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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 14 – Echoes of the Past

EOTP 008 – Foundations of the Heart

Fallow Colony,
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“You are a very serious doctor,” the young woman observed as Doctor Henry Longfellow scanned her with the medical tricorder. She was visibly pregnant. According to her frustrated mother, getting her here had been an ordeal. She sat outside the makeshift tent, enjoying the fresh water they’d begun to dispense.

He completed his scan and turned to the next battery of tests he had ready for her, “Doctors aren’t the joking kind, Ms. Grayson.  Joking about something that turns serious in the blink of an eye is generally frowned upon.”  He used a hypospray to draw her blood, and she cringed at the pull.  “Pain?”

She didn’t answer him immediately, and he continued his work until she confessed, “I’m not as well as I seem, Doctor Longfellow.”  Alexandra Greyson was eighteen and had fought her mother for most of those years, at least according to Marianne Greyson.  Longfellow’s charge nurse had gently and then assertively pulled her out of the exam room.

“Well, you can’t hide your condition from most tricorders, Ms. Greyson.  Even without this thing,” he hefted it in his right hand, “…I can look at you and know something isn’t going well.”  He put the tricorder down and picked up his PADD, “You’re showing signs of preterm labor, and it’s been accelerating over the last few hours we’ve been here.”  He tapped at the PADD, showing her the details, “We’ve been doing what we can to slow it down…and there is a lot we can still do.”

She stared at him now. “I’m feeling like you’re about to drop a quantum torpedo load of buts.”  Hiro stepped back into the room and sat beside Alexandra, her touch soft and caring.

Henry showed her more details on the PADD, explaining, “I’ve done this a thousand times – births are as natural as they come.  Sometimes they’re on time, sometimes they’re late…and sometimes…they’re early – and once we run out of options to slow the baby down…baby’s coming.  They’re working on bringing down a Neonatal ICU unit, so we’ll be ready.”

Alexandra’s face flushed, “How soon?”  Hiro whispered comfort and instructed her to slow her breathing.

Longfellow: “You keep breathing, keeping your body as calm as you can. We’ll run out the clock on our medical options to slow things down. We’ll stretch as far as we can.”

The young woman nearly shouted as her mind began to understand what the doctor told her, “I’m thirty weeks!”

“We’re going to keep him safe and make sure he survives his early arrival, Ms. Greyson.”  He handed Hiro the PADD and said, “Let’s get started on the remaining options.”


“I never got him his shots.”

Juliet Woodward tapped into the PADD information as she continued her interview with the young father, who held his one-year-old in his arms. The little boy’s sallow face echoed a harsh cough out of his lungs, and tears held at the edge of the father’s eyes. The conditions in the colony had become startlingly clear. Desperate to avoid help from anyone who would paint them a target of the other side, they’d buckled down and kept to themselves.  Woodward understood.  “We’re going to help you and your son, Mr. Young.  Can you bring him over to this biobed?”

The orderly was already working up the first line of hyposprays to drive the child into a more stable condition.  The father gingerly stood and laid his boy on the bed.  Woodward was startled as he started to collapse, his legs giving out.  She caught him, and a nearby orderly rushed to aid them.  His breath became labored as she ran a medical tricorder over him, “Mr. Young…when was the last time you ate?  Or had water?”  He shook his head, his words intelligible as his eyes began to roll back in his head.  “He’s crashing.  Get me another bed in here, STAT!”  The medical team sprang into action, and a bed slid into the room as additional nurses and orderlies scrambled to his side.  The readouts showed his heart going into atrial fibrillation.

“Prep the shock charger, 200.”  Doctor Parson Routh’s voice took charge as he accepted the tossed device and slid it over Young’s heart.  “Clear.”  There was a whine, and then the body jumped, the sensors showing the heart in a-fib after a moment.  Routh tapped at the unit, “Charging to 300.  Clear.”  The body jumped again, and they all watched as the sensors continued in alarm until…the heartbeat returned to a normal signal.  “Run the panel.  Get me an ICU team in here – how’s the boy?”

Woodward checked with the orderly, “Stable.  They’re going to need a procedure team in an hour.”

Routh noted on his PADD, “I’ll check back in ten.  If they’re not here by then, get me.  Father and son will need immediate care – none of those conditions are light work.”  He left as the ICU team flooded the room and took her report.  She stepped out a moment later, her heart racing.  The man had probably given his son his rations of food and water to keep him alive.  It was a heartbreaking choice to make.  She now wondered how many had made such a choice on this colony…and they hadn’t come in time to save them.  Woodward muttered, “Goddamn it.”