Friday, June 19, 2009

Daily Story 65: Carrying Blame

The creatures in the tank in front of me are equally guilty of mass-murder as myself, I'm told. The tornado, the smuggler, the revolution, our intelligence - none have been found to be at fault enough to lay blame. It's nobody's fault that the entire colony world is dead.

I understand the creatures are called Johnson's Bluetail Criers. They look to me like a cross between some sort of bat and a macaw - like a colorful feathered rodent. They reproduce only in the spring and have a low survival rate, but on Tunsin-4 they have no predators and it's always spring - which made the tornado a surprise.

Tunsin-4 has a circular orbit, no tilt, and no moon - giving it reliable and calm weather. The tornado was caused by some geothermal activity in the ocean or something, it's not my field - but at any rate it was not anticipated and destroyed the capital city entirely. The colonists had thought all the hardship was behind them, thought that with established cities and trade routes they could stop being settlers and just be citizens.

From what I can tell they had some legitimate complaints about the disaster relief - or lack thereof. That they allowed Martin Culvert to stir it up into a full-on revolution was unacceptable, however, and it needed to be stopped. Diplomacy went nowhere because Culvert wanted power more than he wanted to get the people what they were asking, and so someone decided he needed to die.

The guidelines they gave me were familiar - eliminate everyone in the building, keep the innocent bystanders outside from being affected, don't destroy any valuable equipment or papers. I engineered a varient on Zebra Pox that killed with incredible speed, but was terrible at surviving outside of a human host. Some agents delivered it into the air supply of the building during a meeting of all the top advisors and Martin Culvert himself, and within ten minutes they had dropped to the ground.

The agents died as well, even though they had done everything right. They had delivered the virus without being exposed. They had reported everything relevant, including the ongoing battle against the Bluetail Criers that were everywhere like pests. Someone read that report, deemed it irrelevant to the situation and moved on because there was no internal protocol for reporting unapproved species that had been smuggled on to a colony world. That was some other department.

They had been smuggled in and had been released into the wild when the tornado destroyed the capitol – so when I did my due diligence, pulled up the list of all flora and fauna on the planet to ensure that the virus would target humans and humans only, the Bluetail Criers weren’t checked. Had they been on that list I would have changed the virus, would have seen the problem. They wouldn't have been carriers, keeping the virus alive and delivering it to every city. Killing everyone.

They're innocent like everyone else, but we all pay a price. I have my nightmares, and soon the Bluetail Criers will have a new virus just for them so the old one can die out. The test subjects are looking at me through the glass of the tank, so intelligent. Sorry guys, it's nobody's fault.