Three

The night wore on as Dr. Landra and her team took more tests and continued to ask the patient questions.  After a few hours, when the stranger continued to make no response or give any inclination that he understood them at all, the armed detail relaxed a little and lowered their weapons a fraction.

Throughout the whole process, whenever Landra would look up, she met the hard blue eyes of Admiral Evett.  He stood at attention, still and solid as granite. His gaze never wavered, it seemed, yet she knew that he was aware of every detail about this room and everyone in it.  She knew he was assessing the stranger's potential as a threat to his crew and his vessel.  He didn't have his weapon drawn like the security detail, but he would have the first shot out if anything happened.  That was just who he was.  

"Well, I think this is enough for one night, don't you think?" She gestured to her medical team, who nodded sleepily in response.  She turned to the stranger on the bed beside her, as her team slowly put their equipment away and left the room.

"I'm sorry, I know this has been a long process.  We'll leave you now to get some rest, and I'll come by in the morning to check on you."  Landra spoke quietly and gently patted the man's arm, only just now starting to feel her own exhaustion.  Again, he made no response.  He stared intently, and she knew he must be trying to get the measure of them.  She wondered what must be going through his mind, if he was frightened or indifferent.  But his heart rate on the monitor was completely steady, at a controlled pace.  If he felt anything at all, he was handling it well.  

She turned to the security detail and nodded, signaling for them to exit the infirmary quietly.  Evett made sure to signal two of the men to stand watch outside the infirmary.  He was the last to leave, which he did silently and with his eyes watching her and the stranger.  

In the meantime, she returned to her office to pick up the mess of scattered paperwork and her daily log.  The infirmary was quiet again.  Landra knew she should go to bed and get some rest, but she wanted to update the log while everything was still fresh in her mind's memory.  Sleep had a habit of altering the way one remembers certain details, and she wanted her logs to be as accurate as possible.  These entries would be the building blocks for the rest of her career, if this all played out well.

It was nearing 500 hours when a member of her crew found her asleep in her desk chair.  She vaguely recalled being escorted to a cot and being told to lie down and get some shut-eye.  After that, she was dead to the world while she slept, dreaming about the stranger they discovered among the stars.

The End

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