Heart of the Team

Chapter 6


Becker slowly walked over to where Abby was kneeling on the ground beside the creature she and Danny had brought down. He observed as she was bandaging up its leg. It looked like it was somehow broken.

As he came up behind her, Abby said, "It broke its leg in the chase. It isn't bad. He'll be just fine soon. Have the rest of the microceratops been caught?"

Becker nodded and replied, "My men are rounding the last of them now. Abby, I… There's something that happened."

Abby asked, "What is it?"

"Connor he, ah…" Becker tried to say.

"What happened to Connor?" she asked impatiently as she stood and looked at Becker for the first time since he had arrived. "Tell me, is he all right?"

"He was nearly trampled by a triceratops that came out of the anomaly," Becker answered. "Danny got back to us in time to save him, but that isn't the bad thing. Connor froze just before the dinosaur came out. He didn't move out of the way because he froze. When we finally shook him out of the daze, he freaked out, asking us where he was. The last thing he remembered was yesterday as he came through in the hospital wing with you at his bedside."

Tears slowly fell down her face as Abby responded, "He lost his memory again? I have to get to him."

Becker grabbed Abby as she struggled to get away from him and said, "We need to finish up here, then I will take you to him. Abby, I need you help to get the dinosaurs back through the anomaly. Sarah was helping the injured men and is now in the process of setting up Connor's machine to close the anomaly. Once we get the dinosaurs back to it, she will open it up again and we will put them back through. Then, we can go back to the ARC. Please, Abby. Danny is with Connor. He is in good hands."

Abby replied, "You're right. Let's get this over with."

Becker helped Abby carry the dinosaur down the few blocks that it took to get back to the bar where the anomaly was. Sarah had managed to close the anomaly just fine and waited to open it until Becker gave her the word to do so. His men had already arrived with the other three creatures they had captured.

Becker said, "All right, Sarah. Go ahead and open it. Let's get these things back home. The sooner we do that, the sooner we can be done."

Sarah walked over to the machine set up in the middle of the room and opened the anomaly as Becker told her to. Becker and his men put up their guns to fire at something, in case something else decided to come through. Once it reopened, they waited a few minutes to make sure it was safe. Then, everyone proceeded to pick up the microceratops and carry them through.

The triceratops was loaded onto flat-bed truck and then was brought into the bar through the giant hole in the wall, made by the dinosaur as it broke out. It took a lot of effort, but after a half hour, they all finally managed to accomplish what they needed to and close the anomaly back up for good.

Abby ran over to the car, followed closely by Becker, and Sarah. Together, the three of them drove off to get back to the ARC, where hopefully the doctors would have some more information for them about what was wrong with Connor. Abby was terrified about what she might learn. She had her suspicions, but she refused to dwell on them until they were confirmed.

Meanwhile…

Danny and Connor walked through the corridors of the ARC, which led them once again to the hospital wing. The doctors took Connor back inside the exam room, while Danny remained outside in the waiting room. Lester walked over to him a few minutes later and asked Danny for an explanation as to what happened.

Danny responded, "There were about four of the microceratops that came out of the anomaly. Abby and I ran after one of them, while Connor and Becker stayed behind to take care of another. Becker's men chased after the rest of them. Anyway, as soon as Abby and I caught ours, I ran back to help Connor and Becker, while she remained behind to take care of the creature because it had broken its leg during the chase. As soon as I arrived inside the bar, I saw that Connor stood frozen in place, just staring at nothing. Suddenly, a triceratops came charging through the bar and would have trampled Connor. Luckily, I got to him in time. Becker and his men took care of the creature, while I tried to help Connor. He was unresponsive for a minute, until Becker and I were finally able to wake him up. When he came to, Connor freaked out and had no memory of what happened to him since he awoke here yesterday with Abby. Something is very wrong with him."

Lester nodded and said, "I see. Unfortunately, we have no idea what is causing these effects, except for the algae substance Helen has injected him with. Hopefully, the doctors will have more for us this time."

"I'll keep you apprised," Danny replied. "You keep working on trying to locate Helen. She may be the only one who can tell us what she's done. I will force it out of her if I have to."

"Very good," Lester agreed. "Oh, and Quinn, be sure to shower as soon as you get the chance. You look like you could use one."

Danny looked down at himself and saw that Lester was right. He was covered in dirt and rubble from chasing the dinosaur and tackling Connor out of the larger dinosaur's way. He was grateful that it wasn't beer he was covered in. That happened to him once at a party he went to. It wasn't a pleasant experience.

Danny waited alone with his thoughts until Abby and Becker came running in about forty-five minutes later. Abby tried to go into the room where Connor was being examined by the doctors, but Danny pulled her back and said that it would probably be best to wait with them.

As one of the doctors finally came out and to explain what they had found, she asked, "How's Connor?"

The doctor replied, "I am afraid that the news I have to share with you is not good. I still don't know what this algae substance is, but when I did a thorough examination of him, I found that he has developed something similar to what is known as amnesic shellfish poisoning. Basically, kainoid amino acids, named after another phycotoxin called kainic acid, are agonists of kainate glutamate receptors and exhibit highly potent neuroexcitatory activity. It was first isolated from a variety of red algae in Japan in 1958, but not associated with human illness until it was recovered from a batch of mussels that were responsible for an outbreak of 'food poisoning' in eastern Canada in 1987 that affected over 150 people. Many of the cases featured neurological symptoms including short-term memory loss, leading the illness to be named amnesic shellfish poisoning. The whole memory loss thing probably ties in with the fact that the hippocampus is associated with memory storage and is damaged by the toxin. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, so a glut of domoic acid in the brain results in overexcitation of neurons, leading to neuronal damage. Neurons in parts of the hippocampus and amygdala are preferentially damaged. I…"

"For those of us who did not understand a word you just said, please translate," Lester said as he walked over and stood next to Becker.

"Basically, the toxin is attacking the part of his brain that stores his memories," the doctor responded. "It's beginning to affect his short term memory as you have already noticed. However, in time it will become more serious unless we are able to find out what this substance is he was injected with."

Abby asked, "What do you mean worse? Do you mean that his entire memory will disappear?"

The doctor nodded slowly, "I am afraid so. I am doing everything I can for him, but without knowing what the toxin is, there is nothing more I can do. I am sorry."

Abby, I promise you, we will find her," Danny said as he held Abby after she collapsed to the ground crying. "We will do whatever it takes. We won't allow Helen to get away with this."

Becker seethed in anger as he watched Danny try to comfort Abby after learning from the doctor what has happened to Connor. He couldn't imagine not having Connor around anymore. He cared about the young man as much as everyone else seemed to and knew that for a genius like him to lose his entire memory would be horrifying.

Becker agreed with what Danny told Abby and was about to say something, but before he could, Lester's cell phone began to ring. Lester pulled it out from his pocket and answered it. As he did so, the man's face fell. On the other end of the line, was Helen Cutter.

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