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Jack goes through a lot more events in Chapter 29 than we can accompany him through. This chapter is important because information starts to come in; events escalate; people find the ultimate ends of their actions and the who or what, why and how begin to show through the fog of uncertainty.
Laurie's detective friend, Lou Soldano, enters the plot (we are given a little discouragement to think Laurie and Jack might become a couple). Laurie tells Lou that:
- Jack had some material information about two homicides.
- Jack has been beaten up by gang members at least once and warned to stay away from Manhattan General.
- Jack has irritated administrators at work and at General.
- Jack has a theory that the contagions are being spread intentionally.
Lou has the intelligence to see that Jack's dislike of AmeriCare would not explain the gangs threats and the evidence linking Reginald to Beth. Lou says he'll look into and help Jack.
[Lou] stood up. "Anyway, I'll help the guy, and it sounds like he needs help."
On his way out, Lou stops in the communication area to chat about Jack with his friend Sergeant Murphy. Fleeing the scene of the drugstore shooting during which Slam saves his life, Jack runs while hearing sirens the whole time. Feeling he should go back and not flee the scene of a crime--a felony that haunts him--he remembers Warren's warning and keeps heading away from the drugstore. Jack wanted to know who was trying to kill him and why. What did they think he knew or might find out?
At a second drugstore, family owned and run, he orders the rimantadine that resists flu. Armed with at least some protection against the virulent influenza, Jack takes a taxi to upper Harlem to talk to Gloria Hernandez, from central hospital supply, who is sick at home with flu contracted suddenly since last night when Kevin Carpenter died. Gloria tells him that she had no contact with patients and that there was nothing unusual about what she did.
Returning to the Medical Examiners building, he sees David waiting to identified a murder victim. Then he sees the prostrate form of Slam. Dead. Another death on Jack's conscience.
Jack developed a computer program to isolate the items that were supplied to the infectious disease index cases (the first individuals with a disease). He finds that the one item in the long lists that was different between the random control patient and the contagion patients was "humidifier," cold air humidifiers. Putting in another call the central supply, he learns that humidifiers are cleaned after use and resupplied to other patients.
He calls Gloria and learns that she had washed a couple of humidifiers the night Kevin Carpenter got sick and died. He then learns from Kathy that the two nurses, the LPN and the lab tech who were exposed and ill have been hospitalized for severe flu symptoms, with Gloria on the way in an ambulance. Jack asks a reluctant Kathy to take samples from the sink drainage pipe where the humidifiers are washed. Nicole at the CDC says she will rush the sub-typing of the microbes through during the night with results first thing in the morning.
Terese demands Jack keep his dinner date with her. He agrees (he seems to not be able to fend off her stubborn pushiness). Leaving, Jack sees Murphy in conversation with someone not known to Jack. He takes elaborate measures to snake through town to get their dinner destination without being followed. Jack and Terese are sitting down at a cozy table in a tranquil restaurant while a conversation takes place between Twin and Phil, the next hit-man for the Black Kings. Twin says that Phil has 30 seconds after entering the restaurant door to get away after the death-hit.
Phil enters and begins to walk through as though looking for a friend. He finds who is looking for and walks toward Jack, who is sitting alone at the moment. Jack, riveted in place, sees Phil raise his right hand with an automatic weapon in it and aim it straight at Jack's head. A blast rings out. Phil falls across the table. Jack sees a man run over yelling to everyone to stay in their seats; he is with the police. Phil is dead from the dectective's shot.
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