Chapter 83 – Counter Mission

The utter silence of the room wakes me. So invasive is the silence that it sounds like a rush of water in my ears. We scouts don’t make any sound when we rest. Our breathing is so shallow one might assume we are without life. There is nothing about this sterile environment to remind me of nightfall among the Caysas, where deep breathing, occasional whimpering from little ones and the rustle of some moving about echoed throughout the caves. Even outside, the air was filled with the buzzing and snuffles of creatures from the very small to large enough to attack and do harm.

The outcropping was a safe haven, protection from predators of all kinds. To find rest in the caves was to know of that protection and to be comforted by it. Recalling the scenarios and seeing the Caysas buried alive or decimated by a poisonous plague fills me with something I have not encountered before — a feeling that wasn’t even approved of by Elder. It is vengeance. Born from the Nosram’s scenario, I have the impetus for their own destruction. I think the best way to eliminate the Nosram is by poison. I will test it on my kind first.

Based on what I’ve seen in running simulations, there are numerous ways to apply poison. That’s where the other scouts come into play. They mean nothing to me. While we may be the same in many ways, the others have yet to realize what is at stake here. It is no longer just about saving the Caysas, it is also about setting all of us free. We are all prisoners here whether we want to admit it or not. Some of the other scouts may expire in the process if they’re not quick enough to break it down and fight off the poison. No matter. If there are enough of us left and they realize my ultimate goal, perhaps they will aid in the process.

The poison from the jyster will be the source of the toxin. Since the victim won’t shrivel up as nothing is drained, what will be the reaction? What was the purpose of the poison in the first place? Was it to render victim lifeless while drained? The reaction to my poison will be to kill through attacking the nervous system. I will need to change it, mutate it, so that it works in different forms — secreted as a residue to be dispersed on surfaces, as well as make it airborn. It may take me a number of tries before I find a form that works. Unfortunately, there is no time to study the tests to determine the best means – inhaling, ingesting or injecting. I have to proceed on all fronts, all at once, as the command to decimate the Caysas could happen at any moment.

The only way to infect the Nosram is by making the toxin airborne. As much as I’d like to send it directly through the speakceiver and hear the immediate choking reaction to it, I realize it is all hardware and not a direct conduit to the Commander. I will have to release the toxin through the air vents and in the hallways that I travel. I can also secrete it from my fingers and feet, leaving a residue all over those same hallways. In doing so, I hope to create a compound that can grow and spread like a bacteria, but the spores still need to get in the vents and past the air scrubbers. Can the most sophisticated of scrubbers totally decontaminate a room and wipe out all pathogens? The Nosram may have separate halls, quarters and rooms but they have to breathe the same circulated air as we’re all stuck on the same ship.