The Ebola Browndell crisis continues at Cape Canaveral spaceport…
When last we left the group, a fix to the audio system (removing a virus that played annoying Texas songs) had triggered new sabotage. Now, carbon monoxide is channeling into the ventilation system.
Maxwell sighs at the CO announcement, and gives his knuckles a good cracking before typing away once more, paying particular attention to the spots of code where the jukebox was, and where it may have connected to.
Kinako makes a cautious beeline for the door heading towards the Spark labs, presumably to seek unlocked doors and/or oxygen tanks.
Maxwell’s search leads him to discover threads of contingency code referencing other branches of ghost programming that was commented out of the sequence until new conditions were met. Specifically, the absence of the jukebox code. The new code forced a minor rewrite to the ventilation management code, resulting in the carbon monoxide boost. Kinako will find that doors leading to spare oxygen tanks are now sealed and locked.
Maxwell stretches as he peers at the pertinent bits of code. “…Huh. Well, that wasn’t there before. No matter.” Another flurry of typing, clicking, and peering follows. “Alright… fixing the ventilation code, sliding a copy into that isolated sector that I put the rest in. Now to wait… just don’t breathe too much yet.”
Kinako shakes her head. After the third door is checked, she starts directing people gently towards the fountain, gathering anyone who cooperates to sit quietly on the floor near the plants before approaching Maxwell. “It will be difficult to convince people to not breathe much, Mister Cooke-sir.”
Maxwell nods to Kinako “I know, I know… but under the circumstances, it’d be nice if they would. I *think* I have the air about to work, but it looks like it may take a moment to kick in.”
The malicious code removed, the ventilation system returns to pumping breatheable levels of oxygen into the spaceport. No more carbon monoxide. The removal of that code doesn’t seem to trigger anything else. At this point, it’s just the ebola that people need to worry about curing – or allowing it to run its course and hope for the best with medical treatment.
Kinako sighs quietly, in a long, unsteady exhale.. “…well. That was unnecessarily troubling. Are you able to see what is going on in all the er…” She makes a vague gesture towards the computer. “Code, and other such things?”
Maxwell scratches the side of his head idly “Well, if I have some idea of what I’m looking for, I can find some things, yeah.”
The carbon monoxide levels are now well within tolerable limits.
“If you are inclined to do so,” Kinako says, and pads to see if the doors are still locked. This calls for more tea.
The doors are now unlocked.
Maxwell taps his chin a couple of times before transferring that isolated bundle of viral nasties onto a removable storage device. That removed, he taps a few things, closing out his work on the terminal. With a stretch, he gets up to adress the security guy who let him use the terminal in the first place. “Alright, that removed device contains the offending jukebox and such. Things looks like they’re fine now… potential illness aside, anyway.”
“Great,” says the security officer, who moves toward the terminal and then sneezes violently in Maxwell’s direction, splattering blood. “Christ,” he mutters.
Kinako starts making the rounds to make sure that anyone in the immediate area is all right, and pokes back in just in time to see the bloody sneeze. Without skipping a beat, she soaks a cloth in the strong tea solution and holds it out the officer. “Please hold this over your nose and mouth, sir.” Tilting her head to the side, she activates the comm in her ear by tapping it against her shoulder. “Promenade here – I have possible symptomatic patient, kindly send someone to assist him to sick bay.”
Maxwell whips out a handkerchief from his pocket, and wipes the blood splatter off his glasses, and face. “…ugh. Do we have a burn pit or anything for hazardous waste? I don’t really want to carry his blood around all day.”
“Thorry,” the security officer says as he’s helped off toward sickbay. “Thothorry.”
“We are unable to burn anything because of a lack of ventilation,” Kinako explains, “But you should go to sick bay, wash yourself thoroughly, and place anything that has any trace of blood on it in the biohazardous disposal unit.” With an apologetic expression, she gestures at her own scrubs. “I have been relying upon the generosity of the laboratories and medical facilities for alternate clothing. Also please have an extra eye wash, saline spray, and throat spray in the mean time. Just in case.”
Maxwell nods “Quite… I’d rather avoid coughing up blood. Never sounded like a good hobby to take up.” With the faintest of smirks, he heads off to the medbay for a good sanitizing and change of clothes.
Kinako heads back to the lounge to wash her hands yet again and to refill her tea bottle. “Kami wa watashi o tasukete, (Gods help me),” she murmurs to no one in particular. “Watashi wa koko de shinu koto ni natte irunara, watashi wa, sukunakutomo ikutsu ka no inochi o setsuyaku shite mimashou. (If I am to die here, let me at least save some lives).” When she returns, she sits on the bench in front of the fountain and rubs a pungent ointment made of beeswax and tea tree oil on her hands, to prevent them from becoming a red, raw contagion magnet.
Maxwell comes wandering back out from medbay, looking reasonably clean, but slightly grumpy, and in a set of scrubs that just lack the panache of jeans and a polo. Least he still has his glasses.
“I apologize, Mister Cooke-sir,” Kinako says from her rather futile attempt at a meditative seating position. “We are doing our best to isolate people who are becoming symptomatic, but as we are apparently still uncertain as to what we are actually dealing with, I am shameful to admit that I do not know what to prepare for next.”
Maxwell nods with a faint smile “Don’t worry about it. You’re doing all you can… all I’ve been able to do is get rid of annoying soundtrack. And it’s related diversions.”
Kinako offers a stainless steel pouch, presumably full of that ginger/tea/honey/gods know what else concoction she’s been foisting on everyone. “You should stay hydrated, and keep track of your temperature. Body temperature is one of the few indicators that is, ah, difficult to mentally inflict upon yourself?”
The loudspeaker crackles overhead: “Yeah, this is Bob Busby, man.” Cough. Throat clearing. A little more coughing. “Look, man, I think we could maybe use a prototype rematerializer to disassemble our molecules, isolate the virus, and recombine our molecules in a superclean chamber, man. I have a rough outline on some toilet paper in my office if anybody wants it for reference and can read my squiggles.”
Maxwell takes the pouch with a smile “Ah… what’s in this? And what should I do with it…” There’s a pause to blink a few times “Huh. That um… the idea he just suggested… might actually have some merit. Maybe.”
Kinako covers her mouth lightly with her hand, and looks up with a slight expression of fondness, as one might perhaps have when observing a puppy bravely tackling a toy at least twice his own size. She blinks at Maxwell. “You drink it, Mister Cooke-sir. It is black tea, mixed with oolong, steeped with fresh ginger, orange peel, and mint, with manuka honey added after straining. It is admittedly not even an acquired taste but it is the best I could do with what is available onsite.” She hits her comm again. “Mister Busby-sir, perhaps it would be more prudent to see if your scientists have isolated the filovirus strand and ah, simply disassemble -their- molecules?”
Maxwell nods “Ah, okay. Well, for the sake of not being horribly sick, I can manage some tea.” Ponder ponder. “Hrm. Teleporting the viruses out could be a bad idea. Leaving aside that we already know it’s an airborne contagion… and I’d have to see those plans to be sure of this, but I suspect it’s a lot easier to teleport one distinct object than the several million viruses.”
“What?” Busby replies over comms. “And risk taking part of kidney with it?! Hell, no, man. Anyway, if we have the materials on-base, I estimate it’ll only take about a month to get the prototype ready, man.” Another cough.
“Oh I had no intention of suggesting that we put them back together outside of the biological hazard disposal unit, but it seems that this is another of Mister Busby-sir’s flights of fancy.” Kinako says, gently, taking a drink of her own tea with a very delicate grimace. “That is all right, Mister Busby-sir,” she replies in soothing tones. “You are due for another dosage of throat spray, and do not forget to drink your tea. I know it tampers with the appearance and quantity of your urine but I assure you this not a detrimental effect and I promise that you can stop drinking it as soon as we are all out of danger. Have you heard anything else from your scientists?”
“No, man, but I have three hands now, which is kinda cool,” Busby replies. “And I’m making Rorschach tests from little splatter droplets on my desk, man. It is awe…” There’s a thump on the other end of the line.
Maxwell chuckles “A month, eh? Well, that’s disappointing. Sounded like a fun project… someone should probably check on him. Soon.”
“Oh, dear,” Kinako says, rising quickly. “Infirmary, this is Omoiyari Kinako, Mister Busby-sir appears to have fallen, and he has either become symptomatic or has been self-medicating. Kindly have a team meet me on the way to his office.” She pulls a fresh package of disposable face shields from her bag and passes one to Maxwell. “For precautions, if you are accompanying. I would not pressure you to do so.” Slipping one on herself, and ensuring her hair is fully tucked under her cap, she shoulders her duffel and moves towards the Spark offices with urgency.
Maxwell nods as he takes the mask, and slips it on. “May’s well.”
“…some,” Busby finishes as he struggles to sit back up in his chair at his desk. His face is slick with blood in the pattern of what might look like an angel’s wing. He holds up two thick tangles of toilet paper, scrawled with nonsense hash marks and scribbles. “Ready to rock, man!”
Kinako pulls some gloves on, as well as some safety glasses, as she saturates another cloth with antiseptic solution and moves to attempt to clean the rambling innovator up enough to see where the blood is coming from. “What have you ingested in the last six hours, Mister Busby-sir? I may need to administer a coagulant and I do not wish to risk any disharmonious interactions.”
Maxwell pulls his phone out “Uh, mind if I get pictures of those equations? Might be interesting to try and figure them out later. And less likely to get me sick than spending too much time around the originals.”
Busby wipes his face with some of the toilet paper, then hands that wad to Maxwell and says, “All yours, man.” He turns to Kinako and grins. “I had a cold fish taco and a box of chunky milk that smelled off, man, but when life gives you lemons, the tough get gerkins!”
The blood seems to originate from his nostrils.
Maxwell carefully lays the paper out on the nearest thing to a clear surface he can find, and starts snapping pictures. “Well, was going to need to wash up after this, anyway…”
Even a cursory examination of the “schematics” will show that they’re like marks for a prisoner ticking off the days in a jail cell, interspersed with occasional smiley faces, roaring dragons, and a kitten dangling from a branch beneath a message that reads “HOLD THAT SNEEZE, MAN.”
There is a long, long moment of silence, during which Kinako may or may not be taking advantage of the safety equipment concealing her face to allow herself an expression of consternation. “Infirmary, Mister Busby-sir is showing signs of delirium and is bleeding nasally. If you would kindly send someone to collect him, run a broad spectrum toxin test, and then get him on the coagulant regimen established for this phase of symptoms?” She then returns to trying to get ol’ Bob cleaned up while Maxwell is left with the emplagued poor man’s DaVinci Code. “You may want to, ah, bring that to the infirmary for disposal and… get yourself sanitized. Again. I am very, very sorry.”
Maxwell finishes taking pictures and balls up the paper for proper disposing “It’s alright. The pictures will give me something to ponder after another cleaning. Probably not much substance, but you never know what will spawn inspiration.”
Busby is helped away from his office toward the clinic. “I’ll get back to work on that prototype soon, man,” he assures between coughs.