Supplanting evolution

Dr. Illyana Davinich knew she was making the right decision by altering the ship’s course to the small island off the coast of Borneo.  She had convinced Vladimir Dragonovic, Captain of the Russian research vessel, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, that it was necessary for humanity’s survival to thwart Dr. Papadopoulos’ heinous initiative: the supplanting of the human species by super insects.

From what little information that trickled from the rogue scientist’s island, by way of brave, Malaysian operatives, it was clear what motivated Papadopoulos: insanity.  And it was up to her to disrupt his plans.  The clandestine team aboard the Solzhenitsyn, put in place by sympathetic government powers, was given instructions to destroy the scientist and his laboratories.  Illyana let the Captain in on the operation only after they were far out to sea.  It helped that Illyana was Captain Dragonovic’s wife.

It was Illyana the scientist and activist standing on the Bridge as the ship approached the windward side of the island, in an attempt to hide the bulk of the large ship.  The team was readying itself for the short trip ashore by a stealth powered zodiac. They were carrying explosives– enough to destroy the compound containing the illicit research laboratories.  If any of the super insects were on the island, then the island itself would be vaporized and its ashes swallowed by the sea.

It was Illyana and a colleague who discovered the reason for certain insect species’ enigmatic rapid increase in size and intelligence– unheard of intelligence.  Insects do not have intelligence, just DNA programmed responses to certain stimuli. Dr. Papadopoulos was using a provirus to speed up insect evolution by changing the insect genome in only a few years.  He had been using the social insects such as ants and bees which depended on communal behavior.  It was this hive mind that was becoming intelligent.

Illyana kissed her husband and set off for the launch bay.  One other scientist would accompany her with the élite team to the island.  It was necessary for scientists to go along to identify the provirus.  An hour later, Illyana stood in a laboratory smouldering from spent heavy ammunitions.  Papadopoulos was dead, computer files were downloaded then all computers were torched.  Samples of the provirus were carefully packed up for later analysis, but Illyana already recognized it: herpes.  It was a brilliant concept by an insane man.  Now, the island would be vaporized.  According to the records, thousands of colonies of infected ants and bees were being kept in cold storage in the island’s interior.

Dr. Illyana Davinich and Captain Vladimir Dragonovic stood on the Bridge of the Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn,  at a safe distance from the island.  Illyana had never seen a land mass vaporized.  Behind her was the scientist who went with her to the island.  He was scratching what he thought was a rash on his face, which itched and burned, and his lip was slowly swelling and blistering.   It could be just a harmless cold sore…

Flash Fiction Challenge #16
ImagePrompt:  For unknown reasons, insects begin to grow larger and smarter.
Word Count:  500

Thanks to Thain in Vain for hosting FFC

The featured photo is from Warner Bros. film “Them!”  1954


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