Throughout Tranquillity Initiative are the consequences of the anthrax attack on the New York City. In his five star review of Tranquillity Initiative, Sean Remfrey talked about a woman he only met in a page that he cared about to his surprise. I believe that woman was Meggan Pollam. The reality of the threat of this is what caused Allen R. Cook to favorably compare Joan Meijer to Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen in his review. saying:
"Look out Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen – there is new competition
in the medical thriller field!
That competition is Joan Meijer!
Excerpt from Tranquillity Initiative:
In the vaulted space of the ancient third-story loft, photographer Meggan Pollam coughed violently as she stirred thick noodles into the vat of chicken soup on her gas stove. The loft had originally been built to house a sweatshop during the expansive years around the turn of the century. It now served as Meggan's studio. She considered herself lucky to have it, even though lofts had become popular on the New York housing market, and the rent was driving her crazy. The high ceilings, the fantastic exposure, the great light were a treasure in her profession. She loved 'the old fire trap,' as she liked to call it.
Meggan had felt like hell all day. At first she thought she had a cold, then she knew it was the flu. She'd been sick before, but never like this. After considering the financial edge on which she skated, Meggan had cancelled her appointments for the day. The cancellation of work was a true measure of how sick she felt.
She had considered dragging herself over to the Beekman Downtown Hospital Emergency Room, but she didn't have the money for an Emergency Room visit, nor did she have the energy for a ten-block walk. She had settled instead for chicken soup and sleep. Her mother swore by chicken soup. It would have to do.
She spooned some of the hot broth into a ladle and brought it tentatively to her lips. It burned a little and tasted watery. It definitely needed salt.
Meggan reached over the stove to the shelf at the back, which her ex-husband had built as a home for the numerous bottles and boxes of herbs and spices she considered essential for cooking. She had told him at the time that she thought it was a dangerous place to put a shelf, but he hadn't listened. Alex had never listened, which was why he was her ex.
In her weakened condition, Meggan did not take her usual precautions around the gas stove. As she leaned forward, the flowing material of her bathrobe brushed against the hungry open flame that reached out from under the vat of soup. By the time she noticed that the rayon was on fire, the flames were licking up her arms, melting the synthetic material onto her skin.
Even if Meggan had been well enough to react to the emergency, and escape the curtain of fire that fed on the highly flammable material, she would have been seriously burned. But she was not well, and her reflexes were slow. Within seconds, she had become a human torch, dancing in the agony of consuming flame.
Meggan could think of only one thing to do; run and get help. As her skin blistered and popped, and the subcutaneous layers of fat sizzled like bacon, she ran for the front door. Unable to see through the wall of flame that rose from her chest, scorched her eyelids and seared her breathing passages, she careened into the kitchen table. She paused only long enough to set fire to its cheerful checked table cloth before she bounced away into the doorway, where she set fire to the velvet curtain which separated the kitchen from the rest of her living quarters.
By the time Meggan Pollam collapsed on the braided rug near the front door, she had spread the fire to four different areas in her apartment. In the time it took her neighbors to notice the smoke, the fire had reached Meggan's dark room with the floor to ceiling shelves of volatile chemicals she had stored in anticipation of hard times. The resultant explosion guaranteed that the building and three of its ancient neighbors would not be saved. All anyone could do was run for their lives.