Yuri sat in the back of the transport. Leon was in the pilot’s seat, waiting. Paul sat beside him tapping his foot impatiently.
“Five minutes,” Ophelia’s voice came in over the intercom.
Paul flipped his own intercom switch while Leon sealed his hazard suit. “How many do we have left?”
“There are still twenty-seven life signs,” Ophelia’s voice answered, quietly.
Paul’s head drooped. He hurriedly sealed his own suit in silence.
Finally, the refugee ship was in sight and the trio was able to launch. It took less tan a minute to get aboard their hangar and enter the ship. Paul took a quick scan. “Seven life signs,” he muttered. “They’re this way.”
Paul led the three into the corridor. There were bodies lined up, resting on makeshift mats. They almost looked like they were just sleeping, but with their eyes left open and rolled back.
“I do not understand,” Yuri stated. “Why were they abandoned here?”
“They probably moved their most effected here to get medical attention as quickly as possible,” Paul answered. “If only we had made it sooner.”
The three hurried as quickly as they could. By the time they reached the survivors in the medical bay, three more had passed. Paul hurried to them, trying desperately to stabilise their condition. “Fuzzy, I only count three here. See if you can find the fourth survivor. Yuri, take the medical logs from their computer. I want to know everything I can about this thing.”
“We were to stick together,” Yuri reminded him. “Leon and I are here as your guards.”
“These people aren’t exactly a threat,” Paul said. “Now, get those records!”
She turned and moved to the computer, extracting the records as she was bid.
“We shouldn’t have come,” Ophelia muttered. “Why didn’t we mind our own business?”
“Paul can take it,” Lucy said. “You don’t have to worry about him.”
“I can’t help it,” Ophelia said. “He’s suffered every time I’ve seen him lose someone that we were trying to save. Having an entire affected ship go from three hundred people to…” she checked the readings “three is going to really hurt him.”
“He’s rational,” Lucy said. “He’ll accept that there was nothing he could do.”
Leon followed the errant life sign to one of the crew quarters. He almost burst in, but thought better of it. He made sure that the room wasn’t actually sealed first. Then he broke in.
It had been adapted for a group. There were extra sleeping bags scattered around, a few toys and some dry rations carefully put away. Leon turned to the sound of footsteps. A small child was behind him, clutching a stuffed rabbit.
“You,” he said. “Come with me.” He reached out to her but she ran away. “Why’d it have to be a kid?” Leon asked himself. “Come back!” he cried. “We need to get you medical attention!”
“I have downloaded all the records,” Yuri reported. “Are the humans functional?”
“I’m afraid not,” Paul answered. “I just lost the last one here. All that’s left is the one that Leon went to find.”
The two went in pursuit of Leon’s life signs. They eventually found him standing in front of a storage rack.
“The life sign appears to be on the rack,” Yuri observed.
“She won’t come down,” Leon stated. “Hey, the doctor’s here. Get down from there!”
Paul put a hand on Leon’s shoulder. “Let me try.” He stepped forward and spoke in a soft, soothing voice. “You need to come down from there. It’s not safe.” He stretched out his hand. “It must have been very frightening for you when everyone got sick, right? It’s okay, we’re here to help.”
The girl looked hesitant at first but quickly scrambled down and into Paul’s arms, crying.
“At least she seems to be in good health,” Paul stated, gently lifting her from the ground. “For the moment.” He activated his communicator. “Captain, we have one survivor. I’d like to bring her aboard our medical bay.”
“We’ll have all of the rooms but medical sealed when you get back,” Ophelia’s voice returned. “Apprise us when she’s safely stowed away so that we can seal medical and run a full decontamination of the hangar and corridors.”
“I will,” Paul said. He glanced at the now sleeping child. “Still, it’s odd that she not only survived but seems to be in perfect health. I’ll have to examine her thoroughly when we got back to the Cerberus.”