Alidar slowly began to stir, groggily trying to make out his surroundings around him were people clad in isolation suits. One of the people in iso suits came over to run a scanner over him.
"He's waking up," Mikala said to Darien, shifting to get out of her sleep couch. She scooped up her sleep robe, pulling it on as she made her way a bit unsteadily to his sleep couch.
She paused beside him. "Master Alidar?" Mikala glanced up at Imari perched at the head of Master Alidar's sleep couch. She gave the bird a small smile.
"Mmm. Oh...Mikala." Alidar looked around." It seems I have been moved."
She nodded. "Were in the isolation wing at the hospital on my father's estate. You're getting better now," she said with a bit of a smile. "How are you feeling?"
"I can tell you honestly...I have felt better." A look of concern passed his face. "Are you well?"
She nodded. "I'm fine. A little congested yet, but much better." She looked around and smiled. "We all are."
"I am relieved to hear that."
Mikala sighed in relief and stifled back a cough. "Good."
"All your vital signs are beginning to improve." The doctor added. "You're the last one."
"Perhaps you were able to catch it in the early stages with everyone else?" Alidar asked.
"We believe that is the case." The doctor answered.
"I offer my apologies for bringing this upon you."
"It's not your fault." Mikala said quickly.
"May I please have some water?"
One of the other people in iso suits brought a pitcher and a glass over. Mikala glanced at the medic and then reached for a glass for him. She found a straw and held it in place so he could take a sip.
"Have I been unconscious long?" He asked.
Mikala glanced to the medic for the answer.
"About three days." She answered.
Mikala looked a bit started. "We've been here that long?"
The doctor studied her scanner. "Yes."
Imari jumped off her perch to the bed alongside Alidar. With an effort, Alidar allowed her to perch on his hand and raised her up to his head. Imari nuzzled her head against him. After a moment, he rested his arm on his chest being too weak to continue to hold her up
Alidar shook his head. "I see she has not been eating."
"She wouldn't let any one near her or eat anything since you've been ill." Mikala answered.
The doctor turned to one of the other doctors. "Sandy, look at the virus count. I think we've past the contagious phase.
Mikala smiled a little. "Good." She looked back to Alidar. "She's a beautiful bird. You too seem to have kind of bond and I remember her on the Astral Plane, is she Force Sensitive?"
"Thank you. Imari and I do share a bond and she is sensitive."
The other doctor came over and looked at the scanner. "Your right. We can get rid of these suites.
She took her helmet off. One of the others came over and took it from her.
Mikala smiled. "Master Alidar, I'd like you to mean my--" she paused for a moment and then said. "My step-mother, Lady Cassandra Mathem-Steele."
He inclined his body in the best bow he can manage. "Lady Mathem-Steele. An honor, I wish to thank you for you hospitality and care."
"Your welcome and thank you for the aid you gave Mikala on the astral plane." Sandy replied.
The other doctor removed her helmet. "I think we can move them upstairs to their rooms now."
"She was in need and I was able to help," Alidar said.
"Thank you," Mikala told him softly, taking his hand in hers.
"I think so." Sandy looked over at Alidar. "This is Lt. Col. Aleia Torgau, my expert on infectious diseases."
He squeezed her hand "Anytime."
Alidar does a small bow again "Lt. Col. Torgau."
"I wish to make a request if I may." Aidar asked. "If some food could be brought for Imari, I may persuade her to eat now."
"Does it need to be live?" Sandy asked.
"She prefers it but it is not necessary."
Sandy waved one of the orderlies over. "Have some raw meat sent down from the kitchen."
"Yes, My Lady."
Mikala looked at him. "Would she let me give her anything?"
"I believe she will now."
Mikala smiled and reached out a hand tentatively to touch Imari's feathers.
Imari watches her but held still and Mikala stroked her soft feathers gently.
"What was the nature of the illness if I may ask? It is unlike anything I have encountered."
"It's a virus," Aleia answered. "It's airborne and very virulent. There are some genes I can't figure out in it."
"Airborne, then it is spreading throughout Yavin."
"Something is." Sandy said. "I'm not sure it's the same thing. You got off Yaven just before your sister quarantined it. I'm not sure what you have is the same thing however. The symptoms are similar and the timing says it should be the same, but whatever they have on Yaven seems to be an order or magnitude worse. But I don't have any DNA data from Yaven, so I can't be sure. Sometimes other factors affect virulence."
"A quarantine." He paused in thought. "The cure would be the same?"
"If it's the same virus, yes, it should. But there's something happening on Yaven that I don't understand." Sandy replied. "That worries me a lot."
"What?" Mikala asked with a frown.
"None of you were ever in a coma. I hearing reports of a lot of comas on Yaven." Sandy added. "And a couple of deaths."
"Force," Mikala said softly.
"Maybe." Sandy said. "I don't know. There was no Force factor in what you had."
"You mentioned other factors in virulence. What sorts of factors come into play?" Alidar asked.
The orderly returned with a piece of meat for Imari.
Mikala reached for it. She tentatively held out a small strip of meat to Imari.
Imari snatched the meat from Mikala, swallowing it whole. Mikala smiled and offered her another one.
"It could be almost anything," Sandy explained. "Some kind of pollen in the air, another pathogen it interacts with, possibly harmless without it. The latter would be the most likely in this case. Yaven doesn't have any industrial pollutants."
"Perhaps there is merit to that. You mentioned that I was affected worse than anyone here. I have spent time on Yavin where none of you have."
"That is true, but it also had a head start in your body, and seven patients is not much of a sample."
"I am sure there are all too many patients on Yavin."
"There are." Sandy agreed. "We'll send them the cure. But I cannot promise that it will work for them."
Mikala fed Imari the last of the meat. The bird finished and started preening her feathers.
"There are few guarantees in life. I appreciate your aid, as will the others, but tell me...will sending this cure not have...repercussions?"
"Only if it is artificial and Imperial and then only if those behind it have the power to challenge my father." Sandy replied. "And are willing to sign their names to it."
"And are there many that would do this?"
"Enough who could, but very few of them are likely to challenge me. There are only four people who meet all those criteria, and one of them is dead."
Mikala gave her a questioning look.
"I have no wish to bring you hardship."
Mikala stroked Imari. "I could take it, Sandy. There aren't that many that know my connection here yet, are there?"
"If it is indeed an Imperial plot, and that is only a possibility, I have no proof, well, he likes to have us plotting against each other, up to a point."
"And I have a reputation for protecting children. It's almost expected of me to interfere."
An almost pained look crossed Mikala's face, but she struggled to hide it.
"Nothing," she said, stepping away from them. She stopped. "I just remembered something I had forgotten about. Something that needs to be undone."
"Do I know anything about this?" Sandy asked.
Alidar looked at her questioningly.
Mikala shook her head. "Master Alidar, I'd like to do something for you for everything you've helped me with. Something to prove to you I've changed." She paused.
"Do you think it would be possible for me to speak with your sister, Master Dmed? Face to face."
"Mikala, you have no need to prove this to me. Your actions speak louder than words. If however, you feel you need to speak with Alida, I could contact her and request a meeting for you."
She nodded. "This needs undone before things happen and people get hurt."
"But first both of you need to get some rest," Sandy interrupted. "Do you feel up to walking or shall I have you taken up in a gurney, Master Dmed?"
"I believe I could use a short walk." He answered.
"Then lets head up. The elevator is this way." Sandy pointed.
"Would Imari allow me to carry her?" Mikala asked hesitantly.
"I believe she would prefer to travel under her own steam if possible."
"Her wings may not fit in the corridors here. We are three level's under ground." Sandy pointed out.
Alidar concentrated and the others could sense force use. A moment later he said, "She will allow it."
Mikala held out her arm, reaching out to the bird with her mind, inviting her to perch on her. After a moment, Imari hopped on her arm, holding her wings out a bit to help steady her at first.
Sandy led them out of the isolation ward though the hospital and to the elevator. They rode the elevator and stepped out on the third floor into a hall with wood paneling.
A small boy emerged form a door down the hall and ran to meet them. "Are you ok, Mikala?"
Mikala smiled warmly. "Yes, Keiren. We're okay now."
"I hope you haven't been bothering Darien, have you?" Sandy asked.
"No, Mother." The boy replied. "But I was visiting him."
Mikala chuckled softly.
Alidar watched quietly smiling.
Mikala turned to him. "Master Alidar, this is my brother Keiren that I've told you about."
"Hello, Master Dmed." Keiren said.
"Alidar bowed his head to Keiren. Hello Keiren, a pleasure to meet you."
Kieren quickly bows. Then looks at his mother. She smiles back at him.
"Now Keiren, Alidar and Mikala need to rest." Sandy informed him. "So you run along and play. You can talk to them at dinner."
Mikala ruffled the boy's hair as he walked by her.
Sandy started herding Alidar and Mikala toward their rooms.
"Good-bye." Kieren ran down the steps.
Alidar waved at him and concentrated on moving forward
"Kieren is a good boy, but he sometimes tries to help in ways no nine year old is ready for." Sandy said.
"He's very sweet," Mikala said, struggling to keep the arm Imari was perched on up.
"You will be more comfortable if you allow her to perch on your shoulder Mikala," Alidar told her.
Mikala looked at Imari and she hopped up on her shoulder. Mikala rubbed her aching arm.
"Your room is this way, Master Alidar." Sandy led him down the hall past Mikala's room, and Darien's. "I hope you'll be comfortable."
"I have no doubts Lady Steele."
Mikala followed them into Master Alidar's room and Imari hopped off her shoulder into a short flight to the head of the bed.
"Come Mikala, to your room and to sleep." Sandy herded Mikala out the door. "A servant will call you when dinner is ready."
The door closed behind them.
"Sandy, I need to go to Yavin," Mikala said as they neared the door to her room.
"To Yaven, why?" Sandy asked.
"I've done something that needs to undone before it destroys a girl's life."
"What is it this time?" Sandy asked. "You've left quite a trail behind you."
Mikala sighed and leaned against frame of her door wearily. "When Xanatos kidnapped Knight Daroa and Padawan Lerose. I didn't just put bugs on them. I had picked up an Imperial conditioning chamber off the black market. He had me use it to program them with a set of preset instructions to be triggered at a later time." (Need to discusss this with becky)
"You have acquired some expensive toys."
She nodded. "I have my sources."
"Can Xanatos trigger the program?" Sandy asked.
Mikala shook her head. "I made sure to keep tight control on who had the key to that. I'm the only one who does, but that doesn't say something else couldn't set it off. Those old chambers aren't as reliable as they could be."
"Then there is no rush, but you are right about the reliability. What did you program them to do?" Sandy asked.
Mikala sighed. "Seek out and kill the members of the Jedi Council, starting with Master D'med. Larose is Master D'med's Padawan."
"Striking right at the heart. If you're going to do it, do it right." Sandy sighed. "And now you need to go remove the program?"
She nodded. "That was Xanatos' fight, not mine."
"Xanatos was a bad influence on you. No doubt about that." Sandy thought for a moment. "You are not leaving until you are fully recovered, and they have their virus under control."
"But if you're going to send that cure to them, I could take it."
"I was thinking of sending a droid to deliver it. That way if it's the wrong cure no one else is exposed." Sandy said.
Mikala sighed deeply and started coughing.
"If I were Alida I would insist on the droid as well." Sandy added.
"After that then?"
"Perhaps, let Alidar or Darien go first and get permission. You don't want to arrive unexpected by Alida."
She sighed deeply. "I'd like to get that taken care of."
"Are you sure you can undo it?" Sandy asked. "Those machines are unreliable, but what takes does tends to be hard to get rid of. Do you plan to explain, or just to fix it."
"I programmed it to self erase at a given command," Mikala said. "It has worked before." She hung her head. "I'd like to apologize to Master D'med. It's hard to say what Xanatos has told her about me. I know what Daroa and Larose have said and it was true of the person I use to be."
"We'll see what can be done. I cannot command Alida to except you, but we will ask. Now go get some rest."
Mikala glanced at her door and then down the hall. She started forward. "I will. I just want to look in on Darien first."
"Okay. But be quick."
Mikala smiled and headed for Darien's room. She paused at the door and knocked softly as she pushed the door open. It was the first time she had ever been in the Jedi's room since she had come to Zoron.
She smiled when she saw a few plants scattered around the room. Other than that, it looked a great deal like her room. She tiptoed over to the sleep couch and sat down on the side of it. He was sound asleep again, but he looked a good deal better than he had before. She reached down and caressed his cheek with the backs of her fingers. His temperature was more normal now.
"Don't wake him." Sandy said. "Neither one of you are up to the other's company right now."
Mikala sighed and nodded. She leaned down and kissed his cheek before she got up slowly. "I'll go lie down now," she told Sandy.
Sandy watched her go.
Mikala headed slowly back to her room. She lay down on her sleep couch, curling up under the covers. She had never realized how empty and alone her room felt before. She closed her eyes, her thoughts drifting to Darien as she fell asleep.
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