April 30, 2012

Zion's Children - pt 49

Byrin considered Lily's question. Could there be a God out there trying to get his attention. "I suppose it's possible," he conceded, not sounding happy. "It would be foolish to completely rule out the idea of a higher power."

"Why do you sound unhappy?" Lily asked. "Does the idea bother you that much?

He shrugged. "What I know about religion is very limited. There's very little on Earth anymore. My idea of Christianity is that it's a kill-joy. Your God has all these rules that have to be obeyed...like the sex outside of marriage one...and if you don't obey it, you're screwed. Going to hell and all that."

Lily nodded. "It does seem that way, doesn't it. Both about Earth and rules. Religion is still very present on Earth, it's just quieter since the government has all these rules. We still celebrate all the major holidays, even Halloween. Of course, you have to be part of that faith group to actually get the day off as a holiday, otherwise nobody would get anything done." She laughed lightly. "As for the rules, we obey because of love. Not because we have to. God came to Earth, in the form of Jesus, and sacrificed Himself for us so that we could be spared the punishment for rebelling against Him. To disobey is to spit in the face of that. But, it's also about relationship."

"A relationship with a dead god?"

"He didn't stay dead. Have you ever heard any of the Easter story? How He was resurrected?"

"A little," Byrin admitted.

"Some time after that, He left. He ascended into heaven, and sent His Holy Spirit to be with us. That is how we can have a relationship with Him."

"Sounds like an alien abduction to me," he joked.

"I think we would have run into Him out here by now," she answered, sensing the closing of the door. "Look, I'm not trying to pressure you, so don't take it that way."

"I know," he sighed. He looked across the room at the sleeping Miri. "It's just, that I have more questions than I have answers for. Like this virus."

"Some things don't have answers," Lily admitted. "Some things we take by faith, because of other answers. We may never have all the answers/ But you know enough to have found the cure for this virus, even though you don't have all the answers. That doesn't mean it's wrong to keep searching."

"Definitely something I would want to revisit," Byrin admitted somewhat reluctantly.

"Good. If you don't want to talk to me about it, or even Miri, Marcus is also a Christian."



"I wondered."

Lily nodded, pleased she'd thought of this. "I'm sure he wouldn't mind talking to you about it."

"I'll keep that in mind," Byrin reassured her. "For now, good night."

"Good night, Byrin."

April 29, 2012

Zion's Children - pt 48

Byrin flicked the computer screen off. Disgusted, he could no longer look at it. "Why do you think Miri is taking longer than the others to bounce back?" he asked the nurse sitting next to him.

Lily Bennett smiled gently. "I don't think that she is. She was hit harder than some because she gave herself an advanced version of the virus, and she was exhausted at the time no matter how much sleep she'd just had. Not to mention that she's probably also a bit more, shall we say, genetically pure than most. And she's not the only one that was hit hard. She's just the one you care about the most."

"That's..." He found that he couldn't deny it. "...very observant of you."

Lily smiled broader. "It's part of what I do."

He chuckled. "I do care about her; a lot. I..." Byrin rubbed his hands over his face. "I need sleep. I'll tackle this again in the morning, I guess. I mean, it still doesn't answer the question about why the virus activates in test tubes, or why it continues to break down after the person is deceased."

Lily nodded. "Sleep sounds like a good idea. Byrin, have you ever considered the possibility that the virus acts the way it does, simply because that's how it was made?"

Byrin stopped in the middle of standing, considering her question. "Because it's been programmed. It's not some virus they found and mutated, they made the entire thing." He ran the idea over in his head, and finished standing. "It does have that look about it now that you mention it. It could be that they've been testing this for years, on Exile worlds like Zeta Muria...and Beta Talisman. I bet if I ran a search on the previous Exile Colonies that have been partnered, I'd find similar outbreaks."

"I wonder if they're perfecting it for a specific release, or if they just want to 'tag' anyone with the right genetic markers?" Lily pondered out loud.

"Either. Both, maybe. Lily, why haven't you ever shared these ideas with me before?"

The nurse answered with a shrug. "I wasn't assigned to help you, remember? Besides, why would I think that the famous genius Byrin Gold would need help anyway? Especially mine?"

Byrin grimaced. "Do I really come off that conceited?"

"Only most of the time. We learn to like you anyway."

Byrin chuckled as if embarrassed. "Gee, thanks."

Lily stood to her feet, to better look him in the eye. "Seriously, Byrin. I've come to like you a lot better than I did on the trip out here. I certainly respect you more. For all your bluster, you genuinely care for your patients. And you've fought for these people, to the point of exhaustion. We'll never be romantic, they way you wanted on the way out here, but I think we could be friends. Besides, like I said. You care for Miri, so I don't think you want anything like that from me anymore."

"No, I don't. No offense, you're still a beautiful woman." He smiled at her.


"I still have the same problem though," Byrin sighed. "You both have the same belief system."

Lily paused, then seized the moment and prayed it wouldn't get her reported; they were not speaking as officers right now anyway. "Byrin, if Miri is the second Christian you've found yourself attracted to recently, maybe you need to consider why. Maybe God is trying to get your attention."

April 18, 2012

Zion's Children - pt 47

It was late when Lily came in to check on Miri one last time before turning in. She was off shift, so it wasn't something she had to do. In fact, she almost snuck in so that the night shift nurses wouldn't think she was checking up on them. She was please to see that the young woman was fast asleep.

Byrin, as she could see by the dim light of a computer screen, was still at it. She made some rustling noises as she moved this time so as not to startle him. "You're still here," she said by way of greeting.

He glanced up at her, his head resting on a crooked arm. "Yes, and I see you're visiting late."

"Just checking on a friend." She pulled a chair nearby closer and sat down. "The threat is over, Byrin. You've found the anti-dote. Why the late night?"

He pointed at the screen. "Do you see that?"

Lily looked at the readout presented. "I do. It's a virus loaded sample."

"Would you like to know what it is from?"


"That is a sample of our standard vaccine. Routine procedure when someone is born. Out here, the first thing we do when we find one of the exiled communities is vaccinate them. I don't know if it's in all our stock, Conglomerate wide, or it it's just localized to these posts. I also don't know if it's sanctioned or not; either way I don't know who I can trust with this when I go back with Levi."

"Is that going to stop you from backing him up?" the nurse asked quietly.

"Hardly. This is going to shake our foundations more than just a little." Byrin let out a sigh.

"Maybe they need to be shaken," replied Lily.

"Maybe. I just...I don't understand why they are such a hated people."

"No one does anymore. You grew up after the War, remember. A lot of stuff had been shoved under the rug by the time we were born. I remember being told the evil King hated us because God loved us more than the rest. When I was able to leave my outpost for school, I learned the approved message - that Hitler had hated everyone who was different from him and spread that hatred like a disease because he was insane. Like he was the only one who was behind it. They gloss over the fact that it continued years after he died."

"Like they gloss over how long it took for the Regime to be overthrown after the rebellion started. I know."

Lily took a deep breath. "God has almost been wiped out of the public vocabulary, Byrin. Even though you're a superior officer, there is a lot I cannot say to you. Because you never actually asked me why Jews are such hated people, you could very well put me on report for trying to explain. We come from very different backgrounds Byrin. You grew up on the Core World, I grew up on an outpost. Our view of that time of history is going to be different. My family was exiled because they were Christians. Your family, from what I've gathered, managed to stay under radar so long that they forgot. Not enough to rebel when the time was ripe, but enough to forget why they were rebelling beyond the basic human rights."

"Why do you do it then? You could easily leave the Fleet and be a nurse in any hospital."

"Because I enjoy traveling, something I didn't get to do on Beta Talisman. We were planet locked, remember. All the Exile Colonies were. And the regulations that bind us are just as present outside the Fleet as in, they're just less verbalized. The Unified Government that took over after Hitler strove for the freedom of religion that your America used to have, and did it so well that it made it impossible for ANY religion to proselytize. We can be any religion we want, practice it, we just can't share."

There was no bitterness in her voice, just the bland acceptance of the way things were. "It must have been a shock," he commented. "Coming out of Beta Talisman into the Conglomerate Core Worlds."

"Yes, it was," Lily said quietly. "In fact, there were a few years that it messed with my head, and my faith. But my faith held out."

The two sat in comfortable silence as a natural lull fell into the conversation. It was a moment pregnant with possibilities.