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Evolution by R. A. Partain
Through several walls of protective glass he could see Jane. Brilliant blue eyes clouded with concern.
"Jane. How'd it go? Did they listen? Are they sending a team? What about Dr. Hennessy, did you talk to him?"
"I did talk to Dr. Hennessy and he's reviewing your data. But the CDC will not be sending a team." What was that in her voice? Pity? Of course there was pity, he was dying.
"Not sending a team! How could they not see the implications here." He was shouting and flailing his arms. Jane had stepped back even though there was quite a distance between them. He calmed his voice, "What reason did they give?"
"They wouldn't give a reason. They just said Dr. Hennessy will take care of it. You don't look well, you should get some food and sleep, James."
"I don't believe it. This super-virus is literally changing the animal it infects. I don't know into what, but its contagious and deadly."
"We don't know its deadly, the monkeys were sacrificed before the disease could run its course..." Jane. Beautiful and logical. But young and naïve.
"I was not going to let them suffer, they were screaming. I hope you'll do the same for me."
"Don't talk that way." Her voice shook. He should never have gotten close to her.
James let out a raw breath and hung his head. "You're right, I'm sorry. Leave some food in the decontamination room." He turned from her and back to the lab bench.
Jane Lewis sat at her desk staring blankly at her computer. Down the hall her mentor was dying. Not just her mentor, her lover. She could admit that now.
Her heart jumped when the phone rang. The rush of adrenaline made her hand shake as she picked up the receiver.
"Dr. Lewis?" A voice rough with decades of smoking spoke through the phone.
"This is Jane." An immediate tightening of her stomach made her nauseous.
"Dr. Lewis, this is Dr. Hennessy. I want to talk to you about James."
Dr. Hennessy was considered THE expert in virology. He was a consultant to the WHO, the CDC, the military, and countless biotech firms. James had done his post-doc with him before taking a position with Cytech. James also considered him a good friend.
"Can you help? The CDC won't send anyone."
"No, they wouldn't. I told them not too. Nor will any other government agency. I've known about this supervirus for some time."
"You've known about a new deadly virus and not published one single paper on it?" As a scientist Jane couldn't comprehend why one would keep such a discovery secret.
"That's not important. James, must come see me. I have the proper equipment in my lab to continue the research. I need his help."
"I can't make him do that, he's infected and won't leave." And I don't want him to leave, she thought.
"There is no cure. This disease needs to be released. Tell him to---"
The phone went dead. "Hello? Dr. Hennessy?" There was no answer when she tried ringing him back.
Release it? What the hell did that mean? Why would he want to release a deadly virus into the general public?
"Jane, please." The thready voice of James was mechanical over the intercom speaker.