Dust

Entry #4

I was surprised to discover a reaction so quickly. My theory was sound, but I imagined it would take possibly hundreds of tests before I found a reaction strong enough to be considered sufficient evidence for validation. The element producing the reaction was Xenon. I began with the noble gases to determine if this substance could affect an element that was considered nonreactive. I am surprised to say the least, but more than that I am beyond excited. I will continue to move through my experiment as planned to determine if other elements cause a reaction. It may be possible that several interact with the substance.

Entry #17

I’ve finally tested all elements currently known. The substance reacts to the following: Xenon, Gallium, and Mercury. I’ve sacrificed sleep to my research in an effort to speed through this first step of the experiment. I was extremely thorough with each test, but I fear I may need to rest before continuing. I’ve yet to report my findings to General Stewart. I would not be surprised if he has a camera within the lab or even gets reports of my entries into this log. In either case, I do not fear the man. Past experiences have led me to understand that these men only seek results and do not care about the process. Though I believe Stewart is a better man than others I have worked with, I fear he falls into the same pattern of thought. I will wait until I have something of significance before providing a report without omissions.

Entry #32

It’s been weeks since I’ve moved beyond the initial phase, and no progress has been made. General Stewart has already begun to grow impatient. He has not removed his genial attitude but I have picked up subtle signs of his impatience. I believe he understands that this substance, which is now referred to as Dust in all official reports, is not something that can be fully understood quickly knowing where it originated. He is both fearful of its potential while eager to control it. It is too early to tell if the latter is even possible, but isn’t every soldier’s dream to control the most devastating weapon on the field?

Entry #164

I must admit I was happy to deliver good news. The General seemed beyond excited to receive a report that did not end with “No Progress Made” and I was brimming with excitement as I wrote it. We are one step closer to understanding what this substance is capable of.

Entry #188

They are threatening to remove me from this project. It’s been months since we realized the Dust was able to duplicate when placed in proximity of water. I have not been able to explain how the process works or why. I can say that I am thankful that the container of this Dust did not land in an ocean or even near a stream. If it had, I can’t imagine what would have happened.

The Dust is isolated but reacts in a way seemingly impossible when placed near a single molecule of water. I find it strange the Dust hadn’t reacted before. After all, the body of an average human male consists of nearly 60% water. Perhaps there is something within our blood that negates its growth. I will research this new theory.

Entry #213

General Stewart claims the only reason I am allowed to continue my research is because he advocated for me. I believe him to a degree, but also know that I have made sufficient progress and they now fear removing me from this project after what I have discovered. However, they have taken half of the Dust from my lab despite my objections. I don’t believe they are having another team start research on it. I fear they will create a weapon using the knowledge we currently have from my own discoveries. Primarily the reaction with water that allows it to duplicate quickly, and its reaction with plasma proteins, specifically albumin, which causes the Dust to deteriorate rapidly. I withheld the information at first knowing full well what they could do with it should they decide to use it against our current enemies. It’s the perfect solution. It’s humane, at least it would be seen as humane.

Drop even the smallest amount in the enemy’s water supply and it will consume all of their resources. Asset denial. No army can survive without food. The issue is the aftermath. Once the Dust is let loose, there is no real way to guarantee it can be contained. In the public’s eyes, it will be the weapon that only kills the supplies but leaves the people alive. They won’t consider that the Dust will decimate water and food supplies and effectively leave whatever population it is used against with both famine and drought. A situation where no human can survive. If left unchecked, the Dust would consume the oceans in a matter of days.

General Stewart has enough foresight to consider the consequences of such actions, which is my only consolation that they will not yet create such weapon. I will continue my research, but perhaps I should begin theorizing a way to neutralize the Dust should it grow beyond the control of its handlers. Now that I am no longer the sole guardian of it, I think it wise to explore such options.

Entry #218

I’ve found some comfort after testing my recent theory. The Dust duplicates when near water, but when it comes into direct contact, it changes its composition from a powder to solid. This at first was very troubling, but I then placed 1 ml of albumin on the surface of the solid and it reverted back to dihydrogen monoxide. The Dust seemingly removed from the compound entirely. Just as it can duplicate without source material, it can be removed as well. I now have a means of destroying the Dust should something terrible happen. I know how this information will be received if I convey it to the General. For now, I will keep it to myself.

Entry #297

They raided my lab yesterday. They copied all of my notes and even this informal recording of my work. I now know what they have done with the Dust they took several months ago. Two bombs have already been dropped upon the eastern continent. The strategic points they chose were predictable knowing what I do. One was dropped on Mount Baikal, where the Omul River is sourced, and the other in Lake Jacinto. I fear these actions were made too soon and without sufficient knowledge of the forces at play. There are too many unknowns, but I am told this was the final stage of the war and we were losing. I have not left my lab in over two years and have not had or asked of news about the war so I do not know how much truth I’ve been told. The weight within my stomach tells me that no matter how desperate our situation became, we should never have used the Dust in this manner.

Entry #363

My suspicions have been confirmed. I have tested what I can with the amount of Dust I was able to take from my lab as I was forced from it. I had the forethought to hide a small vial within the lining of one of my lab coats. They were nice enough to let me pack before being shipped to another isolated facility. There is no lab here, but I can continue my research.

Simply placing blood on the solid Dust is not enough to create the negation effect. I’ve found that the plasma’s ratio must be nearly 50:50 water to protein to have this desired effect. Since nearly all plasma consists of 90% water, the military’s solution will not be work. The Dust has already converted all major water sources on the eastern continent to solid material. The war has ended, but the treaty stands unfulfilled as our country cannot deliver what was promised. We are now only able to take in refugees while the eastern lands become inhospitable.

I’ve contacted General Stewart about my solution to the problem. I fear that blood donations will not be enough to change the current quantity of the now solid form of Dust.

Entry #701

I have not slept soundly in three months after discovering what lengths that were taken to prevent the Dust from depleting the most abundant resource on the planet. The eastern continent is now barren. It’s population once nearing two billion people has been reduced to tribes of thousands. The few million refugees that were taken in by my own government were used to combat the Dust from reaching our shores. They….they were harvested for their albumin. Hundreds of thousands died before the government realized they needed a sustainable source to effectively combat the Dust from consuming the entire planet. They have established required blood donations from all citizens. It may be too soon to say with any certainty, but early reports show the Dust is receding. We may yet survive.

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