“This is her,” Dann called out. They gathered around, and Rose initiated the revival procedure, then fetched a set of clothes for the computer tech.
Roughly an hour later she was thawed out and had recovered from the initial shock of reawakening. She was dressed and wrapped in a robe, slowly sipping water. It was always hard to get a real sense of what someone “normally” looked like, Dann found, but Pixton had an exotic quality that showed through even the emaciation of cryo-sleep. She was of mixed blood, and had the skin to prove it; she was maybe a touch or two lighter than café-au-lait, with full lips, and eyes that suggested asian ancestry somewhere in her genetic background. Not uncommon in early 21st century Earth history. Dann thought she’d probably be very beautiful once she’d had a chance to properly recover.
“T-thank you, Rose,” she said, taking more of the water. She looked up and around at the others. “Y-you aren’t my section leader, sir,” she said to Cobb. “What happened to Lt. Mendoza?”
Cobb sighed. “Yeah … about that, private …”
“You’d probably better finish more of that food ‘n water before we fill you in, Pixton.” Jackson said flatly.
Pixton looked around at them, eyes widening; Dann nodded slowly as she looked his way. “Um … okay.” When she’d gotten through about half the water and most of the food, Cobb looked up.
“It’s what happened to lt. Mendoza that brought us here to revive you, pvt. Pixton … and not just him, I’m afraid. Are you feeling up to the news now?”
She did look a bit stronger after the food and water. “As ready as I’ll ever be, I suppose … you’re not filling me with much confidence though, sir.”
Dann, Jackson and Cobb exchanged looks. Dann spoke up. “Lt. Mendoza didn’t survive the trip out here, Pixton. And … he’s not the only one.”
“That’s awful! What happened? Some problem with his cryo-pod?” She looked at the one she’d just vacated with a shiver. And then her eyes drifted around the room, noting all the red lights. “Um …”
“Yeah.” Jackson said. “They’re all dead. All but maybe 50 of us.”
“50!” Pixton was shaking her head. “Out of the whole ship? That’s thousands dead! How’d this happen?”
“That’s what we were hoping you could help us with,” Cobb said. “We can’t access the computer’s logs of the event. We know it happened about twenty years ago, but beyond that, we’re stuck.”
Pixton calmed down a bit and wrinkled her brow. “But with Rose here, it should be a breeze to access—”
“No, I’m afraid the lieutenant is correct, pvt. Pixton. Even I can’t access the information we need.”
“But … what can I do that you can’t? You are the computer!”
“And because I’m the computer, I have certain safeguards built in that I can’t bypass.”