I keep churning around an idea for a story that I’m certain has to have been told already. It’s an idea that scares the earwax out of me. Someone must have written it already.
I didn’t pay very much attention while trudging my way through the Chicago Public School system. I spent more time and energy on getting out of assignments than it would have taken me to actually do them. I’m especially deficient in the department of world history. I bring this up because I have only passing knowledge of the great leaders of the world. Those who rose up to control huge portions of the globe and the lives of millions.
The story that I’ve been chewing on for the past few weeks doesn’t involve someone who wants to control the world, or cleanse the genetic pool, or anything like that. I’m interested in someone who wants to destroy the world. Not so much crack the planet in half, but rather exterminate as much of mankind as possible in one fell swoop. (I will never tire of the phrase ‘one fell swoop’)
I’m a bit behind on my comic book reading, but for the sake of argument let’s take Lex Luthor. He’s mad as a hatter, right? But he’s also a genius. Somehow Superboy made him bald when they were kids, so he focuses a lot of his energy on killing Supes. But what if he didn’t have Superman to fixate on. What if this criminal genius set his sights on destroying life on Earth as we know it. This being a comic book he might need to have an ulterior motive, like wanting to create a new race of man from the ashes of the fallen. Perhaps he has a bit of lint from Superman’s bellybutton and he’s going to exterminate all of mankind and create a new race that will bow down to him without question, but which also have a hint of Superman’s DNA twisted within their own. Whatever.
People have done some pretty heinous things, but what if there walked among us someone with a superior intelligent, who decided, for some reason or another, to focus all of his energies on destroying his fellow man.
The way I figure it, he’s a scholastic genius. He’s got a handful of degrees in the genetic sciences. Either he’s a trust fund baby or he’s committed some unspeakable acts to insure that his mission is well funded.
He would use his academic credentials to secure a position at a research facility that either manufactures what he needs, or serves as a stepping-stone to achieve the security clearance he’ll eventually need.
The type of individual we’re looking at here has zero respect for humanity. He has no conscience for his actions. Nothing will stand in the way of him achieving his goal.
After considerable research he’s determined that a virus created by a Russian wunderkind in the 1970s will do the ticket. If released in an airborne form it kills instantly, either through skin contact or by inhaling. An added bonus is that the victims, who have vomited up a lot of soft tissue, including their lungs, become a breeding ground for the virus.
The other way to expose a maximum number of people to the virus is through the water system. The results are much slower compared to those exposed to the virus in the airborne form, but at the same time the results are much more insidious. Anyone who digests the infected water or even comes into physical contact with the water, becomes breeders. The virus incubates inside of them, any anyone in the same room with them or that comes in contact with them, suffer the immediate effects and start coughing their lungs out. The lifetime of the virus when released into a fresh water supply is only 36 hours.
The virus is potent enough that a scuba tank-sized container hidden in a water treatment plant could affect millions. Our crazed villain calculates that as few as ten treatment plants will need to be infiltrated.
He decides to put his plan into action on New Years Eve. There will be plenty of crowds to affect with airborne bombs. Simultaneously, via radio control, he will release the virus into the water supply. Within hours, thousands will be dead. In 24 hours it will be millions. The scientists capable of recognizing the virus and concocting the cure will be long dead.
Within 30 days the virus will have done its damage. Major cities have been obliterated. People are rotting in the streets. HAZMAT teams confirm that the virus is no longer a threat. Help comes from all around the world, from areas not affected by the New Years Eve slaughter. The dead are buried, the streets are cleared, order is somewhat restored.
The volunteers return home, not realizing that they are carrying a sleeper virus; one so sophisticated that the HAZMAT idiots couldn’t find it with a flashlight and a map. Six months later stage two of the genocide begins. Everyone that the carriers have come into contact with, and everyone that the people they’ve come into contact with, suddenly come down with a mild cold. A week later they develop a severe fever that tops out at 120 degrees, more than enough to cook the brains of everyone infected. Even more die during stage two.
Is our villain sitting on a mountaintop, next to his well-stocked cave, laughing at all that he’s done? I don’t think so. That’s not what this guy is all about. This is what he was born to do. Surviving the slaughter was never a consideration for him. All he cared about was getting the job done. I picture him inside the countdown ball that drops in Times Square. He’s got a tank on his back and he’s releasing the virus in all directions, with a determined look on his face. Minutes later he dies with no regret, hoping only that his plan succeeds.
So that’s the idea that’s been bouncing around inside my head. Has there ever been anything like this done before? Please let me know.