Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures
Owen paced the living room with unease. playing with the bottom of his lip with one finger, he rested his chin on the tip of his thumb and murmured to himself as he paced the corners of the room. Dr.Cullen's sat on a high chair, taking in all the details of the strange, impatience egomaniac of a man. Of course, he thought, chewing on the surface of his fingernails, impatient was one of many descriptions, and hardly was it the grace of the rest. Though, many who had the misfortune of meeting Owen in person, and come out with the same lofty attitude even afterwards, came up with a few accurate definitions: among them; uncanny, an egomaniac, freak, intelligent, and held a repulsive attitude towards the concept of potatoes. Though what they meant by any of that was never clear.
Owen had come to visit Dr.Cullen in his personal home on a sunday morning, a representative of the Inquisition who was told be holding an “uttermost senior position” above all of America. Because of course, desperate times called for desperate measures, so there they were, together in one room. Dr.Cullen on the other hand, was completely the opposite from Owen. He dressed decently, wore a bright smile and was unmistakingly the type. And yet, there was something about him that made Owen thumb his nose in his direction; something beyond the excessive usage of cologne and the secreted scent of hunger for success .
Dr.Cullen sat well relaxed among his red cushioned couch, taking a sip from his cup of Novus Blue Tea as he eyed the young man. Showing a bit of concern and slight dizziness from Owen’s distractful marching, he cleared his throat.
“Please, Dr.Owen take a seat.”
He obeyed without a word, and strutted towards the nearest couch available, clasped his hands together and stared off into space. After a few moments of silence, he opened his mouth and spoke in the most chilling voice Dr.Cullen had ever experienced. It was the uneasy, soft and the haunting sound of his voice that caught himself off guard.
“N- no thank-you and I do apologize for the delay, but I had to try some of that gifted tea you gave me from last week in the mail. I like it quite a lot, now that I’m trying it,” Cullen stammered, coughed, and changed the subject. “Where were we?...” Owen’s eyes locked onto Dr.Cullen’s. Cullen couldn’t himself himself from scooting back this time.
“Death among the air, Dr.Cullen. Or have you forgotten?”
“Ah, yes. Your, death-among-the-air, or whatever-it-was-called theory,” Dr.Cullen sat his cup of tea on the table. “It’s all very interesting, and it worries me that you have such confidence of its existence. But the probability of this conjecture is…”
“It’s?” Owen murmured.
“Unlikely,” Dr.Cullen sighed. “Can you please go over it again?”
Owen straightened his loose jeans to his waist, then brushed his stubble along his face with a pale and thin arm.“The Memoria-MVU is a deadly and highly mobile genetic virus that’s capable of transferring from one host to the next by birth. The genesis of this disease is unknown, but recent discoveries (my discoveries) suggests the point of first outbreak was in multiple locations around the globe around 200 AD. This further encourages my statement that this new disease has been with us for a long period of time, and only now has it begun to evolve.”
“Memory loss, excessive scratching, heavy breathing, internal and external bleeding and brain failure. In that order”
“That’s..” Dr.Cullen began.
“Trust me, you wouldn’t be the first.” Owen finished for him.
“I was going to say… impossible. For any disease to initially cause brain loss, the host must first be already weakened to the brain. An excessive alcoholic, for example would be a primary example of the case for memory loss. It’s impossible for it to cause such an issue without first making other noticeable symptoms such as not being able to transfer enough blood to the brain. Or a muscle failure. What makes this so special?”
“That’s the mystery of it.. and therefore the reason I’m here. If at all possible, we need to reverse engineer this disease by using the authority of the inquisition to travel back to when this disease was under its own development. We have a few rare samples of the Memoria-MVU back in the lab, but we’ll need your help in order to conduct any experiments for a cure.”
Dr. Cullen grabbed for his cup of tea, frowned as he realized it was empty, rose, shook off dust from his jacket that was never there, and headed for the kitchen.
“Excuse me as I get some more coffee,” said Dr.Cullen. “Well, despite this.. ludicrous symptom ideal, surely you have some sort of evidence to support your claim before initiating TimeTravel? There’s never once been a discovery of a disease that causes brain loss before anything to the bloodstream. Unless this is some sort of exaggerated mental disease for the elderly?” Dr.Cullen scoffed, scratching his arm. “By the way, would you like some coffee, too?”
“Yes please,” Owen replied. “And the only evidence I know of was a girl in Sweden. She died shortly after I met her by coughing out three liters of blood.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, but the only evidence you have that this disease is actually a legitimate issue,” he paced the kitchen, picking up two cups as he continued “And not just an accidental discovery of something harmless, is one dead body and your theory?” he replied, taking a sip of water.
“With all respect, I wouldn’t call it mere theory, Dr.Cullen. I have spent my life researching the Memoria-MVU, and I’m as quite positive of its existence as I am of yours.”
“The Inquisition will never believe this, you know.” Dr.Cullen began. “They’ll hang you until you finally quit your job.”
“Correct, though desperate times calls for desperate measures. I am aware however, you represent the panel of the inquisition.” Owen added.
Dr.Cullen laughed. “Well, of course. I just didn’t want to put that sort of pressure on you.”
“So will you consider? Funding my campaign so we can look into it?”
Dr.Cullen delivered an extra cup of water to Owen, smiling as he went by and sat patiently back onto the couch. Owen raised an eyebrow, jotted down a quick note and then accepted the cup of water. “Depends… How much, and how long does the disease take until it can confirm its host to the reaper?”
“The fund would need about fifty million dollars. Seeing how money comes easy for you, that shouldn’t be a problem. And as far as the estimated time before death after contact, It’s about sixty years. Of course, with small exposure it depends how long it’s been within the DNA in order to affect its host in the first place. But short story is that it’s evolving, and it’s being passed from the next generation to the next. Some aren’t as fortunate and victims die within forty-eight hours approximately after a large exposure. As far as we know, anyways...”
“Then we have nothing to worry about!” Dr.Cullen exclaims.
“I beg your pardon?” Owen stiffened.
“Think of it. If we let the next generation deal with this problem, we don’t need to get involved with anything.”
“And let billions of innocent lives pay for it?” Owen reacted.
Dr.Cullen seemed unchanged by Owen’s reply, his expression fixed in a comfortable cloud of ignorance.
“Well if you put it that way… but it’s only a theory.”
“A near fact! Besides, what’s fifty million dollars compared to the probability of the death of billions!”
“Calm down. I have no interests in funding your insane campaign if the problem doesn’t affect me in any way. I keep my money, you live your so called “life”, and the scientists of the future deal with it. Call it a win-win situation.”
“We are the scientists of the future!”
“Not my problem.”
Owen clenched his fists, but realized he still had the upper hand and thought better of it. His eyes glared down to the cup Dr.Cullen had handed him during their conversation. This time he didn’t hide his devilish smile, and waved the cup of water gingerly in the air. Dr.Cullen scratched his head innocently.
Knowing the answer, Owen asked Dr.Cullen a question. “By the way, of all things, why did you give me water? I had asked for coffee. Not to mention earlier before that you were enjoying a cup of tea.”
“I… must’ve forgotten. Truly sorry about that… Is it getting hot in here?” Dr.Cullen responded, his breath beginning to grow rapid and harsh.
Owen stood up, and began pacing the room with his hands behind his back and his head up high. Cullen looked dizzy, so he cleared his throat.
“Please. Dr.Owen, take a seat.”
Owen paused. And then obeyed silently.
“Thank-you and I do apologize for the delay, but I had to grab some of the gifted tea you gave me. I like it quite a lot! Where were we...?”
“Death among the air, Dr.Cullens… Or have you forgotten again?”
Dr.Cullen took a sip of his water. A drop of blood slid down his nose, slapping the water as it fell quietly in.
“What the…?” he gasped.
“As I said earlier, Dr.Cullen. Desperate times call for desperate measures. That tea I gifted you earlier had a large dose of Memoria-MVU. My guess it that you have about two weeks to live. How’s that for a motivational booster?”
Dr.Cullen was stunned. The glass of water fell out of his hand.
Owen approached him.
“Now. Let's talk business…”