(Periodically, we include short fiction here relating to some of our intellectual properties from the developing books and games. Please enjoy this one!)
The Bioverse was the sum total output of trillions of biological nanobots and sensors inside the bodies of all humanity, projected graphically and acoustically around a one-seater deck that looked like a flight simulator but was so much more. This is a story of its golden age, of an intelligent and wildly mutating plague and the daredevil CounterBiotics pilots banded together against it in this manufactured universe of information.
Blind to whose bodies they sailed, mercilessly raiding clusters of increasingly deadly and sophisticated microbes, the CounterBiotics pilots were the final hope in a desperate time…
I was there that day, at Scorpion Void…the day we saw its face. I still see it in quiet, lonely evenings when I’m locking up, and something flitters just in the corner of my eyes. It’s outside the windows, even on the second floor where I keep my bedroom. It’s at the foot of my bed as I drag up the blanket. It’s behind my eyelids.
I was there, and I can tell you what I saw. But you won’t get it unless you know what we expected, what was supposed to be there. You need to feel the thunder in your bones like we did, because we used to laugh back then. We were cocky and funny, with nicknames. We thought we were chasing cancers and novel viruses, unrelated super-bacteria immune to medicines. Until Scorpion Void, the plague had a thousand names, and it was an undirected force of nature subject to our phage torpedoes and morphosomes. It was a day when we lost our ignorance and our innocence.
There were three of us: two Americans and a Frenchmen, not that it matters when you’re inside. The mission was to investigate an anomaly in the data. The Bioverse was blank where it shouldn’t have been, entirely empty. You’re not able to know whose body any part of the data comes from, so the Void could have been in a dancer on a stage or inside someone choking on a hospital bed. Whoever they are, they made it. The crevice and ridge are still there; I’ve been back many times to be certain.
‘My torpedo is infected!’. That’s what I remember the Frenchmen said. It was impossible, of course. We uniquely designed the phages based on what we saw. Nothing remote like this could have adapted to us. Yet there it was, inserting its code directly into our arsenal’s genome.
When I looked into that canyon, that black precipice into nothing at all, I saw the plague. I saw it, lashing and snapping at me. Genes I’d seen all across the Bioverse were nested there in a tumor. It still bore the code from a thousand outbreaks, a sick library of pandemics. Impossible. All of it was impossible. And now, our own weapons were compromised. If we fired, we’d only make copies of our enemy.
I saw the plague’s face that day, friend. And it’s a raging, gambling beast looking to kill us all. There’s one thing about seeing a face though.
You know you can find it again.
(c) Grailrunner Publishing
A tale of the Bioverse.