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The Valley of Shadows: Chapter Six

       Last updated: Friday, October 12, 2018 19:52 EDT



    In the days since Skorpio had wrestled the zombie in front of Bank of the Americas, the legend of his physical prowess had grown among his staff. Even some of the more experienced staff had given him the calm approval that amounted to the best reward that any security specialist could hope for. He had even gotten a “good job, Boss” from two of his key people that were the special hires that Smith had personally brought into the bank. Unlike the traditional former cop or straightforward veteran background that most of the financial services security community shared, these two were…different.

    Jim “the Kapman” Kaplan was former Special Forces, former Triple Canopy. His appearance was surprisingly unremarkable, neither especially tall nor particularly muscular. On close observation his wrists and forearms seemed unusually thick, and his hands were heavily scarred, like those of a mechanic. Kaplan wasn’t especially talkative but Skorpio noted that he had a quality that cops labeled “cop sense,” a sort of feeling for things that didn’t belong. After he successfully blocked an Occupy activist’s effort to glitter bomb their chairman by somehow seeming to teleport between the target and the security cordon, Skorpio had asked him how he had known that an attack was coming.

    “Just a feeling,” Kaplan said with a shrug. After getting the raised “eyebrow” from the security chief Kaplan provided a better explanation. He clearly didn’t like talking about his “skill set.” Or talking at all for that matter.

    “His shoes weren’t right and he was carrying his weight on the balls of his feet. Most of the protesters were wearing Chuck Taylors, sneakers or cheap hiking boots. I even saw a pair of green Crocs. The crowds was either dancing around on their toes in order to see over us, or just standing flat footed and shouting. This guy was wearing Salomons, staying on the balls of his feet, leaning forward and panning his head back and forth. So, I tagged him as a potential. There were seven in the crowd. This one had a bag that never left his left hand. Since most people are right handed, it figures that he was going to need to reach into it in order to do something. If he had pulled a gun or a bomb he would have been a tango.”

    And wouldn’t that have gone over well if his detail killed an ordinary protester? However, Kaplan had been right and exercised good judgement. No one was shot, and if the glitter bomber had accumulated a painful collection of bruises and abrasions when Kaplan plowed him into the cement, well then fuck him if he couldn’t take a joke.

    On that much, Skorpio could agree.

    About the same time that Kaplan had been hired, Smith had found another former special operations veteran. Smith had handled this particular hire personally, and apart from a functionally detailed resume that included not one named employer, Skorpio didn’t know much about the second new guy. Usually, bank background checks were more comprehensive than military Top Secret clearances.

    Dave “Gravy” Durante’s background came down to “REDACTED. REDACTED. REDACTED…” He graduated from high school in Ohio. No drugs, no priors, lettered in soccer, president of the school computer club. Joined the Army as a communications and computer specialist. Ten years later he was suddenly available for hire. Nothing in between.

    Durante was a physically intimidating presence, as tall and broad as Smith, but with unusually long arms, sandy blond hair and a perpetual calm smile. The “new hire” was a physical security specialist. What he didn’t know about breaking and entering a building, including the electronic defenses thereof, wasn’t worth knowing. For all that he was phlegmatic, he also was a surprisingly good writer. The drafts of the Bank’s Physical Security plan were auditable items and Durante’s rough draft had been good enough to pass on the initial round of review–the first time that had happened with any Security and Emergency Response governance documents since Skorpio had been working.

    Even though he wasn’t particularly tight with most of the Executive Protection detail, Durante was more than good enough for Skorpio, who made him his deputy for all details in New York.

    This morning Skorpio woke up a mild sore throat and a runny nose. By the time he had his second coffee, he was powering through Nasonex in order to keep his sinuses open. A few ibuprofen dealt with his joint aches, because let’s face it, getting old sucks. Visine for the eyes–gotta keep those peepers bright.

    After he cleared the morning e-mail it was time for the department head meeting with Smith. The walk to the conference room was blurry. He paused and grabbed a double espresso from the coffee station outside the boardroom and dropped into his seat in one of the bank’s secure conference rooms.

    The meeting started and he methodically scribbled some notes, absentmindedly itching his arm.

    Damn psoriasis.



    As he prepared to kick off the brief, Smith noticed that a faint, buttery movie theater smell hung about the bank’s virologist.

    “Dr. Curry has just delivered an urgent report to the CEO.” Tom wrinkled his nose at the stale odor. “I should note that while Mr. Bateman is aware there is now some source of vaccine, he is…too busy trying to keep everything running to worry about the details.”

    Tom looked at the group carefully, waiting for them to process what he’d just said. He’d officially distanced the CEO and the Board from the following discussion. Since it was about how they were going to start murdering people en masse, it was at best a fig leaf but it was a legal fig leaf.

    “The basic information is going to be covered here so that the team is clear on our operational situation. I’ll summarize the basics. We understand how the virus is creating two different sets of symptoms, and we have plan to produce a vaccine. Dr. Curry, go ahead.”

    Smith motioned to the lab-coated virologist, who stood. Clearing his throat, Curry launched into his remarks.

    “There are two salient points that I have to cover right away.” He cleared his throat again. “The first thing is that we have a better understanding of why the disease symptoms presents in two ways.

    “The disease, which now has its own classification code, is called H7D3. The H refers to a key protein on the surface of the virus called hemagglutinin. Recall when I described how the virus ignored antvirals such as Tamiflu? This is because those antivirals are designed to block the receptor sites on a cell’s surface and deny the virus any way to access the interior of the cell and then reproduce. The hemagglutinin protein in H7D3 has been engineered with a different geometric configuration. An antiviral designed for the old configuration literally can’t bond to its target. The next piece is the D in the name. It stands for Dual Expression. Well, when H7D3 does access a cell and compromises the synthesis process, it does something utterly new.”

    “Expand,” Tom said pointedly.

    “It makes two types of virii, a previously unknown mechanism called dual expression,” Curry said with a little side-eye to Tom. He didn’t like to be interrupted in one of his spiels. “The first packet is just another H7D3 virus, which carries on the process, looking for another cell to compromise and spread the disease further, behaving like a seasonal flu virus. The second packet is the one that attacks the victim’s brain and creates the zombie symptoms. It’s also an engineered component, based largely on rabies. It attacks the central nervous system, especially the brain stem and specific brain components, including the frontal lobe and parts of the parietal lobe. These areas are responsible for critical thought, speech, pattern recognition, etc.”

    Murmurs greeted this extended explanation. In the Security and Emergency Response team, researching the fundamentals of virology had become even more popular than checking stock prices during working hours. Staff might not have Ph.D.s, but “rabies” was a term they could understand.



    Curry paused and took a bite of popcorn from the bowl on the table and then drained his coffee cup. Behind him, Jones passed him a bottle of water.

    “Any questions on that bit, because it isn’t the most important part.”

    “Assume some sort of cure,” Rune said. “Does the…afflicted have a chance of regaining…”

    “No,” Tom replied curtly. “There have been some people who have naturally thrown off the virus after going through all the symptoms. They’re…pretty much the same. Sometimes with slightly higher or lower levels of aggression but always nonsentient. Once you’re a zombie you stay a violent zombie or remain in a vegetative state. No take backs.”

    Tom had planted that question with Rune because it was important to the rest of the discussion. There was no murmur this time, just brief glances.

    “The second and most important new bit of data is confirmation of what you all suspected: the rate of the spread of the disease is accelerating,” the virologist continued tightly. “If we can’t begin manufacturing a vaccine in industrial amounts very soon we’ll have no hope of getting in front of the disease. We don’t have long, not very long at all.”

    Curry stopped, swallowed, then closed his eyes for a moment before proceeding.

    “The good news, for values of good, is that we have been given a green light to proceed with plan to start making a vaccine. It won’t be a cure, but it should block further spread of the virus. The virus concentrates in the afflicted nerve tissue of its victims, which so far are limited to higher order primates. What we need is to harvest the nerve tissue of higher order primates saturated with the virus.”

    “Does that mean we need to start sourcing rhesus monkeys, chimpanzees and so forth?” Rune perked up. He hadn’t been told the reason for the planted question. “Can’t be too many of those in the city. We’ll probably have to look international–”

    Curry looked unhappy, but replied.

    “The amount of raw materials needed rules out zoo animals and imports,” Curry said, shaking his head. “You get, maybe, one dose of vaccine from a green monkey, the most available primate. And they’re being swept up in Africa in job lots for research. Very few are available on the market and the price is staggering. Being absolutely blunt: There is only one large-scale source of higher order primates currently available.”

    Faces around the table looked puzzled. Slowly comprehension dawned. Tom watched the team work through the obvious. Jones’s face was stone.

    Someone knocked their chair against the table, loudly. About to speak, Curry looked up, irritated. Down the table, Skorpio’s chair knocked against the conference table again, as he scratched his ribs vigorously.

    “Hey, Phil,” Smith said, looking down the table. “PHIL!”



    Someone was calling his name. Kept calling his name.

    Irritated, and feeling itchier by the second, Skorpio looked up.

    What the fuck was under his suit? Goddamn…



    Tom cursed himself. The existing bank protocols were entirely inadequate. From the time that his trusted security deputy had screamed, then roared and started tearing at his clothes, to the moment when Smith had drawn his bank-issued SIG Sauer P226 and staged the trigger, only two seconds passed. Fully aimed, Tom waited until others had moved away from Skorpio. He’d waited a further fifteen seconds until it became obvious that there was neither a Taser in the room nor time for a security detail to make it to their floor, high in the Bank of the Americas’ tower. Then he floated five empty casings, putting every round into the newly turned zombie’s center of mass.

    Instantly two things happened.

    Skorpio dropped, flailing, to the carpeted floor and writhed, screaming all the while. And Tom’s hearing was overlain with the siren song of damaged cochlear cells–tinnitus–which provided a semipermanent ringing sound that contributed to the unreality of the scene: Tom shooting another employee in his own fortieth-floor conference room.

    His shots must have struck the zombie’s spine while avoiding the heart, because Skorpio had begun very slowly crawling across the floor towards the cluster of people now scuttling behind Smith, including Rune, Curry and others. With single-minded, predatorlike determination, the mostly naked zombie buried its fingers in the plush carpet and pulled itself by main force towards its intended quarry.

    Tom sidestepped away from the group and put his back to the conference room glass wall, which looked out over a dirty brown East River. He kept his pistol at a low ready and scanned the rest of the group, who looked back at him uncomprehendingly.

    “Everyone stand up straight, show me your face.” This from their resident mad scientist. Unsurprisingly, Curry mentally got there first. “Show me your eyes!” he commanded.

    “Do what he says,” Smith added. “New rules, is anyone feeling sneezy or itchy? Everyone look left, look right–examine them like your life depended on it.”

    Comprehension dawned on the group, and they began looking at each other and back at the zombie. It was still several feet away, slowly working its way across the plush carpet, leaving a broad and slippery red trail.

    “No visible symptoms, Mr. Smith,” Curry said. “I just got focused on the business problem and didn’t see his.” He gestured to the zombie, which was within ten feet.

    Smith looked at the group one more time and coldly barked: “Security rounds!”

    He fired once more, striking Skorpio in the head. The zombie dropped, motionless, yellow brain matter visible from the exit wound.

    Smith decocked and reholstered; his face was drawn with anger.

    “This simply won’t do.”

    He looked over at the door, which had just been flung open, and where Durante had just skidded to a halt, pistol drawn. Kaplan bumped into him from behind, having run from the elevator with a few others.

    “Congratulations, Dr. Curry,” Tom said. One side of his mouth twitched a bit in what might, charitably, be called a smile. “You now have some live virus with which to proceed.”



    “You are officially insane,” the city attorney said, quietly addressing the head of the OEM. If his statement bothered her, it wasn’t obvious to the audience.

    Kohn had been making her case to manufacture the attenuated vaccine since she had co-opted the status report and update being delivered by the deputy mayor for Health and Human Services.

    You could see the individual beads of sweat across the brows of some city administrators, even though they were miles away. This unhelpfully clear detail was usually a positive feature of the high-definition tele-presence display that covered the entire wall of the underground conference facility beneath city hall. Each participant was rendered in life-size scale, enhancing the feeling that all of the attendees were actually there in person. This time though, the details didn’t inspire confidence.

    The visible underarm stains and sweaty collars were there for all to see. Grim looks or blank faces predominated.

    Kohn was smiling on the inside, where no one could see. Fear was to her advantage.

    The city of New York enjoyed excellent communications infrastructure, especially for the channels serving critical disaster response and crisis management functions. After 9/11, a combination of federal funding and fees collected from the financial services sector had built a large integrated surveillance and communications system.

    Initially dubbed the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, it first focused on protecting the city’s life blood, the bankers and insurers clustered in lower Manhattan from which location they generated the revenue that made the entire city possible. Later, the system had grown to cover most of the island and the important areas of the adjoining boroughs. Supported by major technology companies, the effort eventually grew into the integrated City of New York Domain Awareness System, and now it could connect NYC officials by video anywhere in the city, as well as control tens of thousands of cameras, street barriers, traffic lights and special sensors.



    The distributed secure video capability was a good thing because the mayor had decamped from downtown early in the crisis and was ensconced in an undisclosed location, funded in part by the licensing of his successful business systems and media brands. Naturally, he had empowered the first deputy mayor and other commissioners to make routine decisions. However, Kohn knew that a decision of this magnitude would need his personal approval.

    “Mr. Mayor, the biochemistry and technology to make an attenuated vaccine is a known quantity,” Kohn said, ignoring the city attorney. “If we begin prototyping the process now, and if we can assure a large supply of live virus, we may be able to vaccinate not only the remaining emergency services personnel and critical city staff, but their families.”

    Say what you will about the mayor’s physical courage, he didn’t shy away from the core issue.

    “Joanna, I want to be perfectly clear,” he said in clipped tones. “What you are talking about is euthanizing the surviving infected people that we are now confining and using them to gather the ‘live’ virus. Do you know how many laws that would break?”

    Angry faces stared back at Kohn from both the video teleconference monitors and from around the conference table. She ignored them all. Only the mayor could approve her plan. Or kill it.

    She reached backwards with one open hand and Schweizer placed a blue binder in it. Kohn plunked it onto the table.

    “All of them, Your Honor,” she said, tapping the binder with one finger. Her tone wasn’t insubordinate, exactly. “However, ask HHS if they think that there is an alternative. Ask them how much we know about the virus. Especially, ask how much time we have left to act.”

    She waved to her right, signaling the Health and Human Services official. He had remained standing during her interruption, and was poised in front of the large polished conference table that fronted the wall of virtual meeting attendees.

    Wearing a deer-in-the-headlights expression that failed to inspire confidence, HHS continued where he had left off.

    “To recap, Mr. Mayor, the Pacific flu is a complex, manufactured biological agent,” he said. The HHS rep apparently noted the slight quaver in his voice and took a breath. “The disease has been artificially spread using air fresheners placed in public bathrooms all along the eastern and western seaboards, the length of the Mississippi and most major international airports in the United States. This dispersion pattern has been replicated globally and Asia is especially hard hit. There’s as yet no cure and no clear path to any therapy. Further, there’s no practical way to rapidly manufacture vaccine using conventional processes. The infection rate is accelerating and, well, it’s bad. It’s really, really bad.”

    The mayor asked the question on everyone’s mind.

    “How long do we have before the disease spreads so far that we can’t stop it?”

    “Physical containment measures are already being introduced, with OEM’s help,” the sweating man said, with a deferential nod to Kohn. “We are trying to firewall locations where infection clusters occur, rapidly segregating anyone that’s been exposed. The efficacy of this isn’t yet known, in a practical sense.”

    “Practical sense?” asked the city attorney.

    “I mean we haven’t been doing it long enough to know if the changes in the infection rate, the rhythm if you will, is due to our response, or if the natural incubation rate is creating populations of infected persons who will reach stage two of infection as a group, each time jumping the perceived infection rate.” The HHS man paused for a breath.

    “But, bottom line, if we can’t slow the infection we won’t be able to provide city wide basic services such as transportation and law enforcement in something like six weeks, perhaps eight,” he said, consulting his notes. “Fresh water isn’t a problem, and primary power generation retains ample margin, but a lot depends on how long we can keep refined fuels flowing. Fuels are critical to keeping basic requirements like food, health care and security functioning. The fuels industry relies utterly on intra-bank liquidity. If we lose that, the total collapse of the refined fuel sector follows in less than a week. Once we lose fuels, we lose everything else in days. If we don’t restart the energy sector within forty-eight hours then the cascade failure becomes effectively irreversible on a regional basis.”

    A staffer spoke up. “We have Indian Point, it can supply a large part of the critical energy requirement, probably for years.”

    Indian Point, a very old but still operating nuclear power plant, was located up the Hudson River, only a short distance from the City.

    “Commercial nuclear power plants actually need some electricity from off site to function.” Kohn spoke impatiently. She was aware that the newest plants could actually self-generate, but Indian Point was nearly thirty years old and there was no point in polluting the limited technical comprehension of her audience with precise details.

    “If they perceive that there is going to be a loss of load, they will start slowing the reactors, and if they have to, they will use their onsite diesel to run the cooling systems until the reactors can be safely shut all the way down. Even if they did not shut down, you can not power trucks, trains and cars with Indian Point.”

    She nodded her head at the HHS officer, who resumed his seat. It was evident who was in charge. She looked back at the mayor.

    “Our experts on the global pandemic all agree, to a point,” she said, leaning over and tapping the tabletop in front of her. “As you just heard, there is no routine, available and accepted process to mass produce a vaccine in time to fight this plague. But…

    “But,” she continued, looking around at the audience, “we can make an attenuated vaccine. With a little luck, we might be able to vaccinate all of the critical city staff and their families. If we do that, we can then vaccinate enough of the citizen base that we can prevent the complete collapse of city services, the logistics infrastructure that we all depend upon and the economy that provides the cash flow that keeps everything running.”

    The City public affairs officer tried to interject but Joanna’s words hammered over top of the feeble effort.

    “If we keep businesses running long enough, we can keep at least the regional economy moving at a pace sufficient to buy the pharma industry, FEMA and CDC the time needed to begin a large-scale traditional vaccination program based on less…fraught manufacturing techniques. We can even start to reverse the disease trend lines–we can beat this.”

    Before she could proceed, the chief counsel to the mayor cut her off.

    “Can you even feel remorse?” he yelled. “Do you know how many tens or even hundreds of thousands of doses that is? How many murders do you propose that the mayor authorize?”

    Joanna drew upon the core of her belief in change. She had to convince the mayor and he had to take the critical step. This arrogant puffball of a city attorney could not see the entire picture. He could be dealt with later.

    “Unacceptable.” She struck the tabletop with a closed fist. “What this is, is life or death. If we do not stop the infection, This Is The End. All capital letters. There is no plan coming from Washington. The military has its own problems–we’ll be lucky if we can hold onto the local National Guard. We have failed to get in front of every crisis that has hit this city in the past. If we had improved the emergency response after the ’93 bombing, we might have gotten more people out of World Trade on 9/11. If we had built the floodwalls before Irene and Sandy, we would not have had to rebuild Rockaway and pump out lower Manhattan. Now we are faced with another decision. A harder decision. You are worried about the political damage to the mayor–I am worried about keeping the City alive. We could even save the country, and you want to argue.”



    She turned to squarely face the mayor’s image.

    “Sir, you have to sign the emergency finding that I drafted.” Without so much as a glance at the attorney, she held a palm up to silence his exasperated objection before he could even begin. “With that authority, I can organize emergency services, the PD, and begin a coordination effort with the major city players. We can use the already afflicted and recover something from their loss by harvesting their infected tissue to make vaccine. Every day we wait takes us closer to a precipice beyond which lies eternal night.”

    The mayor squinted, chewing his lip. Her absolute conviction could not be doubted. He looked around the room, and the face of each person in the meeting revealed that everyone was visibly evaluating one of mankind’s oldest compromises.

    Maybe the ends justify the means…

    However, the mayor also understood liability. Early in his career a mentor had cautioned him to praise publicly and criticize privately. The converse was true of taking on a liability, even one with a huge payoff.

    “We aren’t going to start murdering sick people to save our own skins,” he said, forcefully and authoritatively. The mayor looked directly at his head of OEM.

    “Joanna, your plan isn’t acceptable. Our citizens are not ‘harvestable.’ Call me direct,” he continued, then looked off-screen. “Break this down.”

    Joanna smiled inwardly.

    She was a fan of theater. And she already knew that she was going to get whatever she needed.



    The audience of senior police officers was already restive, chafing at the unaccustomed security precautions mandated before they could file into the large city conference hall. Only the seniormost NYC cops, down to the precinct captain and lieutenant level and who were also personally vetted by Dominguez, had been allowed in. No support staff had been permitted to accompany anyone.

    The preliminaries had been uncharacteristically brief.

    “The following is not for release outside this room.” The deputy chief got to the heart of the matter. “During the two weeks since the infection was initially recognized and reported by the CDC, we have recorded thirty-two sworn officers and fourteen additional police department personnel who have been infected and already exhibit stage two H7D3 symptoms. Of these only three remain alive, the remainder having died during efforts to restrain them.

    “Despite the adoption of more liberal rules of engagement for confirmed and suspected cases of H7D3, a further three hundred and sixty-eight department personnel–of which two hundred and fifteen are sworn officers–have been exposed. All appear to have stage one symptoms and are in isolation. Of particular note, when the disease is transmitted into an open wound, the onset of symptoms can progress atypically and very rapidly. Several officers have developed stage two symptoms without first presenting flu characteristics and have attacked and infected additional officers and emergency workers.”

    Murmurs greeted the summary. Dominguez glanced around the gathered senior officers. More than a few faces were pale contrasts to the dark navy uniforms they wore. However, he was ready for his role.

    “Further, we have a large number of officers taking sick leave,” the official continued. “Despite injunctions and penalties, the percentage of officers taking sick leave and not returning to duty is over eight percent. This figure, added to the known and suspected cases, approaches ten percent of our total officer corps. Since most of the absences and losses are from patrol officers in active precincts, the impact on patrol density and call service interval is significantly greater than the raw numbers suggest.”

    “When do we get the promised equipment?” An anonymous voice in the back called out. “Our guys are dying, or worse, because we don’t have biteproof equipment!”

    Several more voices, safely anonymous in the large auditorium, rose above the hubbub, expressing violent agreement. One hard case, a Brooklyn accented speaker, added what was on everyone’s mind.

    “When are we gonna get a vaccine! No vaccine, no cops!”

    Even louder yells, clearly in agreement, greeted this sentiment. And this, from senior leadership.

    The deputy chief tried to quell the group, holding his hands up and trying to talk over the crowd. Another figure stepped up to the microphone, and placed a keyed megaphone in front of the mic.

    Loud, painful squeals of feedback overrode even the most determined protest, and the room quickly subsided enough that the next speaker could make herself heard.

    Joanna Kohn gestured to the deputy chief, the “may I?” intent quite clear. He ceded the podium, mixture of annoyance and relief visibly warring on his face.

    She wore a dove gray suit, the severely cut trousers sporting creases sharp enough to shave a police recruit. The matching but plain top was without ornamentation, save for small gold OEM flashes winking from each side of the high Mandarin jacket collar.

    Despite the audible undercurrent of side conversations, Kohn began.

    “Gentlemen, ladies, officers–my name is Director Kohn,” she said. “For those who are not acquainted with me, I run the New York City Office of Emergency Management. I have the beginnings of a solution to procure a vaccine and protect all critical city staff. Do. I. Have. Your. Attention?”

    By the time she had reached the word “critical,” the conference hall was nearly still enough that you could hear a pin drop.

    “I’ll take that as a ‘yes,'” Kohn said, smiling faintly. “I have information that you need in order to understand and commit to the next steps. First, I worked with Deputy Chief of Police Hammond to ensure that this meeting was tiled. Second, the chief himself is conducting a public press conference to divert attention from this assembly. Finally, I am in possession of an emergency finding, signed by the mayor, granting the OEM executive and controlling authority to take such measures as are required to expedite the fight against the virus. Therefore I shall speak plainly. We can make our own vaccine and protect first ourselves, and then our city.”

    Questions rose from the audience thickly enough to make comprehension a challenge, but the feeling in the room had shifted, subtly.

    “I cannot quite make out individual speakers,” Kohn said. “I will endeavor to answer your questions, if you can put them to me professionally.”

    That was his prearranged cue. Dominguez quickly rose to his feet and stepped into the aisle, so he would be recognizable both to the audience and to Kohn.

    “My name is Dominguez,” Ding called out sharply. “I run One and I’ll ask the question that I think we all have, Director. What’s your plan and just how are we going to make vaccine?”

    He looked around the room, which was full of other senior cops craning their necks to see who had asked what they were all thinking.

    “Christ on a crutch knows that we need it, and now.”

    He remained standing among loud murmurs of assent.

    “Captain Dominguez, thank you,” Kohn said, smiling calmly. She laid her hands on the side of the podium. One index finger began to tap, beating out rhythm of her words. “I will summarize my plan and explain the steps: As some of you might know, there are multiple ways to create vaccine…”

    Kohn outlined the various scenarios including the attenuated vaccine methods without specifically referring to where to find the materials.

    “We have a process,” Kohn concluded, “that can eventually mass produce radiologically attenuated H7D3 vaccine with an optimally incidental exposure rate of under one percent of the inoculated adult population. Therefore, my plan is for the Office of Emergency Management, in cooperation with select staff from the police department and other city agencies, to recruit the necessary talent, lease the necessary hardware and facilities and collect the raw material needed to immediately prototype a vaccine.”

    Joanna paused and glanced around the room, stopping when her eyes rested on Dominguez.

    “And where are we going to get live virus in quantity, Madam Director?” Ding asked.

    “There is only one readily available source of higher order primates in the City, Captain,” Kohn replied, dropping her hands. “Fortunately, a large number of them are available at the Afflicted Care Centers.”

    Now you could hear a pin drop.

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