“This Bret miller with action 23 news, the world is in panic as the oxygen levels continue to plummet. Scientists believe that this is the cause of a unknown air born bacteria that is attacking foliage, residents are not to go out side without a back up oxygen supply. They predict with the rate the bacteria is spreading the earth will be out of breathable air in six months, stay safe and God speed.”
I turned off the television and looked over at my father who was buried under a mountain of paper work. As one of the lead scientists working on the oxygen problem, he has worked around the clock to figure out where this bacteria came from and what can be done to eradicate it so far it wasn’t looking good. I knew better to disrupt him when he was working but he had hardly eaten anything in three days, I wish I could do more to help him with his work but I only seemed to get in the way. So instead of nagging him to eat I picked up his plate and went to put it in the fridge.
“Sweetheart, come and sit with me for a minute.” I just stood there in confusion with the plate still in my hand. My father had barely spoken to me in months and all of a sudden he wanted to talk. He looked so defeated, the world was dying and there was nothing he could do about it.
I put the plate back on the table and sat down.
“Any luck.” Definitely the wrong thing to say at the very moment but the interactions between my father and I have became short and awkward.
“This is nothing like I have seen before, definitely alien.”
Normally a statement like that would have struck me as odd but then I remembered reading an article about asteroid fragments that were found in Texas a few months back, shortly after that the problems started.
“Texas.” Now it was my dads turn to be confused. “I think I know where the bacteria came from, your absolutely right the bacteria is alien and if we find those asteroid fragments we may be able to find away to save what little we have of our breathable air.”
He just stared at me in disbelief, after all this time the answer to our problem was space rocks.
There was however one small problem, we needed to convince a room full of scientists that in order to save the human race we needed to take a 1300 mile road trip, oxygen tanks were in sort supply, with the air quality being so poor we would have to wear them in the car and if my calculations where correct we would only have enough tanks for half the trip if we were lucky.
“Kathy its just not possible, even if they gave us enough tanks and supplies to complete the trip we don’t have the resources or time to deal with a problem of this magnitude.”
I was extremely frustrated, my father was becoming such a defeatist. I grabbed my oxygen tank and headed for the door.
“If you aren’t going to do anything, I will. You are a brilliant scientist I know you can figure this out. Ever since mom left and you had to move your work home its like you stopped trying. I see you stare at your computer screen day after day but your not really looking at anything. There is paper work every where.” I took a stack of paper and through it on the table; “Brilliant ideas but yet we do nothing. You may be ready to lay down and die but I am sure the hell not.” I rushed out of the house slamming the door behind me. I had no idea where I was going to go from here, I couldn’t go back in the house after that display of emotion, my father would look at as a child who just threw a temper tantrum. Looking down at my tank I realized that it was on low which meant I had to figure where I was going fast or I would have no choice but to go back into the house. If I kept my breath shallow I might be able to make it to the science institute, as I begin on my journey I saw just how important this mission was. Despite all the rain we had everything was wilted and brown, the once lush oak tree that had been there for generations was old and frail. It was eerily quiet, no birds there were hundreds of dead bees littering the ground, it would only be a matter of time before the whole world looked like this.
By the time I reached the institute I was on empty, the guards were going to turn me away until they noticed that I had no where to go. Dr. Alexandra Fisher was sitting at her desk, she had the say defeated look on her face, her hair was usually in a very business like bun was now all over the place. She half smiled at me when she looked up.
“Your Daniels daughter right?”
I nodded; “yes mam.” I cleared my throat and entered the room. “I, well my father may have the solution to our oxygen problem.”
She looked at me, unsure as to why I was standing before her instead of my father.
Beads on sweat trickled down my forehead, even in her dishevelled state she was still a very intimidating woman.
I cleared my throat once again; “You see my father has been very bust so I offered to come instead.”
She leaned back in her chair and folded her arms over her chest, I stood there for the longest time until she nodded for me to continue.
“The problems started after the asteroid fragments hit down in Texas, if we can pin point where they hit we can retrieve them and figure out how to get ride of the bacteria.”
Dr.Fisher leaned forward in her desk, she seemed intrigued at what I was proposing. I never accrued to me that she knew the idea was mine not my fathers.
“That might work, but there is one minor flaw, there was never any asteroid fragments we used that as a cover up. The bacteria was originally manufactured to kill weeds that were impervious to chemical weed killer, it was only supposed to attack the weeds but some how the bacteria mutated and began attacking the foliage. We have been trying to find away to reverse engineer the bacteria but nothing has worked. We have been lying to the press to avoid a global panic, the oceans have already lost over half of marine life due to the death of the algae and seaweed, the rainforests have been dead for months.”
A whirlwind of emotions were running through my body, all this time my father had lied to me, he spent all his time pretending to try and figure out a problem that had no solution. This was the end, life as we knew it was over.
“How long do we have?” I braced myself for the terrible news I was about to receive.
The doctor looked down at her feet, ashamed; “A month maybe two, we had no idea what this bacteria was capable of we wanted to get it out globally as fast as possible. The government thought we had a sure things. Testing would have taken years and...”
“You mean you released this thing into the world without testing it first, so you lied when you said it mutated. I find it hard to believe the government would like you for go testing on a bacterial weed killer, which means you faked lab results. Does my father know about this?”
She never took her eyes off the ground, I was so angry, I felt like i would explode at any moment.
“He was the one who sighed off on the lab results wasn’t he? You needed someone to be at fault if this went sideways. You scientist always thinking that you can play God, nothing is good enough for you, the world is dying because you wanted to get rid of a few weeds.” I took a very deep breaths getting angry wasn’t going to help the situation. Sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves wasn’t going to get anything accomplished.
“Look we have a month maybe two, we still have time to figure this out. You have some of the best minds in the world working in this lab, we need to call everyone in wright now. We can fix this or die trying.” I picked up my phone and called my father, I tried to hide my anger and frustration but I did a horrible job at it. But when my father arrived I threw my arms around him and squeezed as tight as I could, as mad as I was I knew that if we failed I didn’t want to spend the little time I had angry at my father.
“Kathy, I am so sorry for everything, I thought I would had lost you forever if you knew that I was responsible for all of this mess. My father got down on his knees and looked me in the eyes. I could see the pain that he felt, he really did blame himself for this whole mess.
“Dad, I know that you where trying to do good, making a bacterial weed killer that doesn’t harm the grass and trees around it makes perfect sense not to mention how much safer it would have been for humans but none of that matters when you cut corners. I am sure if it took a world or two to get it out to the public the planet would have remained safe from killer weeds.”
My dad rolled his eyes; “Come on everyone is waiting for us in the lab, we have a lot of work to do and no time to do it.
The other scientist where busy talking amongst themselves when we walked in, they seemed excited to once again be back in the lab. Dr. Fisher sent them all home to be with their families because she believed that all hope was lost. When my father finally got their attention, most of them looked as though they had seen a ghost.
“Thank you everyone, there are no ranks in this lab as of this moment we need to work together if we want to succeed. We need to succeed for our children and grandchildren.” He looked down at me and winked. “Okay little miss scientist I am going to need you more than ever, are you ready to save the world.” I just nodded, the world wouldn’t need saving if it wasn’t for the people in this room. I am never going to trust science ever again, I may take up pottery or even gardening. Science is full of people with good intentions that end up doing horrible things. We worked tirelessly around the clock trying to find something that would kill this bacteria. As the days went on things on the outside looked bleaker and bleaker until one day Mark one of the senior scientist came flying into the lab like some one was chasing him, he was rambling on and on about killing the bad bacteria with good bacteria at first it sounded like a bunch on nonsense but when we tested it out in the lab it actually worked and would be very easy to distribute on a global scale. After a few more tests we were certain that we finally had it and there would be no side effects to the environment. The next afternoon my father and Dr.Fisher had a press conference to announce that we found a solution to our problem, it wasn’t a quick fix but it would kill the alien bacteria which would allow the people of the world to slowly begin to rebuild.
Over the next few months the earth began to heal, lush green foliage was starting to appear. The oceans began to go back to normal as well, the bacteria not only helped the algae and seaweed to return but it grew at a exponential rate. Fishing was banned temporarily of course to allow the fish population to grow so the larger marine animals would have a source of food. I even saw a bee the other day which was amazing. The lab was put under strict government restrictions after they found out who was actually responsible for the world almost ending. And my father, well lets say he spends most of his time at the lab with me at his side. I have once again found my love for science, always remembering that horrific things have been done with the best intentions.
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Great idea, very realistic story. Some basic grammar errors, though.
Thank you for the feedback, the last two stories I have written definitely need more editing. Unfortunately the new gaming computer I just bought doesn't have the best writing program.