Colonel Clarence James ("C.J.") Peters, MD.: Chief of the disease-assessment division at USAMRID. He is the leader of the Reston operation at the monkey house. Peters had built up this division almost singlehandedly, and he ran it singlehandedly. He was a strange sort of military man, easygoing and casually brilliant. He had wire-rimmed glasses, a round, ruddy, pleasant face with mustache, a light Texas drawl. He was not a large man, but he liked to eat, and he believed himself to be overweight. He spoke fluent Spanish, which he had learned during his years in the jungles of Central and South America, hunting for hot agents. He was required by Army regulations to show up for work at eight o'clock in the morning, but he usually drifted in around ten o'clock. He disliked wearing a uniform. Usually he wore faded blue jeans with a flaming Hawaiian shirt, along with sandals and dweebish white socks, looking like he had just spent the night in a Mexican hotel. Peters worked twelve-hour days and left work at night, often long after everyone else had gone home. C.J. Peters could swim through a bureaucracy like a shark. He inspired great loyalty in his staff, and he made enemies easily and deliberately, when it suited him. He drove a red Toyota that had seen better days. On his travels in rain forests and tropical savannas, he ate with pleasure whatever the locals were eating. He had consumed frogs, snakes, zebra meat, jellyfish, lizards, and toads cooked whole in their skin, but he thought he had never eaten salamanders, at least none that he had been able to identify in a soup. He had eaten boiled monkey thigh, and he had drunk banana beer fermented with human saliva. In central America, while leading an expedition in search of Ebola virus, he had found himself in termite country during swarming season, and he had waited by termite nest and collected the termites as they swarmed out and had eaten them raw. He thought they had a nice sort of nutty taste. He was a great believer in maps, and his offices always contained many maps hung on the walls, showing locations of outbreaks of virus. Left the Army to become the chief of the Special Pathogen Branch at the Centers for Disease Control.
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