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Zealot

Prologue 2:13 am:
{A dimly lit room in a dusty and crowded apartment complex, the hum of several computers and the buzz of a couple of desktop sequencers the only noise in the room besides the click and clack of typing...}

Amir peers at the screen, his eyes strained from several hours of coding. Just a few hours earlier he had an epiphany regarding the right way to encode a genetic sequence that would allow the proper replication behavior to be triggered. He'd been working on this code for about a week and was hoping with the help of Allah that he could figure out the riddle.

Turns out the problem was not as difficult as he first surmised, as builders of code often encounter when attacking a touch challenge. As a 21 year old he'd encountered quite a few challenges but he was still some what unsure of his abilities despite the fact that those around him believed with the help of God that he could succeed.

He was working on this project for them, for his mother who at 47 still worked her hands to nubs grinding grain to sell in the market, for his little sister Amara who helps their mother sell grain in the market,  for his Mullah who during Mosque was so eloquent in describing the importance of the work to Allah and the critical nature of timing. Amir, like many Yemeni in this part of San'a was born in quite steep poverty. The discord that has attended the country since the early 2000's continued on a simmer boil for the last 30 years...all he's known are the bombings and assassinations. Actions that in his mind and by all accounts of all those who he cares about are a direct result of the United States intervention in the region during the Iraqi conflict of 2003 - 2012. He holds an especial anger toward American's and the west in general for the way it appeared that all their actions were focused on carving up the middle east like a turkey in order to get at it's oil resources.

Yet the middle east had been more or less left out of the great transition that happened in many parts of the west since then, the rapid advance of solar technologies led to grid parity solar blanketing most western countries by the mid 2030's. The advances also of machine learning and artificial intelligence led to the explosion of the autonomous robot revolution by end of the 2020's which enabled many cities to rapidly convert to autonomous road ways and dramatically reduce delivery costs for many goods.  Over night the value of petroleum based fuel dropped precipitously, retaining potential for a time in the production of various types of polymers but these markets were obliterated by the other big technological advance of the last 50 years.

The genetic revolution, initiated by the Century beginning achievement of sequencing of the human genome...now in 2036 was the first step in a rapid set of advances....advances that paralleled but eclipsed the formation of the home computer industry 25 years prior....sequencing of the genome revealed the reality that genetics was going to be a bit more complex to figure out than previously thought...the "central dogma" held by most geneticists up to that time was shown to be wrong, one gene did not code for one protein....the reality is a complex dance of genetic expression, coupled with RNA modulation factors and cytoplasmic modulation was responsible for the dynamics of converting some genotype into some dynamic expressions of phenotype.

It at first seemed rather depressing as the work to unravel how gene networks interacted to create various proteins, enzymes and then under some then unknown timing process guided the construction of entire organs or the evolution of particular developmental processes was unknown.

This is all academic history to Amir, a poor boy from a dangerous section of a city still steeped in the discord of 30 years earlier...it's people left with no one to blame but the western countries that seemed bent on causing trouble in their part of the world.

Why had Allah seemingly forsaken them?

The advance of biotechnology coupled with the advance of advanced solar provided a particularly nasty one two punch to the economic and political and religious dynamics of the region. The first punch was the decimation of the petroleum market, which led to plummeting valuation in the currencies of many of the Arabian and South Asian countries that heavily relied on it's production and export. Even Saudi Arabia suffered greatly, to the point that the great northern country that had gleemed for decades ...was now itself embroiled in civil war emerging from the collapse of the economy after the petroleum industry was broken.

The second punch was the rise of the aforementioned genetics and biotechnology industry. The timeline read like an approach to a horror show for middle eastern economies based on petroleum.  The supplemental production of plastics and other polymer based products for a time allowed the slow destabilization in the petroleum markets. This was induced by the emergence of global parity solar production, but when synthetic biological methods rapidly came into the for the need to use petroleum products was lost as the expense relative to either bio conversion directly from plant matter or simply biosynthesis using custom bacteria, fungus and viral agents obsoleted what was an already decimated market throwing any such economies into the abyss.

Amir ran all his technology using a few graphene based panels that he hung outside of his window like sheets to dry, these were connected to a portal battery collector unit ...also utilizing advanced nanotechnology to store extraordinary amounts of charge density ....even given the some what shadowed light he received on this portion of the street that his apartment complex faced. He had more than enough energy for his work, you see Amir had been playing with biotechnology and genetic since he was a child....he was fascinated by the underlying Science and had read and seen the ways that its application had changed people and animals of affluence for the last few years.

Affluent people had been "revigorating" themselves for nearly two decades, leaving those without the money to purchase such treatments to age and die. This year was an interesting one as the west saw rapid reductions in the costs of revigoration and more of the middle class in many western countries engaged the process. The middle east for economic reasons mentioned...wasn't so lucky...save for the few remaining rich who didn't themselves move into the west...but the biotechnology itself...like the access to computing resources 65 years earlier continued to fall in price and become ubiquitous. This ubiquity led to many conflicts ...the Russian - China incident of 2028 stands out in global memory as a particularly terrifying example of what could happen with intentionally crafted biotech.

This is what most intrigued Amir and guided by the support of his Mullah put him on the path to his current work. See Amir has been working on crafting a viral agent with particularly unique properties, building using the tools that have now been available for several decades, fast sequencing, molecular genetic construction, comparative genomic analysis utilizing induced pluripotent stem cells and the follow on techniques to the 2013 innovation of the CrispR-Cas9 process.

These were the paint brush, paint and easel that Amir would use to design a virus that could be deployed to the west via infected drinking water and then perform a most insidious act, the virus would silently replicate in the host once ingested by vectoring to tissues in the small intestines lining, they would then silently replicate in the host for 5 days...during this time they'd mask their presence to the host and thus not give up the standard warnings of pain or inflammation that would indicate that an infection had taken place...once the virus had fully replicate to a point that a given density had been reached...the viral agents would trigger stage two of their attack....this would involve the genetic modification of the lining of the intestine such that the standard process of carbohydrate and enzyme amino acid absorption would break down...this would lead thus to an inability for the host to derive sustenance from ingested food....it would all pass out of their system.

What would look at first like a gift to the host would soon reveal itself to be a nightmare...as without any absorption of carbohydrates the host would quickly develop extreme fatigue, with lack of absorption of amino acids from protein sources the host would rapidly start shedding muscle weight, the virus also resisted water osmosis through the small intenstine walls and thus forced dehydration...most would be dead within 3 days of noticing the "symptoms" which would to them appear only as a little bit of unexplained weight loss.

Amir was in Love with the technical elegance of his particular approach, independent of the fact that it would indeed kill tens of thousands if not millions before it was discovered as the culprit and means to combat it devised.

For him this was a holy mission, his reason d'etre to punish the west for the destruction and abandonment they engaged on his part of the world. Of those whom he loved only the Mullah and several other members of the mosque who provided some of the resources knew what he was working on but the world would soon know that he was God's instrument in righting the wrongs of the West against Islam.

Epilogue Monday July 24th 6:35 pm:

Amir was excited to meet and deliver his work to the courier from Turkey who would ensure that it would get to London where another brother of God would take it to a European costal desalination and bottling plant. Since energy was virtually free, desalination facilities could run using energy captured via solar panels and could do so 24 hours a day, the irony being that such technology had not been deployed in a manner of its need. Yemen for example only had one such plant and it was used primarily to supply the more affluent areas of the country and via bribes to also supply affluent peoples in the region in other neighboring countries with much trade coming across the Red Sea in Eritrea...all that didn't matter, Emir knew it was the best place to interject his new creation.

 He'd also met with a contact from North America days earlier and had delivered a collection of the agent to him as well to use in eastern and western coast water extraction plants. He knew the fastest way to spread his creation was using this means. It also had a significance to him to use water as in his mind as a culmination of the technology that destroyed his part of the world it made sense that Allah's wrath would come in the form of water, that God in essence would provide a sustenance of tears to the enemies of Islam...and so on the tiny bottles of the agent that he careful dispensed a single white label presented with the phrase:


(Gods Tears)

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