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
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!"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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!
"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
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