After being confined home (sort of) for several months, I thought of a Michael Crichton novel (and film) whose plot is rather similar to current events. So here is the beginning of a cross over between it and Dr. Blackjack. I'll leave you guessing about which Crichton story I'm talking about, though it should be rather obvious......
Pinoko lay on a rug by the fireplace reading manga books. Seated in a large recliner chair a few feet away, Kuro Hazama puffed at his pipe while reading the shimbun. Although she was deeply involved in the manga, Pinoko heard the birds chipping in the tree just feet away from the front porch. She also heard the sound of tires crunching the gravel in the unpaved driveway. She quickly got up and ran to the front window to see who was coming.
It wasn't at all unusual for a patent to come to Dr. Blackjack's clinic home unannounced. Though most of his clients did first make arrangements over the phone, many simply arrived at his home demanding his attention. Pinoko watched as the black limousine with military markings and flags pulled up to within a few feet of the house. The two front doors opened at once, and the driver bounded out, along with a gentleman wearing a doctor's business suit. The chauffeur walked towards the back of the vehicle, and opened the rear passenger door for the sole occupant of the rear seat. This person was a short, slightly portly man wearing a General's uniform. The driver saluted as the officer exited the automobile, and stood his ground as the two passengers walked towards the doctor's front door.
“You have company Sensi”, Pinoko announced as she ran towards the door. Before she could reach the doorknob, Dr. Blackjack rose from his seat, leaving the shimbun on the armrest. He reached the door, gently waving Pinoko to the side. There were two quick knocks on the door, and then the Dr. opened it.
The man in the Dr's business suit stared into Kuro's eyes for a few moments before speaking. “Dr. Blackjack, there's been a fire.”
“I see,” the doctor replied. He stood motionless, returning the stare, and then he gazed into the face of the General standing a few feet behind.
“Did you understand me?”, the the man in the suit asked, “There is a wildfire”.
“Yes, I understand,” Kuro nodded. “I suppose you require me to accompany you?”
“Please come in and allow me to put some things together,” Blackjack said, motioning for the two to come in.
The two men walked a few steps into the house and stood there while the doctor disappeared into his study, with Pinoko trailing behind him.
“Sensei, who are those men,” she demanded, “and what's on fire?”
“I don't have time to explain,” the doctor said as he grabbed his large medical suitcase and examined its contents. He quickly added a few items to the inside of the case, and then latched and locked it. The doctor then grabbed his topcoat from the stand on which it was hanging. Turning to leave the room, he found himself blocked by Pinoko.
“You're not leaving without me!”, she huffed.
Kuro sighed. “Very well, go pack a suitcase Quickly!”, he said. “But you'll regret coming with me.”
Pinoko ran to her room, and grabbed her large pink suitcase covered with 'Hello Kitty' stickers. She entered the great room by the front door just as the doctor emerged from his study. “We're ready to come!”, she announced.
“I'm sorry, your daughter can't come with us!”, the General barked.
“First of all, she isn't my daughter,” Blackjack gruffed back, “and I'm not coming without her. Pinoko is my assistant, and she was born with her twin over eighteen years ago.”
“She's a midget?”, the General asked.
“You could say that,” Blackjack replied.
“Very well,” the man in the suit said. “Quickly, we must be going.”
The two guests made their way through the front door, followed by the doctor and Pinoko. Blackjack locked the front door, and he and Pinoko were ushered into the rear of the automobile. Pinoko found herself sandwiched between the man in the suit and the doctor, the General now took the front passenger seat.
“Who are you?” Pinoko demanded, softly punching the man on her left in the arm.
“Pinoko!”, Blackjack scowled. “I'm sorry Dr. Stone, I should have told her about our relationship some time ago.”
“That's quite alright, Kuro. It was best that this be kept a secret anyway.” He looked down at the child like person sandwiched between him and Dr. Blackjack. “Miss, my name is Dr. Jeremy Stone. I met Kuro Hazama some years ago when he was an intern. I then worked for an international medical think tank. My task was to assemble a crack team for the purpose of handling extreme medical crises. Secretly our group built several laboratories capable of handling any pandemic type emergency. The members of the team I assembled are on hold to be contacted only in the case of such an event, the code word for which is 'wildfire'.”
“Years ago, when I was recruited by Dr. Stone, I was honored to be considered to be talented enough for the position, and volunteered,” the doctor told Pinoko. “Years past and I had almost forgotten about it, I guess I never believed that such an emergency would actually come to pass.”
“And now something is on fire,” Pinoko said, “and you have to put it out.”
“Simply put,” Dr. Stone nodded, “and unfortunately true.”
They made the rest of the short auto trip in silence, soon arriving at a small airfield where a long range jet aircraft was parked with its engines already running. The General and Dr. Stone were quickly ushered into the plane, and their luggage was stowed away in the cargo compartment. They quickly buckled themselves into their seats, and the jet plane took off.
“Where are we going?”, Pinoko demanded.
“Our exact location will remain a secret,” the General answered.
“We're going to one of your laboratory sites, aren't we?”, Blackjack surmised.
“Actually, Wildfire One, the original site,” Dr. Stone explained. “You've already been there, at least virtually.”
“Yes, I remember your computer generated tour,” Blackjack sighed. “At the time I both hoped to eventually get a chance to see it, and at the same time I also prayed I never would.”
“That's the way I always saw my mission,” Dr. Stone answered. “I wanted to prepare for the worst possible event, and at the same time hoping my efforts would never be needed.”
“Is this the end of the world?”, Pinoko gasped, finally sensing the fear the adults were exhuming.
“With the help of your doctor friend, and others like him, we hope that can be averted,” the General answered.
“Speaking of the others,” Kuro asked, “who are they.”
“I think you know some of them already Dr. Blackjack,” Jeremy voiced. “They're already on site, you're the last member I've had to pick up.”
“Saved the best for last?”, Pinoko smiled.
“Time will tell on that,” Dr. Stone said, “Dr. Blackjack was simply the last team member I was able to locate.”