Equilibrium

From Zaori
DISCLAIMER: All statistics, science, place names, and infrastructure information have been made up on the spot. This has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with professional laziness.

Outset

A 2% loss of power in a single line can take down the electrical system across three provinces. A 5% increase of spring rainfall in the northen province can eliminate 32% of the roads due to flooding. A fault in the Westward Bridge makes it succeptible to wind shear, with a 85% probability of collapse within the first year alone. A loss of the bridge would necessitate diverting all commercial traffic south across the border in order to go around.

The destruction of a single port would take out the current oil supply. A small explosion would be sufficient to begin a chain reaction which would envelop the entire city in secondary explosions.

Without bees, 18% of the current export crops would be lost. With beetles, 78% may be lost. These beetles resist most known pesticides, and are already spreading north. The only pesticides that do work also kill bees.

Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are confirmed present in 40% of hospitals, out of 40% tested. A single contamination in food-processing can disseminate a strain to 83% of the population. 30% of patients leaving hospitals are estimated to develop something new.

Most cities in fault zones and floodplains are built according to spec of the 0% incidence of disaster that anyone can remember, despite a 90% or higher expectation of incidence within the next 100 years.

Two years ago, a terrorist organisation was discovered to be operating a cell in Burns. A business assessing infrastructure and vulnerabilities was eventually traced back to them.

What plans they may have established with the knowledge this would have produced remain a mystery.

Begin

Joe Melozzi was not a terrorist. He had no religious nor moral reasons to wish harm on others. He worked a nine to five at a local business assessing infrastructure vulnerabilities, and while the pay was not great, and the prestige was not present, it was enough for him. He lived with a coworker in a shared apartment. Occasionally they argued over eggs.

The agents in the inconspicuous vehicles arrived in the late evening. They surrounded the building, with guns in front and hazardous items specialists at the ready. Joe was eating some fried fish. An egg was placed conspicuously on the table in front of him. His roommate, Bob Randolf, was out picking up groceries.

The fish was not terribly good, but little of what Joe at was. He ate listlessly and pondered the egg. It ballanced precariously. The knock came at the front door at the eighth bite of fish.

Joe sighed and went to the door. This was normal for him. Bob knocked. Neighbours knocked. Solicitors knocked. None were particularly interesting. Nothing in his life was particularly interesting. Much in his life could have been interesting if only it were ever so slightly different. The slightest difference possible for this that he had found had been .004%, the maximum allowable variance in a local storage device. It was determined that excessive fluctuation could have resulted in an overload. He had included this in his report, noted that such fluctuation could easily be caused by anything from a seagull to an earthquake to someone forgetting to close a door all the way and coughing, and then moved on to the next item.

An overload could have taken out the entire town of West Canith.

He didn't know if they ever fixed it. That wasn't part of his job, and the town was in the next province anyway. Nothing had come up in the news.

Joe opened the door and found himself facing the barrels of four different guns. He was told to put his hands on his head and pulled out the door by two of them. Two other guns hurried into the apartment, followed by several more, securing the area.

The agents searched him and barked orders. Joe shook and complied. He tried to ask what was going on and got no response. The egg fell over on the table, rolled onto the floor, and made a sad little splat noise. Boots crunched over the shell.

The appartment was deemed clear.


Bob Randolf was taken into custody on the corner of South Brunswick and Caria. In his posession were a dozen eggs, two litres of Sparky Cola, and a small dog toy. These were deemed standard supplies and placed into evidence.