Osma sipped from the glass of water offered by Medicus Nor, glad for the hydration. The Inquisitor had been very specific in Osma's orders, wait with his apprentice till he returned for her. The fiery alliance woman needed little in the way of protection but Inquisitorial protocol required that someone be there in case of an emergency.
Apprentice Ivanova was well enough, the taproot essence that she drank was intended to induce dreamless sleep, but she'd dehydrated herself greatly in the effort to fend off her attacker. She lay peacefully on the crisp white sheets of a hospital bed with an IV drip in her arm with some basic nutrients to avoid any side effects from the prolonged sleep.
“She's a pistol that one,” Nor laughed as he pushed a stethoscope within the crisp white fabric of his smock, “I'll be lucky if she doesn't pop me in the nose when she wakes up, just on principal.”
“Her enthusiasm is well placed,” Osma grumbled in agreement, “It is good that she was not seriously harmed.”
“A miracle actually. ” Nor brandished a clipboard in disgust, “Someone was feeding that poor simpleton Rabal series six anti-agapics.”
“Rabal series six? You're sure?” Osma blinked in surprise. Rabal series six anti agapics were not common, even in the nobility. Without substantial complimentary medications and augmentics the side effects were often deeply unfortunate.
“I ran the blood tests twice to be sure. It's series six,” Nor sighed in resignation, “It's not the first time I've seen it either. It's been popping up on a number of autopsies of men the Inquisitor had previously been eying as potential Amon partisans. For that matter it showed up in the Inquisitor's combat servitor.”
“The traitors are selling anti-agapics for loyalty,” Osma tugged at his beard in frustration. Imperial medicine could achieve miracles, but few could afford the best of them. Immortality and vitality were powerful motivators for crewmen to betray their crewmen, “Blood of the Emperor, can we even test for this?”
“For the regular crewmen? Most certainly. But it's very difficult to tell the difference between one type of anti-agapic and the next prior to autopsy if they've ever been treated at all,” Nor sighed, “Fools will take whatever they believe will save their lives, even at the cost of their souls.”
“The Butcher, Rik, wasn't responsible for his actions then?” Osma growled, “A side effect of the Amon Sui? The Lionhearts will be glad for that.”
“I cannot say one way or the other for sure. Cairn didn't leave me a great deal to examine, but what little Susan said before passing out sounds like a classic case of uncontrolled spontaneous neural interactions,” He interlocked his fingers wiggling them together then jammed them together hard, overlapping long digits over the back of his hands, “Without augmentic implants to sort the information being input into his mind he simply overlaid all information and was driven mad.”
“His caretaker was trying to medicate him, exchanging favors for anti-agapics,” Osma sighed, “He truly wished for Rik be healed.”
“At best the missing parts of his mind could have been replaced with Augmentics but that sect of the clergy believes that brain implants are too close to thinking machines,” Nor's lip curved down in displeasure, “There is a reason why Medicus must train for decades before we're allowed to administer surgeries and medicines unsupervised. A well meaning amateur can do far more harm than good. Which is actually something I've been meaning to speak to you about.”
“Oh,” Osma blinked in surprise, “About what? I've been giving the boy his medicine for his cough on time without anything from the apothecary, strictly following your instructions.”
“What? Oh! No, I'm sure you are,” Nor laughed and patted him on the shoulder, “You're shaping up to be a good father Osma, have no fear. No I wanted to speak to you of the first mate.”
“Enzo?” Osma raised an eyebrow in surprise, “What of him?”
“Not him specifically. ” Nor rolled the words around in his mouth as though unsure how to proceed, “His daughter.”
“I was under the impression that she was recovering quite nicely.” Osma asked, “Is there something she needs me to deal with?”
“Osma this is a matter of some delicacy,” Nor sighed, “A matter that I only can trust to you if you will swear not to bring it to the Inquisitor. Not without finite proof.”
“Nor,” Osma grunted in a voice of increasing worry. Nor was not a man prone to exaggeration but the fear in his voice was palpable, “What is it?”
“Osma, Bonafila should have to died three weeks ago. I was prepared to discuss funeral arrangements with her parents when one day, out of the blue, she starts getting better by leaps and bounds.” Nor sighed, “They called it a miracle, as did I. But now...”
“Now you suspect it might have been a chemically assisted miracle,” Osma swore loudly, “Throne of Terra. Donat Enzo a traitor? Are you sure?”
“Bonafila is his only child and I know he blames himself for not spending enough time with his daughter after she was initially injured. Sáclair had to all but threaten to throw him in the brig to keep him on duty,” Nor sighed, “Men have done more foolish things for less.”
“Do you have any proof?” Osma growled, tugging at his beard in worry. He could not afford to proceed with an investigation of this magnitude without absolute and concrete proof of Donat Enzo's involvement in this.
“Of course not or I would have given it to you before suggesting this at all,” Nor sighed, “But Rik's condition only re-enforced the necessity that this be investigated. It's too dangerous to let continue.”
“Blood of the Emperor,” Hissed Osma as the possibilities of Enzo becoming affiliate with the Amon Sui ran through his mind, “It would be the end of us all.”
“Yes,” Nor agreed, “The end.”
The room shuddered with the sudden squelching feel of ice and filth seeping into Osma's marrow, like being dredged out of a squalid pool in winter. He gritted his teeth and shook his head to un-pop his ears. No matter how often he did it the transition from the warp back to real space was deeply unpleasant.
The Inquisitor's apprentice stat up bold upright at the sensation, angrily ripping out the tubes from her arm as she turned to Osma, “What in the hell was that?”
“The ship has just returned to real-space,” Osma checked his chronometer, “Damn and blast. The Inquisitor want's you to be in the landing party with him. Get dressed, you're about to meet up with the Centauri and Narn.”