The Ebola Browndell crisis continues in the Cape Canaveral spaceport…
The good news is that special lamps and herbal tea remedies seem to have helped, at the very least, slow the onset of symptoms for people in the base. But reports from the brig indicate that the Texan saboteur has started showing flu-like symptoms consistent with the early stages of Ebola.
Maurice seems to have found himself a pair of toy guns over the past few days. The Texan his currently trying to raise the spirits of a few kiddies by doing his best amusement part cowboy act. Twirling guns and plenty of yipee ki-yays.
Kinako has been busily ferrying a variety of improvised medical supplies, in what can only be called the ‘whole spectrum’ of medical tech levels, between the impromptu residences and the clinic. She is haphazardly dressed in borrowed scrubs, and managed to stuff all of her hair under a cap. “Yes,” she is murmuring into a comm. “Coagulants to begin, to stave off organ damage, and then anticoagulants if the patient progresses to the bleeding stage. Apply the poultices to any wounds, whether they appear infected or not. Can you get authorization to attempt nonstandard usage of clomiphene? Also check vaccination records, if any of your staff have gone overseas they may have received it. Try and limit contact with the ah, patient zero.” She listens intently, and then nods. “Whatever you feel is necessary. I would only save her life to rob her of her martyrdom and will not advocate for her in any case. Arigatou.” She takes a breath. “Ah, konnichiwa, Mister Maurice-sir. Thank you for providing entertainment. I have shamefully lost track of who I have been apple to apply preventative kinesiotherapy tape to. Have I gotten to you, ah, yet?”
Maxwell wanders in, doodling something on a scrap of paper.
The familiar and somewhat comforting hum of the central air system dissipates to silence.
“Kineso-whosit tape?” Maurice asks out the corner of his mouth. The Texan tries to juggle a toy gun over his shoulder and fails. As the gun clatters to the floor his handlebar mustache twitches in dismay. There is a few tired blinks and he looks around. “Well…. lookin like its gonna be another scorcher with a/c there Missus Kinako.”
“Miss is more appropriate, Mister Maurice-sir…” Kinako says, brow furrowing as she looks up at the silent vents. “…ah, the ventilation system should still be distributing humidified air, even if it is not terribly cool,” she murmurs, and shakes her head, drawing a thin roll of blue fabric tape from her duffel of improvised medical supplies. “Well, ah, if you would, over to the bench, pull up the back of your, ah, shirt? I will apply this tape to your back in a pattern meant to minimize the force of any cough that may develop. You may not, I am merely being cautious. Many of the people who have reported feeling unwell are suffering, ah, psychosomatosis at the moment.”
Maxwell looks up as the air goes all quiet and sighs.
Mid-stride as he is stepping out of the Apollo lounge, the General looks up at the vents as the HVAC system decides today is a day to take a vacation. Frowning, he starts to make his way towards Kinako after a quick scan of the room.
Maurice shrugs his shoulders as he reaches down to pick up the plastic gun. “Gittin to that time aye?” The Texan murmurs, his stache wiggling. “Well might as well git all the help I can.” He starts towards a bench and hikes up the back of his shirt.
Kinako pulls something up on her PDA, and puts the strap in her teeth, squinting at the camera view while splaying her fingers carefully across Maurice’s back. “Kinwy breef deefly, pleeth,” she muffles, as a wavy pattern of lines starts to unfold on the small screen. “Gemmral Jenthen-thrr, ith conthern, air’th thoffed.”
“Because it’s ground zero! Or close enough. We -have- to be here.” It seems like the second half of a conversation can be heard as a group of people clad in white lab-coats enters from one of the security checkpoints.
“Yeah, but why -here- here. Can’t we just get Simon and Jeff to collect samples…” Whines one of the scientists, neither of them have the sort of posture that speaks of military training and discipline. The whiny one, a twenty something year old with a round face and crooked glasses is holding a huge stack of notes and folders to her chest, a pack slung over one shoulder clinking with various specimen jars and medical equipment.
“Jeff and Simon are sick.” The first scientist replies, frowning. “Anyway it’s not my decision, if it were my decision you know we’d both be back in New York.”
“F-fine… guess we should find out who’s in charge…” The woman replies, scrunching up her face.
Jensen raises an eyebrow as he tries to mentally translate most of then Strapinteeth, and horribly fails, but does manage to pick out ‘air’. “Someone better not be sleeping on the job.” he grumbles, a hand wiping off a few beads of sweat from his brow. His commlink is taken out and activated. “Jensen to maintenance, what the hell is going on in there?”
Maxwell finds himself a good spot to sit down on, and uses that scrap of paper he’d been doodling on as a fan instead.
The crewman in maintenance responds to Jensen: “Not much, sir. Everything’s offline. We think it’s a virus in the computers that run the air handlers.”
Maurice takes in a nice big breath and slowly exhales it. The man in military uniform gets a glance but the Texan keeps whatever comments he has to himself.
Jenny, one of the new scientist-looking types to arrive, takes a look around. She’d have her hands on her hips if they weren’t occupied holding a massive pile of papers, books and equipment some of which looks ready to spill from her arms as it is. Her and the others obviously lack any sort of military training, they slouch and strain under the weight of their equipment, not that it’s much. She blows one of her long bangs of blue-black hair from her face and sighs. “I’m still not used to Florida heat… but this is an airport, you’d think they’d have AC.” She comments to her companion who has already turned his back to her and started walking off to do something useful. Jenny shrugs and wanders across to the central fountain, it’s as good a place as any to dump her gear and wait for someone to tell her what to do.
Kinako slips her hand through the PDA strap and starts unrolling tape, laying it out in a matching web-like pattern across Maurice’s back. With a tilt of her head against her shoulder she activates her flashing comm and makes an inquisitive noise into it. “Hmm? Ah, yes, viscous cetylpyridinium chloride, sprayed into the oral cavity. Up to three times daily, yes. Did you manage to find bananas? Ahh, very good, yes, let us mash those, mixed with manuka honey into… fifty-five gram… err, quarter-cup servings and freeze. Arigatou.” She blinks at the new arrivals and makes as much of a small bow as she can with both of her hands occupied with weblike strands of kinesiotherapy tape. “Ah, hello… I would express that I am glad you are able to join us but it is not under the best circumstances and not as though you have much in the way of choice. I am Omoiyari Kinako, and am likely the familiar voice that has been making many hopefully helpful orders over the communications, yes?” General Jensen gets a plaintive look. “The ah, terrorist is symptomatic. If someone is going to re-activate the air systems I would highly recommend limiting ventilation from the… brig? Has anyone been able to… ah, get information from her?”
Jensen lets out a few colorful metaphors before activating the commlink again. “Then get the damn tech heads down there and get the damn thing OUT of the computer.” he snarls, and shuts it off, looking back to Kinako. “They’ll get re-activated or heads will roll. As for information… nothing. She’s got her lips locked tighter than a Scot’s wallet.”
The public address system crackles to life, playing “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”
Maxwell blinks a few times, and mutters something about the musical taste of people who run PA systems.
Jenny perks up as she’s addressed by what is indeed a familiar voice. She looks over the young woman quickly, a smile reaching her lips. “Oh yes! Hey there, I’m Jennifer Koda, a pleasure to meet you sir, ma’am! Sorry about just popping in like this, you know what they say about the government, ma’am sir. Left hand doesnt know what the right is doing and all. Me and Wayne here,” Jenny motions with her head since both hands seem occupied, “Have been told to help out with the quarantine procedures. Just lemme…” She shifts a little, trying to hold both the incredibly amount of documents she’s carrying as well as fish out her PDA and ID from the top pocket of her coat. “Almost got it…” Jenny sticks her tongue out. This goes on for some time as the music goes right over her head.
Maurice blinks a few times as he lowers his shirt. The Texan’s stache twitches and a ghost of a smile crosses his lips. “The stars at night are big and bright….” He hums to himself. “Runner up for the national anthem of Texas wouldn’t you know?” He then coughs lightly. “Probably not a good sign.”
“You may, ah, pop wherever it is necessary; I do not think anyone is going to stand upon formality with us all trapped here. It is nice to meet you, Miss Jennifer Koda. Thank you for your assistance and compassion.” Kinako says, bowing again and offering a small unmarked spray bottle. “It is an oral antiseptic, and good to prevent proliferation of airborne germs. I apologize that it tastes like soggy lemons and mint… there were only a few bottles of the commercial preparation available here. Please ah, share it with Mister Maurice-sir…” She turns to Maurice, and says, quite seriously, “You are only feeling as if you have to cough because your mind expects you to. Your temperature is not yet elevated and you have no other signs of infection. Breathe gently, and allow the tape to guide your muscles properly. Count four with inhale, count four with exhale, with me, yes?”
Jensen glances up at the speaker and shakes his head. “Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, not this damn hacker crap…”
“Oh uh… okay!” Jenny decides nuts to the PDA and just bends over, depositing her papers, documents and equipment in a messy heap on the ground. As she rights herself she pulls her messy hair away from her face and adjusts her crooked looking glasses. “God… much better…” The girl creaks as she stretches her back. She takes the antiseptic spray and examines it curiously, spraying a small bit on the back of her palm and giving it a sniff before spraying some in her mouth. Her face screws up. “Oooph… it does pack a bit of a punch ey? What did you use to prevent contamination from submandibular and parotid gland enzymes?” She licks her lips. “Ah! Mister Maurice, sir, is it? Please say ‘ah’!” If he does as instructed he gets a liberal squirt of antiseptic spray. If not she fixes him with a bit of a doctor’s look. “Several proteins in the Filoviridae family are quite susceptible to changes in PH…” Jenny thinks out loud to herself. “Lemony flavour… citric acid?”
Maurice nods absently to Kinako and does as he’s told. One breath, two, and so on. He shrugs his shoulders lightly afterwards. “Reckon.. I’m calm?” He offers in the asian woman’s direction. The Texan glances at the spray and his stache twitches, “The coyotes wail along the tra…. ACK!” He grumbles as he is sprits. “Those are two flavors that go like… like… peanutbutter and t-bone.” He says flustered.
“It’s just, lemon oil. From, ah, lemons…” Kinako says, and then straightens Maurice’s shirt. “Tetrahydrozoline HCL and zinc sulfate solution in the eyes, the viscous cetylprinidium chloride administered orally, and nasal wash containing oils of camphor, menthol, eucalyptol, thymol, spearmint, pine, cinnamon… Probiotics, tannins, and manuka honey to bolster the digestive systems… poultices of tea tree, honey, and black tea to inhibit infection… Airborne ionization, increased humidity, for which I apologize, and ultraviolet lighting to decrease the ah, spread of the germs in the air. We have of course more, ah, conventional medicines in use in the infirmary, but I feel that perhaps she is expecting those and may have taken precautions. If you scientists will of course pardon my boldness.”
Maxwell gets up and wanders off in Jensen’s direction, fanning himself with some geometry proofs as he goes. “Pardon, but uh, if this isn’t a standard aside in the airline announcements, I can possibly help out.”
Jenny listens to the list of precautions used, nodding every now and then. “I’d say don’t worry about calling me a scientist but I think I’ve spent too long in this tatty thing to be called anything but.” She replies, motioning to her labcoat. It’s not tatty, though slept-in. She may not be the most effective lab worker but even Jenny knows to change labcoats now and then. Or at least turn them inside out. “And the whole area is on this? What about the people who don’t like tea?” She grins playfully. “Joking aside you should put in a formal request to the labs for some proper boosters. And… why the heck is there a song playing on the PA?”
The speakers crackle and lyrics from another song waft through the corridors: “Rosanna’s down in Texarkana, Wanted me to push her broom. Sweet Eileen’s in Abilene. She forgot I hung the moon.”
Jensen facepalms, then looks to Maxwell. “It is most assuredly NOT part of the standard announcements.” he snarls. “If you think you can get that crap off my PA system, by all means, give it a try.”
“Well shiiiiit.” Maurice lets out a low whistle. “I hope they play Your Cheatin Heart next.” The Texans informs everyone. “There a number we can call for requests?”
Kinako wipes her brow and pardons herself to take a slug of pungently ginger-smelling tea from a sport bottle holstered at her hip. “Yes, the ah, labs and the onsite medical staff are indeed handling the immunization records and conventional medicines as they see fit. I am just, ah, doing my part to slow the spread and minimize the ah, damage,” she says to Jenny. “I work in primarily rehabilitative medicine but I do know some things about terrorist actions… my primary patient base back in Japan is ah, military and police.”
Maxwell smirks “Good to know this isn’t normal. Could put me off airlines for life. Anyway… hrm. If there’s a terminal already hooked into the system I could use, that’d certainly speed the process. Alternatively, with a few spare components, I could hook something up to the speaker that’d take out the entire PA system… not really a fan of that option, though. Even the third option of hooking up some noise cancelling into the speaker system fails to really address the cause.”
Jenny can’t help but grin at least a little. “God… you’re so… you’re so… cool!” She breaths, admiration shining in her eyes. “Tea, lemon oil, cetylprinidium chloride…” The girl swoons, nodding. “No idea why they sent me and Berk over there when you guys are clearly in good hands. If you need anything you’ll let us know, right?” She seems to be completely serious!
The song now shifts to the Man in Black belting out: “And then they sent a young scout from the battlements, bloody and loud, with the words of farewell from a garrison valiant and proud: “Grieve not little darling, my dying, if Texas is sovereign and free, we’ll never surrender and ever with liberty be.”
Jensen points to the nearby east checkpoint. “There’s one there at the security desk.. if they give you any grief tell ’em I sent you.” he says, looking back up to the speakers and frowning again.
“Well.. not favorite Cash song.” Maurice seems disappointed in the choice of songs now. “Ya’ll remember we all died there right?” He calls out to the speakers suddenly. “We got a wicked dumbass streak at times.” He sighs. “Aint fun now.”
Maxwell nods before heading over to the aforementioned security desk, fanning himself as he does. “Hey. Jensen sent me to see if I can deal with the screwy sound system. Need to use your terminal.”
Kinako’s cheeks color a little bit, or as much as one can color when it’s hideously hot and humid. “Aah, thank you? You honor my efforts with your enthusiasm and respect. If ah, you would be able to start testing our patients for antibodies to the virus, or the ah, viral RNA, or other markers, I would very much appreciate it. If anyone has been immunized due to international travel they may have included Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in the spectrum. It would also be wise to start notifying area hospitals and other facilities to request vaccine and start building herd immunity outside the station. We do not know when she infected herself, or even if this is a hoax. It is better, however, in my belief, to have precautions.” She casts a sympathetic glance to Maurice. “…I wonder if she knows she is murdering her countrymen as well as whomever she has deemed guilty in this disharmonious cause. I wonder if she cares. It is shameful.”
“Honour? Nothing but the truth!” Jenny squeaks, but all the same she hurries for her PDA to make a few dot points. “I think our people have already begun taking marker samples, you’re absolutely right it’s better to be safe then sorry!” She grins widely. “Don’t worry on it ma’am! I’m sure it’ll be under control before long.” Jenny says, reassuringly as she taps a message away on her PDA. What a cheerful person.
“All yours,” the security officer says, stepping aside for Maxwell.
“I doubt she was thinkin that clearly. Granted somebody smart was helpin her.” Maurice shrugs his shoulders. He fiddles with one of his ‘staches and looks up at the speakers
Maxwell cracks his knuckles as he takes a seat and starts typing away, looking for anything unusual in the system, humming some distinctly not at all Texas related music as he does.
During his search, Maxwell will discover a looping code sequence that’s referencing a series of musical data files.
“Terrorists, ah, tend to be, simple… no, that is not the right word, ah, -single- minded,” Kinako says, wiping the back of her borrowed scrubs’ sleeve across her forehead. “If the enemy was America, they would most likely operate on American medical knowledge? This is why I am working as much, ah, naturalistic and Eastern medicine into the counter-offensive? Perhaps then it is fortuitous that I have found myself trapped here. Perhaps I am being too prideful, but perhaps it will work. She is uncooperative and has become symptomatic. I have also suggested, ah, clomiphene? It had a ninety percent success rating in preliminary testing. If ah, no one minds a nonconventional usage of the drug of course. If I recall properly American laws tend to be…” She struggles for a diplomatic term. “Less receptive to such techniques? But I suppose in this case the urgency might preclude the Administration’s recommended usages.”
“It’s above my pay.” Jenny replies with a little shrug, wiping the her forehead with her lab coat as she too finds herself sweating rather a lot. She glances towards the fountain, it seems so refreshing. Would that it were just a nice, big, indoors swimming pool. “Still… worth mentioning to someone, yeah?”
Maurice remains silent for now. The Texan is lost in his own thoughts
Maxwell peers at the display as he types along. “…well, I hate to state the obvious, but someone seems to have slipped a jukebox into this. Rather juvenile, really. Shouldn’t take long to remove this goofiness… do you need a log of what I’m doing, and what’s found before I go removing the offending bits?”
The security officer nods to Maxwell. “If you could, thanks.”
“I have already suggested these to the medical department,” Kinako says, padding over to a bench and taking a seat, pausing to clasp her hands loosely in her lap and take a slow, deep breath. “If your department is in need of more ginger tea, kindly let me know. I have another round steeping in the ah, bar there. They have been very patient as I have overtaken most of the coffee tureens and used up a quantity of the herbs and garnishes.”
“It’s a uh… acquired taste, ginger tea. I’m not much for it myself.” Jenny replies, wandering across with Kinako. She sits beside the asian doctor, tapping a few final notes into her PDA before setting it aside and settling down. “Is she the only one who is infected? The terrorist, that is.”
Maxwell nods as he starts typing away again “Would hate for you guys to think I was destroying useful evidence. Just setting up an isolated spot to dump the logs and such… alright. Aaaand… sliding this jukebox over… hrm.” Type type clickety click clack type. “Alright, that should be the music files, too. Probably just harmless music, but worth a more thorough scan as time allows.”
“Sure,” the officer replies to Maxwell. “Assuming our lungs don’t spill out through our sphincters.”
Kinako takes another careful drink out of the bottle. “It is less for enjoyment at this phase and more for preventative digestive health. Tannins from the black tea, manuka honey for ingestible anti-infective, and of course the ginger. She indicated that she had infected herself and had modified the virus to be transmitted airborne more easily. It may have had something to do with her lipstick? She was ah, focusing upon it in her motions. She is so far the only one who is symptomatic.”
Maxwell types a few rather final sounding commands into the terminal, and stretches. “Alright, that should get rid of the offending audio. Hopefully the medics can sort things out so we all live long enough for the quiet airwaves to matter.”
The nostalgic Texas music does, in fact, cease. The central air system thrums back to life. But the blast doors that seal the main terminal clang into place, the tangerine-hued auxiliary lights click on. The security officer calls maintenance for an explanation. They say: “It’s out of our control! They’re channeling carbon monoxide into the system and we’re locked down – even tighter than before.”
Kinako chokes on her tea. “…Nani? Naze? Mister Maxwell-sir, please, stop them! Onegaishimasu…”
Jenny blinks. “Daijyobu, daijyobu, Kinako San! It’s okay! At least… I think I said it’s okay… but it most definitely is okay.” She replies, smiling. “It’s just a little carbon monoxide… nothing that we can’t uh… fix. But if anyone has some sort of welding equipment, or maybe a fire axe… now would be a good time to be finding ways of ventilating this room!” She squeaks, sounding less and less confident.