The Light That Failed Pt 26

From the Story Arc: A Fine And Private Place

Previous Story in the Arc: The Light That Failed Pt 25 by Red Saviour (Tuesday, October 11, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: The Light That Failed Pt 27 by Belladonna Aura (Tuesday, October 11, 2005)

(posted Tuesday, October 11, 2005)

If you intended to create the prototype nerd-tech it would have been Bob Jennings. Thick Harry Potter glasses, lab coat, fat laptop with a touch-screen instead of a keyboard. And the air of someone who, on his own ground, was certain. Vickie trusted him immediately.

She had awakened to find Djinni gone, which didn't really surprise her, just saddened her. She wanted to feel his support; she wanted to feel she was his. Intellectually she knew it but…there was something about his arms around her, and hers around him that talked to the heart and the gut.

Oh well. He needed to—to be himself. Work out anger and frustration and didn't want her around trying to soothe him. She could respect that, even as she wished desperately there was some way she could make him smile again, and make him know that he was really, truly, desperately needed. Wanted. Welcome.

Well…she was back on-station in Bella's now-crowded room with Bob and Pania Alow and the other couple of folks who needed to know the biology of what was going on. Because now they had some answers.

"This isn't the first time Ms Parker's mutation has destabilized," Bob was saying. "In fact, according to her medical records, it's the fourth. Each time the same thing happened; a rearrangement of her DNA, a new set of cells replacing the old ones, she was sick for a while and got over it. The big difference is that this time the change is drastic enough that she now has two sets of cells that would almost belong to two different people, close siblings, but still different. Call them MutieA and MutieB. Things probably have been going along just below the threshold to trigger rejection for a while then—" He shrugged. "Maybe one too many heal-auras caused a growth explosion. For whatever reason she went into full rejection syndrome."

They all nodded.

"Now, your Comrade Shyft over there had exactly the right idea. MutieA and MutieB are both unstable. No matter what happens, even if we purged out one, eventually the thing is going to get triggered again, and this happens all over again. Unless—" He pushed the glasses up his nose. "—you get a stable version of her DNA. Call it MutieZ. Which I am pretty damn sure that Crey created for Bella Frankenstein. Crey wouldn't be likely to create anything that wasn't stable, with 'improvements.' Get that, and we can come up with some kind of gene therapy. We can cure her, not just for now, but forever."

Vickie blinked. "You're saying—"

He nodded. "Yes. Cure. We might be able to do it without MutieZ, but it would take time and—" he glanced over at Shyft "—there's only so much of that we have, even at the edge of the event horizon. And if we can't get MutieZ—I—" He grimaced. There wasn't much more he needed to say.

Shyft—was eating. At least, that's what Vickie thought she was doing with a Kora Fruit stuck up against her face. With time slowed so much in that bubble, you couldn't see her jaws move.

Still, if there was anything that was going to keep her going in there, at least for a while, it was the Kora Fruit that Furry had painstakingly gathered. Baskets of it, in fact, most of which was gone, into the shifts of healers that stayed here filling the room with green glow.

Side effect; now that there was no chance of Bella contaminating anyone, ER patients were being trundled down here for quick fixes from the spillover.

Bella would like that— She could just imagine Bella's infectious grin at the thought.

Bob was going into more detail with Doctor Alow, Dr. Crosse and Thahn Ha. She glanced over at Zach. He looked like hell. She got up and tugged at his arm. "You," she said. "Food. Now. I need company, Zach. Djinni flew off without waking me, and if I sit down and stare into a cup of coffee alone, I'm going to lose it."

He looked as if he might protest, then sighed, and got wearily to his feet. Just outside the door to Bella's room they ran into Flame and Johnny. "We were coming to get you for food," Flame said firmly, then looked into Zach's eyes. "Zach…she is my sister-in-spirit. I know. And—" then she shook her head. "If you can, we should speak, you and I. But first, we all eat."

"Outside," Johnny said firmly. "Fresh air, sun, th' lawn, we brought food, none'a this hospital crap. Half an hour. Do ya good."

Zach nodded dully, sighed, then sagged. He rubbed his hand along the side of his face and looked up into their eyes. "All right. All right." But implicit in that, and in the sudden dropping of his mask of "coping," was this. My friends. My good friends. I don't have to pretend around you. Help me get through this.

We will, Zach, she thought, steering him out the door. We'll help each other. That's what Bella would do. That's got to be what Bella wants.