Sword of Aquarius
a romantic political tragedy novel by Rolf A. F. Witzsche
Volume 7 of the 12-volume series, The Lodging for the Rose

Page 22
Chapter 5 - Aquarius in Ice.

      We showed the evidence to our biological experts who suddenly became very silent. They looked at each other. After a minute or two, Leslie took the pod back to take another sample.

      "This may be the end of the world," said Leslie ten minutes later after another hastily prepared sample was examined in one of vehicle's electron microscope.

      "There is no doubt about this," Leslie said to Anton and me. "We have found traces of a virus culture that neither of us has ever seen before." She spoke with obvious anguish in her voice. "The device carried an uniquely engineered virus, unlike anything that has been developed in our labs, or in the western labs that we know about. Nothing like this exists in nature, not precisely anyway. The virus has apparently been engineered from a mutated strain of the common cold virus. It may have been subjected to modifications that utilize the flu virus as a DNA carrier that might turn the common flu into an incurable illness. No one in our labs has ever dared to mess around with flu based viruses. They are far too infectious to be useful as a biological weapon."

      "But not as a depopulation weapon," I added.

      "Depopulation?" Leslie repeated and shook her head.



      Ten minutes later we dumped the pod back into the icy grave where we took it from and covered it over exactly as we had found it. "In a month the viruses will be dead," suggested Leslie. Hopefully, no one else will come here looking for it. We even raked the surface and threw some fresh power on it from a nearby drift.

      With this part of the mission completed we hurried back to the satellite station, hoping now for bad weather as we drove off into the unfolding night.



      To our relief, it began to snow heavily that night, just as we had wished. Oh, how we welcomed the fresh snow. The entire site would be covered over by morning, including our tracks as if we had never been there. Unfortunately, we made deeper tracks in the soft new snow the closer we came to the station. Well, this couldn't be helped.



      We didn't get back to the station until late the next evening. It turned out to be rather difficult to drive in bad weather, especially driving after dark without our headlights on, with only the GPS to guide us.

      After that we slept.

      Anton and I woke late the next morning. Surprisingly, life had become normal again. Things proceeded once more in the same unhurried manner in which everything normally unfolded in this ice-covered world in the north. After all, we had plenty of time now. We had four days left before the Major would fetch us back. From this point on, Anton and I had nothing to do but to make the meals for our scientists and watch them work in the biology lab. The lab was as fully equipped as the size of the building allowed it to be.



      "I suppose this wasn't built just for reindeer research," I commented to Anton when we saw the station's lab that morning.

      The others laughed, "Is this what you had believed? You didn't really believe in all honesty that the entire complex is just a reindeer research station. That's our cover. Outsiders are supposed to think that, and we don't disappoint them. We play the role. In reality this place is part of a network of emergency response centers in case there is a biological attack against the northern cruise missile bases. The bases are dug deep into the mountains so that they can't be knocked out with a nuclear attack. Still, they could be vulnerable to biological weapons."

      Leslie told us that every single one of the cruise missile installations had been fully staffed at one time, until the funding stopped. Even the four satellite emergency response stations had been manned around the clock. She pointed to her partner and said that they were the only two people left at the center who are fully trained to deal with any kind of a biological emergency. "Our mission once included supplying or rescuing people from the underground operations centers and depots in this area, should they become trapped during a biological attack.

      Leslie explained to me that their task covered everything that was even remotely related to a biological attack, even to the point of creating emergency treatments when required. "The irony is, that most of us were educated in the U.S.A.," she said to me. "We received advanced degrees in biological engineering in your country, before we completed our training in Novosibirsk."

     

      Leslie and her partner assured us, that before we would leave, they would be able to tell us precisely how deadly the virus is and what can be done to counteract it, to stop it in its tracks. "We might even be able to tell you which lab in the U.S., or elsewhere, created the virus." She said that they feared that our virus might have been created by one of their previous comrades who were thrown onto the scrap heap when the funding ran out, who were then eagerly scooped up by the labs in the West.

      Leslie's optimism didn't last long, as it turned out. The more they learned about the new virus the more they became convinced that the virus could not be stopped by any means. She told us that the slightest infection would likely become fatal, "but it won't harm animals," Leslie added, "the virus is keyed to the human biology."

      "This makes it a doomsday weapon more potent than nuclear bombs." said Anton. She had tears in her eyes as she said this.

      "If it is true that the weapon does not infect animals, then the weapon is not designed as a warfare agent," I interrupted Anton. "This is something worse. This is the weapon that has long been talked about, that certain organizations wanted to create in order to liberate the planet of its 'human pest' as they liked to say. One of the organizations has a mythological name, like Gaia Liberation, something like that. This is their weapon. They wanted something that is ideally suited to destroy human populations on the global scale without affecting the environment of the earth and its wildlife."

      Leslie shook her head in disbelief, "who would want to do such a thing?"

      "The royals have been talking about this for years," Anton replied, "and humanity has not objected even once, not even to the principle involved. They got a lot of people to agree that the world is dangerously overpopulated. That's what nuclear weapons might have been created for in such large quantities as we now have all over the world. The royals' goal is to get rid of three to five billion people, depending on who one talks to. The global oligarchy wants this so that their power won't be challenged again by human progress and cultural development, at least not for a long time."

      "That's what I think this virus is all about," I supported Anton. "Somehow, we have to stop it."

      "Stop it!" said Leslie. "Humanity hasn't been able to stop the common cold. This is far more infectious. Nobody in the entire world has antibodies against this in their blood stream. Creating a vaccine is virtually impossible, too."

      Ivan prepared a large photo image of the electron scans and asked me to memorize it. "Study it, copy it, copy it a thousand times until you are sure you can recreate this picture at any time it becomes necessary to do so. You have two days to accomplish this." He assigned both Anton and me to the task. He spent hours with us, showing us what the critical details were. Still the questions wouldn't go away that we couldn't answer. "Why would anyone do this? What was it for? Why, why, why...? We could only speculate."

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