March 31, 2008

Zion's Children - pt 8

"This is a vicious disease," Doctor Alexander said, sitting down on a stool in the lab he had taken Byrin to. "High fever, with delirium. As far as I can tell, their immune systems are turning against them and attacking the healthy cells."

"Have you found the trigger?" Byrin asked, looking around. The high tech equipment they had brought with them hadn't been set up yet, but he could see that it would contrast almost violently with the quaint room, as did the equipment that was already present. There was a healthy array of equipment set up among wooden tables and chairs as well a as mixture of wooden and metal cabinets. At least the Conglomerate coloring was absent.

"You wouldn't be here if I knew what the trigger was." Alexander sighed tiredly. "I can't find anything in the water. The air is fine, better than anything you'll find on Earth. Pollen and mold counts are the same they've been since I landed here with the Admiral. Their food is better than the highly nutritious ConFleet ration bars. I'm fresh out of ideas."

"All right," Byrin wisely ignored the sarcasm he detected in some of the other doctor's comments. "Do you mind if I go over your data? Just in case you missed something?"

Alexander smiled roguishly. "If that were to come from anyone other than you, Gold, I'd be offended. It's all on the main computer." He waved toward the longest rectangular table and the machine that sat upon it. "Go for it. When Miri gets here, I'll leave the two of you to work on your own. And don't worry, she's well acquainted with our technology."

Byrin centered himself in front of the main computer and began to access its files. "What is it with her? I mean, you've set her above ConFleet officers and seem to prefer her. Doesn't anyone mind?"

"Other than your Lieutenant, no one minds. Because I'm not the only one that prefers her. Everyone here can see her potential, along with the countless others we have working with us. If this planet were a full partner in the Conglomerate, she'd have been sent of to the Academy before she'd finished high school. And she's just one woman. This planet is full of untapped potential. It's a waste."

"I heard the Admiral say the same thing." Byrin scrutinized an early test as he spoke. It didn't escape his attention that the older man hadn't exactly answered his question. Even if this planet was full of untapped potential, that still didn't explain Miri's favored status.

"That doesn't surprise me," replied the other doctor. "Archie's been trying to get this colony turned into a full Conglomerate partner for years. He's their biggest supporter."

"I gather as much. What seems to be the hold up? With the partnership, I mean."

"Left over anti-semitism."

Bryin turned his gaze to look at the other doctor. "Excuse me?"

"You don't know?" Alexander sounded shocked. "Zeta Muria is one of the first colonies ever formed."

The younger doctor cursed. "Which means it was formed primarily of Jews and Americans."

"Ah, so you do know a bit of history."

"Some." Byrin turned his gaze back to the computer screen, but his attention was divided. "Tell me more about the colony."

March 01, 2008

Zion's Children - pt 7

Although their backs were turned to her Miri nodded her head at Doctor Alexander's instructions. She watched their departure with interest, then turned back to regard Lily Bennett with curiosity. "You're not really upset, are you? About not working with the handsome doctor?"

Lily smirked. "Miriam, my taste finds Doctor Alexander far more handsome than Gold." Which was true. She preferred the calm authoritative men to the pompous ones. His white hair made him look older than he was, but he was still handsome.

"Then why did you question Marc's decision?"

She shrugged. Why indeed? "Old habits die hard," was all Lily decided to share. It would be embarrassing to admit that it was jealousy of the other woman.

"Yes," Miri agreed. She almost smiled. "Sometimes the old nature doesn't want to admit that it was crucified on the cross."

Lily blinked. "Excuse me?"

"Are you not a Christian?"

Now Lily frowned. "ConFleet regulations prohibit religious witness."

Miri gave a knowing smile. "ConFleet regulations prohibit their officers from sharing their faith, with each other and the people they serve. Yes, I know. I've worked closely with Confleet these past several years and know their regulations rather well. Of course, it helped growing up with them. Nurse Bennett, the regulations state that you cannot start the conversation and that you cannot proselytize. I started the conversation, and I am already a Christian. We are well within the regulations, regardless of whether my assessment of you is correct."

"Indeed, we are." That could explain why the woman had seemed familiar to her earlier. She had heard of the phenomenom before, of Christians being able to recognize one another on sight, but had never experienced it herself. "How is it you're a Christian? I mean..."

Miri chuckled. "Three quarters of this colony held to the Judeo-Christian faith long before the first ConFleet ships set down and announced that there was going to be a military outpost on this world. I've been told they were quite surprised to discover that, along with the fact that we had some semblance of 'civilization'. Come, we'll talk more as we walk and work. Marc doesn't like to be kept waiting."

Lily gave a friendly smile. This was a likable woman, and she knew they were going to be great friends.