Corrupted Transmission

Competitive Intelligences, Part II

Seattle, Friday September 10th, 7 AM

Shaw makes breakfast while the morning news plays on the TV. The flu outbreak competes with a second horrible murder for the headline. A woman was killed in her apartment. She had been brutally assaulted and her eyes slit open. As for the flu, that was Agent Gray’s cover story. Otherwise it was usual: horrible traffic and rain.

She heads to the office and a short while alter settles in at her desk. A call comes in from the Men in Black.

“One of my agents checked back at the Rock Box this morning,” Gray tells her. “We found a digital voice recorder in the lost and found. It seems like it is Amelia’s.” He explain they haven’t had time to analyze it yet. “This might be useful in tracking her down.”

“Definitely,” Shaw says. “Can you get me a recording of it?”

Gray says he can make one but it will be a little bit. She heads to the hospital to hear it herself.

Harborview Medical Center, Yesler Terrace, 9 AM

The hospital is packed with sick people and people who probably don’t need to be there. In the quarantine area, Mill hears rumors that the doctors are doing spinal taps on the patients.

Lillian Shaw drags Vito along. Agent Gray fills them in when they arrive. “We’ve only listen to about half the recording so far. It seems to be some sort of voice journal.”

“Makes sense,” Shaw says. “She was a scientist.”

He nods. “It seems to indicate she knows a lot more about the disease than we do.”

“Mind if I listen to the recordings?” she asks. Gray gestures to the chair by the agent doing the transcribing.

The investigators listen in. The current section is from three nights ago. She seems to in a quiet location discussing the effectiveness of batch 12 of the drug labeled Static. “Preliminary scan seems to indicate that the infestation has moved deeper into the brain. There is no decrease in IgE counts. Perhaps I need to up the dosage.”

There is a break and the noise of traffic can be heard. “I’ve had those dreams again of the woman. She keeps calling me her sister. I need to talk to Katherine about it. Maybe they are more signs of the hallucinations. I thought we’d licked that.”

“So she’s still in contact with her sister then,” Mill comments. “Did we know that?”

“Nope,” Shaw says, concentrating on the background noise. There are street noises on some of the recordings as well as the hum of a nearby highway. It could be the clubs. The other sections must be at her lab. But even there the highway can be heard in the distance as well as the occasional rumble of a large truck. It is likely in the Industrial District.

Shaw suggests that the Men in Black focus on finding what car she took after escaping Mill and Dr. Trevor Sorenson. Then they should concentrate their search for that vehicle in the Industrial District.

The investigators discuss talking to Katherine, perhaps starting softly but bringing in the Men in Black if she won’t cooperate.

“How are you? Are you okay?” Shaw asks Mill.

“I feel alright,” he lies, trying to ignore the itchiness and headache. “I feel fine.”

“You’ve been discharged?”

“No. I’m still under observation. If I have to go I’ll go though.”

Shaw however points out that Mill did try to kidnap her. He agrees he shouldn’t be part of their first attempt.

Elsewhere in Harborview Medical Center, 10 AM

Shaw finds a nurse who set up a meeting with Katherine. “Does she have an opening?”

“Umm, sure,” the woman asks. “May I ask what this about?”

“Yeah, its a family matter,” Shaw says sneaking a look at Katherine’s schedule. “Not a medical consult. I’ve been asked to find somebody.”

“Okay. how about 11:45?”

“Sure,” she says as she leans back. Katherine is fairly busy today but there is nothing odd about her schedule.

Returning to Agent Gray, she finds they have found footage of Amelia entering a parking lot and leaving in a small blue car. As the begin to comb the Industrial District, Shaw checks out who the car belongs to: a woman named Melisa Jones. She lives near Amelia’s house and works Downtown as a graphic designer.

Shaw decides to set up a meeting.

“Hello?” Mellisa says as she picks up the phone.

“Hello Ms. Jones,” Shaw says.

“Who is this?”

“My name is Lillian Shaw. I’m assisting in a police investigation I believe you have information that might help. Is it all possible for us to meet with you? I know your time is valuable but it should only take a few moments.”

Ms. Jones hesitates but says, “I suppose I could take a short break.”

“Excellent, I’ll be there in a half hour?”

“Okay.”

Shaw heads out but sets Vito to watch Katherine.

Downtown, 10:45 AM

“Thank you meeting me, Ms. Jones,” Shaw says as sits down in the lounge area for the company Ms. Jones works for.

“No problem,” the thin dark haired woman says, joining her.

Shaw describes Mellisa’s car as well as the recent sighting of it by the clubs. “Were you driving the car last evening?”

“No…I lent it to a friend.”

“Oh I see. Can you give me the name of this friend?”

Mellisa stammers for a moment before revealing that her friend, Amelia, is trying to avoid her ex-boyfriend. That was why she borrowed the car, so he wouldn’t recognize it.

“Do you know if she filed a report with the police?” Shaw asks, already knowing why she was really running.

“I assume she did,” Mellisa says.

“This is in regards to a disturbance at a club last night. Someone came after a young woman, we believe it was your friend.”

“Oh no, he must have found her,” she says wringing her hands.

“Do you know where she is staying right now?” Shaw asks calmly. “Her name did not come up in our searches.”

“I don’t know. Maybe her sister would know.”

“Okay. When was the last time you spoke with her?”

“It must have been almost too weeks ago.”

Shaw gets Amelia’s phone number. “Thank you so much. You’ve been a big help, I don’t want to take up anymore of your time. Here’s my card in case you hear anything.”

Harborview Medical Center, 11:45 AM

Robert Mill returns yp his room. Already the local anesthetic is wearing off and the pain from the spinal tap is making itself known. Also he can see that the those with the illness are being moved to one end of the hall. His end.

His new roommate is young man with orange hair. Despite his healthy skin, he looks bad off. He tosses and turns in his sleep. A click happens each time he moves his arm, handcuffed to the bed as he is. He begins to mumble in his sleep, “little girl..little girl, she needs help.”

He shifts his position as Mill leans in to list. “The dark haired woman…”


Meanwhile, Lillian Shaw and Vittorio Vitacelli go to talk to Katherine Greenberg. They meet the blond haired woman in a break room.

“So what is this about?” she asks as she fidgets in her hospital scrubs.

“We are very concerned about what is going on in the city,” Shaw explains. “You’ve heard the public announcements about the flu.”

“Yeah, there have been a lot of people coming in,” Katherine says tiredly.

“Yes. My agency is under contract to do the research on this. We were surprised when it led back to you. When was the last time you spoke to your sister?”

“I haven’t seen her in a month,” she lies.

Shaw presses on. “We have a voice recording of hers stating that she has been in contact with you and intending to to contact you as recently as two days ago.”

“I’m not sure what you mean,” Katherine says nervously. “My sister she went missing, she disappeared. She wasn’t well the last time I saw her.”

“It is because of her research right?” Shaw asks.

Katherine passes in the room. “I guess. She was doing something very top secret. I really don’t know the details of it.”

“But you did help her with the hallucination side effects,” Shaw says breaking her down. “Neurology is your area of expertise?”

It takes Katherine a moment to respond. “You have to understand she’s not safe,” she pleads.

“Neither are all the people you see coming in,” Shaw says testily. “This is a matter of public safety and you’ve taken an oath doctor!”

Katherine takes a deep breath. “We thought we could cure it. You’re saying she’s responsible for the patients?”

“She’s certainly been spreading it.”

“I really haven’t seen her much in the last couple weeks,” she admits.

Vito interjects, “When was the last time you talked to her if you haven’t seen her?”

“We’ve been communicating via email,” she explains, sitting down.

Vito looms over her. “And the last email you got from her was when?”

“I got one a week ago.”

“Nothing later than that?” he asks.

“No,” she says looking up at him.

“You sure?”

“Yes.”

“What did she say in that email?” Vito says. Shaw gives him a look and he shuts up.

Katherine composes herself. “I’m not really sure where to begin but I can tell you where her lab is.”

“That would help,” Shaw says calmly.

She gives them the address. It is in the Industrial District.

“That fits with what we know,” Shaw says.

“We were making progress to curing it,” Katherine explains. “Amelia devised these drugs that removed the infection from sections of her brain. We had hoped we would be able to remove them from it entirely. I was worried about the effects the drugs were having on her mind however.”

“How was she exposed?”

“She contracted it at work,” she explains. “There was some accidental contact and the parasites got into her. She knew if she stayed there they would experiment on her. So she came to me and we studied it. We tried to find a cure.”

“Do you have any samples?” Shaw asks.

“Not on me but I have some back in my office.”

“We’ll have to confiscate those,” Shaw says nodding to Vito.

“May I have your office keys please?” he says to Katherine. “Anything I should know before I go in there?”

“There’s a file,” she tells him, “its on a flash drive. It should be the top right drawer. It has her research notes and our recordings of the radiation they were giving off.”

Vito whisper to Shaw as he leaves, “Gray can put on her on ice.”

Shaw ignores it and listens as Katherine continues her story. “I don’t really know how to describe it. They have a way to communicate remotely. We were able to record it. It is not electromagnetic or sonic but they give off this energy. My sister says they give off a psychic static. We built a device to record it and we able to use it to drive the infection from portions of her mind.”

Shaw cuts off her description of her research. “Do you know of anyone else who was infected, either accidentally or on purpose?”

“No,” the doctor says as Vito returns with the materials.

“Well I know you still have a long day ahead of you,” Shaw says. “Please make sure you are available at the end of your shift. Someone else will want to do a full interview with you.”

The two investigators return to the quarantine ward. Shaw calls Agent Gray and tells him to cut off Katherine’s phone and email access.


Agent Gray asks the investigators what they discovered.

Shaw fills him in. “It sounds like Amelia was infected in an accident at work. She sought her sister’s help in trying to cure herself. I have a possible location. We can cross reference it with the vehicle that your group has been tracking. If we can have an outside confirmation that this is an active spot then we may have a chance of capturing Amelia alive.”

An hour passes as the agents pour over traffic footage and the CDC doctors review the flash drive. They confirm the location and Gray outlines a plan to storm the building. They will use the cover story that this is a raid on a meth lab.

“We want to be extremely tactical about this,” Shaw warns him. “We don’t want to harm her or have her take her own life. I think in a lot of ways she’s victim of this as well. She has spiders in her brain and might not have control over herself when she infected these people. I think she’s a patient zero rather than a villain.”

“Be that at as it may, she’s also a danger,” Gray says.

“Just don’t go in guns blazing. There will be blow back.” Shaw urges him to try for a soft extraction. “I hope Vito will help with that.”

The plan is readied for later that afternoon.

Elsewhere in Harborview Medical Center, 1 PM

The young man with the orange hair tosses and turns in his sleep. “The Widow…”

Robert Mill deceides to wake him.

“What’s happening? What’s going on?” the man says as he comes to.

“Sir?” Mill says.

“What? Who are you?” he says confused.

“Are you having strange dreams?” Mill asks.

“Uh yeah,” he says wiping sleep from his eyes. “Why do you ask?”

“You were tossing in your sleep. I heard you saying something about a little girl and the widow?”

The man gives him an surprised look. “Yeah, there was this weird dream. There was this little blond hair girl, then she was this woman who called herself the widow.”

“If anyone comes around, don’t tell anyone, they will think you are crazy,” Mill advises. “They’ve got us trapped here. They think we are infected or something. I’ve been having similar dreams.”

“You’ve dreamed about a little girl?” he says with not a little suspicion.

“She says there are things whispering and that they are coming for us. Crazy ramblings like that. I don’t know what’s going on.”

“That’s sounds pretty crazy,” he agrees.

Mill asks him what the woman said. “She said they were coming for us. She didn’t say anything else. I can’t remember.”

Mill also asks where the Men in Black grabbed him. The man, who is called John, explains they grabbed from a club called the Havana.

“If you have anymore of these dreams let me know?” Mill requests.

“I guess,” John says without much conviction.

Industrial District, 4 PM

The teams assemble around the disused factory building. The three exits are each covered, waiting for the go signal. Shaw sits with Agent Gray in observation van. Vito stands at the back door with four other armed men.

The signal is given. With a loud bang, the back door is opened and a flash bang grenade is thrown in. The team is in moments later. They pass through a small dark room into a large central room lit by high windows. Computers and medical equipment sit on old tables in the room. The screens are still on.

“Spread out” Vito orders. Then he hears it, over the sounds of his men and the those at the front door, someone fleeing up the hall to the left. He informs the other team and throws another grenade up the corridor. Heading up the corridor, he finds Amelia Greenberg stunned on the floor. He zip ties her before she can recover. They hustle her out of the building and into a waiting van. She is sedated and whisked to Harborview Medical Center.

Shaw meanwhile joins other agents to look at labs. She calls Mill. “We got Amelia, they are bringing her to the hospital.”

“They are? Okay.”

“You might want to make sure they treat her appropriately,” she advises.

“Sure. Thanks for the call.”

As she looks over the lab she sees more of her experimental drugs. The computer has days of voice recordings on it. However there are no unusual spiders in evidence, just the lab, a cot, and a well used chalk board. As she looks closer at the chalkboard, she sees that some of the notes are in a different hand writing. Shaw snaps a picture. She also comes across a handdrawing of a woman with long dark hair. It reminds her of the picture Dr. Trevor Sorenson had Frank draw. She takes a picture of that too.

Harborview Medical Center, 4:30 PM

Amelia is wheeled up the hall sedated and handcuffed to a gurney. The CDc doctors converge on her as she enters the isolation room.

Vito watches as his charge vanishes. He spots Robert Mill down the hall and calls out, “Hey we got your girlfriend.”

Mill just sighs and returns to his room. He pulls out his phone and calls VI.

“Hey,” he answers.

“Hey, its me Mill.”

“What’s up?” the monster hunter says.

Mill glances out the hall. “I wanted to give you a status update. We’ve located the source of the problem you brought to my attention. Its some sort of weird brain spider thing. I’ve been infected so I’m stuck in the hospital right now.”

“Are you okay?” VI asks concerned.

“Maybe? They might be able to treat it, I’m not sure.” Mill sighs. “I don’t know if you heard about it but that incident in the club district was me.”

“Oh yeah. We did hear something about that. Oh and there was crazy drug bust cover up earlier today.”

“They just captured a woman named Amelia. She worked for Keystone.”

“Ah so they are involved,” VI says.

Mil voices his concerns. “The agents just brought her in. I’m a little worried they might hurt her in some way. Her sister works here in the hospital and had been helping her with this problem. I was wondering if you could let her know about Amelia.”

“Okay,” VI says.

“Also I’m not sure if Amelia is the original source of the problem,” Mill rambles. “Probably not. I’m not sure. But I’m a little concerned about the way things have recently been going that she may end up being harmed. Is there anything we can do?” Mill asks.

“Uh, well if the Men in Black already have her…it will be kind of hard for us to break her out,” VI admits. “If you have a plan I’m open to it.”

“Well right now I’m pretty stuck. I could try to break out but I don’t know how hard it will be.”

“Well we’ll talk to the sister,” he tells Mill.

“Alright. Thanks VI.”

Mill hangs up and looks over at John. The young man has dozed off again but looks pretty pale. As he mumbles in his sleep, Mill watches him closely.

Harborview Medical Center

Dr. Ilyes has been busy. At the morning meeting, the CDC doctors were able to show that the parasites transfered via saliva contact, such as a bite or kiss. The spiders enter the blood stream and migrate to the nasal passages and then into the skull. They hypothesize that the creature’s life cycle is roughly a few weeks. Once it reaches maturity they lay their eggs and transfer to a new host, though in some cases there is a different result. The spiders cannibalize eat other and devour the host’s brain. With this information they began to use a spinal fluid test to weed out which patients were still infected.

Then Amelia is wheeled in. Ilyes joins the others in the examination room. He is hopeful more can be learned. According to the reports she is the longest surviving person with the disease.

“While she might be one of the primary vectors, she might not be patient zero,” he cautions as they begin their tests. He turns to Agent Gray, “Do you want us to apply treatment before you interrogate her?”

“I leave it to your discretion.”

The MRI scan reveals larger than average spiders in her brain and not in the usual locations. These have been driven into her forebrain. They begin to take samples.

Outside, Vito passes in the hall, keeping an eye on things. Robert Mill is in his room. He notices John has gotten very still. Worried he looks closer and John takes a breath. Mill takes his pulse to be sure. It is very rapid. Mill tries to shake him awake. He calls for a doctor.

John’s eyes snap open.

“John, are you okay?” Mill asks.

“I’m fine,” he says flatly. He sits up. “I’m okay.”

Mill checks his pulse again.

“I’m fine,” John tells him.

Mill ignores him and goes into the hallway looking for a doctor. An older woman in scrubs comes over. As Mill turns to lead the doctor back into the room, they see John. He standing in door wielding the rail of the bed he was handcuffed to like a club. The doctor dives for safety as he swings at Mill.

Mill calls for help and dodges under his swing. He pushes him back into the room and locks the door.

Vito hears the scuffle down hall just as he hears shouting from the security checkpoint in the opposite direction. He glances down the hall and heads for the security check point. As he goes he pulls out his phone and speed dials Agent Gray on the way.

Agent Gray meets Lillian Shaw and the remaining agents downstairs. They’ve brought Amelia’s equipment. Then his phone rings. Vito says, “something is going down up here.”

Gray turns to Shaw, “We’ve got trouble.”

In the examination room, Ilyes hears gunshots. He and the CDC doctors vacate room, leave Amelia behind locked in the room. As they enter the hallway, the doctors can tell the gun fire is from the security stations. They start evacuating the low threat patients from the ward.

Vito opens the door into the security station. In front of him he sees two men in black agents crouched behind a desk firing at three approachign civilians. One of the civilians has been shot multiple times but is barely bleeding and slowly advancing without expression. Realizing these must be walkers like they expected, Vito hoists up his shotgun and unloads the beanbag round into the wounded one’s head. There is a crunching noise as the man’s skull cracks and he falls backward.

Another one opens his long coat and pulls out a sawed off shotgun. He blasts one of the agents and he falls back firing wildly and clutching his side.

Shaw and Agent Gray hear the gunfire as they race up the stairwell. Shaw pulls his pistol.

As Ilyes and the CDC doctors move the patients toward the emergency exit, they find their path blocked by a sickly woman in a hospital gown and clutching an IV stand as a weapon.

“Don’t let her bite you,” Ilyes shouts. He and two other doctors grapple her and pull her to the ground.

Mill meanwhile runs around the crowd to the room Amelia is locked in. He looks inside and sees the air shimmer and bulge, as if something was pushing its way into the room. With a mighty kicks he breaks the door open and rushes in.

At the security check point the gun fight continues. Vito wounds the walker with a shotgun but the creature merely grimaces and fires back. The other walker rushes forward and grapples the unwounded agent. It opens its mouth very wide and a swarm of spiders pours over the man. As blood blossoms through his shirt, Vito spots Shaw and Agent Gray emerge from the stairwell opposite him.

“You have any tazers?” Shaw asks Gray.

“I think we are past that point,” he says pulling his Desert Eagle.

“Then you want to get guys on the exits,” she says. Gray looks to the two agents who followed them up. The hurry to close the nearby doors and contain the threat.

Vito fires his shotgun into the zombie again. the damage is too much and it collapses. He backs up back into the ward. Shaw dodges past the remaining conflict to join him. They can hear the gunfire and screams behind them.

In the ward, Ilyes and the doctors manage to pin the patient after a short scuffle.

Meanwhile Mill sees the face and arms of a dark haired woman emerge from thin air. She looks like she could be the sister of the little girl. Then a second set of arms emerge and 4 large spider-like legs. She reaches for the bed. “You can’t touch her! She’s mine!”

Mill is faster. He grabs the end of Amelia’s bed and pulls her to safety. He wheels her out of the room and down the hall, never looking back.

Two huge spider limbs claw out after him, then slowly retract as Vito and Shaw watch. Mill meanwhile heads to emergency exit and past the doctors.

Ilyes calls to Dr. Carriker who isn’t holding down the zombie. “Sedate this patient.”

She stabs with it with a syringe. It struggles for a moment then goes very still. As a huge spider crawls out of her mouth, Ilyes looks for something to hit it with. In desperation he smashes it with his gloved hand.

Shaw catches up with Mill at the emergency exit.

“Can you help me carry her out of here?” he asks.

“Sure,” she says. They bundle Amelia in sheets and carry her down the stairs.

Vito meanwhile approaches the room where the creature was. He tosses a flash bang grenade inside and waits for the explosion. He then cautiously peers inside.

There is nothing there. He keeps his gun trained on the room, until the gunshots end and Agent Gray arrives.

“Something big came out,” Vito tells him. “Its gone now.”

“How big?” the old man asks, holstering his gun.

“There were two five foot legs reaching across the hall.”

Gray shouts down the hall. “We have injured men.”

The doctors head over and Gray tells them about the agent who was bitten by a horde of spiders.

“Did you see what type of spider bit him?,” Ilyes asks. “Cause there are three types of spider antivenom: neurotoxin, hemotoxin and straight necrotic. We could give them all three but that’s going to have some bad interactions.”

“Give me a second,” Gray says. He returns a moment later with a handful of strange alien spiders.

Ilyes examines the dying man carefully and decides the effects are closest to necrotic poison. they do what they can but the antivenom is unable to save his life.

Back of the Harborview Medical Center, 5:30 PM

“Where are we taking her?” Shaw asks as they carryAmelia Greenberg from the stairwell.

“I’m not sure,” Robert Mill says, adjusting his hospital gown. “Away from this place.”

“What was that thing coming out of that room?”

“It seems dangerous,” he says.

Shaw checks Amelia is unharmed. “Let’s put some distance from here and then we can talk to someone. The agents? V.I?”

“We could take her to her sister,” Mill suggests. He shuffles uneasily, wondering where his other slipper went.

“You have her number?”

“I don’t really want to go back in the hospital,” Mill admits. “It seems dangerous.”

Then they hear some shout out to them. As they shift into a defensive stance, they see it is V.I.. “Hey Mill is that you?”

Mill relaxes. “Hey, this is Amelia right here.”

“Yeah I just talked to her sister,” the monster hunter tells him.

“Great. Is there someplace we could take her?”

“Uhh, I’ve got my truck?” V.I. suggests lamely.

“Is there some_place_ we can take her?” Shaw asks.

“Yeah,” he says thinking quickly. “We got a place we could take her. What do we need?”

“I have no idea.”

“Okay, let me make some phone calls.” He leads them to his truck and then pulls out his phone. As he explains the situation to someone, they load Amelia in the truck. Mill fills Shaw in on the events in the room.

“Good job,” she says. “I thought it was just a giant spider.”

“Yeah its a like a drider,” he tells her.

“A what?” she says.

Mill explanation is interrupted by V.I. “We’ve got a place we can take her. A friend of mine, Jeb, he’s got something set up we can use.”

As they leave the garage, Shaw gets a call from Vito. “We’re stabilized up here. Where are you?”

“What was going on up there?” Shaw asks.

“We’re still trying to figure that out.”

Shaw fastens their seat belt as they pull onto the street. “The infected people were attacking?”

“Seems that way,” Vito says. “In coordination with something strange in that room.”

“Did they leave any of them alive so we can ask or interrogate them?”

“We’re still treating the injured.”

Shaw hears Agent Gray. “They are dead, they had large spiders in their heads.”

Mill looks over to Shaw and points out that john was locked in Mill’s room. Shaw passes it on, “have you checked the guy out in Mill’s room?”

“No we haven’t.”

Harborview Medical Center, 5:45 PM

Vito takes a couple of agents and sweeps the room. They find John on the floor by the window. There is a trickle of blood out of his ear. Vito prods him with his shotgun but John is very dead. There is no sign of the spider.

South of Seattle, 6:30 PM

As they drive south of the city, V.I. remarks, “I’ve got a spare pair of pants in the back.”

Mill takes advantage of that as they pull into a trailer park. V.I. stops in front of a rusty old trailer. An old man is sitting in front of the door to the trailer with a shotgun across his knees.

V.I. gets out of the truck. “Hey Jeb. Doc get here? Or any of the others?”

The old man shakes his bald head. “Nope, they are still on their way. So this is about those spiders. This must be Mill and Shaw, the detectives.”

“Nice to meet you,” Mill says shaking the man calloused hand.

Jeb scratches his white beard. “Well I’ve got a space cleared out in here. Let’s see what we can do.”

They carry Amelia Greenberg inside and place her on a table. A big medical supply bag sits nearby on a chair.

“So what’s the story?” the old man asks.

“We don’t exactly know but it seems there is an infection being spread somehow,” Mill rambles. “Spiders are getting into people’s brains, making them act strangely and eventually killing them. But before they get killed, it causes some changes in their personality I guess.”

“Yeah, some sort of weird Azlu,” Jeb comments.

“What’s that?”

“Azlu,” he says. “That’s what somebody called them once.”

Shaw joins the conversation. “Dr. Greenberg here was working for Keystone and somehow got infected.”

Jeb turns to V.I. “That’s that Cheiron front isn’t it? So they’ve got their tentacles into this.”

Jeb sits down and begins to explain. “So the Azlu are these spider things, they burrow into people’s heads. They remote control them.”

“There was also some sort of giant lady who was trying to attack Amelia here,” Mill adds.

“Yeah I’ve heard of that sort of thing. The Azlu get big enough, too big to get inside someone’s head, they turn into a person spider thing.” He sips some beer. “Reckon this thing is related to that thing in Norfolk?”

V.I. nods. “That’s what Doc says.”

“So they can communicate somehow? Over some frequency or radiation?” Mill asks.

“I don’t know about that,” Jeb admits.

“That’s what this doctor discovered,” Mill explains. “It would also explain why some of the patients all seemed to attack at the same time as the spider lady.”

Jeb whistles. “Spiders with radios in their heads.”

Mill suggests calling Amelia’s sister and asks V.I. for a ride back to his apartment to pick up some stuff.

“Sure,” the monster hunter tells him, “we’ve got to wait for Doc and the rest of the team. Jeb’s really only useful for removing bullets.”

They leave for a short while and Mill returns clothed and with the doll. He gives it to Amelia.

Harborview Medical Center, 7 PM

Ilyes wipes his brow. Those who could be saved are patched up and they have broken up the patients between the uninfected, infected, and based on the MRI’s a single possible terminal case. After the deaths 27 patients remain, not including Mill.

The doctor decides to check on that. He texts Shaw. ‘Is Mill with you?’

‘Yes, how many did you lose?’ the reply says.

‘We lost 2 patients. And 1 agent.’

Ilyes turns his attention to the critical patient. Addressing the CDC doctors, he says, “we’ve got an idea of the worst case scenario is for this guy which is a big fricking spider crawling out of him. Are we ready for that?”

Ilyes asks Agent Gray to have an agent ready and places the patient in a completely sealed isolation room.

Next he turns his attention to how to treat him. Surgery is far too risky. He decides for now to up his drug treatment.

Trailer park, south of Seattle, 7:30 PM

A upper end sedan pulls up to Jeb’s trailer. An older man and his wife step out. They introduce themselves to the detectives as Doc and Mad. As they get acquainted, a beat up Beetle pulls up and an frumpily dressed woman steps out. She introduces herself as Nails.

“You guys really like nicknames don’t you?” Shaw remarks.

V.I. remarks, “well some of the things we hunt, they might track us back afterwards. Safer this way.”

Doc enters the trailer and looks over Amelia. After a few minutes he says, “well, its great and all that you brought her here but I don’t know exactly what you expect me to do.”

“What kind of doctor are you?” Shaw asks.

“Doc’s just what they call me. I’m more of a scientist really.”

Robert Mill points out Amelia has been treating herself for some time. She might know something that could help. The others agree it might be a good idea to consult her.

“I brought my doll too if it helps,” Mill adds.

“What’s up with the doll?” V.I. asks.

“I’m not quite sure,” he shrugs. “It seems to have some sort of power I guess. Infinity is interested in it. It seems to have some effect on the Sandmen and the Dopplegangers. I figured it might be helpful.”

Doc and Mad seem to edge away from the doll after that.

A short while later Amelia wakes up. “Uh, where am I? What’s going on?”

“You were abducted from your lab,” Mill explains. “Do you remember that?”

“Uh, yeah, I remember,” she says holding her head. “People were breaking into my lab. People grabbed me and took me to a hospital or something.”

“That’s right. Things got pretty bad at the hospital. At one point spider creatures attacked. We assume it is related to this whole issue of brain spiders. So we took you out of there. I didn’t think it was safe for you there.”

She brushes some of her blond hair off her face. “Thank you. Who are you people? I thought you were just hanging out at the club.”

Mill apologizes for his deception and explains, “I was afraid that if we left you with the secret agents you would be harmed.”

Mill manages to gain Amelia’s trust and she confides that she has been infected for two months. “I’ve tried everything to drive them out.”

Rapidly speaking she describes her research: advancing the BSNX strain, concoting new drugs, isolating the creatures psychic static. She explains she was afraid she was being followed and needed imprioved methods to detect them.

“Followed by whom?” Shaw asks.

“Not sure. Someone from my dreams. This woman, this dark haired woman. Then there were the people with the buzzing in their minds. I think it was the spiders. Other hosts trying to communicate.”

Mill describes the spider woman he met.

Shaw pulls up a picture on her phone. “Like this?”

“Yeah,” Mill says.

Shaw turns to Amelia. “Its the same picture you drew at your place.”

“So she’s real,” the biochemist says. “I thought it was a hallucination.”

Mill fills her in on the encounter.

“She kept urging me to do more work on the drugs,” Amelia mutters.

“But the drugs seemed to work to some degree,” mill tells her. “You’ve had the disease longer than anyone.”

“Would you like to talk to the doctors at the hospital?” Shaw asks.

Amelia looks away. “I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to go back to the hospital.”

“That’s understandable,” Mills says. “I don’t see why you have to go back to there.”

“I tried to cure the disease. I don’t know. It wasn’t as virulent before.” She continues her rambling account of the research. She explains how she drove the infestation from the cerebral spinal fluid region into limbic system and deeper into her brain. She mentions the dreams giving her ideas to try and driving her to work harder. “Maybe she was misleading me.”

Mill asks Jeb if this helps explain how the Azlu work. The old man confesses in his experience the Azlu are not a disease, just a monstrous spider. Doc and V.I. think it might explain what happened in Norfolk in 2007. There was a massive cover up but a few reports got out of large spiders, empty skulls, and walking dead. Unfortunately no hard evidence remains. Those who wrote the reports don’t even remember it.

“I don’t know who was behind it,” V.I. comments, “but they covered their tracks pretty well.”

Shaw turns to Amelia. “Dr. Greenberg, you were exposed to this when you worked at Keystone. Do you know where they obtained their samples?”

“We were aware of an existing infection in the area,” she explains. “It had been present for some time, simple passing from host to host, leaving little trace of its passing. The original infection, as I think I understand it now, would end after passing to a new host. The original host would no signs except for some possible brain damage. But it is unlikely to kill them.”

“Dr. Greenberg why did you infect Mill?” Shaw asks.

She fidgets in her chair. “I didn’t mean to but the spiders they have the ability to overwhelm a persons cognitive function for a brief span of time.”

“So as much as I don’t want to make you do something under duress, I don’t think its prudent to leave you as you were. I believe you have been the vector for several new infections. I think if you think back I think you’ll see that its true. If you want I can give you my case files.”

As Amelia thinks on it, Shaw continues, “I don’t think you purposely did this but I think you should take steps so that this does not happen again.”

“It just so hard to think. After they infected my limbic system…”

Shaw offers to call Amelia’s sister, Katherine. “You trust her?”

“Yes.”

“And she’s not infected?”

“No, I haven’t seen her in person in weeks.”

“I trust the rest of you don’t mind me calling from this location?” Shaw asks. As they nod, she steps out.

As Amelia continues her story, Mill steps out. Outside, he asks that V.I. handle bringing Katherine here. Shaw hangs up and says someone needs to keep eye on Amelia and Mill. She checks Mill is unarmed.

Before he leaves, V.I. tells Shaw “So we don’t the expertise here to do much for her, but if they have research there maybe we should get somebody from there to talk to her about it.”

“Yeah, it would be a lot easier if she just went back.”

“Well she has good reason not to,” the young man says. “They might want to eliminate her or something.”

“I haven’t heard anything about that. The people who can help are working with them. It seems stupid like we are working against each other when we should be stopping this disease together.”

“Okay,” he says.

“I know you don’t have a history of trusting each other.”

V.I. turns to his companions. “Doc, what would it take for you to get some evidence? Then we could talk her into going back.”

“I guess I could get that in a moment,” the older man says.

“I do trust the Men in Black to control the outbreak,” Mill says. “But they might not care about her safety.”

Shaw points out the Men in Black need to be informed. “Dr. Greenberg is not patient zero, the spider lady is.”

Harborview Medical Center, 8 PM

Dr. Grant approaches Dr. Ilyes. “We still have some of the samples from Amelia and we are cross referencing them. There seems to be something slightly different about the strain she has than most of the others.”

He shows him the genetic profiling. He points to one set of genetic markers. “These correspond to 12 of the infected.”

He puts up a second slightly different sheet. “These correspond to 5 of the infected including the critical patient. And this is the one from Amelia.”

The second strain seems to be a hybrid of Amelia’s strain and the first. The doctor discusses calling the first one strain A and the second strain B. Amelia’s would be strain C. Mill has strain B.

Worried, Ilyes texts Shaw. ‘Do you know where Amelia is?’

‘Yes.’ she replies.

‘Can you her back and more importantly can you get Mill back?’

‘Working on it.’

The CDC doctors and Ilyes convene. Strain A seems to be responding best to Ilyes’s treatment. None of the patients has gotten worse and signs are good for a recovery. Strain B is less positive. They discuss their options. The surgical approach seems impossible given the size of the parasites. Dr. Hall recommends continuing with improving the drug treatment. He and Grant also like an idea Ilyes has of using ultrasound to break up the parasites. Dr. Carriker espouses the odd idea of using the psychic static from Amelia’s research. Finally Grant put forth the idea of using chemotherapy.

They decide for now to try ultrasound. Ilyes spends the evening finding an ideal frequency. It still is an iffy proposition. The resonance close to that which might cause serious brain hemorrhaging. They decide to use it on the critical patient.

Vito spends the evening recovering from his injuries and watching the room where the spider lady came through. The claw marks on the tile floor are the only evidence it was ever there.

Trailer Park, South of Seattle, 9 PM

After they collect their samples, V.I. and his friend agree to help Shaw convince Amelia and Mill to return to the hospital.

With her sister Katherine by her side, Shaw starts, “you two have both been infected. We are not going to be able to defend you from that weird spider lady or from yourselves if you lose control or erupt.”

“She’s right,” Katherine says. “You should go back to the hospital. Maybe together the doctors there can find a cure.”

“I don’t think either of you are in danger from the Men in Black,” Shaw assures them. “You are not the primary problem. For one the spider lady has obviously been trying to work through you.”

“I might not be in danger but Amelia might,” Mill says.

“When was the last time you had your treatment?” Shaw points out.

“Oh I meant from the Men in Black. I’m still in danger of dying from the infection,” he concedes. He does point out Amelia seems to be near the center of this and the infected might be a danger if she is nearby.

Shaw counters by pointing out only two patients were actually involved in earlier attack.

“What do you think Amelia?” Mill asks.

She reluctantly agrees to come back to the hospital.

Harborview Medical Center, 10 PM

Iyles meets them in the planning room. “Amelia what is you opinion. We have four approaches to treating your condition, which we are now calling strain B.”

He lays out the pros and cons of each approach: drug treatment, ultrasound, radiation therapy, and psychic static. “The last one uses what you referred to as psychic static?”

“Yes,” she explains, “the parasites give off a sort of static, that’s the best way to describe it. It works on psychic wavelengths.”

Ilyes posits his plan. “The idea is to either block that static and see what happens or create some sort of counter signal to fry them.”

“There’s a drug that I developed that could help.” She gives him the details of the drug Static. It triggers parts of brain to drive off other hosts of the infection. She hypothesizes it might be used to kill them.

Mill favors the drug treatment and hesitantly the psychic static idea. “Maybe you guys can combine your research and come up with a good chemical solution?”

Ilyes turns to Dr. Greenberg. “Amelia, I think we will treat you secondly as you are the second worst off of the patients. Given that which treatment path would you like us to try?”

“Chemical,” she says. “Perhaps the psychic method. We should compare notes.”

“You can look at the notes on the cocktail we’ve been using to treat strain A. We’ll get back to you in the conference. Right now we need to try the ultrasound on a critical patient.”

Shaw debriefs Vito while Ilyes administers the new treatment. Unfortunately he has to cut it short before it can damage the patient’s brain. Amelia spends the night looking over the notes and devises a new treatment, perfecting Ilyes’s cocktail.

Harborview Medical Center, Saturday 11th

Amelia shows Ilyes her work.

He comments, “well you get to be like the doctors that tested the first yellow fever vaccine. Are you ready to proceed?”

“Yes.”

In the coming days, her condition is much improved. Her dreams disappear and her IgE counts drop. Mill, still on the original cocktail, also improves, with a significantly reduced count.

“Right now with your current progress,” Ilyes remarks. “I’d like to keep you as the control for the current treatment.”

Over the next week, Amelia recovers. Those with Strain A make full recovery while only one of the patients with Strain B succumbs, the critical patient. A sickly spider emerges from his ear.

Shaw slips some samples out to V.I..

Iyles meanwhile discuss the situation with Agent Gray. “I know you don’t want this to be public knowledge but early diagnosis can help you guys deal with these scenarios sooner. So I would recommend allowing some knowledge of this to exist in the medical community. That way your forces and CDC can respond better.”

The Man in Black agrees to look at it. Ilyes writes a paper and his agency remove those aspect they object to but leaving enough t help others. Vito meanwhile tries to convince Gray to requisition him a flame thrower.

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