and zoomed in on the models face. Its eyes were a dull yellow, but other than that it looked normal.
“After these events it was determined that constant eating of the food produced by these plants caused this, mutation, to happen” the man in red across from Paul spoke up, “this event is now called the Sutton incident”
“Thank you” said the general quickly before the man in red could continue. “Luckily, it took a year of constant eating for these symptoms to appear, and the food was only on the market for six months” the President nodded his head in understanding as the general continued. “Eleven countries accepted the seeds so they could grow these plants, although eleven took the seeds, many, many more took the produce with open arms. Each country that grew these plants kept them away from any other farm and controlled the growing themselves, so that they wouldn’t have the issue of which people could grow and which could not. Once we informed the other ten countries of the Sutton incident they took our lead and burned every crop within fifty miles, each claiming it was for international health. We believed that this would solve our issue, and kill any remainder of this “zombie” food”
“So what’s the issue that these plants are now posing?” inquired Paul
“Exactly my point Mr. President, you see our actions didn’t kill of the plant entirely. The bees and other animals that pollinate cross pollinated the mutated plants with the normal ones. The mutated genes are more dominate than the original genes so the plants mutated too. We had thought when we burned the normal plants within fifty miles it solved this issue, but it didn’t. The newly mutated plants had already started flowering by the time we realized what had happened. Our burning was a temporary solution, and we are continually burning fields as we discover mutated plants, but its evolving. Originally these things grew at a normal pace, but now are budding months before their counterparts. These things are spreading around the country, and the ten other countries, slowly, but they pace is still alarming. Our, or I should say your, job is to figure out a way to completely fix this issue.” All heads turned to Paul. His eyes widened, and said nervously,
“Anyone have any suggestions?” But no one spoke, so they sat in silence. The man to his left reached down and pulled out a large folder, with the red “TOP SCRECT” stamp on it. He slid it to the President, bowed his head slightly and left. The others at the table also got up and left. Paul opened the packet and started reading. The General walked over and whispered,
“The other ten will follow whatever you say on this matter”. With that said, the general also left. Paul reached up rubbed his temples as he processed the information given to him. His briefing had covered the situation very well, but it left off most of the projections that these mutated plants had been given. By the end of his term it was projected that more than half of the plants would be the mutated version. Good thing we only gave crops this stuff he thought. The Projection was alarming, but the death toll if the crops were all burned was worse, a projected four billion dead. The numbers for infected if the crops weren’t burned weren’t nearly as high, but the death toll was so much greater. He looked at the location of the infected crop in the USA; the heartland was lit up with red dots, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois were all major hot spots. He put the simulation on loop, and watched the mutation spread throughout the world. He started at the screen for hours before he dosed off.
He was awoken with a shake to his shoulder; he lifted his head to see who had awoken him.
“Your job awaits sir” said the person who had awoken him. He looked at the blurry figure before him. He rubbed his eyes and put his glasses, the blurry figure before him cleared and he saw the general there. He handed Paul a folder, “this is you schedule for today, you fell asleep down here so I had to give it to you. Good luck sir.” He spun around and walked out the door leaving the president alone again in the command center. Paul opened the folder and looked at his schedule; there was only one thing on it, a whole day event.
“Make a choice on the situation at hand.” He read out loud. He tossed his head back and looked at the ceiling. “Why am I the one to make this choice?!” he yelled in frustration. He sighed and walked to the white board, grabbed a nearby marker and started a pro-con list. If he burned all the crops in America and the other ten countries followed suit, around 60% of the world’s food production would vanish. But if he didn’t, eventually all the food in the world would be inedible. If people started to eat this food, they would turn around and attack anyone they met, killing more than the burnings would. The computer screen started flashing, catching his eye. He walked over to it and saw it was an update on the mutations. He read aloud what put on the screen, “New mutated plants now are identical to the original versions of it, but the growth and side effects are still functioning.” A new green dot appeared on the monitor, in southern Missouri, symbolizing the new mutation. Paul looked down and ran his hand through his hair,
“Beep!” Paul looked up, “Beep!” Great! The computers now beeping thought Paul. He looked at the screen, but saw there were no notifications, puzzled he studied the screen. Then he saw it, every beep, a green dot was added to the map. The beeps continued, but at this time they seemed more like one continuous beep than individual beeps. The Dots spread like wild fire across the south part of Missouri, Kansas and Illinois. They also started to fill in spots in the highly affected areas. Paul leaned forward and turned his monitor off. He stood up, stretched, and left.
Paul walked onto the elevator, inside was the general.
“Don’t you look amazing” remarked the General. Paul ignored the comment and asked,
“Why do I only seem to meet you on this elevator?”
“Shhhh” hushed the general, “you’ve been told too many secrets already this week”, and he laughed. Paul replied by giving the general the same cold stare that he had be given the day before, or he hoped it was the same look. The general stopped his laughing abruptly, and held his hand out. The elevator chimed as it opened on the main floor, Paul looked out, slapped his recommendation on the general’s hand, and walked out.
The President walked to his room and opened the door; he jumped when he saw the man in red who sat across from him the day before, sitting on his bed.
“I see you made your choice Mr. President” he said
“What the Hell are you doing here?!” demanded Paul
“Telling you, your next move” he answered plainly. “You need to tell the American public and the world about what’s really happening with these plants, and your plan.” The man got up, clapped Paul on his shoulder and said “but first you need a shower and some sleep, you look terrible.” He walked out. Paul shut the door behind the man and locked it; he turned off all the lights and collapsed on the bed.
Paul woke up to the sound of his alarm blaring; he looked over and lazily dropped his hand on the off button. He sat up, kissed his wife and walked into the bathroom to take a shower. He sat down at the table to eat a few minutes later; someone walked in behind him and dropped a folder on the table. He spun around to see who it was but they were gone. The only people there were the two secret service agents. He shrugged and opened up the folder ignoring the food that was just placed on the table for him. Like the day before only one thing was on the day’s agenda, a press conference. A note was placed beside it all information on this situation is declassified; say whatever you believe needs to be said.
Paul scheduled the press conference for six o clock, being the time that most Americans could be able to watch. He check his watch, he had about twelve hours until the conference. He reached into his pocket and dug out his phone. He called his speech writer and requested her to come to his political advisors meeting in a few minutes. She unhappily agreed to come, after some pleading from the President. She met him in the meeting room and demanding to know why she was needed so early, and why she was needed at this meeting. He replied by saying “you will know very soon”. She was unsatisfied with this answer, but she knew she would get nothing else from him. The meeting started on time, which amazed Paul, who was used to politicians always being late for one reason or another. The meeting started smoothly as Paul explained the situation to his advisors. After explaining all that he knew, he asked for their input. The advisors didn’t verbally reply, but stared a Paul with blank looks. Minutes pasted, yet the advisors wouldn’t look away.
“Come on!” shouted Paul “I came to you all for advice! Not to be stared at as if you all are giant puppets!” He looked at his advisors hopeful for something to be said, yet still nothing came. He hung his head in defeat.
“Sir, there’s simply too much at stake to be worried about politics, public opinion or anything like that.” Paul shot his head up, and looked at the table in front of him, trying to find who had spoken. Seeing no one he realized that the voice had come from behind him; from his speech writer. He spun his head back as he heard the squeaking of a chair wheel. His oldest advisor slowly stood up, using the table to help support himself. He looked the President in his eyes and simply said,
“Agreed.” The old advisor grabbed his cane, and walked out of the door, followed by the rest of his advisors. Paul watched them leave in a stunned silence, he spun around to see what the speech writers’ reaction was, but she had also left.
Paul spent the remaining nine hours going over what he wished to tell the American people. After three hours of him struggling to put words down for his own speech, a knock on the door disturbed his concentration. Paul got up and opened the door; he found a stack of papers on the floor in front of his door. He bent over and picked them up, reading the title as he did so. The Presidents Speech on the Situation of Genetically Modified Plants; Not super creative, but it works. He thought. He took it back to his desk and started reading.
The time flew by while he was rehearsing, what only seemed like an hour to him was really eight. Paul’s eyes widened as he looked at his clock, it was five. He fumbled with his papers as he rushed out the door, heading towards the press room. Paul walked into the room adjacent to the press room and sat down. It was thirty minutes until it was time for him to go on and speak, the weight of the choice we was about to make was compressing him. He sat in silence, both mentally and physically, unaware of the passage of time. Someone shook him out of his trance, and informed him of the time. Paul thanked him and walked to the press room door. He stopped at the entrance, took a deep breath in, and pushed the door open.
The press sat anxiously in an eerie silence, as he walked by them on his way to the podium. He centered himself once he reached it, and gazed out in to the sea of cameras.
“My fellow Americans” he started. He looked down at his speech, then his note cards. He took them in his left hand, and held them up. “I had a speech prepared for what I am about to tell you. But I have decided not to use it.” He sat the papers back down. “As most of you know, a few years ago Dr. Sarah Neckell devolved a type of genetically altered plants that are super resistance to anything a climate can throw at them. This saved millions from starvation. Most of you also know that she went missing a few days before all the food these plants produced was deemed unsafe.” He paused to let the reporters write down what he was saying. “You’ve probably heard that the government is out burning thousands of areas of privately owned farmland. But only a select few know why. You see this food has a side effect, a very dangerous side effect. The Government granted Dr. Neckell permission to feed this food to death row inmates who volunteered to test it. For a year they ate food produced by these plants, while doing a wide range of exercises. On the day that Dr. Neckell was reported missing, this side effect made itself known. This side effect turns people into savages. These savages broke out of their cells, and killed all of those who where not transformed like they were. They didn’t just kill them though, no, they ate them. These inmates that where infected, gained levels of intelligence, and puzzle solving. For those who wish to see these creatures that the food turns one into, I have requested that the videos of this side effect at work be placed on our governments’ website” He glanced over at his assistant, who nodded, and left to go get the video added. Paul looked back at the crowd of reporters and continued,
“In fear we burned down the crops that were mutated and burned all crops within fifty miles of mutated plants. We had hoped that this would solve this problem, but it did not. We have spent the last year racing around America. Burning all the mutated crops we see, and all the crops near them. The mutation is evolving, no longer are these mutated crops easy to spot because of a strange color. No longer can we believe that these plants only pollinate during certain times of the year. This mutation is a dominate gene, and will transform a healthy plant into a mutated one. The Government will start a blockade of all food produce coming out of the currently infected states, and the states surrounding it. All fields near infected fields will continue to be burned, just as infected fields will be burned. It is my hope that other countries with this mutated crop will follow our lead on this matter. In order to insure that people will not trade, and consume this food, martial law is declared in those areas that are in the blockade, God help you”
The reporters asked no questions, and spoke no words. The people with cameras took no pictures, but stood in shock of what had just been told. Paul waited, for questions, yet none came. Unsure of what to do, he walked out, and headed for his bed.
Over the next few weeks reports of starvation flooded the media. Many people claimed the USA made up a false story so that they could cause a world disaster, and rise from the rubble as the savor of the world. These claims were often most vocal in the middle of a starving region, and ignored. Most new stations that were still broadcasting were reporting the growth in food production, or the shrink, during that day. The weeks turned to months as the death toll rose. Reports of cannibals started to become common place. Some claimed that these cannibals were really the things that the government had warned of. Paul sat up, it had only been seven months since he took office, but it had felt like seven years. His one choice had resulted in the death of three billion. He noticed that a note requesting him in the bunker below had been place on his door. As he walked down to the bunker he saw no one, but then again most had been given indefinite time off. When he reached the military base below, the sound of machinery surprised him. Unlike every other location he had been to, it was as busy as it had ever been. He walked to the conference room, this time noticing the card key person. The doors hissed open and he walked in. it was the same set up as when he had first walked in, the general and all the others were in their places. The only changes were their clothing and the information on the screens. Paul took his seat and waited for the general to start.
“Our solution to this was to blockade the infected areas so that we could limit any spread of this mutation. We also burned any crops within fifty miles of the borders. I’m here today to tell you this, it failed.” The general paused and watched people seated around the table exchange alarmed looks. He started again after a few seconds, “not only did our containment policy fail, our consumption policy failed. The starving people in that area ignored our pleas, and grew it in hope of survival. Small gardens were created in people’s basements, these where normally destroyed quickly, but they got better and better at hiding it. Soon after starvation set in, smaller local governments began to become corrupt. They turned a blind eye to many of these gardens but reported some so that we wouldn’t become suspicious. You’ve heard of the rumors that cannibalism has grown in these areas, while this is true more and more of these reports are reports of the infected and not people trying to stay alive.” The screen faded on to show a map of the blockaded area. Red dots slowly started to spread across the area shown.
“What’s more troublesome is that these infected are sneaking past the border, or the locals near the border are becoming infected.” The map zoomed out a little to show a larger portion of the country. Around the shaded blockaded area, red dots popped up around the border. “The other ten countries that followed our lead have similar problems, and they and their neighbors are closing down their borders in a few minutes.” He paused again, to let the people give their looks or exchange words, but they showed nothing. He shrugged and continued, “The question is what now?” The general walked into the back and sat down. He leaned his head back and slept to the sound of politicians arguing.
Paul looked down at the list of things that must be done to protect the public from the infected, and the mutated crops. It was a simple list; send in more food aid to help the starving, so they wouldn’t turn to the mutated crops. Send in more military power, to enforce rules better throughout the blockaded area. The military would also attack and kill any persons that were infected. It would also extend martial law to the entire country. They handed the list to the general who nodded and left.
The president left the compound and went back to the main floor of the White House. As he walked through the floor, the echo of his footsteps rang around the building. Somehow he could hear everything in the building, but he could still not hear the secret service members that stalked him. Paul sat in the Oval Office and stared at the men that stood across from him. It had become a daily ritual with them, he stare at them and they’d do what they always did, remain void of reaction. After minutes of the staring, Paul would start talking. He never got a reply, but he would make full conversations between them.
“Gentlemen,” he started “we have a major issue with theses mutated crops. I’m stuck with a problem here, and id like your help.” He waited for a reply, but as usual he got none. “You see my wife and kids left to go back home a few days ago and with this crop threatening the safety of the nation I didn’t know whether to go and spend what could be the our last few days alive together; or whether to stay here where I can help guide the nation into a safer path.” He waited again, but got nothing so he opened his mouth to speak for the agent on his left. The conversation then became one of Paul speaking for the agent on the left and Paul speaking for the other agent on the right. He had one believe that he should spend time with his family, while the other would argue that he should stay here. The reasoning ranged from civic duty and his duty as a father, to whether it truly mattered where he was in order to make decisions that would affect the nation and the world. But in the end Paul agreed more with the agent on his left, the one who argued that he should spend time with his family. He thanked the two men for their help in deciding, and left to arrange his departure from the White House.
Instead of heading straight to his home in Janesville, Wisconsin, he arranged to be driven around the border of the blockade and to be driven through areas of it. His trip started after he left Air Force One in Oklahoma City. The plan was to take the Blockade border around eastern Kansas, and to cut through the Nebraska-Iowa border before exited the blockaded area again. Once out the President would follow the blockaded area around until he reached Janesville. All proceeded smoothly for the first few days, they were marking great time and were nearly out of Kansas and into Nebraska. Every few hours or so they would stop and allow the President to stop and visit with people and to see what major problems were affecting them. This continued until they reached a small town named Norfolk. Paul took a step out and took a deep breath in. It was similar to many of the small towns they had visited in the past few months, but something was off about it. It was in the blockaded area, but many other towns in the area had welcomed him. Yet this street was empty, except him, and the secret service members who shadowed him. He walked up and down the streets seeing no one. Many restaurants were closed; he also saw many cars that seemed to be left to rust. He sat down in a chair and observed the town; it was like many towns around Norfolk’s size it was built around some high education organization. But the layout of the main street was meant for trade, after all the area surrounding Norfolk had grown all sorts of crops, but it was all burned to ash currently. Paul sighed and got up ready to continue on to the next town but as he got up the four agents that had followed him all pulled their guns and one shouted at Paul to crouch down next to the brick wall. They moved as one, scanning the area for anyone or anything. They focused their aim at a rusting car and waited for whatever it was to make a move.
A man slowly stood up from behind the car with his hands raised in the air. He walked slowly away from the car and into the open; he would snap his head from left to right occasionally as he walked into the center of the street. Paul could see him better now, he looked to be in his mid twenties, he had fairly pale skin, and red curly hair. He had on a black shirt with a NASA logo on it, and jeans. Paul waved the man over and asked, “What’s here that you’re so afraid of?” the mans eyes were wide open and bloodshot but he answered nervously,
“Those who ate the corn.” He pointed to a burned field in the distance. Hearing this, the agents grabbed Paul by his arms, and lead both him and the stranger to the back military escort. Once they arrived the agents quickly ordered everyone back into their vehicles and quickly got everyone out of the town.
“What happened there?” one of the agents asked. It was the first time that one had ever spoken around Paul and it made them seem much more human.
“It started when the announcement was made to blockade this area of the country.” began the man, he explained how the military came in and burned the fields shortly after and the starvation that began not long after. He talked about how the city government slowly began to become corrupt with their hunger, and began to allow the growth of the mutated plants.
“After a while we were full again, but a few of us refused to eat it, there were about three-hundred of us at first, but that number quickly dropped as the hunger pains became worse. Only around one-hundred remained before people started changing, me and four of my friends had gathered supplies and left for a spot in the woods shortly after the decision to allow the growth of crops. After the first one turned in a savage, the City quickly reversed is choice, to it was far too late. Those who hadn’t already left the city either became one of them or joined the dead as mutilated corpses.” This happened months ago, and most of the infected from here are now wandering aimlessly around the country side, but a few remain in the city.” The Agent nodded his head, and turned around.
“What your name?” Paul asked
“It’s Alex; I’m assuming that you are the President?” Paul nodded his head.
“What happened to the rest of your group?” Paul asked. Alex replied in a short, but to-the-point answer,
“They ate them.”
“Oh,” said Paul, unsure of how to reply to that statement. They sat in the armored car in an awkward silence for hours after words, before anyone spoke again. “Where do wish to be dropped off?” asked Paul. He showed Alex a map of where they were at and where they were heading. Alex pointed to a field a few minutes away from their current location.
“Here please.”
“Are you sure?” Paul inquired, but Alex nodded his head yes. Paul showed the location to the agent next to him, who relayed the information to the driver.
“I just wish to say that I agreed with your choice.” Alex said sincerely as the car neared its destination. “Although it cost me and many others a lot, it saved many lives, and helped put the country on the right path to recovery.” An agent opened the door as Alex finished his statement, and he motioned for Alex to get out. The President followed Alex out, shook his hand, and said,
“Don’t thank me yet,” and slid back into the car. Alex watched the cars drive away and looked at his hand. When the President shook his hand he had slipped a flash drive in the handshake. There was a note that wrapped around it that read, only open these files in case of my death. He re-read the note twice before folding it back up. Alex looked at the road the President had gone down, then back at the road he had just came down. He pocketed both the note and the drive and started down the path he had just come from.
In a few days Alex managed to escape the blockaded area. He quickly learned just how bad the situation had become. The infected had been reported all of parts of the country, not in numbers as they were in the heartland, but they still were out there. The mutated crops had spread to other countries over seas but unlike in America it seemed that containment had worked, killing off the deadly crop. Although the spread had been stopped over seas it hadn’t been stopped in the Americas. The USA was the only country to accept the mutated crops, but it had spread to Southern Canada, and was sweeping down Mexico with an alarming rate. The death toll continued to rise but the news that caught his eye the most was the news that President Ryan had died.
In the middle of Iowa, the President had stopped to visit with the people as he usually did, but just like Norfolk, he found no one. The Secret Service had scouted the town out, but found nothing. Because of this, the President was allowed to stop, while the agents scouted farther ahead. While waiting for a green light signal, the President, Secret Service agents, and military personal, were attacked by the infected. The agents that scouted ahead came rushing back after they received no response from the group. They found a street of bodies, blood, and gore. They found four survivors in the street, and called for a medical airlift.

There was more to the story but Alex didn’t care, he had a job to do. It took him three days of traveling to find a working computer, but he was glad he could finally see what was inside the flash drive. Alex plugged the drive, and three folders and a video file appeared. The folders were named Data, Projections, and Alterations. The video file was named Open Me 1st in big letter. Alex moved his mouse over it and opened the file. The Video opened to the President sitting in the Oval Office, with a tired look on his face.
“To whom this drive has been given to; I start by saying God be with you. Whether you believe in a God or not, the task I am about to ask of you will require help, from either others, or some divine intervention. If you are watching this, I am most likely dead, or presumed dead. Because of my passing I am unable to fulfill the task I have been doing, so I pass it on you.” The President paused and gathered his thoughts before continuing. “The mutation of the crops is spreading around the country and the world. This causes them to turn into some kind of monster that attacks and eats non infected humans. We don’t know much about these things other than they are incredibly smart. I probably met you on my way through the blockaded zone, and thought that you would help fulfill my task if something were to happen. My whole trip into and near the blockaded zone was to find someone that had their life taken by this mutation. It was my hope that this person would use their pain to complete my goal. So here we are, I’m dead, and you’re confused about what I’m asking you to do. Dr Neckell, the creator of this mutation, has been reported dead by the US government. I’m telling you that this is a lie. During the Sutton incident, all bodies were accounted for; except one. We spent days looking for the Dr., but could never find anything. This one person knows everything about the mutation and what it does to those it infects. I’ve spent the last few months finding anything I can on the whereabouts of her. There aren’t any confirmed sightings, but I’ve managed to track someone who acts like, and looks like her. This woman only goes to smaller towns where word is less likely to spread, and she drops off the grid every once in a while. Whoever this woman is, she’s either the good Dr. or she’s someone who has a hobby in avoiding big brother, loves science, and has a very close resemblance to Dr. Neckell. Attached on this drive is classified information on everything we know on this mutation. Every projection, piece of data, and behaviors are on this drive. This data is enough to get me convicted of treason, and shot. I’m asking you, as a dying request, find Dr. Sarah Neckell. When you do give her this drive, and hopefully she can end this thing, before we are all mutated. I know this a lot to ask of someone, but I can no longer dig to find this woman. The government has realized what I was doing to find her, and almost none of it was legal. I made a choice to leave the White House to spend time with my family. While this is true, I’m also leaving so that I can spend time with my family before I am arrested and placed in jail. I realized that because I could no look for her, on one would be picking up where I left off, so I made this. I changed my plans to head around the blockaded area so I could find, you. I know that I will most likely die, in an infected attack, around the middle of Iowa. For this is where the reports of the infected are far more numerous than anywhere else. My days are numbered, so I ask you again; please find Sarah Neckell.”

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