Second Stop

Before the ship left Latria, the captain opened communications with the government back home letting them know about the planet below. They were told to continue on with their journey to Medicia to discover if it shared the same fate as Latria. So while the command crew plotted a course to their next destination, all of the members of the landing crew were reported to the ship’s infirmary. Once there they were forced into isolation so the doctors could ensure that their exposure to the radiation would do no lasting harm.

The trip to Medicia took three weeks, though the landing crew spent the first two in isolation. Only being released when all the tests came up negative did the doctors grudgingly allowed them to leave, as they demanded that their fleeing patients avoid any strenuous duties or activities. Yet as soon as Rylan escaped they containment he was ordered to the captain’s ready room.

So when Rylan entered the ready room, a warm and half-hearted smile broke out from the captain’s usually emotionless face. “Well, Rylan I think you’ve finally been vindicated.”

“It’s amazing how that happened,” Rylan answered bluntly.

With a gruff chuckle, the captain replied, “People can be like that Rylan.” Rubbing his chin for a moment, the captain immediately jumped to the real reason he summoned the technician. “We are a week out from Medicia, but I don’t want you going down to the planet.”

“Why?”

“Because I will need you to go down to Laria, and I won’t expose you to that radiation that many times.”

“You’re getting a little ahead of yourself aren’t you, Captain?” Rylan asked as defiance began coloring his face.

“Not really.”

“What aren’t you telling me?”

The captain looked from side to side before he stood up and walked over to the large window of his ready room. For a long while, he stood there staring out at the stars as he let silence envelop them. When the silence began to grow too uncomfortable, the captain answered, “The best scientists back home are fairly certain that the reason we can’t connect to Laria is that there was an explosion on Laria that let the radiation flood the planets of the Federation.”

“What?”

Slowly turning around the captain saw the wide eyes on Rylan’s face and he quickly answered, “They were able to identify the radiation, Rylan.”

“What is it?”

“Honestly the science was well over my head. All I remember is that there were a few scientists on Laria that were experimenting with it and our boys back home think that whatever accident happened obliterated every world that was connected to Laria.”

“So…”

The captain sat on a corner of his desk and spoke over Rylan, “The only reason our world escaped the devastation is because you were running an update on our platform at the time of the accident.”

Rylan laughed bitterly for a moment before he could reign it in. He took a moment before as he guessed what their new mission would be. “I take it we’re going to be confirming that’s what actually happened on Laria?”

The captain nodded and gave Rylan the new orders, “Yes and no.”

“How’s that work?”

“We are to continue to Medicia and check the planet before we go on to Laria.”

“But I won’t be going to Medicia.”

“Correct, now go and rest we will be at Laria in three weeks. I need you to be well rested by then.”

Rylan nodded before stalking out o the ready room as he sought something to occupy himself for the next three weeks. Rylan busied himself passing on as much information about the platforms as possible to Rory, who had been tasked to do the check on Medicia’s platform. Rory was a sponge taking in every bit of information that Rylan could give him. And when they entered orbit around the planet, Rylan reported to the bridge so he could help his replacement diagnose the platform if needed.

The captain had been right, the same radiation that had enveloped Latria encompassed the world of Medicia as well. When the party landed, Rory led his five-man team to the platform room, and quickly radioed up to the ship announcing that the platform’s center crystal was flashing red. Both teams rapidly returned to their shuttle and then the craft.

When the captain raised communications with homeworld, he made sure to include Rylan. “Medicia is the same empty shell that Latria was.”

“Thank you, captain.” Aidan said promptly before looking to someone not in the picture asking, “Do we recall them?”

Rylan looked at his captain but ignored the silencing look he received as he exclaimed, “We can’t just return, we need to go to Laria and see if we can find anything there.”

“Whatever this radiation is, Rylan, it has devastated two planets that we know of and most likely all of the worlds in the Federation,” Aidan replied smoothly.

“But we don’t know we have to finish our investigation, there may yet be a planet that survived. All of our communication runs through Laria we might be able to get a hint of another surviving planet.”

The captain gave Rylan a brief nod before returning his attention to the screen, “Rylan is right, sir.”

“Of course he is,” came a voice that Rylan didn’t recognize from the other end of the conference. “Go see what you can find.”

“Yes, sir.” The captain answered as he shut down the communications. He turned to look at Rylan and spoke solemnly, “Two dead worlds, two planet-wide graveyards.”

“We have to latch onto the hope that there may be other survivors,” Rylan said darkly.

The captain nodded, “Yes, we need to hop. But I fear that in the end, we will stand alone.”