shruti vighne



shruti vighne


Mortal's Ordain Experiment

Mortal's Ordain Experiment

9 mins

It was a regular Tuesday night and the town was sound asleep. Little did Officer Cal know, that his guard-dog would sniff 'this' out during their routine patrol on the street that night. The dog became restless and started pulling hard on his leash. Cal thought of investigating, he knew he needed to because the dog wouldn't stop barking. As he was headed towards the lake, he sensed a pungent smell. 

The dog discovered a body in the bushes near Lake Solov. Cal was shaken to the soul as never in his short career of three years, did he ever encounter a corpse. Somehow he managed to keep his calm. He checked for a pulse but couldn't find any. He immediately called for backup and cleared through some bushes. He stepped a little further with only his flashlight and his pal to guide him along.

There, he stumbled across what appeared to be an identity card. It was one, but it didn’t have what any card always has- a name. The card had on it, a passport-sized photo, probably of the dead man, a code- M0156, and a logo of a reputed Multinational Hospital named ‘Ferbrett'.

By morning, the case was in the hands of the Investigation Bureau and Cal was presented with an opportunity to assist the team. A post-mortem examination revealed that the man, indeed M0156, died due to respiratory failure.

In the following week, Cal with his partner Officer Stokes reached out to Ferbrett Hospital and enquired about M0156 at the reception. The receptionist was stunned at the mention of this code name. She managed to keep a calm face and said, “I’ll get back to you in a moment. Let me call someone who can be of help.” She called Dr. Gerr, the Head Scientist and a practicing doctor at Ferbrett Hospital and Health Sciences. The receptionist guided Cal and Stokes to Dr. Gerr's cabin. He was surprisingly cool and poised. Dr. Gerr revealed that M0156 was a volunteer for an authorized drug testing trial and he had backed out before the trial actually began. Dr. Gerr handed over some documents regarding the identity of the patient and excused himself. 

Cal and Stokes felt something was definitely fishy, but without a warrant, they were helpless. Sadly, they left the hospital and were moving towards their vehicle thinking about all the evidence which could help them get a warrant. Coming from nowhere, a lady bumped into Cal. They exchanged apologies and moved ahead. She managed to slip a note to Cal. Once in the car, Cal pulled the note out and it read “tonight at Shelby’s Dinner at 9.30 p.m. regarding trial!”

Cal impatiently waited till the clock struck 9.00 p.m. and made it early to the diner. He chose a remote spot from where the door was visible and awaited the lady. It was past 9.30 p.m. and there was no sign of her. He ordered some pancakes and had decided that he would not leave without meeting her, or at least till the diner stays open. Soon, the lady stepped in the diner, looked around suspiciously scanning the place. She saw him, walked towards him and passed a strained smile, but, it could not hide the worry on her beautiful face which was clearly visible to Cal. Before he could utter a word, she said- “I should not be seen talking to you but what I wanted to tell you is that Ferbrett is lying to you. Not just you but to everyone. There is no drug testing trial going on. There never was! They are experimenting with a bioweapon.” Cal did not quite understand but he knew this was a serious issue. He anxiously exclaimed “A bioweapon? What do you mean? And how do you know all this? Who are you? I am Officer Cal, by the way. Sorry!” He had more questions but he shut up as he was embarrassed to have bombarded her already. 

“I am Dr. Venessa Kean and I know all this because I was on the project team. They called it ‘Mortal’s Ordain’. I had to step down since I protested against illegal human experimentation that was proposed by Dr. Gerr, our Chief Scientist.” She sighed.

 “A synthetic virus was designed. Well, there were many prototypes designed as such. These were made in a way that the virus was fatal to only a selective population across the globe. It should supposedly target a particular segment of one’s DNA and the people without that segment just experience usual flu.” She added.

This was too much to process for Cal. He had never imagined the depths of bioterrorism. He covered his face in despair and didn’t know how to react to what was told to him.

Kean sensed his denial. She empathized “I know it’s too much to take. But a significant number of people have succumbed to Gerr’s selfish motives. The experiment failed horribly and the prototypes killed every volunteer it came in contact with. The volunteers were lied to. They were paid a hefty amount and were called under the false pretense of drug testing for seasonal flu, claimed to be authorized by the government. Ferbrett never made any cure, or vaccine, or drug. They cremated the bodies and I think they were able to synthesize the virus capable of showing selective effects. The very fact that one volunteer stayed alive enough to escape makes me wonder how far they have succeeded. M0156 was patient zero.”

Cal had heard enough. He was infuriated and sputtered “What? Are you listening to yourself? You are his partner in crime! You sure have stepped down, but you slept on this critical information? You may call your lawyer if you please. It is a matter of people’s lives. You are not allowed to leave the city. Do you understand?”

Kean was disappointed. She was verbally charged with serious crimes. Cal did not let her finish, and she was about to reveal significant information. She swallowed her insult and said, “I informed the Investigation Bureau before I stepped down. Your boss, to be precise. Officer Horde. I have that meeting on record if it comes to that! He was the one who asked me to keep it down and be around the project to gather more information. I didn’t see any action being taken by the Investigation Bureau.” 

Cal was surprised, “Horde knew all this time? How could they keep it under covers? I am so sorry to allege you before.”

Kean pulled out a package from her bag and handed it to Cal saying, “I understand. This is a copy of the recorded meeting I had with Horde. You know what to do with it. The package also has two passes which will help you get through some doors of Ferbrett. Start from the sixth floor. You will have to find your own way once you are past these.”

Kean expressed a sigh of relief as the burden was off her shoulders now and in capable hands. Cal thanked her and she wished him luck before leaving.

Cal spent the rest of his sleepless night planning for the upcoming day. It had been eight days since the body was discovered. He called up his partner Stokes who was more than happy to investigate. They knew that they were on their own now. They had no hope of receiving a warrant as to the authority to issue one, lied in Horde’s hands.

Cal and Stokes on the next night, arrived at the hospital in plain clothes, trying to attract as little attention as possible. Most of the staff had already left and thus they had fewer obstacles in their way. They skipped reception and went straight for the lift. Once on the sixth floor, they exchanged looks. It was a large ground to cover. They parted ways and headed in opposite directions, holding on to their passes as though it was a piece of gold. After almost sixty doors, they were exhausted. They didn’t find anything suspicious till now. Stokes refused to take a break, he wanted to get over with it as soon as possible. They had been on it since 11.00 p.m. and it was past 3.40 a.m. now.

Stokes opened his next door and unlike the rest, this one opened a new corridor. The corridor was not as long as the others. It had one room at the end and two more rooms, one on either side. He approached the door to the right and it opened with his pass. The door was of a laboratory. It was a magnificent facility. He called up Cal and waited for him to arrive. They had in front of them, another door, it was glass. They were able to open it with their passes and within the facility, there were many huge devices, apparatuses and whatnot. They had no knowledge of what these were for. They clicked photographs of everything they could run into and sent those to a friend from the Forensic Department. 

They vacated the lab and now entered the room on the left. This room seemed to be a record room. It had two computers and many drawers extending up to the roof. The drawers were categorized date-wise. He saw the date ‘22/12/2019’, the date when the body was discovered. He opened the long drawer and saw numerous files. These were coded in the same fashion as M0156. He took out a file labeled, ‘M0156- Patrick De’ and could see his day-wise record. Stokes pointed out the viral strain he was injected with. It read, ‘SARS CoV -2’. Gerr’s lie about Patrick’s withdrawal before the trial was out in open now. They took the file along with them and picked a few more before finally leaving the room.

There was one room left yet to be explored at the end of the corridor. This room had two doors which slid open in opposite directions as soon as Stokes flashed the pass at the sensor. There were two more glass doors ahead, which could not be accessed by the pass but which sure did give them a glance of the horrendous sight. There were endless mini-cells each encompassing one patient. The glass doors could not keep at bay, the screams from the other side. Stokes and Cal tried their best to open the doors but to no avail. They captured some more images and finally left with a promise to return.

As the day progressed, Stokes went to the Forensic Department to enquire about the pictures they sent the night before. While, Cal stormed into Chief Officer Horde’s cabin and put in front of Horde, all the facts that he had found out including Kean’s statement except the tape.

Horde was taken aback. He exclaimed, “You dug so much out in a day? I had put you on the team not because of your exceptional skills, but rather the lack of any!” 

“So you are not going to do anything about it? I must say, I am not very surprised at your ignorance. And, just so you know, I have forwarded your taped meeting to the press as well as to the Associate Deputy Director of Investigation Bureau.” Cal informed. Horde was speechless. He anxiously started making a few calls to save his neck.

A press meeting was arranged soon. Every news channel was reporting it. The experiment was no longer confidential. A decision has to be made soon. But the director was nowhere to be seen. The Director of Ferbrett was none other than Dr. Gerr. Cal with authorities swept the facility only to find him almost unconscious in one of his mini-cells. He opened his eyes while gasping for breath and said, “I couldn’t stop it. She took it from me. She wants to execute mass population control.”

“Who?” they asked.

“Kean!” he whispered.

Cal was thunderstruck. He never saw it coming.

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