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Phew, I am finally back on land, trying to find my ‘land-legs’ after spending more than a month aboard the USS Nathan James. What a month it has been in the company of Tom Chandler, Mike Slattery, Kara Forster, Green, Sasha Cooper, Dr Scott, Alisha Granderson and many many more, all of the US Navy, sailing the seas, and saving the world, umm…. the US first of course.

Don’t worry, people. The heat hasn’t gone to my head and I am not babbling. It is just that I have been spending the last month watching five seasons of the show The Last Ship based on a book by the same name. The USS Nathan James is that last ship, a fictional guided missile destroyer of the United States Navy which must rise to the occasion and help its country and the world reeling under the onslaught of the ‘red flu’ which is killing people in the millions.

I was intrigued by the show for the scenarios it threw up. What if it happened for real? When governments have been wiped out along with millions of citizens by the ‘red flu’, leaving only a few who are immune to the disease, what will happen? Will the unscrupulous among the immune ones utilize the tragedy to grab power for themselves, even annexing territories trying to build new nations? There are always those with brute power and a glib tongue combined who can easily gather the ‘sheep’ around and bend them to their superior will, which is what happens in the show.

The picture thus presented was terrifying. It could very well happen the exact same way in a post-apocalyptic world for real. With no government so to speak of, no law agencies, only rumors flying thick everywhere, how easy would it be to fan the flames of hatred towards the saviors, the very people who have gone through great difficulty to get help for you? What when saviors are presented as the evildoers like the crew of the ship are by the ‘immunes’? How easy to convince the gullible not to accept the ‘cure’ offered because well, it is no cure at all, only lies.

It brought to my mind the anti-vaxxers in general and the recent outbreaks of measles n particular. Come to think of it, what’s shown in the show is not very different from what’s happening in the present world, except that we aren’t dealing with a plague like apocalyptic situation as projected in the show. But, we do have scaremongers who fight against what could save them and their children and everyone around, instead indiscriminately spread rumors and conspiracy theories via WhatsApp, Facebook and the like. The sad truth is, ‘sheep’ are easy to influence, whether in an imaginary tale or in real life.

© Shail Mohan 2019

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