Regis Air Maintenance Hangar
Back to ground zero, looks like the scientific and political wheels are now in full motion. The unfortunate passengers being slowly removed from the aircraft and identified.
I can’t think of a more distressing job than being surrounded by so many victims. The first part of this chapter made me immediately think of the soldiers who first discovered the concentration camps and how I can never truly understand how they felt at that terrible moment.
The authors try to put it into words, and with one man in particular, even by invoking the memory of 9/11, but I don’t think you can understand such a thing until you’ve experienced it personally.
Eph, Nora and Jim have a discussion, which is as much for the benefit of the reader as it is for the three characters. The how’s are bantered back and forth, ranging from the complete “death” of the plane, to whether there could be a man-made pathogen to consider.
Eph appreciates it purely so he can step back and “see the wood for the trees”, I appreciate it because I enjoy peeking into the workings of the scientific and analytical mind of the characters, and their creators, the authors.
There’s some discussion of the survivors too.
Eph nodded. He had been so focused on the details all morning, it was good to step back and see strange events from a distance. “This is why the four survivors are going to be key. If they witnessed anything.”
Or, as Jim mentions, if they participated in the event in some way, although I consider this to be unlikely.
Then, Eph’s attention is called to the cargo hold of the plane. What is found there, and which is not listed on the cargo manifest, is what sounds to be a very intricately carved, even ornate, oblong black box.
The entire description of the box just screams vampire’s coffin to me, but then I already know the book is about vampires, the characters are unaware. In any case, the box is discovered and questions are raised. Where did it come from? Why isn’t it on the manifest? Who does it belong to? And how come it isn’t strapped down like the rest of the cargo?
They open the box and discover inside, soft, dark soil. By this time Nora has drawn parallels to coffins, and if someone hadn’t I’d have been disappointed.
Of course, the characters talk about whether the box of soil was the container for whatever-it-was that caused this catastrophe, and they’re kind of right too.
Jamaica Hospital Medical Center
Eph visits surviving patients. Two of them don’t appear to be a problem, but the lawyer of one of them, some hotshot goth musician, could become a pain. Certainly the third patient, who actually is a lawyer herself, seems to be plotting to file a lawsuit against Regis Airlines.
What I don’t understand about these patients, is their failure to understand that they are the only four survivors from a plane full of people. If it were me, I’d want to know for certain if was healthy before the hospital discharged me. I wouldn’t want any surprises. These characters don’t seem all that bothered, and are more concerned with being quarantined, and therefore restricted in their activities. I think they need to sort out their priorities out.
And then there’s those poor unfortunate who didn’t survive.
Nora said, “What could it be? Something that slows tissue decay somehow? These people are dead ”
“In every way except decomposition.” Eph shook his head uneasily.
He has every right to feel uneasy and from the looks of things, and his boss, Dr. Everett Barnes, he isn’t going to get the kind of support he wants. Media, publicity, legal claptrap and bureaucratic red tape, all providing the usual difficulties. And what’s worse, it looks like Dr. Barnes wants Eph to just be window dressing, the face for the media to gawp at. In the meantime, Eph has a job to do, how the blinking hell does the director of the CDC expect him to sort out how those people died, and whether or not it is infectious/transmissible or some kind of attack. For a man of his years and qualifications, Dr. Barnes has a funny idea of what his priorities should be.
Director Barnes smiled, showing his enamel again. “The doctor’s code is, ‘Firstdo no harm.’ The politician’s code is, ‘Firstgo on television.'”
With quotes like this, it makes me wonder if Dr. Barnes wouldn’t be better off switching careers.
The term “solar eclipse” is in fact a misnomer. An eclipse occurs when one object passes into a shadow cast by another. In a solar eclipse, the moon does not pass into the sun’s shadow, but instead passes between the sun and the earth, obscuring the suncausing the shadow. The proper term is “occultation.” The moon occults the sun, casting a small shadow onto the surface of the earth. It is not a solar eclipse, but in fact an eclipse of the earth.
This is just a small excerpt, the writers go into quite a bit more detail about what an eclipse is, or more correctly, what an occultation is.
Who says you can’t learn anything from works of fiction.
Kelton Street, Woodside, Queens
Kelly was an educated woman. She understood on an intellectual level what was occurring. And still she felt an almost giddy surge of panic. An impulse to run, to hide. This lining up of celestial bodies, the passing into the shadow of the moon: it reached something deep inside her. Touched the night-frightened animal within.
Beneath the veneer of intellectual civility, I think we all are still very much afraid of the dark. If a lightbulb dies, a fuse blows, or there’s a power cut, someone nearly always screams a little bit when the lights suddenly go out. We’re so used to having the lights at our command, people have forgotten how to cope in the unexpected and unsettling darkness. I recently saw someone use a mobile/cell phone as a torch, all well & good, but then that person complained that the battery was running out 😉
Kelly, on the other hand, the authors are pouring on the atmosphere thick and heavy, and she’s keenly missing her son and boyfriend. The air of doom is getting to her.
Yankee Stadium, the Bronx
Kind of cool, that’s my first impression of Zack in this chapter. He’s at the baseball game, with Matt the boyfriend instead of his dad.
Zack ranges from slightly unimpressed with the occlusion, distracted by baseball players, and then veers into thoughts of making a movie with his friends later on in the winter. Zack’s internal dialogue skips along from plot to plot, expanding and elaborating from the moon turning into zombie eyes into Zombie Moon and brain-slurping zombie baseball players.
It’s embarrassing, but I think a little bit like Zack, especially when I’m leaving a shopping centre or mall, just this side of it closing and the shutters coming down. George A. Romero has a lot to answer for 😉 Some places are just not the same during closing hours, and it’s mainly because of his Dead movies.
Zack’s home movie sounds pretty cool, but I’m getting the feeling that it will never get made, Zack’s reality, along with everyone else’s, is going to be a geek of a lot scarier than a home movie with cheap & cheerful makeup effects.
Damn, now I’ve got the doom and glooms 😉
Back soon with more chapter notes, bye for now!