Friday, 25 July 2008

Godthab, Antananarivo

Sunrise, Sunset

Part 1 of a series by Bacter

A faint clicking was the first sign that night had come. Barely audible from the surface, it was the sound of valves opening. Steam rushed up through tubes, escaping through tiny cracks and floating away in the frigid air. As the rusty generators spun, lights flickered on, and the temperature inside public buildings rose eleven degrees. Rats had discovered this effect, and had taken to living in the libraries and government offices. There was no-one to stop them.

The town was silent, and the wind whistled through it. The rats had made short work of most of the remaining supplies, and were beginning to starve. One particular colony had long determined that it was impossible to gain entrance to the Godthab central Hospital, which is why the rats that found a door left open were hesitant to enter. The smell of food, however, was overpowering. Their hunger overriding their hesitancy, they followed the scent through pristine rooms, stainless steel gleaming, not noticing as the doors shut with a whoosh behind them. Cameras subtly shifted to follow their progress, and a faint whirring noise could be heard from the depths of the building. Suddenly, they turned a corner and saw in front of them not food but a dead end. Turning in confusion, they were unaware of the cage closing over them until it was too late.

The illness had been untraceable when it first arrived- at first a very mild fever was its only sign, then even that was gone- it drifted from person to person until every body on the island was a carrier, the plague hiding, waiting. It had a nearly worldwide spread by the time an Australian doctor had isolated it, and once it was found the world was thrown into panic. Every nation responded in their own way- some closed airports, borders, shipyards in an attempt to keep the disease away. Some established martial law and curfews. Greenland decided to build the ultimate hospital.

Pouring most of the nation’s budget into the project, the automated hospital was to be the beacon of the new age of health care- built with the finest protocols and the most expensive materials, the auto-hospital was designed to be utterly self-sufficient, running on Greenland’s vast reserves of geothermal power. It would handle both patient care and research. The hospital was a smashing success and became the toast of the world overnight, hailed as the eighth wonder of the world. It was far too late.

Nothing had ever evolved as quickly and as disastrously as the new disease, which was referred to as the pox because of the spots it left on victims. The spots were the first sign, then encephalitis, nausea, necrosis, and kidney failure. With an amazingly high death rate and the human immune system unable to provide protection, people fell in droves. Governments took to handing out masks, giving bottled water, and burning bodies to slow down the infection, but to no avail. It surged through Greenland as implacably as anywhere else, the technicians barely having time to program “vaccine development” into the hospitals servers before succumbing.

Within thirty days, the hospital had run out of the samples provided by the technicians. The error correction software in the computer quickly realized that there was an abundant source of the plague left- in the bodies of the rats. It began trapping them, and dissecting their bodies for more plague to experiment on. Exactly two hundred and fifty days later, the completion of the vaccine was announced to an empty world.

Empty, that is, except for one city: Antananarivo. Madagascar had been quicker than most countries to close their borders, and had weathered the virus with zero casualties. Supplies were running low, however, and the population was growing anxious. As the sun rose over the capital city of Antananarivo, the president grimly turned to face the small company of fatigue-clad men and women he had assembled. “You were brought here because you have families”, he said in a deep basso. “and so you understand what is at stake. We need that vaccine- we cannot continue to power our homes and feed our citizens for long on the supplies we have.” The aging president looked steadily into their eyes. “Our planes can get you to the coast of Greenland, but you’ll need to move quickly from there. Avoid all contact with rodents, and certainly stay away from bodies. The plan is to get in, get the vaccine, and get out as quickly as possible. With it, we can begin to re-populate the earth. Are there any questions?” Only one cadet raised a hand. The president raised his eyebrows, checked a list “Lieutenant… Walters. What is it?” “Sir,” the young woman cleared her throat “I wasn’t aware we had an airport, sir.”

This post references Pandemic II. Greenland's hospitals will stay open even if every person on the island is dead as of this post, and Madagascar is jolly well impossible to invade without it closing it's shipyard. It will occasionally close it's airport, though the island doesn't have one.


bobo said...

An awesome post! The last line had me in stiches :D

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post love it!

McCoyEVP said...


Venzael said...


Meisme said...

Excellent work.