July 30, 2008

Zion's Children - pt 17

Byrin only had a few hours sleep and he was headed back to the lab. So far, all the blood samples had been as they were supposed to - with one acception. Those who weren't sick yet, had normal healthy blood. Those who were sick, varied from age group to age group. However, he had acquired a blood sample from a deceased fever victim on a whim, and was surprised to see that the virus was still active and consuming cells long after the person was dead. He had half a mind to dig up the early victims to see if there was anything left of them. He wasn't sure how that would go over though.

From his brief exposure to the people here, he had already caught on that they were a deeply religious society. Even more serious about it that Lily Bennett if he was any judge, though they were no where near as uptight about it as she was. At any rate, he didn't think that they'd react well to his request to 'desecrate' the dead.

And to be completely honest, he wasn't sure of what he would find if the virus continued to be active in a dead body. Would there be anything left at all?

Unsure of how long Miri's originial blood sample had been stored in the refrigeration unit, he lowered the temperature to a quicker freeze while he had been gone for the 'night'. Even now, it was still dark out as he walked back to the lab. Byrin paused only briefly to gaze at the starlit sky. The constellations were unfamiliar here, but on any other night, he would have found them captivating.

He slipped into the hospital as quietly as possible. Even at this early hour, there was activity. Night watch was as busy as the day it seemed, though it seemed quieter. Once in the lab, he pulled the blood samples out and prepared to thaw them.

"Here kind of early aren't you?" came a voice behind him.

Byrin turned and found Doctor Alexander entering the room. "Aren't you?"

The older doctor chuckled. "The difference is, I sleep here."

"Did you sleep well?"

"Did you?" Alexander asked in reply.


"Neither did I."

"I won't tell Miri if you don't," Byrin commented, beginning to prepare his slides.

The other doctor laughed. "Don't tell me you're afraid of her!"

"That's not the word I would choose." Byrin shook his head. "She's very good at taking care of people."

"That she is. And just to warn you - she'll be able to tell we haven't slept. Whether she'll say anything about it, is a fifty-fifty chance we'll have to take. Just, when she threatens to sedate you, go to bed and get some sleep. Trust me, it's not a pleasant experience."

"Speaking from experience?"


When Alexander didn't elaborate further, Byrin wisely let it drop. "Does she get her way often then?"

The white haired doctor sighed. "Most of the time. She's usually right." Then the doctor grinned widely. "I trained her well."

Byrin chuckled. "So you're the one we have to thank."

"I am."

There was a moment of silence as Byrin held up a vial of blood that was clearly beginning to break down. The red of the blood was streaked with darker layers. "What do you make of that?"

"Please tell me that's not Miri's new sample."

"It's not."

"What stage of the disease it that from?"

Byrin shook the vial gently, but the layers of separation didn't disappear. "Post mortem."

July 03, 2008

Zion's Children pt - 16

Byrin ate the thin slices of glazed meat on his plate, vaguely wondering what it was. It sort of tasted like beef, but he wasn't quite sure. Not that it mattered, really. It had been so long since he had eaten 'real' food that he could be eating dog meat for all he knew and it would have tasted wonderful. God, he hoped it wasn't dog meat! The bland food served in most ConFleet mess halls and on the starships were so processed that it ceased being 'real' long before it ever hit the plate. There were also long green beans and a mashed squash that he was unfamiliar with. The greens beans were seasoned well with pepper and the squash was sweetened with a sugar of some kind.

He normally didn't focus this much on food, but at the moment it was distracting him from his distraction. Miri did have a point...he couldn't cure this disease in one night, no matter how hard he tried. But each time he looked at her, he felt an urgency he had never felt before. Her original blood sample had been teaming with the cursed virus...even though her new one was clean. It was something they couldn't explain yet, but he knew deep down that it was a only a matter of time before this woman was sick and dying. And he didn't want that to happen.

And somehow he had worked himself back around to his first distraction.

It was more than her physical beauty. He had seen prettier women, though not by far. No, there was something deep about this woman. Something he couldn't put his finger on. All he knew is that he couldn't let her die. Suddenly the meat was sticking in his throat despite the thin sauce that flavored it.

"How's your food?" Miri asked suddenly, breaking into his thoughts.

Byrin looked over to her, though he had never really looked away. It looked as though she was nearly done with the blood samples. He should finish soon. "It's fine," he replied. "What exactly is the meat?"

Miri smiled. "It's beef. I doubt it tastes like anything you've ever called beef before. I've sampled ConFleet supplies before."

He laughed at how her nose wrinkled in disgust. "Our processed food does tend to be bland."

"That's one word for it."

"I have heard other descriptions," Byrin admitted. Very descriptive words actually. The price of progress he supposed.

Miri fell silent again, and Byrin let her. He dug back into his food, intent on finishing quickly so he could return to his task. Reflexively he checked the time. Miri was also right about that. He should at least let her go so that she could get some sleep. She must think him a slave driver keeping her to help him this long. Had she taken any breaks? Somehow he didn't think so.

"Miri, why don't you go ahead and get some sleep. I'll finish up here."

She tilted her head to look at him. "And when I return in the morning, will I find that you fell asleep at your computer screen?"

"Do I come off as that driven?"

"You do." Her smile took any sting out of the words. "I will stay, Doctor Gold."

He heard the unspoken 'someone needs to make sure you don't work yourself to death.' He managed to hold in his disgruntled sigh. He'd look at these blood samples and take what notes he needed and then they'd put things away for the night. After all, there was nothing stopping him from coming back early in the morning. He set his fork down, intent on his goal.

"All right then," he said. "Let's get this done so that we can call it a night."

Miri nodded as he hopped to his feet. "That's a good idea."