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It's Getting Worse

Posted on 13 Apr 2019 @ 8:15pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij

Mission: The Kalisa Conundrum
Location: USS Black Hawk, Bridge
Timeline: MD1 || 1730 hours

The bacteria was getting worse again. Jayla could tell because she had just stood in Sick Bay and wondered where the hell she was for a moment. So, she had once again tested the level of bacteria in her blood. For some reason, her immune system didn't seem to be fighting this infection very well. Usually, antibiotics only got the body started with fighting off the infection, but did not kill the whole thing It was sort of like a boost to the immune system. But, this thing.... It just didn't want to go away.

So, after dosing herself with the antibiotics again, she headed to the bridge. This was something the Captain needed to know about.

Once the turbolift stopped, she stepped onto the bridge and glanced around. "Sir," she said, spotting the Captain in the center chair exactly where she expected him to be. "We have a problem. Well, another problem. No, the same problem, but again."

"Again?" The Captain closed his eyes and groaned. As the ship itself was still on command override, the bridge remained devoid of much personnel, leaving only him and a couple junior officers to man the room.

Jayla nodded. "The bacteria is on the rise again," she said, pulling a tricorder and hyposyringe out of her med kit. "At least it is in Sick Bay. Our immune systems are fighting, but not fast or hard enough. May I?" she added, holding up the hypo as a way of seeking permission to take a blood sample.

Harvey opened his eyes and glanced at Jayla, his eyes narrowing on the device in her hand. Part of him considered it to be some sort of tool, but the other side regarded it as a life-threatening weapon. His gaze shifted to Jayla herself, wondering what foul play she was embarking on. "You may not," he coldly affirmed.

Oh, great. It was that bad already. "Sir," she said wearily. "It's a hyposyringe. I just need to make sure the bacteria is, in fact, making a resurgence before I give you more antibiotics. Please, please, please, if you remember who I am, do you really think I would try to hurt you?"

"I know who you are, Jayla." Harvey's eyes turned back to the device she held in her hand. "If you're going to draw blood, you need a hypospray, not a laser scalpel."

With a blink, Jayla glanced at the object in her hand. Sure enough, she held a laser scalpel. "What the-?" she said. And then, she gave a heavy sigh. She just couldn't take this anymore. "I resign," she said, only half jokingly as she checked her medkit for the correct tool. "I can't keep doing this."

Cautiously, Harvey rose from his chair and went to the storage locker on the bridge to retrieve one of the last stocked medkits. He riffled through the small case as he walked back to her. "We're all on edge," he simply stated, finding an empty hypospray to hand to her. "I don't see an empty vial in here. Hopefully, this will all be over soon."

"Thanks," replied Jayla, accepting the hypo and loading it with an empty phial. "I really don't like feeling like my brain has decided to take a holiday. Really and truly, this time, not just like when you have trouble focusing. About fifteen minutes ago, I forgot my own name! Anyway... keep an eye on me when I do this, okay? Now I'm all jumpy."

Harvey stood still, keeping an eye on her hands. After a moment, he leaned towards her, favoring his left arm. "This would be the best to draw from," he suggested. "The circulation's always been better on this side."

She quickly took the sample and plugged it into the tricorder. "Just what I was afraid of," she sighed, looking like she wanted to just lie down and die. "The bacteria is making a comeback. I don't know how long we can keep it at bay. We have got to figure out how to get rid of it for good."

"Engineering believes the bacteria is coming from a cosmozoan that's eating away at our hull," Harvey explained. "I think it's eating away at our duranium. They're preparing in the shuttlebay right now to take shuttles out and scrub it off of the hull."

Terry had walked out of the Conference Room and onto the Bridge just before the Captain made his statement. "And I've just assigned some of our pilots to help with the flying. They should be reporting to the shuttlebay very soon." He looked over to Jayla. "Commander Doctor," he said with a grin, "this thing rearing it's ugly, again?"

"I'm afraid so," Jayla replied, readying a hypospray with the proper antibiotic. "I just wish our immune systems would fight it a bit."

"It always gets worse before it gets better," mumbled Harvey. To Walsh, he added, "That's good news. Hopefully this means we can start getting things back to normal around here. Doctor, would it be possible to modify the biofilters to start scrubbing this bacteria out of the air? Do we even know exactly how it's transmitting?"

"I'm assuming by air," answered Jayla, pressing the hypo to the Captain's neck and fitting it with another dose of antibiotic. "It's spread far too fast to be by touch. I'll see if I can't work with sciences and Engineering to get the air filters to recognize it." She turned to Walsh. "I'm just going to assume you need this, too," she said, holding up the hypo. She stopped suddenly and studied the hypo. "This is a hypospray, right?"

"It is," Harvey confirmed, "but it's still loaded with my blood. You might want to switch to the medication. Has the dosage been adjusted at all? Do you think this bacteria is becoming resistant, or is it just overwhelming your concoctions?"

"Son of a-!" replied Jayla, seeing that she had, indeed, put the phial of blood back into the hypo. "I think it's just overwhelming the antibiotics," she replied, making sure to put the correct phiall in the hypo this time. "We're creating antibodies, just not fast enough to keep up with this new bacteria. Mister Walsh, your turn," he added, motioning him forward.

Terry walked over and turned his head slightly so Jayla could easily get to his neck. "You know, I'm really glad you two caught that." He paused a second before continuing. "Overwhelming the new antibiotics so fast that you can't keep up with it. I hate to say it, but could it be mutating or even evolving?”

“Possibly, but I doubt it,” replied Jayla, pressing the hypo to his neck. “Bacteria don’t mutate or evolve quickly. If we were dealing with a virus, I’d say sure, but bacteria, not so much. And if it is evolving this quick, I’m about to be very famous because I’ll have discovered the only bacteria to mutate in a matter of hours.”

"I'm sure there's more than a single paper buried in all of today's discoveries." Harvey rubbed his arm where blood had been drawn, as if there was some sort of phantom pain stinging his nerves. "Enough to get you promoted off this ship when we get back."

“If there were ever a motivation to not do something, that is definitely it,” she replied. “I like it here.”

Harvey smiled, satisfied somewhat with that answer. Somehow, his mental filter stopped his mouth from blurting out something about standing fast while all hell around the Black Hawk continued to break loose. "That makes two of us." Looking to Commander Walsh, he added, "I hope that number is at least three."

"Undomesticated equines could not remove me, Captain. So it makes three of us," he added with a laugh. He moved to take up the station again, manning it until Commander Teixeira returned.

The Captain paused, finding it difficult to place the word equine. Was that a gorilla? A targ? Something mammalian? Shaking his head, he looked back to Jayla. "Hopefully, once they start scrubbing the hull, we'll start seeing some effects. In the meantime, let's get to work on those filters." He gestured her to follow him to the bridge's Environmental station on the starboard side.

With her head still foggy, Jayla wasn't sure ho much help she could be, but she was determined to try. "If the bacteria is eating deuter- wait," she started. "Did you say deuterium? Did you mean tritanium?"

Terry looked up briefly, a confused look on his face. "Yeah, I think tritanium is probably what you meant, Sir. Deuterium is used to power the warp core."

Harvey turned to face his Acting Executive Officer and gave the man a blank stare. Shrugging it off, he turned back to Jayla and sighed. "Duranium. Deuterium. Tritanium... All that matters is that we can't continue to survive like this. Do you know at what concentrations this bacteria causes our mental capacity to break down? And how much of this bacteria is actually present on the Black Hawk?"

"I don't know the answer to either of those questions," she said. "Maybe if we had a couple of weeks and some test subjects, I might be able to find out. But, for now, I don't want any of it here."

"We don't exactly have that kind of time," Harvey observed. "At this rate, we'll run out of medication or be rendered completely useless in the next couple of days if not sooner."

"As far as how much is on the ship," said Terry, "couldn't the internal sensors be reconfigured to scan for the bacteria? I mean, we know enough about it to create a medication against it. Why not set the sensors for it's peculiarities? That'd take care of knowing how much is here. Mental capacity, though...that's something else."

"It could, provided one knew the particulars of the bacteria." Harvey gestured to the control panel. "Doctor? I can help with the scrubbers, but you'll need to provide the criteria."

This was, of course, an easy process, but Jayla was feeling fuzzy, so it took a bit of work. First, she synced her tricorder to the science station and attempted to upload the information. Then, she remembered she had removed the blood sample and had to reinsert it. Then she searched for a virus before remembering it was a bacteria. Eventually, she got the information uploaded to the computer. "That took way longer than it should have," she said once she'd finished.

Harvey leaned forward and reasserted his hands on the controls. "It's been one of those days. I'll start rolling these out to Decks One, Six, Twelve, and Seventeen. Then we'll work from there to start cycling through and flushing the air out. Can't afford a systems failure until after we can free up the engineering teams."

“Agreed,” replied Jayla with a fervent nod. “I don’t know about you, but I barely passed the engineering extension courses at the academy.”

As Harvey finished entering his commands, the monitor flashed, tossing up a notification that multiple authorizations were required due to the command override. "Computer, authorize biofilter modification H-G-Two-Three-Eight-Nine-Gamma-Gamma-Alpha-Three. Recognize Captain Geisler, Harvey E. Authorization palmprint." His mind had blanked on the authorization code, prompting him to place his hand on the controls to be scanned.

"Authorization accepted," the computer confirmed. "Two additional command authorizations required."

"I did decently in a few of the extension classes," said Terry in response to Jayla's comment. "But they were more for smaller, base, aspects of a fighter's operating systems. Nothing on a starship level." He turned his attention to Captain Geisler and nodded. "Computer, recognize Lieutenant Commander Walsh, Terry H. Authorization Walsh-Sierra-Golf-One-Niner-Alpha."

The computer beeped and responded, "Secondary authorization accepted. Tertiary command authorization required."

“Computer, recognize Lieutenant Commander Kij, Jayla. Authorization Kij-two-one-seven-Zulu-Echo-Delta-zero.”

Familiar beeps and whirrs sounded from the speakers, indicating the processing. Harvey noted that this seemed to take longer than usual, wondering if the gel packs had been suffering under the bacterial strain as well. "Modifications complete. Initializing filtration sequence. Estimated time to reduce bacterial infection is twenty-nine minutes seventeen seconds."

"Well," Harvey remarked, leaning back in the chair. "Sounds like we wait." He sighed, hoping that the Away Team would return soon, allowing them to get the hell out of here.

 

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