West Nile

Dallas Police Department

The lobby of the Dallas Police Department is primarily made up of white-washed brick and old, battered hardwood. Double glass doors lead into the building, a dark blue carpet spanning the length of the room to the Duty Desk. Painted on the wall behind the desk is the silver and blue seal of the department.

Off to the left of the lobby is a roped off section where people can stand in line to make requests or file minor statements and complaints. To the right is a low wall that blocks most of the offices and cubicles from public view, but still shows a certain amount of accessibility. Down that same hall are the holding cells and interrogation rooms, with the actual jail in the rooms below the building.

The evening change of shift sees 'a guest speaker from the CDC' to the squad room, and the attendance is listed as 'mandatory'. While the duty sergeant may skip the occasional briefing by claiming the 'coffee excuse' (Had to make a new pot for the shift!), and the tardy officer sliding in just after roll call, it's not to be this shift. There is a map on the wall of the State of Texas with different counties high-lighted, and there's something of a cluster near the Dallas / Ft. Worth area.

In front of the room, Dr. David Trudeau paces, his hands moving as he speaks, his jacket unbuttoned for ease of movement. He's well into his briefing, having given up the history of a rather virulent disease that is causing some national media attention.

"So, you see from this picture, the clusters in which we're finding the virus doesn't appear to be specific to any one cause. It's in the population centers, sure.. but if we go back.. you'll see that it also has a high hit rate in the shadow of the Rockies. In other words, we have to keep a close eye and report any case that may come around. We've been in contact with the hospitals in the area, and while I hate to add to your 'other duties as assigned'," Here, David pauses, a smile coming to his face as he hears the groans; of course it's 'close to home', "I have to. Dead birds. They've actually been falling from branches and the sky in the northeast, so it won't be too hard to identify. Horses, too. Anything that can get bit by a mosquito could be suspect. But," Raising a finger, he cautions, "we're not going to start screaming about the sky falling. Just.. make note of standing water, dead birds need to come in for testing while remarking where they were found.."


Rachel makes it a habit to be at the briefings, if she's around in time for them. Her shifts are sometimes a little different than the usual duty officer. This particular lecture, however, she wanted to catch. And, even if she hadn't want to, it's guaranteed her superiors in Houston would want her to. So, why argue with the inevitable?

She sit in the back of the squad room, not so far from the door. Not because she's one of those sorts of officers, wanting out at the earliest opportunity. But, more because it's a comfortable vantage to survey just about everything that goes on, as well as what happens near and outside the door.

Nosy, much?

As it is, however, Rachel's interested enough in what the CDC lecturer has to say that it's no chore to sit there, listening.

She files away what questions she may have, however, until the floor is opened to potential questions. Failing that, she can snag him when the rest of the uniforms bolt for the locker or squad rooms.


The lecture is supposed to be informative without burying everyone with details. The last bit of information that the good doctor imparts is given with a smirk, full in the knowledge that what he's about to say is the talk of ivory tower scientists.

"In order minimize the risk of contracting the West Nile virus, which can be deadly for those with suppressed immune systems, the government recommends wearing long sleeved shirts and applying bug spray."

Oh sure.. long sleeved shirts in the Texas heat. That last bit got a couple of genuine chuckles from the audience; poking fun at the government is always something that 'brings people together'.

"If you all have any questions, feel free to ask.." Twisting around to check the clock, he compares it with his watch and casts a questioning glance to the Lieutenant in charge. "Or.. no. I'll be available for questions should you have them.. and I'll be leaving my contact information with the duty sergeant."

Thus virtually dismissing himself, David switches places with the Lieutenant, and the officer, then, gives the order of 'dismissed'. Squad cars have been assigned, officers on foot and on horseback have their areas..


It doesn't really take long for the room to clear. Most get the idea: add dead birds to the list of crap to add to duty reports. Yippee-kai-ay.

As the room empties, Rachel shoves languidly up onto her feet and waits until the crowd has passed before moving toward the doctor. "So, here's my question," she says, greeting him with a smile that turns from warm to wry as she continues. "If West Nile is one of those diseases that gets into the bloodstream," as it is, "how's this going to affect the… unliving population?" You know. The ones who feed on blood. Despite the availability of TruBlood.


David begins to take down his maps, looking very much the professor, as the room empties, and rolling them up quickly, sets them aside to pack into his car for the ride back to the office. Turning around at the voice, he starts slightly, though it seems to be more affectation rather than actual surprise.

"Hello.. Ah.. yes." He exhales softly, "Vampires." Smiling tightly, David shakes his head. "That, I don't have an answer for you."

A deep breath is taken and let out slowly. "See.. it's sort of like.. the study of human sexuality. Men were studied, women were studied. Homosexuals were never studied because it was feared that it would be studied as an aberration rather than the 'norm'. That's why there is so little data out there about that particular lifestyle. Same with the vampires. They're.. insular. Not really given to sharing information about what actually makes them tick, much less what gives them some concern. But, if I had my guess? The virus wouldn't really affect them because it is a virus, but it's not something that attaches to the genetic code, like, say, Hepatitus. That is an RNA transmitted virus.. which, you know, does affect them."


Rachel nods to that. She extends her hand. "Dr. Rachel McKendrick," she says by way of introduction now. A beat. "Psychologist. Special Agent. FBI."

She gestures to the maps he juggles. "Can I give you a hand with those?"

She moves to perhaps help him out with his burdens. "So, basically, though, what you're saying is the only diseases vampires are susceptible to are genetically transmitted. Which means, that even if they happen to feed on someone that's infected, they're pretty much walking around safe. Do they become carriers? You know as well as I do that there are people around that willingly let themselves be fed upon."


"Ah— Dr. David Trudeau.." His hand extends to grasp the outstretched as introductions are made. His hand is retrieved as he offers, "A pleasure, Dr. McKendrick."

It is to the topic at hand that he speaks, however, and at first, shakes his head as he settles them in a neat little pile. "I'm good, thanks.. and yes. There seems to be a genetic susceptibility that is in play. Anything that attaches to part of the genetic code seems to give them a little bit of a problem. Granted, with their regenerative capabilities, they tend to shake things compartively quickly."

Shaking his head, David lifts his shoulders in a shrug. "Honestly? Not part of the purview within the CDC. We're really kinda funny about tiptoeing around the vampires. Again, if we had some data, and test subjects, but something like that? We have no real data." Sadly.

"And the hospitals aren't reporting the potential provenances of the disease. If they see bite marks from a vampire, there is still the possibility that they were bit by a mosquito which transferred the disease.. unless we bring the vampire in and have him or her tested." David smiles tightly and pushes the wire-framed glasses back up his nose, "See our problem?"


Rachel chuckles dryly, giving a brief nod of her head. "Ye-ah. I can't I'm surprised, Dr. Trudeau. I see similar problems within my own field."

Privately, she has her own theories about that, but there's no sense voicing them. "Ah well. At least the boys in blue don't have to go chasing down that angle," she says, wry smile still on her lips. Doesn't mean someone, somewhere won't have to, though. But, it won't be her.

And, really, she's just fine with that. She's got enough on her plate.

"You hitting up all the precincts with this dog and pony show?"


"Psychology? FBI.. profiler, then?" It's the only thing David could begin to think to tack her with. FBI psychologist at one of the Dallas Precincts, and knowing about some of the activity happening in the city, who can blame him?

Chuckling, David turns his back to pull up his briefcase and get ready to leave the room, just in case it's needed for later. "Nope.. all they have to do is look for dead birds on lawns and mark where they found them. Animal Control is a bit overworked." As if the police aren't?

The chuckle begets a smile, which turns into a broad grin as he offers his response to her final query, "I'll be in the area all week." David laughs self-deprecatingly soon after, "Always wanted to say that.. but yes. Every day a different precinct. Then, it's back to the office.. and classrooms." He pauses, then, "You? Are you attached to this one, or—" The smile that hasn't yet faded is offered as it turns slightly lopsided, "Or can't you comment about a pending investigation?"


Rachel smiles lightly. "Profiler, yeah. I have an office here, in this precinct. But, I'm seconded to the force." In other words, she pops around from precinct to precinct, herself. But this is 'home'. At least, it's as 'home' as anything in the South gets for a New Yorker like her. "There are always lots of pending investigations. None related to your dead birds, I think." Which also means none she needs to speak with him about.

"You said 'classrooms'. You teach? Where? What? Epidemiology?"


"Well, considering we know what's killing the birds, not much of a need for the federal constabulary," is given with an amused tone. "Not anywhere near as exciting as the stuff you get to play with— at least for most people. Keeps me busy, and.. okay.. I'll admit it. It can be pretty exciting."

David shrugs off the 'tightlip' easily; he's not here to poke, prod or find anything out. Guest lecturer, he is.. and he's done. A small chuckle exits the man again, and he gestures towards the door, "Let me get you a coffee.. and no. I'm still on the bottom of the totem pole at Southern Methodist. Teaching biology to non-majors. I'm hoping that in a year or so, they'll actually let me teach Anatomy and Physiology. One day, and I can dare to dream, I'll even get my own grad student. But, that's just wishful thinking on my part at the moment.

"You're far from home.. What brings you dow- ah.. yes.. the FBI."


"The FBI, yeah." Rachel laughs. "And, you know, most of what I do on a day-to-day basis isn't nearly as exciting as most people suppose." Day-to-day being the operative word. Every once in a while, she has a spike of excitement. Though, in her life, that tends to come outside her job's official scope. "But, coffee sounds great." She can hardly say no to coffee. Though she's yet to find a truly decent variety here in Texas. Not like back home.

She falls in step beside him. "Where is you're from, Doctor? I'm pretty you're not any more Southern than I am."


Heading for the door, David checks behind him briefly to be sure he hasn't left anything behind before facing forward and leaving the room behind him. Before him, the office with its smattering of desks and chairs and wastepaper baskets..

"Probably the story of everyone's life. I mean, day to day is probably a great deal like my own. Paperwork. Test results. Experiment requests. Having to fill out requisitions. Answering Freedom of Information Act requests.. This is one of the more fun parts of the job. Getting out of the office."

From here, David's not entirely certain where to go. "I'm not going to get you a cup from here. If you're allowed out, we can hit the 'Bean before I get to go home."

Nodding his thanks to the duty officers, David holds a little swaying door open for his companion before he moves through. "Well, you're right that I'm not from the South.. Actually, not even from the States. I'm from Canada.. and before you add 'eh' to that, I can beat you to it." He's got a good sense of humour about it all. "Every time."


"Give me a moment to get my pocketbook," Rachel says, "and I'd be happy to join you." She's not convinced the Bean has great coffee, but the weird 'grunge' atmosphere does amuse her. It's sort of NY pop culture from the early 90's. "It's just down the hall." And it only takes her a moment to retrieve, in any case. Once that's done, she's back quickly enough, ready to go.

"How long've you been in the States," she asks as they head out the door.

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