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What Is It?

Posted on 10 Oct 2019 @ 2:56pm by Commander Jayla Kij & Senior Chief Petty Officer Alexander Rylan & Lieutenant Jennin Rhula

Mission: Truth and Justice
Location: Sick Bay

Upon arriving on the bridge, Abbey and Alex had discovered Jayla lying unconscious on the floor. Apparently, she had burst onto the bridge, accused Di Pasquale of being the real traitor, and collapsed immediately. A quick scan revealed that she had passed out from exhaustion, but nothing that could explain why she was exhausted.

So, they brought her back to Sick Bay. Although she wasn't tiny, Rylan was strong enough to carry her easily. "Put her on this bed," Abbey ordered, indicating the biobed nearest the entrance.

Alex gently lay Jayla on the biobed and began to set the bed up for diagnostics. Though he moved quickly and efficiently, his worry for Jayla was obvious from the pained expression he couldn't keep off his face. What the Hells happened to you down there, Jayla? And where do I find who hurt you so I can make them pay? I just found you again. You're not allowed to die on me.

Abbey quickly pulled out her tricorder and added her own scans to the biobed ones. “Blood pressure is a bit high for someone who's passed out or knocked out, so is
Heart rate. Joints show signs of stress. Myoglobin in the bloodstream consistent with a minor muscle strain. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she collapsed from exhaustion.”

"Yeah, but what did she do to get exhausted in the first place?" Alex said. "Dammit. Okay. We need to know what happened on that planet. Give the word and I'm prepared to go down the list of every member of that Away Team, hunt them down, ask them what happened. If I don't get the answers I'm looking for, well, the thing about being both former special ops and in the medical profession is that you know how many bones you can break, how much blood a person can lose, and how much of a person you can cut off before they actually die." Alex took a deep breath in and let it out slowly. "Now that I've gotten all of that impotent rage disguised as machismo out of the way, what do you need me to do?"

The truth was that Alex really did know what bones to break in what order, how much to bleed someone and how fast or slow to do it, depending on the situation, just how much of a person you could cut off at a time, if you were very careful, and how to cripple an opponent with a blade without actually killing them. He just wasn't in the business of using that information in that way... anymore.

“Whoa, calm down, Rambo,” said Abbey. “I’m not so sure finding all the away team is safe at the moment anyway. They may be infected with... I dunno yet. Anyway, I’m not sure there’s- what the hell is that?

The Dolmoquor, having been shaken by the fact that it was unable to completely control this host, decided to abandon it. In its haste, it forgot to kill her, but that didn’t matter; it could kill her when it found a new host.

“Get a stasis pod!” Abbey ordered Alex, watching the thing crawling out of Jayla’s ear and down her neck. “Quick! No!” she shrieked as the thing lunged for her. She grabbed a nearby medkit and upended it, spilling the contents onto the floor and closing it over the creature in one motion. “Quick! Stasis pod! Now!”

Alex quickly and calmly grabbed a stasis pod used for biological samples and together he and Abbey got the critter into it. "Okay," he said, once the creature was secure. "I admit. I was not expecting that." Alex went over to the diagnostic bed and ran several scans on Jayla. "Kij appears to be mostly okay, but like Jayla, under stress." Alex looked at Abbey. "You realize that there could be more of these things? The whole Away Team could have come back with them... maybe even spread them, right?" Alex quick drew his phaser and aimed it at Abbey. "That maybe there's one in you? Just stay right there and do not move. I don't want to shoot you, but I will. Computer, track Lieutenant Abbey Road's movement since the Away Team returned to the ship. Has she been within... two meters of any of them since their return?"

"Working," the Computer replied. "Negative."

Alex sighed. "I know the answer to this already," he said. "But I'm hoping the fact that I'm asking the question goes in my favor. Has Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Alex Rylan been with in two meters of any member of the Away Team since their return?"

"Working," said the Computer. "Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Alex Rylan was within two meters of Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij, Chief Medical Officer, USS Black Hawk for 5.78 minutes."

Alex shook his head. "Dammit," Alex said. Slowly, he holstered his phaser. "Like I said, I knew the answer to that question before I asked it. Doc, as far as I know, I don't have one of those in my head. To prove I'm the real me, with no uninvited guests in the driver's seat, I'm happy to have you scan me by whatever method you choose, or you can just believe me. Your call, but make it quick. I'm betting we don't have a lot of time. Oh, and we might want to secure this exam room, just in case there are a lot more uninvited guests borrowing our friends' bodies."

Briefly, Abey considered having Rylan arrested just in case, but her reasoning took over. “Well, you haven’t done anything mad yet, so I’ll opt to trust you,” she said as she quickly scanned him, focusing on his ears. She referenced the readout on the stasis pod, but found no trace of any such creature within him. “You’re good. I think. We don’t really know how these things work.” She frowned to herself. “We need to consult Jennin. If anybody can figure this thing out, he can.”

"Okay," Alex said. "Computer, medical emergency, authorization Rylan-Epsilon-One. Locate Lieutenant Jennin and have him transported directly to Sickbay."

"Working," the computer replied. "Cannot comply."

"Why the Hells not?" Alex said.

"Site to site transport functions have been locked." said the computer.

"Locked by whom," Alex asked.

"Lieutenant Camilla Di Pasquale," the computer said. "Connecting to Lieutena--"

"Belay that command!" Alex said. "Abort. Confirm abort!"

"Abort confirmed," came the reply.

Alex breathed a sigh of relief. "Okay," he said. "Since we don't know who we can trust, we don't need to announce our movements to Di Pasquale. So, no transporters. Okay. New plan. Can you call him and 'invite' him to Sickbay?"

"Coms are down," Abbey reminded him. "But, I saw him in the lab about an hour ago. He may still be there. Do you want to go check or shall I?"

"You go," Alex said. "I'll stay here with her."

"Actually," said Abbey, glancing around at the bustling Sick Bay. "Take her and the pod to room six." Nobody had been paying attention to them so far as they were all gossiping about what might be up with the captain and Di Pasquale, but Abbey didn't want to take any chances.

Alex put the stasis canister awkwardly in a cargo pocket on his pants leg and gently lifted Jayla from the bed. He carried her into room six and lay her softly on the bed. Despite his worry over Jayla, he managed to quickly and efficiently hook the woman who owned his heart up to all of the usual monitoring and support devices. That done, he took Jayla's hand, kissed it, then lowered it back to the bed. He stood there as he waited for Road and the microbiologist to return, holding Jayla's hand and willing her to recover quickly.

With that decided, Abbey headed over to the medical labs, praying to whichever god was listening that Jennin would still be in there. And someone must have been listening because that's where she found him. "Lieutenant Jennin," she said as she approached, then she glanced around to make sure nobody was within hearing. "We've got a bit of an emergency," she said softly.

Rhula looked up at the mention of his name. "Doctor Jennin, you mean," he corrected. "What is the problem?" He hadn't had much opportunity to work with Doctor Road, so he didn't have much of an opinion about her. At least she's better than the Trill, he thought.

Abbey resisted the urge to roll her eyes and reminded herself how much it annoyed her when people forgot her proper title. “Right. Doctor. Sorry,” she said hurriedly. “We found... something. A weird sort of insect. It came out of Doctor Kij’s ear. We have no idea what it is, but it might be why she’s been acting so strangely. It might also have something to do with the weirdness on the bridge, too,” she added, thinking about how everyone seemed to be ignoring Jayla as she laid there on the floor, and even ignored her and Rylan as they came to collect her. “We want you to look at it. Maybe figure out what it is.”

"'Something,'" he repeated. "That's not a lot to go on, Doctor. If it's an insect, you should probably get someone from entomology. Ensign Fa'aris, perhaps." He went to turn back to his work, but stopped. "I'm not sure why I'm asking this, but is she alright? The Trill woman, I mean."

“She passed out,” replied Abbey, “but she seems fine otherwise. Thing is, we suspect it might actually be a parasite of some sort. That’s why I thought of you first.”

"A parasite other than the symbiont?" the Bajoran man said, curious. "Interesting. Show me."

"Should have brought it with me," Abbey muttered. "Never mind, come with me."

As much as Rhula hated to admit it, Abbey had managed to pique his interest. He stood up from his workstation and followed her.

She led him back to exam room 6 where she found Rylan holding Jayla's hand and looking worried. She quickly located the stasis pod and held it up for Jennin to see. "It's in here," she said, activating the readout display on the pod for Dr. Jennin to see.

His eyes went wide as he looked at the display. "Fascinating," was all he could muster. He reached out and picked up the pod. "Any idea where it came from? Other than her head." Every piece of information could be valuable in discovering what, exactly, was secreted away in the stasis pod.

“We’re not sure,” replied Abbey. “We suspect it came from the planet. She’s been acting very strangely since she got back. And then there’s this whole mess with the Captain and everyone on the bridge was acting very strangely- almost as if they didn’t care that the Captain was missing and branded a traitor or that there was an officer passed out on the floor.” She shook her head. “It’s all very odd,” she finished.

"I'm taking this to my lab," Rhula said without looking up. "You'll tend to the Trill." It was more an order than a request. He started leaving the room, stasis pod in hand, but stopped short of the door. "What mess with the Captain?" He hadn't interacted with Captain Geisler much, but he respected the man's background in medicine. His choice to have two Trill in his inner circle was suspect, but everyone had their faults, the Bajoran reasoned.

"According to what they were saying on the bridge, he stole a shuttle and escaped," answered Abbey. "That's after Di Pasquale labeled him a traitor. And after Dr. Kij snarled that she was a liar and stumbled out of here like it was the hardest thing she'd ever done."

The Captain stealing a shuttle? And the Security Chief branding him a traitor? Rhula thought. That is very unusual. His interactions with Lieutenant Di Pasquale had been positive. She had always seemed very professional, which he appreciated, even if a bit intense. She didn't seem the type to turn against the Captain, so perhaps Geisler had, in fact, gone rogue. Stranger things have happened, he reminded himself, thinking of all of the seemingly good people he'd known who had collaborated with the Cardassians during the Occupation.

"I don't know anything about all of that," he stated. "I'll see what I can figure out about this organism. Don't let anyone come into my lab. I have a feeling that whatever is going on could be dangerous for us. I don't care what you have to do, but keep everyone out of my lab." The Bajoran looked directly into Doctor Road's eyes. "Understood?"

“Absolutely,” replied Abbey. “We’ll leave you to it. Keep us updated.”

Rhula turned and retreated to his lab.

Once the pathologist was gone, Abbey turned back to Alex. “Meanwhile, we’ve got to figure out if the rest of the away team- Jayla!” She exclaimed, realizing for the first time that the Chief Medical Officer was awake.

Jayla’s eyes had flown open when she heard the talking around her. The first thing she had noticed was that she had her mind to herself and that frightened her more than anything. Did the Dolmoquor possess someone else? Was it still in her head and just dormant, ready to spring back to life at a moment’s notice? “Where is it?” she demanded. “Where did it go?”

"Whoa!" Alex said. "Take it easy! Slow down! Halt, even!" He gently lay Jayla back down and ran a tricorder over her. "Okay. I think you're okay. But go slow or I'm going to stun you and tie you down, and not in a fun way."

Jayla complied, but her eyes still darted wildly around. "But, where did it go?" she asked weakly. "Where is it? Did you see it? It didn't get anybody else, did it?"

"We caught it, Jayla... Commander," Alex said. Honestly he didn't care who heard him call Jayla by her given name at the moment, and he didn't think anyone else did either. "We got it and Rhula's going to go and study it. You're safe and for the moment so is everyone else in Sickbay."

After a brief moment where she wildly thought it had taken Alex, she realized that that could never have happened with Dr. Road in evidence and visibly relaxed. “Okay,” she said flatly. “Okay. Is it... contained?” she asked.

"Yep," Alex said. "We locked it up in a specimen sized stasis unit."

Jayla relaxed even more at that. "Don't let it out," she said. "Ever."

Before either Abbey or Alex could reply, the ship suddenly and without warning went to red alert. Only seconds later, general quarters was sounded. "That'll take half of medical back to their quarters," muttered Abbey. "We gotta stop them. Dr. Kij, stay there! We'll handle this." And with that, she ran from the room. Something was happening and until they figured out what, she didn't want any of the personnel to leave Sick Bay.


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