Chapter 24 - Eyes Wide Shut: An Enigma - Hide In Plain Sight
All Terrain Vehicle - (ATV)
Saturday. Curtis loved to get out and ride his ATV. He placed a call to JR, asking, Want to ride ATV’s?.” JR asked, “Could George could join them.” Curtis said, “Sure, perhaps Sherriff Sloan would want to ride too.” Curtis invited Sheriff Sloan. He too wanted to relax. They agreed to meet at Jawbone Mountain at 10 am.
Five minutes prior to 8 AM, Curtis heard what sounded like a Country Western Concert with the public address system stuck on 120 decibels. It was like an amplified rock concert in front of speakers, or a pneumatic hammer at one meter, (at around 120 dB, the sensation of hearing is replaced by that of pain) – George has arrived with his George Straight, “Out of Sight Out Of Mind” song dispersing any living animal from the area.
Shutting off the “music,” George announced, “You boys ready to ride?” as he unloaded his ATV from his pickup with huge tires. JR, Sheriff Sloan, Curtis unloaded their ATV's.
Jawbone Canyon is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range on the Western edge of Mojave Desert. The Los Angeles Aqueduct goes through the area from Bishop to LA. The aqueduct turned the Mono Lake near Bishop into a desert. Jawbone Canyon is an outstanding place to explore old abandoned mines, ghost towns and talk to real “mountain men.” There is something for everyone in a rustic setting.
Everyone decided to ride together and to go north. They had enough gas to ride all day. Rocks flying, they took off. Sheriff Sloan was leading with George right on his tail. George was pressing him for the lead. Curtis and JR were content to ride in the back. Sherriff Sloan rode a fast furious pace up hills, down canyons and stopped at an old goldmine. An old, dilapidated leaning house was at the entrance. They began to explore the house. It was made from old tree logs with huge iron spikes. Someone had been sleeping in a corner. There were old blankets and cans of Vienna sausage laying around. They left the old house to explore the mine cave.
At the entrance, they could hear music coming from inside. Sheriff Sloan looked at Curtis. They looked at JR. George looked puzzled. George asked, “What is going on?” Curtis told George about the falling huge silver disk disappearing into a cave and they were unable to locate. George shrugged his shoulders and said, “So? Out here in the desert, you see lots of weird stuff. The government has secret stuff all over the place. They even have caves, old mines and parts of the Boron Mine was used for government something, or other. It is not a big deal. He would go and see who is playing the Music. It sounds like County Music.” George was smiling. He was happy.
With George in the lead, they worked their way into the old apparently abandoned goldmine. After about 15 minutes, they paused and listened. The music was not getting louder. George said, “He must be going down the same rate as we are. Do you guys want to continue?” Sheriff Sloan said, “Let’s go about another 15 minutes and if the music is still moving away from us, or if it starts getting dark, let’s stop and go back. We are ATV riders, not cave explorers.”
They stopped another fifteen minutes exploring their way deeper into the old goldmine. Curtis noticed a side smooth tunnel. It looked like a hot poker had penetrated the rocks and left a smooth, glassy tunnel. The floor looked like it had a well-worn small path, or road about ten feet wide. There was a glow at the end. They exchanged glances. No word was said.
George broke the silence, “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.” Sheriff Sloan said, “He was not either, but this was far enough into the cave. That tunnel is not part of the old goldmine. Let’s go back and ride our ATVs.”
At the entry they were met by two men in black. They wore Wackenhut Special Securities Division insignia. They were armed. They were not smiling. Sheriff Sloan asked, “Can we help you?” The apparent leader who had a silver badge on his hat asked, “What are you people doing here?” Sheriff Sloan identified himself and tried to explain he was enjoying exploring an old abandoned gold mine, when he was interrupted with the demand to see identification from everyone.
Curtis looked for the ATVs. They were gone. The men in black perhaps moved them. The men in black motioned for them to all line up against the cave entrance wall. Wackenhut Special Securities Division men in black checked their ID’s and made a radio call. Apparently, they checked OK. They told them they could go, but they should know they had intruded into a restricted area. Sherriff Sloan apologized. George knew enough to keep his mouth shut.
Curtis looked again for their ATVs. They were at the same place that they had left them as if they had never been moved. Curtis knew they were missing two minutes ago. He would check for any prints. There were no prints. Nothing had been moved. Curtis understood they had stumbled onto something classified and were lucky to be released. It was best not to ask any questions and get out of Dodge as quick as possible. Wordlessly, they left the area.
After 30 minutes, they stopped. JR said, “Jesus, what was that?” George said, “I ain’t going back there.” Curtis interrupted with, “I know this sounds weird, but our ATVs had disappeared when I first checked on them when we got back to the mouth of the gold mine entrance. They were not there. Yet, after our IDs were cleared, I checked and they were at the same location with no tracks of being moved. It is weird.”
Nothing was said. Silence. As if on cue, they started their ATVs and left in a straight line in the opposite direction of the goldmine. They did not stop until lunchtime. It was at least 50 miles away from the goldmine. After comparing notes and having time to collect their thoughts it was time to relax and to enjoy the bright, cool desert air with the wind in your face. They enjoyed the rest of the day.
They loaded their ATVs and headed home. Each had something to do. Curtis headed home to relax and to read. Curtis did not enjoy cooking. He would stop by the same McDonalds where he had been kidnapped to get something to eat. It would be a quiet Saturday evening. He would not assist anybody. Being kidnapped once was enough. Daemon never apologized anyway. He would eat alone and read the local paper. His medallion alerted him that Daemon was checking in on him. No problem. Curtis enjoyed his meal and drove home. He enjoyed reading his books that evening.
JR called and asked if Curtis wanted to play pool Sunday morning. They agreed to have breakfast at Kelcy’s Restaurant. It was simple good food. JR asked Curtis what he was doing about the schizophrenic connection with T. gondii. Curtis told JR his computer was running simulations for various gene manipulations of T. gondii. Curtis gave JR an update concerning the schizophrenic behaviors from T. gondii which may stop Daemon.
Curtis said, “JR, what we have here is a race to see if we can stop Daemon before he discovers the process to delete the schizophrenic behaviors from T. gondii . Daemon is pressing hard for a solution.”
Leaving Kelcy’s Restaurant, they saw Daemon with Mary Sue. Perhaps he was working seven days per week. Curtis should have asked her for a date this weekend.
It was JR’s turn to win playing pool. Curtis was thinking about Mary Sue. JR said, Curtis, you seem preoccupied, I am going home. The rest of the evening was quiet.
First thing Monday morning at work Curtis needed to get the result of his experiment where he had infected mice with T. gondii four days ago. It was time to verify the infection. He ran the test and they were infected.
It was now time to determine if it was possible to destroy T. gondii by mouth (orally) utilizing chemotherapy in infected mice. He would use the chemicals the computer suggested to use to destroy T. gondii in mice, and humans. The computer noted this treatment is highly effective against T. gondii and normally produces no side effects with the following chemicals:
- 25 mg pyrimethamine
- 1 g sulfadiazine
- 5 mg folinic acid
The computer then produced an alternate choice of chemicals to conduct an experiment for special consideration and possible use with the notation that these were very high doses:
- 1.5 - 2.0 g sulfadiazine
- 600 mg clindamycin
- 750 mg atovaquone
The computer noted that to determine effectiveness of chemotherapy to the mice, blood samples should be drawn for a critical blood count (CBC) and to check for T. gondii antibody titer. This would verify if chemotherapy worked.
In the meantime, he instructed the computer to work on Daemon’s number one project. He would be in anytime and he wanted to show progress was being made.
Curtis instructed the quantum computer to process a multiplex, or many modifications to a genome simultaneously inserting into a large batch of T. gondii where the parasite’s own machinery for self-assembling DNA would take over to produce billions of different T. gondii genomes. It would now be a simple task to select the variants that produced the desired serum. At that point, to compare the genome, chunk by chunk to the computer simulated desired genome to see where and how the two differed.
Finally, to put all the separate, reworked genetic chunks back into serum DNA. Each would find its own way, via the cells natural ability to assemble DNA, to the proper location. The result was to identify which T. gondii genes used to infect humans produced schizophrenic behaviors. The computer was to identify and eliminate the specified genes.
Daemon came into Curtis’ office. Curtis gave him an update only on his project. Curtis did not want Daemon to know about his research to eradicate T. gondii. If this research were discovered, he would explain they needed the ability to eradicate T. gondii in case of accidents. It was good insurance. In the meantime, Daemon did not have the need to know.
Daemon sat down. He was staring straight ahead. Daemon stood up and told the quantum computer he wanted an answer now. What about genes in T. gondii produce schizophrenic behaviors in humans? He wanted them identified and eliminated now. Daemon instructed the computer if it could not derive a solution, let him know what avenues or process that would produce a solution. He wanted this ASAP. This was top priority. Do not work on anything else.
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