“Dust to dust” by kevin dooley is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The world has turned upside down. China invaded Poland, Russia closed their borders, and Iran just attacked innocent citizens at the most recent Post Malone concert in Dallas, Texas. The world really seems like it’s coming to an end. All the terror made gas prices skyrocket and the stock markets plummet. Many huge corporations shut down because no one can afford their products anymore. Life has truly turned upside down for most of the world and now China, Russia and Iran are banding together to form a super army for WWIII. The United States military is looking very weak compared to the super army the three countries have created. You would think that after the Coronavirus outbreak two years ago that China would be very weak and vulnerable, but that thought is wrong. They have weapons you couldn’t even imagine to be true; rail guns, lasers, insect drones and Slaughterbots. It is rumored that they were the ones who mass produced the Corona Virus so they could distract the media and citizens from their work.
Word has reached the MCA military research base in Rock Hill, Missouri. President Summerlin has announced that the United States is going into another war. Iran killed over 1000 people at the concert. After the attack, China announces that they will take over the United States, so they have more room for their population (they are very overpopulated). President Summerlin told General William at the MCA base that he will be in for a meeting to discuss what actions the United States needs to take. He told him that he will be there in about two hours and that General William needs to get his two top scientists to be along for the meeting. He has a mission for them.
President Summerlin’s plane just landed. General William and his top two scientists, Carl and Reggie Anthracite, are all sitting in the conference room awaiting the President. President Summerlin walks into the room with his two bodyguards and suddenly slams a briefcase on the table.
“Listen, we are going into war, there is no doubt about that. Millions of Americans will die, unless the two of you can figure something out”
He points at the Anthracite brothers. They looked shocked and in dismay. Reggie stands up and says, “So you mean millions of innocent lives are in our hands? It’s up to the two of us to figure something out? Out of all the scientists, you picked us?”
The president only answered with a head nod. Reggie and Carl stare at each other still in shock. “Of course I’m not going to have you two go in completely blind. Have you ever seen the movie Captain America?”
The brothers and General shook their heads yes.
“Good because we are doing something like that, and in this brief case I have the secret ingredient.”
Carl replies, “But sir, that is only a fictional movie. How are we ever going to get the equipment for that? Nothing has ever been done like that.” The President opens his briefcase. Inside is a tube with a dark, chrome like strand of a large DNA helix. Next to it are two bottles, one labeled “Dog DNA” and another labeled “Snake DNA”.
“Sir, what do expect us to do with that?”, Reggie asked.
“That is up to you”, replied the president. He then shut the briefcase and slid it their way. He wished them luck and left the room. Again, Carl and Reggie just stared at each other trying to process what just happened in the past five minutes.
“Well, what are you guys doing, get to work!” The general instructed them. The two brothers got up and headed straight to the lab. Here goes the next couple weeks of their lives.
“So what are you thinking?” Asked Reggie to Carl.
“Well, we were just instructed by the President to basically make something so powerful that it will win the war”, he replied.
“We can always make a super human like in Captain America.”
“That’s an idea, but President Summerlin gave us three things; Dark DNA, Dog DNA, and Snake DNA. I don’t think we want to mess around with humans with this one. Also, if we make something smaller, we can make thousands.”
“Hmm, you’re right. Also, we do not want to hurt someone and have that in the back of our minds for the rest of our lives.”
“Do you realize, Reggie, that whatever we create will be killing thousands, if successful?”
“Yes, but at least those are bad guys.”
“You’re right, so anyways, what is the plan?”
The brothers sat down for a few hours trying to come up with a plan on how to create something so powerful that it could possibly win a war. They went through several pots of coffee, countless hours, and a few stacks of paper until they figured out what they should do.
“I think we got it Reg!” There it was, the plan that could win the war. Carl held up the blueprints to a marvelous, high tech, never seen before machine.
“This might just win it”, Reggie stated. The blueprints showed a marvelous machine. It looked to be a dog, but it was different. Instead of having four legs and a tail, it had four legs and a snake body as a tail. This snake tail will allow the dog to run at extreme speeds. All of it was robotic and they planned on using the Dark DNA, along with the other DNA to program it. A note at the bottom of the blueprints read, “Let’s also add machine guns.” Also in their plans, the robotic snake dog will have night vision along with camouflage capabilities. The two brothers smiled from ear to ear. Then both of their heads collapsed at once. I guess they will just start the building tomorrow.
Carl woke up from his table slumber and nudged Reggie. “Let’s get to work!” He told Reggie. Both boys sprang from their seats and started to work on their new creation. They began with the outside of the snake dog, since that is the easiest part. The frame looked beautiful. Reggie and Carl made the dog look like their first ever childhood dog, a beautiful Saint Bernard. They even added a speck where the nose would be because that’s what their dog had. They added in the powerful snake tail.
“We got the outside done, that was the easy part.” Carl exclaimed.
“It only took us two days to create it. I fear we have many more ahead though, trying to figure out how to program the DNAs into it.” Reggie replied.
“Well we can do it, together like we always have.” Carl laughs and continues,
“Remember, Reg, when we were younger, and I always tried to win the Science Fair?”
“I sure do.” replied Reggie. “From 6th to 11th grade you tried to get that first place ribbonbut could never do it. You always got second, until our senior year. I never was a big fan of competition, but I decided to join you that spring. What did we do again?”
“The idea of McDonalds fry oil powering cars and heating homes.”
“That’s right, what a silly idea. The judges loved it though and not only did we get first place, but we also got best in show!”
“It really showed that when we work together, we can achieve anything. That’s what we are doing right now. We are making something that will save our country. This is so much better than a ‘Best in Show’ ribbon.” Carl laughed and the two brothers smiled at each other.
They were just about to start working on the code and DNA process on the robotic snake dog when they heard a huge blast from down the hall. They both jumped. Then came another blast. They realized their base was under attack. They both went and took cover. An announcement went over the speakers saying that Chinese rockets were attacking the base. Loud booms could be heard all over.
Carl takes cover in a freezer down the hall. He slams the door shut and covered his head and ears with his hands. There is nothing he could do. He is just a sitting duck, hoping and praying that a rocket doesn’t come his way. After about 5 minutes (which felt like an eternity) went by, another announcement came over the speakers.
“All rockets have passed. There is no more seen on radar and most of the base has no damage. The only damage taken is near the right, main conference room.”
Carl turns pale. The last vision he had of his brother was him was running towards the conference room. Carl took off towards that direction. Security and medics are already in the area. He tries to bust through everyone, but the one security guard holds him back.
“Woah buddy, you need to calm down. Nothing you could do here. Be lucky you weren’t killed.”
“Killed, so someone got killed!” Carl shouted. He tried to bust through again but the guard kept him back. He grabbed his arm and started walking him away from the scene. Carl turned his head back and just for a second saw his brother’s face. All torn up and black from the blast. Just as he was going to yell his name, the medics covered Reggie up with a tarp. Carl dropped to his knees and sobbed. He lost his only partner in this fight against the world. How is he ever going to survive on his own? They did everything together.
“Reggie was an amazing brother. We always did everything together. He was my best friend and my play pal. He never got mad at me and he always tried to pick me up when I was down. We always joked that he was the older brother just because he came into this world two minutes before me. I would call him “Old Man.” That was always a running joke we had. He was really a terrific guy. You think as brothers that we would always fight, but we never did. I truly am going to miss my best friend, my brother, and my pal. Rest in peace Reg.”
Carl steps down from the podium as the Priest finishes the service. Tears rolled down Carl’s face. He can’t believe he had to say goodbye to his only brother.
It has been about two weeks since the service. Carl was sitting at home watching TV. He just couldn’t get himself to go back to the base knowing his brother would not be there. It was just too much for him.
Carl was asleep in his recliner when he was awakened by an emergency service announcement.
“This is not a test. This is your emergency broadcast system. The United States is under attack by foreign countries. Take cover in bunkers or as deep underground as possible. I repeat, the United States is under attack by foreign countries. We are now entering WWIII and it is on our land. Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn. May God be with you all.”
Carl is shocked. He realizes that he needs to finish the project he and his brother started. He quickly got dressed into his lab clothes and ran out the door.
Hours gone by, and he still hasn’t figured out where he is going wrong with the DNA and the coding. He hears bombs and shooting all around him. Sweat is dripping off his forehead into the work below him.
A few more hours go by. He got the machine gun and the tail working on the snake dog. He just cannot figure out how to get the dog working with the Dark DNA. He then remembers the time his dog got bitten by a squirrel. He contracted rabies and got very vicious until he and his brother got him to the vet. He realized that maybe if he added in rabies that he would be able to get his machine up and running. He carefully added in the rabies virus to the Dark DNA. The dog came to life. Barking and growling, but not attacking Carl, because he knew he was the master. Carl called in the general and all the other high officers to show them his creation.
“This is marvelous!” Said the General. “It is fast, vicious, sneaky, and stealthy. Just want we need to win this war! John!” John is one of the mass production engineers in the base.
“Generate me 50 thousand more of these… Carl what is the name of your creation?”
Carl answers, “Sir its name is the Reggie Express 5.7.0.”
“Very creative. John, generate 50 thousand more of the Reggie Express 5.7.0!”
“Lieutenant Smith and Captain Lenig, as soon as Carl’s creation is mass produced, send them out to the front line!”
“You got it General”, they both responded simultaneously.
Carl smiles. He did it. He knows he didn’t do it himself though, his brother watched and helped from above.
The war ended and the United States won. Not too many lives were lost on the American end. President Summerlin just awarded Carl the Nobel Peace Prize. Carl accepted it, but made sure to talk about his brother in his speech. All was well.
Carl of course took some vacation days after everything. He didn’t want to go anywhere; he was happy relaxing at home watching Captain America.
“Maybe one day they will make a movie about me.” He said to himself and chuckled. “Ok let’s not get that enthusiastic, a short story would be just fine.”
Hargreaves, Adam. “Introducing ‘dark DNA’ – the Phenomenon That Could Change How We Think about Evolution.” The Conversation. Accessed February 10, 2020.
“Marines Are Testing A Robot Dog For War | Popular Science.” Accessed February 10, 2020.
Sayre, Anne. Rosalind Franklin and D.N.A. 1 edition. New York u.a.: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000.
Tecuci, Gheorghe. “Artificial Intelligence.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Statistics 4, no. 2 (March 1, 2012): 168–80.
“Watch Captain America: The First Avenger | Prime Video.” Accessed February 27, 2020.
Emilee Barnhardt is an undergraduate student at Wilkes University studying to become a nurse. She is a volunteer firefighter at the Anthracite Steam Fire Company in Mount Carmel, Pa, and is a waitress at the Alamo restaurant in Knoebels Amusement Resort. In her free time Emilee likes to go on runs, take her dog Rusty for a walk, hang out with friends, and play computer games. Emilee’s future job is to become a flight nurse.