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"Well you would too after surviving a funeral,
the complete destruction of your workplace,
an earthquake, and then capping it all off
by coming down with a potentially lethal
plague..Come on, Cap. Let's get you back to bed.."

"I'd rather stay here, if that's ok with you..
Gage.." Cap said. "I can recupe just
as well from a chair as a stokes.."

"Ok. Just have Chet put your O2 back on.."
Johnny said, rolling over to get some rest

Roy nodded in agreement and soon, Chet and he
left Cap studying Marco's sweaty face as he
slept fitfully.

Cap was almost dozing from the heady
effects of the O2 cannula when he realized
that Marco and he were no longer alone
on just a feeling. He opened his eyes.

Miss Thorne had gotten up and she had moved
to the chair Roy had vacated. "He's almost
my age.." she said gently. Cindy reached
out to Marco's face to brush away a tangle
of wet hair with compassion.

Cap grabbed her hand, and shook his head,
preventing her from touching him.

"It's all right.. You firemen aren't the only ones
known for self sacrificing oneself.
And there are two million teachers out
there all across the country who'll agree
with me on just that point."

Captain Stanley smiled and let her go.
Then he afforded her some feigned privacy
as she leaned down to admit a secret to
his sleeping crewmate.

Cindy wiped away Marco's tears with a gauze
pad and bathed his face in a cool cloth as
she talked. "You know Marco. You weren't
the only one who wanted nothing else
but to run today..." she told his sleeping
features.."Stoker here had to tackle me
to keep me under that kitchen table until
the quake had ended. So I think there's
a bit of cowardice in all of us. It's not surprising
to me that the ground failing beneath our feet
brought some of that out in both you and me.
But I'll just bet there hasn't been a single fire
that you've ever seen where you didn't just
go charging right on into it without hesitation.
So you're one up on a whole lot of us teachers
in the bravery department, Marco Lopez. Those
kids knew that coming here today. And so
did I... Just sleep...Things will be brighter
in the morning. They always become
that way, with the dawn.."

In reply, Marco's EKG, slowed into deeper rest.

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In the station kitchen improvised
lab, Dr. Steven Taylor and Dr. Jamie
MacPherson made a startling
discovery on their specimen slides.
They found.......

Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2002 14:56:21 -0800 (PST
Subject: [EmergencyTheaterLive ] The Red Devils--

...Bacteriophage. Simple, unknown;
completely undifferentiated bacteriophage.

"Steve. Come look at this. I pulled it off
the firemans' gram negative stain." Jamie
gasped through her contamination hood.

Dr. Taylor joined her and bent down
into the microscope. "Look at that
Shepherd's Crook morphology. Could
this be an RNA filovirus?"

Jamie shuddered. "We've only hypothesized
that evolution of phage in theory as
a zoonotic model, no known living specimens
are known to exist."

Steven was thoughtful. " Zoonosis? Mexico has
plenty of mammalian carriers. Mice, birds..."

"Yes, but those vectors are everywhere.
What is unique in Mexico city and nowhere
else?" Jamie said.

"It's tropical around Marco's family's
neighborhood. Monkeys?" Dr. Taylor

"None that are native..  Bacteriophage are
weak transferring to foreign or human bred hosts.
It would have had to evolve in one genus
for decades to mutate to an infectious state
strong enough to cross species barriers.
Mexico has no native simians."

Steve was finetuning the microscope as he dressed
his sample with an enzyme catalyst to break
down the virus into its separate constituents.

He took the slide off and shook it while
the solution broke it down.

Then he replaced the slide. "Oh my g*d.
Jamie,.. they're reassembling despite the
protein dissolver.."

"Self assembling? Retrovirus! That's a
class neither virus nor bacterial, millions of
years old." MacPherson said.

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