"Hope: Lost And Found"

Author: Lieutenant JG Tricia McMillan
Date: July 11, 2384
Location: Captain's Ready Room

Ryan sat behind his desk, the events of the past few hours had put many thoughts into his mind. Now all those thoughts were racing around in his head.

The chimes to his door rang and he stood and walked across to the door, pressed the open button on the wall and stood looking into the eyes of the woman he loved.

"You wanted to see me ?" Karissa enquired.

"Yes, come in, I’ll explain what we’ve discovered." The Captain replied, stepping back into his ready room and gesturing for Karissa to come in and sit on the sofa.

Ryan sat down beside her and started to explain about the nano-probes and the connection between Addison Hillstead and Doctor Bakar Mikori. When he was finished, Karissa looked at the Captain.

"So why tell me all this ?" She asked.

"Don’t you see, these nano-probes have a connection to your DNA manipulation. Wang is double-checking the nano-probes, trying to decipher their programming. Karissa, you could be cured forever, live a normal life with me and the children, forget any of this ever happened." The Captain replied, slowly rubbing Karissa’s growing belly.

Karissa just sat there listening to the Captain, tears slowly swelling up in her eyes.

Next day….

Wang had been working on the nano-probes all night. He’d made progress and now was ready to share what he had found with the senior staff.

Everyone was sat around the conference table, along with the three visitors from Valaria and Admiral Pike.

Wang stood up and began to explain what he had found, bringing up an enlarged schematic of the nano-probes on the wall monitor.

"Captain, these nano-probes are indeed not the work of the Borg." He started. "However, they do share similar characteristics to nano-probes created by the Borg, both in design and programming. The only explanation is that they were created by someone who has in the past had access to Borg technology and successfully re-produced the nano-probe technology. As far as we are aware, only the Federation has had direct access to salvaged Borg technologies. So we must assume that these were created by our own people."

"Fascinating." Ambassador Kash announced.

Captain Evans looked across at the Admiral, hoping to see some kind of shock on his face. There was none, Admiral Pike just sat listening to Wang make his report.

"As I suspected, these nano-probes are to all intent and purpose blanks. They have a great deal of operational programming already installed, but have not been given specific instructions on a purpose or function." Wang continued. "With a little more time, I think that I can reprogram them to repair the damage to Lieutenant Gregholt’s immune system."

"If you can cure Gregholt, then I say that we give it a try." Tricia spoke out, her obvious concern speaking volumes to the assembled group.

"How ?" Ryan asked.

Doctor Hancock now spoke up.

"We couldn’t cure Gregholt’s illness because the damage was being done on a molecular level. The nano-probes are designed to manipulate DNA itself. The nano-probes that were ‘injected’ into him were designed to attack the subject’s immune system by altering their DNA. A secondary function was to recreate a virus within the subject that would eventually kill them. This virus was contained within the nano-probes themselves, that’s why there was so little of the virus to sample." He explained. "What we hope we can do is reprogram the nano-probes to reverse the damage to Gregholt’s DNA. I can then fight the virus until his own immune system is repaired."

"But there is a problem." Wang stated in a concerned tone.

"What’s the problem ?" Ryan asked.

"We only have enough to cure Gregholt, no more." Wang replied.

"Can’t we replicate more ?" Ryan asked.

"I’m afraid not." Wang replied. "All these nano-probes are unique, no two are exactly the same. These are in effect custom manufactured from scratch, I’ve already tried to duplicate some of the probes. Although the actual probes were replicated, somehow the programming just didn’t function."

Ryan’s face started to show a little concern, the obvious implications of being unable to replicate the nano-probes weighing heavy on his mind. With only enough nano-probes to cure Gregholt, that meant that Karissa and his hopes of offering her a normal life were dashed. He caught the feeling and then gave the only logical order he could.

"Wang, I want you to continue working on the nano-probes, work closely with the Doctor. If you think you can cure the Lieutenant’s immune system, then we have to give him a chance. He didn’t ask for this, in fact he was saving other lives." Ryan ordered.

Ambassador Kash nodded his agreement, as did the assembled crew.

Once the briefing was over, most of the crew left the briefing room. Only the Captain, Tricia and the three Valarian guests remained.

"Captain, I think our visit here is over, we have accomplished what we set out to do and it is now time for us to return to our home." The Ambassador remarked.

"I’ll have someone escort you to the transporter room. You have done this crew and the Federation a great service." Captain Evans replied.

"I would be honoured to escort our guests." Tricia announced.

"I thought you might. "The Captain said. He had realised a long time ago that there was a connection between his helm officer and the girl they had rescued. He had seen this connection first hand when he’d rescued Klara from Section 31.

With that, Tricia and the Valarians left the briefing room, leaving Ryan alone with his thoughts once more. He hoped that Gregholt could be cured, that the damage done to him could be repaired. But he was also saddened by the realisation that the hope for a normal life for Karissa had been dashed, for now. Somewhere out there, there was a facility that built the nano-probes, if they could find it then there was a possibility of gaining access to it.

Suddenly Ryan was aware of another presence in the room. He looked up and saw the Admiral stood just inside the door, watching the Captain.

"You made the right decision." He assured him, turning and leaving the briefing room.

"I know." Ryan replied to the space where the Admiral had been standing.

Ryan let out a heavy sigh and left the briefing room, walked across the floor of the Bridge and entered his ready room. He walked over to the replicator and ordered a bottle of Jack Daniels and a large glass. As the bottle and glass appeared on the replicator pad, he went to pick them up, hesitated for a moment and then hit the recycle button.