Posted by Lieutenant Jasmine Wynter (Chief Medical Officer) in Graven XII - Medical
Posted by Gamemaster Wookius Furrius (Senior Gamemaster) in Graven XII - Medical
Posted by Ensign Shon Baht (Medical Officer) in Graven XII - Medical
Posted by… suppressed (18) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Seeing that it appeared that they had a few minutes yet, Hone considered his answer. “We have known about and been in contact with several species over the years. That is a lot of years. Some races have come and gone, replaced by others. We have tried to isolate the populus from other species as much as possible because we simply don’t have the medical skills to deal with alien pathogens. Some yes. Some were .. came upon us due to exposure in the past and we take care to keep a certain minimalist exposure. If something comes up then we can control it better.”
“But you ask about our world. A big question. We have been united for many thousands of years and have three primary social groups that are more divided on urban and rural lines. As a people we do not have many children and so our population is either stable or very slow growing so our society in general is stable. We are a competitive people, though have channeled that into particular streams. I like to think we are a social people who enjoy company and take pride in what we do. But we as well have things that perplex us, and one of those things I wish to show you when we get to Ka-Verda.”
The longer Jasmine sat quietly and listening the more she felt like Fred, Vilma, Shaggy, and Daphne were filling the car. It was little things Hone said that made her mind wander and start snapping together a weird mental puzzle. The name was the first: Ka Verde. Verde was most known for being associated with the color green. It invoked the sense of calm and peace yet it had another sinister connotation. Figuratively verde in some other languages translated to inexperienced, naïve, risqué, naughty, dirty, and course. In medicine, you looked for patterns and if you had to pick a side on Verde it associated with more negative language than positive ones. The other part was Ka. In Egyptian, Ka meant one but it also translated to serve or help. If you played with the name long enough it because something that made her mentally squirm. To help the dirty, to serve the naïve: all of this felt icky to her for some reason especially when paired with Hone’s dialogue of social groups. Historically in any society breaking into social groups only worked out for one group.
“Dr. Hone,” Jasmine put on a soft smile, “why did you call it Ka Verde? Any reason? I am only asking for a cultural basis. We tend to name our buildings with more boring titles like the Ministry of Harmony. Ka Verde sounds so beautiful, like a retreat?” She hoped she played up the naive, innocence enough in her question. The last thing she needed was to drum up a call from the old man about diplomacy but something just didn’t feel right.
Jasmine Wynter CMO
“Ka Verde. That name goes very far back in our history. Even we who have written records of our history dating ten millennia have problems with exaggeration and things running to mythical proportions. Ka Verde was a very knowledgeable physician of old. We say the father of modern medicine. I believe that she was advanced for her time in the ways of physiology and her name was well known for a long time and has a place in our historical records. It was a dark time in history when small warlords ruled the territory. Ka Verde was a consort to one particularly ferocious one. In reviewing some of the Earth history records we were presented he would be closest to one Genghis Khan. Historically she was one who turned his view around to unity over conquering and did that through healing both friend and foe. We like to think that her spirit inhabits the hospital.”
He entered with them and they traveled down hushed corridors that were similar to any medical facility across the galaxy, albeit with instruments and props that were less advanced. They entered an elevator and Hone touched the panel to take them to the basement. “I want to show you our mystery.” The basement was not as well lit and was even quieter; their footfalls echoed and there were fewer doors. Through a grey paneled door they went and in it the chamber was cold, the floors and walls of stone. Flat medical beds stretched out with easily a score of bodies covered in pale blue blankets.
Ensign Baht subconsciously wrapped his arms around himself in a half-hug when they entered the last room. Shon had never liked morgues. He much preferred working with people when they were still alive.
All their earlier talk of pathogens made Shon wonder briefly if they should be wearing protective clothing. But no, even if their technology was not advanced, surely they knew the basics of contamination control. The bolian glanced around the room as he waited for Dr. Hone to explain, looking for any kind of viewscreens or other display devices that might provide some hints as to what, if anything, these people were being studied for.
(Ensign Baht, Medical)
The chill in the room was palpable causing gooseflesh to dimple the skin on her arms. She was no scientist but basic earth chemistry meant that ten feet underground meant the room was probably at a standard fifty degrees. This made it a breeding ground for any pathogen since it was not warm enough to denature the protein coats surrounding them. Still, if you did not have a way to keep, store, and maintain a sample, using the host was one way used throughout history to slow the degradation process. She also took in the empty cavernous feel of the room and the lack of adornments. It would be easy to sanitize such a room which could be another reason this room was where it was.
As they moved in a bit farther they could hear a very slight humming sound coming from all around them. “We have a localized field that inhibits decay,” Hone said as he moved to a bed. At the left side hanging on the wall was a small ‘chart’, about half the size of a regular clip board type. As they drew closer they saw that it was electronic. “We have three moons,” Hone said. “On the full moon of each we get one more. And each one is different depending on the moon.” He turned to them looking sad and worn. “One looks like they’ve been torn apart from inside. Another like they have been burned with acid. And the third has no indication at all. Each one perishing in their home in their bed. Pathogen affecting someone? There should be some indication. Is one slaying the other then falling dead at the third moon? Is something making a pattern killer?” He sighed. “The thing is. We are all as a people in our beds at night. Nothing moves.”
Hone was very cryptic in his speech Jasmine was finding out. Things stuck out in her mind as prose instead of sentences like he was weaving a story instead of imparting information. As Hone described the three different patients with the three different symptoms, Jasmine decided to treat the situation as a triage.
All thoughts disappeared about the name of the hospital and the design of the room as Jasmine instantly switched into physician mode. Listening to Hone’s rather poetic description, Jasmine focused on the first patient’s symptoms that seemed to make sense. “May I,” she asked rhetorically moving towards the clipboard. She hoped the containment field was strong enough to hold whatever pathogens were drifting in the air but if it wasn’t’ it was too late now. Looking at the chart her mind began to tick off all the boxes in the differential diagnosis. For the contagion to be transmissible across a wide breadth of society it had to be viral, bacterial, prion, or genetically related. “Are any of the patients demonstrating this burn like condition related? I only ask because if it is autosomal that will help us rule out some conditions.”
Looking at the patient with the burn like condition she glanced at Shon before saying, “Staphylococcus or herpes?” She would take this patient. Maybe Shon would be able to figure out the other one and they could double team the situation solving it faster.
Jasmine wished she had brought her tricorder. She would have to ask Cochrane about bringing it down as soon as she could. If she had it, it would make the diagnosis job far simpler. Right now it was like leeches and chants trying to figure out what was wrong with the patient just by looking at the lesions. “If we are looking at a viral condition it could be Stevens-Johnson disease, Pemphigoid or Erythema multiforme. If it is bacterial we could be looking at Necrotizing fasciitis. It could be an autoimmune disease like Subacute cutaneous lupus or purpura fulminant or a reaction to medication causing system-wide toxicity like Lyell’s syndrome.”
Moving as close as she could to the bed, Jasmine began to ask more pointed questions. “Were you giving them any medicine? “
“None.” Hone looked squat and smaller in this muted light, and, perhaps because of the light, more ominous with his square bald head hunched in his clothes. “None were being treated for anything serious. Most not at all and none by my department.”
“Do you have any kids with symptoms like this,” she asked Hone. “If so it could be Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome,” in a questioning tone. Directing her attention to Hone she explained. “Triple S is an illness that presents as blistering skin that resembles tissue that has been burned or scalded. It is caused by a toxigenic strain of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Staph A is bad enough,” she talked while still reading, “but the release of the epidermolytic toxins A and B make it a nightmare.”
“No children, thankfully,” he replied.
Turning to face Hone she let out a deep breath. “Whatever the illness is that is causing the lesions that resemble burn lesions, these guys need to be in a burn unit to prevent infections. If we may can Shon and I get some masks and gloves? That way we can start running samples to figure the first part of the mystery.”
Lt. Jasmine Wynter CMO
“These occurred over the course of a night. They went to their beds well and woke like this.” He shifted. “None of this is natural.”
Shon wandered toward one of the patients in group C. Perhaps inspecting one of the people “torn apart from the inside” seemed like the obvious first step, but even people that died for “apparently” no reason still died for some reason. Their heart stopped, they stopped breathing, they went brain-dead. Even if the cause of the death was unknown, surely their morticians had been able to determine what had ultimately resulted in the cessation of blood pumping through the veins. As he approached the group C patient, he inspected any coroner’s information that might be attached to the body or its bed.
Although Shon appreciated Dr. Wynter’s practiced eye for diagnoses, Shon felt more like he was listening to a fairy tale or a riddle to be solved than a condition to be identified when he heard Hone’s explanation. Moons often had powerful effects on the circumstances of the planets they orbited, but for this culture’s medical community to identify and link their full moons to such a wide scope of lethal medical complications was bizarre to say the least.
Most interesting to Ensign Baht was Hone’s insinuation that the current working theory was that the deaths were forensic in nature. If this were indeed a criminal investigation, security should be called in to assist. But Shon found that explanation unlikely. Perhaps it was just a bit too supernatural to jump straight to comparing the situation to the fabled werewolves of Earth that he had heard about during his time at the academy.
“Dr. Hone, you said that you people are all in their beds at night and nothing moves…? Can you explain that more? Do you mean literally your species is entirely incapacitated during the night?” Shon wished he remembered what the moons had looked like when he had glimpsed them from the viewports of the Manhattan. He wanted to know when the next full moon was, but he was almost afraid to ask.
(Ensign Baht, Medcial)
“These ..” he said, gesturing to them all, “.. were all anomalies.” He moved closer to the wall to face them both putting his face into shadow so only his voice was really seen. “We are two spirited. During the daytime in the sun our bodies are, well, like yours. At night when we rest our spirits are freed and they do what they will. We rise when they return. These we called Blanks. They had no spirits which is extremely rare.”
“Like an out of body experience,” Jasmine tried to sound serious even though her mind was spinning. Her lips opened slightly trying to find words other than psychiatry table for three. Tilting her head slightly towards Shon she spoke barely above a whisper, “Baht…I got nothing.” Jasmine not having an opinion on a medical condition was like a blizzard without snow. It just didn’t happen yet here she was dumbfounded. She just needed a moment to wrap her head around everything.
Lt. Jasmine Wynter CMO
Shon’s indigo eyes flashed to Dr. Wynter, then back to Hone. He gulped. Dr. Wynter’s lack of confidence did nothing to bolster his own. This was obviously a condition neither of the had ever seen before, unique to a species with entirely different natural processes. Shon felt like he needed an anatomy and physiology lesson on Hone’s species before he could even start trying to help.
“Okay,” Ensign Baht began with a breath, “so is being a… ‘blank’ something all victims have in common? Something about not having a spirit must put them at risk for these complications, then. Are there any other differences between Blanks and the rest of your people, medically? Any conditions that do or don’t affect them like the others?” If being a blank was really a commonality, that was definitely an important piece of the puzzle. But the fact that Hone had not mentioned that initially, paired with his body language, made Shon nervous that this issue was even more complex than it seemed. Shon really hoped that ‘blank’ was not some kind of racial slur in these people’s culture.
(Ensign Baht, Medical)
Dr. Olde kept his breathing almost still, his body focusing all energies on trying to keep up with the conversation around him. Their puzzle, it seemed, continued to grow increasingly complex.
“Is it possible they’re not connected?” he asked, voice low. “Just extremely bad timing?” His own tone suggested he immediately dismissed his own suggestion. He resisted the urge to scratch at his face, and instead tucked his hands behind his back. “Three different mystery ailments?”
(Ensign Joshua Olde)
“Like organ rejection,” she asked her colleague. It made some sense on a basic level. The reactions to organ rejection was immediate and severe. It could explain why the illness symptoms were so pronounced and that they weren’t connected via a single illness to cure.
Lt. Jasmine Wynter
“Possibly,” responded Olde. “If a donor passed on multiple compromised organs.” He moved in closer to inspect one of the bodies, eyes only. “Though they all died on different moon cycles, did they not?.” The man chewed at his lip, eyes absent-minded scanning the body.
“Could it be… spirit rejection? Do the blanks have historic medical conditions?” Olde wasn’t sure he was getting the culture correctly. Hopefully their ever-pleasant companion, Baht, could smooth over any bumps.
(Ensign Joshua Olde)
Hone listened to them before continuing. “Everyone born is two spirited as it were. There are no Blanks from birth. Something happened in the interim. And it is all fully new to us. This a first in our history. As near as we have been able to determine this was not an organ rejection but it happened from the outside. These people were all murdered in some way. The time of the moons is a mystery. The fact that only one perishes too is peculiar.”
He leaned against one of the beds and stared at the blanket covered figure. “This began some months ago. One by one. At first we thought it unusual but then there was a pattern. We thought it was a kind of serial killer at work - but .. how. We are all in a state of .. dormancy, coma? I’m not sure how to call it for you to follow. We are incapable of rising bodily at night. This has been our evolution. The alternatives are simply too horrifying to consider. And how a person becomes a Blank in the first place we simply do not know.”
Shon nodded with a renewed sense of understanding as he glanced between his colleagues before continuing. Not only was this condition mysterious, it also disregarded one of the universal natural processes of these people. Of course they had no idea where to begin, because it disobeyed every previous conclusion they had made about the two-spirited part of their physiology.
The section of Shon’s blue forehead where eyebrows would have been if he had them furrowed in thought. He decided it was time to entertain the Occam’s razor approach. “Your coroners have come to the consensus that these were murders, committed by another person during the night when it is physically impossible for anyone of your species to do such a thing. So…” Shon felt his eyes widen, “what if they were killed by someone who isn’t of your species?”
Hone looked to be debating what to say. Rubbing his hands together he looked at them. “Nobody is allowed outside the Visitor Center after dark. That is a rule. While we sleep, that other part of us is .. active. It is hard to explain as, well, as a saying goes, ‘never the two shall meet’. However it is, that part of us protects us as we sleep.”
Ensign Baht pushed ahead, following the train of thought. “What if an alien influence has gone undetected on your planet, introducing new technology that is capable of creating these blanks and taking advantage of your people’s vulnerable status at night to kill them for some unknown reason on each of the full moons?”
Hone held out his hands in a gesture of ‘why not’. “I’m open to possibilities.”
The ensign turned to Dr. Wynter, his face filled with concern as the thought gave him goosebumps of dread. “I suggest we contact security on the Manhattan. Maybe the ship’s sensors can pick up any non-native lifeforms on the surface that could be responsible for the murders.”
(Ensign Baht, Medical)
“That’s a good idea,” Jasmine said to Baht. “I am still a bit lost on how all of this is happening but stranger things have happened. Touching base with security can’t hurt.”
Dr. Olde cleared his throat, keeping his eyes planted on the ground as he worked up the best way to say what has crossed his mind. After a moment, he concluded there wasn’t much tact to be had, if he was being honest. “I don’t suppose they could be,” he paused, glancing between the two other Manhattan officers. “Suicide-murders?”
No, that didn’t make as much sense outside his brain as had inside.
“What I mean, is,” he started again before standing up straight. “Can this soul-self give the body-self - rather than protect?”
(Ens Joshua Olde)
Hone looked at the figure closest under a blanket. “There are fiction storytellers who had brought that to possibility. It remained in that realm, thankfully.” He frowned. “Nobody has yet witnessed anything to know. It is a horrifying prospect. For ages we have considered our spirit self as our .. protectors through the night.”
Shon blinked. Yes, Olde’s was a morbid suggestion, but another that seemed to be highly possible. They had two theories now, both of which suggested that the spirits were part of the problem. “Alright,” Shon started, “so we’ve at least determined that the severing of the spirit from the body during the night is directly related to these deaths. Dr. Hone, do your people have any sort of technology that can monitor these spirits? Have you ever set up sleep studies in an attempt to observe these spirits in a scientific or medical fashion?”
(Ensign Baht, Medical)
Hone didn’t express Baht’s confidence in that definitiveness, but didn’t argue. When he shook his head it looked as though he didn’t have a neck and that it merely swiveled on his shoulders above his medical smock. “No. We have long believed that we have our medium of this physical world and they have their own medium. Provided this .. idea is true then it is the first time that there has been recorded issue where the two worlds have .. collided.” The corner of his mouth twitched. “Fatally.”
“If I may,” Jasmine tried to organize all the thoughts in her mind. “Bare with me as I try to get this all straight in my head. This is quite the patient intake,” her face held a friendly but confused smile on her face. “So your people are born with two spirits in one body. You said when a Gravenite has only one spirit they are considered a blank but this isn’t typical for your species. You also have said that never shall the two meet but they are self-aware of each other right? It’s a conscious symbiotic relationship?”
Lt. Jasmine WynterCMO
At this point footsteps could be heard running down the hall and burst through the doors. A young orderly whose hair had fallen down over one eye came to a skidding halt, blinked and brushed the hair back. “Doctor,” he panted, winded from the run. “I just got word from the First Minister’s office. Engineer Tov has been in an accident with the ..” he glanced at Wynter and Baht. “.. aliens. There are injuries.”
“What? When?” Hone said, pushing off from the bed.
“Not long ago. The engineer team and Second Minister are aboard the .. alien ship now.”
“Excuse me,” Hone said to the two doctors. “I must get some things ready. Hommer, look after our guests until I return. I’ll only be moments.”
Hone rushed past Hommer who stared wide eyed at the two. “Hello?” he said, wide eyed.
© 1991-2020 STF. Terms of Service