Publish Novellas 31 October 2021
EPISODE 8 – VACCINATE
In the thrilling climax of this miniseries, a vaccine is ready to issue the world. But will this improve presidential popularity ratings?
Jamsyn Genetics is ready to distribute its vaccine with the assistance of a few smaller pharmaceutical companies in the consortium. The President of the United Coalition of Nations will reduce the rhinovirus deaths in an obtuse way. Flanked by his Task Force, he is poised to announce the vaccine, even as disheartened protestors swell the streets.
“I want every citizen of earth know that I feel your pain. The loss of loved ones in this age of technology is almost unfathomable. Through the heroic efforts of the Rhinovirus Task Force and the pharmaceutical consortium, we stand here to announce that a vaccine is available.” He is interrupted by cheers and applause before continuing.
“There is more great news. GenetX offspring are already immune to the virus. Hybrid and pre-GenetX citizens are the only ones that require vaccination. Kiosks will be available as soon as tomorrow at hospitals, doctor’s offices, shopping centers, government agencies, and stadiums. More vaccines are shipping every week so we will not run out until this is done.
“After getting these high-risk groups vaccinated, we will open our stadiums for recreation. In the meantime, please practice social distancing and mask up. We will now answer a few questions from reporters.”
“Rob Carlton, KBCD: How long after vaccination will it take for a person to become immune?”
“I will defer that question to the Vice President, who is in charge of this program,” President Thyme replies.
“Good question, Rob. We expect signs of efficacy in 2 to 4 weeks. Results will vary for each individual,” responds the Vice President.
“Barbara Wire from Alexa Media: Three months is record-breaking time to bring a vaccine to market. Who approved the drug?”
“Thanks for that question, Barbara. The many scientists that developed the vaccine, in cooperation with the RTF, have fast-tracked this cure to halt the rampant deaths,” replies the Vice President.
“Alan Goodwin, QRST: Will anyone on the Task Force be receiving the vaccine?”
“Yes, Alan, as a matter of fact, I’m prepared to get mine right now.” The Vice President calls a nurse onstage to administer it in full view of everyone. “And that is all it takes.”
“No further questions. Thank you for coming,” the President concludes.
The RTF with the President and his Chief of Staff convene in the Oval Office. “I didn’t know you were going to get vaccinated today,” says President Thyme.
“The timing was good. I thought it would give the world confidence. It took pressure off of you and Maggie,” replies the Vice President. “I will be monitoring the rollout. Something like this will get us a second term.”
Genyologen Pharmaceuticals was unaware of the backdoor deal by Jamsyn, so the vaccine came as a shock. The plan was to offer its serum when everyone else failed.
“There is no way the consortium could produce a vaccine in three months. You can barely replicate enough doses in that period of time. This tells me two things: 1) Someone, likely Jamsyn, already had a vaccine when the consortium was announced; 2) It had a flaw, otherwise it would have been offered years ago.
“Send out people to closely monitor vaccination reactions. If possible, have some of our people volunteer to administer vaccines so we can get a sample for analysis,” Illumy Nathan orders.
Current Vice President is Taryn
Two months into the vaccinations, there is a significant drop in the number of rhinovirus cases. The Vice President takes a victory lap on camera at each opportunity. But doctors and patients begin to notice a sharp decline in natural pregnancies.
As Genyologen Pharmaceuticals analyzes the vaccine, it discovers that it is not a vaccine at all. It is sterilizing people. This is just the news Illumy needs to destroy the President. So he begins leaking the news to reporters.
Phone calls are inundating the White House. Press conference attendees are unsatisfied with the explanation that effects vary among the population.
When the Vice President can’t find answers among the consortium, she turns to the President. “Are these reports true? Obstetrics doctors are reporting an increase in stillbirths along with a precipitous drop in pregnancies among pre-GenetX patients and hybrids.”
“Sit down, Taryn. It is time to loop you in on something that has come to light recently. The reports are true. We need to come up with a way to manage them.
“There are two more phases to this rhinovirus eradication. We need to ban procreation between pre-GenetX and GenetX. It is their offspring that spreads the virus—the hybrids. Then we need to isolate the hybrids… and figure out what to do with them,” says the President.
“Wait a minute, I am pre-GenetX, and so is Maggie. Am I sterile from the vaccine?” asks the Vice President.
“It is very likely. I don’t yet know all the ramifications,” answers the President.
“This may be the most deplorable thing you have done to me… and to the world! I’ve been taking victory laps on camera while we are sterilizing nearly half the population?” complains the Vice President. She continues, “And what do you mean by figure out what to do with the hybrids?”
“Taryn, this is a lot to take in, I know. We should resume this conversation tomorrow with calmer heads,” advises the President before Taryn storms out.
The next morning, a large crowd of reporters and protesters carrying “Impeach President and RTF” signs surround the White House. Vice President Taryn Alexander enters the Oval Office and submits her resignation.
“I can’t accept this. Not now. We are close to the goal. You are a smart woman. We can figure this out together. I need you,” begs the President.
“No, you need a fall gal. I see that now. So I am going to exit here. Thank you for the privilege of serving.” Vice President Alexander then exits the Oval Office and the White House.
The President calls his Chief of Staff into the room and connects with Illumy Nathan of Jamsyn Genetics via augmented reality. “Can you see this crowd? There are more all around the world. My Vice President has resigned. What can my Chief of Staff say at the press conference?”
At this point, Chief of Staff, Stryk Baq, also tenders his resignation before exiting, leaving the President and Illumy Nathan in the augmented reality discussion to sort things out. Stryk’s daughter joins angry protestors outside.
“This can’t be happening,” says the President. “Illumy, what do I say? What can I do to turn this fiasco around?”
“Mr. President, I have been transparent with you throughout this rollout. I have not wavered from indicating that the choice of what to do with hybrid humans is your call. I moved heaven and earth to make this happen for you. There is no advice I can offer in your situation,” Illumy responds. “Whatever you do, it needs to be done quickly.”
As plans unravel, what do you think President Thyme should do?
After signing off, pacing the floor, and making arrangements with his security detail, the President addresses a frantic crowd of reporters in the press conference room.
“Please quiet down…” says President Aeonzov Thyme, before pausing to sip from a glass of water. ”Quiet down. I’ll be brief. I share your concern over these reports that are coming to light. Though I wish to remain and address them, along with the Vice President and Chief of Staff, I hereby tender my resignation. I will not be answering any questions.” He then exits behind a curtain.
As the President leaves, reporters shout questions about the fate of the United Coalition of Nations and the vaccine rollout. Making his way through the crowd to stand on stage is a familiar figure.
“Hello everyone. My name is Starc Kontryst, CEO of Genyologen Pharmaceuticals. As you well know, my company exited the consortium within the first two weeks of its hasty formation. It was the wisest course, after observing rampant corruption and disorganization. But for the love of humanity, we pressed forward with the greatest minds on the planet to deliver what the world needs… We now have a serum to end the pandemic.
“With this news, I put my reputation and career on the line when I say, I am the only person qualified to lead you out of this situation. I may not be able to reverse the mass-sterilizations of the former President, but I will not hide behind a task force. To address the absence of government, I put my bid in to assume the roll as interim President of the United Coalition of Nations.
“To my right is Maggie Jones, a seasoned government agent whom you may recall from the RTF. I want to free her hands shackled by the prior administration and nominate Ms Jones as my interim Vice President. Together, if we don’t fix this debacle of incompetence, you can ask us to leave. But if we save the world, our interim titles can become permanent.”