With how much he had been looking through his notes, Nate hadn't even noticed Jun heading towards the engine room door until it was too late. Throwing whatever he had among the pile of half-read papers, he made a frantic dash at Jun. He had opened the door, and was about to see what Nate wanted to keep secret.
"Wait, stop!" he shouted, but it was too late. If Jun's expression was anything to go by, he had already seen the captain. When he looked in as well, the sight was somehow worse. She, naturally, had continued to consume the corpse he had seen before. He shook himself from the sight and moved to stand between Jun and the captain.
"Jun, please... Don't tell the others about this! She... She doesn't want the others to know, so we have to keep it a secret!" His voice was shaky. Being caught in an obvious lie was not what he wanted to do. Swallowing some saliva, he nervously continued. "We need to find a cure, so we can save her. Save us."
His eyes desperately pleaded with Jun, hoping that he would comply.
RM Skill: Intermediate
Arel had been pacing around on the top floor of the ship. Something gnawed at her mind... The pilot had the sinking feeling that something did happen down there. A pilot's intuition, she remembered hearing, was usually always right. If there was an intruder...they could easily wreck the room and cause
"Shit, should I just go down there? If something happened down in the engine room...well frankly I don't want to be on a sinking ship again." After a moments deliberation, she went back to one of the rooms on the ship and donned one of the environmental suits.
It wasn't long before she found that the situation in the engine room was larger than what she imagined...
"Oh holy hell." She immediately noticed the orange liquid seeping out into the hallway. Running full speed into the room, Arel couldn't imagine what she saw next. Remnants of a corpse, the captain standing there, the capsule in the middle of the room, and then Nate and Jun standing off.
"W-what...." Arel was too shocked to form a coherent sentence. The captain...had blood stains all over her front...and that could only mean.
What did I do? Is this because i ignored the captain's sickness?...Is it really all my fault?
It was only when she noticed a slight hissing noise from the capsule that she sprang into action. "ALL OF YOU OUT." She walked forward and grabbed Jun and Nate before shoving them out of the room. She then strode over and stood over the captain, trying to help her up to get her out.
"That capsule in the middle is an ER core. Step in any of the liquid, hell get anywhere close to it and you'll get contaminated. The orange stuff is toxic. What the hell were you guys thinking, not calling me immediately?! DO YOU ALL WANT TO TRAPPED ON ANOTHER F***ING SHIP?!" Arel wanted to scream inside.
Arel noticed that the captain simply curled up in a corner, screaming for everyone to leave her alone. "If you want to be a cannibal, do it in some other goddamn place!" With adreneline and anger coursing through her veins, she simply picks the captain up and deposits her outside the doors of the engine room. As she did so Arel looked at the pale face of the captain, and felt a sharp pang of regret and guilt for what she said. After setting the captain down between Nate and Jun, she switched on the suit's internal communicator.
"Reporting from the engine room, there's an ER leak. Do not come down here." Once she was done broadcasting to the whole station, she punched a wall before attempting to clean up the mess. Looking into the metal core...she noticed remnants of a corpse. Arel fought the urge to vomit as she poked it with a tool, attempting to find any traces of identification.
"Dammit. There's nothing I can see....What the hell was this doing in there?"
Quickly checking all of the equipment in the room, she was very relieved to find that all the functioning ER cores were still in place. The one that had spilled was the cracked ER core from earlier.
(Note: This post covers two time periods---directly after Aiko hears about the missing captain, and a short time later when the current action is going on.)
Aiko rubbed her eyes wearily. "The captain's missing . . . ? I should help everyone look for her. Or maybe not. I'll just get in the way," she muttered, "or get in trouble like before." Suddenly, she gasped, recalling what he had said during her crying spell.
"Jesus, calm down. You're probably not even infected. You're trueborn, right? You're the ones with the chance of getting out alive." She hadn't noticed him standing outside her door until he'd spoken. His altered voice had been unusually harsh on her ears then, hard and cold like butter that needed warming. She'd replied with silence, not wanting him to say anything else.
I'm so selfish . . . so selfish! He and Nate were infected and I never even thought to console them. I've only been wrapped up in my own trauma. Jun must think I'm only worried about myself . . .
Like the many souffles she'd ruined, Aiko deflated, sinking back into semi-consciousness. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- She woke to darkness and couldn't breathe. It pushed ruthlessly against her until she bolted upright, clawing at the air in terror. Another nightmare had come to an end. Each of her closest companions had been viciously maimed in a different way. Turk's nose was no more. Arel's eyes were missing. Lars' ears were bleeding and bruised. Nate lost his hands and feet. Zhi had been gutted, and Jun had had his lips cut off. The captain . . . was headless.
Gee, I'm nuttier than Dad's favorite cookies . . .
As the baker considered how she might do just that, she heard a voice, gruff and feminine and familiar.
"Arel . . .?"
This post has been edited by Ereth: Sep 30 2011, 08:08 PM
RM Skill: Skilled
Oh, what he saw was just lovely. Not the blood and the gore splattered across the room; That looked like nothing more than a paint job at this point. No, the beauty was in his captain. The amount of worthlessness, hypocrisy, dishonesty and selfishness she personified was almost magical. It was like someone put together all the worst things about this trip and shaped them into a person.
None of them even had a reason to be in this quarantine zone anymore. The most contagious of them all was in charge. Their exposure to that planet didn't even mean anything. They were probably all screwed from the moment they set eyes on their piece of shit leader.
Jun attempted to resist when Arel cleared the room, but common sense kicked in the moment she mentioned the ER core leak.
Cruel anticipation, on the other hand, kicked in as soon as the crazed captain was deposited by his feet moments later.
He didn't care if Arel was here. He didn't care that Catalina was confirmed infected and contagious. It was effectively guaranteed that, out of everyone, he was the only one with no chance to get out unscathed.
His hands wrapped around the collar of the captain's shirt, and pinned her to the nearest wall. The still warm blood from her meal soaked through to his palms, and the iron scent that came alongside only drove him further into fury.
"I bet finding out that all these trueborns 'trechies here are the only ones getting out alive if your disease starts spreading came as quite the hit, huh? They're the ones you hate most, and you can't just infect them. No. It's us. The "Real ones"? We're all dead because of you." As his hands shook in anger, he reflexively slammed her head against the wall. The sound was satisfying. "So what was it? Did you bring us all here to make us suffer alongside you, or did you just think you could sacrifice us to save yourself? How the hell do you bring a disease from a closed off planet to Oraph Headquarters, anyways!? You going to try to pin that on an accident!? I'd like to see you try!"
Nate could only hang his head in shame as within minutes of trying to protect the captain, his lie was revealed to more and more people. He walked within some distance of the engine room, he spoke out inside.
"I'm sorry, Arel..."
She was probably going to hate him now. She was the only one who really knew him, and he had just lied to her.
He felt like returning to his room, only to hear the sound of Catalina being slammed up against the wall. When he turned, he saw Jun, holding her by the collar, yelling at her.
"So what was it? Did you bring us all here to make us suffer alongside you, or did you just think you could sacrifice us to save yourself? How the hell do you bring a disease from a closed off planet to Oraph Headquarters, anyways!? You going to try to pin that on an accident!? I'd like to see you try!"
The words made him freeze. It was similar to what he concluded in his discussion with her, but the way he phrased it, a sudden other conclusion came to him.
If Catalina's infected, and we're not...
He ran towards Jun, forcefully grabbing his arm he was using to pin Catalina and trying to shake it off her.
"Stop it, Jun! Don't you get it? She's been infected before she came to Persephone, but there are aren't many ways she could've gotten infected: Either by leaving Persephone before the outbreak sealed off the gate, by leaving Morgan under similar circumstances, or because we infected her in the first place! And considering how strict Oraph is, I find it impossible they'd let an oversight like the first two get through.
"We infected her, Jun. But if she's showing signs that she's infected and we're not, that means we can't get infected, regardless of our status! So just stop it already! We need to find a cure!"
He was closing his eyes, trying to fight back some tears. He didn't want to have to fight with someone else, but if his words went unheard, he was afraid of what he might have to do.
RM Skill: Intermediate
Arel had finally cleaned up most of the orange goo that had been spreading along the floor. The cracked ER core was off to a side, body still floating in the remnants. At least the thing was in a container now.
Giving one final check around the engine room, she walked towards the entrance, where it seemed Nate and Jun had been arguing.
We infected her, Jun. But if she's showing signs that she's infected and we're not, that means we can't get infected, regardless of our status! So just stop it already! We need to find a cure!" Nate had said this shortly before she reached the pair.
"We don't' exactly know if we infected her or not." Arel grew silent as she picked her words carefully... "....It could've been my fault afterall. During the mission, she complained about stomach pains or something. I was so focused on rescuing Aiko, I ....I completely ignored it."
RM Skill: Skilled
Turk ventured down into the lower decks, seeking out Aiko and Nate to get them to join in on his plan. What he encountered there was far beyond what he could ever expect. Glancing at the Captain's pale bloodied form, with Jun, Arel, and Nate nearby, he drew a knife from one of the environmental suit's external compartments. "Arel. Get away from them." Throwing his plan out the window, Turk reached for his communicator and sent a ship-wide broadcast. "We need four cryogenic containers in the engine room- There's been an accident involving one of the cores. Leave it near the decontamination airlock- We don't need any more injuries." They better cooperate.
Looking around, Turk barked another command at Arel. "Once those containers get here, we need to place all our enoch-to-be's in them. Especially the captain. Don't give me any shit- You can get angry all you want once we get through that gate, but until then, we need everyone to remain as human as possible. As far as we know, the enochification process is irreversible once we become enochs." I might have to do this alone...
RM Skill: Skilled
Jun's grip on the captain's shirt loosened at Nate and Arel's arguments, followed by a gradual softening in his expression as their words sank in.
The Morgan ship. They were right. It all started on that ship, and there were still so many unanswered questions about what happened there. If anything could connect every absurd event they'd gone through together, it had to be that ship. So many people were dead, and by such violent means. It almost seemed as if the entire crew had suddenly become possessed. It wasn't much unlike what happened on the planet.
Most sickeningly, however, Nate was right. After all, the truth had already been nailed in by the doctors at Oraph: They were all immune, Catalina aside. It just so happened that it was only now that the reasoning behind that assumption began to become clear.
Along with it came the realization that he had been beating up the only person on the ship who had arguably been innocent this entire time.
He let her drop from his hands. He looked away. Looking at her bloodied face was borderline embarrassing.
It was the only response he could muster. There wasn't much else to say to the woman he took part in tearing apart.
He let Arel tend to the captain as soon as he stepped aside, and headed back to the far wall, no longer wanting to be directly involved in what was going on. It was difficult putting his thoughts together, but with each passing moment it only became clear that he, frankly, made a pretty dumbass mistake. Not just in the past few minutes, but in the past couple days.
As he was mulling in his thoughts, however, Turk's voice, the same overconfident voice that had threatened to kill him the other day, blared from the group.
"Once those containers get here, we need to place all our enoch-to-be's in them. Especially the captain. Don't give me any shit- You can get angry all you want once we get through that gate, but until then, we need everyone to remain as human as possible. As far as we know, the enochification process is irreversible once we become enochs."
It was kind of funny, really. The moment he decided to brood over his own stupid faults, a guy in possession of far more of them was dancing around again, spitting out the same kind of over-dramatic nonsense as before. Don't give him shit, his ass. There's only one time to say that phrase, and that's when you're openly doing something that no one will agree with. Of course, Turk was about as capable of realizing that as he was to bake a cake for the group of them. A un-poisoned one, at least.
"Shut up. No one went and appointed you captain in the past five minutes."
This post has been edited by Ganonfrog: Oct 7 2011, 03:16 AM
RM Skill: Skilled
"Shut up. No one went and appointed you captain in the past five minutes." Hmm... I guess the enochification is beginning to start in him. The process seems to vary in time for each individual, probably based on the immune system. The Captain has had quite a bit of stress, having to lead the team, so...
Turk glanced around the room, looking for a blunt object. Despite the Captain having progressed further into the cannibalistic stage, she seemed to retain some form of self-control, explaining why Nate, Arel, and Jun hadn't had their guts spilled. Alternatively, the virus was giving off some sort of signal that marked Jun and Nate as infected. Arel, on the other hand was wearing an environmental suit, which probably gives off the same feeling as the rest of the inorganic material that made up the ship. More importantly... Turk's eyes returned to Jun. This guy is a little more agressive than the Captain. I can't say that he will be able to control himself once more of his body is compromised.
"The Captain is not in a state where she can make sound decisions. We need to rally together, or else we'll fall into chaos. Besides, no one asked for input from a sub-human. It'll be alright though- We'll have you sealed up, and the scientists can make you human again. Maybe."
With Jun's apology, Nate sighed in relief. He wasn't so far gone with his anger that he wouldn't listen to reason, and that alone was a good sign. His mood took a quick downturn with Turk's arrival, as well as his suggestion to lock them all away where they wouldn't be considered a threat to him. As expected, Jun objected to the treatment.
"Shut up. No one went and appointed you captain in the past five minutes."
Nate winced at the words, and Turk's response made him feel like crawling back farther and trying to avoid conflict. He gulped, trying to maintain some confidence, but this time to fight a stronger foe.
"Turk, you weren't here when I said it, s-so I'm not surprised you'd want us to be put in containers. But right now, t-there's only one person who's at risk of infection here, and that's you."
He paused, knowing he'd probably already said enough to make Turk angry at him, but he had to continue.
"L-Like I told Jun, the Captain been infected and feeling the stirrings of an enoch before we landed on Persephone, w-which means we've been exposed to the virus before this mission even began. And yet, the Captain the only one who's shown signs of becoming an enoch. Remember back before we left? The doctors said that we... we were immune. And the Captain just proven that to us. By being infected before we went to Persephone, that implies we've all been in contact with the virus as well, with no effects.
"W-We don't need to be locked away, Turk. I... I guarantee it."
His voice shook, but hopefully not enough to conceal his argument.
I may not know the exact timeframe from infection to turning into an enoch, but considering how short it took the Captain, I doubt it would be too long under the best of circumstances... Please, I hope you can understand, Turk...
RM Skill: Skilled
"Before Persephone?" Turk glanced over at Nate. "I doubt that the virus on Persephone is the same as whatever was on Morgan." Turk twirled a knife. "Let's say, for a moment, that we were indeed immune to the virus. If that was the case, the ship's crew would've already turned into beasts." Turk pointed at Nate's lungs. "Your lungs are pockets of air, and when you breath in air that contains viruses, you give them a place where they can escape decontamination systems. Short of putting us in a vacuum, or spraying decontamination agent into our respiratory and digestive systems, there is no way to completely eliminate the virus from your body." Turk looked back at Jun. "I'll accept that we're immune to the Morgan virus. However, the Persephone virus is a lot less believable, considering that we have a bonafide enoch forming right before our eyes..." Shit.
Turk looked at everyone in the cargo hold. "If the Captain was infected, she must have damaged her suit without realizing. That means that the ship's crew is infected."
Nate was unfazed by Turk's statement. The fact that everyone was infected on the ship made no difference to him. After all, even without the Captain's infection, he would still be infected. Still, his shock gave him a bit of courage. His voice more resolute, he continued to explain.
"Turk, when I said the Captain was infected before we landed on Persephone, we were able to understand this because she felt the stirrings of an enoch inside of her. We didn't even need to land on Persephone, and we would still have an enoch on board. But, if your assumption that the two viruses are different is true, then yes, everyone on board should be infected. Still, there's a bigger problem..."
He paused, his second conclusion not one he enjoyed thinking about.
"If the Captain was infected before Persephone with the Morgan virus, that means that it was possible to spread it. At the time, the only people who should have been infected with the virus would be us. If we were able to infect the Captain with the virus from Morgan, then why couldn't we infect other people? It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Oraph was a walking hive of enochs right now."
He leaned up against a wall, thoughts retreating inward. He didn't have time to deal with this. He needed to find a cure as soon as possible.
If NSA static really is the cure, then that means we must've been hit by it at some point, otherwise we wouldn't be immune. Although, if we did get hit, when was it? It had to have been sometime after we got on the Venerate, otherwise it wouldn't make sense as to why we're all immune to it. Come on... What could it be!?
His mind played back almost everything that happened ever since he woke up on that ship. He would have already been immune at that point, and nothing about the ship triggered a time when he would be hit by NSA static. Then, a certain memory popped up. It was at one of the meetings, where they were talking about the mech they called the Seraph.
The Seraph's weapons were NSA static based! If it was found in shambles on the Venerate, that could mean...
"That's it!" He exclaimed. "NSA static has to be the cure to the virus! It's the only way everything makes sense!"
RM Skill: Skilled
"Since you say that the Captain was infected before Persephone, I hope you've considered the possibility that the Morgan virus may not turn one into an enoch, at least, the ones we found on Persephone. However, it is just as likely that the two viruses may be able to work in unison, infecting the same cells and mixing genetic code. That is to say, the Captain may be turning into a new form of enoch." Don't be so quick to assume that you've found a cure, Nate. "NSA static might have worked on one virus, but there's no saying that it will work on a hybrid virus." Turk added.
"More importantly, let's get this ship under control." Turk changed the subject. "Anyone who thinks they're immune, or is in a environmental suit, get up to the bridge. You too, Nate- You seem sane, compared to Jun at least." Turk glanced at Arel: "You're the only one of us that knows how to fly this rig. You up to it?"
RM Skill: Intermediate
Arel's head was spinning with the new ideas thrown around. The young pilot was still suffering from the shock of the events that just transpired before her eyes.
"U-uh, of course." She could only give that simple response. "I'll report up to the bridge immediately...but what should we do with the captain's position? If we inform the rest of the crew, there is sure to be a panic. And as for the captain herself..." Arel looked away.
"Try not to kill her if you can't help it. I...I'm hoping that there is a cure."
"A hybrid virus... That's a possibility I hadn't thought of." Nate ran the idea through his head. It was a worrisome one, although it also relied on the assumption that the viruses were different. Then again, if both viruses were cured by NSA Static, then couldn't it also imply that any hybrids would be cured as well?
I wish I actually knew more about viruses than high school biology. Not like I even remember much from that class anyway, I suppose.
He shook his head, moving to put on a decontamination suit that hadn't already been ripped open. As long as his mind was still intact, he was going to use it to find a cure. As he waited for Turk to head up, he started formalizing his theories in his head. The more he thought about things, certain little details were adding up to explain mysteries that had been bothering him.
There's so many mysteries going on here... The two viruses, our own immunity to the virus, Frank and Al, the materials at the library, my ability to detect NSA static, and those people who were emitting it on Persephone... but I think I'm finally getting a grasp on things. If NSA static isn't the cure, then I don't know what is.
Once he finished putting on the suit, he looked over in Turk's direction. "I figure I should share my theories once we get up onto the upper deck. While the hybrid virus immunity is a possibility, I'm still certain NSA static is our most likely candidate as a cure."
He turned to Arel.
"As for the captain, she should probably be locked up somewhere she can't get out of. If there's any place that hasn't been searched yet, we can just say that her leg pain has gotten worse, and she needed to recuperate in a place where she wouldn't be disturbed. ...I don't like lying to the rest of the crew, but I think in this case... in this case, it's probably the best option."
After giving his suggestion, he waited for someone else to head up first. Preferably Turk. Even if they weren't getting along too poorly, he didn't want to do anything that would be stepping on his toes and make their relations go south.
At last, the time came to bring their mission to an end.
At the appointed time, the Lucent was brought to the inactive Nexus Node near Persephone and, as promised, the gate came to life and a dazzling golden portal opened to allow them entrance. They traveled through the Nexus, hurtling through the depths of space and coming closer and closer to civilization. As soon as they emerged from the other side, they would at last be in contact with Oraph again.
Not a minute passed after emerging from the other side of the Nexus tunnel before a message from Oraph arrived. It was the Major.
"We don't have much time," she began. "We don't even have enough time to wait until you return for your debriefing. Report your findings immediately."
"The UF has already begun making their move," she began after the group filed their report. "They've given us an ultimatum of 72 hours to contain the situation at Morgan, or they'll take their own measures - they have already put into motion plans to permanently destroy Morgan's Nexus Node and leave it to rot as they did Persephone. If you have a better idea, we'd all love to hear it."
Completely oblivious to the recent occurences at the ship, Lars found himself now at wherever the others were, briefing his findings to the Major as he was requested. His happy and uncaring presence still pretty much the same as ever, that was until he heard that the UF might destroy Morgan's Nexus Node. Lars's eyes widened a bit, and he frowned heavily. "What? Destroying another Nexus Node? That's unnaceptable, those things are priceless works of technological art." He fixed his glasses slightly before crossing his arms, looking up and trying to think of something.
"I may not agree with what you say, but i will fight to the death for your right to say it." -Voltaire
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RM Skill: Skilled
Turk listened in on Nate, and added a single phrase before leaving: "If there's a crew to lie to."
Reaching the bridge, Turk glanced at the crew. For the most part, they seemed human.
"We don't have much time, We don't even have enough time to wait until you return for your debriefing. Report your findings immediately."
Turk relayed everything that he knew, save for the detailed relating to the infection of the other team members, and the status of the Captain.
"The UF has already begun making their move, They've given us an ultimatum of 72 hours to contain the situation at Morgan, or they'll take their own measures - they have already put into motion plans to permanently destroy Morgan's Nexus Node and leave it to rot as they did Persephone. If you have a better idea, we'd all love to hear it."
I don't like the sound of those. Without that gate, we're pretty much stuck in this region of space. "Blast the planet with NSA static based weaponry. Nate seems to think that it functions as a cure. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, we can at least clean out the world."
At the meeting, Turk was the first to give his thoughts on the matter.
"Blast the planet with NSA static based weaponry. Nate seems to think that it functions as a cure. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, we can at least clean out the world."
Nate coughed a bit, his eyes dropping to the floor out of nervousness. The way he put it, he didn't seem to have much faith in his plan at all. As he looked back up to the eyes of the Major staring at him. He shifted in his chair uncomfortably, trying to find his voice.
"W-Well, yes. T-There's a lot of evidence that we f-found on Persephone to suggest that NSA static is the cure..."
As he continued, his voice slowly began to stop trembling, going over what he had pondered and rehearsed in his head.
"To begin, the people of Persephone already considered the possibility of NSA static as a cure, but were unable to verify it due to the shutting down of the node there. It went so far that people seemed rather fanatical about using it as a cure, but that could have just been desperation to find the cure.
"Then there was the encounter we had on the first day of Persephone. As I stated in my report, we were attacked by people who seemed to be emitting NSA static. Considering the relative intelligence levels of people who have been enochs, compared to the people who attacked us, it seems highly likely that the latter were protected from the virus. Considering the planet had been shut down for how long was it? 10 years? That means they spent that long on the planet, yet didn't seem to show any ill advised effects from the virus on them, mentally at least.
"The fact that they were emitting NSA static is also odd. According to our Captain, Persephone's level of technology isn't high enough to be able to produce NSA static, which would indicate the people weren't naturally from Persephone. If you consider this, it should also point to NSA static being the cure, as it seems strange: Of all the things to bring to the planet, why would you bring something that produces NSA static? It's almost like they knew using it would cause no ill effects."
Nate took a deep breath, pausing. Next came the part he didn't want to explain, as it was founded on shakier logic. It also provided evidence for a rather unsettling truth. Still, it was important information to know, as even if he was wrong, it could possibly lead to an alternative cure.
"The main problem I see in finding the cure, however, is that we're likely dealing with two separate viruses. The two are highly similar, but the virus on Morgan appears to be more potent than the one on Persephone. While we were on the planet, we met two locals, whose names were Frank and Al. Our initial meeting with them showed that they seemed to be in perfect mental health, at least initially. Later, they ended up becoming enochs, and are both likely dead as a result.
"The key point here is that the two seemed to be immune to the virus when we first met them. Again, similar to the people who attacked us, they had to have been on the planet for 10 years, and they certainly didn't have anything that could protect them from exposure to the virus. This meant that they had to have some sort of immunity, as simply not catching the virus is impossible."
Nate pulled out some of the pieces of paper they found on the library. He turned a few pages, then slid it in front of the Major for her to read.
"As you can see, the Persephone virus has one known immunity: Utrecht Syndrome. Considering they showed little to no effects until after meeting us, this would indicate that they had Utrecht Syndrome, and thus couldn't get infected. But then we met them, and they ended up infected. Considering the only new elements on that planet were our bodies for 10 years, this would imply that the only way they became infected would be because we brought the virus to them. Since the Persephone virus didn't affect them, but ours did, this would imply the two are different, but result in similar symptoms.
"Now, the question is, if the two viruses really are different, then how can I be certain NSA static is also the cure to the Morgan virus? The answer is because of our immunity, and how I believe we obtained it. Naturally, this sort of virus wouldn't naturally be in the air for people to catch, so I doubt any of us were infected until we ended up on the Venerate. On the Venerate, we found a room filled with eaten corpses, much akin to what having enochs around would result in. This would imply that the virus was indeed on that ship. There was also something else on that ship too: The Seraph, in ruins.
"It makes you wonder, 'Why was the Seraph in such a beaten up shape, on the Venerate no less?' The obvious answer is that the Seraph fought the Venerate, as it's unlikely to have encountered damage elsewhere and the Venerate happened to cross paths with it. Now, if you remember, the Seraph had a special type of weaponry on it: NSA static-based, to be precise. If the Seraph fought the Venerate, that would mean it got hit with a heavy dosage of radiation, which is likely what provided the cure, and our immunity, to the virus we were infected with.
"Unfortunately, there are some errors in my logic, as you no doubt see. Despite the ship being hit with a high dosage of NSA static, there were people still suffering from its effects. And considering the location of these corpses, it seems rather unlikely that they died before fighting the Seraph. Perhaps the weapons' range did not cover the entire ship, and we were just lucky enough to be caught in the blast zone. Or perhaps the battle truly didn't require anyone where we found the corpses, and thus could easily have been discovered after the fact. I can't say for certain.
"Still, as you can see, there's quite a lot of evidence to point to NSA static being the cure, so if possible, please do try and determine whether or not it can be used as such. Thank you..."
As he was finishing, his voice started to trail off. His eyes followed suit, returning down to the floor. He didn't want to see the Major's face if he screwed up somewhere, as all it would do was earn him her scorn, or the role of a laughingstock for the rest of his life. He could only wait for her response, nervously fidgeting with his fingers.
"It's as you say," the major began once Nate finished speaking. "The only tool we have in our arsenal which is capable of weaponizing NSA radiation is the Seraph, which is presently in no condition to be sent out. I suppose our only option is to expedite repairs on the Seraph and analyze the specimens you found when you return to Erza. I fear that Morgan is beyond our help, but maybe we'll be able to destroy the infection at its source and prevent this from happening again. Well then, I'll see you on Erza. Dismissed."
The major turned from the communication screen and nodded at the commander, who was seated on the other end of the room.
"Relay their findings to the UF," the commander instructed. "Maybe now they'll start taking us seriously. If they had allowed us to handle the situation from day one, maybe this could have been prevented."
"So, Victoria was right after all. What are you planning to do with them when they come back?"
"There are trueborn among them, right? They might make good fresh blood for the Seraph once Rex burns out."
At long last, the Lucent descended into the hazy atmosphere of Erza and was escorted to the Oraph headquarters, the Eure-et-Loir Base. The crew members of the Lucent were required to undergo another round of decontamination before being allowed to depart onto the floating landmass upon which the main complex was built.
At long last, there were other people around. At long last, there was working electricity. At long last, they were back at civilization.
Those who had been exposed to infection were seized by Oraph members in environmental suits. Catalina fought tooth and nail, screaming for help as she was dragged away into the basement to be isolated.
The others were allowed to return to their rooms to recuperate and were told that they would be permitted to leave Erza once the situation on Morgan had stabilized.