The walls of the tiny toilet close in around me. My claustrophobia indicates the nanites are behaving as they were designed. I call it the two Ds: disorient and destroy. The airplane bounces on a pocket of air, and I fumble with the syringe and bottle of serum. If I break the bottle before I get to the Mayo Clinic, I can kiss my ass, and everybody on this plane, goodbye.
I check the time and examine the bottle. It’s 10:20. Each shot is a 30-minute solution. After that, the nanites will wake from their induced sleep. A two-hour flight to Minneapolis, cab ride─ I should make it. The nanites are busy little bugs when they are awake. They will pour out my sweat glands, latch on to my spittle, and infiltrate every electronic device they can get their microscopic hands on.
I make my way back to my seat and collapse. It’s been a crazy day, and I’m exhausted.
An earthquake-size sneeze wakes me. The man seated next to me edges away and throws me a dirty look. My watch beeps. Oh my God, 11:00.
I grab a napkin, wipe my nose, and stare at the miniature TV mounted in the seat in front of me. A glistening loop of snot smiles at me. This is bad. My neighbor’s TV crackles and lines of interference distort the screen. Little bastards work fast. It’s too late for the plane. The nanites will work their way down the lines of copper that connect every electronic device on the plane, including the cockpit control panel, but if I can get to the captain, he can land this bird in Denver before it’s too late. I stumble toward the front of the plane as a wave of claustrophobia contracts the cabin walls.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain. We are experiencing some technical difficulties. Please stay seated with your seatbelts─” Static replaces his voice.
“Sir, you need to sit down.”
“I have to talk to the captain. Now!” Sweat drips down my face.
“Is there something I can help you with?”
“Don’t touch me! I have to talk to the Captain. Now!”
The flight attendant steps back, wide-eyed.
“Ma’am, I know this sounds crazy, but we have to land in Denver. We’ll never make it to Minneapolis.”
Something about the crazy in my eyes must have convinced her. “Follow me, sir.” She lifts the phone mounted outside the cockpit door. “Captain, there’s a man here who insists on talking to you. Captain?” She taps a code on the door’s keypad. It blinks and goes dark. Acrid smoke puffs from the display.
I’ve flown into Denver many times, but I’ve never seen the foothills this close.
“We’re awfully close to the mountains,” the flight attendant whispers.
“Yes, we are.” We’ll be a lot closer, soon.