“I know I’m behind on the news, but was this a known comet?” Mai Lee Sun asked.
“No, it wasn’t. According to David Levy of the Jarmac Observatory in West Virginia, it was a non- periodic and came through the solar system some 35 Million years ago, about the time meteor impacts created the Chesapeake Bay crater in the U.S., and the Popigai crater in Russia. The latest news from them is that they think it had a collision or very near miss that changed its orbit just enough to hit Earth. The event also weakened the core so when it got close to the sun, it broke up. That’s why the debris was scattered over such a wide area.”
“Oh, like the Schoemaker-Levy Comet 9 some years back! Thank you, I was wondering, if its orbit was known, why there was no warning.” Mai lee went back to preparing slides, and the lab was silent.
Both teams were exhausted; they had been working in twelve hour shifts for weeks, and not always stopping when their shift was up. Everyone was feeling a sense of desperation, so many children had died, and most of those who had recovered were severely handicapped. The count now was 60 million – 20 to 40 million more than the deaths from the flu pandemic of 1918-1919.
Jose Mazza, Tony Ricardo , Heinz Weinburg and new comer Piere Beauvais were testing all of the possible viruses found, including one shaped like a triangle,10 molecules high by 4 molecules wide at the base that had been found by Ruth Williams.
“Well!” Jose said, “The bead form Eric found didn’t get a reaction from the test animals, so I thought I’d combine it with others to see what happened. It killed, or at least deactivated all of them. It may be useful in making an antidote, though. But I think we should try combinations, since we have found that each is relatively harmless alone, but two may be what we are looking for.”
They all agreed and started making combinations of two or three together. The work went on, mixing samples, making a serum and injecting it into selected test animals. Time went by, and still more children died. In fact, it was getting worse, as it was now affecting children from ten to fifteen. And so many that of those who had recovered were seriously handicapped, mentally, physically or both, that the future of the human race looked even more drastic.
Several weeks later Robert Bodden returned from the animal section, where two days before, he had injected a rat, a Rhesus monkey and a piglet with a combination of the wavy form and the star. When put together, the wavy form had wound itself around the arms of the star, making what looked like a wheel with eight spokes. He was almost too excited to speak as he rushed through the door.
“It worked!” he exclaimed. “The star and wavy form combination worked! All three animals have developed the illness!”
There was a loud and enthusiastic cheer from everyone in the lab. Roberto Urbani jumped up and rushed over to Robert and slapped him on the back. “Good man! Now we have the virus, we all have to get to work creating an antidote. After it’s made, we have to try it out on the effected animals. As soon as we have one that works every time, we need to become a production facility, and set up facilities in every country that has been affected by the virus, and start producing. At last there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Jose Mazza said “I’ve been working with the string of beads, and it had either killed or deactivated all of them. It may be a place to start for the antidote.” This news was happily greeted by all, and they stared preparing slides of the new found virus to try different combinations of chemicals and other bacteria, especially those that are naturally found in the humansystem.
“We also have to make plans to help those handicapped children and their families,” Patrick O’Day said. “Many of them are poor, or with a low income, and the expense of caring for a handicapped child is high. I know, my brother is handicapped, and it made getting along on Dad’s income almost impossible. I put myself through school, and sent money home to help.”
They all agreed, and went back to work, now looking for the antidote., and thinking about where and how to set up the facilities for both the antidote and help f r the affected families.