Special thanks to Chuck Wendig at http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/08/02/flash-fiction-challenge-somethingpunk/ for providing this week’s writing challenge, and to Mark Gardner for his invaluable advice and help! A little short at 859 words, but complete!
Walter sat down at one of only two seats at the reception area.
“The Directors will be ready for you in just a moment, Mr. Selwari,” the beautiful receptionist said needlessly. Walter was no stranger to this particular chair, in this particular situation.
But this time was different.
He impatiently began to tap his heel on the carpeted floor, while gripping the handle of his briefcase as if it were life itself. He knew it wouldn’t be long before…
The television screen caught his eye. It was a news broadcast. He shook his head in wry amusement. “I’m sorry miss, but could you turn that up, please?” he asked the receptionist.
“Of course, Mr. Selwari. Anything for you, sir!” she said in reverent tones, taking out the TV remote from one of her drawers and pressing the volume button several times till the news broadcast could be heard.
“…Which also marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Gen-Olympics. Marcus Denjoli is under investigation for allegations that he has refused to modify himself, saying that he is more than ready to compete against his peers in next-year’s summer games without the need for modifications. He faces immediate expulsion from the games unless he complies with the GEC’s regulations…”
Walter sighed. This was yet another reason why something needed to be done immediately.
“I don’t understand people like that,” the receptionist said. “Why doesn’t he just use modifications? He’d be an even more incredible athlete if he did. Everyone else is doing it these days.”
“Including yourself, Miss Randall?” Walter asked, trying to make conversation, even though he really did not want to talk at this time.
The receptionist blushed, but smiled. “Well… Not as much as you’d think. I don’t get paid nearly enough for the mods that I really want.”
“Ah. I see,” Walter said, gripping his briefcase even harder. He felt his knuckles pop.
“Is there something wrong, Mr. Selwari?” Miss Randall said, concerned.
“Not really,” Walter replied evasively. “I’ve just got a lot on my mind right now. It need not concern you.”
“Okay. Let me know if you want a glass of water, or anything else, Mr. Selwari. Anything at all!”
Walter remained silent. It was all his fault. He was the father of modern genetics. Recognized the world-over as the man who brought forth a genetic revolution. Affordable modifications for anyone. An end to disease. An end to cancer. The beginning of a new age of mankind…
…The beginning of a new age of persecution for those who could not afford it.
It was time to put an end to all this. Before it became more a curse than a blessing; before the miracle became humanity’s undoing.
Walter was a proponent of learning from history’s mistakes. Every revolution carried within it the seeds of it’s own destruction. He brought forth this revolution. Now it was the time to bring about it’s end…
“Mr. Selwari, the directors will see you now,” the receptionist said, pressing the hidden button that cracked the door open.
Walter stood on shaky legs, but took a deep breath and entered the conference room, where his fate, and the fate of humanity would be changed.
“Walter!” Director Johnson greeted him from the head of the table. “It’s so good to see you in good health. Welcome!”
“Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Directors,” he addressed the table of twelve men and women. “I promise I will be brief.”
“For you, Walter, anything. Anything at all. I feel confident that all of us at Geneticorp, and indeed the world, owe you a debt of thanks for everything you’ve done for us.”
Walter bowed his head, and clicked the first lock open on his briefcase. He took a deep breath as three small ports opened up on the sides of the modified case. Then he clicked the second lock open, and a fine mist hissed out of the holes, dispersing into the room.
“One day, I hope the world forgives me for what I have just done,” he said in regret as he opened the briefcase. “My greatest mistake was thinking that what I was doing would help more people than it hurt.”
“Walter!” Director Johnson yelled, coughing once as he breathed in some of the tiny particles into his lungs. “What… What have you done!”
“Only what I had to do. I’m sorry. Perhaps one day you will understand, but… I don’t think you will. I have just dispersed a virus that has now infected each and every one of you. completely nullifying any genetic modifications you may possess, and making it impossible for any further enhancements to fuse to your DNA. You cannot hope to contain this infection. It is not deadly, but it is highly contagious.”
“By all that is holy, Walter!” Director Phillips yelled, “Why have you done this!”
He pulled the .45 pistol out of the briefcase, and put it up to his right temple. A single tear fell down his cheek.
“I refuse to watch all that I have created become a tool for enslavement and persecution,” he explained just before he pulled the trigger.