A Story of the Odyssey Effect

Phillip G. Cargile

“What had gone wrong?” This question was a routine one and as such was part and parcel of any summation undertaken after the failure of any scientific experiment. Dr Jeffery Woodard had asked hundreds of times in failed experiment after failed experiment. He smirked at his colleague’s charge that he was the leading geneticist of the turn of the century 2152. The age of Reconstruction the age of men solving the problems of war, under rule of one world government, famine as well as the greatest resolution of mankind his own frailties. This would be his legacy to this new era.
This experiment was the last. Supposedly to stand on the shoulders of all the other failed attempts that the success he had labored. Failure, not as those failures of the past this failure was a disaster that he would be the end of any future efforts. His own life would be forfeit, the collateral damage would be the subjects of the control group along with the product of the experiment. Now at the end he reflected on the beginning. How did it all start? Decades ago, with the final wars of man on Earth, the Tech War. That technology that threatened to turn men into assimilation of a computerized society. Men stood in defiance to defeat the One Mind. The computer virus destroyed as well as the core program the technology man used to forge his flesh into men who could survive in space. That biogenic alterations changed them into creature so adapted to space they no longer could return to Earth. No longer content to be an industrial salvation to supply Earth with the powerful ore Dycornum. The salvation to the energy crisis; the fuel the powered the age of Reconstruction, they beat their plow sheers into swards and went to war for independence. The war in a deeper reality of not only men of different statehoods but men that were products of genetic enhancements. The alliance defeated. That genetic technology was woven to a new generation by scientist to improve the condition of mankind on Earth. The promise was to return the world and what was once called the atomic family back to a state of normalcy. That would be done in the most abnormal of ways, ways that men of discovery and science had given to the world.

As the legendary quote proclaims, necessity is the mother of invention. Specially mankind needed ore to revive planet Earth, but this ore would not be found on Earth. The Galactic Space Exploration Association suspected next level ores were present on other worlds. Far flung worlds that men would have to venture to as well would live a lifetime there. So, man tinkered with their flesh until he had invented a way to make men that would survive on other worlds. Men that could mine to ore that could revive his own damaged planet. Homo-celestial. And indeed, this new breed of man found, on planets other than their own Mother Earth, the essential ore Dycornum that mankind hoped would ensure their precious planets survival.

Such a determined and innovated force of the universe as life forged an evolutionary anomaly; then from that still another anomaly; one that could not be controlled. That latter evolutionary jump would have to be destroyed.
But the essential life force that coursed through the universe had other ideas and it created instead an evolutionary anomaly, which then morphed into another anomaly and then another. This one could not be controlled; thus, it would have to be destroyed.
Dr. Woodard pushed the thought of the particulars of what he had to do out of his mind, he had to, or those artificially created humans, would find those thoughts, and stop him. The counter measures. The neutron weapon set as a failsafe if anything went wrong like any experiment if a threat would spread from the laboratory this would contain it. Woodard needed time to get to that station then activated the deadly devise, they were looking for him not by sight rather with the invisible impulse of the mind like the radar of decades ago. Emotions, strong feelings, fear, anger, love those waves of thoughts they radiated would capture any of those emotions.
He’d learned that in interaction with them and use all those in his arsenal during this experiment, now the most applicable was fear. He was afraid of what he had to do; and what would happen if he would fail. With just that thought alone he felt his fear spike to the point where it registered physically; his hands shaking and a cold sweat covering his body. The task before him was an ironic task for a creator, but even the greatest creator God sowed at times then reaped at others, purging the world of life so that new life could emerge—God’s creation had taken a wrong turn. It hadn’t or not lived up to the expectation he desired. At any rate, as the creator, he had the universal right to end its existence. He claimed that same right.
Seating himself before the situation station Woodard waved his hand bringing to life a control panel holo-screen. He touched a sequence of numeric codes on it and another image—dominated the screen. The border of the town’s structures were designated crimson, the image also depicted all the living creatures contained in the zoned area.
Suddenly the room boomed with a feminine voice. “Doctor Woodard, do you wish to activate the failsafe contingency?” The question came from the laboratories AI.
“Yes,” The doctor answered in a voice filled with wavering resolve. In that same second a soft blue beam radiated from the holo-screen and washed over his face.
Again, the booming voice sounded. “Facial recognition confirmed,” it said.

Woodard’s hand wavered over the palm reader, pressing his hand against it, which would be the final stage of activation. As he did so, his veil of fear slipped down to allow another feeling to emerge pity for himself and for those parents so desperate that they trusted him without question. Their lapse of judgment would award them death rather than the joyful responsibility of a child.
That moment of indecision merged with a cold reality of what needed to be done. However, in that instant, the doctor’s apprehension was pushed back—not by himself—but by something else. He felt the presence of another’s thoughts, which carefully peeled back the fear he felt about what he was planning to do.
Like the imposing force of a magnet, he physically felt it, then turned slowly to see the source of his alien thoughts. His gaze fell upon a child who stood in the doorway of the laboratory.
“Lilly,” Woodard said.
The voice that responded was soft but boomed with a disruptive impact—like a shock wave that resonated in his mind. “What are you doing?” she demanded of him.
“What needs to be done?” he replied, posing the statement as a question. That explanation would have been good enough for any child to puzzle over, granting him he few seconds he needed to follow through with his intentions. But this child was nothing like a normal child. Underneath that personae of flesh and blood something else lurked.
“What is it that needs to be done?” Her question had the same energy as the first. Her voice was like a soft finger that reached right into his mind and rolled over his thoughts like a child examining some toy she had never seen before.
“I…” Woodard was about to offer more words that would hopefully befuddle the child but instead he forced his attention onto the attainment of his goal.
“What are you doing?” The child’s words were no longer innocent utterings but rather were like the growl of a hungry wolf resonating in Woodard’s mind.
His mind gave the order to move his hand, but his hand wouldn’t move; other orders countermanded that action. He felt the pressure of the girl’s invisible fingers of thoughts pushing deeper into his subconscious, and he struggled to erect a mental block against them. He needed to generate some thoughts that would surmount the feelings needed to defuse the intrusion. He found that feeling with the reality of failure. Sadness. For those families for himself more over for these supposedly children of this new world. His nose began to bleed with the resistance of the intrusion. This brought about a rush of depression and for that a second, he had full control of his mind. He took advantage of that second to place his hand on the holo-image of the palm reader.
The computer sounded no alarm, nor did it count down this process, which had to be done with discretion and speed to be successful. In those seconds the computer sent activation commands to the pods to release the radiant death.
Lilly sent a scream out in her mind. Shock waves of that invisible force in the form of a scream she called to rally those other children to come to her aid. A brilliant flash of white silence the scream then engulfed the town and in seconds all corporal life in it had to an end.