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Page #64

Q: Well yes, there is something in your tale that seems, to me, believable. I am forced, for the first time, to ask myself "could it really happen?" And viewing your past history of remarkable calls in the field of Virology - I would prefer not to answer that question. It is the knowledge that I would rather avoid that question that frightens me.

MA: I can understand your concern. There is a certain rhythm to life and many times it seems to telegraph the direction that it is moving in.

We are often just passengers on this cosmic train and that knowledge can be a bit unsettling.

Let's have a drink and take a break for a moment.

Q: She must have seen that I was not quite all there. My mind was going over this new revelation. I had no idea that organisms could change so quickly and in concert of all things. It was the piece of the puzzle that never seemed quite right.

From our first conversation I was aware that MA was awaiting a viral outbreak of a scale that would change our species. So what - I know people who believe aliens visit us from time to time. Everyone to their own.

But this outline of events is lacking the huge leap of faith that I always assumed she had made. I suppose it could be possible...

MA: Here is a fresh Crown on the rocks. I will be right back - I am making tea.

Q: I put another log on the fire and tried to gather my reporter persona. My desire to see this conversation played out in detail now appears to have gone a bridge too far. It is safe and warm to view others as odd or eccentric, all the time smugly maintaining a safe distance from the message. But I feel a bit compromised.

Q: MA, are you saying that there are to be multiple simultaneous mutations worldwide?

MA: Yes.

Q: And I assume this large scale outbreak is what overpowers the health care systems?

MA: There will never be a real opportunity for containment. This is not Hollywood. No hero will develop a magical antidote just in time to save the beautiful woman. No, this event is of such a consequence that, by the time the scale is apparent, the issue will be settled.

Because the virus is airborne the first three days of outbreaks will saturate such a large population that all the wheels will rapidly come off even the best health care systems. The first task will be to understand what is happening and it will, all to rapidly, become apparent that it is a very hot bug and that it is pandemic.

But by the time the extent of what has happened is well known - there will be no recourse.

Child, there is no recourse even now. We cannot kill this creature. We have only kept it at bay for these many years and that era of detente is rapidly ending.

Q: But MA, you make it sound so hopeless. How could you believe such a thing?

MA: There are things that I believe and things that I know. This virus and its coming change are something I know. I know in detail and specificity that defies all common understanding - yet my knowledge remains.

And now you know.