Not for the first time did Doctor Korotas wish that the stasis pods had travellator capabilities as he explained to Barnes who Ethan and Chris really were. Barnes’ jaw dropped when he heard what the doctor said about them. “You’re bullshitting me, right?”
Doctor Korotas chuckled at the use of the archaic term. Ever since Ethan arrived, the archaic sayings were making a comeback. In fact, some people made a game out of trying to come up with them. “Time to make tracks,” he added his own archaic saying. “We’ll be ready when you get here.
Ryan burst through the doors of the infirmary, looking around wildly as he tried to catch his breath from the full-out sprint. Adrienne caught up with him just as Ethan and Chris were wheeled in. He looked sick when he saw who were in the stasis pods. He fell into the closest chair, burying his face in his hands.
“Ethan trusted me to protect him. I failed him and now he’s dying!” Ryan wailed, full of self-recrimination, “Him and Chris.”
Adrienne placed a compassionate hand on his shoulder. “You didn’t fail either of them. You had no way of knowing something bad was going to happen to them,” she said softly.
They both jumped up when the doctor walked in. The look on his face told them everything. Ryan collapsed into a chair in a flood of tears. “Ryan. Ryan!” the doctor shouted. “They’re both still alive.” Not expecting to hear those words, Ryan raised his head and looked at the doctor, hope evident in his eyes. The doctor continued, “Something is poisoning them, but we can’t isolate whatever it is in their system.”
“Wh-wh-what can you do?”
“I honestly don’t know.” The doctor suddenly felt that he might end up with three patients on his hands. He knew what Ryan had gone through and how he had put his career and freedom on the line for Ethan. Hell, everyone in the TPC knew and it had many of them wondering what they would do if they had been in his position. “We have them on total life support at the moment, but there’s plenty of brain activity, but as far as the rest…” he trailed off.
“There’s only one thing I can think of,” Duncan said, coming into the room. He dreaded what he had to say, but he knew it was the only way to save them. Coming to stand in front of Ryan, he squatted down in front of him so he could look him in the eye. “Ryan, we have to send them back to their own time. It’s the only way to save their lives. We have to send them both back to just before you brought them forward.”
“No!” Ryan shouted. “I can’t lose him. He means more to me than anything. I’ll die without him.”
Duncan chose to believe that he was just being melodramatic. The alternative was unthinkable. His mind raced. “We have to, Ryan. It’s their only hope.”
Adrienne suddenly interrupted with a thought of her own. “What about this? The doctor takes some samples of their blood to keep on working on the cause, and we send Ryan, Ethan and Chris back before they went to the club. Ryan can keep them out of the club and they won’t be exposed to whatever was in the club to make them sick.”
Ryan dared to be hopeful. “But what if whatever it is wasn’t in the club?”
“Ryan, let’s look at this logically. Ethan’s been here for several months. He’s been living with you correct?” The doctor asked.
“Yes he has, and he hasn’t been sick or anything the whole time he’s been here,” Ryan answered, wondering where the doctor was going with this.
“And Chris has just arrived, correct?” Ryan nodded. “If there was anything here toxic to them Ethan should have reacted before this, correct?” Again Ryan nodded. The doctor was on a roll. “Okay, so we can rule out the TPC and Ryan’s apartment. It had to be something they drank at the club.”
“Or something they ate at the restaurant.”
“Okay, Ryan, think. What did they eat?”
He looked around the room trying to remember. In the room was a small monitoring desk and a box each for their clothing and personal effects.
“I honestly can’t remember. Are they going to make it?”
Doctor Korotas placed a gentle hand on Ryan’s shoulder, shaking his head. “Their only chance is to send them back to their own time. Their only chance.”