Life on Qwortar continued quietly without a hiccup. Children went to school, various amounts of enthusiasm displayed by copious notes and wide eyes. Workers got to work, some just as bored as some students, glassy eyed with wandering minds.
Very few knew about the incident at The Premier Lab and even fewer could even fathom the chaos Timosh's research was capable of.
Leama's soldiers were dispatched, searching for the fugitive. Some checking with family and friends, others checking other, less reputable labs, and the last few, those particularly trained for wilderness missions were checking the forests surrounding the lab.
The squad of eight had a map. They drew several circular perimeters, searching each one thoroughly before spreading out into the next largest ring.
Northern quarter started feeling unease settle over their skin as they continued investigating the fourth ring out from The Premier Lab. The green leaves were duller than normal. The birdsong felt more distant and while the voices over the radio came in loud and clear the sounds of their comrades moving about was quieter than expected.
They knew they were in deep trouble as they got to the far end of the fifth ring. There was no green, trees slanted, and their tentacles sank into the ground with the lightest of pressure. When one of the soldiers reached out to balance themselves against a tree, their limb broke the fragile outer bark and sank into the rotting core.
The two scattered as the tree came down, mud splashing all over them as the once might plant hit the ground. The trunk cracked and the insides started oozing out.
They found the base camp for their fugitive, tree collapsed in on itself. The stick shack was a brown puddle. The pots had rotted plants inside.
“We need to set up a biological barrier, stat.” The senior officer called over the radio.
All eight soldiers, as well as civil engineers, and Leama pitching in built a physical barrier around the infected area. They downed the trees so they wouldn’t fall on the walls, and they dug deep for the foundation.
At first, they thought the words of it was the death of the Qwortarians and the lost land. It only took a few days for the plant blight to pierce their barrier. And it spread like wildfire.
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