Dr. Reed called and said that he wanted to update hospital leaders on his team’s findings and give further instructions. I called the operator and had her contact the Executive Committee, a governing body comprised of the department heads, committee chairmen, and all the assistant hospital administrators quarantined in the hospital. The group assembled within fifteen minutes. The two from the CDC were the only ones in the room in hazmat suits and helmets.
Dr. Reed gave his report: “Ebola virus was definitively diagnosed by electron microscopy.”
Everyone groaned, even though they knew before this report came in that it was Ebola. Then, he gave what he called the “good news.” The vast majority of the patients who had been in the hospital at the time of the explosion, as well as most of the doctors, nurses, and people in maintenance and facilities, were not exposed and could be released from quarantine to return to their homes. I began to applaud and the other members of the executive committee followed.
Reed was resuming his talk when my telephone rang. I looked to see that the caller was the Mayor’s Office. I answered in a quiet voice, “Dr. James.”
It was Mayor LaShaun Washington. “I know you are in a meeting with Dr. Reed and your staff. I’m going to call back in a minute on Skype so I can teleconference with your entire group.”
I paused for a moment to comprehend his demand, and hung up. I opened Skype on my computer. The large screen at the end of conference room went from black to a picture of Mayor Washington and a group of people sitting at a conference table.
The Mayor spoke: “Dr. James, you will recognize everyone in my panel, the Jackson City City Council, and of course the City Attorney, Ms. Marks.
“Dr. James. This conference is called into emergency session. Now, let’s get right to the point: Dr. James, did you receive a message from a terrorist group that mentioned ‘Ebola?’”
“Dr. James: Did you, or did you not, receive a message from a known terrorist organization in the last twenty-four hours? The Jackson City Police have the article in their possession. You are a terrorist. You affiliate with terrorists, you’ve been the center of multiple attacks, and why the FBI has allowed you to carry on, purely in the interest of having another informant—”
“I am not a terrorist, sir!”
“Dr. James—you are out of order here. This is an emergency meeting. Let’s get to the second point, of which this body has just been informed: You are immune to Ebola. Is that correct?”
Reed stepped forward and said through his mask, “We have not informed Dr. James of that yet. We just got the results. Frankly I’m a little shocked that you know.”
“I assure you Dr. Reed, this body will be involved in every aspect of this ongoing tragedy. Dr. James, we find it all just a little too convenient that the epidemic you have created here in the United States is something that you also just happen to be immune to—”
“I didn’t create anything!” I screamed. “What are you talking about! It’s Omar Farok! He’s doing all this!”
“Dr. James! That’s enough! That is enough! That is enough! Now … The FBI will be taking you into custody shortly. We are cooperating thoroughly in their investigation. This body is going to make sure that the federal authorities do the right thing and indict you for conspiracy. You are directly responsible for a number of terrorist attacks and your connection with certain cults is well known. The City Council has passed a binding resolution that relieves you of your position at The Jackson City Hospital. Permanently. We are also considering civil action against you and your group.”
“Why don’t you just banish me from the city! You’re a dictator, right?”
“Just throw me out of my own home! You are a dictator, right?”
“Dr. James. That’s enough.”
I turned and looked at the scornful stares of my hospital staff. Many of these doctors had been my friends for many years. I had grown up with so many of them. But no one spoke a word in my defense.
Glenn Shepard’s first novel, Surge, was written while he was still a surgical resident at Vanderbilt. In the following years he wrote The Hart Virus, a one-thousand-page epic about the AIDS crisis, as well as three other novels. In 2012, he created “Dr. Scott James,” his Fugitive-like action-hero, and began publishing a series. The first volume of the Dr. Scott James series was The Missile Game, followed shortly afterward by The Zombie Game. The third of the series, The Ebola Game, is due out in December, 2015. Though the books contain many of the same characters, they don’t have to be read in order. Each can be read as a stand-alone.
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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Glenn Shepard. There will be 2 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Ebola Game by Glenn Shepard. The giveaway begins on April 1st and runs through April 30th, 2016.