Day 13: After the Meeting
Kurt sighed as he turned on the lights in the lab; this was going to be one long day. He was quite surprised when Mariana came in, coffee cup in hand, as normal; but now dressed in full chameleons with the Springfield slung on her back. She also had on one of her handguns in some kind of tactical rig on her left thigh in plain sight.
“What happened to Andy’s ‘keep it quiet’ mode,” I asked.
“Quiet and low key went out with Seaworth. Don’t scare the sheep changed to show you can protect them.”
I thought for a moment, “Yes, you are right about that but you are going to cause some confusion with that name strip.”
Mariana looked confused for a moment, and then looked down at a name strip that read Kearns. “Oh crap, you know I have not worn this thing since we left active duty. I flat forgot I have never changed it. I’ll take care of it later.
“You want to handle the autopsy and I’ll open up the rig for some possible strange stuff?” She said.
I grimaced, “Not real thrilled but, it’s got to be done!”
We worked steadily for the next two hours interrupted occasionally by Walt and John Pierce with questions about the new treatment and incubation areas they were putting the final touches on. Sally and Linda were moving the equipment in and setting it up; the two constructors were finishing the infrastructure. I had Connor Benjamin assisting to brush up his skills and Mariana brooked no interference.
Mariana came over and asked how it was going, “I pretty well finished up. It’s straight forward as all get out. There were a couple of what looks like fang penetrations but the cause of death was massive flailed chest. That thing has jaws like a hydraulic ram!’”
It was her turn to grimace, “Well that explains the scream, it wasn’t quick! But it was fast enough he didn’t suffer long. Damn, at least Thompson never knew what hit him; Seaworth knew!”
The whole time she had been talking, she had been taking off the field jacket and her wrist comp. She pulled a cable from her mil-spec wrist comp to the jacket and was digging through the power cables Walt had left hanging; obviously looking for one that would fit somewhere. Finding it, she plugged it into ‘The Field Jacket’.
Tapping a couple of controls inside the jacket, panels on the jacket suddenly turned transparent.
My roommate in undergraduate school had been a Military History major. Back then, I thought he was a jerk but I had learned to read awards and decorations from his wall posters. I recognized the Eagles of a full Col., the Combat Infantry Badge and the shoulder flashes. What stunned me was the Silver Star with the pips (whatever their real name was) for five awards.
I watched as she reprogrammed the name strip and asked, “What do you do to get those five awards?
She just grinned and said, “Staying alive around the Big Lug for 5 years!”
“Yeah,” I said, “just staying alive, right?”
“Well, where we went wasn’t exactly the Tea Social Society you know.”
She pulled the power plug and the name strip now read Stuart. Mariana moved back to primary to check the results of the tests she was running and I heard a strange comment.
“Damn Kurt, I know I put two tissue samples in here, how did one vibrate out?” She moved over a few feet and checked the scale readings, “What the frack, the weight is the same!”
She turned and stared in my direction with vacant eyes that clearly were detached from her brain. Suddenly they flashed cold and Black.
She spun for the door screaming into her wrist comp, “Reaper, Magic; the damn thing regenerates. Say again, the damn thing can regenerate. Pull Back, repeat Pull Back!”