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Dr. Taylor blanched. "Sex specific etiology
on the Marburg host? Ohmy.." and he
ran once more for the phone directly linked
with Atlanta..

"Miss Thorne.. I love you.." Jamie said,
excited. "Steven and I were so busy wallowing
in self pity about that standing report on Marburg
that we didn't see new alternatives... Thankyou
Thankyou Thankyou..."

"What did I just set off? " Cindy said, genuinely

"Mammals first milk. Full of antibodies
that transmit to their babies in the first twenty four
hours following birth.. The female Flying Foxes must
have the ability to shake off Marburg to the extent
of being able to survive long enough to transmit
their immunity to their young. That's why the Marburg
plagues of the past didn't make the species extinct!
They've had millions of years to adapt to each other.."

"You mean, you won't have to wait for one
of the Marburg victims to fight off the infection
on their own to get a serum?"

"No.. For that serum's already been made..
In the female bats of that stricken colony!"


Steven was on the phone with his boss.
"That's right sir.  Find a gravid female
near parturition. Isolate her mammarian
pre-lactate and I'll just bet Marburg antibodies
are there. They have to be. There were
only dead adult males on the photos you
sent us.."

Dr. Taylor had three others on the California
team listening in on other phones too so
they were being appraised same as Boss
was.  "Yes sir.. No, don't send your samples
to me.. Send us the bat herself.. Or better,
yet, send several.. This antibody might
need a living metabolism to stay viable..
Make sure they're due to birth their young
within the next half day.. Yes sir,.. I'll let
LAX and the air force jet unit assigned to us,
know. Thank you sir.. What was that?
It was a civilian who pointed this out to us.
She's a teacher who was caught in the
earthquake here in the firehouse. Yes, I'll
get her name for you. And sir, make a rush
on this.. The fireman's nearly critical.."
and Taylor hung up the phone..

He was almost dizzy with happiness about
the possible Marburg Achilles heel by the time
he rushed back into the bunkroom to tell
the waiting firemen and paramedics about
their serendipitous discovery through Miss
Cindy Thorne.


Dr. Brackett was all grins as he flew
through waking Johnny, out of his shocky
sleep. "Hey.. Johnny... Rise and shine.
The sun's already getting up. So should you."

Gage coughed and he felt Dr. Brackett
remove his oxygen as he blearily awoke.
"What.. did I miss something important?
Marco ok?"

"Yes, and not yet.. I'll tell you more
while we eat.."

Johnny was immediately serious and he let
Dr. Brackett sit him up and hand him
some soup and jelly sandwiches that
Cap had made for them both.

Soon, Johnny knew about the rare Marburg
epidemic and the new potential cure for it
so ironically discovered by Miss Thorne.
"Teachers are smart. I'll admit that.." he
grinned. Then his face fell. "So, will they
manage to isolate some mother flying
foxes in time before Marco...uh.."

"There's every chance.. Dr. Taylor told
me they have air force jets scrambling just
for us to get some here.."

"Those plague bats are coming here?"
Johnny said, chipmunk cheeked.
He suddenly lost his appetite and
set down his once bitten sandwich.

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"Something the matter with your
sandwich? Shouldn't be with a fire
department Captain on the chowline."

"No.. just not hungry.. I hate bats.."


Gage smiled down at Bonnie.
"Seems she agrees with me..."
he said absently scratching her
head as she lay in his stokes.
"Here you go, darling.. Have some.."
and he fed her his sandwich, piece
by piece. The ravenous Yorky nearly ate
his fingers. "Ow.." But he was grinning.

"You have to eat, Johnny, Or I'll have
Brice start up another D5W IV on you."

"I'll eat. I'll eat.. Just.. ..gimme that soup
bowl. I'll work on that.."

Dr. Brackett gave Gage the piping hot
tomato soup thermos from the tray.
"All of it or it's Brice over here in five minutes."

Johnny glowered, but drank every drop.
Then he set down his bowl and leaned
in confidentially. "Say listen doc. The
other guys have been keeping me in
the dark about Marco's true condition.
Don't you think I should have the right
to be in on that? I am a paramedic after

"And I am a doctor, surprise surprise.
They aren't telling you on my orders,
Johnny. It's a clearcut case of doctor
/patient confidentiality. Roy, Brice and
Gil are the attending medics, you
shouldn't have to have that excess burden
of worry.."

"It's no burden Dr. Brackett. He's my friend.
And ..and ..and .. I just wanna know how he
is...that's all.."

"He's alive.. The tones on his EKG should be
telling you that. And that, is all you need to know.."
Kel said, finishing his food and rising to attend
his next exam of Marco.

"That' great doc. Just great..!" Johnny said
sarcastically. But inwardly, he knew Kel was

Captain Stanley made an announcement following
their meal. "Listen all, we're not needed in the
disaster station outside, but even though the
official quarantine is over, all of us have to stick
close to base for an innoculation once one
is isolated all right? Miss Thorne, I'm sorry but
that means even you'll have to spend another
day in the station house."

"That's ok. I've already talked to my family
and they understand. They saw the news
broadcast last night.."

"Good deal. The water's running so we'll have
hot showers for now or later. I suggest we all get
some sleep. Gil, Roy, Brice.. Dr. Brackett has
asked for me to get a schedule from you three
about sitting up with Marco. Who's first?"

Johnny raised his hand but Cap pointedly
pretended he was invisible to the role call.

Roy got the first two hour watch over Marco.

"Wake me the first sign of trouble, Roy.."
Dr. Brackett said. He stretched out onto
one of the beds near the phone opposite
Marco. "And Gil, I want to know if the biophones
are working yet to Rampart. I'm out of
the loop as far as emergency earthquake
cases go, but I'll sleep better if I know Dixie
isn't drowning in them over there."

"Got it doc.. I'll do a check right now.."
he replied.

Gil dragged over the biophone and began a
test rescue call. "Rampart, this is Squad 8 with
frequencies check. How do you read?"

While Gil waited for a reply, Brice, Miss Thorne,
Cap, Jamie and Steven all found sleeping bags
or beds to lie down upon.   The five of them
were asleep in moments.

Gil got his communications check from
Dixie herself and he too, nodded off on
a portable cot.

Roy watched over them all protectively.

Even the sounds of the ongoing recovery and
rescue operations outside didn't wake them.

All through the morning and into the afternoon,
the outside attending firecrews made sure no
harm befell those sleeping inside the crumbled
Station 51 firehouse and it became something
of a jealous superstition to go HT silent within
sixty yards of their darkened bunkhouse.

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