Mick Silver – Calypso
Sweat ran from his brow then caught his long greasy hair and followed it down finally dripping on to the lens of his monocle goggle. His monocle goggle looked like something a comic book villain would wear. A leather strap angled around his head and buckled in the back. It was wider in the front to accommodate the single round frame that encased a thick lens and covered his right eye. His left eye was normal, dull gray in color but normal. The man was thirty-nine years old, but looked fifty. His name was Jack. He hadn’t used a last name for years, and locals simply referred to him as One-Eyed Jack. It was not a name given to him affectionately and he liked it simply for that reason.
He stood, hunched over an old wooden lab table. The table was littered with beakers, vial racks, notebooks and other miscellaneous chemical lab paraphernalia. There was madness to the mess and it was just the way he liked it. The room was a make-shift lab; not a bright clean-room like you’d see in a true chemical facility, but dark and dirty in its corners with old wood planks and work benches in different states of collapse – as one would expect to see in an old abandoned logging mill. Sun shined through a large window on the building’s east side and lit the center area where Jack worked at the table. The window was a French-cut style that consisted of many smaller panes. Most of the panes were intact, but several had been replaced by wood panels.
Using his monocle as a microscope, One-Eyed Jack closely studied liquid in a petri dish. A satisfied smile grew across his face, “Good,” he said out loud to himself. What he saw in the petri dish was the accumulation of years of planning and months of work. He was staring at a new chemical germ he created. “Not something we’ll be sharing with the world at a press conference,” he mumbled out loud. “No, no… most definitely not.” There was madness in his voice. Being smarter than most everyone else and having a few bricks short of a load was a scary combination. One-Eyed Jack was scary.
Equally scary were the newspaper clippings and articles pinned to a make-shift bulletin board directly behind Jack. Each carried its own ominous headline: “Mysterious Virus Kills 35”; “Small Resort Closed by Health Department after Several Hundred Guests Become Ill and Die”. There were ten to fifteen articles, each pinned to the board along with its own one-eyed jack playing card. Jack looked over his shoulder and admired the articles. All were his handy work as he continuously tested his germ. Now he looked back at his petri dish, clapped his hands once in confirmation then grabbed a microphone that he had rigged to speakers around the building and announced, “Testing is complete. Thank you all for your support. Phase two to commence shortly.” There was no one else in the building, yet the mad One-Eyed Jack felt compelled to announce his plan’s progression as if he were in a large, heavily employed facility. He stepped away from his table and walked to the south end of the old mill. He stopped for a moment to retrieve a bottle of Coca-Cola from an old side panel vending machine. Coca-Cola was his vice. He preferred it bottled. The old vending machine was a treat he gave himself after the first successful test of the germ.
He sipped from the bottle and moved to over to a tall, narrow tube that extended from the floor and extended out above the building’s 30-foot ceiling. The tube was surrounded by scaffolding.
Jack flipped a switch on a power box attached to the side of the tube. It jumped to life with a whirring sound from inside the tube. A schematic diagram lying on the floor told the tube’s story. It was basically a giant syringe designed to penetrate the earth. Inside the tube was a thinner tube that acted as the needle. Attached to this thinner tube was steel braided flexible hose used to transport liquid. The braided hose was wound around a large wheel that allowed it to slowly unwind as the needle penetrated deeper into the earth. The hose’s opposite end was attached to a main valve that split off into 5 pipes – each leading to its own 1,000 gallon steel tank. Each tank was spray painted with the word “AXIOM”, below which was painted the phrase “Let the truth begin here!”
TWO… 400 miles away on his farm near Sunnyville, Mick Silver was out in the field on his ATV. The early corn was looking good. Precision ag had played a big role in planting this year. Mick was obviously used to technology. His life as a special agent afforded him access to technology that the rest of the world could hardly fathom. Yet precision ag technology intrigued him. Farming was becoming more high-tech every year and Mick was amazed at the amount of money he could save in a year simply by regulating the seed flow during planting or using GPS technology to map out his planting passes and limit redundancy. Farming wasn’t a hobby to him, it was his life and he took it very seriously. His secret agent life could end tomorrow and he would still have farming… and life in Sunnyville.
Mick had stopped his ATV at the end of the field as he pondered his crop and the moves he would make to maximize his yield this year. His mind was jumping with options when an alarm on his ATV counsel sounded alerting him to an incoming message from his boss, the Director of the IIF (International Intelligence Federation).
Mick tapped a code into a custom key pad on the dash of his ATV. Suddenly ad long narrow slot opened and a thin video screen rose up. Next a micro video projector popped up and began projecting an image onto the screen. Mick smiled to himself thinking that his special agent life did come with some nice perks – like this custom built ATV. A message on the screen requested a clearance password. Mick typed in another code and the screen blinked to life with a live feed from the Director. “Director,” Mick acknowledged, “good to see you, sir.”
“How are you Mick? How’s the corn looking this year?”
“Better than ever, sir, but it’s early. The weather patterns are showing that late summer could get a little wet. That always makes things interesting. What’s on your mind, sir? I’m guessing you didn’t call to talk farming?”
Mick and the Director had a unique relationship. It was usually to the point but yet very close… almost like a father and son. Yet, when the director contacted Mick it was always business related which usually meant the world was in trouble and there wasn’t much time. “Mick,” the director never minced words, “it’s bad… chemical germs bad, and it’s right in your backyard so-to-speak.”
“As you are aware, over the past half year there have been several situations in the Midwest United States in which larger than normal numbers of people have died from unknown health related conditions in a single incident.”
“I followed the news reports. Anything close to home is definitely going to catch my attention. I can’t lie, I had suspicions,” Mick offered his thoughts.
“Each incident was seemingly separate from the others.” The director continued. “Officials tried to tie each to bad food or something obvious. It’s much more than that, Mick.” The Director’s voice carried the concern Mick had heard too many times. “Anthrax? Ebola?”
“Both eliminated as possibilities,” the Director responded. “That’s the concern. In every one of these instances a common chemical germ appeared. Slightly different but carrying the same biological base structure.”
“Somebody’s been testing a new bio-germ,” Mick hypothesized.
“That’s what we think. Through proximity investigative mapping, we think we’ve narrowed the originator’s location.” A map showing all of the incidences appeared on the video screen, “Our data collectors hypothesize that all events are connected and the person or persons responsible is centrally located between all of these points on the map.”
It was northern Minnesota; Mick noted mentally, the Lake Itasca area to be specific. “Sir, that’s where the Mississippi River begins.” “That’s correct, Mick. I’m sure you can understand the significance of a chemical germ being introduced into the Mississippi.” Catastrophic ideas ran through Mick’s mind.
“We have details. Isolation data tells a unique story. The new germ is called axiom. It was originally created as a vaccine inhibitor for several diseases. It was the creation of a scientist for a tech company called ICM Industries.”
“The problem with vaccine development is that they can usually be reversed and easily turned into an offensive product or weapon,” Mick injected.
“And this was a guy who would be thinking that way. This guy spent way too much time reading comic books and thinking how he could help our government and the rest of the world eradicate undesirables.”
“Third world countries. The poor. The sick. Anybody and everybody that he considered to be an anchor on society.” “Nice guy,” Mick’s voice sickened with sarcasm.
“His name is Jack Quintar. When you think mad scientist, this is the guy you think of. He quit his job a month ago. He then disappeared, but not before sending several letters to multiple government agencies. The letters were very detailed as to his views… and intentions. He was upset with those same agencies for not taking him seriously in his previous attempts to contact them.” The scientist’s photo popped up on Mick’s screen. The man had stringy, greasy hair that fell around some type of head band eye piece. Mick thought the photo literally looked like a cartoon caricature of mad scientist. Mick leaned back on his ATV, looked around and contemplated the difference between his peaceful farm and the world that this mad man, Quintar, lived in. So far apart, and yet soon to be intertwined.
“What’s our priority, sir? Quintar, or the germ?”
“Details about Quintar show us the obvious; as a scientist he’s not a socialite. Our anticipation is that where you find him you’ll find the germ also,” answered the Director. “However,” he continued, “there are aspects in Quintar’s history that definitely adds to his danger level.”
“The letters weren’t the only things he had written. He has also been authoring a blog for the past two years. State of the world type stuff. But it shows that he wants to be noticed. He is not your typical recluse scientist. Anyone with a blog wants people to notice them.”
“Then the tone of his blog took a very distinct turn about six months ago,” the Director continued. “He began to share product details about axiom. What its capabilities were if mixed with the right compliment products.”
“Were his supervisors not monitoring him?” Mick questioned.
“ICM Industries is a private company. They had government contracts which required an additional level of security; but when a company is private that security can become relaxed at times.”
“But still, if he’s sharing product details and secrets online… wow, talk about letting the inmates run the asylum.”
Mick pulled up Quintar’s blog on his ATV’s screen. Mick scrolled down to some of the earliest entries and read post after post full of angry rants. Mick scrolled back up in the entries and found where they shifted and Quintar started sharing information about axiom. Nasty stuff, he thought.
Quintar also started adding personal references in his posts. He had obviously started working on axiom outside of work. He seemed to actually be working in a remote location. He never named it or described it specifically, but posts would mention wooded seclusion. He even mentioned the small town’s people. He laughed that they apparently feared him. Not that they had ever said it to his face, but they had also given him a nickname: One-Eyed Jack. He liked it.
Mick continued to read the blog even though he could hear the Director still talking. He didn’t often tune his boss out, but something in Quintar’s blog caught his eye. He began to read the posts closer. The personal details were clues. Mick felt something familiar about some of the details.
“Mick, did you hear what I said? Mick?” The Director’s voice grew louder.
“Sorry, sir,” Mick apologized. “His nickname is One-Eyed Jack.”
“So you were listening to me,” the Director replied skeptically.
“Actually I read it in his blog.”
The Director thought to himself that he should have known better. Once he gives Mick data or details, Mick’s brain kicks into high gear and he becomes myopic in his focus. The Director laughed to himself because he knew this wasn’t a bad thing. Mick had a habit of digging up details much more quickly than even a team of their highly educated researchers usually could. “Well, what good is an evil scientist if he doesn’t have an official moniker?” The Director offered with a quick laugh. “Maybe I should get a moniker,” Mick replied. “I think I’d even like a cape or something. I could be Batman.” “It’s taken.” “Too bad. Batman always gets the girl too.” “Can we get back to business?”
been working the whole time, sir. I’m multi-tasking, which I will remind you of when you do my review for a raise.” “Of course.” Every once in a while Mick thought it was important to help the Director relax a little. Humor also helped Mick think better. “OK, back to business. Sir, he’s going to inject axiom into the water table near the start of the Mississippi River.”
“As far as we can figure, that’s what we gathered from his blog too.”
“I think I know where this guy is. Or at least where he has been doing some of his work. When I was little, my father and I used to vacation by Lake Itasca. We’d get supplies in a small town named Willow Hollow. He and I would explore an old abandoned logging mill near Willow Hollow. At times, One-Eyed Jack appears to be describing this mill.”
The Director listened intently. A warmth consumed him listening to the joy in Mick’s voice as he described the times with his father. The Director worked closely with Mick’s father before… well before Mick; and he had a special place in his heart for Mick’s and his father’s relationship.
“We don’t have time for hunches, Mick. How certain are you on this?”
“Certain enough to bet the lives of more than 15 million people on it, and that’s roughly the number of people who use water from the Mississippi in just the upper half of the country. I’m certain, sir.”
“Then go get him, Mick. And Mick,” the director paused.
“Sir?” “Stay safe.” “Yes sir.” Mick started the ATV and sped away towards a tree lined creek at the end of the field. As he neared a small bridge that crossed the creek he pressed a button on his handle bar which triggered the far end of the bridge to release and lower downward creating a ramp into the ravine. He pressed another button on the ATV and a hidden door opened at the bottom of the ramp. He maneuvered his ATV down the ramp and through the door which then closed behind him.
Inside, Lights automatically blinked to life along the walls and revealed a long concrete tunnel. Mick wasted no time and guided the ATV down the passage way which led back to his underground operation center which was directly under the run-down old machine shed in his farmyard. It was the ultimate “man cave” and just like his double life as a secret agent, locals of Sunnyville knew nothing of either. Mick worked quickly as he grabbed the gear he trusted on every mission. He loaded his simple, yet heavily equipped backpack along with several other items onto an ultra-light aircraft that he had just raised on a hidden catapult lift out of a trap door in the floor – similar to what you’d see on an aircraft carrier.
Mick knew no one would think twice if they saw an ultra-light airplane buzzing the skies above Sunnyville. Everyone in Sunnyville knew his passion for flying and speed as well as all other types of wild adventures he could dream of. Little did they know, he thought, then paused and laughed to himself, that this particular ultra-light craft had the capability of reaching jet speed. It was crafted of a special alloy that Mick was told could withstand supersonic speeds if reached. He joked with the designers of the craft that it was created from the same tinfoil-type of material that was supposedly found at the Rozwell, New Mexico alien crash site. They would never respond to that comment which always made Mick wonder how close he was to being right.
There was actually an entire team of engineers who worked together to create this aircraft along with all of the other vehicles, secret weaponry and gadgets that Mick had access too. A man named Wiz was the brains behind this team of techno-geeks. Wiz was one of Mick’s closest confidants… actually, Mick thought to himself, Wiz was his best friend. Wiz had saved Mick’s life many times with his creations. Wiz appreciated Mick’s admiration for his work and the two men worked well together right from the start. This ultimately lead to a brother-like relationship that best friends usually form.
Mick knew time was critical – as usual. He climbed into the ultra-light, donned a specially designed helmet that projected a graphic computer screen onto its face shield. It was as high-tech as it could get. It also allowed for voice commands; which Mick used now. With a single word, “Lift,” Mick commanded the hydraulic catapult lift to rise upward until it locked into place at ground level in the old machine shed.
With another voice command, the shed’s long door opened and Mick drove the ultra-light out of the shed. A final voice command closed the shed’s door as Mick increased the ultra-light’s speed down the gravel road that lead to and from the shed. Mick controlled the craft’s mobility with a single joystick lever. He pulled back on this joystick and the ultra-light gracefully left the ground and climbed into the air. Mick circled around to the north.
“Computer, destination: Willow Hollow, Minnesota,” Mick voiced the command. The computer complied and calculated the ultra-light’s GPS system. “Auto,” Mick followed with a second command and the computer locked into auto pilot mode.
Mick was now free to review all of the files on One-Eyed-Jack while the craft piloted itself to the planned destination. The information appeared on his helmet’s data screen. His eye movements allowed him to scroll through the pages of electronic documents. Mick closed his eyes for a brief moment to contemplate this mission. A bio-germ introduced into the Mississippi River was unthinkable… except for a mad man like One-Eyed Jack.
One-Eyed Jack studied his three-story giant syringe as it continued to chug and whir mechanically driving its inner needle into the earth. He would not open the valve to the axiom until he knew the needle had penetrated the water table. Once that happened, the axiom would gradually make its way in smaller amounts into the Mississippi River and be delivered into the water systems all along the river. He thought how easy this could have been to just pipe it directly into the Mississippi River; but the axiom was extremely susceptible to becoming diluted. The river’s rapid flow would immediately render the axiom less toxic by a factor of a thousand or more. With his current deployment method, the axiom would retain its toxicity. Yet its greatest attribute when delivered properly was axiom’s ability to progressively multiply. Delivered in too large of an amount it suffocates itself; but discharged at a consistent amount it actually feeds like a living animal, breaks apart into smaller groupings then multiplies with itself and starts the entire process all over again. One-Eyed Jack smiled at the thought of this. He acted like a proud father about to send his children off to school, knowing his kids were going to be the class bullies and rule the playground. “They’ll rue the day they didn’t take my ideas seriously,” One-Eye sneered and grumbled to himself.
After deployment of the axiom, One-Eyed Jack ‘s plan was to wait for several of the river system’s communities to be destroyed. His research predicted that it would take several weeks to infest. He had modified axiom to withstand the cleansing that would take place once it reached each communities’ water treatment facilities. Then he’d allow another week or so for adequate consumption and he would reap his plan’s first victims.
this time he would make his way to other planned locations to set up deployment systems for the river’s lower system as well, and eventually work it all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. At the same time he would provide his governmental disbelievers with options… or rather his demands. Regardless of their response, One-Eye’s plan was to continue with his germ introduction. The times for negotiating were over. If one man could wage war, that was One-Eye’s plan.
The government was very predictable. They would come after him here first… but he would be gone before they arrived. He could operate the axiom flow from each deployment system via a remote control device. “It was a fool proof plan,” he again spoke out loud but only to himself.
Mick’s ultra-light was nearing Willow Hollow. He took it off auto-pilot. The logging mill was several miles outside of town to the north.
One-Eyed Jack heard the whining buzz of Mick’s small aircraft but paid it no attention. There were always small planes flying in and out of this area bringing fishing groups in from all over the country.
Mick flew wide circle patterns around the mill. He was looking for the best place to land, but he was also planning his attack. With an unstable character like One-Eyed Jack, first contact was critical. You could never be sure as to how a mad man would react. Experience proved it was seldom good. Add the fact that he controlled a deadly bio-germ and needless to say, Mick thought, that first contact could be the only chance.
Mick remembered that a narrow tree line ran behind the old mill; and a hunting road ran parallel along the adjacent side of those trees. Luckily that was still there and Mick decided that would be the best place to land. He circled around one last time, then landed the craft on the hunting road. He then turned it around so it was ready for a quick take off if needed.
Mick grabbed his pack and quickly moved from his plane into the trees behind the mill. His pack was actually a uniquely designed thin backpack that looked more like a Kevlar vest than a backpack. Mick, packed it efficiently also. It carried only necessities for survival. A built-in camel pack bladder held an emergency water supply. A thin main compartment held Mick’s weapons of choice: his trusty forty-five caliber, don’t leave home without it, is what he always liked to say; a specially designed laser blade which was his very own light saber – new technology that everyone back in Sunnyville would never believe really existed; mico-explosives that looked like quarters but were definitely much deadlier; several electronic devices including a disrupter, a decoder, and a netic bola – which was a high tech version of the ancient bola hunting tool used by the Chinese, Eskimos and South American Indians; and finally, the pack also carried Mick most often used taser – he didn’t like killing if he could at all avoid it.
Mick had made his way through the trees and was now at the back of the mill’s main building. While flying over, Mick had noticed the strange pole-like structure extending up from the building’s roof. Now that he was on the ground and close-up to the building, he still had no idea what it was; but it was definitely a new addition to the old structure.
Staying against the outside wall of the building, Mick moved around the building to the large window. He peered in a corner pane. He could see where the strange tall pipe originated. There wasn’t much to it besides the pole’s chute, a power box, a coiled hose adapter and a multi-valve fluid system.
Mick’s eyes followed the hoses attached to the fluid system and they ran down to the floor and back to a multi-tank system at the back of the building. What little hope he had in his mind that a deadly germ agent was not involved in this vanished when he saw what was written on the tanks… “AXIOM, Let the truth begin here!”
Mick caught a movement out of the corner of his eye. A man walked across the room. The window was dirty but Mick knew from the eye patch that it was One-Eyed Jack.
The man walked to the tanks and paused. Mick watched him tilt his head back and look to the ceiling or the sky as if he were saying a prayer. A mind as lost as One-Eye’s, he was probably offering every God that exists one last chance to stop him before he allowed death to flow.
Well, Mick thought, he himself was obviously no God but he was going to stop One-Eye. He had surveyed all of the building’s exits and the quickest way to One-Eye was the single door on the opposite side of the building. Without hesitation, Mick sprinted around the building.
To create a brief diversion, He flung one of his micro-explosives over the top of the room and towards the front of the building. He waited for its timing mechanism to detonate the tiny device.
The explosion shook the entire building.
Mick acted immediately and burst through the door. He saw the confusion in One-Eyed Jack’s good eye. The diversion had done its job and caught him off-guard.
The expression on his face at the sight of Mick was disbelief. The way is eye moved back and forth, it was apparent that his mind was searching for his next move. He reached for the valve that would release the axiom.
Mick never hesitated. He lunged for One-Eye and knocked him back away from the tank. Mick checked the valve to make sure it hadn’t been opened. Good, still closed, Mick thought. But the first wave of relief had little time to ease Mick’s mind. As he turned back around, he felt a blow to his cheek that seemed to rock every filling in his mouth loose.
Dazed, he looked up. His eyes struggled then finally focused and he saw One-Eye Jack standing over him holding a 3-foot pipe in his hands.
Mick reacted instantly with a swift kick to One-Eye’s knee. He felt cartilage and tendons rip away. Adrenaline never allowed One-Eye to feel the pain. He threw the pipe at Mick and ran towards the front of the building. As he passed the work table he grabbed a small remote control device and then continued running straight out of the building’s front door. He hurried to an old flatbed truck he had used to haul supplies to the mill. He quickly started it and sped away down the mill’s gravel road. Mick had run after him and came out of the building just in time to see the truck turn from the mill’s road onto the highway. Mick turned and ran in the opposite direction, heading for his ultra-light on the hunting road. He quickly fired its high-tech engine and threw the throttle forward. It only took seconds for the aircraft to jump from the road to the air. Mick guided it above the trees and then circled around to the highway in front of the mill. He had One-Eye’s truck in his sights and contemplated his next move. What had One-Eye grabbed from the table, he wondered? No doubt, some kind of remote control, but for what? Had he rigged the mill to blow if anything went wrong? Possibly; but doubtful. One-Eye wanted to see his plan through to the end. He wasn’t about to destroy it without at least one backup plan for it to succeed. Mick remembered seeing an electronic box with an LED screen next to the flow valve of the tanks. Could it have been a timing devise?
As Mick’s mind raced with assumptions, he had caught u
p to One-Eye’s truck. His only choice was to land the ultra-light on the truck’s flatbed. He maneuvered the craft down closer to the truck.
One-Eye saw this out of his rear-view mirror and yanked on the steering wheel to swerve the truck.
Mick tried to time his landing as One-Eye continued to run the truck from side-to-side on the road. Then Mick looked ahead and saw the road was about to take a sharp right-hand turn. He threw the throttle forward and buzzed right over the top of the truck. One-Eye, laughed with relief thinking he had prevented his pursuer from landing. He slowed the truck enough to manipulate the turn in the road.
At the same time, Mick had circled to the left. His timing was perfect and so he came around and was lined up with the road directly behind the truck as One-Eye came out of the turn. Mick acted quickly and before One-Eye realized what had happened, Mick had set the plane down on the flatbed.
Mick jumped out of the aircraft and began to climb around the truck in an attempt to enter the passenger-side door. The truck was approaching old railroad tracks that intersected the road. Though the rails and ties remained mostly intact, the tracks were no longer used by the railways and had been turned into a path for hikers.
One-Eye, seeing Mick attempting to open the truck’s door took a sharp right turn onto the railroad tracks. Mick managed to open the trucks door and it now swung wide open with Mick hanging on to it.
One-Eye controlled the truck as well as possible on the bumpy tracks.
To both men’s dismay, they simultaneously noticed that the railroad tracks were heading straight towards an old bridge that traversed a large gorge.
Mick and the door swung back to the truck. This allowed him the opportunity to reach inside the truck’s cab and grab the remote device as it sat on the seat next to One-Eye.
One-Eye hastily reached for the remote as well which caused the truck to swerve slightly on the tracks. He was forced to focus his attention back on regaining control of the truck. There were now only moments from the bridge. Mick and the door swung open again. Momentum was fighting him but he managed to swing the door back towards the truck. As he did, he leaped off the door onto the flatbed again.
At the same time, One-Eye Jack reached for the remote in Mick’s hand. He could not grab it but somehow managed to press its activation button.
Mick looked down at the remote. A timer had begun a count down from ten minutes. One-Eyed Jack laughed in satisfaction. The truck had now reached the bridge which was extremely narrow but had hand rails that passed just below the trucks flatbed. Mick felt One-Eyed Jack losing control of the truck and needed to act quickly. He climbed back into the ultra-light. The truck rattled around on the bridge bouncing from hand rail to hand rail.
Mick heard One-Eye continue to laugh as the truck broke through the handrail on the right side. The wheels caught the outside of the track and caused the truck to jerk violently before it lunged over the side of the bridge.
Mick had one chance. As the truck left the bridge, the ultra-light slipped off the flatbed. Mick saw the truck and One-Eyed Jack plummeting into the gorge 500 feet below. The ultra-light had remained upright and Mick controlled it like a glider. Unfortunately it was designed for power not for gliding.
He felt the ultra-light’s nose begin to dip and suddenly he was following One-Eyed Jack into the gorge in a nose-dive. Wind whipped past Mick’s head as he struggled to hit the engine’s ignition. Finally, it jumped to power. Mick pulled back on the throttle. The craft to leveled out just in time as its undercarriage scrapped along the tops of the trees in the gorge. Mick looked at the remote. Its timer read seven minutes. He hit the button he thought should stop the timer but nothing happened. Panic gripped at his gut. He had to get back to the mill.
Mick piloted the ultra-light out of the gorge. He followed the highway back to the mill. He guided the craft up over the trees that surrounded the mill and then back down again and landed on the mill’s gravel road coming to a stop directly in front of the mill’s front door.
He rushed inside and headed straight for the tanks. The timer on the tank read the same as the timer on the remote… two minutes and counting down. Mick yanked the timer from the tank and it instantly stopped. He checked the valve to make sure it hadn’t opened prematurely. It had not. The axiom was still in the tank and the world… or at least the U.S. population along the Upper Mississippi River was saved.
Back in Sunnyville, Mick sat at Mary’s diner reading the morning paper and eating his breakfast.
“Have you read the article about the excitement up in Northern Minnesota?” Mary asked Mick. “Seems and old logging mill was being used for some kind of drug lab. What is this world coming to?”
Mick set the paper down and smiled at Mary as she refilled his coffee. “It wouldn’t surprise me if it wasn’t drugs at all,” Mick offered with a coy smile. Maybe it was an evil mad man wanted to take over the world,” Mick joked.
“Mick Silver, you’ve been reading way too many books,” Mary responded with a chuckle. “Well as long as he doesn’t try to take over our little world here in Sunnyville,” she clucked her tongue and laughed again.
“I’d protect you, Mary,” Mick bragged and then went back to reading his paper. His thoughts however, remained on the previous day’s events. He was happy to hear when the Director had informed him that the authorities had found One-Eyed Jack and his truck in the bottom of the gorge; and they had taken control of the mill for decontamination. They had used a meth drug lab story as the cover up. I bet you would, Mary thought to herself, I most definitely think you would. End.