“Rog, don’t you ever do that again,” said Emy.

“Do what darlin’.”

“Scare the bejulius out of me, that’s what!”

“Hey, we’re all still in one piece aren’t we. I think you need to have a little more faith in ole Rog’s abilities. I was–”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. You’ve told the story a hundred times. Let’s get that medicine, the agent of retribution as they call it. I’ve got a bad feeling about that sudden change in atmosphere,” said Emy.


“Welcome to Quastra,” said the chief medical officer. “Sorry about the landing beacon. We’ve been having some technical difficulties of late.”

“No problem,” said Rog. “We’re in a bit of a hurry, do you have the agent?”

“Yes, but there are some things you need to know. Once the agent leaves the controlled environment of this base it starts to deteriorate rapidly.”

“What?” said Rog, more with his eyes than his voice.

“The Animus agent of retribution is highly unstable outside of our controlled environment. As you know, the Animus virus is one of the most lethal in the known scientific journals.” The chief spoke in even measured tones, the way one does when responsibility leaves one’s hands and enters another’s.

“Okay, doc, what the hell does unstable mean?”

“Two things,” responded the chief. “First, the agent starts to lose its effectiveness within twelve hours of removal from the vault.”

“No problem there doc. If we don’t get back to Bravo-Four Zero in twelve hours we might not need the damn stuff anyway.”

“Well, not exactly,” said the chief.

Rog just stared. His eyes narrowed in a seriousness rarely seen on his face.

“As the agent starts to deteriorate it becomes highly unstable. We don’t have precise information, but with deterioration the agent becomes volatile.”

“Volatile,” said, almost whispered, Emy. “What exactly does that mean?”

“Well, as I said, we don’t have exact information, but with deterioration, the agent has a high probably of implosion. If this happens in a confined environment . . .”

The chief didn’t need to finish his sentence. Rog looked at Emy. Words not needed.

“Load it doc. Time’s a wasting.”

“Oh Rog,” said the chief. “Be careful. Sudden extreme movements of the vial can speed the deterioration and increase volatility. May the Tears be in your favor.”

“Thanks Doc. Emy, lock and load.”


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So Close, Yet So Far (This post picks up from Unstable)

Vector Beacons or Back to Neraj (Next post in the timeline)