Goodbye Sol – Page 18

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Willow and Skyler both stared at me in silence. Willow opened her mouth a few times, looking like she was trying to figure out how best to word what she wanted to say.
Skyler’s brow was furrowed, his mouth turned downward in a frown. “But you don’t understand,” Skyer began, “I was hand selected for this mission. There wasn’t even a short-list. I am Skyler Grey. The Skyler Grey.”
“Yes, you’ve mentioned,” I said, trying to keep any hint of annoyance out of my voice. I double checked the computer interface and hoped that I had just missed some files.
“Everyone on Earth knows my name.” He turned his attention back to the list of files on the screen. “For months before we left, I did the circuit, promoting our expedition globally. Everyone was encouraged to contact me. I’m supposed to wake up to a time capsule brimming with messages from my fans.” He pushed both hands through his short brown hair. His bright blue eyes seemed to pierce through me, the sadness in them tangible.
I looked from him to Willow, hoping she would say something. She did not.
“You must have missed something in the transfer. There has to be more files.”
I stared him in the eyes and shook my head slowly. I considered saying that I could get Asher to help look through the files, and use that opportunity to spread the word about what I had overheard earlier, but I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the two Raven crewmembers alone.
Skyler moaned and turned from the monitor. He walked across the room and leaned his hands on the counter, his back to us.
Willow looked from Skyler to me. “You said earlier that not much about the Raven survived the Great Wipe, can you expand on that a bit?”
It felt weird to have to explain. I sat in front of the only two people who didn’t have to live through both the horrors and the eventual revitalization of humanity. “Well, it was a horrible solar storm that knocked out power nearly everywhere around a year after you left. It was named the Great Wipe for two reasons: the data loss and the loss of human life. It erased a great deal of stored information. Every unshielded, non-solid state hard drive was wiped clean. That’s why we didn’t know much about you and the Raven.”
“And the human life?” Willow said. She visibly choked as she asked the question. Her eyes filled with tears, just waiting for something to push them over the edge so they could stream down her face.
“Over one third of the population didn’t make it. Food, water, and waste all require massive amounts of power, and without it, we suffered, especially those in major city centers in first world countries.”
Willow stood up and walked to the food storage area. She grabbed a cloth napkin and returned, standing next to the table. “That sounds horrible,” Willow said, her voice shook as she spoke. Her eyes rolled upwards and back into her head. Her legs fell from underneath her, and she crumpled to the ground.
I rushed to Willow’s side. “Get me my scanner!” I shouted at Skyler and hoped he would react quickly. I lifted her frail hand into my own. Her fingers were like ice and her pulse weak. I leaned in to hear her breathing and it was faint. I leaned back and suddenly my handheld scanner was in front of my face. I snatched it from Skyler’s hand.
“Is she okay?” He asked. His eyes were wide and glued on Willow.
“Help me get her to the cryo pods.”
Skyler kneeled down beside the slumped mess that was Willow. He carefully rolled her over so that he could more easily move her. He placed his right hand under her neck and with his left he began lifting her knees. He glanced up at me and his expression said that he had the situation under control.
I had expected to help him move her, but his actions left me free to set-up the cryo pod for a full medical scan. As I tapped on the display attached to Willow’s pod, I started going through the possibilities in my mind. I thought about her Brinkerhoff-Chernobog Disease, and how late stage it was. “It could be her heart or her brain,” I said out loud to myself.
“I don’t think I can safely put her in there,” Skyler said arriving with Willow’s still unconscious body in his arms. With the sides of the pod sitting a foot higher than the mattress interior, it would require him to drop her in.
I positioned the pod in a near standing angle, and helped him manipulate Willow into position before I adjusted the cryo pod to be horizontal. It only took a moment, and seemed like the right thing to do.
The built-in scanners sprang to life. Her blood pressure was far too low. Her cryo pod chirped letting me know that there were various warnings present.
My own blood pressure rose as adrenaline flooded my system. My heart began to beat fast and hard and I could hear each beat echoing in my head.
“Well?” Skyler said. He brushed Willow’s forehead with his hand. “Is she going to be okay?”
I opened the section beneath her pod, and grabbed some stimulants. I injected the medication into Willow, and her vitals started to return to their pre-event state. “As good as she can be,” I said knowing that this wouldn’t be the last time we had to deal with such an emergency.
“What do you mean?” Skyler asked.
His words and the look of confusion on his face hit me hard. I felt my mouth open of it’s own accord. I had just assumed he had known of her condition. I tried to quickly figure out how much to say to him without breaching doctor-patient confidentiality.
“She’s not exactly well.” I waited to see how that statement would go over, and whether he would ask for more.
“But she woke up so well from the cryo-sleep.”
“Yes…” I fumbled for words, my attention split between caring for her and explaining to him. “She did. But she has an underlying condition that needs medical attention.”
“Was she sick on Earth? Why would they send her on this mission if she was sick on Earth?” His eyes got even wider and all the colour drained from his face. “Is she contagious?”
“No, it’s not contagious,” I said. “As for the rest of your questions, I think it’s best that she talks to you about it when she’s able to talk.”
Skyler nodded. His shoulders relaxed as he slumped back onto the side of his cryopod. “Okay,” he said, “so what happens now?”
“Well, I have to figure out how to properly medicate her with what limited supplies I have at my disposal.”
“Any way I can help?”
I knew that there was nothing he could do to help me. I had to look through the database and run a variety of tests. I knew that it would be easier for me to figure out how to treat Willow if I was left alone, but I also knew that I did not want him out of my sight.

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