“Agent Smallpox is down. I repeat, Agent Smallpox is down.”
“Check your data, have your human centers report in. We have heard this before, it is possible that you’re wrong.”
Commander Rhinovirus stalked inside the cells of the throat of the head of the CDC. He could not believe what he was hearing. First polio, now smallpox. We were slowly winning the war against Nature’s most insidious agent, Man. At least until that last news report.
At first I did not believe it. Agent Smallpox had been our best agent for the last twelve thousand cycles. No Agent had the killing potential, the transferability, the lethality and the overall fear-causing capability that Agent Smallpox, The Maker, bless his viral core, had.
Then, in the human year 1975, they boasted they would be able to prevent the spread and could eradicate Smallpox. They had a systematic program that would effectively render smallpox extinct everywhere on Earth. Another creature brought to extinction by the hand of Man.
There were only two samples of smallpox left in the entire world as far as we knew, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and a Russian facility in Siberia. We had tried numerous times to free them. Tried to cause technicians to become sloppy in their work, tried to get terrorists to liberate them, to no effect.
I have infiltrated the head of the CDC but he is so strong-willed, I cannot get him to even consider the liberation of the virus. I have convinced him it should not be destroyed, in the event of a spontaneous outbreak or perhaps if a weapon cell were to be initialized by a terrorist group. Unfortunately, weapon cells do not report in, so we never know if they have been destroyed or are just waiting to be released.
Ten thousand years ago, perhaps in the societies that preceded the human empire of Egypt, mighty smallpox ravaged entire villages with his pustule causing variola virus. Single handedly he is thought to have killed over five hundred million humans. Few diseases could bast such an amazing body of work. Whipping through villages, spreading like wildfire, killing in days. Those were the days. Man had a healthy respect for diseases back then.
They feared us so much they named gods after us Pestilence of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Nurgel, Lord of Disease, the Nosi, spirits of plague and sickness. They believed their gods dispensed disease among them as a punishment and so did nothing to stop their spread of the disease. They did not understand how we even worked until that accursed “germ theory” idea came about.
We had been successful in suppressing the idea of germ transmission for centuries. The Hindu texts, The Atharvaveda whispered ideas of causative agents and they even developed means of killing many of our earlier diseases. But we eventually slew them and their ideas fell on deaf ears until 36 BC when ‘On Agriculture’ tried to preach it again. The author died of a fever three years later. Then the ideas of germ theory stayed hidden again for nearly a thousand germ-filled years. Those were glorious times.
Then the Moors in their ‘Canon of Medicine’ posited that clothing could carry infectious agents. Dark days, even while the black plague roared through Europe, the seeds of our destruction were already being planted. We were too greedy, to eager to spread, we were not cautious enough and while we devastated the world, we did not destroy it; and man persisted. By the sixteenth century,Girolamo Fracastoro and his ideas of seed-like entities that could travel for miles was the final straw.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek, curse his cells was the first to document our existence with incontrovertible proof. After that, each idea of how we moved how we worked came faster and faster, soon mankind realized we were everywhere and fought against us in every way possible. But until the discovery of Penicillin, bless the Maker, curse the Maker, man had little recourse for most major diseases and bacteria our primary agent still ruled the world.
After Penicillin, our forces demoralized retreated for a time and our greatest Agent Bacteria, found nearly everywhere, and on nearly everything, had been all but defeated. This lead to the rise of the virus to the leadership of disease in our struggle against mankind. Bacterial was relegated to the role of second line commander along with fungus in our attacks against the food supplies of man.
Today the war has taken a new tone, something we don’t quite understand, where they try to contain us, weaken us and use us to develop immunity to us. Imagine the horror of being a virus too weak to fight and being decoded and turned into an antibody, an enemy of the state, aiding and abetting the enemy. Nothing more tragic than a virus-turned-serum.
We have begun a shadow war now. Since humanity does not seem to be trying cure disease today, only treat the symptoms, we have opted to work on bringing bacteria to the forefront by creating antibiotic resistant bacteria and placing them in their medical facilities. While their immune systems are weakened, we strike, giving them MRSA, tearing into their flesh and killing them while they look for care. We are getting back our mystique as well, striking without warning, killing mercilessly with things like flesh-eating bacteria and we have learned to turn the media to our benefit, so you can hardly surf the internet without a picture of MRSA or flesh eating bacteria showing up. Propaganda is a powerful tool for our side.
Our shadow campaign includes STDs which were once incredibly powerful, now they attack the immune systems, wearing down the new breed of healthy, well-fed humans. They sit inside their bodies until they have a moment of weakness, being spread by the young and ignorant, until they are everywhere. Even now, Agent Herpes believes it has infiltrated half of the humans of the civilized world. Not deadly in and of itself, it is a vector for other more dangerous agents such as HIV.
The old standbys still have a place, Diphtheria, Hanta, Ebola, Malaria all do their part by staying out there, working in the shadows waiting for mankind to weaken, to get too far from his technology.
“Continue on your protocols. I have a meeting with a pharmaceutical company today. They want to tell us how we can manage the symptoms of HIV and ensure the continued economic success of the medical-pharmacological industrial complex.”
Humanity is a terrifying creature. It is resilient, intelligent, capable, resistant, durable and deadly. If it weren’t so damned big and ugly, it would make one hell of a virus.
A Private, Little War © Thaddeus Howze 2011. All Rights Reserved
Love the parting shot.