Without another word, Asher and Emeric exited into the engineering section. The doors slammed shut behind them.
“Why did you do that?” Willow asked as her eyes fluttered and then closed. She exhaled heavily and then her breathing went into a slow but steady pattern.
I decided not to respond to her. I tapped the console on her pod and brought up her vitals. Her adrenaline was high, as were her blood pressure and heart rate. I initiated a deeper scan and saw that her neural activity was erratic but also slowly returning to its pre-event state. I moved over to the main medical station and looked over the log of drugs that I had administered to her. I cross referenced the potential drug interactions and pulled up all of the information on BCD. I had the computer start running simulations using memory loss as the goal symptom. I knew that her condition would not remain stable, but I hadn’t expected an episode quite so severe so soon. “What are we going to do?” I asked myself and the computer. I felt very alone at that moment. I wished that I had other medical professionals I could confer with. I was trained to handle almost any potential situation that we could confront out here in deep space, but Brinkerhoff-Chernobog Disease wasn’t one of them.
I shook my head and stared at the screen, I really didn’t have any immediate way to help her delusions. The only real course of action I could see, with what we had available on the ship, was to keep her medication regimen the same. We would just have to handle these episodes with sedatives and extended periods of rest as needed. I didn’t want to overburden her liver though. It sometimes felt like I was handling a knit wool sweater. Anything I could do to stop one symptom would only unravel things further and cause the other issues to worsen.
I looked at Willow, lying peacefully in the pod. “It would really be a lot easier if everyone on the ship were fully aware of the situation, then we could all help you.” I waited for affirmation that did not come.
“Skyler,” I called out as I realized that I was alone with Willow. “Where is he?” I brought up the internal security program, and loaded the macro I had created for showing all of the sensitive parts of the ship. I was able to quickly locate Skyler sitting in his bunk in the lower level, a tablet computer in hand.
Willow began to snore as she entered a deeper level of sleep.
I wondered if I should check in with Asher to find out what had happened to the ship, but just as I had convinced myself that it was the right choice, the engineering doors opened and Emeric stepped through.
The main lighting all came on at once, and the difference was almost blinding. The emergency lighting turned off and my eyes adjusted.
“Asher’s fixed the power issue. He doesn’t think it was related to the phenomenon slowing the ship,” Emeric said as he approached.
“Oh? Was it normal wear and tear then?”
Emeric shrugged. “He’s investigating further.” He glanced at Willow’s pod and nodded in that direction. “How is she?”
“I’m not sure yet.” I walked over to her pod and quickly scanned her vitals again, everything looked much closer to her normal levels. “I’m hopeful that some more rest will help her come around. She’ll likely need to rest quite a bit until we return home.”
Emeric put his hand on his forehead. A large vein was bulging from the center of it. He slowly rubbed it in circles. “Can we talk in private?”
“Of course, Sir.” I replied. It felt odd to need to step away, but I complied.
“I feel like the Raven crew are a liability. They are distracting us from our primary mission. Would it be possible to put them in long term cryo sleep until we return to Earth?”
“I don’t think Willow would survive waking up after spending eight years in cryo, Sir. I think the only reason she’s alive now is because she had to wake up so many times on the way out here. As for Skyler, we still don’t know the full extent of how he was affected by his first bout of cryo. For all we know, he was a genius before leaving Earth.”
Emeric leaned in close, he whispered so lightly that the normal rumble of his voice was completely absent. “If they continue to be an issue, I will give you the order to put them to sleep. I need to know you’ll follow that order.”
“Yes, Sir. Of course,” I nodded. I knew I would not be able to defend myself defying a direct order despite my heartfelt belief that it may not be the right thing to do.
Emeric stepped backwards, spun on his heels and walked downstairs. I could hear the distant hiss of the doors to his quarters open and then close.
After a few moments, the engineering doors opened again and Asher stood on the other side. “Anaya, can you come here?” Asher gestured emphatically.
I walked over to the doors and shot Asher a confused look. “What?” I said standing just on the other side of the opening.
He reached out and grabbed my arm, pulling me towards him as the thick doors slammed shut behind us.
“Woah!” I yelled, losing my balance and falling towards him. I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks as his strong arms caught me and stopped me from falling face first on the floor. There was a sweet musk coming off of him. It it was like the early morning dew in a forest mixed with a little smoke from a cedar fire.
I looked up and saw embarrassment on Asher’s face.
“Sorry,” he said, letting go of me. He folded his arms across his chest and glanced around the room, looking at anything but me. “I just didn’t want anyone to hear what’s going on.”
“Okay.” I said, in what I hoped came across as a friendly, but not too friendly, invitation to continue.
Asher fixed his gaze on me and I could see worry in his usually sparkling eyes. “I think the Lalonde’s Dream was sabotaged.”
I tried to steady myself, though his words made my mind spin. I reached out my hands and found the railing at the edge of the platform to my left. I held it and leaned a bit of my weight on it.
“What?” I tried to replay what he had said in my mind, but it didn’t make any sense.
“Anaya, I’m pretty sure somebody sabotaged our ship.”
“I can’t believe anyone would actually do that.” The snippet of conversation I had heard between Skyler and Willow shot to the front of my mind. I shook my head, trying to dislodge the thought, it would be stupid for anyone to sabotage the ship. “We’re all stuck here together. You kill the ship you kill us all.”
“Well, I know it wasn’t me, and I know it wasn’t you. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Emeric.” Asher let his voice trail. He was trying to point fingers without accusing anyone.
“Are you sure it was sabotage?” My mind raced. I tried to consider everything I had seen.
“Well, the computer system was set to cut power to the main systems at a certain date and time. It was pretty well hidden too. If it wasn’t for the analysis program that I have running to try to figure out what is slowing the ship, I never would have found the remnants of the code that shut us down. It was a pretty high skill hack.” Asher’s tone was one of someone mildly impressed.
“Really?” I asked in shock.
“Yeah. It would require someone with a strong background in computer science, and maybe even some systems engineering skills. What is Willow’s background again?”