Morgan and Tammy sneak out of the supply closet and toward The Locked Room:
Tammy moved snug to the wall until she got under the camera.Keep in mind this is all right outside (or maybe inside? It hasn't been entirely clear) the emergency room. There are people around. This is hardly an inconspicuous way to go about things.
Tammy obediently puts the flyswatter over the camera, allowing Morgan to rush over to The Locked Room and let himself in. With that done, Tammy retreats to... the storage room. Yes, having spent all morning hiding in a storage closet, she's clearly developed Stockholm Syndrome with the room itself and is never going to leave it.
Inside The Locked Room, it's an office setup. There's a computer that's scrolling through all the patients' info, and none of this is interesting to Morgan, but there's another door with noises coming from behind it, so he goes over and peeks in there.
In that room, there's a sofa and living room furniture. But there's another room beyond that, so Morgan goes in there...
At this point I'm kind of hoping he ends up in an endless maze of decorated, empty rooms. But, no, it's much more exciting than that.
The third door is a bedroom. There's a wheelchair and a woman's wig lying around, which Morgan wants to pick up for some reason (?), when suddenly the door opens and in comes...
DOCTOR L. L.
So apparently he's not dead, which makes sense, because he was pretty safely protected from the fire. It never made much sense for him to be dead anyway. Kudos to Rothdiener for clearing up one glaring plothole. Now only 9,999,999 to go.
Shocked, he eyed the man who only a few months earlier had been so fit and debonair. Now, before him stood the merest shell of a man— bald, skin and bones....Is Doctor L. L. the old woman in the wheelchair? Because that is the most bizarre, creepy turn of events. His wife dies so he starts impersonating an old lady because... WHO KNOWS WHY.
Noticeably out-of-breath, Layland spoke slowly in a weakened, hoarse voice. “I told Lance you’d figure it out. But he said you could not know yet, in case you turned our offer down.”Well, actually, Lance kept telling them to ask Skye about all of this. But he must have known that the Hamiltons would want to do crazy spying stuff instead of, you know, finding out the answers the sane way.
Morgan asks him why all the secrets:
“I’m protecting my family,” Layland said. Even in his weakened voice, the anger came through loud and clear. “And perhaps the world as well.”
“Protecting your family from what?”
“People like the Klitous, the government, politicians, pharmaceutical firms, even my own family. I’ve been fighting them, and I will continue to do so.”I don't know about you, but this all kind of sounds like the ramblings of a very paranoid man. When he can't give specifics and instead says all these vague things about "the government" coming after his family... I'm not sure I'd take all of this at face value. The man's clearly not well.
He shares his rags-to-riches story and complains that "people like the Klitous and others" are trying to take away his hard-earned wealth. Morgan, true to form, just scowls and demands that he answer the question - why all the secrets?
“I’m sure you’ve figured it out already,” Layland said. “You and Tammy are brilliant!”HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
Morgan confirms that they found a treatment for Batten that would slow it down. Doctor L. L. wanted to go public with it, but Malinda Leontiou was worried pharmaceutical companies would steal their information and use it for themselves. So they just didn't tell anybody, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you support the efforts of rare childhood disease cures.
Doctor L. L. also worries about the government again, and Morgan asks:
“When you say ‘government,’ do you mean your government?”Who IS Doctor L. L.'s government? His island is its own freaking country. Of which he is clearly the head, since he has all the money and there doesn't seem to be anyone else in charge. Is Lance secretly the king/dictator/president? Is Morgan referring to the Greek government?
Doctor L. L. avoids the question by saying that it doesn't matter, all governments are the same, so, um, there's that answer. He continues to confirm that Skye has Batten and says Dr. Rozak was the neurologist who first treated her.
“The bracelet the girls wear is more than a tracking device, isn’t it?”
“Yes. It monitors their vital signs and indicators twenty-four hours a day. We know if their heart races or plummets, or if their blood pressure elevates or drops, and other medical information. The data is transferred immediately back to the main computer in the lab.”
Morgan was entranced by what he was hearing.HOLY CRAP, Morgan, Tammy JUST told you all this in the last chapter, AND Dr. Rozak talked about this like six chapters ago, where you all oohed and ahhed over such advanced medical technology that lets you track patient monitors through bracelets. If Morgan ever wants to deserve Doctor L. L.'s hilariously pronounced title of "brilliant," he's gotta stop reacting like he's just figured out things he's already been told twice and then being shocked again when it's confirmed.
Doctor L. L. says they left the cruise early because Skye's bracelet said her indicators had changed. He says all the girls at the clinic (do they not treat boys here? That's never really been addressed) were on injections of the treatment, but now the shots are "all gone" and the girls are getting worse.
(If Markus' wife managed to hack into a computer and physically remove shots from the clinic, I am going to be very, very impressed with her computer skills.)
Doctor L. L. continues to give back story: Malinda Leontiou had made this new medicine out of dolphin stem cells. It was working on the patients. Then, suddenly, it wasn't working, so they had to make a stronger version, and if they didn't win at making a stronger version, all the "replacement genes" they'd injected into the kids earlier could actually turn into evil genes and spread the disease faster.
Then the computer was hacked while they were working on this stronger version and EVERYTHING WENT CRAZY and the lab exploded and all the scientists in the room were exposed to the live virus so they all died. But because Malinda's computer was gone and Malinda was dead, nobody knew how to make the stronger strain anymore.
That's why he can't treat kids with Batten now? Because Malinda didn't believe in backups?
OK, well, it turns out they believed in backups, but by that they just mean "saving it to other computers on the same network," not like, you know, actual useful ones, saved on outside hard drives or to a cloud drive somewhere. So when the computer was hacked and a virus put on it, it wiped out the entire network of computers so now nobody knows the recipe for the cure.
OH HEY, here's Ty randomly again:
[“]Hours later, Ty had rebooted the system. It was then we realized we had been hacked, and a virus had been planted inside the system. The virus found its way into the main processor. Unfortunately, it was propagating faster than Ty could correct it.[”]So I guess Ty(rion) is one of their IT guys?
Doctor L. L. says Malinda just died a few days ago.
“That was why Skye was so upset,” Morgan mumbled. “Things are finally starting to make sense.”
“Yes. My little girl has had a lot to deal with.”
No one had to convince Morgan how amazing Skye was. He’d never seen anyone who impacted as many lives as that young girl. She was beyond amazing.Here, Rothdiener suddenly remembered that the book hadn't mention in a long time that Skye was Girl Jesus, so he tossed this in.
Doctor L. L. also got a dose of the Batten virus when he went in to save Malinda, so he's dying too, but he nobly refuses to use any of the injections that are left on himself. He finishes the chapter by explaining that he built this clinic mostly for Skye, and, yes, they do only treat girls with Batten.
The chapter ends here, somewhat abruptly, but, hey, at least we got some answers! They're stupid answers, but they're answers!