The truck struck a pothole and a mailbag popped open, littering Careen with little white boxes. She swept them away impatiently, but Tommy opened one, removed the amber bottle, and held it up in the dim light.
The Counteractive System of Defense drug had been touted by the anti-terrorism experts at the OCSD as an antidote to airborne toxins. CSD was the best—and the worst—thing that had ever happened to him. Without the terror threat, he and Careen never would’ve met. But that's where the good part ended.
He’d believed the terrorist attack was real and had put his trust in the OCSD’s claim that three drops of the antidote daily would protect him from the toxins looming above him in the atmosphere.
His first dose had lulled him into a false sense of security and stripped him of all motivation. He didn’t realize how much it was hampering his recovery from injuries he’d sustained in a car accident until he started doing his morning workouts before taking his dose. It was still a drag to deal with the hallucinations and malaise that went with CSD, but it was better than being poisoned.
He remembered the day he’d met Careen, and the relief on her face when he’d split the last dose in his bottle with her. Later, that relief turned to fear and worry that half a dose wouldn’t be enough to protect them until they could get more.
The OCSD had deceived and terrorized nearly four hundred million people with their lies. Well, almost everyone fell for it, anyhow. What was it his dad used to say? Some quote about being able to fool some of the people all the time, but not being able to fool all of the people all of the time. Tommy guessed it was true. Later he’d learned that CSD was actually LSD mixed with another drug called scopolamine, which made people easy to manipulate and caused amnesia, so they couldn’t remember what they’d done. He still didn’t understand how the OCSD intended to end terrorism with LSD.
Trina Jacobs, a research doctor at the OCSD, told him the drug’s final phase would have stripped everyone who took it of their last shred of free will. Though Trina was pretty sure she’d sabotaged the production run of Phase Three, she didn’t know for sure what was in the current batch. The only way to know for sure was to open one and take a swig. No thanks. I’ll pass.
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