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 Wanted Diseased but Alive (Science project, and a little ridiculous)

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PostSubject: Wanted Diseased but Alive (Science project, and a little ridiculous)   Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:42 pm

Wanted Diseased but Alive

Casper Leonte, a detective in one of his fouler moods, slammed a case file onto the desk of one Benjamin Graves. "I just don't see what we're dealing with here, Benny," he snapped, ignoring the befuddled, I-was-sleeping-but-now-I'm-not look plastered onto his partner's face.

"Um. That Apicomplexa thing, right? Toxoplasma gondii?" At least, that's what they'd been working on the last time Benjamin could recall being fully lucid.

"Yeah, that Api-complex-toxo-gone-with-the-wind thing, which, by the way, is literally Latin to me this time," Casper answered, the bite in his tone unusually overt.

Under normal circumstances, Benjamin would've risen to the occasion with a nasty comeback, but as it was, he was suffering from a serious lack of both sleep and coffee. Besides, fighting with Casper was like fighting with a malfunctioning ATM; you'd feel a bit more satisfied for having tried, but only a random miracle could fix the thing. "We know its M.O. - 'Toxoplasmosis', driving people crazy and killing you if your immune system's down for the count. That's nasty business, Ben, and I want it gone. Just," Casper heaved an exhale (a calming technique likely derived from his therapist), "Just tell me what we're looking for."

Finally shaking off his exhaustion, Benjamin flipped open the file (too thin for his liking) and pointed to the only picture they had. "Well, for starters, these guys are pretty much everywhere, so pinning them down for good is probably a lost cause. If you want to go out there and get as many as you can, well, you'd have to look for all of the typical Apicomplexa structures. They live in cysts in the muscles and tissues of warm-blooded animals during the asexual portion of their life cycle, see, so the immune system can't find them--"

"Ew," Casper interjected. "That's just... ew."

"I know, right? But the immune system can still prevent the infection from manifesting. Chances are, they could be hiding in you and me both - they're camped out in 60 million other Americans, after all." Casper's face scrunched up further in disgust; he never had taken any interest in their department's dealings with biological warfare.

"How would we get infected? We're not living in some third world country... Unless your family caught it over in England, and then you gave it to me--"

Benjamin glared down at his height-lacking friend. "No. Just, no. The world isn't black and white, Cas; don't point fingers. The thing can't even move on its own - it sneaks in through undercooked meats, blood transfusions - we've both had our far share of those, organ transplants, from mother to unborn child, and, um... cat feces."

"What? No way," Casper said. "Not cats; cats are the only good animals left in this world! And... feces? Excuse me while I get reacquainted with what little breakfast I had this morning."

"I'm sure dogs carry their fair share of diseases, too, so there's no need to be totally disillusioned. Hey, think of it this way," Benjamin suggested, "It's something else we have in common with cats; they get to be primary hosts during sexual reproduction and we get to be intermediate hosts during asexual reproduction."

A smirk pulled at the corners of Casper's mouth as he opened it to speak, which could, Benjamin knew from experience, turn out either not-so-bad or very, very bad. "So it's like this protozoan thing has realized that cats and humans are the most awesome animals ever, right? That's cool, man. I respect that."

"Yeah, Cas," Benjamin sighed, "We're so awesome they want to feed off of us. Parasitic heterotrophs are just so fun."

"Dude, you are totally deviating from the point of this conversation," Casper said, jabbing his finger at the still-open file. This gave Benjamin the opportunity to notice, for the first time since Casper had walked in, that his partner had brought a cup of coffee with him. He assumed that it had once been a decent temperature, though it had since grown cold, and the thought saddened him.

"Right. Right, so, this thing here," he circled the dark dot with a spare highlighter, "is the brain of the operations, a nucleus full genetic information and all of that good stuff. And this," his highlighter went over another dark, smaller dot, "is a granule. This one here is just waste disposal, but they're saying the ones gathered at the apical end are a part of host cell invasion. Same thing for this here rhoptry and these microneme proteins." Two more messy circles went around the faint proteins and the tentacle-like extensions. Casper seemed to be nodding in understanding; Benjamin could only pray he was actually absorbing everything. "Okay, so then we have the rough endoplasmic reticulum--"

Casper pulled an unpleasant face. "English, please."

"The blob-y thing with the tiny dots," Benjamin clarified. "It makes and packs up proteins with the tiny dot ribosomes. And the smaller blob thing without dots is the Golgi complex, which sorts and beautifies macro-molecules the cell either uses or gets rid off. Is any of this getting through to you?"

A moment passed in silence, with Casper staring intently down at the file and Benjamin waiting for him to finish his intent staring. The next thing Benjamin knew, papers were flying off of his desk as Casper flipped the file closed, grabbed his briefcase, and nearly ran out of the room, waving Benjamin after him.

"Thanks for the briefing, Benny - your inner geek is shining, really, but it's finally time to get to the good stuff!"

~Please, someone find the typos I know I left in here. I'm to tired to search them out. XD
~You are now a certified expert on Toxoplasma. Congrats.
~The title is based on the song "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi... because I was in that kind of mood. Where did you think this craziness came from? I like the dialogue, though...
~Oh. And yeah, I used my fav OC's. I might just claim these guys for myself. I love 'em.
~Thanks for reading! If you did. If you didn't, well... Loser.
~But I still love you on principle.

Life is like thunder; powerful, confusing, wonderous, loud, inexplainable, sudden, beautiful in ways you can't even begin to describe, and completely unexpected. Death is like lightning; it strikes even the most powerful things, and shoots through the ground to everyone nearby, leaving them with only a painful aftershock.

Almost dying changes nothing. Dying changes everything.

Cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it.
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