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Bacillus anthracis

Deep in the bowels of the CIA Robert Silvernail, an analyst read about the assassination attempt on the Professor Hitchens by an agent of Mossad. As he collated his information and notes in order to file his report he noted that the professor is the foremost authority on nanotechnology. Given the current state of affairs around the world the past few days, the information started an itch in his brain. He formulated a preliminary report and called it a day. All evening he was so distracted that his wife commented that he was on another planet. He sat in front of the TV for a couple of hours before going to bed, but he hadn’t any idea what was playing. His mind kept toying with that itch, never quite able to reach it. After a seemingly endless night with only fitful sleep he was standing in the shower when his mind was finally able to reach the itch.

“Of course!!” he yelled! “Of course, of course, of course! Why the hell couldn’t I think of that before?”

Arriving at CIA headquarters half an hour later Robert approached his team leader saying he had some ideas about the current crisis. After he described his hypothesis the team leader decided this was way above his pay grade and passed the information to his supervisor. Within the hour Robert was nervously sitting in the office of Marc Gentry hoping against all hope his theory was right.

“I’m told you have a fantastic theory about all this crap going on that just might be crazy enough to be right. Why don’t you fill me in on it?”

Robert began a shaky presentation, but after a couple of minutes he became even more convinced he was right and became bolder.

“About thirty-six months ago Professor David Hitchens left his position at Emory University where he had been working for 19 years and moved to Israel. He told his friends and acquaintances he was simply ready to ‘retire’ and enjoy the fruits of his labor. However, our agents in Jerusalem learned about a year ago he was actually working at Mount Brir, in Israel. Learning anything about his duties proved to be impossible, but given his movements it was surmised he was working in their research and development area. The exact nature of his duties could only be speculated on. Then about six months ago he went on a fishing trip in his boat and disappeared and was presumed dead. Mossad, though, showed more than a passing interest in the whereabouts of his body and spent several days diving for it. When the body wasn’t found, our agents picked up on some chatter indicating the search for Professor was widening to the U.S. as well as Europe.

“A week ago an assassination attempt was made on the Professor in Berlin, Germany as he had breakfast in a café. An unknown gunman killed the would-be assassin before he could make a move on the professor. He was taken into a black SUV by a couple of very large men wearing ski masks and as of this morning he has not surfaced again.”

“Robert” interrupted Marc, “Are you going somewhere with this ‘news’ report?”

“Yes, yes, I’m just getting to that. Professor Hitchens is the foremost authority on nanotechnology. We know that Israel, along with several other countries, has been doing research and development on offensive military applications for nanobots. My hypothesis is that Professor Hitchens was successful in the development of the weapons grade nanobots and that the Israelis have contaminated most of the globe with this new strain of Anthrax. At first I couldn’t fathom how it was delivered. But now I believe, based on the patterns of infection that it must have been introduced into the water systems. Major cities first, and then down to smaller towns. The nanobots would have been programmed to deliver the anthrax bacteria after being ingested and encountering gastric acids. The bots would have used the gastric acids to break down the protective barrier around the bacteria, thereby releasing it into the host’s system. Within minutes hundreds of thousands, or even millions of the bacteria would be racing through the bloodstream infecting every surface it encountered. Within 24 hours the patient would be vomiting blood and experiencing debilitating diarrhea. The acute inflammation in the intestinal tract would produce lesions in the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines. As the bacteria travels through the blood system it produces more and more toxins along the way so that effectively the entire body becomes a breeding ground. Within eight to ten days death occurs.

“Unfortunately, that isn’t the end of it. The dead body continues to be a source of contamination. Therefore everyone who comes in contact with it is exposed, even if they had somehow managed to escape infection through the water system. Ambulance attendants, nurses, doctors, embalmers, everyone who comes in contact gets a fresh dose of the anthrax. Cremation is the only effective method of dealing with it. Personnel performing the cremation have to wear hazmat suits to avoid contamination.”

After his presentation, Robert sat back in his chair barely daring to breathe. Marc slowly turned his chair to look out the window across Langley, Virginia. His mind was whirling. Questions and more questions filled his mind.

“Is it possible those bastards could have done something like this without us knowing about it?”

He knew, of course, that it was not only possible, but very, very probable. Those sons of bitches at Mossad could do just about anything they wanted. Thanks to the Congressional lobbyists and the politicians on the hill they had carte blanche to operate within the borders of this country. No one, from the President on down had the fortitude to try to back them down. They had spent years and millions insidiously working their evil plan and now it looked like they were going to succeed. How in God’s name could anyone ever dream they would be capable of such atrocities? Hell, billions and billions of US dollars were funneled to them year after year. The American public knew about some of it, but no one knew exactly just how much cash and materiel was shipped to the tiny country every year. Now, the U.S. was going to pay the ultimate price, it seemed. The audacity of the act was beyond belief! The United States has been the hand that fed them for the better part of a century and now they have bitten not only the hand, but the very head! The question now for Marc was ‘what is to be done about it now that they have made the first strike?’

Obviously, a military strike appeared to be out of the question at this point. Hell, with the exception of Navy personnel who were actually at sea, 80% of the military forces were infected, too. Thankfully, the Navy were drinking desalinated, distilled water retrieved from the oceans. Even if this weren’t true, a strike on America’s closest ally would have to be sold not only to Congress and the President, but to the citizens as well. As a predominately Christian country, the idea of Israel attacking the United States would be impossible to sell. They were brought up from the cradle to adore Israel as the source of all that was divine.

First things first. Deploy health officials to collect water samples from every city in which anthrax infection had occurred and get the specimens to CDC in the fastest manner possible. He picked up the phone and summoned his secretary.

“Get CDC on the line. After you’ve done that get the Secretary of Health and Human Services over here pronto! After you finish with the Secretary, get Secretary of Defense over here.”

He knew that it would be a good idea to keep any navy ships afloat out to sea until this could be sorted out. All ships currently deployed would have to continue steaming without port calls. The danger of infection if the sailors went on liberty in any port was just too great. The navy just might end up being the salvation of the country if they could just figure out what to do about this mess.
Just as he was thinking this is about as bad as it gets his phone rang. He saw the White House number displayed, braced himself for another onslaught and picked it up.

“I’m not sure how the hell we are going to manage this”, said the president without exchanging pleasantries, “but we have no choice but to go to war with these bastards. We will use the navy predominantly and augment their forces, as needed, with what’s left of the army, marines and air force.

“One good thing, a great number of marines are embarked in the ships that are at sea. This will make amphibious landings far easier to pull off.” “I want this thing to begin and end in the shortest possible length of time. The Joint Chiefs are on the way to the oval office right now and we will begin to draw up battle plans.

“I want every man and woman you can get together to be gathering every scintilla of intelligence you can get from that part of the world and relayed to me without delay; on an hourly basis if necessary. Got it?”

Marc gathered his wits and had only just enough time to reply simply, “Will do” just before the call was disconnected from the president’s end.

“Holy God Damn! I was just thinking that war at this point in time was impossible and he comes up with this!” “God be with us!”