The Right Decision To Make

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Alisha Nadira Hussein barely had time to gasp out in shock before she was knocked downwards toward the cold tiled floor by something hard and masculine. She closed her eyes and prepared for the impact that was sure to come from her petite body hitting the hard ground, but when she hesitantly opened her almond eyes, she found herself staring straight at a navy blue graphic tee.

She tilted her head upwards and looked into a familiar pair of storm blue eyes before saying playfully, "You do know that you can let go of me now, right?"

"Oh, right. Sorry. And I'm also sorry for the whole running into you thing. I wasn't watching where I was going and..." The boy's ramblings trailed off as he watched Alisha barely suppress a smile as she watched him get all flustered and nervous. "Wait. Do I know you from somewhere? You look so familiar."

"Aw, Lo-Lo, just a couple months without seeing me, and you've already forgotten what I look like? I'm hurt." Alisha replied with a huge grin on her face, holding one hand mockingly to her chest.

"Lo-Lo? Only one person has ever called me that. Alisha? Is that you? Wow, have you changed a lot! What's up with the shady sunglasses and the flats instead of your usual high heels? And what are you doing in Dubai?" Logan Martin shook his dirty blonde hair out of his eyes and gave his longtime best friend a once over.

"I'm from Dubai, which you should know." Alisha jokingly nudged Logan's muscular shoulder, ignoring his first questions. "Now, the real question is, what are you doing in Dubai?"

"I was here for the last couple weeks of summer vacation to help with a research project on the local marine animals. And, of course, to swim and surf." He smiled as he seemed to reminisce his days spent in the refreshing ocean off the coast of Dubai.

Alisha frowned as she realized that next year she would no longer have Logan by her side to help her through the difficulties of college. They had gone to Harvard together for their undergraduate years, but now she would be staying in the east coast to study in medical school while he would be moving to Florida for a career in marine biology. Both were prestigious careers, what with the increasing amount of cures being found for many diseases and the possibility of living in underwater cities that many scientists were considering, but Alisha was still sad that they would be apart.

The robotic voice resonating throughout the building snapped Alisha out of her reverie as she realized her flight had been called and she should be boarding the bullet plane by now.

"That's my flight..." Alisha and Logan said in unison, laughing when they realized that they would be on the same flight.

"Well, fourteen hours should be long enough to catch up, don't you think?" Logan remarked sarcastically, though he was obviously happy to be on the same flight as Alisha.

"Hopefully! I can't wait to hear all about your underwater expedition." She responded, taking no notice of his cynicism.

"And I can't wait to hear about your family visit." He said simply.

The two companions slowly made their way through the throngs of tourists crowding the area, towards their boarding gate. They arrived at the gate just a tad bit disheveled and chatted about a variety of frivolous topics as they waited for all the passengers ahead of them to put their bags in the overhead compartments and find their assigned seats. Six minutes and two negotiations later, Alisha and Logan were seated semi-comfortably next to each other.

As a metallic automated voice informed the travelers of the typical flight information and the weather, Alisha reached into her bag and gave a sigh of relief when she confirmed that the electric Petri dish her uncle had asked her to bring with her had not been broken in her near fall.

"What are you checking on?" Logan asked curiously as he stretched around her to get a glimpse inside Alisha's bag. "Hopefully not a teacup pig." He added on humorously, but there was an edge in his voice that made Alisha tense.

"Nothing," Alisha replied nonchalant.

Uncle Ahmed had explicitly told her to not tell or show anyone of the little glass container and what it held, so Alisha instinctively pulled her bag a little closer to herself. She could not risk failing this mission of her uncle's, she just couldn't let another one of her loved ones endure that kind of pain because of her mistake. So Alisha he gave Logan what was hopefully an easygoing smile, pulled her iTouch out of the front pocket of her bag, and swiftly zipped the pouch closed. Offering Logan one earphone and ignoring the confused look that had dawned his face, she started the music, trying to avoid the awkward silence. Alisha made herself comfortable and leaned against the window, hoping to get some much needed sleep after a week of practically non-stop meetings with her uncle and his scientists. She barely felt the pressure as the plane took off at maximum speed and snuggled closer to the cold surface of the window as she slowly drifted into her subconscious and became unaware of reality.

---------------------

Alisha's eyelids fluttered delicately as the plane encountered some turbulence, which could only be expected with the speed they were traveling at, and jostled her around in her seat. She heard a muttered string of curses loud and clear, even through the haze of her sleepiness and the muted humming of the plane engines. Her curiosity and suspicion got the best of her, and disregarding her desire to go right back to sleep, Alisha forced herself to open her eyes and become aware of her surroundings. What she saw though, made her think she was still in a dream.

Making sure that she didn't move a single muscle more than necessary, she turned her neck just a bit to have a better view of what Logan was doing. He seemed to have her expensive carry-on bag settled in his lap and was rummaging haphazardly through it. It didn't look like he had found the Petri dish yet, so Alisha decided that now was a good time to make her alertness known.

She pretended to stretch as if she had just awakened and batted her eyelashes a bit for effect. Then her eyes widened in surprise and anger as she clearly saw what Logan was doing. "What in the world do you think you're doing, Logan?" she asked harshly, showing no hint of mercy in her voice.

He looked up alarmed, he had not thought she would wake up so quickly. "Um... I was just checking to see if you had any napkins." He unconvincingly laughed. "I know you always keep that kind of stuff with you."

"Right. The second I believe that is the second I believe that my pet fish had actually swam away after Jordan flushed it down the toilet when he was six. Tell me the truth, Logan. You owe me at least that much." Alisha replied bitingly, not in the mood to deal with his lies.

"Okay, you want the truth? You'll get the truth." Logan sighed in exasperation. "I'm not actually a marine biologist and I was not in Dubai on a research project. I've been working for the CIA for the past five years, right out of high school, and not to brag, but I'm one of their best agents. That's why when they figured out through their intricate web of spies that the niece of Ahmed Hussein, the current leader of the head terrorist group in the world Al Qaeda, would be attending a common American university, they assigned me to go undercover with an elaborate back story and get the girl to trust me. Then, through her, try to discover more about Ahmed's intelligently thought out attacks on America. The CIA wants to figure out why Al Qaeda is still vengeful over Osama Bin Laden's death, even after half a century, and getting you to cooperate was an important part of the operation." He took a deep breath and watched as many different expressions were featured on her face. There was anger, betrayal, curiosity, surprise, and even admiration.

"But now it's your turn." Logan said after Alisha seemed to have finished processing the information. "You tell me what the heck is in this Petri dish and why you are so protective of it." He pulled out the object in question from his pocket and looked at her accusingly.

Alisha hesitated, conflict falling on her tan features. "That wasn't a suggestion, it was an order. Our agents are posted all throughout this aircraft and you won't be leaving until we get what we want." Logan gave her a condescending smile as the true danger of her predicament dawned on her.

"Okay, well, I don't even know how to start." Alisha said nervously, giving up on her fight to stay silent.

"Just start with exactly what is in this Petri dish." Logan reminded her. "It looks like... perhaps Burkholderia mallei?"

"Close. It's actually Burkholderia pseudomallei. A bacterial agent used in biological warfare that causes an infectious disease called melioidosis with a mortality rate of 20% to 50% even with treatment. It's contagious enough to cause an epidemic larger than the HIV epidemic in West Africa back in 2046. Uncle Ahmed gave it to me to bring into America to give to one of his associates in New York City." Alisha explained, now ashamed as she realized the gravity of her wrongs.

"And why would you agree to doing this for him, despite the incredibly severe consequences you know would've occurred?" Logan asked, incredulous at what Alisha had almost successfully done.

Alicia lowered her head to fight the tears welling up in her eyes. "He has my younger brother held captive. Jordan is only a teenager, and he has been living in a prison cell under some mansion for as long as both of us can remember. I'm only allowed to visit him once a month and I can tell he is starting to go insane. If I don't get him out of there soon, he'll never be the same person he was. He is forced to stay in some dungeon in U.A.E. while I get to have an Ivy League education and actual friends, and it's just not fair. Uncle Ahmed offered to release Jordan and me to do whatever we want if I just did this one small favor for him. But if I fail this mission of his, Jordon will be subject to any torture my uncle's men want to exert on him, or in other words, they will take out all their anger and frustration on him without any consideration for his well-being."

"And you consider bringing in a highly contagious and deadly disease into your own country a small favor? I thought you were smart, Alisha." Logan mocked amusingly, despite the serious circumstances.

"Logan, just tell me what you want from me. I've told you everything I know," Alisha bluntly asked, ignoring the jab.

"It's actually very simple, Alisha." Logan said calmly. "You have two choices right now. You could either tell us exactly where your uncle is, I'm sure you know the exact location, and go with us to capture him for good, or I could give you a replacement Petri dish with a harmless bacteria to give to your uncle's associate and if Ahmed is trustworthy, you'll get Jordon back. If you choose the first choice, his men will probably torture your brother anyway, but if you choose the second option, your uncle will be able to escape and continue to attack America."

Alisha felt fresh tears overwhelm her eyes, making her vision blurry and threaten to fall down her cheeks, and Logan's eyes softened. For a second, it was like he was just her best friend again. "Alisha, you could either help us, and know for the rest of your life that you had a hand in bringing the most intimidating terrorist ever known to mankind to justice, though there is a very high risk that your brother will be severely injured, or you could walk away and possibly save your brother, but you would have to feel the guilt of not helping your country in its time of need for the rest of your life. You will have known you had the chance to save the lives of possibly hundreds of thousands of people, and you had not taken it."

"Logan... can I have one of those quarters in the inner pocket of my bag?" Alisha asked, seeming to have made a decision of her own.

"Oh, sure." Logan replied, bewildered at her request. He dug the shiny coin out of the bag and handed it to her before he realized. "You aren't really going to flip a coin to decide, are you?" He asked her somewhat skeptically.

"Yes, yes I am." She answered with a satisfied smile. "Flipping coins has never failed me before, and I'm sure it won't fail me now. Sometimes it's just better for people to let the supreme beings call the shots, because humans will always make mistakes and wrong choices."

Alisha carefully placed the round coin on her thumb and flicked her hand upwards.

The piece of metal went spinning into the air, rotating once and once again in a blur of silver before landing quietly onto the back of Alisha's hand.

All was silent around Alisha and Logan, like they were in their own little bubble of tension and anxiety, as Alisha slowly lifted her hand to see what the gods wanted her to do.





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musicispassion said...
Aug. 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm
great story but i think that the 2073 thing seemed out of place but it's not my story soo sorry other than that it was great good job
 
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