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He leaned back in his swivel chair and smiled.

Ten years. Ten years of meticulous planning and his work was done. It was time to celebrate.

“Project Hades on track. The birds are beautiful, and the birds are migrating,” he said to the quiet room, savoring the words.

He walked to a sunny bay window and looked down on the lush forest outside. All seemed well in this tiny corner of the world. But of course-- he controlled it, and kept it off any known map.

He brushed off an invisible speck of dust from his white lab coat, and turned to the bar in the corner. He hummed as he poured a shot of the Jack Daniels that he’d saved for so long. He’d earned this celebration.

His desk was hidden under stacks of scientific data. His computer blinked. He loped to the desk--one more update. Not bad at all, a newsflash from The New York Times.

Yes, it was working. The Times. The Straits Times. Le Parisien. The Sydney Morning Herald. Similar headlines from every part of the world. A special issue of Nature. Each blaring headline announcing food riots, armed clashes, armed bandits cornering food supplies-- or what precious little was left.

Each headline trumpeted his success, the majestic famine that he’d programmed wheat to carry.  He’d not worked alone—there were too many desperate in diverse parts of the world, working to prove a point if the fee were right and anonymity guaranteed. The scientific institutions of the rusty and crumbling Iron Curtain had long ceased paying its scientists, but the quality of science was still topnotch.

And what tremendous success! This famine was perfect, the plasmid they’d engineered was a beauty– obscure teams in forgotten places had done the grunt work—DNA splicing, perfecting the errant plasmid, inserting the rogue nucleoside chain, gradually working the plasmid into the world's wheat supply. The worker ants, he’d called them, unknown to the scientific elite of the West.

Just as he’d predicted, the plasmid jumped from continent to continent, leaving behind swathes of dull arid land, where once upon a time, miles of green fields raced to the horizon. Land once arable, envied, now leached of all nutrients and unresponsive to any known scientific method of correction.

If his calculations were right, chaos, anarchy and despair would rule at least for a decade, by which time food stocks would have dwindled. “Destruction cometh, and they shall seek peace, and there will be none…” he murmured.

It served them right. The morons who controlled information, controlled science, the knowledge-brokers. GMO foods. Disease resistant strains. Famine resistant. Biofuels. High yield varieties. Paper after paper, extolling its virtues. No end to this vanity.

Tinkering with nature, unafraid of the backlash.

They’d heckled him, “Computational algorithms for resistance estimates in crop patterns! Whoever heard of such a thing. Old century, old wimp,” and driven him to obscurity.

Let them figure out how to handle this wave he’d unleashed.

(first published on Pure Slush for their virtualism theme)

Technology is taking over the world. But what happens when one man decides that enough is enough, and retaliates

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Writing by

Mira Desai







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