A Change Is Going To Come


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Scene Title A Change Is Going To Come
Synopsis A press conference takes place. The DoEA and friends speak out about the virus, and a surprising announcement about Registration shocks the room.
Date April 4, 2010

Suresh Center

It's midday, on the 4th, and policemen would at one point cut a path through the crowd that's tried its best to form a ring around the Suresh Centre to make sure that the Secretary of the Department of Evolved Affairs cannot enter, nor leave, without hearing their message. Their message is scattered, however, the core organisers of this demonstration mixed in with stragglers, with people who have their own bone to pick. There are signs, anti-Registration, anti-oppression, and there's a young woman with a megaphone telling the story of yesterday, of the vans they drove through the neighbourhoods, the men with rifles and masks.

The six o'clock news will show, instead, small outbreaks of violence, though these are few and mild. Someone shoving a policeman, a surge towards the slick black car that pulled up around the back of the facility, but not much at all. What the news is more concerned about is what goes on inside.

The agenda seems as modest as the group gathered. Secretary Raymond Praeger is immaculate in modest pinstripe and a steely blue tie around the same colour as his eyes, and Dr. Harve Brennan has cleaned up for the show, too. There's a woman in a deep green blouse that introduces the gathered press to the conference, hosted in one of the lecture halls of the Suresh Centre, and states there will be no questions after everyone has spoken. Not that that will stop anyone from trying.

Secretary Praeger leans forward to speak when the press conference is underway — there is no taking the podium, simply seated panel style next to his media representative and Dr. Brennan. "First of all," he begins, once he adjusts his glasses, "I would like to start out by offering praise for the patience and open-mindedness of Roosevelt Island's residents. In these past months, I have witnessed members of this community renovate an entire neighbourhood, and it's been an honour being allowed to assist in its security and well-being. Over the past couple of days, the Department of Evolved Affairs has been working to ensure that Summer Meadows and neighbourhoods just like it remain safe — this time, from the H5N10. With the cooperation of volunteers and local law enforcement, I am proud to announce that Summer Meadows has become a flu-free zone.

"The Department of Evolved Affairs intend to allow this space to remain a safe haven for Evolved who are recovering from the virus. Any Evolved discharged from the Coler-Goldwater Hospital will be offered low-rent living space at Summer Meadows until the virus has been fully contained and no longer considered a threat in the wider city, to avoid chance of reinfection. For those Evolved who are suffering from the flu, I leave you in the capable hands of Dr. Harve Brennan." He gleams a smile across at the doctor.

Dr. Brennan, already introduced by title and as an authority within the facility in which they stand, takes his turn to speak: "On behalf of the Suresh Center, the Department of Evolved Affairs and myself, I would like to speak directly to any Evolved who may be suffering from the H5N10 — please do the responsible thing, for the safety of yourself and those around you, and contact the Coler-Goldwater Hospital for treatment and care. Fifty percent of the hospital's staff and campus has been devoted to seeing that Evolved afflicted with the virus get the best care that can be provided, while we work to contain the spread of the flu. It is extremely dangerous to you and to those who might not know of their evolved status and contract it just the same as those who do. I have seen and experienced first hand the severity and impact this has on individuals possessing the SLC gene"

"Secretary Praeger mentioned chance of reinfection," someone speaks out, from the crowd. The cameras won't show the way lingering police and security bridle at this outburst. "In your professional, medical opinion, how likely is this outcome?"

The media representative leans forward to speak into her microphone. "Excuse me, I believe we— "

"It's fine," Dr. Brennan clarifies with one hand up to halt the representative. "It's important to reiterate. At this point, I don't think we should discount chance of reinfection or opportunistic infections for Evolved who are recovering from the H5N10. As evidenced with previous viral infections that affect anyone in the world, contracting it once does not mean that you always gain a lifelong immunity. It can happen. History has shown this."

"And is it true that everyone that goes through vaccination or treatment will be Registered?" the same report asks, on his feet. Some might identify him as Rose Westen.

"Mr. Westen, unless you want to get kicked out, I suggest you sit down," the woman at the desk states, firmly, and this time there's no argument. A soft murmur ripples through the press, but the young man finally does take a seat.

Praeger clears his throat. "On that note," he begins, his voice almost chipper, "I would like to take this time to announce that the Registration system will be making a drastic transformation in the near future." A hush goes over the crowd, and it's apparent that no one else on the desk actually knows what the Secretary is talking about, except perhaps his media spokesperson, who sits silently and watchfully. "Our efforts to make Summer Meadows a flu-free zone have not been easy, as much as they have been successful. When only the Evolved have a card by which to confirm their status, it made our work unnecessarily tedious by second guessing anyone who did not have this kind of identification.

"This is only one reason out of many that I am happy to announce that we will be changing the Registration to include every American citizen, not just a minority. We do not, at this time, have a timeframe set in stone, but I hope that by mid-summer, we will be well into our efforts of making sure that every name is on the Registry, with Non-Evolved citizens recorded as being so with the necessary identification. We will be maximising our efforts to make sure that the Registry is a complete list of Evolveds and Non-Evolveds alike, for as long as it is compulsory by law to do so."

There is an instant uproar of questions, press getting to their feet and lifting their hands like eager school children, but by then, the conference is over, and the city is left with more questions than answers.

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