MidReal Story

Genetic Apocalypse: The Cure Within

May 3
Scenario: Maxime Barbier is a world-renound geneticist working in an underground lab in Paris. Her life-long quest has been to eradicate cancer through gene therapy and eventually develop a vaccine. While exploring how a coronavirus could have an impact on cancer, she spliced the two of them together and accidentally infects herself. She doesn't know it, but the disease could bring the end of humanity as we know it.
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Maxime Barbier is a world-renound geneticist working in an underground lab in Paris. Her life-long quest has been to eradicate cancer through gene therapy and eventually develop a vaccine. While exploring how a coronavirus could have an impact on cancer, she spliced the two of them together and accidentally infects herself. She doesn't know it, but the disease could bring the end of humanity as we know it.
“I’ll never let you down, Maxime.
You know that, right?”
Julien’s deep voice broke into my thoughts, and I looked up from the microscope, blinking away the memories of the past.
I’d been so lost in them that it took me a second to remember why he was here, looking at me with that kind smile and those big, brown eyes.
He was worried about me.
He always was.
Julien was the best of us.
The one who cared.
The one who spoke up when things weren’t right.
He was my closest friend, and the only reason I’d managed to get through this last year in one piece.
I smiled back at him.
“I know you won’t, Julien.”
He gave me a nod before turning and leaving the room.
I could hear him talking to Dr.
Camille Laurent just outside, his voice low and reassuring.
I was glad she had him to lean on right now.
I tore my gaze away from the door and stared back down at the petri dish in front of me.
It was filled with cancer cells.
I’d been staring at them for hours, trying to figure out how to make them stop growing, how to make them disappear forever.
That was my job, after all: to cure cancer using gene therapy, and eventually develop a vaccine to make sure no one ever had to suffer from it again.
It was an ambitious goal, and most people thought I was insane for even attempting it, but I didn’t care what anyone else thought.
This was my life’s work, my mission, my purpose for existing in this godforsaken world—and I’d do anything or go anywhere to see it through to the end.
Even here, in this underground lab in Paris, where the virus I’d been sent to study had escaped its containment unit and infected me before I even knew what hit me.
I could still remember that day like it was yesterday…
It was a cold morning in October, and I’d just been promoted to a full-time position as a junior lab tech at the Institute Pasteur in Paris.
I was twenty-three years old and fresh out of grad school, with big dreams and an even bigger student loan hanging over my head—so when they offered me the position at their state-of-the-art facility, I jumped at the chance to take it.
Little did I know my dream job would soon turn into a nightmare from which I’d never wake up.
My boss had been testing out a new strain of the flu virus on a monkey imported from Africa, and he asked me to assist him in the lab that day.
The monkey was in the room with us, strapped down to the stainless-steel table so it couldn’t move while he ran his tests.
I’d been watching him work for hours, taking notes and recording his observations in my logbook, when something went wrong with the containment unit we were using to hold the monkey’s blood samples in place.
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The glass door of the unit cracked, and my boss screamed and threw his hands up over his face, dropping the clipboard he was holding onto the floor.
The monkey was still strapped down to the table, but as soon as we opened the door and tried to get close enough to restrain it, the animal went into a blind rage and attacked my boss, biting him on the arm and leg before finally being put down by security.
We all thought that was the end of it, but when my boss started showing symptoms of the virus a few days later, we knew we were wrong.
He was rushed to the hospital, where they put him in isolation and tried to save his life, but there was nothing they could do.
He died a week after being bitten by the monkey, and no one knew how to stop the virus from spreading or where it came from, so they locked down the entire lab and issued a mandatory quarantine for all staff members who’d been exposed to the monkey.
That included me.
At first, I didn’t think anything of it—I felt fine, and since my boss was showing symptoms of the virus, I assumed they’d be able to give me something that would prevent me from getting sick.
Unfortunately, I was wrong.
A few days after my boss died, I came down with a fever, chills, and body aches, and for a while, I thought I’d be okay—I thought my immune system would be strong enough to fight off the infection and keep me alive.
But then things started to change.
I started having trouble breathing and coughing up blood, and my skin turned pale and ashen as I grew weaker and weaker by the day.
The doctors ran some tests and told me my white blood cell count was dangerously low, and that they didn’t know what else to do to save my life, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I took some samples of my blood and put them under a microscope, where I discovered that the virus was attacking my body at a cellular level, infecting my healthy cells and turning them into cancerous ones.
It was like nothing I’d ever seen before, but as soon as I realized what was happening to me, I knew what I had to do to stop it.
I made a serum that would target and destroy the cancer cells in my body, then injected myself with it and waited.
It took a few days for the serum to start working, but after a week, my fever broke and my symptoms started to subside, as if they’d never been there in the first place.
I’d cured myself of cancer using gene therapy, and that was when I knew I’d stumbled onto something big.
Something that could change the world if I played my cards right.
It took me three years to develop the vaccine, but after I did, I tested it on a group of terminally ill cancer patients who had no other options left—and every one of them went into remission within months of being injected with it.
They were all still alive today, happily living their lives and forever grateful for my help.
The vaccine wasn’t perfect, of course—it had its side effects, and most people thought I was insane for even trying to develop it—but that didn’t matter to me.
I’d found a way to cure cancer using gene therapy, and that was all that mattered.
My work was groundbreaking, controversial, and highly classified, which meant I spent most of my time alone in my lab with no one to talk to except for my colleagues, Dr.
Moreau and Dr.
Laurent—my partner in crime and my boss.
They were the ones who helped me get started on this project in the first place, and that’s why they knew what I’d done to save my own life.
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I’d had to tell them everything after my boss died, so they wouldn’t think I was crazy or trying to put their lives in danger.
They were both in their late thirties and had been working with me for over five years now.
Dr.Moreau was a tall man with a kind smile and short brown hair, and he was a brilliant virologist who’d helped me develop some of my most important vaccines and serums.
He was also one of my closest friends in the world (not that I had very many of those), and he was always there to lend me an ear or a shoulder to cry on whenever I needed one.
We spent so much time talking to each other in my lab that most people assumed we were dating or married or something, but we were just really good friends who happened to work together.
Dr.Laurent was a short woman with bleach blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, and she was an ambitious and resourceful virologist who’d spent most of her life moving from one place to another as she tried to make a name for herself in the medical community.
She’d come to Paris three years ago to work with me on one of my latest projects and had quickly become my right-hand woman when it came to doing all of my lab work.
She was also one of my best friends and favorite people to work with, and I couldn’t imagine trying to do any of this without her by my side.
They were both married to other people, with their own families and social lives to go home to at night, but they were always there for me whenever I needed them, which was why they stopped by my lab at least once a week to talk about what was going on in our lives and bring me supplies that I needed to keep working on my research.
They were also two of the only people who knew I was still alive after all of this time, and that was why I trusted them more than anyone else in the world to keep my secret safe.
I spent most of my days and nights locked away in my underground lab, where I worked on developing new vaccines and serums to treat various kinds of diseases, including cancer and HIV, using gene therapy.
It was hard work that required a lot of focus and concentration on my part, but I loved every minute of it because it gave me the chance to stretch myself and push the boundaries of what medical science could do for people who needed it.
I’d come up with some of my best ideas when I was alone in my lab, with nothing but silence to keep me company, which was why I tried to spend as much time there as possible.
The only problem with that was that I didn’t get to see very many other people in person, which often made me feel like I was living on another planet instead of just two floors underground from everyone else.
The only reason I ever saw anyone else at all was because Dr.Laurent and Dr.Moreau brought me supplies every once in a while, and because Dr.Moreau liked to stop by to visit me when he got bored or lonely or needed someone to talk to while he ate his lunch.
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I was in the middle of conducting a potentially groundbreaking experiment in my lab when my phone started to ring.
I was working on splicing together some coronavirus and cancer cells to see how one would affect the other, and it was really important to me that I didn’t mess up anything by getting distracted.
I’d already spent most of my day altering the DNA of both kinds of cells to try and get them to combine, and now it was just a matter of waiting to see what happened next.
I was sitting at one of my lab benches, peering into a high-powered microscope while I used a pair of thin tweezers to move some cells around on a glass slide, when my phone started to ring, and I knew it had to be one of my friends calling me to talk about something important.
I’d turned off my phone’s ringer hours ago so it wouldn’t bother me while I was working, but now it was distracting me from being able to concentrate on what I was doing, so I reached over to my desk to pick it up and see who it was.
“Maxime, it’s Dr.Moreau.
Can you talk right now?”
I put my phone on speaker and set it down on my desk so I could keep working.
“Sure, what’s going on?”
“We just got done going over everything you told us yesterday, and we have some concerns about how you plan on proceeding with this research.”
I rolled my eyes and sighed impatiently as I set my tweezers down and turned to face my colleagues.
“Which part are you worried about?”
Dr.Moreau asked me with a frown.
I didn’t need to look at him to know he had his arms crossed over his chest and was tapping his foot impatiently as he waited for me to answer him.
“Well, first of all, we don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be working on this vaccine yourself, since you’re also one of your own test subjects,” he said with a scowl.
I picked up a small plastic container on my desk and used a needle to pierce through the top, then carefully transferred some cells into a petri dish that was already filled with some other cells for me to examine under my microscope later.
I’d been doing this for long enough that I didn’t need to spend very much time focusing on what my hands were doing in order to get it right, which was why I’d been able to talk on the phone while I worked without any problems.
“I’m being very careful to make sure that doesn’t happen,” I told him as I picked up a small glass slide and put it under my microscope before I peered into it to see if I’d gotten everything right.
The cells in my petri dish were still moving around like they should be, which was a good sign that I’d done everything right up until now, but I wouldn’t know for sure until I actually looked at them under my microscope to see if they’d combined like I wanted them to or not.
I picked up another needle from my bench and used it to move some more cells into another petri dish before I replied to him again.
“It’s not like I’m going to accidentally spill something into the air while I’m working on it,” I said.
“I’ve been doing this kind of stuff for years now, so you don’t need to worry about me hurting myself or anyone else in here.”
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