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US research station, McMurdo, Antarctica: the oldest of the scientists the rescue team discovers is forty-five, and yet, physically, all are bowed, wizened, white-haired. Autopsies reveal that their bodies have aged like those of ninety-year-olds. A desperate world-wide, rivalry-riven search involving amongst others the British, Americans, Russians and the French begins for a cure to the unknown ageing disease, believed to be a prehistoric virus uncovered by the thawing of the polar and Greenland ice caps. An international crisis committee starts an equally desperate and politically influenced attempt to cover up the findings and keep hidden from the public a horror that could cause international panic.
Butte, Montana, for five days. And it was when I was eighteen.’ ‘No other illnesses?’ ‘No.’ ‘What about long term: asthma, anything like that?’ ‘No.’ ‘Allergies?’ ‘No.’ ‘Ever suffered a venereal infection of any sort?’ ‘No.’ ‘You on any medication?’ ‘No.’ ‘You smoke?’ ‘Stopped, ten years ago. ‘Smoker’s cough?’ ‘No.’ ‘Your personnel file says you were married?’ ‘Jennifer,’ sighed Stoddart, understanding the routine. ‘College romance in Butte. She got a position as an intern at
to tubes and monitors that snaked above and below the bed coverings, green indicator lights struggling unevenly across black screens. Pelham said: ‘He was the oldest of the rescue party, forty-one. He’ll be the first to die.’ Spencer shook his head, with nothing to say. Pelham said: ‘The last words he uttered were to ask to speak to his wife.’ Spencer had nothing to say to that, either. Instead he said: ‘Can you help any of them?’ He felt lost, inadequate, another rare sensation. ‘No,’ said
Anger, at his impotence to have done anything. Say the right words. And guilt. Most of all guilt, a huge, hollowing self-blame at causing the deaths of four people, one of them Patricia Jefferies. Because he had killed them, as surely as pressing a trigger or depressing a plunger: not evacuating them from the field hut the moment he’d seen the condition of the bodies inside and, even worse, insisting upon carrying them, inadequately sealed, back to McMurdo and finally here, to America. Was that
she’d delay, until they’d had time to consider what Lyalin had to contribute. ‘We’ll all of us have a lot to catch up with,’ she said briskly. ‘What about anything additional to the Iultin outbreak?’ Good, judged Reynell at once. Almost time for his entry Lyalin looked blankly around the people confronting him. ‘I don’t understand that question. There’s been no other outbreak apart from Iultin, if that’s what you mean?’ Spencer was ready with what had come in overnight from the CIA and Science
hadn’t yet got to a dissecting blade operation with Henri Lebrun. Which was nothing more than a postponement, in the case of the Frenchman and any of the others upon whom she decided it was necessary to perform secondary examinations. Literally an operational bridge to cross when she reached it, not before. Lebrun was awake, although tethered to his various catheters and drip feeds, his head moving at once although slowly to the soft sigh of the time-released lock of the inner sterilization