Doctor Sarah Chambers looked over the last files concerning the treatment of the plague sufferers on Theta 49, both Dureena's people and the survivors of the cybernetic experiments. Soon the cure would be on its way to Earth, with the records that it had worked on the 'native wildlife' here. She had wondered about including all the data, but in the end decided to trust Dr Franklin with it, and so included all the reasons why it should remain secret. Then there would be no need for a quarantine. She could go back to Earth to see Jenny and Lara. Her mission here had been over – just the loose ends to tie up and then this would be done, and yet – could she leave Gideon and his quest for the hybrid ship? Could she leave this crew? Go back to the regular duties of a planet based doctor or the routine of a normal civilian ship, dealing with space sickness and all the ways people could hurt themselves despite the increasingly paranoid safety precautions?
She sighed and pushed it all away to finish the papers. There was so much to do to make sure everything was in order. However, she needed a break – then a final check over everything – it would not do any good to miss something or make a slip, however small.
She got to her feet and stretched. She looked around Medlab, but for once everything was quiet. Sarah walked out, walking randomly, trying to think over her decision. She needed to make it soon – they would be dispatching the cure as soon as the Rangers arrived to escort it, and she could go along or just send all her notes to Steven Franklin. Glancing up, she realised she had reached the crew quarters, and turned down the corridor towards Dureena's quarters. She knocked and waited to see if there was a reply, after all Dureena might still be down on the planet with her people.
After a moment the door opened.
“Come in,” Dureena said.
Sarah entered, ducking slightly to avoid the hangings; and sat down at the table opposite Dureena, by now used to the low chairs. Dureena moved to get her a cup of tea to drink and passed it over before sitting down again.
“How are your people doing?”
“Fine – the sick have all recovered. They believe their colony here will thrive now.”
“And all the tests are negative.” Sarah paused. “Are you going to remain here? Help them to build the colony?”
Dureena looked around the room. “Maybe. Are you leaving? You have family on Earth.”
Sarah shrugged. “I should. My sister and niece are back on Earth, and I have missed so much being away. I should be used to it, I know, with my life so far, but I don't know if I would be thrown in prison for being an associate of Captain Gideon. We've gone up against EathForce enough! There are so many people we've offended.”
“You think they'd do that, even as you return with the cure?”
Sarah nodded. “I can't decide whether my family would be safer if I stayed away or went home. If I stay they could turn into hostages – as EarthGov has done that before!”
“Do you think they will blame you from his actions?”
“Maybe. We'd all be at risk, as we might know his plans, or just be easier targets. It depends on how much influence any of his enemies have within EarthGov – although the Interstellar Alliance may well be watching them more closely.”
“Do you want to leave?”
“Yes and no. I'd like to stay on and help, but I haven't seen my family in a long time now. If I could have leave and return, then I would do that, but I don't think EarthGov would like it. I could invite them to meet me somewhere - Babylon 5 for example - but I don't know if Jenny could get the time off and afford the travel.” She shook her head. “What about you?”
“It is good to see my people here and our customs continuing, but I am curious to see what Gideon's ship turns out to be – and I would miss the adventure.”
“I would miss not finding out too – and the company. You haven't had enough adventure already?”
“Who wants a dull life? Do you know if the others are staying?”
“Matheson definitely, and most of the crew. I imagine you'd have to pry Max away with a crowbar – have you ever seen him happier than now, with his teeth sunk into this mystery?” Sarah said, thinking back over the last year.
“His kind of mystery! Although IPX might not be happy with his decision.”
“Galen – well, who knows? It seems likely that he will continue to float in and out on his own And I suppose the question is supplies and so there are those who can shut it down, but Lochley seems willing to help and the Interstellar Alliance seems to be allowing Gideon free rein.”
“I expect they want answers – especially if this is more leftover Shadow tech. Although Earthforce could lean on Lochley, but she makes up her own mind – or follows Sheridan.”
Dureena nodded. “I'll stay. I can always return here, but I'd spend my life wondering if I left.”
Sarah stared down at her tea, and took a drink. “I don't know – I will do what I can and possibly staying here is my duty – even though a cure is found. Earth needs to come first, but Earth, not EarthGov.” She laughed shakily. “I think all the EarthForce idealism is wearing off on me.”
Dureena laughed. “And maybe some of it in reverse - breaking all their rules! It will be interesting to see – although Gideon was never a straight arrow, as I believe you say.”
“Indeed. Thank you for listening and talking to me. I've been worrying about my decision ever since we found out what the cure is and the quest started to look finished. I should return and finish up those reports – there are some things I should add, if I'm not going to be returning with them.”
She smiled at Dureena and left, happier than she had been in a long time, although knowing that regrets would haunt her, as they would whatever her decision had been.