“For the initial 48 hours, there will be a one-to-one point five vaccinated individual per caregiver ratio. After that, we’ll start taking shifts. The ratios will jump to one of us for every four or five of them for at least eight weeks,” Dallin said.
“Along the far right wall is a defibrillator, three blood pressure cuffs, the thermometers, and the oxygen tanks,” Beth explained, pointing at the wall. Brynn glanced at Beth then at Silus. Silus and Brynn shared a brief, tense stare until Creed interrupted it.
“Si, will you give us an update?” Creed asked.
“There’s complete security around the total perimeter of the property, including the driveway. There are four secured phone lines down here, as well as in the duplex we’ve rented for the families. Nothing can get in or out of here that we don’t want to.”
“Dallin, what are the potential problems we need to be aware of?” Creed asked. He didn’t look at Dallin, but instead focused on the bulletin board in front of him.
“We have two older recipients, one who’s almost 50 and the other, 56. Both are male. We also have a minor who will be turning 18 in 28 days, but still isn’t legally able to make a decision like this without the approval of a guardian. Luckily, Sally’s mother is very accepting and supporting, but she’s also overly involved. For the privacy and protection of each individual recipient, no one besides this group is permitted in this room … ever. Sally’s mother is going to struggle with that.”
“She’s going to be staying in the north side of the duplex, right?” Creed asked.
“Yes. Again, she’ll want to come down here, but she isn’t permitted to. The Harrison twins are massive boys. Both are built like linebackers so it’s going to be a chore if we have to lift or move either of them. Out of the ten recipients, five are between 20 and 30 years of age, which is a good thing, three are teenagers, and then the two older men that have already been discussed.”
“All ten recipients are in excellent health. Nancy examined them one-by-one and she couldn’t be happier with their pre-inoculation statuses,” Creed stated as if Nancy had been a part of the process all along. Brynn had to physically restrain herself from rolling her eyes and turned away from Creed when Dallin cleared his throat.
“I have a personal concern about your dad, Creed.”
“And I have a personal concern about Nancy,” Brynn said, quickly making her statement before Dallin could continue on with his. “I know she’s signed confidentiality forms and stuff, but I—I have reservations about her.”
“I know you do. We all know you do. That’s why she’s on a need-to-know basis only. She doesn’t have full access here. She doesn’t know everything, hell, she hardly knows anything,” Creed replied.
“I don’t want her alone in the house without one of us here to supervise her,” Brynn demanded.
Creed studied Brynn to see if she was being serious. “Brynn, love, you know that isn’t possible.”
Brynn began to retort when Silus loudly cleared his throat. “I agree with Brynn.”
“Done,” Dallin said, desperate to keep the conversation from becoming uncomfortably hijacked.
“What’s done?” Nancy asked. She entered the basement as if she lived there.
“We’re going over our final checklist. Please, have a seat,” Creed said to Nancy.
Brynn tried to pull her hand away from Creed’s grasp, only for him to gently squeeze her fingers in between his.
Dallin didn’t like the building tension, or the amount of time being spent at the expensive of Nancy, the newest member of Creed’s team. “Like I was saying about your dad, he’s the oldest recipient and it’d just … well, it would kill me if anything happened to him,” Dallin cautiously said.
“He’ll be fine,” Beth replied. She gazed intently on Creed. Silus wrapped his arm around his mother Beth and she turned from Creed to her youngest son and smiled. She was confident, at least she put on an air that she was. She didn’t agree with Kalen’s strong desire to receive the EA-7, but she’d support him with almost anything he requested of her after a bit of coaxing and even more explanation.
“Okay. The syringes are locked and loaded. One by one, starting with Sadollah, we’re going to bring an individual recipient down to receive an injection. One injection per hour on the hour, unless a medical emergency occurs,” Creed instructed.
“Don’t forget to chart absolutely everything—a one degree temperature change, if their pee looks too yellow, if you have to flush an IV. Are the consents and waivers all signed?” Dallin asked.
“Yes,” Brynn answered.
“All right, Operation Enhancement is officially underway,” Creed said. He looked at Nancy and pointed at the stairs.
Nancy quietly exited the lab to get Sadollah. Sitting in the family room of Creed’s house were the first five recipients. The other five, which included Kalen, were waiting at Brynn’s house to receive their own vial of the thick, blue EA-7.
24 hours later, 10 very sick individuals were lying in twin beds scattered throughout the basement of Creed’s home.