Dress Your Marines in White

Dress Your Marines in White

illustration by gregory manchess

At first, Dr. James Cutlass had thought his new job at NORAD was thrilling and full of opportunities, but that was before the demonstration… “Dress Your Marines in White” is the story of the terrifying choices surrounding a chemical weapons demonstration gone horribly wrong.

Emmy Laybourne is a screenwriter, lyricist, and actress who’s first work of fiction, Monument 14, on June 5th from Feiwel & Friends. You can also catch Emmy out on the Fierce Reads tour next month!

This story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Feiwel & Friends associate editor Holly West.

 

Was he going to throw up or would he be able to type? James Cutlass wasn’t quite sure.

TEST REPORT: MORS compound

January 14, 2024

Dr. James Cutlass, assistant to Dr. Elizabeth Massey

U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

Jesus Christ, he was quaking in his seat. His hands shaking. Just typing in the header put him back there in the steel-colored observation chamber, flooded with light from the bright, white test room.

James needed to write the report. They wanted it two Fridays ago. Hell, they wanted it the day after it all happened. But James had spent that day in his room with the covers pulled over his head like a four-year-old.

He needed to write the report and get it in by five o’clock and it was four o’clock now and to make it all worse Brayden and his friends were down in the rec room, shooting pool.

James wiped the back of his hand over his eyes. It wasn’t cool to cry, when your seventeen-year-old son was entertaining. Had some pretty girls down there too. It was never cool to cry in front of pretty girls.

All right, it was just a test report. Like one of the many, many he’d written up in the past. Except that this time a copy of his observations had been requested by the CIA. And this time, several of the test subjects were dead.

There, then, start at the beginning.

After extensive testing on other primates, Dr. Massey and department head Dr. Savic decided that testing on human subjects was a necessary step to demonstrate the strength of the compound to Colonel Davidson, General Green, and General Montez, in order to receive permission to begin experiments with storage and release mechanisms.

How could he type when the godforsaken music was so ever-loving loud? If music is even what you’d call it. Screaming to a beat? Grunting in time?

James crossed out into the hallway and opened the basement door. If it was beer he smelled, he ignored it.

“Bray!” James shouted. “Turn it down.”

“Sure, Pops!” his son called.

James cocked his head. The music didn’t go down. Not a bit.

“Now!” he hollered.

Then it dipped.

It had to be 100 percent rage now to get any response from his son at all. Brayden just lolled around, talking back and exuding attitude, until yelled at. They didn’t even bother talking to him in a low voice—it was yell or nothing with Brayden.

Susan had given herself nodes on her vocal chords and would need surgery eventually. Just from “communicating” with their son.

If he could do it again, no kid. And probably a different career. Why hadn’t he taken the gig at Merck? Anti-obesity was where the money was. Why wasn’t he where the money was? Why was he in Monument, Colorado?

Dr. Massey and Dr. Savic discussed the issue at length and decided that presenting all four subjects at the same time would make a more effective demonstration.

“It’ll knock their socks off,” Massey argued to Dr. Savic during the discussions leading up to the demonstration.

“I have no doubt about the strength of your presentation, Dr. Massey. But why risk any confusion by showing the reaction of all the blood types simultaneously. Why not show them one at a time?” Savic asked.

Dr. Janko Savic was a tall man—Serbian or Croatian, if there was a difference. He was cautious, humorless, and exacting. Just the qualities you’d expect to find in the head of USAMRIID, of course.

She waved his concern away.

“You separate them, it’s not nearly as effective a presentation. Not a tenth as impressive. What we want the brass to understand is how MORS affects a group of people. Not a series of individuals. All four at a time will really strike a graphic visual.”

“I have less concern for striking visuals than I have for the clarity of the demonstration.”

“Dr. Savic, with all due respect, do you want mass production funded or not?” Massey asked, her hands on her hips. She was notoriously combative and ambitious.

James had found it thrilling, at first, to be the assistant to a woman who cared not a shred about what people thought. She cared only for the success of MORS and her own rise in the lab. The thrill wore off a month or so later.

She went through a new assistant every four-point-eight months or so. James was a year and a half in, and he was going to stick it out until MORS was funded. There’d be a bonus then. And he deserved the bonus.

It had seemed like such a good idea at first—Monument. A small town in the foothills of a sunny, rocky forest preserve. Out of loud, ugly Manhattan where the snow turned gray the moment it hit the ground and even the moon hung smutty in the sky.

Brayden was flourishing here. Back in the city he’d been on the fringe—heavy into gaming and basically living online. Here he was on the football team and was with friends and girls at all times.

But every day James spent with Massey took something out of him. Some measurement of optimism and goodness, it felt like. Susan didn’t see or didn’t care. The move had not got him out of the doghouse. James would never be out of the doghouse with Susan. She liked being married to an a-hole and an a-hole he would forever be, in her mind. If he wasn’t an a-hole, then some of her misery was her own fault.

“I want MORS to be funded. However, we can’t risk a repeat of the leak in 2021,” Savic insisted.

April 2021. The biological-warfare compound MORS had accidentally leaked into a test room during a rival scientist’s presentation. Massey and Savic had both been there. The rival scientist had died and Massey had lost her husband, a doctor who had been the cocreator of MORS, in the leak.

James felt that loss must have been what fueled Massey’s determination to see MORS make it into production. She had to have some deep psychological attachment to the outcome. Otherwise . . . what was she?

“Of course not,” Massey said. “Least of all me. But that demonstration room was not properly prepared—”

And here Savic started to object, “Now just a moment—”

But Massey shouted over him, “For a class one biological-warfare compound and you know it!”

Her teeth were clenched. Dr. Savic’s knuckles were white on the handle of his cane. It was clear to James that she was going to win. It was also clear that neither of them had really recovered from the leak in 2021.

Massey took a deep breath and smiled her fakey smile. The one that was clearly an indicator of aggression and not affection.

“All I’m saying, Dr. Savic, is that the room was not sufficiently prepared to test MORS. If it had been, things might have gone more smoothly. Can we agree on that?” she asked.

“Yes.”

And so she put in her proposal for the demonstration to Colonel Davidson. It was highly unusual to test a warfare compound on human subjects. There were long months of paperwork and revised proposals and waiting. And planning.

Four test volunteers were recruited from the garrison at Fort Leavenworth. It is my understanding that each marine was offered a full pardon in return for his participation in the test.

He felt sick, thinking of her planning for the demonstration. The plans she shared with him with such excitement and flair—the bile was right there at the bottom of his throat.

They celebrated when they received permission to execute the demonstration. Massey sent Cha, her other assistant, out for a magnum of Dom Pérignon.

“The safety gel is what makes it safe,” she said, pacing with a glass of champagne. “At the first sign of trouble, we push a button and the gel floods the room, coating everyone—in three seconds, the compound is suspended and the air is clean. It will be fine. Of course, it will. We know the gel works on MORS. It’ll be fine.”

She was trying to convince James and Cha. Or trying to convince herself?

“We’ll aim for thirty seconds of exposure, but if there’s any trouble, I’ll signal you. If there’s any sign of trouble, we’ll kill the whole thing. Don’t you think it will be okay? I think it will be fine.”

“I think we might consider Dr. Savic’s suggestion to test the blood types separately,” James offered. “We still don’t know how fast we can expect to see a reaction from type AB.”

“Dr. Cutlass does raise a good point—” Dr. Cha interjected.

Massey started to pace, new ideas for the presentation streaming out. James got a notepad. He knew her well enough to reach for it automatically.

“We’ll have them strapped down, on those black padded testing beds, so they can’t move. Let’s put the subjects in white, too. It will look good against the dark padding.”

James wrote it all down.

“What if the O gets free?” he asked.

“From the restraints?”

“Dr. Massey, I think it could be possible. But then I’ve never seen the effect on a human subject.”

She had. In 2021. She and Savic and a retired general were the only ones who’d survived the leak.

“We’ll have an armed guard in the room. Just in case,” she conceded.

It would be safer to do them one at a time. Safer for the subjects, by far, and for whichever assistant she assigned to be in the test room. But he didn’t press it with Massey. It wasn’t that she didn’t welcome a good argument. It was that she hated cowards.

And he was afraid.

And if he hesitated, even for a second, she’d know it. And then she might make him be in there.

On the morning of the demonstration, I ran through a safety check with the head of the lab, Dr. Savic, and the lead lab engineer, Hans Longreman. Mr. Longreman assured us the test suite had been reinforced with silicone sealant and that the air filtration system was similarly reinforced.

We did a run-through of the release and gel spray down of the room. Mr. Longreman insisted that such a test was a waste of materials—that he had already tested it several times—but Dr. Savic insisted. He reminded Mr. Longreman that MORS is a substance of unknown strength and virulence. We ran the test and the foaming gel rained down and expanded almost immediately.

I was satisfied that the demonstration could be performed safely on the subjects.

Brayden and his music. It was back up again, shaking the floor. James took the baseball bat and pounded it down onto the carpet. He kept the bat by the door to the basement for this exact reason—to signal Brayden to turn down the noise.

When Massey picked the subjects from the files the warden at Leavenworth sent over, James helped. The warden had made the offer to all their lifers and all twelve of them volunteered. They all wanted out of The Castle, it seemed. But how could the inmates have known what they were getting themselves into?

Dr. Massey made the final decision, selecting them as if she were casting a play.

A giant brute for O. A guy who looked ethnic for AB—did she think he’d be more garrulous, somehow, because he looked like a gypsy? A regular-Joe-looking type B guy. For type A, a man whose skin was so white, he seemed like he might be an albino.

Dr. Savic looked over her selections. His sign-off was needed.

“This one,” he said, the type O brute on the screen of his tablet. “Why so big for the O?”

“I didn’t pick him for his size, per se,” Massey lied. “He just seemed more dignified, somehow, than the others. I thought it would provide a good contrast when he experiences the effects, that’s all.”

Savic grunted his assent, massaging the scar on his jaw with his good hand. James had noticed he did this often when discussing MORS.

“You don’t need to have a large man to show that type O becomes a monster,” Savic said. “MORS will do it to anyone.”

The way Savic looked at Massey made James’s scalp prickle.

James pushed away his coffee cup. The chalky film of cream shifted side to side in the cup, rocking back and forth. He didn’t need more coffee. Caffeine was the last thing he needed.

After an extensive briefing, Dr. Massey, Dr. Savic, Colonel Davidson, General Montez, General Green, and I entered the viewing room. Also in attendance were several aides.

Dr. Massey explained the goal of the presentation, and the test subjects were brought in by Dr. Cha.

Cha pleaded with Massey when she told him he was going to be the one in the room.

“You’ll wear full protective gear with an oxygen tank, for God’s sake,” Massey snapped.

“But why do you need me in there?” he asked. “I can bring the subjects in and strap them down and leave—”

“In case there’s some problem with the dispersal mechanism,” Massey insisted. “Can you imagine how stupid we’d look if we get all the brass in the viewing room, the marines strapped down and pfffft—nothing happens?”

No, Cha had to be there, according to her.

James forced himself not to think of that photo pinned to Cha’s workstation. Wife. Twin sons. Toddlers with round faces and bashful smiles.

Cha, dressed in his suit, looking more like an astronaut than a person, led the marines in.

The four test subjects entered. They wore white medical scrubs. Short-sleeved. As Massey had requested.

Their hands were handcuffed but it wasn’t necessary for the demonstration.

Why were they cuffed? Why? Not because they were dangerous criminals who might escape at any moment—it was to trick the brass into thinking that the armed guard was there in case they tried to escape.

The armed guard, of course, was there to kill them in case the experiment spiraled out of control.

But Dr. Massey didn’t want to scare the brass into thinking that MORS was unsafe to even test, because she wanted them to fund it.

James felt anger rising in his chest. This would be the last time he would play the scene in his mind, he promised himself. Tomorrow he’d call the hypnotist from the commercial. His wife could scoff all she wanted. She hadn’t been there.

Against Cha in his suit and the guard in his suit, the marines looked very unprotected. Meek, even.

Well, not Gruin, the type O. He looked like Thor. A shaved-head Thor with SEMPER FI emblazoned on one arm.

Each subject wore their blood type in black paint stenciled on the chest of their medical scrubs. This was to aid the viewers in recognizing the effects of the compound.

The AB looked scared. The A looked scared. The B looked bemused.

B had short, reddish-brown hair. That color like an Irish setter. And freckles. Freckles on a full-grown man always made James feel sad, somehow. Like didn’t that guy know his childhood was over?

Dr. Cha turned and gave a thumbs up to the safety attendant in the containment annex. The attendant sealed and locked the door.

As the test subjects were brought in, General Montez stood up. He said that he recognized one of the test subjects. It was Private Michael Ceglowski (type B blood).

“That’s Ceglowski,” said the general. “I know that soldier.”

“General Montez?” asked Dr. Savic.

“He served under me in Iraq. He was a member of an escort and we were ambushed. We saw some action together. Is that him? That can’t be him!”

“Yes, sir,” I confirmed. “The subject is Private Ceglowski.”

“This can’t be right. He’s serving a life term in the stockade? That can’t be right.”

Dr. Massey turned to James with a hard glint in her eyes and a nod, willing him to do something. James pulled up B’s file on the tablet.

“He was involved with the Marshad incident, sir. Serving a life term with no parole.”

“Ceglowski?!” Montez looked dazed. He turned to his aide. “Darington, did we know about this?”

“No, sir.”

“I would have testified, for Christ’s sake. That man is no criminal. I don’t believe he was involved with Marshad. Not for one moment.”

Ceglowski certainly didn’t look like a spy. He looked like he should be running bases on a baseball field or planting corn or waving a firecracker or eating apple pie.

James recognized the strained smile on Massey’s face. It meant she wanted to murder someone. But this was a glitch no one could have anticipated, James thought to himself. No one could have imagined that one of the generals would know one of the convicts.

“What can be done about this?” Colonel Davidson turned to Savic and Massey.

“If I may, General Montez,” Dr. Massey said smoothly, “Private Ceglowski has type B blood. As you may remember from the presentation, of all the test subjects, he will suffer the least in this experiment.”

That was true. For the moment, anyway.

“Is that right?” Montez asked, scanning the cheat sheet James had prepared. “Yes. I see. It’s . . . fine. It just took me by surprise, to see someone who I know . . .”

“Of course,” Colonel Davidson tutted.

Dr. Savic turned to Massey and nodded. “Dr. Massey, please proceed.”

Montez sat down and looked through the glass, but his eyes were glazed over. James, Massey, all of them could see he was somewhere on a dusky back street, ducking sniper fire with Ceglowski at his side.

Ceglowski was very much living in the present, though.

He was standing at attention before a mirrored wall. He was under bright lights—every pore and follicle exposed—but the air was cool and crisp.

The subjects were asked to recline on the upright testing beds. Their handcuffs were removed by the guard. Dr. Cha then strapped them down. Each subject was bound with a strap across each foot and each hand, and a strap over the torso.

Then Dr. Massey addressed the test subjects over the intercom.

“Gentlemen, I want to thank you for your participation in this experiment today. Please rest assured that you will experience the effects of the compound for a very short amount of time. On behalf of the scientific community here at USAMRIID, I offer you my deepest thanks for your brave participation.”

James had to hand it to her—Massey was brilliant. These weren’t just empty theatrics—she was positioning herself as the spokesperson for the entire lab. Savic had better watch his back.

Dr. Cha then checked the function of his protective suit. The guard did the same. They each gave the thumbs up, indicating that their suits were airtight and functioning properly.

“Cut the air,” Massey directed James.

I pressed the button on my tablet that controlled the air circulation within the sealed test chamber. (For the sake of clarity—this is a sealed air system for the test room only. The button I pressed stopped the air movement inside the test chamber—there was never the chance that the MORS could get out through the venting system to the rest of the lab.)

Cha gave another thumbs up, indicating that the air circulation within the room had ceased.

On a small lab table set directly in front of the viewing glass was the release mechanism. A small metal clamp and a robotic arm held the two ends of a minute glass ampule. Inside the ampule was .005 ml of the MORS compound.

At the back of the lab was a tablet set to display the time, down to the millisecond.

James had handled it, in the lab. Between his gloved fingers, he had held the ampule to a light. He had thought he could see it. A gray residue.

Point oh-oh-five milliliters of MORS looked like a tiny smudge.

It could contaminate everyone in the lab, if it was released into the air. If he, say, dropped it in the hallway, they’d all be suffering its effects within minutes.

Dr. Massey directed me to release the compound and I triggered the mechanism from my tablet.

They were listening over the intercom system. And with a tiny whirr, the robotic arm moved down and the glass ampule snapped.

The clock began running.

For a moment, nothing.

Then O’s head snapped back as he inhaled. A slow, mean smile spread on his face while A, two beds over, started coughing.

Blisters sprang up on A’s skin. He started to whimper as welts sprang up over his face and arms. It looked like he was developing heat rash, or hives, but in fast motion.

Four seconds and already A was in trouble. James glanced at Dr. Massey. She looked enthralled, her eyes flitting from one subject to another.

The brass was equally enthralled, but Dr. Savic was looking at the floor, rubbing his jaw.

O roared. His veins were throbbing in his neck. He thrust himself forward, straining against the bonds.

The effects took place instantaneously. The O test subject began to buck and try to free himself from his bonds. The A test subject began to blister up. Subjects B and AB, however, showed no signs.

And that was the problem.

Of course B would show no signs. But AB, well, Massey had hoped to see some outward demonstration of his inward distress.

AB should be feeling intense paranoia and be suffering hallucinations. Instead he seemed frozen in fear—not unlike how he had looked before the demonstration had begun.

Seven seconds now and O was rocking the bed back and forth, driven to a furious despair—bloodlust was coursing through him and he was unable to kill anyone.

A was blistering too quickly. He wasn’t going to last thirty seconds. No way. The blisters were popping now, tiny dots of blood appearing all over his body and him screaming.

“Dr. Massey?” James asked. “Now?”

“Hey!” Ceglowski yelled. “That’s enough! You’re killing him!”

Savic’s head shot up and he stepped towards the glass.

“Massey—” Savic warned.

“Wait for it,” Massey said, holding her hand out. She was focused on AB. Waiting for him to break.

At approx. 9 seconds into the presentation, I asked Dr. Massey for permission to press the kill switch and end the demonstration by releasing the gel.

A was starting to writhe and beg.

O had snapped a leg restraint.

“Dr. Massey!” Dr. Savic repeated.

“Wait!” Massey said, raptly focused on AB.

AB finally screamed—a high-pitched scream utterly shot through with terror and hysteria and pure madness.

“Now!” she shouted and James pressed the button.

But the gel didn’t trigger.

At approx. 11 seconds, Private Victor Gruin (the type O subject) burst free from his restraining bonds. I repeatedly pressed the trigger for the gel. The mechanism had failed.

“It’s not working!” James shouted, pressing the button again and again. Savic grabbed the tablet from him and pressed the button himself.

A was slippery with blood now, thrashing wildly against his bonds.

“Get us out of here!” Ceglowski shouted.

Everyone in the audience chamber was standing, watching through the glass.

With a roar, O snapped the chest bond and kicked the testing bed back away from him.

Shots were fired by the guard approximately 13 seconds into the demonstration, in an attempt to kill Private Gruin. The shots were unsuccessful.

O was on the guard in two steps. With a cry of joy, O began to beat the guard to death with his own rifle.

“Somebody do something!” Montez shouted in the observation chamber.

“Cha!” Massey shouted over the intercom. “Can you trigger the gel from in the room?”

Cha was cowering in the corner.

O had finished with the guard and turned toward Cha.

Blood type A was hemorrhaging freely now, more pulp than man, but still screaming. A horrible, wet cry.

“Hey!” Ceglowski yelled from his bed, seeing O headed towards Cha. “Hey you son of a bitch! Gruin! Over here!”

Eighteen seconds.

Private Ceglowski called Private Gruin to him, trying to distract him from Dr. Cha.

But O had Cha in his arms and crushed his rib cage with his bare hands, throwing the young doctor down on the floor like an old doll.

In the viewing room, Montez shouted to his aide. “That’s it! Give me your gun!”

“You can’t shoot through the glass!” James warned. The bullet would bounce back—it would ricochet.

“I know that,” Montez spat. He pushed through them all to the door. “I’ll kill him myself.”

“Wait!” Dr. Savic begged.

The clock read thirty-two seconds.

General Montez took the firearm from his aide and exited the viewing room. There was a guard in front of the entrance to the testing room, however I assume General Montez ordered him to stand aside. Montez must have also ordered the safety attendant to admit him through the isolation chamber and into the testing room. The door sealed and locked behind Montez, according to protocol.

Then Montez was in the test room, the gun extending naturally, like it was a part of his arm.

His first shot was not for O, but for A, who was bubbling now, his blood boiling like lava as it ran down the black testing bed.

His second shot caught O in the back. His third went through the neck, and by then O had turned and crossed the space between Ceglowski and Montez in one giant stride and had his hands around Montez’s throat.

Four and five went into O’s belly. Only then, with four bullet holes in him, did he die. He slid over to the side with a heavy, sludging sound.

For a moment, the only sound James heard was AB, who was reciting the Lord’s Prayer under his breath at top speed.

“He shot them,” Massey said, as if stating it for the record. “He shot them!”

Then Ceglowski said, “General Montez?!”

After shooting Private Sands (type A) and Private Gruin, General Montez began to show signs of exposure (approx. 45 seconds into demonstration).

Montez had sunk to the floor, covered with Gruin’s blood.

“A general who shoots his own men, Ceglowski. Don’t you see, this is all I am? In the end, I’m just a killer. This uniform—” He started scratching at his lapels. “These medals!” He started removing the medals.

“They are for killing. For killing. What was it for, what we went through? It was so I could kill more and more men. One by one. By the dozens, hundreds, thousands? What does it matter? I’m a killer. And so are they!”

He turned and pointed into the viewing room.

“Blood type AB,” Dr. Massey said, fascinated. “Paranoid delusions. There they are.”

“Killers, killers, killers. Murderers, all of us. Cannibals. Flesh eaters. And we did it to you, Ceglowski. A good boy like you and now we killed you.”

General Montez brought the gun up.

“General, don’t!” Ceglowski cried.

But Montez brought the gun up to his own face and placed the barrel in between his teeth and blew the back of his head off.

“Dear God,” said Dr. Savic. Tears were coursing down his face.

Then, the godforsaken gel showered down.

One minute, thirty-two seconds.

Whatever jam, whatever glitch there had been had resolved itself and now the gel fell, trapping MORS to the floor where it lay quietly along with the bodies of General Montez, the guard, the O, and Dr. Cha.

The gel turned into foam and bubbled up over the type A, whose bloody corpse was still bound to the tilted test bed, and the AB, who was quietly and steadily muttering, raving, and maybe even laughing.

Ceglowski sagged forward against his bonds, weeping as the material rained down on him.

“Get me out of here!” he railed.

And Dr. Massey had her face and hands pressed against the glass, like the bloodbath inside was a Christmas window at Macy’s.

James rose to pour himself a scotch. There was dust in the glass. He blew into it but the dust didn’t come out. Not all of it. So what?

His neighbor had lost eighty pounds with the help of that girl hypnotist from YouTube, and there was no reason why he shouldn’t see her. If Susan found out, she would mock him, saying that he was a man of science. Brayden would mock him too, if he could be bothered. But there had to be a way to blot out the memories. Dull them. Throw a veil over them.

Now the hardest part. The conclusion.

The music from below was back up again, so loud, and the kids were singing. Were they drunk? They sounded drunk. Four forty-five on a school day and his son had a party going in the rec room.

Your kinda love is gutting me, they were all singing/shouting together. Gutting, gutting. Your kinda love is gutting me to the bone.

James sipped his scotch at the window, looking out at the yard. There stood the trampoline. Brayden had broken it back in June when he threw a party and it just sat there on two legs. Dead leaves had collected underneath and half the netting had torn off and fluttered helplessly in the wind.

James vowed to take it down. It was going to happen that very weekend and Brayden was going to help him do it, if it meant taking away every privilege his son had. They were going to take down the trampoline and Brayden was going to haul it to the dump in his Lariat and that was that.

James sat down and straightened the tablet on its stand and placed his shaking fingers back on the wireless keyboard.

The malfunction in the gel-dispersal unit had tragic consequences.

True.

I believe that if Dr. Massey had anticipated the outcome of the demonstration, she never would have proceeded.

Lie. The look in her eye . . . She loved seeing MORS work. And the reason she had pushed so hard for a human trial was not to honor the memory of her dead husband. Far from it. It was because she wanted to watch it work on people. Plain and simple.

If the demonstration had gone according to plan, the efficacy and deadliness of MORS would have been proved conclusively.

True.

Despite the fact that the demonstration did not go according to plan, I believe the same outcome was achieved.

True. MORS was deadly and efficient. Point oh-oh-five milliliters had caused the deaths of four people within two minutes, and that was within one sealed-off room. Dr. Massey wanted to produce ten liters. Enough to level the population of India.

I believe that MORS is . . .

James tilted the remainder of the scotch into his mouth. Lukewarm scotch on a Thursday afternoon. What a life.

He typed:

murder in powdered form.

Then deleted it. Then:

the triumphant creation of a criminally insane scientist.

Then backspaced it away. Then:

stable enough for mass production, as long as stringent safety measures are upheld.

And he blew his nose in a napkin that had come with his coffee and he sent the damn thing.

 

“Dress Your Marines in White” copyright © 2011 by Emmy Laybourne

Art copyright © 2011 by Gregory Manchess

17 comments
Sean Arthur
1. wsean
Damn, that's hardcore. Good story.
daylitesun
4. Imogan
So what does MORS do to type Bs?
daylitesun
5. Richikev
Great story! Incredibly suspenseful and creepy!!
daylitesun
6. Kat Koppett
Fantastic! So great to have a new voice in the scene. I can't wait to read the novel.
daylitesun
7. grapegrape
excellent
daylitesun
10. MarissaMeyer
Super eerie and intense! Can't wait to read the book!
daylitesun
11. LawrencePatterson
Unbelievably tight and moving piece. Frames the debate about testing on humans with fast-paced, startling prose. Laybourne's book is going to be amazing. Already pre-ordered mine on Amazon.
daylitesun
12. Martingale L.
Just finished Monument 14. Excellent book...This short story revealed the answers to some questions I still had about NORAD. Imogen, should you read the book, you'll find that type B's are basically unaffected, except that they will become sterile and unable to reproduce. :)
Michael Jackson
13. mjackson21
Missed this when it was first posted. Fast paced and intense...good read in spite of some incorrect jargon.
daylitesun
14. Pater
I only wish that this was less believable... except in real life, we're not talking about one "criminally insane" scientist, but rather groups and teams of amoral professional scientists (although perhaps all individually decent human beings at home and with their families). Remember, the folks who detonated the first atomic bomb over the desert believed that there was a real chance it might destroy earth's atmosphere, but did it anyway... since, we've seen all the rest of the wonders mostly nameless scientists working for governments have brought us-- the neurotoxins and neutron bombs and all the rest. Group-think allows us to give up individual morality for blame-free amorality, for that which is everyone's fault is no one's.

I write this as a retired military officer, one who's perhaps seen too much.
daylitesun
15. Talia
@Imogen - I went back to re-read the story.....it doesn;t really say what happens to type B's, just that he will suffer the least "at first." Maybe some kind of mental trauma? Because the AB person had delusions.
daylitesun
16. Jenn C
Just read this after first reading Monument 14 and Sky on Fire. Both novels were excellent, and even with knowing the effects of MORS on all 4 blood types, this story was terrifying! Well written and scarily realistic.
daylitesun
17. JReynolds
Tor.com, you are wonderful.

I saw "Jake and the Other Girl" a few days ago, and it looked interesting. So I read it.

I then got Monument 14 and read it.

Then I saw this and read it!

They were all excellent, and I now have Sky on Fire on order.

(For the record: if MORS ever becomes real, stay away from me! I'll be one of the insane-with-rage type O's.)

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