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"Yes, Mr. DeSoto we did.." Jamie said,
gesturing for Brice to take another BP on
Marco. "It was an end to a means.."

"W-wait a minute. Did you find your answers?
You're both out of your biocontamination suits.
That's great. Must be if the quarantine is lifted.."
Roy said happily, folding his arms.
"So why didn't you tell the reporters that too?"

Chet snapped. "Because it isn't over
yet ! Yes, we learned what it is and where it's
come from.. But the serum that Marco's going to
need comes from bats, Flying Foxes, according to
one of the docs here. Now tell me how in
the world are we going to find the right ones
in Mexico from the middle of a city fringe
jungle rainforest in time to save him eh?"

Roy's face fell into lines deeper than the San
Andreas Fault. "We can always hope, Chet.."

Jamie MacPherson looked up with a large
degree of doubt locked onto her face.

Then the phone rang. Both the one in the kitchen
lab and the one on the bunk house desk.

Jamie and Brice both leaped for it.

She was faster.
"Dr. MacPherson.. in LACoF station 51.."
Everyone held their breaths when her face
proved it was Atlanta on the line.
She listened for a while then...
"I understand sir.. I- I 'll get right on it..
Yes, mobilize the Mexico City team to
collect the vineyard specimens.. Our victim
says the dead boy played with some in
the garden in the days before he fell ill.
As you heard from Dr. Taylor, they are
very probably our sentinel animal species.
Oh, and chief.. We need one taken alive
and sent here. I need to extract a blood
serum from it.."

She set the phone down shakily and sank
into a chair at the desk by the battery operated
lantern. Gil came over and
set a hand on her arm. "You ok?"

"Yes.. I- I just am a little stunned about
the finding. We have a name for the
contagion in our files.."

Steven Taylor came from the station's
yard and from briefing the team outside.
He saw the look on Jamie's face and
Gil crouched near her offering her coffee
and he asked. "Jamie.. What is it?"

"Steve, it's Grade Four Marburg..
Boss's just confirmed it."

" I'm so sorry..We're too late."
Dr. Taylor sighed, leaning against
the wall in defeat.

Dr. Brackett was less than gentle.
"Ok. What's Marburg..?"

Jamie,s lips worked mechanically.
"Marburg.. Theorized RetroViral Infection.
Three known live cases recognized world wide
in 1975.. Incubation period of 5-10 days,
onset of the disease: sudden.  Marked by
fever, chills, headache, and myalgia. Fifth
day after onset of symptoms, a maculopapular
rash, most prominent on the trunk may occur.
Nausea, vomiting, chest pain, sore throat,
abdominal pain, diarrhea then may appear.
Symptoms become increasingly severe and
may include jaundice, inflammation of the
pancreas, severe weight loss, delirium, shock,
liver failure, massive hemorrhaging, and
multi-organ dysfunction."  

Her last fact came in a whisper..
"No known cure.. All three reported cases
were....100% ....Fatalities...."

A stunned silence filled the darkened
bunk room.

Chet's face twitched in denial..
"No way.. no way man.. Not Marco.
No way in h*ll!!"

Cap got to his feet and ripped off his nasal
cannula. "Kelly, now getting upset isn't
going to help matters any.."

Kelly's face was a mask of torture and
deep deep emotional pain. It sullied his
fine boned features, making a mockery of
them. "I don't care anymore Cap! We ...
have taken.....just about all we can here!
And so have I. Look at us.. "  he said flinging
his arms wide.
"Just look at us, Cap! Johnny
was almost crushed today, so was the engine
and squad. Miss Thorne over there was
almost gassed to death. You almost
bought it too! And most of us here in one
way or another.. Bonnie, too, for Pete's

He started pacing and kicked over an
empty water jug in his frustration and
rage.. "I'm sick of this whole thing!
Being stuck here, watching things deteriorate
like this. So just take it back Cap.,, the whole
g*dd*mned unlucky deck of cards we've
been dealt over the last four days!! Cap,
just make it go away. We gotta all return to
base, we gotta all get some sleep, we gotta
all be ready for a fresh start all together again,
by wake up tone time.."

Cap started to move forward..
"Chet...." he said softly. ."I would if
I could pal.. Y- you know that.."

Chet screwed his eyes shut and tears
flooded out."Ah, man..... not  Marco..pleeaaasseee
not him.. It's just not fair.." and he started
to cry, sagging down the wall by Marco's
head. He reached out and caressed Lopez's
hair with a hand, sobbing. His wracking cries
panged everyone listening and soon,
Cindy rose to speak quietly with Chet
where he knelt on the floor.

She said.....

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From:  "Cory Anda" <>
Date:  Tue Nov 5, 2002  11:31 pm
Subject:  Panacea...

"Mr. Kelly. Listen to me. Things aren't all lost.
Not yet. Marco's still alive. And of everyone here,
I've seen none who've hovered more often
in concern and caring, than you. Things look
dark. But if you've hit bottom, then there's no
where else to go but up, is there?"

Chet didn't pay any attention to her, his face
still buried in Marco's hair.

Then quiet, calm Mike Stoker said something
very profound. "100% fatalities.." he mumbled.
"I just can't believe that at all. They're just words..."

"What?" Chet said, looking up at his engineer
coworker, wiping his red eyes and face with
an arm.

"They're just words.. All of them. That complete
phone call from Atlanta. That Marburg report.
Dry. Dispassionate. Just facts. How can we trust
its end-all be-all credibility?" Mike said, thoughtfully.

Miss Thorne began to smile. "There was
never a thesis or report born that ever
escaped revision. Mike Stoker, you're
beautiful!" And she kissed him full on
the cheek.

She went rushing off to find Dr. Taylor
and Dr. MacPherson.

Chet's eyes immediately dried up
into another emotion, one of jealousy.
"Hey, how come you get all the chicks
kissing you? Stoker, did you tell her it was
you who revived her in the yard?"

Mike said, "Nope. No one ever told her
that she had even quit breathing."
Then he rubbed some knuckles on
his shirt's badge,"Maybe she just likes the
quiet rugged type of fireman.. eh?"

"Yeah?" Chet said, more like himself.
"Well, how about a fireman who's not
afraid to show his emotions openly.."

Cap piped up with a grin.. "Well, then,
everyone in the room here today would
be unbeatable Cassanovas now wouldn't
they,  Kelly, if that were true. No, Chet, I think
it was something Stoker said that gave
Cindy Thorne an idea on another matter."

"What do you think it was?" Kelly said,
fussing with Marco's blankets.

"Don't know. Does it look like I have
an answer to everything..?" Cap

"Yep.." Roy, Gil, Brice and Chet all said
to him.

"Very funny. I think I'll quit my day job
and become a mountain guru and charge
people for my answers.."

"Just don't sit on the wrong mountain.
You may just get shaken off by another
earthquake.." Roy kidded.

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