Part of USS Altai: Here Be Monsters

The Host

Base Infirmary
76295.7
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Atticus Randall stared down at the young woman lying before him on the rudimentary bio bed. He would have to contact the Don S. Davis about expanding his sickbay capabilities before they flew off into the void.

The ensign lay unconscious before him. Supposedly one of those bugs native to this rock had bore its way into the woman’s thigh. There was no blood, which seemed strange, yet there it was, nearly a 10 c.m. ring of damaged flesh.

Doctor Randall scanned his patient with a tricorder. She was stable. All vitals were normal, yet she lay on the bed out cold. Could it just be the shock of it all? He wondered. He didn’t think so. Members of the Hazard Team tended to be made of sterner stuff than your average Starfleet officer. They had to be. It was part of the job description.

He set the tricoder down on the nearby tray and picked up a hypospray syringe and pushed a glass sample vial into the back of it and he pressed the device into her shoulder and extracted a sample of her blood. With a soft squeak and pop he removed the sample vial and walked across the sickbay and pushed it into a scanner. The computer made several beeps as it worked to break down the blood sample and give the doctor vital information.

He electrolytes were off as was her A1C counts. Then he saw it: labeled “unknown substance”. His fingers flew over the control console as he isolated the substance. “Computer, analyze the unknown substance found in patient Vogler.”

The computer beeped in acknowledgment, “Working… The substance is a neurotoxin working as a paralytic.”

“Well that explains that,” Atticus said to himself.

“Unknown request. Please restate.”

“Not you,” Atticus said, annoyed with the computer. “Computer give me a PET scan with contrast of the right thigh from our patient and bring it up on the holo projector.”

The requested body part appeared in 3D slowly rotating before him. There was the wound. Atticus prodded it with his finger in fascination. It would have been dangerous and unethical to do it to the real patient, but here he could let his curiosity run wild.

Entering commands the skin and subcutaneous fat was removed to reveal the musculature of the limb. There it was. The bug lodged into the muscle tissue. “Computer what is the status of the lifeform inside the patient?”

“There are no lifesigns coming from the lifeform.”

“So it’s dead?”

“Affirmative.”

“What’s the source of the neurotoxin?”

“As the entity is being broken down by the body the toxin is released,” the computer replied in her standard emotionless voice.

Atticus peeled apart the muscle tissue on the holographic limb to look closer to the entity in Vogler. It wasn’t connected to anything. It was now just a foreign body and the immune system was working accordingly. Gripping the pronutum behind the head he pulled the bug free with a wet sucking sound. He mentally decided to use the transporter on the actual patient.

Inside the empty wound he saw them. Hundreds of wriggling larvae feasting on the patient’s flesh. Atticus nearly wretched despite himself. That explained why the bug had climbed inside of her. It had nested and laid its eggs and those had already hatched. How long before they matured into adulthood?

Armed with the information he needed Atticus sighed, deactivated the hologram. “Nurse, let’s transfer the patient to the OR and prep her for surgery. I’ll need a level 1 biohazard sample tray as well.”

“Of course Doctor.”

Atticus crossed sickbay and entered the cramped surgical wash room where he washed his hands and arms before changing into sterile scrubs, mask, and cap. He exited the room directly into the OR With the addition of the larvae had had changed his strategy again and would do the surgery manually.

Vogler was already prepped and waiting on him when he entered. Not for the first time he appreciated nurses more and more. The actual surgery only took about twenty minutes with the bulk of it taken up with extracting the tiny juvenile bugs.

With Vogler back in sickbay recovering he destroyed all but one of the larvae and placed the adult into a stasis container for the science division to study. With his new pet bug he wanted to see how long it would take it to reach maturity.

With the adult removed the neurotoxin was quickly flushed from Vogler’s system and she was already awake when he returned to sickbay still clad in his surgical scrubs. “You are awake Ensign.”

“Yes Doctor. Nurse Tam was just explaining what happened.”

“How do you feel?”

“Uh… well a little foggy to be honest. My leg burns a bit.”

Atticus scanned her and smiled, “You should make a full recovery Ensign. I want you on light duty for a few days, but you are free to return to your quarters. Replicate some ibuprofen as needed for the pain, but you should be fine once the nerve endings settle down.”

“Sure thing Doc.”

Atticus walked into his office and set the clear sample container down on his desk and stared down at the yellow tinged wriggling white worm as it munched on a piece of replicated beef. Sighing he pressed the comm, “Captain Streth I have something you need to see at your convenience.”