Kira was worse today. She slept most of the day yesterday and woke up this morning still exhausted. There was no fever but her red blood cell count was low. I’m no doctor but that, coupled with her lack of eating and nausea, made it sound like radiation poisoning. We’re not very close to Alpha Centauri’s primary but Kira was out longer and more frequently than the rest of us. Anne dosed her with some anti-radiation shots just to be sure and laid her up in their quarters.
For my part, I have a horrid feeling about the whole thing. They tested the blood from the corpse and found similar readings. Low red and white blood cell counts in just about every one of the dead crewmen. Just to be safe, the rest of the crew made Kate back the Icarus off a few thousand kilometers, but it didn’t make me feel any better. There was no damage to the ablative armor on that ship. Radiation just strikes me as the wrong cause here and radiation doesn’t cause eyes to turn black. Then again I’m no scientist either.
Alex and Bree were busy in the Science lab, taking readings and measurements of the system. There are two planets that we can see and Bree believes there’s a few more by the secondary star. Neither planet can support human life, being too close in orbit. That was the only excitement. The rest was dull and I didn’t offer to see Kate again.
Instead Jennie and I went up to the observation deck and just took it in. The blaze of Alpha Centauri’s primary is glorious in its incendiary blaze. With the viewing ports dimmed as low as they can go and our UV shutters engaged, it still appeared as a great yellow fireball, roiling and spitting.
We spent hours up there, just watching. The two of us sat next to one another but never touched. She was in awe but like Niagara, it was merely an intellectual fascination for me. What must it feel like to be inexorably drawn to beauty and be so affected by it that you are caught up and swept away by it? Sarah was easily taken by such feelings. She tried to describe it to me once. I thought I knew how she felt, for I felt it only once. With her.
I visited Kate today. She couldn’t stay in her Can forever of course, so instead they locked her in her quarters. Evan set it up so she couldn’t unlock or even open the door. One of us has to bring her meals and today was my turn.
We talked and of course she tried to get me to let her out. She tried to explain that this was all some kind of horrid misunderstanding but she knew it was useless. Where could she go if I let her out? After that she just asked about the body.
I told her what I knew, that the tumors were not cancer like Kira initially thought. The theory was that the Chinese ship came too close to Alpha Centauri’s prime star and the radiation made the crew sick. That theory was put to bed with a quick visual scan of the ship. Its ablative armor was intact.
The questions I wanted to ask were hard, but I asked them anyway. Why weren’t we told about the other ships? Why so much mystery and intrigue for a simple science experiment? She didn’t say anything at all, wouldn’t even open her mouth for me. All she did was look away.
As I got up to leave she did ask me one last thing. She asked how Kira was. It was such an unexpected question that I didn’t know what to say at first. I told her the truth. One of the tumors burst on her today and she put herself in quarantine for a few hours. Anne took her vitals and she appeared fine. The tumor was just a sack of blood.
Kate didn’t say anything and I was just about to cycle the door when she called my name. She told me to send a beam to Earth and when I asked what to say, she gave me a code. I didn’t understand it but it sounded military. I’ll go over it with the others later, but I doubt they’ll trust her enough to send it.
Trust is a word we hold like a dagger to each others’ throats.