Part II: The Discovery
The phone woke her up. Groggily, she reached for it, managing to knock the bedside lamp off onto the floor. She winced at the sound, and then
pressed the phone to her ear.
“Diana,” she managed, eyes still closed.
“Hey, Corcoran here. I don’t know what the hell this stuff is.”
She sat up, more alert. “You’ve run the analysis that fast?”
“Yeah,” came the tired reply. “That speech he gave was pretty impressive. You got my curiosity up. Anyway, there’s no way in hell this
stuff is medicine. In fact, it’s probably lethal in even small doses.”
She was fully awake now. “Explain,” she said, grabbing the paper and pen she kept next to the phone and hastily scribbling as he talked.
“It’s a live virus,” he began. “The virus itself is basically benign; it’s just a delivery vehicle. But remember your high school
biology? Viruses attack cells and insert their own code, which is replicated when the cells divide. And there’s some nasty little stuff this virus
“Such as?” she asked, writing furiously.
“Lots of neurotransmitters; you’ve got dopamine, huge levels of adrenaline, and nor epinephrine. There’s a serotonin suppression
agent…serotonin is your “feel good” neurotransmitter. Then there are the neurotoxins. We’ve identified ethanol, conotoxin, botulinum toxin,
bungarotoxin, and even tetrodotoxin. Those are time-released, though, from what I can tell. Of course all this is preliminary as hell, we’ve got
to run a lot more tests and check more sources before we can certify our results. But I thought you might want a heads up.”
“I appreciate it,” she agreed. “Can you tell me what you think this stuff does? What affect it has on the brain?”
“Nasty things, nasty things,” came the reply. “The neurotoxins work on different parts of the neuro system. Most inhibit either synaptic
relays or reuptake of vital neurotransmitters. Then, of course, you have the tetrodotoxin.”
“Wait,” she interrupted, laying her pen down and rubbing her temple. “I’ve heard of tetrodotoxin before, haven’t I?”
“Probably,” he agreed. “It’s supposedly the stuff used in voodoo to make zombies.”
She felt her heart skip a beat. “Zombies?” she repeated. “Seriously?”
“Yep. ‘Course, there’s a lot of debate over whether tetrodotoxin is even a part of the so-called “zombie powder” the voodoo practitioners
use. But between you and me, the mix of toxins in this….whatever it is…..well, you won’t be a zombie for long. I’d estimate death in
approximately 20-24 hours or so. Of course, that’s after the initial burst of anger, fueled by the nor epinephrine and adrenaline. Once that’s
passed, the neurotoxins go to work. They break down different parts of the brain, inhibiting one’s ability to walk, speak, even understand simple
questions or commands. Death would take about an hour after these bad boys are released. If the person’s lucky, that is. It could take longer.
The really disturbing part of this….the victim remains aware of what’s happening. Completely aware.”
She was silent, her mind racing as she tried to grasp what he was saying. Zombies? Death? Did this mean Beale was dead? If so…was this
He was saying something. “I’m sorry,” she interrupted. “What were you saying?”
“Any idea how Beale got this….stuff? And are you sure he used it?”
“No. No idea, and I don’t have proof he used it. Except it’s his asthma meds…or it looked like his asthma meds and it was found in the
restroom. All I know for sure is he left the restroom and went straight to the set for his spiel.” She paused, hesitating. “Should I call the
cops, do you think?”
Corcoran sighed. “I don’t know, Diana. Maybe wait until the final reports. There’s something you need to consider first, and waiting could
buy you some time.”
“What is it?” she asked nervously.
“Whoever made this stuff….well, its sophisticated. Level 5 Biolab all the way. We’re talking serious money here, you understand?”
Her head was beginning to hurt. “And….”
He hesitated. “This stuff is meant to control and kill, Diana. Like all those stupid zombie apocalypse shows I used to watch as a kid. Whoever
made this…had access to a lot of resources. And I mean a LOT. That takes money.”
Continued (told you it was long)....
edit on 8-5-2012 by smyleegrl because: (no reason given)