TC-Amanda

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LBA: The isolation and security at the Hanford Site was attractive when corporations meditated doing something that isn't entirely kosher from a legal standpoint, even under the lax laws of the NCSA. Dr. Amanda Chase was fully aware of this state of affairs.

LBB: But she didn't understand why she had to leave her rented car parked at the checkpoint called Rattlesnake Barricade.

"Government or company vehicles only," said Dr. Ian Trochmann, her sponsor, as he drove her to the lab. "I didn't make the rules, Dr. Chase."

"And my visitor badge?" she asked.

LBC: He glanced down at his own permanment badge clipped to his front pocket. "There is a good chance you will choose to part ways with Pharmadigm after you learn a bit more. Your recruitment involved a number of necessary deceptions which, professionally, you may not accept."

LBD: "What do you mean?"

"First, Dr. Chase, tell me what you know, or rather, what you think you know about Pharmadigm."

She thought about that for a moment, or rather, she thought about how to get it across in a way that Dr. Trochmann, professionally, would accept.

LBE: "I know Pharmadigm is a pharmaceutical, as the name suggests. It's not one of the big ones, but it's been around for about thirty years. It began, so it is said, when government insiders privy to taxpayer-funded research met with venture capitalists to monetize it."

LBF: "So it is said. Do you think it is true?"

"Thirty years is a long time. Things change. There are prestigious organizations with much shadier pasts. Did you know, Dr. Trochmann, that many ballet schools in Europe centuries ago were really just fronts for cathouses?"

LBG: "Can you think of a major product that is produced by Pharmadigm?"

"Nothing in the literature stands out, but science marches on even through a string of failures. I recall a potential anti-anxiety drug that actually had a reverse effect. It caused a very intense anxiety."

LBH: "Oh, that compound has proved beneficial after all. Suppose you wanted to ask questions but you have a tough customer, so you bring out the standard toolkit for asking questions. Without the drug, you have to use the tools. With the drug, you can just show the tools."

LBII: That seemed to set Amanda back a little.

Trochmann said, "The company called Pharmadigm, which you imagine to be a pharmaceutical, is in fact a shell corporation, a front, managed by what used to be the Special Projects section of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

LBJ: Special Projects had always been run by the Deputy Director, Clyde Tolson, who insisted that we call it DECON, for Domestic Enemies Containment, Observation, and Neutralization, but Hoover was more in tune with the political niceties and never let him make that official.

LBK: But Hoover died in '72 and Tolson died in the '73 attack on DC, and there was, as you know, a re-org. Earl Roland was Deputy under Tolson, and he became Director concurrently with DECON stepping into the role for the New Confederacy the FBI formerly had for the US.

LBL: I worked for Tolson from the very beginning, during World War II. Back then there was a...well, we treated it as an outbreak. A contagion. The details are so bizarre that you will imagine we are having you along for a massive joke, but it is most certainly not a joke.

LBMM: You will have every opportunity to examine the subjects, the decades of accumulated research and all the other evidence for yourself, under any conditions you name."

"Is that why I was hired? You are reaching out with this information? You just want to be believed?"

LBN: "On the contrary, Doctor Chase. Your field is neurology. You completed your residency under Dr. Paul Brand, who was well-known to us. It was he who discovered leprosy patients were losing toes and feet due to their neuropathy rather than to the bacilli.

LBO: "I heard that Dr. Brand went over to Pacifica in the, ah, re-org."

"Alas, no one is perfect, Dr. Chase. If you choose to work with us you will find we are dealing with a disease of both the central and the peripheral nervous systems. You are well qualified to consult."

LBP: She said, "I was hired to oversee human trials of a new kind of anaesthetic."

"That much is entirely true," said Trochmann. "There will indeed be human trials. And you will find the subjects gain the ability to consciously choose to ignore any level of pain."

LBQ: "You said this 'outbreak' first happened in World War II? If it is still an issue why has nothing remotely like it appeared in the literature? I would have most certainly been alert to any reports of patients with the ability to voluntarily override pain."

LBR: "Between 1942 and 1950 I was able to examine only four persons afflicted with what I call White Brain Disease. We have the remains of two of these. We lost contact with the other two and we have been unable to locate them ever since, but we know they remain alive.

LBS: Four years ago, a woman named Judith Gervasi was brought to our attention. She presents the first confirmed case of White Brain Disease we have seen in nearly three decades. As with the others, we are exercising our authority to hold her in a mandatory quarantine.

LBT: Miss Gervasi was born in the United Kingdom, but she also holds an Israeli passport, for what that's worth, as there really is no Israel anymore. Like the four other subjects, she is most reticent when it comes to questions about how she contracted her strange ailment.

LBU: We recently learned, however, that a very dark fluid drawn from the patient is capable of inducing White Brain Disease in test animals after about a week. So it can cross species. And yes, we are now ready to commence human trials, which is where you come into the picture.

LBV: It was Director Roland who thought we should be 'reaching out' with this problem. He hopes that a fresh set of eyes and a fresh mind, one from outside of DECON, might help us reach a more productive state and finally discern what the hell is going on with all this."

LBW: They arrived at the desolate location where the town of White Bluffs once existed, before all the townspeople were ordered to move away in the spring of 1943. Only two structures existed here, the DECON lab, and a shack for the guards who watched the lab overnight.

LBX: "So here we are at the lab, and the Director himself is waiting for you inside, if you still want the position. If not, I will drive you back to Rattlesnake Barricade for a friendly parting of our ways, I'll hand over a check for your time already spent, and no harm done."

LBY: Amanda said, "I'll stay, Dr. Trochmann. You've certainly made me curious, and it would be a shame to waste the weeks of prep I went through for this job. But what puzzles me is the usual non-disclosure agreement seems to have been omitted. Or perhaps it was just forgotten?"

LBZ: Dr. Trochmann turned off the engine and smiled. "Think back to the anxiety-inducing drug, Dr. Chase. Somehow, DECON has never seen the need to get a formal non-disclosure agreement in writing. Somehow a informal understanding by all parties has always been sufficient."

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