I was watching a movie last night (X-Men: Days of Future Past) and one of the characters delivered a rather memorable line... which I promptly forgot. I was immediately struck with an idea for a new stand alone piece of fiction. I am tentatively calling it "Borderless". Here is what I put down on paper last night based off of this one characters ten second spiel...
The head of the research institute approached the lectern. The muted conversations among the assembled press corps ceased. Red lights atop the video cameras went active and flashbulbs began popping.
“My name is Dr. Ian Blackburn. I am the lead researcher in the Infectious Diseases Division of this institute. For months we have been trying to determine the origin, and a cure,” he said with emphasis. “Together, with our peers here, and our colleagues at the CDC, along with other research labs around the world, we have been working tirelessly, in twenty four hour shifts, all in an effort to solve this latest riddle from Mother Nature. Here’s what we know.
“In the last two months, at least two million people have died from a variety of causes. At first, it presents as flu like symptoms with severe congestion and itchy watery eyes. Within twenty-four to thirty-six hours, it progresses into a very aggressive form of pneumonia. These ailments persist all the while forcing the body to overproduce fluid at a rate we’ve never seen before.”
Dr. Blackburn paused before continuing.
“The body will literally drown in its own fluids within seventy-two hours. We know it is a virus that is somehow immune to all known antivirals. In the last six weeks, we’ve confirmed at least two mutations. The virus is literally getting stronger. It can be spread via fluid exchange, but we now believe it is capable of surviving in an airborne state for a maximum of forty-five minutes to an hour.”
One of the reporters quickly interrupted. In a panicked tone, they asked, “What are you saying? What options do we have?”
“What I’m saying is simply… once contracted,” he continued. “It’s a death sentence. It doesn’t matter how physically imposing you are, or how mighty your intellect, no matter how strong and robust a barrier the stoutest of nations can erect, all nations the world over… are now effectively… borderless.”
Several of the gathered reporters began weeping. The stress of covering the pandemic coupled with a seeming death sentence sent many over the edge. More than a few whipped out their cell phones and called their loved ones.
“My advice to the people watching me on TV or listening to the sound of my voice is as follows. Stay where you are. Do not go outside or associate with anyone not in your residence for at least two weeks. Use plastic, sheets, blankets, tarps, trash bags anything you can find and seal all doors and windows. If anyone in your home begins showing any of the symptoms previously mentioned, evict them from your home immediately or everyone in that space will be dead within seventy-two hours. In two weeks’ time, the virus will burn itself out if it cannot find a viable host.”
A flurry of questions came fast.
“When will you have a cure?” a lady in the front row screamed at him.
“What can we expect after two weeks?”
“Is this a new black plague?” one shouted.
Ian held up his hands to signal that he was prepared to stay and answer questions.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please. One at a time… one at a time.”
The room quickly quieted down.
Knowing that the planet’s population would want answers, Dr. Blackburn had prepared himself for the barrage he was now facing.
“When will we have a cure?” he reiterated. “I can’t say. As I mentioned previously, we are working diligently to find one. No this is not related to black plague in any way shape or form. As for what to expect beyond two weeks… I’d say –,”
Suddenly, Ian was interrupted.
From the back of the room, a thick man with a head of thick red hair, and an even thicker horseshoe style mustache, blurted out, “Is this a global killer?”
Dr. Blackburn placed both his hand on the lectern and shuffled contemplatively on his feet. Bowing his head slightly before answering, he could barely look the room in the eye when he responded.
“If the people don’t do as I’ve instructed by barricading themselves in their homes, and they continue to move about freely and associate with one another, this virus will spread like a wild fire. The only people left will be those living in secluded and remote areas far from population centers. So to answer your question bluntly, yes, this has the potential to be a global killer.”