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AGENT BLACK Part 5
Culling the Megaherds – the US Government response to the fluffy herds (Part 5):
By: I Hate Pod Six

The historian cued up the next video. It’s got multiple perspectives, from drones to the individual HUDs of the infantry performing the patrol.

The video began

The kill team moved under cover of darkness. They were receiving the drones’ payload data directly into their HUDs. All of them were in CBRN equipment, including masks with the heads-up projectors. Fluffies are excellent vectors for disease, and Lord knows what variety the dead megaherd was carrying with it. The drones flew above with Infrared Search and Track (IRST) sensor packages which would pick up on the heat of living creatures within the sensor field of view. The IRSTs picked up on the heat of the living fluffies very easily for the same reason that fluffies must form fluffpiles to capture residual heat during colder months: their fluff doesn’t retain or insulate heat well, and the sensors could see it emanating from their bodies. The corpses, which had been left out for anywhere between two and eleven hours now, were cooler than the bodies of the living fluffies. Those that survived would stick out like a sore thumb.

It was warm out, but not oppressive, and with the sun having set, the CBRN gear didn’t feel as oppressive to wear. The team all carried weapons with silencers and subsonic ammunition. This way, any fluffy within earshot would hear only a “click” of a bolt operating, and not a loud “BANG” that might alert other living fluffies further away and cause them to take cover. Many of the troops were happily surprised that apparently, the egg-heads were right this time around. Their product, some herbicide with a chemical compound that would kill fluffies had worked. The kill team was there to clean up the mess. But, their job was important. These things reproduced so rapidly that if even ten got away, they’d be looking at thousands within months. It had to end tonight, and they had been briefed on just how much their sweep mattered. It was good to feel appreciated.

Command of the ground effort was controlled from the ops center, while the “boots on the ground” leader was a Captain Smythe. He would normally have felt that such a task as cleaning up the scum of some biotoy company was beneath the Army. But, this was different. Because of the amount of people who had died, because of the destruction this abomination had caused, he knew that killing off the rest of this horrible plague was important beyond description. Killing these things wasn’t a service, it was a necessity, so he split no hairs when addressing his various sergeants on how important it was to bag every last one of them.

“Gents, these God-damned things are going to be the death of our nation if we allow it. Those egg-heads actually did their job this time. I got the brief. Almost everything’s dead. Here’s the problem: the injured ones that couldn’t eat haven’t been poisoned. Some are probably moving away into the fields, others possibly back across the road towards the woods. Still others are not quite dead, but could feasibly recover. We all know that some of our own ranks are only surviving because the Army gives ‘em a food stipend. If we let a single one of these fuckers live, they could come back, and what then? This major farm gets destroyed. Others with it. Food goes away. People keep dying. This is important beyond what it looks like. When we do this patrol, it might feel like some simple-ass FOD walk. The reality is, we’re saving countless lives. We are tasked to kill these bastards, and we need to kill every last one of them. Zero left alive. If we fail, the blood of the next generations’ kids and families are on our hands. Not one fluffy lives. Do I make myself clear?”

“HUA!”

“Let’s form up.”

They aligned in the field and across the road and formed a line wide enough to cover most of the fields along with the road. As necessary, they’d break off of the road or deep into the fields to deal with any survivors. Various sergeants and corporals lead the kill teams which would detach, then rejoin the main line as the situation merited.

“Command, SNAKE-Six, we are upon the herd.”

“SNAKE, Command, Copy.”

“SNAKE-Six to SNAKE PATROL, dress-right. Kill anything that moves, huus, or has a heat signature.”

“HUA!” the entire line responded.

The line began walking forward. Some of the soldiers carried recordings of fluffies panicking to cause living ones to respond. Private First Class Bond had one of them. As he approached a group of fluffies, a drone’s IRSTS designated two sources of residual heat among a large group of corpses, and he played the recording on his smartphone’s speakers: “SCREEEEE! MUNSTAH!” Two fluffies immediately responded – “NUUU!” and “NU HUWT!” Private Baker, whose family had been badly hurt by the last year’s fluffy raids, was upon the first one in moments. He grabbed the blue and orange Pegasus stallion so hard around the neck that he crushed its windpipe immediately. It gargled and bucked for a few seconds, then its spine snapped under the pressure of Baker’s hands and it expired rapidly. Baker threw it to the ground and stomped it anyway. Private Gutierrez saw the second and simply shot it with a silenced 9mm. It popped like a watermelon as the round impacted. Still others along the line saw their IRST designations and stomped the injured fluffies so that they would finally die.

Corporal Klegg led a detachment down the road. Klegg had two kids and was one of those who could afford to feed them because of his stipend. He had no love for these things. Even through his mask he had some difficulty breathing from the stench of shit and death…frankly, the putrid smell of the air that night from the megaherd made his toddler’s filthiest diapers smell polite by comparison. He was at the head of his section, reporting to Sergeant Major Sanchez.

A combination of information fed into Klegg’s visor: night vision, image enhancement, and the IRST feed from the drones. They happened upon a still-living fluffy. It wasn’t awake, but its heat was picked up by a drone. Klegg looked down. It had two shattered legs, bones protruding, and looked kind of beat up, as if it had been trampled. Klegg stepped on its head. Although it awoke, before it could even scream, the fluffy’s head crushed under Klegg’s combat boot. It convulsed and shat uncontrollably, but it was dead within a second. Klegg and his section moved on.

Captain Smythe kept moving forward. He communicated with the ops center indicating that his lines had begun killing the living abominations. Coming upon a huu-ing fluffy, he lifted it, and twisted its head to snap its neck, but he had massively overestimated the force necessary and twisted it 270-degrees, generating a sickening “crack-pop-crack” sound as its spine came apart. "Shit's so fragile!" he remarked to himself. He dropped the dead fluffy to the ground and pressed on with the line.

They were moving in a wide line to maximize their patrol’s effectiveness. They continued walking forward, paying attention to the drone feeds. Anything that twitched, they shot just to be sure. Any sleeping fluffy that had a heat signature, they stomped. Nothing would escape them. Not even the various fluffies that had wandered off earlier in the day. The drones had been keeping tabs. Klegg’s section was called off to intercept a group of 10 that had gotten about a half mile away from the farm, back in the direction from whence they came.

“SNAKE-Six, this is SNAKE-Eleven-One, breaking off to pursue fragmentary group Alpha.”

“SNAKE-Six copies. Line halt, take a knee. Eleven-One is going for Frag Group Alpha.”

Klegg’s five-man team exited the main line and followed the drone’s coordinates. It took them about four minutes to reach the targets as they were laden in their CBRN gear. There they saw the heat signatures in their HUDs. The fluffies were in a burrow beneath a bush where they had formed a fluffpile of wounded fluffies.

“Baker, you got the Willie Pete?”

“Yeah.”

“Go for it.”

“Rog.” Baker walked up to the pile, doing everything he could to keep quiet, though with all of the equipment on, he still made noises. Not that the fluffies were going to make it far if they had awoken. He pulled the pin, but held the handle on his white phosphorous grenade. He carefully rolled it into the burrow, then jogged backwards, while still facing the burrow. Five seconds later, there was a loud “FSSSSSSHHHHH…*POP*!” followed by a cacophony of “SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”s as the entire fluffpile combusted. Some of the fluffies attempted to scramble away at maximum speed, but in their injured state, couldn’t make it much beyond the bush edge before burning to death. Others couldn’t move because of their injuries, and were consumed in the conflagration under the bush. The bush itself burned, but there wasn’t anywhere for the fire to spread, so it smoldered and collapsed.

“Six, Eleven-One”

“Go ahead”

“Group destroyed, Eleven-One moving back to line.”

“Rog.”

The line picked back up and continued their patrol. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad, maybe 5 miles linear distance to cover. Here and there, a live fluffy would pop up. Most of them were asleep, and the fire team would then step on them or shoot them. Sometimes, a member would drive their knife through the abomination. Fragmentary group Bravo, a fluff pile of 17 as well as three foals, was dispatched in the same way as Alpha. Regardless of how the dispatching was done, after 8 hours, the night patrol was finished. Now, every fluffy in the megaherd was unquestionably dead.

The video stops

“Still comes down to boots on the ground.”

The historian nodded. “Now all of the megaherd was dead. What did you do with all of those corpses?”

“That was something we discussed a few hours before the last ones died. Normally, when an animal dies, it’s body decomposes and releases useable nutrients into the earth, and frankly, all of the manure the fluffies shat out when they died was actually probably very good for the fields. The problem with letting that many fluffies decompose was multifold. First, pests and disease. For the same reason our Guard guys were wearing CBRN gear during their patrol, we sure as hell didn’t want all of those decomposing fluffies to spread their diseases any further than they already had. The second factor was their fluff: it doesn’t biodegrade particularly quickly, and we weren’t sure what kind of damage it would do to a field, so we didn’t want to grind them up. Third, the stench was abhorrent. We weren’t going to leave them there and force people to live with that if we didn’t have to. We also weren’t going to just burn them there for fear of further damage to the field, crops, areas around them, and pushing ash into the air for miles and miles onto other crops and small towns.”

“So, what did you do?”

“Well, we did wind up burning them, but in the desert, where the ecological impact would be minimal. We contracted out a bunch of construction vehicles and equipment to shovel the corpses together, dumped them into the backs of the trucks, and transported them into a desert area of New Mexico. There, we had other construction equipment to dig a large hole, dumped the corpses, added a little accelerant to the situation, and lit them up. The methane buildup from how much shit the things produce caused most of the corpses to light up rapidly. Some exploded. The trucks had to be decontaminated afterwards; there was blood and offal everywhere. Some bloated and detonated inside the trucks from the heat and bumps during transport. The whole episode was utterly disgusting. But, the megaherd was dead, over 80% of the crop from that farm was saved, AGENT BLACK had worked better than expected, and we at least now had a plan to deal with the others. Remember, there wasn’t just one megaherd – there were megaherdS. We happened to kill the first to form that year, but there would be others, and in other areas of the country. We still had a lot of work to do, including figuring out a better way to dispose of their corpses.”

“Was 17-14 the standard for dealing with the other megaherds?

“For the ones in the breadbasket, yes. We dropped on no less than three other farms, taking out each megaherd, but in other applications, the go-tos were 10-2 and 17-1. You played the video for 17-1, it was pretty much a faster acting 17-14, while 10-2 had the characteristic that it could be absorbed through a fluffy’s skin and activate. It would attack their muscles and work its way to their organs through the bloodstream. You could spray it directly on the fluffies. 10-2 was the most uncommon in the long run, because although not fatal to humans, it could cause a wicked stinging feeling across the body for about 15 minutes, and you sure as hell didn’t want to get it into your eyes! Actually, you should have a file in there which provides a short description of the various AGENT BLACK formulas we did produce in large numbers.”

The historian searched the database, found and opened the file:

AGENT BLACK FLUFFICIDE FORMULAS:
3-8: MELT-A-FLUFF – Popular in cities, attacks the fluffy’s internals rapidly, causing them to melt down, and killing any developing foals in utero. Activates in approximately 6.5 minutes. UNSAFE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.
7-5: HEARTBREAKER – Popular in cities. Specifically attacks the cardiovascular system, induces irregular heartbeat and heart attack. Activates in approximately 5 minutes. UNSAFE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.
10-2: MIASMA – Direct application, normally aerosol spray from cropduster. Absorbed through skin contact. Activates in approximately 30 minutes. NON-FATAL, BUT UNSAFE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION/SPRAY.
17-1: FAST BLACK – Large-to-moderate farm use. Water soluble, safe for human beings. Attacks fluffy’s internals slowly, causing total organ failure over approximately 20-30 minutes. Activates in approximately 1 hour.
17-14: AGENT BLACK – Large farm use, most used on megaherds, named after program. Water soluble, safe for human beings. Attacks fluffy’s internals slowly, causing total organ failure over approximately 30-45 minutes. Activates in approximately 4-6 hours.

“Thank you, this will be very helpful. We’re running out of time today, but I did have another question: how much of the farmers' crops were saved that year?”

“Well, in sum total, the farmers were able to harvest 87% of their crops that year. As a country, we were recovering. Food prices started to lower again. Fewer people had problems feeding their families, fewer children were starving. But, after two years’ worth of destruction, we weren’t in the clear yet. New laws, draconian in nature, were rapidly being passed in the legislative branch. Feral fluffies were declared an invasive pest. They were also not granted status as an animal, and officially, legally declared a toy. They had always been referred to as a bio-toy, but this ended any debate as to their status as an animal nation-wide. They were now forever unprotected. Certain states passed laws that made feral fluffies a “must-kill” toy…weird, right? Anyway, “must-kill” meaning if you saw a feral, not only did it not have protection, you were obliged to kill the thing. If you set one free or abandoned an unwanted fluffy, and someone found out about it, you’d be looking at fines and jail time. Laws varied from state to state, but those are some of the more extreme examples I’m aware of. But it is because of those laws atop our own efforts that you and I are alive today. Fluffies are still common enough. They rarely can build the numbers they had in the past because of concerted efforts to keep their numbers down. Sometimes they have to be culled, but had those steps not been taken fifty years ago, I have no doubt that the biological engineers that worked on the Fluffy project would have been right: that we’d be driven to destruction by a sickeningly cute bio-toy.”

“Well, thank you very much for your time, Mr. Anonsen, and for your efforts with the AGENT BLACK program.”

“No problem at all, Captain. Thank you for finally putting our story out there!”

“May I contact you if we have any follow-up questions?

“Certainly!” Anonsen gave his contact information to the historian. He left the conference room and headed back to his car. The world would finally know about his work, and that was exciting. As he was driving out of the base, he saw a fluffy with mangy, dirty orange fluff and a purple mane walking across the road, clearly “huu-huuing” about something. A little surprising to see one around here. With a pair of thumps, the huu-huuing ended. Anonsen looked back in his rear-view mirror to see the feral fluffy flattened in the road. Just because he was a retiree didn’t mean he couldn’t still do his duty. He smiled, rolled down his window, cranked up his radio (More Than a Feeling by Boston, nice!), and headed home.

This marks the end of this particular story set, but Anonsen and the AGENT BLACK flufficides may be back in the future

Comments

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I_hate_pod_six: Whoops, forgot to sign in before uploading this one. Anyhow, Part 5 is done.
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ElCuCuyfeo: A great end to a great story! This was awesome.
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Anonymous1: I would love to read the first 10-2 and 17-1 applications, though I wonder why use 9mm? Wouldn't .22 be better for mop-up operations?
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Anonymous2: Other countries next?
Though I get the feeling it would need to explain how they got there in the first place, some they just simply can't get in there.
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Anonymous3: @Anonymous: all you'd need would be a breeding pair

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Uncle_Yuri: Great job pod six
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I_hate_pod_six: @Anonymous: I just used the caliber for the current and next-gen service pistols, which are 9mm. Really, any bullet should be more than enough to kill a fluffy.

@Anonymous: We'll have to see.

@ElCuCuyfeo: @Uncle_Yuri: Thanks!

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FluffyPuncher: Thanks. I enjoyed this.
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Anonymous4: @Anonymous: NO, Noah notwithstanding you need more than one breeding pair to save a species from extinction, Look up the term genetic drift.

But very good overall, I love your militaryese especially, sounds very genuine
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Anonymous5: @I_hate_pod_six: I'm Anonymous1.

I was asking about the round because 9mm is overkill on a fluffy and .22 is both cheap and plentiful (estimated between 2 and 5 billion rounds produced in the US annually).

Between cost, less weight and space taken up compared to a 9mm it would make sense for HK patrols to use them.
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gtv4me: Standing Ovation my good man... Standing ovation... well timed with the holiday. Most importantly, it was a great story told from an interesting perspective. Thank you. Seriously Thank you.
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Anonymous6: finally a good story on this website