As the craft’s journey drew to the end of its trip, the doctors examined Rylan for the last time. Sitting on the edge of an examination bed, Rylan’s fingers were tapping away. So far not one of the crews who landed on either Latria or Medicia developed radiation sickness. Rylan suspected that he was the only member of the landing parties to receive this level of care. As time dragged on the captain’s voice boomed through the intercoms. “We’re about three hours from the Larian system. Any member of the crew that has made planetfall, report to sickbay immediately.”
The steely-eyed doctor shifted his eyes, “No, I’m not going to hurry your exam. Believe me, no one will bump your results. Now be quiet.”
Rylan shook his head as his fingers continued tapping away. He did not like waiting for his official diagnosis. As he stretched his neck as he asked, “What was wrong with the results from a few days ago?”
“Be quiet,” the doctor ordered with an abrasive voice. When Rylan sighed, the doctor retorted, “They were only good for last week, now be quiet.”
Rylan shook his head, at the lunacy of the repeated scans. It was evident that whatever happened on Lataria, occurred in a moment. The lack of communication and the state of the world told him that. If the radiation was still lethal, then it should have done its damage already.
The doctor coughed, bringing Rylan out of his revelry, as he stepped away from the table and spoke at Rylan. “Well your scans look clear, there are no traces of that radiation in your system.”
“Has anyone had the radiation show up in their system?” Rylan asked as he leaped from the bed.
The doctor’s scowl told me that I shouldn’t have asked that question. But my puppy dog eyes only intensified the look and earned me a reproach. “You’re not the captain, and you do not need to know. Now get out so I can see the next patient.”
“Yes, sir,” Rylan chirped as he fled sickbay. As he was entering his room, the intercom in his quarters barked to life. “Rylan report to the captain’s ready room immediately. With a groan, Rylan walked to the bridge. When he arrived the first officer caught Rylan out of the corner of his eye and pointed towards the ready room. Rylan offered a small salute and pressed the bell, and after a moment the door slide open.
When the door slid shut the captain lowered a pad to his desk and addressed the technician. “I got word that you’re in perfect health.”
“Captain, how many people are experiencing radiation sickness?”
The captain smiled as he replied, “The doctor told me you asked him that.”
“I did,” Rylan replied as he folded his arms behind his back. “And to be honest, Captain, if I’m going to lead the mission I need to know who I can take.”
Standing up the Captain rounded his desk, “And that’s what I told the doctor. But so far everyone’s in perfect health.”
“How far out are we from the Larian system?”
The captain looked at one of the displays on his desk and replied, “We should be entering the system in about an hour.”
“When can we start scanning the planet?”
“We should be able to scan it now, nothing specific,” the captain said sitting down. But when he saw the impatience drive Rylan to tap his fingers, he asked, “Did you want to be here when we scan the system?”
“If you wouldn’t mind sir,” Rylan said without hesitation.
The captain leaned back and folded his hands behind his head. After a moment of deliberation answered Rylan with a grin. “Certainly as far as I’m concerned you never did anything to our platform.”
But the response slapped Rylan across the face. As the captain rounded his desk, Rylan forced himself to ask, “They still didn’t believe me?”
“They do now,” the captain answered as he opened the door. It took Rylan a moment to force his legs to move. But he was eventually able to force them to compel though he couldn’t make out what the captain was saying to the crew.
But the first officer’s worry snapped Rylan back to the moment. “Captain we have an interesting development.”
“Define interesting, Tegan,” The captain demanded.
Tegan did something at the controls, and the large screen displayed the Larian system. Tegan pointed at the image saying, “Based on the records the fourth planet is Laria.”
Noticing the issue at once the captain commented, “Which gives us two planets to choose from.”
“Two planets?” Rylan asked as his mouth fell.
The captain looked over at Rylan and inquired, “You didn’t know?”
“No,” Rylan managed to mumble.
Tegan quickly volunteered, “Based on their position no one could ever see it in the Larian sky.” Rylan took a step closer to the display. As Tegan continued, “But that’s not the development, sir.”
Both Rylan and the captain spun towards Teagan so fast they almost fell down and asked in unison, “What?”
“From the records, we know the dead planet is Laria. But the other planet isn’t in the records, and it’s teeming with life,” Tegan answered.
“It’s not in the records?” Rylan asked as he steadied himself against the bulkhead.
The captain strode to his seat, “Can you confirm that Laria is dead.”
Tegan bobbed her head once and replied, “Dead like Latria and Medicia. But there is a chance they had time to flee to the other planet before the disaster struck.”
“Laria is dead?” Rylan asked numbly.
“So it would seem,” the captain answered with somber eyes.