In Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain, Major Arthur Manchek is the officer in charge of Project Scoop, a satellite sent into space to collect samples of bacteria and viruses. When the satellite lands in the remote town of Piedmont, Arizona, the alien contagion released from the capsule begins killing the townspeople rapidly.
Upon reviewing recordings from the recovery team who have also perished and flyby scans that identify a survivor, Manchek oversteps his authority and declares a state of emergency. He then deciphers a complicated code to access a special Department of Defense phone line. His recommendation brings together the five main characters of the novel, a team of scientists tasked with investigating the extraterrestrial life form.
Manchek reappears later in the novel when a military aircraft mysteriously crashes at Piedmont after all of the plastic onboard dissolves. Manchek is part of the chain of command that initiates Directive 7-12, which will drop a nuclear bomb to prevent the contagion from spreading. However, the scientists discover that nuclear radiation would only cause the alien life form to grow exponentially, leading to a race against time to prevent it.