The Virus

November 17, 2010
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St. Vincent’s Medical Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida.
The year 2029.
The past.

The doctor walked briskly down the pale green, tile-laden hall. Past the rooms of sickly patients waiting for cures. Past the radiology wing. Into the maternity wards, where expectant and new mothers alike waited for their children to be handed to them. The doctor sneered behind his medical mask. He had never liked children, which would make his task that much more enjoyable. He walked into the blue-green room where people could watch their babies squirm. He noticed people staring into the room at their “bundles of joy.” Well, that wouldn’t do.
“Computer,” he commanded the room, “Darken panel to opaque.”
“Affirmative.” The computer droned, and as the doctor watched the window panel faded to black.
Outside the baby-viewing room, people blinked in surprise. What was this moron doctor doing that they weren’t allowed to see?
“What do you think he’s doing?”
John turned his head to look at the teenager who had asked the question.
He replied, “Marty, I honestly have no earthly idea. For all I know, he might be eating dinner.” Marty wrinkled his brow. The naturally paranoid nineteen-year-old thought that everything was either a conspiracy or a threat to all mankind.
John brushed his long blond hair out of his face and leaned back in his chair. “Anyway, I don’t think a doctor would or could do something bad to a patient. He’s bound by some Hippopotamus oath or something.”
“Hippocratic.” Marty knew everything about doctors. It was his dream job.
A nurse looked at him disapprovingly and shushed. “Mister… Bingham, isn’t it? You’re making an awful amount of noise.”
John shrugged. “Yeah. So…”
“So, many women, including your mother, are trying to rest. Now how can they do that if you are jabbering?”
John shrugged again. “If you say so, I guess.” Jabbering?
Back inside the squirming-child room, the doctor was calling for assistance.
“Nurse Bellatrix,” he said over the intercom, “fetch me the syringes and the receptacle.”
A few seconds passed before a reply came.
“Yes, Doctor…” A burst of static destroyed whatever she was going to say next.
Minutes passed before a portly nurse arrived with a row of syringes and a trash bin stamped with HAZARDOUS MATERIAL: DO NOT REMOVE.
“Good. Eh…Nurse Bellatrix… you can take the rest of the hour off for your hard work.”
The stout nurse glanced up at the clock. Eleven forty-five in the evening. Oh well…at least she had fifteen minutes and an eight-pack of Twinkies in her bag.
“Thank you, doctor.”
She shoved her immense body through the door and walked off to the leisure room.
The doctor glanced after her. I thought that moron would never leave. He picked a syringe and held it to the light. Full to the brim. He pulled the plunger, and after a brief moment of hesitation, injected it into the nearest infant’s arm. The cradle was labeled KOKI YOKORAMA.
The baby didn’t cry. As soon as the needle had touched the skin the skin around the wrist had gone dead numb. The Asian child just stared ahead blankly, waving its limbs and cooing.
The doctor was too busy to care, though. He dropped the empty needle into the receptacle and selected a new one. He stuck it into the next baby’s arm, this baby named SUSAN BINGHAM. He methodically worked his way through all the children. Then he cleaned up the room, pushed the cart outside, and set the window to transparent.

New York City, New York.
The year 2036.
The present.

The doctor slowly walked down the hallway to his office. Checking his watch, he found it was eight-oh-five. Nearly quitting time, not just for today but also for his career. He was an old man, nearly sixty-six, and soon he would retire. But oh well…best to dwell in the moment. He had had a relatively good day, and only had a little more bad news to give.
His patient lay sprawled out on a chair in the doctor’s office. He was tall and lanky, with blue eyes and long blond hair. The boy was going to break some hearts one day… at least, he would have.
The doctor held his breath. This was how he made his living, but the deception that was found in this area of “medicine” was sickening.
“Ehh, hello, Mister…” He consulted his clipboard.
Without looking up or opening his eyes, the patient finished, “Walker. David Walker.”
“Yes. Err, we’ve run some tests, and we’ve discovered traces of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in your body.”
The patient finally opened his eyes and looked at the doctor. “Now what’s that in English, doc?”
The doctor inwardly sighed. Time to be blunt.
“You have AIDS.”
The patient didn’t even blink.
“So cure me.”
The doctor inwardly sighed, again. He hated lying, which was strange for someone in his profession. “You are aware, of course, that the antidote to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in extremely costly.”
The doctor blinked in surprise. No one had talked to him like that before. It seemed to him that as he got older, people got ruder.
“But,” the patient went on, “I’m prepared to pay the price, if it means I live. Andddddddd, you are technically required by law to do all you can to heal me. So do it.”
The doctor chewed on his lip in frustration. The patient was right, admittedly. Since the Medical Service Act was passed five years ago (after a patient had died of a heart attack while the nurses were on break), if a medical employee did not do all they could to keep a patient alive, they would be accused of dereliction of duty, and fired. So Dr. Sean Kavanaugh had toed the line ever since, even though he had been, secretly, killing people for sixteen years.
He snapped out of his reverie.
“Ahem. Have you experienced any symptoms? Such as…, irritation of the esophagus, disruptions in the inner ear, uncontrolled growth of keratin-based body substances…?”
The patient squinted, trying to work out what just happened. When he finally figured it out, he nodded.
“Yeah…I have. Yeah.”
You would have.
“Well, the antidote is one hundred twenty U.S dollars per gram. For someone of your size, I would recommend a dose of two and one-half grams. That is a grand total of-”
“-three hundred dollars. I know.”
The patient extracted three crumpled one hundred dollar bills and flicked them, one by one, at the doctor, who caught them uneasily.
After composing himself for a while, the doctor said, “Well, the antidote will be prepared in approximately one hour. Feel free to relax during that time.”
The doctor backed out of the room and closed the door.
I always get the obnoxious patients, he thought.
Striding to the lab, where the “antidote” was made, he punched a fourteen-digit code into an interface on the wall.
The door to the lab opened with a pneumatic hiss. The doctor paced into the dark room where the chemists resided.
“I have need of a two-and-one-half gram dose of Unspec Five.”
A male nurse turned to look at the new arrival. “Oh wow. A T-One-O. Who’s the patient? A sumo wrestler?”
The doctor smiled for the first time today. He replied, “It is one-half of an ounce more than necessary, technically. But the patient was not the kindest to me, and I want to make him suffer for it.”
“Dude,” the nurse rejoined (the doctor wrinkled his brow), “he’ll be throwing up for days.”
The doctor’s lips twitched upward in a cold, grim smile. “I know.”
The nurse handed a syringe of liquid to the doctor. “Here you go, two point five grams of torture.”
The doctor nodded and swept briskly out of the room, his coat swirling angrily behind him.
He spent the rest of the hour doing paperwork.

Later he walked into the office and found the patient resting in the chair. “Excuse me... Mister Walker. The antidote is now available. ”
The patient sat up with a start. “Oh good. Well, I think you know what you’re doing, so...” He gestured to his arm.
The doctor inwardly imagined his patient, falling off of the Empire State Building, but only nodded.
Dr. Kavanaugh produced the syringe, uncapped it, and wiped off the patient’s bicep. Hesitating for only a second, he plunged the syringe into the patient’s arm. The patient winced once and then relaxed.
The doctor waited. Any second now...
Suddenly the patient randomly screamed. He fell to his knees, writhing in agony. The patient shuddered, and vomited. Bile flowed across the tile floor, and the doctor stepped back to avoid the vomit from staining his wingtip shoes.
Observing the scene loftily, the doctor buzzed for a clean-up team to fix the mess. As he opened the door, the doctor looked back one last time at Mr. David Walker. He really was a good-looking boy... too bad he was going to die of AIDS.
Briskly striding back to his office, the doctor considered his predicament. The medicine industry were involved in an intricate...relationship...with the government.
The government advertised the “cure” for AIDS and the new “symptoms”, and the medicinal industry brewed up two serums to inject the general public with.
The first serum was nothing more than an enhanced vaccine, which provided the necessary infections or “symptoms”. The serum was injected into all infants at the maternity ward. None of the patients Doctor Kavanaugh had dealed with actually had AIDS. But the symptoms were right there! How could the patient NOT have AIDS? That, it seemed, was the type of reasoning people employed.
The virus (or Unspec 4, as it came to be known) was time-delayed, which meant that once the patient became a certain age, the virus was released.
Unspec 4 normally activated when a victim was near the age of twenty-one, and they accepted they had AIDS as if it made sense, as if they knew it would happen someday.
If a patient was truly shocked to find that they had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, then the doctors would explain it away, calling the disease “hereditary.”
If someone who truly had AIDS had the disease,well, they would just take the medicine and be on their merry way. The ironic thing was that if a person had AIDS and took the serum, they experienced no pain. But if not, the patient suffered in agony for twenty-four hours.
The second serum actually did nothing except remove the symptoms the patient was experiencing, courtesy of Unspec 4.
It wasn’t the perfect way to make money, the doctor reflected as he sat in his office, but it worked.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

DesignerPancake said...
Nov. 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Well, I think it was awesome. But then again, I wrote it.


Odyesseus replied...
Jan. 18, 2012 at 11:34 am
You are a awesome writer
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