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    The Conflict
    Chapter 1
    “We’ve finally lost him,” muttered Bradley. He rested against a tree.

    “I think he was infected. We must move quickly. Night is approaching,” panted the professor.

    “How long do you have until…”Bethany could not finish the unbearable sentence.

    “Don’t worry Beth. I have more than enough time,” replied the professor, although he did not sound confident.

    Not knowing its effects, the Martians used their new missile which had caused a common, but harmless virus to mutate into a deadly pathogen. It was known as the Beezol. If the Beezol infects somebody, it causes them to have an overwhelming craving for food so it can reproduce itself. The craving can cause the infected to lose their sanity and go to extreme measures to feed the Beezol virus.

    As soon as the bomb hit their city, Bethany, Bradley and Professor Stephens, a microbiologist and university teacher, ran as fast as they could to avoid the Beezol, leaving their families behind. They were now going to look for the professor’s laboratory, which was hidden deep in one of Earth’s few remaining forests, where the professor could try to find an antidote. This alone was difficult, but the professor was infected by the virus too. If the professor could not find an antidote in time, all would be lost…

    The sky became filled with luminous gems as it went from violet to black. The forest was silent, except for the distant hooting of an owl. The forest was as vast and mysterious as the moon. It had towering trees that looked even more ominous at night.

    The group, exhausted by their tiresome trek, suddenly heard a howl. The professor told the teenagers not to worry. Then there was a second, more nightmarish howl. It was not a howl of an ordinary animal. It came from an animal that was deranged. “Move “, ordered the professor. This was enough to break the teenagers out of their frozen state of pure terror.

    They ran. There was a root. They leapt over it.
    The wolf came into view. Its eyes were filled with abhorrence and madness. They were the colour of blood. Its teeth could pierce the toughest of flesh and could easily steal its victim’s life.

    The professor risked a glance at the wolf. It was only meters behind them. He imagined that he was the wolf. He saw his prey beginning to slow down; he saw them stumbling over rocks, and their faces being clawed by branches as if they were clay. The professor knew they could not match the wolf’s velocity.
    The wolf, quickly gaining ground, prepared to leap at its prey.

    Chapter 2
    Skidding to a halt, the wolf surveyed the area. It put its nose to the floor like it was a metal detector and began to sniff around. It eventually gave up and left.

    The bush rustled as the group emerged from it. Suffering from many lacerations on their faces, the siblings sighed and swore.

    A young pig came along and sniffed a tree. The animal seemed, to Bethany, to be the most adorable thing in the world. It had skin that was pinker than a rose and eyes that were friendly and inquisitive. “It’s the only good thing in this bloody forest”, she thought as it trotted after a moth.

    The wolf leapt. The pig squealed. There would be no escape. Struggling would only delay death by seconds. Bethany screamed as the wolf crushed the pig’s trachea with its jaws. The wolf began gourmandising the pig. It had not yet satisfied its craving, but the group were gone after the wolf had finished devouring the pig.
    Chapter 3

    The heavy steel door groaned as it was opened. As they went inside, the pungent stench of sulphur suddenly hit them. They had escaped an infected villager and wolf, and now the group had finally made it to the laboratory. They smiled triumphantly at their partial success.
    Beth and Brad left the professor to his work. They went into another room with brightly coloured chemicals and sat down. They sat there silently for a while.

    Bradley was the first to break the awkward silence: “I’m sick of being scared and not knowin’ what’s gonna happen next Beth.” He lashed out at a rack of test tubes filled with viscous liquids, smashing on the floor resoundingly. The green, yellow and purple sludge slowly spread out onto the brown floor. He rubbed his bleeding hands

    “Can we really trust the professor? The Beezol could’ve already taken control of him. My mate told me that the infected steal, fight over food and even”, his voice lowered, “eat other humans.” Bethany’s face filled with revulsion.
    Chapter 4

    The professor quickly opened the door. “His craving has finally overcome him”, Bethany thought.
    Startled by the professor, the siblings were eager to find out his motives for bursting into their room at 3AM.

    “I have produced an antidote!” proclaimed the professor jubilantly. “I merely combusted beritanium to produce beritanium dioxide.” Beritaium was a recently discovered element. “It kills the Beezol virus and neutralises its toxins.”

    “That’s amazing!” exclaimed Beth.

    “You haven’t heard the best thing about it yet: only a miniscule amount of it is needed to relieve the infected of the Beezol’s pathogenic effects. We can get it all over Earth, in its gas form, using my ship.” The professor took the siblings into another room.

    “What a piece of junk!” yelled Bradley in disgust at the worn out piece of metal. It was a modified version of a fighter ship from the First Galactic War.

    “This ‘piece of junk’ can outrun a Martian Star Ship.”

    The professor pressed a button to open the roof and they launched. The forest was just a green blur that was gone in seconds.

    They managed to get the antidote all over earth in less than two hours. They had managed to save millions, including Bethany and Bradley’s parents. Fortunately, only the minority were in the late stages of the infection, where they would resort to cannibalism.
    Earth declared war on Mars and launched a surprise attack. Soon many other planets joined both sides of the war. The Second Galactic War had begun.

    Earth and its allies were losing to Mars and its superior technology. Earth found, however, that beritanium dioxide was extremely unstable in high concentrations and hence it was made into a bomb.

    It only took two to force Mars into submission. Emperor Kylos shot himself after the second bomb was dropped. Mars's soon surrendered, not wanting their planets to be in the same state as Mars. The Second Galactic War was over after 6 years of conflict.

    The death toll was estimated at billions. The Martians had lost the two galactic wars they had started. Now Mars was in the same position as Earth was. Many Martians had lost their homes, families and friends and had to live a life of fear and uncertainty.

    “Why are wars started?” asked Bradley, “They seem so pointless.”
    “The strong misuse their power and try to dominate the weak,” replied his father, “They never really can satisfy their lust for power.”

    The galaxy was at peace for the time being. In Jupiter, however, the conflict was growing. They had the largest military in the galaxy and everybody knew it was just a matter of time before their conquest began.

    The End
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