Lucy looked over the logs as they walked. “Interesting,” she muttered.
“You noticed the alliance visit,” Femi stated.
“And you’re thinking it happened over a month before the viral infection so it can’t be related,” Lucy said.
“The possibility isn’t zero,” Femi said. “However, we do consider it unlikely.”
“Did they stay in different quarters from the akumillians?” Farah asked.
“They did,” Femi answered. “And we have checked their quarters.”
“I should like to see them,” Lucy said. “And your logs from around the time of the outbreak and a couple hours beforehand.”
“Suit yourself,” Femi said.
“I’m going to extract the virus and introduce it to the artificial environment,” Angela said.
“Standing by to take readings,” Paul said.
Angela turned to her patient, an elderly woman with an artificial eye. “Hold still, Anna. It will only sting a little.”
“I know,” Anna said. “Don’t look down on me just because I was a field medic.”
“I’m not looking down on you,” Angela said. She hurriedly took the sample and swiftly injected it into the artificial environment.
“virus seems to be stable,” Paul said. “I’m starting a detailed scan now… Wait… Damn, it broke up.”
“Could we have forgotten something in our environment?” Angela wondered.
“I don’t think so,” Paul said. “The artificial body should be perfect. Could the virus be designed to break up under medical scans?”
“It’s possible,” Angela said. She sat down by Paul to look over the small amount of data they had. “If it is, then curing it will be even more difficult.”
“There must be some way…” Paul said. He scratched his head. “What if we set the scan to low power? It will take longer, but it might be weak enough to prevent the deterioration.”
Angela considered it. “It might prevent us from getting a complete picture as well, but it would be better than what we have now. Let’s try it.”
“Good grief,” Anna said. “I guess I’ll give you another sample.”
“No need,” Angela said. “We’ll take one from another patient this time. You just rest.”
“Don’t give me special treatment just because you’re my daughter-in-law,” Anna said.
“I’m not,” Angela said. “You know that the protocol is to take samples from different patients just in case we end up needing a lot. Please, Anna, go back to resting.”
“Fine,” Anna said. “I am a little tired.”
“James, help Anna back to bed and bring Jack for the next sample,” Anna requested.
“Leave it t’me,” James said. He glanced at Paul as he walked over. “I’ll be very close by. Remember that.”
“I’m not seeing any sign of sabotage of any kind,” Farah said.
“According to every instrument, these quarters are clean,” Femi said.
“Don’t rely on the instruments,” Lucy instructed. She was looking down at Turing’s data. “Look for unusual scuffs on the floor or indents in the walls. If the akumillian government did place a device to dispense a plague, they would guard it against scanning devices.”
“What about the alliance?” Farah asked.
“They might have the same level of technology,” Lucy admitted. “Main power went out for about thirty seconds right before the virus was detected?”
Femi nodded. “Torn was testing a new kind of turret. It turned out to be unacceptably resource draining.”
“Then we’re looking for a trigger connected to the power relay,” Lucy said. “Or remote detonation from the small merchant ship that passed by.”
“We had considered that,” Femi said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get a solid identification on the ship since it was so far away. We also found no anomalies in the power grid.”
“Hold up,” Leon said. “If the ship was that far away could they have told that the power was temporarily switched to backups? Plus, Turing’s sensors wouldn’t have been down for more than… ten seconds?”
“Six,” Femi said.
“Six,” Leon repeated. “Could they have reacted that quickly?”
Lucy looked up, her eyes open and intense looking. “They could have identified the switch, if the ship was built specifically for espionage with powerful, long-range sensors. As to their reaction time, it’s possible if they expected it. Which means that either Turing has someone who apprised our unknown ‘friends’ of the situation or it was hacked and they anticipated that the power drain would cause a switch.”
“We weren’t hacked,” Femi said, confidently. “But I’ll have Caroline look over the system, just to be sure… When she’s cleared to go back to her station.”
“There’s not a damn thing here!” Leon declared. “Nothing out of place, bruised or anything. It’s all pristine.”
“Then let’s check the alliance’s quarters,” Lucy said. She closed her eyes and looked at Femi. “If you please.”
Femi sighed. “This way.”