Long-term readers will know that my primary occupation is microbiology. I meddle with germs, sometimes dangerous ones. Also that I write horror stories as a sideline. I’d rather make a living from the writing, it’s safer by far, but it is not to be. Not yet anyway.
Only once have the two worlds collided, in a story called ‘The Ignorant Assassin’ in the collection ‘Dark Thoughts and Demons’. It’s not easy for me to write a microbiology story without it sounding like a report – but then, it might be even scarier if written that way. Hmmm…
Sometimes I think along strange lines, usually after a good belt of the hard stuff, and sometimes a fictional horror will come out of it. The thing about fiction is that, unlike real life, it has to make sense. There has to be a logic in the sequence of events so that the reader can work out what’s going on.
Okay, so let’s give the microbiological Armageddon another go.
First, we need a virus. Viruses are much easier to store and weaponise than bacteria and can be made species-specific. They can be made to attach to very specific cell surface features so they can be made sub-species or even race-specific. That won’t be perfect but it will definitely wipe out one race much faster than another.
We’re not really into the fiction yet. This is possible now. However, what we want for this fictional world is not the eradication of a race, but the eradication of all but the most compliant drones. That can’t be done genetically so we must find another way.
And yet, there is a problem. When there is an outbreak, the first thing everyone is clamouring for is a vaccine. If it doesn’t work, they’ll spot it at once. So a dud vaccine won’t cut the mustard here. There has to be a real one – well, there has to be one anyway, so that those who release the virus don’t catch it themselves. They also want to save their drones.
Now we need a way to make sure the compliant drones take the vaccine but the troublemakers refuse it. That way, nobody is ‘denied the vaccine’. It’s on offer to all, but only the drones accept. How to achieve this?
First you set up a scare concerning a virus that isn’t really that big a deal. Then you provide a vaccine that’s tainted. Let the word get out that the vaccine is bad and the virus isn’t nearly as dangerous as claimed.
Then you have another scare, with another tainted vaccine, and assess the uptake. Most of the troublemakers refuse it this time round? Excellent. Again, the virus scare doesn’t live up to expectations and the news is full of terrible tales of those damaged by the vaccine.
Now we are ready to release the real thing. Of course, we have to let everyone know it exists so our compliant drones will accept the vaccine while the troublemakers refuse it.
Oh, and those working on it will make a point of getting the hell out of the way just before the crap hits the fan.
This is, of course, just an outline for a tale of fiction. The sort of thing Lex Luthor or Dr. Evil might come up with. Horror fiction works best when based on real life events. I mean, demons are all well and good but they can’t scare people who don’t believe they exist. No, for the real universal scares you need the psycho, preferably the highly intelligent psycho with a motive and the means to carry it out. Suppose the motive was a massive reduction in the world’s human population, in such a way as to leave only those who will do just as they are told? Would the logic in such a tale hold up, I wonder?
Good thing it’s not really happening, eh?