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End of our race
 

End of our race

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    End of our race End of our race Document Transcript

    • END OF OUR RACE-PAINFULLY! THEME-Chain Reaction © Shahrukh Soheil Rahman,2005 Author-Shahrukh Soheil Rahman ITC Ltd Classmate Young Author Contest,2005 National Finalist Entry Origin-Guwahati,Assam,India Beep! beep!,the clamorous digital sound indicates the arrival of news from the front.It's been 3 days since we have heard from the front.The commander of the operations who has passed through many a sleepless nights since the the day it all started now shows the obvious signs of impending triumph.He is hoping that he would be getting at least a small dose of good news from his boys out there,all the attempts to bring the situation under control has failed miserably over the last few weeks. He gets off from his lazboy recliner and marches triumphly to the radio control unit. He is a very portly man,and walks with a swagger,which is suprisingly very impressive.His 27 glorious years in the army couldnt fight the biological war within his body,and the result is in front of you.His pictures from his youth shows a figure so lean that you will confuse it with a short giraffe in human clothes.But now you can pass him off as another ordinary fat man when he is not in his army attire,but when he is in his army attire you are bound to admire the power of authority he shows! He gives me a wink as he passes by.I didn't respond.As he marches over there,he orders the operator to turn on the loudspeakers so that we may hear the good news that he is eagerly awaiting for.Some of my other companions who are lying beside me shifts uncomfortably in their beds and one actually tries to stand up and move towards the radio control unit.God knows how he managed that much strength! Soon enough the room is buzzing with the noise of army commands on the front- shouts,yells,swearings and what not! It is scary,and the constant buzzing of the static from the wireless has added a zing to the scary effect it has produced.The commander is busy barking out commands and it seems that he is having an argument.He orders the loudspeakers to be turned off,and still continuing the argument he went out of the room.Something is terribly wrong,the dazed expression on the operator's face and the other officers who heard the transcript from the front bears testimony to this fact. I lie down and close my eyes,it only seemed yesterday that... Suddenly i wake up to find the whole auditoria to be in complete chaos.People are shouting,children,unaware of the complexity of the situation are looking around at the
    • chaos,may be thinking its a new game and they should join it,and their joining is manifestated in the form of themselves shouting and crying! I start a scan of the gymnasium and very soon i am able to locate the commander.Our eyes meet,he comes to my bed and whispers in my ears,"we are busted son!" I learn soon enough that our boys there was unable to handle the crisis,so they took another strategy,but far from accomplishing the mission,the mission was aborted halfway and the situation went out of control.Now its up to the gods to help us if they want to! I look around and witness some moments among the other people there,that is sure to haunt me till the numbered days are over.There is that recently married couple kissing each other,probably for the last time.A very old couple enjoying their last moments with their grandchildren,and a mother feeding her baby for the last time.I know that women,we used to go to university together,her husband died three days back. Different generations,all now on the brink of fading into oblivion..... *********************************** Established to promote nuclear research on a global scale for peaceful uses,the nuclear research and particle accelerator facility hires the best minds from around the world.Often called a mini world,this institution provides a spectacular diversity of different types of people of the world.You can find Africans,Mexicans,Europeans,Americans,Asians,Brits and a whole lot of other types.I was the only Indian there.Its still a mystery how the administrators find brilliant people from even the most remote corners of the world.Rumour has it that the admistrators have undercover agents all over the world who are constantly on the prowl searching and analysing potential minds.I was selected in the most unexpected way.On the day of graduation we had a rocking dayout in the local pub,we all hit the booze and were lost in a state of delerium tremens.And before i could realise whether it was a dream or reality,i landed myself a job in the best research institution of the world,and the rest as they say is history! Spread over a staggering 8ooo acres of land,this facility has the most sophisticated machinery ever conceived by humans! Entrance to the premises is restricted only to authorised personnel and until and unless you have a bio- metric check,you are treated as a potential suspect.The bio- metric check analyses your unique DNA stucture and matches it with the DNA structure that was determined during your appointment.Moreover you are required to pass through a battery of checks and tests to enter any of the blocks within the premises. Secrecy is a hallmark and tradition here.No map in the world shows where this facility is,and every new scientist is made to swear that he/she wont be disclosing anything about the location of this brilliant institution.The newly appointed scientists are first flown to various random locations in the world and from there they are brought here in a chartered plane in the dead of the night.Its another mystery how this facility is financed.
    • I still remember the first day i came here,the finest nuclear research and particle accelerator facility in the entire northern hemisphere. I reached here exactly at 1:35 AM,groggy eyed and mortally tired,i disembarked from the chartered plane alongwith yet another new scientist,Omar from Kazakhstan.It was raining very heavily and as i got off from the plane i was greeted with the characteristic salty smell of the seas.Later i got to know that the facility overlooked a certain sea,thats the maximum information i got about the location of the facility. Me,Omar and our pilot were then escorted to a large room,and by the look of it i figured it out that it was a briefing room.A smart looking woman came to us and introduced herself as the Team Leader of The Electron and Fission Reaction Research Group,thats where me and Omar were appointed as junior scientists.She informed us that the director will soon be joining us to brief us on the life that lay ahead in that facility.Meanwhile we were shown clippings on new achievments within the boundaries of the facility.Nothing conventional like the history of the facility was shown. An hour passed when we were announced that the director has arrived,the next moment we were facing the most brilliant man on the campus,the director.He didnt have a name,everybody called him Director.weird! He introduced himself and gave us a brief review in how the facility works and what we were to do,what not,how to adjust and all that stuff. At last he told us something that was really inspiring."You come to this world not thrice,not twice but only once.You have limited time to bloom or rot,you guys have bloomed,so be proud of it.Remember its only once.Once or never is the mantra for success.If you cant do anything in the stipulated time of your life,you are loser otherwise you are a winner,dont give it a damn if you are winner,but people dont percieve you as one.At the end of the day what matters is whether you are winner in your own eyes or not,personal satisfaction reigns over all,but that doesnt mean that you have done something nondescript and consider yourself as a winner,rather you will be a bigger loser.So since you two are winners in your own fields,so enjoy life and climb higher.God bless you! " with this he dismissed us gave our life a whole new meaning. The Electron and Fission Reaction Research Group headquarters and labs are located at the eastern peripheral of the facility,it has the privilege of having autonomy over the proceedings of the experiments.Me and Omar set out early for the labs in the morning and boarded the inter department transport and reached the lab well ahead of the time given to us.We strolled around the perfectly manicured lawns,the state-of-the art hydraulic parking lot,the cafeteria and the monuments in memory of scientists that served there and made a difference. After about an hour,the woman,our team leader arrived in her car and introduced herself as Tenne.we were asked to address her only as Tenne,"no madam or other nonsense title" she told us. We were then given a comprehensive tour of the facility,it was really a thrilling experience,witnessing the most advanced machinery which was still unknown to the world,and interacting with some of the best brains from around the world.We were shown our room and briefed on the various protocols that was followed there.Our
    • rooms,like every else had a view of the labs through a glass window that occupied two fourths of the west wall of my room.The reult of immaculate architecture. So there i started my new life with exuberance. It had to be rocking! *************************************** Life in the research facility was enlightening.There was however many instances of people getting into mental depression,but amazingly it didn't hamper their perfomance! There have been only two suicides in the facility since it came into existence,but none was attributed to the work or protocols of the facility. Omar became my best colleague and even a perfect friend.Evenings were spent either drinking,exploring the uncharted territories of the facility or fraternising with other scientists and their families.There was Solomon vandy from Sierra leone,a practical joker.Vassili gorbachev,from Russia,a geek.Then there was also Rufal garcia from Spain.We used to call him toreador,he was in my opinion the most brilliant of us all.We were the youngest of all and we would spice up everything.It was here that i fell in love,A glance of seconds,minutes of interacting and analysing,hours of thinking and fantasising,and lifetime of bliss.What i didn't know was that we were not destined to spend our lives together.All of us together formed a great group and soon enough we were climbing up the educational as well as administrative ladder.Within the next 10 years we held the posts of team administrators.In other words we were responsible for briefing up everybody involved in a certain experiment and also ensure that it was carried out according to the various parameters.And in the next 10 years,we held the posts of team leaders of our respective departments.Me and Omar were the team leaders of the same group and it did result sometimes in dicrepancies,but we would reach a mutual agreement and everything would then be all right.Vassili became the team leader of the Fusion Research Group,Rufal became the team leader of the Nuclear Fuel Research Group,Solomon ended up as an assistant team leader of the Projectile Motion Research group.However the team leader of his group was transferred to fill up a vacant post and then he became the team leader. We set examples to the new scientists that were appointed every year,Tenne became the director of the facility after Director retired and the facility continued to shine.Life went on as usual in the facility for the next few years with many a new inventions and other marvels that was admired and envied. ************************************** I was sleeping in my quarter in enviable luxury when the phone rang and woke me up.It was the fifteenth day of the second month.I fumbled around in the darkness in the semi darkness searching for my watch.The neon display on the watch stared back at me and wearily proclaimed 2:45 AM.The first thing to race across my mind was that some scientist might have discovered or still better invented something ground-breaking.Still rubbing my eyes i picked up the reciever,Omar was on the other side.He was talking very rapidly and it was difficult for me to understand what he was saying,especially in his accent.I told him to relax and this time i was able to comprehend whatever he was saying.I got a bolt from the blue,a chill ran down my spine.I again asked,"Omar are you
    • sure about it? you may have mistaken it with some other phenomena".He fired back,"twenty years in this field have taught me enough of it,get your butt up here!" "But what if its something else?" "Are you goin to come or not?" "Am on my way!" "Better be" It took me about twenty minutes to reach the lab.A lot of activity seemed to be going around there.The facility doctors wore an awkward look on their faces and so did the security.I went inside and found everybody dressing themselves up in Bio-Hazard suits,these suits made up of paper and synthetic pulp prevented exposure to radiation,combined with the gas masks,the person wearing it seems like a ghost.Omar was there getting dressed up in such a suit,the moment he saw me,he ordered me to wear one of those suits. "Omar are you gonna tell me,whats all this about?" "Patience Roy,what you will see now will get the air outta you!" "Stop playing along damnit,i wont have unnecessary energency imposed in my lab" "And who told you its your lab only?" "This is not the time to argue about"i said firmly. "Well,as you say so,but in the next few days there will be nothing left to argue about" I wished that what he said would not get a practical shape,but destiny had something else in store for us! ************************************** By the time we were ready for venturing into the lab to face the crisis,it was about sunrise time.A faint hue appeared in the sky,i hoped that by nightfall it would all be over.How wrong i was! Little did we know that what we are going to face was the industrialised world's worst disaster and that it put the future of humans at risk.And little did we know that we would not win. Omar briefed us on the situation again.We were to stay in a close group and not to touch anything without the prior permission of Omar or me.We were also not to mess about the power supply unit.The most important thing was to look out for anything strange or abnormal. We were not also sure whether there was radiation or not,but Omar suspected radiation. It so happened that many of the workers there were suffering from nausea,vomiting and it happened to them in regular intervals and exactly on the same day.This was very typical of exposure to radiation in low doses.So,radiation concept was in,and by the look of the situation it seemed that it was going on from many days. We reached the front door of the research building,from there we were to make our way to the lab.As per the protocol for emergency,the power supply was cut off.The Lobby
    • looked very eerie without the lights.when you see a certain part of anything in your life in the same way for ages and ages and suddenly the view is changed,you tend to lose affection to it,Same was with me,The lobby was my second home.It was here that we would relax,have a chat.Now in a whole new circumstance,the lobby looked scary to me and i lost the affection i had for it earlier. We then slowly made our way to the basement where the lab was located.Everything on our way looked normal. Since it was dark on the way to the basement we lighted the electric torches and we moved on slowly.The view was spectacular,people who looked like ghosts in the biosuits and the powerful beams of light from the torches that mischievously bounced off the walls. Very soon we reached the labs and opened the protective door and then made our way up to the main door of the lab.Five centimetres of translucent pyrex separated us from the unknown.We took God's name and opened the door. I was expecting at least a small amount of something dramatic once we would open the door,but we felt nothing.It was as simple and as normal as opening the door of your living room! We went inside and started exploring the lab.We found nothing worth worrying about.Everything was normal.One of the guards who came with us gave a give "whew!" and giving a high five to everybody opebed his bio-suit.He then roamed about the lab,after about ten minutes,he dropped dead. We were all dumbstruck,especially Omar who himself was about to open his bio-suit.For a few moments we stayed rooted to our spots.We called in for reinforcements to take away the body and to bring the instrument used for measuring the intensity of atomic radiation,since the way the guard died,only strong radiation can be responsible.Radiation is the Syndrome resulting from exposure to ionizing radiation of atoms.Low doses cause diarrhoea and nausea and vomiting and sometimes loss of hair; greater exposure can cause sterility and cataracts and some forms of cancer and other diseases; severe exposure can cause death within hours.It is the product of radioactivity which is the spontaneous emission of a stream of particles from nuclear decay. The reinforcements arrived in about five minutes.Omar started the machine and started reading the random numbers that appeared on the monochrome LCD.He gave me a helpless look,"it is indeed a case of radiation." "But what bugs me" he continued,"is that it has a very peculiar nature,it posseses particle nature as well as an unknown type of nature.Its a really serious issue". We packed up and after sealing the antrance of the lab we went out.The bright sunlight outside blinded us for a few seconds.Tenne was there,Omar broke the bad news to her.We were equally paid back in bad news,children of some scientits held the tell- tale signs of a lusus naturae.Monstrosity was observed in most of the people.We had to plan an emergency meeting and set up a committee to do quick research on the peculiar behaviour of the radiation,how it caused a genetic disorder of such a magnitude in one single night,how it was able to kill a person within minutes whereas extreme doses of radiation takes hours to kill and above all to find the cause and resolve the issue.
    • The emergency room of the facility was a huge audiorium and had every kind of rescue material in it.It had satellite phones,life vests,ample food supply,all terrain vehicles,pain killers and what not.We soon gathered inside the room and started the meeting.The first thing that we discussed was whether to diclose the emrgency to the world or nit,after functioning in secret for over many years,disclosing the location would be a pivotal event.It was decided after an hour of hot debating,not to disclose about it to the world.It was the biggest mistake we did.Secondly after quick analysing of our respective scientific backgrounds,we created an action team and a research committee to tackle the issue.The action committe will bring specimen from the affected site and the research committe will then carry out necessary tests and study the specimen.Me and Omar were in both the groups.Omar headed the research group also,action group was headed by Solomon.We were to report our findings within three days.We decided to bring the specimen that night only.Meanwhile reports were pouring in about various sudden deformities in the body,vomiting,nausea and hairloss.We therefore decided to transfer the entire staff to the emergency rooms and to bunkers.We also decided to arrange for escape vehicles in case the situation went out of control.Hell broke over! ************************************** It was about 1o:30pm when we reached the pyrex door of the lab.This time we wore double protective bio-suits,had gas masks with extra oxygen,and we communicated with each other through the wireless.The synthetic voice of the speakers of our handsets were not comforting at all.We went inside,evrything was dark,we switched on our torches and moved slowly to the basement of the lab,our worst fears were confirmed.A cracked glass beaker lay on the floor,its contents spilling all over the floor.At the corners mice lay dead with deformities clearly visible on their small bodies.Omar went ahead to collect the specimen.It looked somewhat like green coloured jelly,Omar scooped up handfuls of it and kept them in the special containers we brought along with us.Suddenly one of the guards yelled at us,the next moment the guard started vomiting in his gas mask,it was a very very sickly sight,watching vomit filling up inside the mask.The guard then fell down to the floor and he started shaking all over.Omar rushed to the guard.Just as he was about to reach the guard he too fell down and he started vomiting. For a few moments i was just unable to act,what should i do what i should not do,the voices all around seemed to be muffled,i just heard some guard shout "ABORT MISSION!" I had a last fleeting glimpse of Omar staring at me with a look that seemed to show a thousand emotions,his eyes spoke for him and they said,"until next time buddy".I blacked out. After what seemed like nothing,i woke up in the infirmary.Tenne was there and she told me that about the situation.Some scientist ended up inventing something revolutionary and unknown but due to lack of care the cannister which contained the material got broken.The result was to be announced that day,exactly three days from the day it all started. "Thanks god roy,you are ok"
    • "Tenne where is everybody?" "Lets go to the emergency room,the report will be out in a minute" "Will you tell me where is everybody?" "I dont want to lie" and with that she went out of the room,"i am waiting in the car" she added. Her one sentence answered my all inquiries,i cant explain by words how i felt at that moment.It was like somebody scooping up all the grief and sorrow in the world and dumping it in my soul.The worst was yet to come. I got dressed and went to the parking lot.My mind was blank.I saw i was in a big white balloon,i pinched myself.Then it struck to me,they had covered the entire facility with these radiation proof sheath.I got in the car and we drove along to the emergency room.On the way Tenne told me that Omar was dead,due to radiation,Solomon was dead too.Rufal was still in the infirmary.Vassili died an hour ago.The most striking thing was that all of them were wearing protective suits. **************************************** The whole scenery of the facility changed,now it looked like a gray area.Soon we reached the energency room.It was deserted except for the scientists who were appointed to carry out the research.Infact the whole facility was deserted,The inhabitants who were still alive were evacuated.We were the only ones still left in the facility.The secrecy of the Fcility was Obviously gone,Rather the radioactivity spraed to other parts of the world.The large plasma screen iside the room showed a newsflash saying that two countries in the ocenia region were completely finished off,not a single soul survived.In just over two days the radiation spread to all parts of the world. The most shocking news came an hour later.It was the last news that was shown in the plasma screen,after that the screen went black. The newsflash was telecasted from somewhere in the middle east and it gave the most shocking news ever-The estimated remaining population in the world was just over twenty five lakhs,and out of them about eight lakhs were sick! We got back to the meeting room suddenly and the scientists started to read out the report.It was more shocking and confusing! Normally,radiation occurs due to the emission of a stream of particles from the radioactive elements like Uranium,Radium etc.The emission can be fatal and the phenomena is known as radiation.Low doses cause diarrhoea and nausea and vomiting and sometimes loss of hair; greater exposure can cause sterility and cataracts and some forms of cancer and other diseases; severe exposure can cause death within hours.It can be prevented or controlled in effective ways. In nuclear reactions,where the nucleus of the radioactive elements are subjected to collisions with neutrons to release energy,100% efficiency is not observed here so scientists worlwide try to find something which is 100% efficient.Some scientist here too was researching to find such a matter.But he ended up creating something so
    • dangerous,so powerful and so brilliant that it threatened,and infact brought the world to destruction. What was even more critical about this matter was that it didn't obey any one of the conventional laws of science and nature.It was a radically new matter.The matter acted like radioactive material and showed dual nature of particle and light,it means that it can penetrate through anything that allows light to pass through it,and due to its particle nature and gamma ray characteristic,in can pass through everything,nothing was present in the world at that time to block it.Even while were having the report discussed,we were subjected to radiation but in a small quantity.Moreover it went on replicating itself like bacteria do,hearing something unliving to be replication and following hybridisation was like hearing one can eat the sun.Only one way was there and it was not guaranteed whether it was feasible or not.We discussed it and me alongwith others were selected to carry out the reaction.There was however one catch,it was to be done within three minutes as that was the default time when the matter paused before replicating again.If we stayed longer we would be severely affected.Meanwhile people stared pouring in from many parts of the world as they hoped us to be their last chance for survival. In about three hours we got ready and once again went inside the lab,We were supposed to create an antimatter and merge it up with a special bomb supplied by the army.The forces will then detonate the bomb and within hours,if everything goes right,the replicating matter will be neutralised and everything will be ok. Without a moment to spare we started our work,two minutes passed,we were without any success so far.After 2o seconds had passed from our last minute,we got success,now the last thing remaining to be done was integrating the bomb with this matter. "Last 3o seconds guys" warned somebody. After about 10 seconds we were half done,we started to sweat,our hands started trembling.The fate of the world lay at our hands and we had 20 seconds to show! 19...18....almost there,we were fixing the detonators 11.....10.....8...... we were encasing the system in a complex and portable form. 5......4...... It was as stupid as running away from a bomb that will never explode,but as devastating as sitting on a bomb that will blow up everything! nearly done....3..2...1 "DONE !" We all cheered and evacuated ourselves from the lab. The remaining was left to the army to ensure proper detonating of the bomb.Suddenly i started to vomit.Everything seemed blurred.I could hear voices but couldn't understand it.I felt a sharp pain on my head and i blacked out............ *******************************************
    • Suddenly i find the whole auditoria in chaos again.The commander has shot himself dead.The screen on the control unit flickers a bit,I strain my eyes and see smouldering debris on the place where once stood the best lab in the world.The Second in-command comes to me an tells me that the bomb did blow up but the neutralisation did not take place. Everything is over,we will be fading into oblivion within the next few days.The world is almost devoid of living creatures by now.I was exposed to radiation in the lab,and now am slowly losing my senses.I ma paralysed from below the waist,I no longer have sense of smell and taste. It is a strange feeling to know that you are going to die,but you cant do anything.Wait and wait till you are brought into oblivion by the arms of death. its what i call-end of our race,painfully........ -SHAHRUKH SOHEIL RAHMAN November,2005