Posted Nov. 30, 2021, 1:02 a.m. by Jason Wolfe
Posted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Sharah Fayth (Medical) in Main Sim [Sickbay]: A Flicker of Understanding
Posted by Lieutenant Kalika Darz (Security Officer) in Main Sim [Sickbay]: A Flicker of Understanding
Posted by Jason Wolfe in Main Sim [Sickbay]: A Flicker of Understanding
The medical officers tending to the executive officer grunted as they heaved the Klingon onto a biobed and got him set up. One jerked a thumbs-up in Fayth’s direction before leaning exhaustively against the wall. Kohr was well in-hand.
Watkins nodded, “Lt Darz, come with me please and we’ll get you settled.” She led the Lt who looked like she might have taken a shower in her clothes, to the first quarantine room to begin the scans.
Kalika didn’t say a word and came as called. Obedient, though unwilling, she went along because she knew the Ensign was right. She was no use to anyone until she was cleared.
Watkins entered the quarentine room with her and a tap of the button near the door erected the bio-filter fields. SOP. She turned on the biobed and waited for Kalika to sit down. She pulled the hand held scanner out of her tricorder and began the full physical and neurological work ups that Dr Fayth had asked for. “The scans won’t take too long Lt. But the doctors will have to clear you. Can you tell me anything about what happened to you? Anything at all that you remember?”
“Get it to where you can drop a forcefield,” she barked to Fayth who seemed at a loss for how to proceed. At the same time, she took the pocket phaser Markus had passed her and set the beam width to spread by about fifteen degrees. The motes were smaller than the ones on the target practice range. She set for heavy stun. The type 1 phaser didn’t have as many settings as a type 2, but it still could disintegrate and vaporize targets if she had to. But firing anything more than heavy stun in sickbay? That wasn’t something she wanted to risk, though if she had to she’d step it up to light or heavy disrupt. Even this was only a stop-gap if the force field didn’t work.
Lt j.g. Miranda R. Sheridan, Sci
With the stress and resentment and fear running around the ship, Sharah almost snapped at the woman. She had no idea who she was or what she was doing. Obviously, Sharah was going to try and trap the thing. “You are not shooting a phaser in sickbay. There are patients in here.” It came out harsh and Sharah felt bad immediately. The tension on the ship was rising and getting to her. She turned back to the floating light....was it closer? She moved away from the entry way back towards the main medical bay where a field could be dropped, ‘Come on, follow me. Nothing interesting in there…‘
With Sharah distracted by the flurry of activity in both her mind and in Sickbay, she was perhaps too slow to evade the dancing ember. Had there not been so many people and thoughts demanding her attention, she might have noticed the flicker of response the mote gave off to each touch of her telepathic speech. And perhaps, too, she would have sensed its change in both behavior and intent—from lackadaisical to focused, from bored to intense. The moment Sharah’s body began to withdraw towards the main chamber of Sickbay, it was simply there flickering against the skin of her brow.
It did not hurt or burn or tickle or any of the other sensations Sharah might have expected as it moved through her skin and… what? There was no real way for her logical mind to process what she should have been feeling, and the absence almost made her mind ache. She would almost want to laugh for a reason she couldn’t understand. This was all so confusing because she honestly felt better. Comfort, that was perhaps the best word she could describe her emotional state. Though there were others in the room with her, she felt safe and whole. Complete. The voices in the back of her mind—the minds of the rest of the crew, almost ever-present—were quieter now. They weren’t being blocked or shoved away, just not as strong. Closer, but somehow muted. A part of her struggled to catalogue everything; another half of her was content to just be.
It was very disorienting.
Something wasn’t quite right, she finally realized. That feeling of comfort and belonging suddenly gave way to something else, a sense of disquiet. Sharah could feel emotions boiling up within her, emotions she could not find the cause for. They washed over her like a wave, hammered into her mind over and over until it plunged her consciousness under. The room spun and dipped, swam and tilted, then finally fell away. She found herself in a dark space, bursts of light and sound beating against her, threatening to erode her very sense of self!
Sharah stumbled, dizzy and unable to see straight as the emotions drowned her and she sank into this new storm that had taken residence in her head. She was alone and scared in the dark. Then the flashes and light began, memories, life, data, emotions, the nameless input, and she lost her sense of self. In sickbay her body stumbled and a hand reached out to steady herself against the door frame.
Then it was gone as quickly as it had happened, leaving her a touch dazed but otherwise nonplussed. The emotions—contentment, sorrow, confusion, curiosity, dread—clung to the inside of her skull like cobwebs, but the meaning behind them faded more quickly than a dream. It had all happened in a flash, between the space of one breath and the next, but she felt exhausted. It was little wonder, then, when she did not react to the mote of luminescence slipping free of her brow once more to linger in the air. It seemed dimmer now, almost translucent. Then, it winked out in a burst of what Sharah could only describe as thought, a single word that had profound impact on her. A single tear slipped free of Sharah’s restraint, tumbling down her cheek as that word echoed over and over in her mind.
The mote left her, but despite that she was still linked with it. The sadness, the loneliness, the overwhelming need for one’s mother to kiss the booboos and make them better drew a tear from her. And then the life was gone. Simply gone, no longer to exist, alone, desperate, searching for comfort - and then gone. A single sob was ripped from her throat before she forced the sobs back to be held at bay. She simply could not get lost in death. She wasn’t five years old anymore. She would be okay. She could mourn, but not yet. But still the tears streamed down her face. She was aware that she was still in sickbay and whatever had happened to her, must be happening to others. Certainly the motes had at least been in contact with Lt Cmdr Kohr. The tricorder and scanner still in hand she turned it on herself and began taking physical and neurological readings on herself.
The images, the reality faded to nothing more than a vague dream. Only flashes remained and Sharah didn’t want to forget. In a last effort to try and connect with someone the life that had been that light had chosen her, whether it wanted to or not. “Computer, begin recording,” the computer trilled and while she worked the words, the images, the feelings the fading memories poured out of her and into the computer record. Fayth moved over to the main computer display to look at the results of the scans she’d conducted on Fairweather.
“Computer compare the scans from Fairweather, Kohr, Kalika, Fayth, Sigmundsson, D’Val, and Pierce. Note any similarities in their scans.”
It took the computer a moment to chew through all the readings being compiled into it, but it finally spread their scans out across the display. It then flagged several different areas of their brains, most of it centered in the prefrontal cortex. Though the levels were all different due to some delays between the noticed effect and the scan, all but the Klingon had elevated levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. While this would explain their more erratic behavior, it was more suggestive of a loss of inhibition rather than a suspected possession. Simply put, they were more likely to do what struck their fancy and enjoy it, but nothing completely out of character or that would result in immediate self-harm.
Strange too was a queer sort of electrostatic energy pervasive in the synaptic cleft—the space between synapses where impulse was conducted—that most still showed the presence of, though it was slowly dissipating. It almost seemed to bolster the body’s ability to process and reuptake the aforementioned chemicals; the result would have been an increase in sensory input without any long-term damage from overexposure of these chemicals—it gave them the “high” of being intoxicated without the crash. Whatever had affected them had actually shielded each crewmember from what it was doing, suggesting a kind of symbiotic response. This would also explain why Pierce and Sigmundsson were not feeling muscular fatigue though they’d been more active than the others. It was also noted that the dissipation rate of this charge was slower in the hippocampus, which would explain why each patient suffered a sense of disorientation or forgetfulness as short-term memory was impaired.
Fairweather was also noted to have a trace electrostatic charge in his cerebellum along with some damage to the associated neurons. Whether this was the result of his experience with lost time or his unfortunate encounter with a gelpack’s angry discharge, it’s hard to say; his hands and arms bear similar damage along with those common to heavy electric shock. Overall, he will recover with a few days of rest and the proper medications; whatever happened to him overloaded those parts of his body and his cells are tired.
Kohr is perhaps the most unusual case, since his brain is saturated with the electrostatic charge nearly gone from the others. As Klingons have many redundant systems and possess denser skulls and membrane surrounding the brain, it is little wonder that the presence of such energy affected him differently than the other humanoid subjects. Whatever had affected the crew and suppressed their inhibitions had nearly fried the commander’s mind, resulting in a kind of neuron discharge that totally interrupted his brain’s normal functions. While the computer can detect no lasting damage, it suggests he will not rouse easily or soon while his brain “reboots”—the neurons are simply too confused and will take time to either shed or absorb the electrostatic charge, an unfortunate side effect of his genetic resilience.
Sharah does not have the electrostatic energy anywhere but the area of her brain associated with telepathy. Her hippocampus shows signs of stress and high activity, which is not surprising given her experience. Perhaps the oddest result of her scan is the increase in synaptic paths deep within the hippocampus, suggesting that the interaction with the energy mote was beginning to form new pathways. This would go far to explain why she was able to recall the images from her experience, and why she feels like there was more just beyond the grasp of her understanding.
Overall, the scanned crew show no signs of continued activity in any regions of the brain outside of their normal functions. For all intents and purposes, whatever had affected them has left them.
There was a small commotion at the door as Semenza arrived with Hab’rabi. “Dr. Semenza, we have the scan results from the detainees in the brig. Cmdr Kohr has been affected as well…and I…” Fayth couldn’t seem to shake the overwhelming grief over the death of the mote, “I was as well. The data is all here,” and she pointed at he main diagnostic display.
Just then a rather put-out voice came across the comm system. =^=Cosgrove to Sickbay.=^= Was that… whimpering in the background? =^=We’ve had a delay in delivering Ensign Sacco to you for scanning per the captain’s orders. He’s almost catatonic, but we’ll get him to you as soon as we clear the checkpoint. Captain said to get him into a secure room, so hopefully you folks aren’t too busy. Cosgrove out.=^=
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