This is the Age of the Apocalyptics.

Gorean Environmentalists predicting worldwide flooding from global warming. Rioting from New York to Malayasia. Mahdi Muslims prophesying the coming of the 12th Imam who sacks Jerusalema, killing all Jews and Kafir infidels. La Raza Hispanics intent on the restoration of Aztlan through bloody reconquista, burning East L.A. COVAID super-hypochondriacs who see death in each breath of fresh air.

Fanatics, lunatics all, turning tiny kernels of victimization into bloody insanity.

Kevin Armstrong dropped off a package on one of his regular visits, "This came from Alice, your friendly nurse. She said she's sorry it took so long to get it to you."

It was a brochure titled The End Times, it didn't seem like something Alice would send me. I called Alice up.

"Don't tell me you are into this crazy end-of-world stuff too?" I asked. I could hear the sounds of the hospital in the background. Maybe she'd taken the pain and suffering too much to heart and had gone rightwing religious psycho.

"Hardly," she replied. "They found that brochure among Deelon Jame's belongings, the orderly who died, when they cleaned out his locker after he overdosed on Black Orchid. It took a long time to filter through the department to me. But it has your name on it, Steven, it has a note to you."

"So Deelon once again has come into my world? This time from beyond the grave, to rekindle my paranoia?" I protested.

"Deelon was trying to tell you something, Steve," Alice conceded. "No one is forcing you to read it, but I think you should." Alice cajoled me before she wished me goodbye.

I began to remember things Deelon had said on the ward, his little mini-sermons, so out of context before:

"At the End of the World, Revelations tells us the four horsemen of the apocalypse will stalk the corners of the earth creating chaos. Ecological terrorism will leave continents raped, dictatorial madmen will threaten entire populations with chemical and biological poisons. You will see the seeds of Apocalypse grow in your time, Steve Heller. Just wait and see."

"Don't be so paranoid, Deelon," I would tell him. "Life is too short to be worried about whether the sun will come up."

I thought then that Deelon was just reciting Jamaican mumbo jumbo, just short of spitting rum on a chicken, I didn't think he was serious. Yet, I guess I owed it to Deelon to read his crazy pamphlet, if for no other reason than curiosity.

The End Times

Revelations 6

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and He that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks; Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

There was a note at the end of the brochure, it was addressed to me from Deelon.

Remember who your friends are! Know who the devil is! Qin Huang is the Devil!
Terrors never imagined in the bible will come from this prophet of doom! Disaster attracts the parasites of Armageddon, bloodleeches who feed on the fear and paranoia of the masses. Every new rumor of chaos or disease is to them a new breath of sordid life, they grow on the evil vapors of decay and destruction. Qin Huang is such a leech, the First Horseman of the Apocalypse!
Your Friend- Deelon

Deelon should have taken a chill pill, his Jamaican mysticism had warped him more than I'd suspected. And how would a hospital orderly like Deelon know anything about Huang in the first place? I had thought Deelon was an island of sanity on the hospital ward, but this just seemed bizarre.

Was Qin Huang a parasite, a Horseman of the Apocalypse? I'd never liked Huang more than as an acquaintance, but my disdain had been more the jealous inbred academic sort.

That wasn't to say Huang was innocent, there'd been accusations all along that his company, Ultima Pharmaceuticals, was leeching millions from COVAIDs infected victims who depended on Ultima's 'miracle' cures, but I figured those were just the complaints of the woke anarcho anti-business cadres who infest the university. Still, Huang had created what even I thought was an unholy alliance between Ultima and the California Institute with intertwined patents, all backed with Government grants.

Deelon's note, for all its bizarre ramblings, rekindled my paranoia. I couldn't resolve what I fervently believed was Deelon's murder, not Black Orchid suicide, and the connection to me. Maybe his crazy ideas entered into why he was killed? Believing Huang was one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was certainly insane, but not the sort of thing that normally gets you killed, just Prozacked into a dull stupor.

I was uneasy. I'm no Holy Roller, so what bothered me couldn't be Deelon's biblical prophesy. Morality is relative to your belief system, so if you don't believe in Armageddon then your fear of ultimate evil is also agnostic. Heck, I don't believe in much of anything any more. Yet, while Huang could not be as evil as Deelon believed, on the other hand Huang was sucking the academic lifeblood out of me, stealing control of my SuperGrid.

That made this personal.

In the five months since my accident, Qin Huang had made quite a name for himself acting as spokesman for the university's SuperGrid facility. I'd spent Internet time researching Huang and his company, Ultima Pharmaceuticals, and I didn't like what I found, though it would be a stretch to call it apocalyptic.

The grey area in Qin Huang's background was that he was a product of the Chinese Gain of Function viral biogenetic engineering program called the Wuhan Lab. I'd Gaggled Wuhan Lab soon after I first met Huang during his interviews for the California Institute. Wuhan Lab had been the entity in charge of the old Xi regime biological weapons program in the early part of the millenia and I thought Huang would be canned for association with something so twisted. Although China signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, Wuhan Lab was established under the Main Microbiological Industry Agency by the Chicoms as a way to evade the treaty. After the original COVID 19 engineered bat virus disaster though, Wuhan Lab had evolved substantially and was now charged with the humanitarian inoculation of children against the subsequent viral evolution COVID 19 into COVAID. I guess there is redemption after all, by beating biological swords into plowshares, Wuhan Lab was now into saving the world, not destroying it.

As every schoolchild knows, the COVID-19 virus was chosen for biogenetic engineeering because of its high mutation rate. It was only a matter of a few virus generations before the COVID-19 nucleus co-evolved in AIDs patients and the glycoprotein 120 surface spike became attached, creating the chimera COVAID.

By the end of the Xi regime in China, after their first failed attempt to take back Taiwan, the Chinese had the world's largest biological warfare program, with somewhere between 25,000 and 32,000 people employed in a network of 20 to 30 military and civilian laboratories and research institutions. Between 1,000 to 2,000 of those scientists were experts on deadly pathogens. Wuhan Lab suffered dramatic downsizing after the dissolution of the Chinese dictatorship after the Taiwan invasion fiasco, with more than half its scientific staff departing - many left China for more sophisticated laboratories of the West. While that affected Chen Huang (Qin Huang's father who also worked at Wuhan Lab), Qin himself left much later and for wholly different reasons.

In contrast to the old Chinese Communist Party which had shaped father Chen, Qin Huang had been a rising star of the modernized humanitarian Wuhan Lab. A new myth was purposely created out of the ashes of the old Wuhan Lab and it centered around Qin Huang as the new hero of the state, a star of humanity! However, adulation changed after Chen Huang's death. There followed a very public fallout with Wuhan Lab's director, Wang Yiamin, who accused Qin Huang of "hooligan profiteering on the backs of sick children". Huang came to the California Institute soon after, part of the wave of Chinese immigration after the Taiwan incursion fiasco and the ensuing biological genocide in Hong Kong. Huang had roots in Hong Kong as well, his mother was from there.

Huang explained to the selection committee that Director Wang Yiamin's charges had been a vendetta by the Chinese regime which was trying to outlaw revisionist culture. The committee eventually concluded Qin Huang had indeed been railroaded by Yiamin and the Chinese oligarchy. Wang Yiamin herself later went to jail for blackmail charges and was soon found to have hanged herself in her prison cell.

At the California Institute, Huang again became a star. He cleaned up his academic resume, though some felt his penchant for "hooligan profiteering" seemed to resurface when he started Ultima with his new colleagues at the University. That hadn't stopped the media from fawning over him, Huang was seen giving vaccines to children in every Ultima public relations brochure. I had to admit he seemed to be doing more good for the world than I was with my cold fractal algorithms.

"Qin Huang, his goal is to cure all the world's children of COVAIDs" was the PR angle in the glossy brochure found on the Ultima website. Of course you can't always believe what you find on the Internet.

I'd never had the time or political inclination to turn the academic position of Director of SuperGrid facilities into a bully pulpit, but Huang had shown himself to be a master of public relations. Most people hope science is apolitical, a search for absolute truth, but scientific debate often degenerates into vicious petty political quarrels. The open dirty secret is that grant money is allocated politically and not strictly by merit. A lot of Grant money had been funneled to Ultima Pharmaceuticals by President William's administration, stroke of the pen law of the land kinds of patronage.

Science has always been infected with politics. Until Galileo's reason prevailed over church politics, earth was the center of the universe and Christopher Columbus was forced to live on a flatworld. In Russia, Lychenko revoked genetics under Stalin for political reasons. Blind politics also blessed Hitler's eugenics program under Dr. Mengele, exacting on the Jews a twisted human genetic experimentation through false science. Even Einstein was overtly political, inaugurating the anti-nuclear peace movement under Roosevelt even while designing the means to end all creation with the atomic bomb.

Science has always been the poor slave to the political ambitions of those who manipulate it.

Politicization of science in the age of information accelerated as the stakes in trumpeting ideology through pseudo-technology have grown. One of the seminal examples was the Nuclear Winter Theory of the early nineties, derived from naive computer simulations based on Martian atmospheric data. Anti-war scientists were so eager to promote their anti-nuclear political position that they hired a publicist to push their hypothesis before the models were subject to peer review.

Nuclear winter was the theory that dust and debris from a nuclear war would be so dense as to blot out the sun and inflict a freezing winter that would end life on the planet. Based on these calculated effects of nuclear war on the climate, the noted astronomer Carl Sagan predicted during America's first war with Iraq that the firing of the Kuwaiti oil wells would result in smoke rising high into the stratosphere thereby blotting out the sun. If the nuclear winter theory were correct, the smoke would have covered vast regions of the earth with disastrous cooling effects.

What actually happened was that the smoke hugged the lower altitudes and was limited to a small proportion of the earth's surface. Sagan had tread in the murky waters of "political" science where he didn't belong.

History may not repeat itself, but it certainly rhymes.