Location: Deck 83 - Medical Facility ER
"Mac! Team 9 is bringing in Dr. O'Dell," one of the nurses calls out from the comm system in the nurses' station.
"What?" Mac exclaims, dropping the supplies she has been putting away in a cubicle. She rushes out of the cubicle just as the first responder duo and Mikayla appear on a biobed in another cubicle. Mac rushes into the cubicle and says, "bullet."
"It appears she suffered a syncopal episode of unknown origin," one of the medics state. "Other than tachycardia and elevated BP our scans can find no injury to explain why she is still unconscious."
"Activate the biobed's monitors," Mac says as she walks over to Mikayla and rubs her knuckles against Mikayla's sternum. There is no response. "Jennifer....get Dr. Duke in here," she calls out. Looking at the FRs she asks, "where was she....what was she doing?"
"She was down in Pathology with Mr. Darkron," one of the FRs replies. "They were doing an autopsy on the Tracken creature."
"Did she come in contact with it?" Mac asks as she looks for acid burns.
"No. She was in the corridor," the FR states.
The other FR looks at the monitor showing Mikayla's EEG. "Mac....does that look normal to you?" he asks.
Mac looks at the abnormal spikes and shakes her head. "No. That is definitely not normal. Her brain should be at rest....not...that," she says, pointing to the spike after spike on the screen.
Entering the room still in his containment suit and his visor still working he could see the red layer that wrapped around Mikayla. Medical personnel gave him strange looks as he walked over to the nearest work station and began typing out commands, while also speaking into the built in microphone of station, "Computer authorization Darkron - Delta-Gamma-Zulu- 9-5-3-1-Alpha"
=^=Authorisation confirmed Federation Science Council MARS Director Darkron=^=
"Transfer visor protocol subsystem Tracken from this suit to sickbay sensor suite activate"
His name being hailed on intercom, Duke jumped to his feet and double-timed it to where Mikayla was being tended to. "What have we got?" He asked this while stepping to the sterilization station, running his hands and arms through the field, while a nurse brought over a scrub top. She held it open while he slid his hands into it, then over his head, the nurse pulling it down over his torso. He gave her a nod of thanks before turning to the table and his patient. Looking at the EEG Marduk taken aback. "What the...?"
"Mac," Duke looking at the one person he thought of as a superhero down here in the ER. "Set her up as if she is in a coma. Which, she should be, but that brain activity is off the charts."
"Come on, Mikayla.....wake up," Mac says, quietly, as she attaches the cranial halo to Mikayla's head. She looks up at Ted and gives him the evil eye. "You better not have anything to do with putting her in danger," she growls. She looks back down at her boss and whispers, "come on, sweetie. There's work to be done. No time to take a nap now."
"Mikayla," said Duke, trying to get her to respond, despite repeated efforts to do so. "Mac, talk to her, and keep talking to her."
Marcab sits in his office reviewing various reports.
Mac motions for the FRs to leave and taps her combadge. "Sickbay to CDR Strongfellow. You need to come. It's Mikayla," she said, softly then focused on her patient while the science guy and Duke tried to figure out what was wrong with her.
Marcab hearing his comm-badge taps and replies, "What's going on commander?"
"I wish I knew," Mac replied. "You need to get down here," she added and ended the transmission so she could concentrate on starting Mikayla's IV and getting a ventilator ready just in case.
"If I may..", Ted said but no one seemed to hear him...
Listening while working, Duke took up a neurocortical monitor, placing it on O'Dell's neck, on the parietal bone. The cortical monitor was a small tricorder sensor used to record a complete electroencephalographic profile by tracking and recording a patient's neural functions. Among the things it could detect were peptide readings. Despite the obvious physical issue with it, Marduk wanted to detect, and catalog, any unusual neurological activity. "My question is do we put her under an isotropic restraint. If she awakens, with all that going on," he chinned at the monitor showing brain activity. "It may not be a friendly experience if she is, in any way, connected to the creatures on a mental level." Tapping his own combadge. "Commander Strongfellow, Doctor Marduk. Sir, I request that all the internal sensor feeds from the lab be sent to this ER room, for review. I cannot treat Mikayla properly without seeing for myself what has transpired."
Marcab hearing the reply from LCDR McKlusky, immediately stops what he is doing and heads directly for sick bay. He arrives within minutes and heads directly to where the commotion is. "What happened?" Marcab asks in a loud excited manner. There are tones of worry in his voice.
Mac looks up from her charting and motions for Marcab to come on in the cubicle. "The way I understand it is that she and Mr. Darkron were down in pathology observing the autopsy on the Tracken they brought up from the planet," she says. "Evidently it was pregnant and the larvae were still alive. One got away from them. It didn't get to her but it got close and somehow...connected....is the word Darkron used....with her and she fainted." Mac looks at the EEG monitor. "She is technically in a coma but her brain waves are beyond what a normal active and awake brain waves should be. Dr. Marduk and Mr. Darkron are trying to figure it out," she says, feeling helpless.
Marcab suddenly remembers the incident from years ago and how close she was to being killed by one of the adult creatures. "Could they have a psychic link somehow?" he asks.
"I overheard Darkron saying something like that," Mac says as she straightens the blanket. She looks at Mikayla's face and shakes her head but says nothing for several seconds then says, "I'll leave you two alone." She gives Marcab's arm a gentle squeeze as she walks passed him and disappears from the cubicle.
Marcab walks over and holds her hand unsure as to what he should say. In a low tone of voice he tells her, "Damn it doctor you just moved in with me and made me feel whole again so you can't leave me now. I didn't save you from one of these creatures all those years ago just to have you taken by another one. You have to wake up. I need you." Tears can be seen running down his cheeks.
Duke was curious as to what the hell had happened months ago, and why that tidbit had not been mentioned at this time. "Next time there is a direct correlation between now and past events I EXPECT TO BE INFORMED!" He shouted the last part to make sure there was no misunderstanding, and that it would stick, not caring who he was shouting at. As a doctor the more data he had the better he could treat.
Still waiting patiently Ted watched on, he could feel the tension in the room a talent and sometimes a curse he had dealt with most of his life as highly charged emotions could cause him pain, they were still looking for what was affecting Mikayla and Ted had found a way, "Computer activate medical readout for patient O'Dell alongside her body overlay holographic positioned above her, apply Tracken sensor sub program".
Immediately a holograph of Mikayla body appeared above her much like the Tracken corpse had in the morgue, a red thick slowly swirl or tendril mist like layer covered her body.
"Consider yourself informed doctor", Ted said to Duke softly but he was now staring at Marcab with his visor....
Marcab stands up, looks at the doctors and tells them "I will be in my office. I will only be in your way here. Please keep me informed on her condition." He regains his military bearings and begins to exit the room to allow the doctors to work. He reaches the edge of the room and turns to look at Mikayla laying on the bed, he feels utterly useless at the moment, but knows that he has to keep himself together. He thinks to himself 'You better not give up fighting Mikayla. I need you more than you will ever know.' He then turns back away from her, a sorrowful look upon his face, and he heads out of the medical bay.
Mac stops the CO before he gets too far and looks at him, sympathetically. "She heard you, Marcab," she whispered. "And she's a fighter. You hang on to that. I'll keep you updated."
"Informed?" Cynicism and sarcasm were behind that word. "Informed of what, exactly? Whoopdee doo, she has red tendrils around her body. So, tell me, what is that and what does it do? If you don't know then you and I need to figure it out...together!" Duke was getting his level head back, his Klingon heritage still wanting to rage but he pushed it down. "I see some kind of mental connection, and seeing as she is female I can only assume, by the information given so far, that that dying young had formed this connection as it sought another host mother. When it was killed with particle energy perhaps it passed all that pain and anguish to O'Dell, which in turn caused her to slip into shock. Mental overload, in other words. Thoughts?" Looking at Ted he stood waiting.
Ted stared back at Duke calmly waiting to see if there was more abuse to come in his direction, they were two different types of personalities and he was not one to match fire with fire as that would likely only make a larger fire. His focus and he gathered by what Duke was trying to say in his volatile fashion was that he too was concerned for Mikayla well being, which seemed a common concern shared by many in the room including the commanding officer who Ted had an immediate concern for as he walked toward him saying to Duke as he walked passed, "I agree with your theory doctor, I am emotionally sensitive, empathic to a small degree and I did feel a surge of emotion when the larvae died. I have years of training to safeguard myself against such an emotive explosion and I was further away so the effect on my person was minimal. I would suggest you look for predominately Theta wave activity to confirm your psychic suspicions with Mikayla and from there if confirmed we can devise a treatment to bring her back to normal. Now I need to speak to someone I believe may have the same medical condition as Mikayla".
Approaching Marcab Ted could fully see now that Marcab was completely covered like Mikayla but the layer was thinner, "Captain, I'm afraid you cannot go, you're infected like Mikayla"
"What?" Marcab asks dumbfounded.
"Please come this way and take the next bio bed next to Mikayla, we need to ask you some questions. How are you feeling, did you see Mikayla straight after she came back from the planet. We'll also need to check all the away team, including the marines in case it's contagious"
Duke stepped over long enough to squeeze Ted's shoulder as a comrade and friend. "Thank you," was said under his breath. He then turned back to Mikayla.
Marcab listening to the doctor begins to walk towards the bio-bed when he suddenly collapses.
"What the...," Mac exclaimed. "I need a little help over here," she called to anyone standing nearby as she rushed to the side of the CO and dropped to her knees.
Reacting as quickly as he could in his suit Ted took some of the weight Mac was bearing and eased Marcab onto the adjoining bio bed next to Mikayla, he also initiated the same holographic display above his prone form and observed his bio readings, "Interesting..", he said intrigued, "..his bio readings are reaching similar readings to Dr. O'Dell with heighten theta waves. I think we should try to raise the cycle of activity to lift them first slowly into the alpha band to reduce their psychic awareness which seems to be the ideal state for hosting the larvae I'm guessing and then bring them up fully to alpha and they should return to consciousness. If the readings look good we continue bringing them back up to full awareness to beta using a cortical stimulator operated remotely just in case of complications. What do you think Dr. Duke?"
"I agree," Duke responding as he began to set it all up.
Ted had some other ideas about the out of phase tendril like layering around both the patients, if these Tracken had the ability to exist in part in another space such as a quasi-dimensional space bordering our own then perhaps the way to stop them and protect everyone was a matter of molecular vibration or molecular separation. He knew some force fields and even high energy such as a focused energy beam could disrupt most molecules breaking down their structure, ideally something more molecularly destructive like a disruptor would be a better tool, well to disrupt their tethering to the host but the problem with it was that the most readily available disruptor was the Klingon one and they were like a hammer where tweezers might be and needed a better refinement to minimise the splash affect it often displayed to the surrounding target area.
"Dr Marduk would you happen to know where we can get a disruptor?"
Finding that an odd thing to say Duke stopped what he was doing and quirked his face. "A disruptor? I own several, from when I was growing up as a young man. I am Klingon."
Ted had suspected there was a Klingon influence somewhere in Marduk's background thus the question and relayed his thoughts to him on the red layering around both patients and to what use he thought a Klingon disruptor could be of use to them in this situation. If they could use the disruptive energy of the Klingon weapon yet refine the beam output and intensity to that of a laser scalpel, then Marduk as the chief surgeon at the controls could peel the tendril layering back and free both Mikayla and Marcab.
As Marcab lays on the bed, he suddenly begins to move around and muttering as if he was having a bad dream.
Mac was standing between the two biobeds checking monitors. Hearing Marcab's moans, she steps over to his bedside and places her hand on his forehead. "Easy, Marcab," she says, softly. It was always amazing to those who worked with Mac to see that the brash and tough as nails nurse could be so tender. "Lay easy...you're safe," she says and glances at his EEG. "Dr. Duke.....take a look at this," she calls out.
"I'll be right back," Duke removing gloves as he made his way to the door, chucking gloves and scrubs into the refuse bin. Making his way quick as could be through the station he made it to his quarters, removed his Klingon disruptor rifle from the wall where it hung, then made his way all the way back in under fifteen minutes. Breathing heavily but evenly Duke grabbed the forward grip on the rifle and gave it a twist, unlocking it from the rifle butt-stock. He set the pistol on the bed and the rifle portion to the side. "Alright, all we need do is adjust the weapon. Feed me the numbers and I'll begin fine-tuning."
Mac looks at the disruptor and then at Duke. "What are you going to do with that thing?" she asks, looking from Marduk to
"Some might call it meatball surgery..", Ted said gently as he continued, ".. but the Klingon disruptor has a particularly devastating capability to breakdown the molecular bonds of most things it comes in contact with and I believe its effects will also affect the layering that has our patients entwined in based off the data I have seen to date. The problem is that the disruptor is like a hammer where a jewellers hammer will do and Dr Marduk is our jeweller".
Ted then turned his attention to Marduk as time was becoming a factor if they were to save them, "Alright for this to work we need to reduce the focusing crystal of the disruptor to a narrower setting of 0.01 % of its present setting and also change the activation trigger from burst to continuous when you're operating it so you can control output. We'll then overlay the patient with the holoprojection so you can see the layering and you can proceed or we can summon the EMH. and you can direct their actions if you think there's a concern operating the modified disruptor scalpel manually".
"All due respect, Doctor Darkron," said Duke, while still fine tuning the disruptor. "I am only half Klingon. My other half is Human Augment. Trust me when I say...I got this. I respect Marcab, but O'Dell is like a cranky older sister. We'll get them back, or may all of us spend eternity in Grethor."
Ted nodded in acknowledgement to his medical colleague, "I differ to your judgement in this matter and I meant no disrespect to your Klingon heritage, I wished merely to offer options in this matter". However Ted was now interested in Marduk human augmented history, filing that piece of information away for another day.
Turning to Mac Ted offered her a reassuring look aware of her more than normal concern for their patients, "Are we ready to proceed, monitoring all vitals?"
"Vitals are fluctuating but normal," Mac reports.
"Dr Marduk please proceed when you're ready", Ted said in a level tone.
Duke, his settings fine tuned how Ted wanted them, took in a breath and let it out. "Alright, here we go. I'll start down at her feet. That way, if it starts to go sideways, we can figure out why and adjust without worrying too much about vital organs and her brain." He looked at Sara. "Mac, my hands are steadier than anyone else for light years around. We'll get her back, and the Captain. You have my word." Duke set to work to try and get through this odd mist-like material.
As the doctor begins to operate on Mikayla, Marcab begins to yell in pain.
Mac turns her attention to Marcab's monitors. "Push 2 mgs Terakine," she tells the nurse standing at the foot of Marcab's biobed. Then she looks over at Dr. Marduk and says, "sorry," for taking the lead. But when you have been doing this for as many years as she has...you know what is going to be ordered before the docs do.
The nurse injects the medicine as ordered, but as Dr. Marduk continues CAPT Strongfellow continues to yell in pain.
Stopping what he was doing, Duke waited to see if Strongfellow would stop screaming in pain.
Marcab with sweat beating down his face, stopped yelling as soon as the doctor stopped.
"It would seem that removing this exo-membrane may cause pain and discomfort." Duke looked at the others. "Do we continue, or halt it here?"
Ted looked at the monitors noting the elevated levels that brought Marcab to near consciousness and then watched the levels drop back down again likely as a result of the Terakine administrated by Mac. Satisfied they were now stable again he looked to Marduk, "Please continue we have little choice in this matter as clearly the patients are experiencing a change in their symbiotic relationship with this thing. I would not like to see what the next stage is. The Terakine should suffice to mitigate any pain felt during the procedure". Ted spoke confidently but privately they were treading in the xeno-medical unknown and he was sure if they did nothing, both of them would only get worse.
Duke gave a nod and set himself for the long haul. "You got it. I'll ease off when they seem to be in too much pain, then once they relax, start again." He got back to work. Depite the discomfort shown by the patients Duke kept going, and as he had explained, eased off when their vitals spiked. Once their bodies seemed to relax he began again until he had cut through the membrane on both individuals!
Ted watched on as Marduk displayed his skill with the the make shift disruptor-scalpel, with sure eyed skill the master surgeon deftly cut through the membrane, the merest touch showing resistances but after a second began to breakdown first crystallising then converting to a disapating mist that dispersed itself away from the patient. With approximately 30% of the membrane cut away Marcab's vital signs improved, by the time Marduk reached the head which was left to last being it was deemed to be the most sensitive area to work on. Ted let a sigh of relief escape his lips, "You know doubt already know this doctor but you do good work", speaking to Marduk. Turning to Mac a smile on his face, "Once Dr. Marduk finishes can we please have the patient moved to recovery but kept an eye on with the new subsystem sensor system just in case a relapse occurs".
"Just Dr. Mike?" Mac asks. "Or both her and the Captain."
Ted was still monitoring Marcab's condition and looked confused for a moment, "Dr. Mike?, oh yes the same instructions for Dr. Mike as well. Please get Dr. Mike ready for the procedure as well once Dr. Marduk is ready". A flashing indicator on his wrist band caught his attention, it was his Office Manager, something required his attention and it was urgent. Ted excused himself from Mac and stepped back from the procedure so he could fish out his Padd and read the contents. It seemed his special patient was in the process of gathering his medicine off station and so far no trouble...yet. One situation at a time Ted thought to himself, one situation at a time.
The procedure continued for another hour but save for a few moments of pause as the commanding officer seemed to shift in his level of consciousness before settling down again the membrane layering was cut away completely and he was moved to recovery.
With little time to wait Mikayla or Dr. Mike as Mac had called her was soon under the skilled hands of Dr. Marduk, Ted's role was merely consultive as he watched the sensors go to work. Now that he knew where and how to look the amount of data being collected would keep a xeno-biologist and he suspected a quantum mechanics physicist quite busy for a number of months if not years.
An hour later Mikayla heard the rhythmic sounds of the monitors before she opened her eyes. She tried to make sense of what she was feeling and hearing but her thoughts were foggy and slow to organize. She felt something in her mouth and realized she was intubated. She opened her eyes and tried to focus her vision. Trying to turn her head hurt. Trying to swallow hurt. She raised her hand and felt the intubattion tube. The movement caused her pulse to accelerate and one of the monitors' alarms sounded.
A nurse rushed over and shut off the alarm. Taking Mikayla's hand she said, "easy, Dr. O'Dell. You're alright. You underwent emergency surgery and are in the recovery room. I'll remove the tube. You know the drill. On three. One, two....three," she said and pulled the tube out of Mikayla's throat, grabbing a towel while another nurse sat Mikayla up in case she needed to vomit. "I'll let Dr. Marduk and Darkron know you are awake. Lie back and rest." With that the nurses left the cubicle and Mikayla lay back, staring at the ceiling while she tried to recall her last clear memory.