Posted Sept. 26, 2022, 12:46 a.m. by Lieutenant Sharah Fayth (Chief Star Fleet Medical Officer) (Jennifer Ward)
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Markus Woods (Chief Star Fleet Science Officer) in Unforeseen Developments
Posted by Lieutenant Sharah Fayth (Chief Star Fleet Medical Officer) in Unforeseen Developments
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Markus Woods (Chief Star Fleet Science Officer) in Unforeseen Developments
Posted by… suppressed (11) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Sharah leaned back against the outside wall of the hospital entrance. The physical silence was deafening. The mental silence was shocking and disorienting and she recognized immediately that something was wrong. She was not okay. She smiled at the man and his daughter, probably looking relieved that the protesters were gone. Markus she reached for him and nothing. Ilena? Nothing....
Mark fumbled the tablet he was reading at the sudden, loud contact from Sharah. Her distress was clear. Setting the device on his desk he reached out for her. she was … there, but the contact was suddenly much diminished. Almost gone. His heart began to pound in his chest.
Fayth shook her head and it made her vision swim. She pushed away from the wall and before everything went black she had the realization that no one had answered her mental call and she could hear nothing.
Ilena rushed out the door and caught her before her legs completely gave out. “Help me get her inside?”
Inside the doors Ilena grabbed a chair and eased Fayth into it.
=/\=Lt Rox to Lt Cmdr Woods. You need to come to the hospital, Sir.=/\=
The distress in Ilena’s tone only poured ice into his gut. =^=On my way.=^= He’d only met Ilena once, briefly during a tour of the hospital, but it was enough. Betazoids and other telepaths always stuck out to him.
Someone was with her. That was good at least, and he at least trusted Ilena a little. Whatever was going on, he had a feeling now that it related to Sharah’s abilities. Grabbing a different PaDD, one he kept secured and locked, he stuffed into his pocket and headed for the exit.
Several moments later, Fayth was in a private room. Dr Elbbirt running complete scans on her. No one really sure, yet, why she’d fainted or how long she was going to be out. Some of her readings were unusual for her and others not. Sharah was unique though and there was no way to know if her symptoms applied to the usual suspects. All Elbbirt did know for sure was her BP had dropped dangerously now, but no idea why.
Mark made his way down the corridor at a trot. Best he could do for hurrying in a socially-appropriate fashion. Drawing up short outside Sharah’s room, he scanned for any of her attending physicians.
There were two doctors in the room with her and Ilena. The one facing Markus saw movement and looked up at him and spoke to the nurse. Ilena turned around, recognizing him and waved for him to come in.
“She’s been working non-stop for days, and the heightened security and now a protest certainly is lowering the work load. Her blood pressure dropped, probably hasn’t eaten enough. We’ve all done it.” A male Bolian said.
A woman, Vulcan, “Perhaps, but her blood sugar levels and hydration indicate she has ingested sufficient calories. It is her brain scans that concern me. A woman with her condition should never have psilosynine levels that low. Typical Betazoids are not that low. If you would examine her medical history you would see this has never happened. Betazoids with her condition always produce excessive amounts. You must consider the possibility that this is…” the Vulcan doctor paused and looked at Woods. “You are Markus Woods? Her next of kin?”
He nodded. “Affirmative.” The ‘next of kin’ gave him pause. They weren’t married, they weren’t related. So technically the term didn’t apply. She had family. But they were worlds away and it would take weeks if not months to get to the colony. But he was her emergency contact. And the closest thing she had to a real connection on the planet.
The male Bolian held out his hand. “Dr. Eraras. Forgive Dr. C’tain. She tends to see the worst.” The Vulcan raised a brow. “You are the best orthopedic surgeon we have, but I am the neurologist.”
Mark stepped forward and took hold of his hand, strong grip, firm and quick shake. “Lieutenant Commander Woods, or Doctor Woods if you prefer.” Most of the time in Starfleet his rank was in use, but he’d done the time for his degree too.
“Yes but I really think we should talk to someone familiar with Betazoid telepathy,” Ilena injected. Being Betazoid she knew quite a bit, but she wasn’t an expert.
“That’s not a bad idea,” Mark interjected but gentle-like. “However, I don’t think we’re quite there yet.” Turning to the others he spared a glance at Sharah.
Sharah was out cold, but Markus had seen her like that once before. Passed out after her blood pressure dropped, in his quarters one night. Her presence was faint, like she was far away, but clearly recognizable.
Then he turned his focus on the readouts from the biobed. “May I?” He gestured to the readouts. Reaching into his pocket he fished out the PaDD. “While I don’t have my medical degree… yet.” The pause was deliberate. “I’ve been pouring over Doctor Fayth’s information she has over her condition. Everything from all her scans and biometrics to historical anecdotes.” He glanced between them. “I’m not sure how much she’s told y’all about me, but I’m something of a ‘special case’ myself in these areas.”
Eraras shook his head no, C’tain simply raised a brow. It was Ilena who spoke, “Dr. Fayth would never breach that confidentiality. But I can’t imagine there is much there. Our people have been working centuries to figure out her condition.”
“This is not the first time she’s exhibited with symptoms like this. One night in my quarters. Although the circumstances were different.” He flipped through a few screens, then swiped some data from his PaDD to the display above the bed. Her baseline readings, and what they could reconstruct from around that time. “Oh, I see.”
There was the same drop in blood pressure, but the scans Markus provided showed a drop in adrenaline and K3 (pain level) indicators. C’tain glanced back at Fayth and ran additional scans. Sure enough her adrenaline levels were almost nill, and her K3 at around .5. Significant drops of both. The current scan showed below average levels of psilosynine where Markus’ scans showed normal for Sharah levels.
Ilena was curious, “What do you see?”
He chewed his lower lip for a moment. For Ilena she could feel the apprehension, and that he was thinking but not exactly what. Considering carefully. Arms crossed over his chest, but scratching his lower lip with his right thumbnail. Finally, he seemed to think better of it. “She came out of it in a little while. It wasn’t anything life-threatening, but much akin to being in constant pain and then suddenly getting a great deal of relief. Has anyone tried to actually make contact with her in there?”
C’tain shook his head, “Vulcan mind melds are very risky and highly invasive. Given the unusual scans I am not willing to risk neurological damage.” They all turned to Ilena and she shook her head.
“Betazoid telepathy is focused on conscious thought. She’s unconscious and everything she is thinking is focused in her subconscious. I wouldn’t ‘hear’ it. If I was like Dr. Fayth, I could, but I am not gifted that way. Not in any way like her.” She looked at Sharah . “With her psilosynine, I’m not sure she would hear us anyway.” She glanced at the other two doctors. “Did you not feel it?”
“A couple minutes before the protest was dispursed there was this…like a wave or a giant warm blanket. It felt safe and soothing and a need to go home. Not really a place but a feeling. It spread through the whole hospital, and even the protesters calmed, stopped chanting, it was quiet. Everyone was calm.”
Mark listened, then looked dwon at Sharah’s unconscious form. “What did you do,” he murmured aloud. Finally he turned back toward the assembled medical professionals. “I really … hate to bring this up,” he said. Uncertainty, worry rolled off of him, apprehension.... worrying about betraying Sharah’s trust and confidence. But in this case, it was a matter of life and death potentially. “So I’ve been looking at her condition, like I mentioned. We only have a partial model, but a decent amount of data points to work with. I have a hypothesis that the psilosynine … we need an abbreviation for that… the psilosynine levels tend to correspond to the level of sensitivity and ability a given Betazoid has. Which most of what we know seems to bare that out. The problem with people with her condition is that they just produce and produce and produce, at a massive rate. That’s why the treatment, if any, in the past has been to remove the gland that manufactures it.” He glanced between them to make sure they were following along. “Now I’ve hypothesized that these get used, consumed, by the Betazoid brain. They function a lot like a neurotransmitter and help the person output increased psionic energy. Most of the time most hormones get used slowly over time. The gland that produces it is generally just producing more than she would generally use on a day-to-day basis.”
Ilena gave Woods an encouraging nod when he hesitated to say anything. She had only been working with Fayth for a very short time, but knew the doctor would not fault him for sharing information he felt might help her. Especially since she ill. C’tain nodded but in typical Vulcan fashion. She was trained enough to not ask the officer if he was actually a medical doctor and what his area of expertise was. Humans tended to need to insert their opinions and thoughts whether relevant or not. However, at least he was following a logical foundation for his ‘hypothesis’. Eraras nodded, “That is the general consensus though there has never been enough hard data studied to determine how accurate that is. Though that is the theory doctors work from.”
As far as he could tell, they were still with him. “So this has two effects. It makes her hyper-sensitive, and very very strong compared to other Betazoids. It will eventually kill her because there’s just too much of it. Like any other glandular problem. A messed up thyroid would make anyone’s life hell. Not her fault, of course. Now… It has another effect. If psilosynine is used in the process of normal operations for a Betazoid’s psychic abilities. Then it gives her a serious advantage in that she may be able to to deliberately use it to fuel her powers on at least an order of magnitude greater than the average Betazoid. Maybe even farther.” He paused just long enough to let them soak that in. “However, she doesn’t really have call to do it much. If she pushed into that higher level outside, which seems likely, then she burned off a big chunk of her psilosynine. Which then immediately turned down the noise and constant pain she’s in. Which precipitated a drop in blood pressure. Like a power lifter who just flexed their entire body for a minute and then relaxes. The blood pressure drops so hard and fast they pass out.”
C’tain gave a slow nod, “Yes that would explain the fainting spell. However, as I was saying, we must consider as you said that eventually it will kill her. There have only been three patients with her condition in the last century that actually have survived to this age or older. She has suffered 3 brain shut downs already. This may simply be that and there is nothing to be done. It is within possibility that the best we can do is make her comfortable.”
Ilena moved to the other side of the bed, glaring black daggers at the Vulcan. Before the nurse could say anything, Eraras held up a hand. “That logic does not follow, C’tain. A ‘brain shut down’ is not what we are looking at. Her pain would be exponential and the paracortex would be showing signs of attacking itself while producing higher and higher levels of p.y.e. - psilosynine,” he gave a kind nod to Woods as he provided the abbreviation. “She would be in almost a seizure like state, and her autonomic nervous system and heart straining and attempting to give out. She is exhibiting none of these signs. Yes we must be aware that she could be…”
Ilena glanced at him and a soft quirk formed on her face. “D@mn, she said you were brilliant.” Then she looked at C’tain and Eraras as well before speaking again, “What you are calling ‘brain shut down’, we call it burn out. The brain literally burns itself out. I’ve seen it, and it’s not this.”
“Based on all the information we have, as far as I can tell, it all lines up. I can try to bring her around, but as far as I know from time spent and research, best thing for her is good, natural rest. She should come out of it on her own.” Yes, there was a lot of supposition in that, and ‘should’ wasn’t a word most professionals were loathe to use. But they were in uncharted territory here. All science comes down to the best educated guess. Mark just didn’t prop himself up as knowing more than God in the process.
Lt Cmdr Woods
C’tain mulled over everything the Lt Cmdr had said while he removed the cortical readers as the scans finished. She had the good grace to look at Woods and then Nurse Rox. “I don’t mean to alarm or be…how do you put it…morbid, but I do not believe in withholding any possibility. However, other than her p.y.e. levels she seems to simply be sleeping. There is nothing I can recommend other than to wait, unless she appears to be in pain. I have a call in to the hospital on Betazed. They may have further answers. I will return when I have more information.” Ilena seemed doubtful. The way her planetary government was acting they weren’t likely to answer. C’tain left.
Eraras shrugged good naturedly. “It could be strain. The input from the protest could have just overwhelmed her? She seems comfortable enough for the moment.” His hands waved about in thought a moment. “As for trying to bring her around, I am not opposed to it, but I have no personal experience with telepathy. You are her emergency contact and have clearance to make any decision for her.”
Mark nodded, following along. He understood the possibilities, probably just about as well as any of them. That wasn’t so much arrogance, but over the last few months he’d been studying a lot of the science involved intensely. And with his acuity and focus, it just seemed pretty clear.
Sharah was deeply asleep, though her presence still felt at a distance she felt peaceful and restful. Though there was no active communication from her, only a sense of how she felt.
He reached out and smoothed her hair back gently. Closing his eyes he simply let the world in. Unlike Sharah, he wasn’t limited to telepathy and empathy but all sorts of impressions. Those were just the easiest to focus on thanks to those he was around. But in this case he was intent on listening to her and feeling out her state of being. The instruments and readouts had already confirmed that she was in delta sleep. Deeply recharging and repairing, recovering. She wasn’t in stress, distress, or discomfort, but at peace. A smile slowly spread across his face, though he could feel a few tears trying to form. It was a state she rarely got to reach, and he wished she could have more of it. Reaching up he wiped his eyes and took a deep breath, if only to get his feet under him mentally.
“Okay, she’s … okay. The readouts are correct. Yeah, I know that sounds stupid and redundant. But sometimes you have to go hands-on. You know what I mean.” Opening his eyes he focused back on those that were left. “She’s in no immediate medical danger. Her vitals are stable, and brain and organ functions seem to all be running normally. She’s in deep sleep, not a coma, so there’s no reason to wake her up or disturb her. So, let’s leave her be then. I’m going to stay here so I’m here whens he wakes up, if that’s alright.”
Eraras and Ilena exchanged a look. They’d seen all kinds come through with patients. Some who needed to be guided, those that wanted to be, those that should be. The students who asked questions to make smart choices but couldn’t make heads or tails, those that were content to let the ‘experts’ make the choices, and those that didn’t know how but desperately wanted to be, and those that knew as much or more than the doctors. Either from experience or training. Eraras gave a gentle nod. “You can stay as long as you like. The doctor on this ward is Elbbirt, but you can call me or C’tain if you have any questions. I will be back in a couple of hours.” Eraras would have to divide out Fayth’s rounds, but Holloway would fall directly to him with the strict security protocols in place.
He nodded. “Sounds good to me. Thank you all for taking care of Sharah so diligently.”
Ilena was fussing a bit over her, straightening a blanket and making sure she’d been placed comfortably on the biobed. She moved a larger plush chair closer to the bed for him. “They sleep decently. Do you need anything?” Before he could answer the door opened and a young ensign entered. “This is En Fhyvx. He’s Fayth’s CNA. I’ll be back, but he will be here in the mean time.” Fhyvx offered his hand to Woods. He was there more to introduce himself and get a feel for Fayth’s current status. There were no vitals to take or tests to run. He looked at Fayth a little funny, a mixture of disbelief and trying to stay professional. He’d met her of course, she was his DH and she was so nice to everyone. This was his first posting out of the Academy and she’d gone out of her way to get to know him, well everyone really. “If you need anything, Lt Cmdr, just let me know.”
Mark took the proffered hand with a firm grip, quick shake. “Fhyvx,” he said, testing the name out. “Will do. For now, I think I need to sit.” Slowly he moved over to one of the chairs and sat, pulling out his PaDD, pouring over it once more, then begrudgingly switched over to a book from the digital library he had loaded into it. It wasn’t more than an hour or two before he was, instead, reading the back of his eyelids.
Fhyvx and Ilena we’re in and out a few times, Elbbirt as well. They were all very quiet and careful not to disturb Woods or Fayth. At least as little as possible. The only thing they could really do was wait.
It was hours before anything happened. Shift change had happened, but Ilena and Eraras were still at the hospital, on call. The monitors showed a strong steady increase in P.Y.E. in her system - marching steadily past normal to high and with no signs of slowing before it would reach the abnormal levels she lived with. Her heart and respiration stayed the same and her BP had steadied out and stayed there. Sharah sighed heavily, shifting around on the bed some. It corresponded for Markus to a shift in the strength of her presence. Closer and more ‘present’ as if she was finally starting to wake up.
A faint noise drew Mark back toward wakefulness. Casting about mentally he took note of the presences around him, and found Sharah was much ‘closer’ now. Shoving aside the sleep inertia he yawned and stretched, sitting upright and on the edge of his seat, then forced himself to stand. Shuffling closer, he made for the bed and smoothed back her hair with one hand while studying the readouts.
The readouts showed an increase in respiration and heart rate. Indicative of someone waking, her P.Y.E. was still increasing.
Darkness and a silence so deafening it almost hurt. Emptiness. A vastness that was also final. Where was everyone? The people the animals…the plants? No feelings, no thoughts. The storms were silent. ‘Markus?’ but no answer. Her mental voice bounced around and back to her.
Then she slept deeply. Until whispers began to haunt her in the dark, the waves and wind pulled at her. A swirling confused and insidious whispering. Secrets people didn’t know they had. Feelings that guided their choices, thoughts that flowed and shifted erratically. Growing louder, wilder, storm clouds and thunder filled her mi d and her sleep.
And then calmed and she felt a warm familiar touch. She reached to be heard. ‘Markus?Markus what happened? Where did you go?’
Her mental voice sounded softly in his mind, her head turning softly into his hand. She took a deep breath that sighed back out. Her obsidian eyes fluttered open searching the room in confusion.
As she made contact, his gaze shifted back down. ~Easy.~ A moment later his physical voice followed. “Easy there. Go slow.” When she was a little more steady, he helped her as she needed. “I didn’t go anywhere. But boy you sure did,” he murmured, resting his forehead against hers. “Gave us a bit of a scare. When you dealt with the crowd, you burned a lot of psylosynine off. Near as we can figure. And so after it got very quiet. Like the relief I can give, so sudden drop in blood pressure, and glucose a bit too. And .. you were out like a light. Been down about six or eight hours.” He spoke just fast enough for her to process and digest, at least all the important surface contextual bits. “I’m just glad you’re okay.”
Sharah sat up slowly, holding on to him physically and mentally. She listened as he talked. He spoke slowly and she understood that she has fainted. Sudden low blood pressure and glucose would do that. Pain relief would cause those things to happen. Markus said something happened similar to how he helped her. Something still didn’t make sense. “What…what do you mean I dealt with the crowd?” She remembered the protest and the fear as it washed over and started to drown her. “Eight hours?”
“You were in a deep sleep state. Restful, repairing. But not a coma. Figured it was best to let you get some good, natural sleep,” he said. “There wasn’t anything physiologically wrong with you that we could tell, other than low psilosynine levels.” He shrugged. “I might have gotten the edge of it, but Ilena and the others reported a feeling like a warm blanket washing over them and all. And a lot of the hostility in the protestors melted a way and the crowd disbursed. And then the staff found you passed out. Only person I know of around capable of influencing more than one or two people at a time around here is you.”
Sharah rested her forehead against his and stared at him for a moment and then looked horrified. “I…” Her emotions went a little wild as it sank in. The implications and consequences. Had she hurt someone? “I…Markus I don’t remember doing that…” She pushed herself up a little higher. She often tried to calm patients to help them while she worked. Others in the room could feel it, but that was a small handful of people. She has been overwhelmed and the crowd escalating, she had felt it, it has been thick and ripe. She remembered feeling afraid for everyone in the hospital, the patients and families trying to get in…had she? Could she? She licked her lips as something else he said shifted into focus. “How low were my psilosynine levels?”
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