"The original samples remain." Miri could not hide the upset from her face.
"What's bothering you?" he asked, concerned.
She hesitated before asking, "Do you not trust Marcus' judgement?"
"What? Oh no, I do. I just want to run my own tests." Byrin shrugged. "I like to see things with my own eyes."
Miri nodded, accepting his reason. "I will fetch the samples for you."
"Miri?" Byrin asked, several hours later. Only the first rounds of his tests were complete, but already he had run into a snag. "Do you by any chance know if these are all the blood samples that were taken?"
"Yes," she replied, coming to stand closer to him. "Why do you ask?"
"There aren't any control samples," Byrin replied.
"But, Doctor Alexander has taken three different samples from people who have shown no signs of the illness."
"Really?" Byrin looked up at her, struck by how brilliant her blue eyes were. "Then why aren't they with the rest of the tests results?"
Miri didn't hide her confusion. "They are. The control samples were numbered C-14B, C-15D, and C-16S."
His sandy blond eyebrows shot up in surprise. "You're kidding. Miri, all three of those samples show active virus cells."
"Here...look for yourself." He selected two slides. "This one is C-14B...and this one is V-1A." He set them side by side on the powerful microscope. He stepped to the side and motioned for her to look.
Miri took a step and then leaned down to look into the eyepiece. The two blood samples were nearly identical. 1A was clearly more advanced then the previous control sample, but the two samples showed active virus cells. She pulled away and straightened. "That is impossible."
"Yet - it is." Byrin didn't consider his next words very well. "How were these samples stored?"
Miri hesitated only a heartbeat before answering, "I left them out on the counter all these months."
"What?!" He hoped she was joking.
"Commander, I realize that I am not ConFleet personnel, but I still follow your procedures. The samples were quick frozen. The only time they have been at room temperature was the last time they were tested and the time before this testing."
Byrin sighed. "Miri, I didn't mean it that way."
"How did you mean it then?"
He struggled for words. "I just wanted to know how they were stored!"
"By suggesting that this facility was storing them improperly?"
"All right, I apologize."
Miri looked like she didn't believe him. "Perhaps we ought to be finding out why this has happened?"
"Yes, let's." Byrin took a deep breath. "We're going to need new blood samples. And I would like to find out whether the people who gave the controls samples have contracted the illness."
"Agreed. I can tell you that the one who gave C-14B is still quite healthy. I will have to check the paperwork to find out who the other two came from."
Byrin gave her a quizzical look. "How do you know the one off the top of your head?"
"Because it came from me."