Femi excused herself, leaving Lucy, Leon & Farah alone in the quarters that had been recently used by the alliance’s envoy.
“What kind of power do you think those wrist rockets are packing?” Leon asked.
“They’re probably specifically designed to tear through force fields and flesh while not damaging the hull,” Lucy surmised. “Otherwise they’d be no good for a station like this.”
“Think I could get some of those?” Leon asked.
Lucy shrugged. “We aren’t going to buy any for use in your duties. But if you want to buy some with your own credits, we won’t stop you.”
“Paul doesn’t like me having explosives in our quarters,” Leon said. “Thinks too much can go wrong.”
“Quite the astute one, our Paul,” Lucy said. “Let’s look for signs of tampering while she’s out.”
“At least she seems more relaxed around us now,” Farah commented. “She must know we’re just trying to help.”
“It’s not that,” Lucy said. “It’s more basic than that. She knows there’s no way out of this room except through that door. She’ll send her communications where we can’t hear or see her but where she can watch the door.” Lucy’s yellow eyes opened and she scanned the quarters. “It’s also possible that she surreptitiously bugged the room to hear what we talk about while she’s out of earshot.”
“Probably should’ve said that earlier,” Leon said. “Before we started talking.”
“Why?” Lucy asked.
“Well…” Leon began. He paused and considered the question. “We might’ve said something embarrassing.”
“It’s still degenerating,” Angela said.
“Weak,” Lucas stated. “How are we supposed to get this thing broken down?”
“With the low power, it takes some time,” Angela said. “We can get a complete picture. It will just take a little time.”
“And about three more samples,” Paul added. “assuming a medium amount of redundancy.”
“Great!” Lucas declared. “I’ll go get the first sample. You two just sit tight and check the data we’ve got so far.”
Paul and Angela poured over the partial scan they had of the viruses structure.
“It is strange,” Paul said. “That no one’s died of this virus yet.”
Angela nodded. “I know what you mean. They obviously constructed it with great care, making it as difficult to cure as possible but also highly non-lethal. Femi thought that it was a ploy to take the station and capture us all alive, but there’s been no attack.”
“Which means it’s something else,” Paul said. “Perhaps someone wants to sour Turing’s relationship with the akumillians?”
“It would make sense,” Angela conceded.
“Ya’ll leave the why to us security folk,” James said. “You just focus on gettin that cure.”
Femi returned. She didn’t say anything to the Cerberus crew. She just crossed her arms and watched them examine the area.
“There!” Lucy declared. Femi moved close to see what she was indicating.
“Just a small scuff,” Leon said. “Someone could’ve been moving furniture or just stomping like a ass hole.”
“too precise,” Lucy said. “This was done with a tool.” She turned to Femi. “Do you mind if we open up the floor ?”
“Go right ahead,” Femi said. “But if you don’t find anything, you’re fixing it back up.”
“Deal,” Lucy agreed.
She carefully cut into the floor, revealing a small opening where a mechanical device had been placed, attached to a canister.
“Your doing?” Lucy asked. “If it’s not then we may have found the virus delivery system.”
Femi took the device and looked it over. “Not ours,” she said. I will have it sent for analysis immediately.”
“So it was the alliance that unleashed the virus!” Farah declared.
“They were being sneaky,” Leon agreed. “Trying to start a fight like cowards.”
“If our analysis team agrees then we will rain justice upon them,” Femi stated. “Of that, you have my word.”
The final piece. They had the final piece of the virus scanned.
“excellent!” Angela declared. “Now we have to move quickly. Before we push just how non-lethal this thing is.”
“Judging by what was somewhat effective before, maybe something like this?” Lucas suggested, hurriedly writing out a chemical formula.
Paul and Angela studied it. They quickly started shaking their heads.
“It would be very risky,” Angela said. “Might even cause catastrophic liver failure.”
Lucas glanced over it. “Oh, right. Sorry.”
Paul put a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t be. It may very well be close to what we need. Maybe…” he made some quick alterations. They examined it. “Think it’s too weak?”
“Quite possibly,” Angela agreed. “But if we strengthen it thus,” she wrote her own alterations “It might be efficacious and safe.”
They examined the new formula.
“It looks like all that remains is testing,” Paul said. “Synthesise some and see if it works.”
“Slight problem,” Lucas said. “We don’t have the right chemicals. We used up a lot trying to find the cure.”
“We’ll have to get some more in and fast,” Angela said.
“I have plenty on the Cerberus,” Paul said. “I’ll call and have the ones we need brought over.”
“Thank you,” Angela said. “That really helps.”
“Don’t thank me too much,” Paul said. “Ophelia will have the cost added to our fee.”
“Don’t worry, we understand,” Angela said. “It will be worth it if only for the faster delivery.”
A Note from the Author
I’m sure some of you are curious about what’s going to happen on Fridays now that Grand Pilgrimage is out in its entirety. Well, last week I took Friday to consider that question myself and a new story will be starting this week. I might even do something unheard of and have it starring LGBT characters.
That was a joke. I am fully cognizant of the fact that that describes every story I’ve written here.
In any case, thank you all for your readership and I hope you enjoy this new story.