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Deadly Mist

(Andy Stephenson) It was a beautiful Spring day and the days of acid rain were becoming fewer and fewer. It is remarkable how the Earth was able to heal itself after the thermonuclear war 40 years ago. The ice at the north and south poles had been all but melted, but was now beginning to refreeze to a degree. The United States had survived in a sense, but more than half of the people had died and many were permanentlly handicapped. The government had fallen and after several civil wars, new governments had formed to the east and west, New California and Eastern Empire. Much of the former central United States was now barren. The ocean water, though it had to be treated to remove the salt, was much less radioactive. The population had migrated toward the coasts.

All of the larger cities had been destroyed in the massive bombardments. New cities were rapidly springing up along the shores. Water treatment plants were key to the success of these cities. New California was a liberal society which encouraged civil liberties and rights. The Eastern Empire was a dictatorship ruled by Aston Asfomo, who was bent on world domination. He intended to achieve this goal by any means. His first target was New California.

Major cities on all sides of the conflict during WWIII were destroyed. Small cities and rural areas were the only places not hit by nuclear weapons. Because of the radiation, nearly everyone was forced to the coasts. The radiation was carried by the rain, and yet it was the water which was at the same time gradually purifying the Earth.

Aston Asfomo stepped out of his limousine in the armored motorcade and walked with measured steps briskly into the laboratory. He was met inside by three men in long white lab coats and followed them into a control room with a large window which gave view to a large empty air-tight isolation room. The tall man with thinning brown hair smiled and said, "I believe we have exactly what you have been wanting." The scientist was literally beaming.

"It had better be good," said Asfomo. Asfomo didn't look like the evil power crazy man that he was. He was about average height with silky blonde hair and deceivingly friendly blue eyes.

The scientist said enthusiatically, "It is active in a temperature range of 40 to 110 degrees. One part per one billion is effective. It remains effective for approximately an hour. After that period, it is safe to occupy the treated area. It mixes with plain water. If kept below 40 degrees, it can be activated simply be exposing it to air at a higher temperature. It is lethal if ingested, absorbed, or inhaled."

"How would it be delivered?"

"It could be dispersed by drone planes with sprayers or by conventional missles."

"How does it work?" asked Asfomo.

"Let me show you," he said to Asfomo. Through an intercom he said, "Bring in the subjects."

A young woman, her husband and their daughter were led into the isolation chamber. "To speed the process, we are using here a thousand times the lethal dose. Using a minimal amount, a victim could suffer agonizing pain for as long as thirty minutes. The result at this level of toxicity should be nearly instantaneous."

"Why three subjects?"

"These were sympathizers and they represent an average family," said the scientist smiling.

"Ah. I see," said Aston with laughter in his voice. "Do they know they are going to be killed?"

"They have been led to believe they are helping in a nutritional study."

"Think they believe that?"

"Doesn't matter," said the scientist.

"No, indeed it doesn't."

The scientist pressed a button on the console in front of him and a mist began to spray from the ceiling in the isolation room. Almost immediately the three subjects collapsed and in moments their soft tissue became dust leaving only skeletons and clothing.

"Oh this is good!" said Asfomo. "No rotting corpses. Just dust and bones. Are the results the same in minimal quantities?"

"Yes, but it takes about a day for all the moisture to be released from the bodies at the smallest levels."

"What about plants?"

"It has no effect on plants, but kills any kind of animal life. It, in effect, dehydrates the test subjects completely."

"Excellent! Excellent!"

"We've got to take action!" said Lance Lambert to President Powers of New California after the deadly mist had been used on one of their cities.

"But Asfomo has sworn to strike another city each day until we submit to his authority. What choice do I have?"

Lance paced the floor in front of Powers desk in deep irritation. He was beside himself with anger. Hadn't there been enough killing? Yet on the other hand, how could they give in to a monster like Asfomo?

When it was clear that Lance was not going to answer, Powers said, "Better to live under a tyrant than to die under one, isn't it?"

"Is it?" demanded Lance.

"For example, take Iraq," said Powers. "Though there was little freedom under Saddam, the Iraqis lived in relative peace until the United States invaded them and overthrew Saddam. Then there was utter chaos and civil war. Saddam had held it together. The result was the tension in the Middle East that led to WWIII. Billions have died now, and for what; to give freedom to a people who didn't want it?"

"Yes, but will the killing never end?"

"Perhaps it will under Asfomo if he achieves world domination. With this new weapon, he just might."

"But what will happen when he dies?"

Powers answered, "Another dictator will probably take his place."

"We could assassinate Asfomo."

"Yes, but even should we be successful, we are not in a position to take over his government. The resulting turmoil might be worse than submission."

"It sounds like you have already given in!" fumed Lance.

"I am trying to do what is best for my people."

"But if we surrender to Asfomo, we become his slaves."

"Better living slaves than free and dead."

"Are you sure?" questioned Lance.

"No, d*mn it! I'm not sure, but we haven't the resourses to defeat the Eastern Empire. Realistically, we can either surrender or fight and lose."

"I'd rather die!" exclaimed Lance. "Than give into that madman."

"I am certain many would agree, but I have to think of the welfare of the whole. I just don't think there is anything to be gained in fighting."

"Our dignity!" shouted Lance.

"The dead have no need of dignity." The president paused and then added, "We have a week to make a decision, but I really see no choice."

"The president is here," said one of Asfomo's assistant's. President Powers was carefully searched and then permitted to enter Asfomo's formal office. There were several military leaders and Asfomo's security guards. Asfomo was seated at his desk.

"Well, what have the people of New California decided. Shall we continue to fight or shall we end this peacefully?" asked Aston.

President Powers said, "Let the fighting in America stop. I ask that you treat my people with dignity and respect. We'll accept your authority over us."

"You have made a wise decision," said Asfomo. "Many of your leaders will remain in place, but you and some of the others must step down."

"Understood. We will do all we can to make it a smooth transition."

"I expect no less."

That was the beginning of the take over of the world by Asfomo. Had the United States and its allies supported the United Nations instead of underminding it, WWIII might have been averted, but the US president who invaded Iraq selfishly for his own interests and those of his buddies destroyed the stability the United Nations might have provided. The division between nations which resulted rests squarely on the shoulders of these power hungry leaders. Humanity will always be the slaves of their desires.
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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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