Bright Arrow Ch. 04

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The week went smoothly with work slowly progressing in the labs. The whole team felt an excitement that they had found a direction which might actually prove useful. Even through the long hours the entire medical staff were putting in, there was an air of optimism. Friday afternoon found Kevin and Anne sitting at desk going over an analysis of a compound they were intending on trying when a terminal interrupted them.

“Dr. McEnty, you have a call coming in from Pike Malloy. Would you like to take it?” The computer asked.

“Ooh, I’ll actually get to see what the hot stud looks like?” Anne asked.

“You haven’t seen him? He’s called here before.”

“Never when I was able to see the screen.” Anne said, sounding disappointed. Kevin chuckled and told the computer to view the call.

“Kevin, hi. What’s going on?” Pike asked.

“Just work as usual. What about you?”

“The same.” Pike said and his eyes darted to Anne for a second.

“Pike this is Dr. Anne Bartholomew. Anne, Pike Malloy.”

“Hi Anne, nice to meet you.” Pike said.

“So you’re the one who put the boss man in a better mood?” Anne asked, outright. Pike chuckled.

“Yeah, that’d be me.”

“You have my deepest gratitude.”

“It was no problem.” Pike said humbly.

“Anne, get back to work.” Kevin ordered and turned back to the terminal. “So what’s up?”

“I’ll be done with work soon and was wondering what your plans were. I wanted to see if you wanted to grab dinner.”

“That’d be nice. What did you have in mind?” Kevin asked.

“I’m easy.” Pike said. “Whatever you feel like.”

“I’m going to be working for a bit longer and won’t get out till around seven. How about we pick up take out and eat in?”

“Sounds good. My place or yours?”

“How bout yours? I’ll have to stop by my place and grab a change of clothes but I can be up there by eight.”

“That’s perfect.” Pike said and glanced over at Anne. He pressed a button on his terminal and the sign for private conversation popped up on Kevin’s. Even though Anne was sitting next to him, all she could see now was a blurry image and hear garbled audio. “I’ve been thinking a lot about you.”

“Have you now?” Kevin smiled. “I have too. I’m looking forward to tonight.”

“You better be, cause I’ve got a whole lot of things planned for you. I can’t wait to get your ass in my bed.” Pike leered and Kevin felt himself harden at the thought.

“That sounds… acceptable.” He said for Anne’s benefit.

“I’m glad you’re on board. I’ll see you later, baby. Say goodbye to Anne for me.”

“I will. See you later.” Kevin said and disconnected the call.

“`That sounds… acceptable’?” Anne asked and laughed. “You guys are ridiculous.”

“Why?”

“Like no one could decipher that complex code you were using.”

“He was just being discreet.” Kevin said. “Did you finish?”

“Yeah, the sample’s coming up now.” Anne said and got back to work. “It’s showing some promise. There seems to be some useful antibodies in it. We might be able to pull out the similar genetic material and hopefully that will give us a basis to work with.”

“Hopefully.” Kevin agreed. “If the similar material isn’t sufficient we’ll have to try a larger sequence.”

“Right but at least we’ll have vaccines for at least three of the virus series.”

“I’m not saying it isn’t a Godsend but we don’t stop till we get ’em all.” Kevin added.

“I like this new you. You were luck a fucking whipped dog before your met Pike and now you’re like that old t.v. show House.”

“Hardly.” Kevin chuckled. “I just needed… a break.”

“If that’s what you want to call it, you go right ahead sweetie.” Anne smirked. “Hey, why don’t you knock off a little early. It doesn’t take both of us to sit here going over genome reports.”

“You remember the early HIV research?” Kevin asked, lost in a thought.

“Of course. It’s basically it’s own class in med school.”

“They found that HIV was dependent on lipids to enter or exit the cells.”

“Right, it lead to the first suppression regimes. Are you thinking that HLF might be too?”

“This immune patient has some odd results. It might be a place to look. If we don’t get the vaccine from the sample, maybe we can at least treat it effectively.” Kevin said, looking through other patient reports.

“That’s a good catch. But you’ve got to disconnect for a while. Get out of here. Go see Pike.” Anne ordered.

“Why do you want me out of here so badly? Are you hooking up in the lab again?”

“No!” Anne said innocently. “Not in the lab.”

“Oh God. Don’t tell me.”

“Come on, Kevin. It’s almost six. Why don’t you head out early?”

“Fine. I’ll go. Start the simulations on the sample material and have lab B check for correlations between lipid factors and cellular susceptibility. I’ll check them tomorrow.” Kevin said and packed up his stuff.

“You know, Anne, I’m thinking you should get out a little more yourself.”

“And leave all this? Never!” Anne smiled. “Have a nice night, boss.”

“You too.”

He drove casino siteleri to his place to pick up a change of clothes and then headed up to Pike’s house. Pike’s truck was there and the dogs barked as they ran along side his car. Pike stepped out onto the porch as Kevin stepped out of his car.

“I wasn’t expecting you till later.” He said with a smile.

“Annie kicked me out of the lab and to tell the truth, I didn’t put up much of a fight.”

“I’m glad to hear it. Come on in, baby.” Pike said wrapping an arm around Kevin and leaning in for a kiss.

The male voice of Pike’s terminal woke them a sound sleep.

“Dr. McEnty there is an urgent message for you from the National Center for Medical Studies…. Dr. McEnty?”

“Yes.” Kevin said, sitting up in bed trying to wake up. “Who’s it from?”

“Dr. Tsu the director of-.”

“Put it on.” The screen flashed and Kevin’s boss appeared, looking like he had just woken up himself. “What is it Brian?”

“I’m sorry to wake you, Kevin but there’s been an outbreak of HLF. Four hospitals in New York city have requested testing on over 15 samples. Seven have come back positive so far. I need you out there.”

Kevin stood up, thanking God he had put his boxers on before going to bed.

“Have you called anyone else?”

“I just got off with the center, you were my first call.”

“I’ll need a plane and my response team. I’ll take the minimum for now but I may need all of them later.”

“Take whoever and whatever you need. I’ll call and authorize it. Kevin, we need to look big on this. You know what I mean?”

“Like the NCMS is everywhere. Of course, Brian. I want to be off the ground within two hours.”

“The plane’s already being fueled. You can leave as soon as your team and equipment are on board.” Brian said.

“I’ll call you from New York when I know anything. McEnty out.” The terminal flashed off. “Lights!” The bedroom lights turned on and Kevin saw Pike half sitting up, leaning on his arm. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Pike smiled. “For doing your job? Don’t be. I guess this is what it’s like to date a doctor.”

“You’re amazing, you know that?” Kevin asked as he threw on his pants.

“I’ve heard tell.” Pike sobered. “How long will you be gone?”

“I don’t know. We’ve got some new treatments, some compounds that we can try, but….” Kevin sighed. “We just don’t know how effective they’re going to be.”

Pike stood and wrapped Kevin in his arms.

“Be safe?”

“I will.”

“Be good?”

“I’ll try.”

“Come back to me?”

“You bet your ass.” Kevin promised and pulled Pike into a deep kiss.

After a quick stop at his house for a hastily packed bag of essentials, Kevin pulled up to the military check point of the Center. A guard stepped up to the car.

“Hello, Dr. McEnty. Could you please look at the monitor?”

“Hey, Steve. How’s it going?” Kevin asked as he verified his identity with the computer. After seeing the approval flash on the screen, Kevin drove off and made it to his lab to prepare the necessary tools for travel. Within the next hour, most of his team were assembled and loading the plane.

“This is going to be bad, isn’t it?” Annie asked once the plane had taken off.

“Probably.” Kevin admitted. “I’ve gotten us an empty storage warehouse that should be suitable. It’s already being prepared. The first patients are being transported. I’ve ordered all ems systems to be on alert and to divert suspected patients there. I have Rodgers doing supply so God willing we won’t want for anything-.”

“Did you have him notify the pharmaceutical company to increase hydroxychloroquine and the new serum production?” Annie interrupted.

“Fuck! No, thank God you’re here.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll do that. What else?”

Kevin rattled off the impressive list of preparations they had made.

“I can’t think of anything else.” Annie agreed.

“I want this nipped in the bud, Annie. Anyone who even thinks they have it, I want quarantined, tested and not released till they’ve been proven negative.”

“That’s going to be hard and will probably throw the city into a panic.”

“I’d rather scare people than kill them.”

The plane landed two hours later and was met by a large caravan of government cars and moving vans. Kevin left one of his chiefs in charge of transporting the equipment, anxious to get to the warehouse as soon as possible. He jumped into one of the vehicles with a man who identified himself as Dr. Tenay, the city’s Department of Health director.

“Dr. McEnty, I realize this is a NCMS issue but I demand that I be appraised of any and all developments as they happen. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you come into this city and run roughshod over it.”

“I appreciate your situation, Dr. Tenay and I will do my best to accommodate you, but as the senior medical officer here I’m going to be a little busy. Whatever I need from you will be explained as soon as I know what that is and I’m sure I can count on you to carry that out immediately. Also, my second canlı casino in command here is Dr. Anne Bartholomew and as my second, will be speaking for me and you will take that into consideration. Forgive me for my bluntness but as you said this is now a NCMS matter and we’re here to save lives.”

“Of course.” Dr. Tenay said, obviously irritated by the dressing down. “I’m only concerned that this is handled properly.”

“I understand and I assure you, it will be. But it’s impossible for us to stop for every official who wanted up to the minute details. You being DOH, however, will be kept in the loop, I promise.”

“Thank you.”

“Now, what’s the latest?”

Kevin was briefed by the director as they headed to the warehouse which had been prepared for them. It was in upper Brooklyn and sat on the Hudson river, appearing very much the old, abandoned building left over from when docks were crowded with shipping freighters. On the inside, it had been made to look like many different clean labs, with separated isolation rooms. There was a great deal of empty space and Kevin prayed that they wouldn’t need it.

Hours later, Annie walked into Kevin’s makeshift office and quietly sat down in the extra chair. They had been working since they arrived and the more they learned, the more bleak the situation appeared. Twelve more patients had arrived in the last couple of hours, each testing positive for HLF.

“What’s the toll?” Kevin asked.

“Of the fifteen originally transported, fourteen are positive. We’ve sent the other home. Of the twelve new ones, all twelve are positive. Twenty six infected. We’ve had reports that four others are on their way, three from outlying areas that have begun diverting HLF suspected patients here. And there’s been two other local calls which are suspected as well.”

Kevin nodded as he stared at his terminal.

“This is an epidemic.” Annie stated the obvious.

“Yes.”

“What are we going to do?”

“Has the Hydroxy or the serum gotten here yet?” Kevin asked.

“No. We’re using our own supply of Hydroxy, but if the numbers keep rising we’ll be out by tomorrow and we have no serum as of yet. I’ll get Rodgers to ride the pharmaceuticals.”

“I want those drugs here tomorrow.” Kevin demanded.

“They will be.”

“What stages are the patients in?”

“All of them. We have everything from showing first symptoms to end stages. There is one patient who I don’t think will make it till he can be treated.” Annie said and Kevin nodded, trying to process the information clinically and suppress his true feelings of grief and frustration.

“Have Rodgers contact the pharmaceutical company now. Wake up whoever you have to and if you need to drop names to get action, drop the vice presidents name.”

“Understood.” Annie said and left the office.

Kevin stood and went to the nearest entry port to don his isolation gear. Once inside, he made the rounds of all the patients. Many were older, but that was be expected. Epidemics usually targeted the very old and the very young. HLF was no different. Many of the middle aged patients were showing only early symptoms, the older ones had progressed much further. Kevin stepped into the man’s room that Annie was worried wouldn’t survive much longer. His face was wrinkled with his seventy years of age and fear. The blood red tears of an end stage infection were staining his cheeks. Kevin was briefed by the nurse in the room on the patients condition before turning to the patient himself.

“How are you, sir?” Kevin asked. The man turned his head in the direction of the voice but Kevin knew that at this point his optic nerve had degenerated past the ability to see.

“Are you a doctor?”

“Yes, sir. My name is Dr. Kevin McEnty.”

“Am I going to die?” The old man asked and Kevin swallowed.

“Yes, sir. I’m afraid you will.” The old man nodded, then smiled.

“It’s hell not knowing.”

“You have no idea, sir.” Kevin added.

“George. My name is George.”

“I’m sorry, George. I’m sorry I can’t save you.” Kevin said and George took his hand.

“I’m old, son. If I have to go this way than that’s what I’ll do.” He smiled again. “I can at least be pragmatic now, right?”

George chuckled and Kevin smiled.

“I guess so.”

“Would my body help if I donated it to science? I’d like to help.”

“We’ll take samples from your body and of course an autopsy will be done but as to donating it, no. It’s not allowed. You’re body, I’m afraid will have to be cremated.” Kevin said and George nodded.

“I never liked the idea of taking up space in some cemetery anyway.”

“Do you have family you’d like to talk to? We can’t bring them in here but we can have a video set up for you to talk to them.”

“My wife is dead and my kids aren’t here yet. They were trying to find a flight out here when I was being brought in.”

Kevin sent someone to try to find out where George’s children were and when they could be expected.

“I’ll have the video set up so that you can speak with them as soon as they kaçak casino get here.” Kevin said and left the room to finish the rest of his rounds. He spoke with nurses, advised other doctors and even chatted with some of the patients. While he was in the infected area, two more patients were brought in from the suspected area. They had tested positive, been quarantined and now awaited their fate with the others. Kevin left the area, sanitized the suit and retreated to his office.

A day later, Kevin was woken with a start as Annie entered his office. He had fallen asleep on his desk and felt his body complain over the uncomfortable position it had been in for so long. He checked the clock on his terminal and saw that he had been out for two hours.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up.” She said.

“It’s all right. I’m fine. When’s the last time you got some sleep?”

“I took a cat nap a few hours ago.” They both knew that they weren’t getting enough sleep and that it was par for the course. “You could go crash. They’ve got cots set up in the back.”

“Sure, maybe later. You too. If you get too tired, go get some sleep.”

“Right.”

“What’s up?” Kevin asked.

“We just received the second shipment of hydroxychloroquine and serum 417. Maybe 417 will do better than 416.”

“God willing.” Kevin said, wiping his hands over his face. “What’s the death toll? Is it still only George?”

“No. Cindy Rodriguez passed about an hour ago.”

“Cindy Rodriguez?”

“The waitress from Westchester.”

“Oh yeah. Jesus, she was young.”

“Yeah, well, she was on anti-rejection medication for her kidney transplant. She didn’t really have a chance.”

“No, I suppose not.” Kevin added. “Anything else?”

“We’ve gotten at least seventeen more patients.”

“What are the numbers?”

“We’re up to sixty three positive with eight not expected to live till morning.”

“Christ. Do you need me in there?”

“No, we’ll be fine for a little while longer. I’ve been having some doctors and nurses with experience going through isolation training. We can use them if we run low.”

Kevin closed his eyes.

“Pike called while you were asleep.”

Kevin felt a tug at his heart. He felt like crying and wanted to be home with Pike so bad and not in this hell of watching people die and not being able to do anything about it.

“I’ll call him now. Thanks, Annie.” Annie left and Kevin checked the time. It’d be late in Colorado but Kevin needed to talk to him. “Computer, call Pike Malloy.”

Pike’s face appeared on the screen, his eyes sleepy and warm and beautiful.

“Hey baby.” He said, his voice deep and sexy from his slumber.

“Hey stud. I’m sorry, I was sleeping when you called.”

“That’s fine. I’m glad you got some sleep. Annie said you hadn’t slept since you left.”

“I’m fine, Pike. It’s just like my residency all over again. I’ll sleep when I get home. Speaking of which I wish I was there right now.”

“I wish you were too, baby. This bed feels mighty lonely without you in it.”

“You know, Pike… This is probably a really horrible time to do this… no, strike that. This is a fucking shit-ass time to do this… but I… I don’t know. I just-.”

“What is it, baby?”

“I love you, Pike. I just wanted you to know. I know it’s early and we haven’t known each other that long-.”

“Shut up, Kevin.” Pike said and sat up further. “You’re right, this is a really shitty time to tell me this.” Pike said and laughed. “I love you too, Kevin.”

“You do?” Kevin smiled.

“I do. I was going to tell you before you left and lost my nerve. I thought that telling you when you came home would be better. I don’t know why.”

“We probably should have told each other then or when I get home but now feels like a good time.” Kevin said and felt a tear proudly fall down his cheek.

“Kevin, is it bad?”

“It’s not great.”

“Kevin, don’t bullshit me. Is it bad?”

“Yeah, Pike. It’s bad.”

“Can you talk about it?”

“No. Not right now. I just have to get through this.”

“All right. I’m here for you, baby.”

“I know that, Pike. I gotta go, stud. I’ll talk to you later?”

“You call me anytime you need me.”

“I will. I love you, Pike.”

“I love you too, Kevin.”

“Good night.”

“Good night, baby.”

A week later had the resources of the NCMS strained to almost breaking. Though the mortality rate was still high, the amount of patients coming in had near tripled. Though his request to quarantine the city was denied, Kevin had managed to set the highest medical alerts possible over television and radio warning the public to stay out of the area if at all possible. Even with the new doctors and nurses the Center had sent to assist and the ones Annie had found and trained they were only able to handle the patient load they already had. Should they receive many more infected, they would be horribly understaffed. Kevin was on the phone constantly with multiple members of every level of the government as well as the scientific community. When he was able to break away from that, he was seeing to the few patients he was able to care for and still meet his responsibilities as chief medical officer. He was in one of the patients rooms when Annie found him.

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