Chapter 24: The Cover-Up

Wish I Could Fly Like Superman — The Kinks (Chapter 24 Soundtrack)
Ash and Summer (6)The results were unmistakable. The groundwater and soil samples which Ash had collected from the east side of Mors Valley were contaminated. The levels of cadmium were shockingly high, and accounted for many of the symptoms that resembled cadmium toxicity. But there were also traces of other toxins present – toxins which Ash was unable to identify.

Akash Acclaim (32)Akash Acclaim (34)

“You must have made some mistake,” said Dr. Mack with a dubious frown. “The CDC did such a thorough investigation of the city. They didn’t find any high levels of toxins.”

“Look, I did not make any mistake!” said Ash. “The data is accurate. I think that the CDC must have skipped environmental testing on the east side of town.”

Dr. Mack’s frown deepened. “But why would they do that?”

Akash Acclaim (29) Akash Acclaim (28)

The answer was suddenly so clear, that Ash wondered why it hadn’t occurred to him before. “It’s a cover-up!” He clapped a hand to his forehead. “The military research facility!”

Dr. Mack’s mouth dropped open. “Maybe there was an accident – possibly due to the earthquake. Maybe the government already knew about the toxic leak and wanted to keep the knowledge quiet.” Akash Acclaim (36)Akash Acclaim (40)

Ash felt a chill run down his spine. All these years, his family had been drinking east side tap water and eating food grown in east side soil. It was a wonder that he had managed to stay healthy. Luckily, Cami and Summer lived on the west side of the city, which did not appear to be affected. “We have to let the public know that they are not safe,” he said. “People must be warned. The government can’t cover it up once the press gets wind of the source of illness.” Akash Acclaim (33)

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Even Cami joined in the public outcry against the toxic environment.

He went to work right away. He contacted every local media outlet and spread the word that all citizens on the east side of town must switch to bottled water until the toxins were cleaned up. The public outcry was swift and strong. Even Cami joined the protest, marching at the city capitol and in front of the military base, demanding that the government clean up the environment and protect the citizens.

Some of the patients grew sicker, and several more died,

Some of the patients grew sicker, and several more died.

Akash Acclaim (26)

Some of the patients went on to live normal, healthy lives.

Ash and Dr. Mack had hoped to be able to find a way to treat those who suffered from the illness. Unfortunately, there was no known cure for cadmium toxicity, or for the autoimmune disease which some of the patients had developed in response to the exposure, or even for the symptoms caused by foreign toxins, which Ash eventually managed to identify once the military researchers began to cooperate. Some of the patients continued to grown sicker, and several more died. But others improved with time, and were able to leave the hospital and resume normal, healthy lives. Mors Canyon (12) Mors Canyon (13) Mors Canyon (19)

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