Toxic Divergence

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         As a Russian special ops forensics researcher, few things truly upset me as I complete my work.  From removing shrapnel from my comrade's disfigured arm to disemboweling a dead canine for evidence in a murder, few cruel and horrific sights trigger any upsetting emotions in me.  Some may call me stone cold, but I believe this is what helps me to continue my work.  I work for the Russian government as a researcher after my father and mother died in a car crash years ago.  I may be a young researcher in my early twenties, but life has taught me many hard lessons to help prepare me for my work.  Nothing in this life is given to you without a price, others in life will take everything from you if you let them, and your survival can only be guaranteed by your personal will to fight for it.  These thoughts all went through my mind on my last mission.

        I was sent in along with a team of special operations officers to Chernobyl to complete a secret mission.  A previous team of researchers had been sent to monitor the surviving residents living in the radioactive wasteland and observe any changes in wildlife.  After a week of no response from any members of the team and a cut transmission from one of the members who was issuing us a warning in code, I was scheduled for a mission to go and find them.  However, the transmission cut out before we were able to hear what kind of danger and level.  The signal where the last radio call we received from them was in an area that remained uncharted.  I was ordered by the Russian government to go on the mission covertly, and to comply with all orders given by my commanding team.  My mission was to enter the wasteland with guard soldiers around me to collect samples of radioactive soil, trace elements, and any organic or inorganic traces of the soldiers and to find them; dead or alive.

         I wanted to enter the radioactive site prepared for any situation, so I took three days out of my work to prepare for this mission.  I assembled the proper radiation suit and my regular uniform.  I loaded my handgun and the several magazines I planned to carry as a precaution when I made my way into uncharted territory.  I prepared several vials, retrieval tools, and an emergency radio in case my phone gave out during the journey or I was unable to reach them by phone.  With all of my preparations made, I prepared for my journey to the Ukraine to begin my setup at one of the local military bases nearby the key radiation site.

        Once I made it to the base, we drove on through the small town of Slavutich, which was constructed to house the workers who are continuously shutting down the systems in Chernobyl.  Our team began to start passing through the town of Pripyat, just outside of Chernobyl.  The commander of our team began to speak orders.  "Alright, comrades.  Today we find our fallen men and discover why so many people are being lost to the 'zone'."  He began to list out who would have each position during the mission.  We had a communications specialist in case we needed emergency help, we had a scout who would go on ahead and report any suspicious findings, a heavily armed soldier who served as a bodyguard for the entire team, and our commanding officer who would take the lead during this mission.  Everyone was ready to proceed forward into Chernobyl and into the "zone", the area of Chernobyl where workers have been sent to shut down the systems there but have gone missing as of recently.

      Our vehicle rode on through the small town of Pripyat, and I watched through the window as I passed by the people who had returned for the anniversary of the disaster that shook Russia to its very core.  The most devastating nuclear fallout in history was still ongoing to this day, and these people wanted to venture forth into dangerous areas to leave their best wishes for everyone who died during the fallout.  Our mission was to proceed forward and find out what happened to the many scientists and researchers whose lives were claimed during the last few months.  As kind and gentle as the people were, none of them had a brave enough heart to venture forth into the "zone", and that was precisely our mission location.

      The "zone" is considered to be inhospitable and inhabitable by nearly all forms of life, and no humans can withstand prolonged exposure to the radiation.  Our mission was simple, find the bodies of those who had died and collect any kinds of samples we could find.  Any information related to these deaths were all necessary to bring the Russian government and the Ukranian government some form of relief.  But all that we discovered when we ventured into Chernobyl was nothing short of true and utter terror. The team went before me to scout and map out the area, as well as to ensure my safety, but within merely ten minutes of being within the outer reaches of the "zone", the scout began to sound off.

     "Commander!  We have a problem."

     The commander ran over to him as he remained knelt down in one spot running a thick blue sludge through his gloved fingers, physically analyzing the consistency and make-up of the substance.  "What is this?", the commander asked him with a hint of hesitation.  All of us wore the proper radiation protection suits, but this substance made everyone a bit nervous.  It radiated a blue glow and was very sticky.  The scout shook his head in wonderment and lack of assured knowledge of what the substance was.  I made my way over to the scout and picked out a clean vial and a cotton swab to collect a sample.

     "We're not sure what it is, commander.  But our analyst should have an answer when we return home."

       I sealed the swab inside the vial and placed it back inside the case to avoid spreading radiation.  We cautiously ventured forth to the stairs that led into the "zone" of Chernobyl.  We began to climb up the stairs when we heard a large metal slamming noise come from below us in an alley.  The bodyguard and scout were the first to respond and confront the culprit.  Within seconds of witnessing what was making the noise, the scout began to scream for help.  The commander gave me a specific order.  "Stay up here until we have eliminated the threat."  He and the communications officer proceeded down and into the alley.  Gunfire began to fire off.  The sounds of bullets ricocheting and
flesh being torn apart were clearly audible from my elevated position.  The communications officer began sending out an emergency call for help and reinforcements, but within less than thirty seconds later, the fighting had stopped.  Something was utterly and horribly wrong.  I slowly made my way down the steps, and turned to face something so grotesque and awful, words can barely describe it.

     Three large humanoid figures, all radiating a tinge of blue and green began to move towards me, each trying to make some form of noise or gesture.  I immediately pulled out my handgun, ready to fight for my life, but it was then that I noticed the bullet holes in their gelatinous bodies.  They had gone straight through and were slowly sealing up.  These people...no.  People is too kind of a word for these monsters.  Those gelatinous humanoid figures slowly began to mouth words in Russian I could understand.  "We survived the blast...and live here now."  Their every word was interrupted by half breaths and gargling noises.  "Chernobyl is our home, and we live on the blood of man."  The way these figures spoke sent chills down my spine and made my blood run cold.  They didn't sound human, or if they were human once, they no longer considered themselves to be human.

      Beyond them I could see the dismembered corpses of my fellow soldiers, their putrid guts and vital organs having been spilled across the alleyway, the ground soaked in a deep shade of crimson.  It was then I noticed one of the other figures, eating the dead bodies with jagged teeth that would give the most vicious hunter a chill down their spine.  It gnawed through the bone and tissue, drinking blood and other liquidized fat in the body from the scout's leg as it poured some kind of acid on it and began to devour the entire leg.  These things were not human, in any regard.

      One of the other figures began to speak again.  "We survive on the blood of anything and everything.  We live alone and survive in the zone in a toxic bath of death that we readily indulge ourselves in.  Do you want to diverge yourself from man and join us?"  Not only were these horrid figures eating my fellow soldiers and ignoring my every desire to run, but they wanted me to join them.  Those horrid monsters wanted me to join them.  Once of them outstretched a toxic hand towards me as if to extend an arm of good will.  But I wanted nothing to do with them.  I slapped the hand out of my way and began to run with the suitcase in my hand towards the vehicle.  I had assumed the monsters to be slow, but their bodies took the shape of a figure that almost floated towards the ground as if their feet never touched the ground.   They shouted almost indescribable noises at me, which sounded as if they were shouting the word "blood" over and over again. They moved like water and were catching up to me fast.  I sprinted for my very life and didn't stop running until I had opened the door and had made it to the driver's seat.  There was a key underneath the visor and I turned it in the ignition.  It roared to life as my attention rose to see the three figures swarm towards me like a rushing wave.  I switched the gears to drive and quickly sped off away from Chernobyl, the suitcase having flown open and the tube fallen out.  I frantically reached for it as I made my getaway from the figures.  I finally grabbed the vial and placed it back inside the case, ensured of its safety.  Although, I wasn't sure of my safety even after I left.

      I quickly made my way back to Russia after stopping back off at the military base and reported back to the Russian government about my findings.  I brought the substance back to the lab and began to study it.  Other researchers considered it to be the greatest threat since the nuclear bomb against Russia's rivals and enemies, so the Russian government began working on replicating the substance into a weapon.  I tried to stop them, time and time again from making this weapon.  I warned them of the possibilities of making it into a weapon, but they didn't listen.  I analyzed the substance and came back with alarming results.  The substance had no cell structure, but responded to different stimuli, just like an independent organism.  The majority of it was made of proteins and broken down radioactive materials, but there was a very concerning tendency for the substance to react or act on its own during tests.  During one of the tests, it tried to lunge at an assistant through a glass container.  Containing the substance remains a challenge, and turning it into a weapon will be an even larger one.  Worst of all, I have heard rumors of an American scientist who is hard at work, trying to replicate the results for the Russian government and mass produce this substance.  This blue gel that I found is something that is truly evil and needs to be extinguished before it's too late.  He has nicknamed the substance Volvox and plans on continuing his research on how to replicate and destroy it.  Unfortunately, I don't think he realizes the danger that he places on the entire world.  I dearly hope that this toxic divergence by the Russian government ends soon, or the entire world may feel the toxic grip of Volvox.

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