<Storyteller> As Kara heads into work, she sees a man in a suit standing near to her usual station, idely tapping his foot and checking his watch.
Kara gives the man a quizzical look as she heads towards her lab station. “Can I help you with anything, sir?” she asks quietly as she approaches.
(Cornel) looks her over for a moment with a raised eyebrow. “Ms Immelman?”
“Er, yes. That’s me.” Kara tilts her head to the side slightly. “Is something wrong?”
(Cornel) “Good.”, he says as she takes a step away. “Clean out any personal effects, you are being transferred.”
“I…” Kara stares, shocked, for a moment, “what?”
(Cornel) nods his head and adjusts the sleeve on his suit. “Transferred. Effective immediately.”
Kara stares, still confused. “I…I don’t keep any personal effects in the office.” She looks around the room, seemingly at a loss, before something strikes her and she turns back to the man, “Where exactly am I being transferred to?”
(Cornel) starts to walk off. “Lets start with government agency and go from there. Consider it a promotion for the excellent work you’ve been doing.”
Kara attempts to swallow past a lump forming in her throat. “Okay,” she manages, “I’m still not sure I understand. I haven’t done anything in particular…”
(Cornel) raises an eyebrow at that. “Are you sure about that? I read your reports myself regarding the infected blood. As well as a few of your other, less well-known cases.”
“I don’t suppose I could convince you that was a fluke?” Kara asks, only half-jokingly.
(Cornel) smiles just a little bit. “Sorry, too late now. You’re stuck with me.”, he says and walks outside, glancing back to Kara to make sure she is following.
With a slight sigh to brace herself, Kara steps after him into the fog.
(Cornel) walks up to a small black car and clicks the automatic locks as he walks around to the driver side. “I’ll try my best to help you transition, but there isn’t a lot to it really. So what’s you opinion on this ‘fungal’ infection going around?”
Kara lets out a slight chuckle as she moves to the passenger door. “Do you want the long technical version or the short layman’s version?”
(Cornel) chuckles as he gets inside and starts up the car. “Either is fine. I’m smarter than I look, I promise.”
“Well,” Kara begins as she slips into the passenger seat, “it’s a bloodborne…something. Maybe a pathogen. It’s not enzyme-based, which is abnormal. Moreover, it either causes evaporation or disintegration of the blood. At least in my sample. It’d have to have a considerable incubation period, otherwise it wouldn’t be infecting anyone. So, not a poison.”
“All in all,” Kara concludes somewhat bitterly, “I could give you a much more comprehensive list of all the things it ‘isn’t.’ There isn’t really a precedent for this kind of thing. At least none that’s on the curriculum at universities. Or that I could find online.”
(Cornel) nods his head once and begins driving. “When we get to where we’re going, I have a couple of samples i want you to look at and tell me what you think, or if anything seems familiar.”
“Alright. I’ll try, but I don’t see why you need me for this.” Kara sinks back into the seat as the car begins to move. “I’m not a virologist. I’ve got an elective in disease and epidemiology’s worth of experience under my belt.”
(Cornel) smirks a bit as he turns the car off onto the main road. “It is more than that. You have background specific to some of the special projects we look into.”
“That’s not really surprising,” Kara says with a slight grin, “lots of people hire grad students.”
(Cornel) chuckles faintly and continues driving, eventually reaching a plain brick building north of downtown. “Not what I meant, and part of you knows that. So anyway, here we are.”
Kara looks the building over as they reach their destination. “No what I was expecting,” Kara observes, “but that would probably be the point.”
(Cornel) gets out of the car and looks up at the building with a shrug. “True enough. It’s not much but it suits our purpose. Come on, lets have a look at those samples.”
With only a slight amount of trepidation, Kara steps out of the car and follows the man into the building.
(Cornel) leads her inside and it’s not bad… though there aren’t a lot of people here… it looks much more modern on the inside than the outside. He leads her to a lab and inclines his head toward the staiton. “Why don’t you have a look at what we’ve got and tell us if it’s the same thing?”
“Alright, I’ll give it a shot, Mr…” Kara pauses and looks back at the man, “I’m sorry, I don’t believe I caught your name.”
(Cornel) “Cornel Rodgers.”, he says and then stands aside. “Cory is fine.”
“Works for me. I prefer Kara to Ms. Immelman as well.” Kara nods to him, then steps into the lab, takes a deep breath, and starts to get to work.
As Kara begins to examine the sample, her frown only deepens. “Feel free to start making sense again any time, reality,” she mutters darkly as the sample attempts to devour itself. She tries placing the sample back in the container, hoping that whatever storage procedure this facility used would save it.
(Cornel) watches her work from a moderate distance. After some time, he smiles. “It all does that. It’s… part of it’s nature, I’m afraid.”
The sample dissolves anyway, doing nothing to help her mood. She doesn’t need to compare the chemical analysis to her old lab reports to confirm that the sample was the same.
“Yeah, I’m getting that impression,” Kara responds, leaning back in a lengthy stretch.
(Cornel) crosses his arms, still watching. “That… is vampire blood. Why it goes all crazy and eats itself. If you add human blood to it, it’ll go after that first before turning on itself.”
Kara stops, mid stretch to turn her head and stare at Cornel. Then she lets out a short laugh, gently leans back forward, and turns to face him properly. “If you had told me that a month ago…”
(Cornel) nods his head. “We have been watching you for some time to be honest. But it was your interaction in the case involving them that it was decided we approach you. We look into a lot of cases such as this.”
“That is…” Kara says quietly, pausing to gently massage her temples, “a lot to take in, actually. I’m going to have to apologize to Oma, for one.” After a few seconds, she looks back up. “Wait, exactly how long have you been watching me?”
(Cornel) almost laughs. “Not like… creeper watching you, mostly just your record. Kinds of cases you have taken, your knack for solving the weird ones, at least mostly. And yeah, it can be… and it seems crazy, but i assure you it is not.”
“No, no.” Kara says with a slight sigh. Her shoulders slump slightly, letting out a months’ worth of tension. “Crazy pretty much sums up my past few weeks. I can’t tell you how much help I’ll be, though. I guess you’re a better judge of that than I am.”
(Cornel) continues to watch her, leaned against one of the desks. “So… you are going to be okay with this?”
“Yeah.” Kara nods, a smile of equal parts nervousness and excitement on her face. “Yeah, I think I will. When do I start?”
(Cornel) smiles and pushes off the desk. “This week sometime. Waiting on the last of the paperwork to go through.”, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a business card that just has his name and a phone number on it. “Here, so you can reach me if you need. I’ll call you once it’s in order and we’ll get started.”
Kara takes the card and tucks it into her purse. “Thank you, Cory,” she says, still smiling. Then the smile drops and her brow furrows slightly. “If anyone asks what I’m doing now, though, what should I tell them?”
(Cornel) chuckles a bit. “Just tell them you work for the government and you can’t really talk about it.”
“Great, that’s low-key.” Kara’s smile reasserts itself. “Well, in that case, I’ll head home.” She pauses to look around the building once more before turning back to Cornel. “I look forward to hearing from you.”
(Cornel) nods his head a bit. “You’ll think of something.”, he says and watches her head out.
“Right,” Kara mutters to herself and heads out the door. She pauses for a moment in the cold air, then pulls out her phone, activates its gps feature, then starts to jog back to her apartment.