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bowels that morning I felt so horny. Then thirst. Dorena have that, too?"
"Identical," he said.
"The headache. Jesus, it was bad for a time. Not so bad now. You giving me
any painkiller in that IV?"
"Not yet."
"My nipples ache," she said. "Did I tell you to do the best damn autopsy of
your life?"
"You told me."
Danzas tiptoed in and whispered to Beckett: "Dorena just died."
"I heard that," Foss said. "That's another thing, Bill. Acute hearing.
Everything's so goddamn loud! Can you get me a rabbi?"
"We're trying," Danzas said.
"A fine time for me to go back to . . . Damn! My fucking stomach's on fire!"
She stared past Beckett at Danzas. "That Madman's a dirty sadist. He must
know how much agony he's causing."
Beckett considered telling her what they had discovered, that most women
lapsed into coma and died without waking. He decided against it. No sense
revealing that the efforts to keep Ariane alive were prolonging her pain.
"O'Neill," she whispered. "I wonder if his wife felt any . . ." She closed
her eyes and fell silent.
Beckett put a hand to the artery in her neck. He nodded toward the monitor
above her bed: Blood pressure sixty over thirty. Pulse dropping.
"Every antibiotic we tried on Dorena only worsened her condition," Danzas
said. "But perhaps we could try some chemo --"
"No!" It was Foss, her voice surprisingly loud and shrill. "We agreed . . .
shotgun for Dorena, nothing for me." She turned a glazed stare toward
Beckett. "Don't tell my husband about the pain."
Beckett swallowed past a lump. "I won't."
"Tell him it was easy . . . very quiet."
"Would you like some morphine?" Beckett asked.
"I can't think with morphine. If I can't think I can't tell you what's
happening to me."
A male nurse in army blues with a white jacket entered the room. He was a
young man with flat, pinched features. His name tag read "Diggins." He
stared fearfully at Foss's still figure.
Beckett looked up at him. "You find a proper blood type with a low-grade
infection?"
"Yes, sir. He's a confirmed bladder infection. He's already on bactrim."
"White-cell count?" Beckett asked.
"Doctor Hupp said it was high enough. I don't have the numbers."
"Then get him in here. He just volunteered to give blood."
Diggins remained standing in position. "Is it true, sir, that we're all
carriers of this thing? All the men down here?"
"Likely," Beckett said. "That donor, Diggins."
"Sorry, sir, but there're a lot of questions being asked out there . . . the
doors being sealed and all."
"We'll just have to sweat it out, Diggins! Are you going to get that blood
donor in here?"
Diggins hesitated, then: "I'll see what I can do, sir."
Diggins turned on one heel and hurried from the room.
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"Discipline's going to hell," Foss said.
Beckett looked at the monitor: Pulse eighty-three, blood pressure fifty over
twenty-five.
"What's my blood pressure?" Foss asked.
Beckett told her.
"Thought so. I'm experiencing some breathing difficulty. I'm cold. Are my
feet trembling?"
Beckett put a hand on her right foot. "No."
"Feels like it. You know, Bill, I've figured out something. I'm not afraid
of death. It's dying scares the shit out of me." She fell silent, then
weakly: "Don't forget, pal -- the best damn' autopsy . . ."
When she did not continue, Beckett looked up at the monitor. He could feel
her pulse slowing under his hand. The monitor read ten beats per minute and
dropping. Blood pressure was diving. Even as he looked, he felt the pulse
under his hand stop. The monitor emitted a shrill and continuous electronic
shriek.
Danzas went around the bed and turned off the monitor.
In the sudden silence, Beckett removed his hand from Foss's neck. Tears were
running down his cheeks.
"Damn him! Damn him!" Beckett muttered.
"They're arranging for us to do the autopsies in the OR," Danzas said.
"Oh, fuck off, you bloody French prig!" Beckett shouted.
I have always felt a certain horror of political economists, since I heard one
of them say that he feared the famine of 1848 in Ireland would not kill more
than a million people, and that would scarcely be enough to do much good.
-- Benjamin Jowett, master of Balliol, Oxford
"Surely, Mister President," the secretary-general said, "some way could be
found to save what's left of your DIC team. They seem to be so remarkably
well met."
The secretary-general, Huls Anders Bergen, was a Norwegian educated in
England. He had played a number of golf games with the man on the telephone
and, on those occasions, they had been Hab and Adam. But Adam Prescott was
firmly seated in his office as President of the United States today. There
was no camaraderie in his voice.
What is troubling him besides the obvious? Bergen wondered. It was something
that Prescott did not want to say without elaborate preliminaries. The
President appeared almost to be rambling. Why should he be talking about the
procedures for sterilizing infected areas, and in the same breath as the
tragedy at Denver? Those procedures had been worked out and accepted by all
parties. Could it be something new in the costs?
"I agree, sir, that the economic realities are a prime consideration," Bergen
said.
He listened then while Prescott played out this gambit. The costs, although
now thousands of times greater than for any other disaster in human history,
were clearly only a part of the President's immediate concern. Could he be
thinking of sterilizing the Denver complex? Bergen wondered. The thought set
his hand trembling with the telephone against his ear. Bergen, a man who
could talk bluntly when it was required of him, asked the question straight
out.
"The facilities, not the people," Prescott said.
Bergen heaved a sigh of relief. There was too much death already. This
meant, however, that the rumored Colorado Plague Reservation was a reality.
Infected men were to be isolated there. Why couldn't the DIC team be sent
there, then?
"Could The Team work effectively without the DIC facilities?" Bergen asked.
Prescott did not think so.
Bergen weighed this factor in his mind. Obviously, Prescott and his advisors
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needed the Denver military facilities. The DIC complex there could be
sterilized and made useful once more for the military. But what of The Team?
"They saved us days in identifying how the plague was spread," Bergen said.
"And now that we've confirmed it was O'Neill, surely the four men . . ."
The President interrupted. He did not want to isolate such brilliant minds.
But what was to be done with them when the DIC was put to the fire? There was
no comparable facility available in the Colorado Reservation.
On a sudden hunch, Bergen asked: "Could they be sent to that new facility in
England?"
The President was full of immediate and fulsome praise for this brilliant
suggestion. Only a genius could have thought of it.
Bergen took the red phone away from his ear and stared at it, then brought the
instrument back to his ear. Praise was still pouring from it. He stared
across the office at the paneled wall, the dark wood door. His desk chair was
the best the Danes could supply and he leaned back in it, the phone still at
his ear. A child could have made the suggestion to send those men to England,
but Bergen was beginning to see the President's political problem.
If the four infected men of The Team from the DIC were on an airplane, they
might crash in an uninfected region. The crash site would require the "Panic
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