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He’s the One – Alfred Searls

Jun 4, 2021 | Fiction | 0 comments

Editor's Note

When Alice confides in her roommate of two years that she has found the man of her dreams, her conviction is met with mock-derision. After all, she has had this feeling several times in the past, but none of them had worked out. Like any two regular young women of their age, they immediately get busy dissecting the details about the “real thing” until…she reveals why he really is the man she had been waiting for.

“I think this is it…” said Alice pausing to run the lipstick across her lips just one more time “I think this time it’s the real thing.”
“You say that every time Alice…” called Charlotte from living room in a tone that managed to be both reproachful and ironic “…every time.”
“No, I don’t!”
“Err, excuse me? Does the name Blake ring a bell? Or Zak, or Rajesh, or…”
“That’s not the same!”
“What isn’t?”
“That…them!” said Alice emerging from the bathroom.
“Alright, don’t beak me about it.”
“Look, this is different Charlotte, I can feel it.”
“And what precisely is different about this one?”
“‘Cos…” said Alice shyly “I think…I think he’s the one.”
Charlotte sighed, and putting down her d-Vice she scrutinized her friend with a look informed by two years of sharing the same flat, sharing the same hopes, and the same dreams.
“OK, so tell me about him.”
With a squeal of delight Alice threw herself down onto the sofa next to her friend.
“Well. He’s twenty-five…”
“Older man, that’s good.”
“That’s SO your thing and not mine. And anyway, two years isn’t older,” said Alice peevishly.
“Yeah, yeah. I want details!”
“So, twenty five, single and he has the most gorgeous green eyes…”
“And that really is SO your thing,” said Charlotte, clearly warming to the sound of the latest candidate.
“I know! And I know we’ve only been seeing each other for a few weeks but we have SO much in common it’s scary. And Charlotte, he really wants to commit.”
“I can’t believe I’ve missed out on all this.”
“You’re the one who chose to go and see The Folks at such a crucial point in my love life. When you’re outta town you’re outta the loop honey.”
“Hey, don’t blame me…” said Charlotte throwing up her hands “…blame them. Orders are orders. Anyway, where did you meet him?”
“InLine, on one of the activist sites. And guess what…he’s a poet!”
“What! Really? You mean properly a poet? Is he any good?”
Alice bit her bottom lip and shook her head.
“Right, so what does he actually do then?”
“OK, get ready for this, ‘cos this is going to…”
“Just tell me!”
“He’s a junior executive at Lunar Corp.”
“But they’re…” gasped Charlotte.
“I know!” said Alice.
“…the people who’re…” said Charlotte.
“…strip mining the moon!” said both.
“Alice!” squealed Charlotte.
“I know!”
“Have you told The Folks?”
“Last week.”
“And?”
“They looked into him, and he completely checks out. Not only is he a True Believer, but he’s also a genetic match. I can’t believe I’ve actually found someone they actually approve of!”
The two friends shared a hug of triumph.
“Oh, and before I forget can I borrow your blade, I left mine in my desk at work.”
“OK, pass me my bag then.”
Alice handed Charlotte her bag, and in return a few seconds later was handed a thin sliver of silver metal, no longer than a fountain pen. She applied pressure on one side with her thumb and a faint click was followed by the ejection of a thin, razor-sharp blade. Satisfied, Alice repeated the procedure and retracted the blade before slipping it inside a hidden pocket in her purse, just behind its metal clasp.
“So, what’s the plan then?”
“Well, I’m meeting him tonight for drinks and then he’s taking me to dinner at the Mayfair.”
Charlotte pouted. Alice slipped her slender hand into her purse, and like quicksilver drew out her d-Vice and snapped a picture.
“Don’t you dare.”
“InLine,” chirped a girlish disembodied voice.
“Too late!”
A frown joined the pout on Charlotte’s face. For a few seconds Alice imitated it before giving in.
“Alright, alright. The plan is to target is the Lunar Corp, five months from now. Can you believe they fly all their top people, and their families, to a private island every year, just so they can tell each other how special they all are?”
“Nothing surprises me about those pigs. But I’m glad their families will be there, it’ll send a message that there’s no such thing as innocent by-standers. You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. There can be no middle ground.”
Alice nodded vigorously.
“So, what’s it to be?” asked Charlotte.
“My guy is going as an aide to the director of the European Division and so he has full access to the whole event. But explosives are out as we can’t get them through the scanners anymore, which means getting him to wear a vest isn’t an option. So, we’re going with something new. It’s called Binary-66.”
Alice tapped her d-Vice several times and with the aid of surgically altered vocal cords made a sound that was just beyond the normal range of human hearing. Charlotte heard it of course, thanks to a similarly illicit surgical procedure, and so did the d-Vice above which a thin slice of light was projected.
Inside the Tactile Light Field, teeming photons rapidly coalesced into a screen as clear as a window onto a summer’s day. Alice swished the first few pages away until a set of complex genetic diagrams appeared.
“Over the next few months, a new compound called Praemium-B will be introduced into my guy’s body. Praemium-B is itself based on a compound that’s recently been developed to allow advanced, highly targeted gene therapy. To avoid the body’s immune system, it masks itself so that over time it can be infiltrated into patients’ cells making them highly susceptible to alteration. This mimicry also means it’s undetectable to conventional medical scanners.”
“Clever,” whispered Charlotte.
“Wait until you hear the next bit. On its own Praemium-B is harmless enough so The Folks have been busy working on a little something to make it very harmful indeed. So, say hello, to Celeritate.”
This diagram was introduced with a decidedly dramatic flourish and a complex helix, slowly rotating with an electric malevolence, misted into view.
“The Folks are coding this specifically to his genetic structure. He’ll introduce it into his own bloodstream an hour before the opening ceremony.”
“He’ll be bringing it in as a prescription medicine and since on its own it’s harmless enough, it won’t show up on the prescribed list on the scanner software.”
“By then practically every cell in his body will be coated with Praemium-B. Once the two substances begin to combine, his biochemical makeup will begin to alter at a ferocious pace.”
“Won’t this make him sick? I mean seriously sick? Sick enough that they’ll take him out of the ceremony?” asked Charlotte.
“Any pain will be masked by a high-yield opiate that he’ll bring in with him. The pills themselves will scan as harmless headache tablets, partly because you need to take the whole bottle to bring about the intended effect. And partly because it’s specifically tailored to trigger a massive surge of his natural endorphins.”
“Only in the final minute or so will his symptoms lead to uncontrollable spasms, and by then it will be far too late.”
“Once a critical mass had been achieved, his newly altered molecules will begin to agitate until a cascade begins, and by then his body will also be manufacturing its own triggering mechanism. Then…boom.”
“How big a boom?” asked Charlotte.
“About the size of a small nuke or a thermobaric weapon,” replied Alice.
“Cool.”
Alice swished slowly through the final pages, containing tables concerning the expected explosive yield and the projected blast radius, before closing the screen.
“And your guy, is he solid?”
“He doesn’t know the full details yet, but he knows this is ultra, he knows this is the real thing, and he’s willing to sacrifice himself and others for the cause. My guy is a True Believer.”
“Well look at you, you’ve finally found a guy who’s not afraid to commit. You’re living the dream, girl ,” said Charlotte smiling.
“Like I said honey, he’s the one.”

__

Alfred Searls

Alfred Searls

Alfred Searls was born, bred, and indeed buttered in the city of Manchester. After a grimly successful career in PR and marketing, which left him with a nagging suspicion he was becoming a character in a Kafka novel, he left the world of the media statement and the press release behind and branched out into writing things he actually wanted to write.
In the last few years, his short stories have been published, in both the US and the UK, in publications such as Jupiter Science Fiction Magazine, Dash Literary Journal, Cinder Quarterly Magazine, Metonym Literary Journal, The Catholic Herald and Northern Soul.

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