Part of USS Aquarius: Gravitational Anomaly

End of the Line

January 2400
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The computer chirped, “The time is zero-six-thirty hours.” it announced in its slightly less than monotone voice.

Tajir slowly opened his eyes and rather reluctantly, shuffled his way into an upright position. Something felt a bit off. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but he shrugged it off figuring it was still a part of his recovery. Otherwise all seemed pretty normal. He had no major issues to report to medical and Dr. Simmons had cleared him for duty. This was to be his first day back on the bridge since the incident.

After a brief sonic shower and slipping into his uniform, he opted for a light breakfast before heading out the door, figuring if he got hungry later, he would just replicate something in his ready room.

It wasn’t a far walk to the nearest turbolift, a few hundred metres; a convenience of being the captain. However, the walk this particular morning seemed longer than any day since taking command. A mere dozen metres away from the doors and a sudden wave of disorientation rushed through his head and the room began to spin. Tajir needed to grab hold of the corridor bulkhead to prevent himself from collapsing to the floor.

With a sense of urgency now rising in his mind, he tapped his communicator, calling out for medical assistance, but was not able to mutter more than just the initial call to sickbay before completely passing out.

Aki was already on the bridge, early for her shift that morning as they were minutes away from rendezvousing with the Sheridan to receive their new acting chief of operations and chief medical officer. Even in his present state, she had expected Tajir to also already be present for this arrival, but more than twenty minutes into the shift she was growing concerned.

“Bridge to Captain Derohl.” She called out over the comms.

Nothing but silence in response.

“Bridge to Captain. Come in.”

Still no response.

“Computer, locate Captain Derohl.” she ordered.

“Captain Derohl is in sickbay.”

Worry suddenly befell upon Aki’s face. He was doing fine the last I saw him, what could suddenly cause the captain to end up in sickbay? she thought to herself. Rather than attempt to try and come up with a hundred different scenarios, she deemed it best to go there directly and find out for herself. “Commander, you have the bridge.” she said, directing her comment to Hyden.

Neil was frantically moving about the sickbay, moving from console to console and back to his patient trying to get various readings both from Tajir himself and from the symbiont to try and diagnose what it was that was affecting his Trill patient. Suddenly it occurred to him. He didn’t know why he hadn’t thought of it earlier. He grabbed a tricorder and ran the handheld scanner over the captain. It was clear as day…low isoboramine levels.

As quickly as he floated around the sickbay moments previous, he went and fetched a hypospray and loaded it with Benzocyatizine. It was only a temporary remedy, but sufficient to stabilise his patient short term.

Aki walked in and witnessed the now calmer doctor leaning against the biobed. “What happened?” she asked him.

Neil looked up at the commander and instinctively knew that the captain in his current state would not be able to hear him, walked over to greet her. “Commander, the captain is suffering from low isoboramine levels. I can keep him stable, but I can’t adequately treat him. He needs to get back to Trill immediately.”

Shocked, Aki replied, “Are you certain?”

“Effective immediately, I’m relieving the captain of command.”

The words from the doctor were like a stab to the gut. Aki didn’t want to hear it, but there wasn’t anything she could do. Even though she was the ranking officer, when it came to decisions of a medical nature, the chief medical officer had the final say. “Alright.” She said in a sombre tone, “I’ll arrange with the captain of the Sheridan to take Tajir to Trill; or at least the next closest transport that will get him there. Do what you need to to get him ready. Do you mind if I use your office to contact Starfleet Command?”

“Not at all.” Neil replied, then excused himself to go and tend to the captain.

Steps away, adjacent to the main bay, Aki stepped into the small but efficiently organised office and requested the computer to close the door for some privacy and open a channel to Starfleet Command before taking a seat at the desk.

A solid minute elapsed before the screen on the terminal illuminated and a man in a flag officer uniform with hair as white as snow and two pips on his collar appeared on the screen. “Good morning Commander. What can I do for you?” he queried.

“Admiral. I’m reaching out to you to inform you of some unfortunate news.”

“Oh? Is there a problem with Aquarius’ mission?”

“No sir. The problem is with Captain Derohl. There has been an incident. He is suffering from low isoboramine levels. Doctor Simmons has him stabilised for the moment, but you know as well as I do, that low isoboramine levels can be deadly for Trills; both the host and the symbiont. The doctor has relieved the captain of command effective immediately and I will be arranging for him to be taken to Trill on the Sheridan.”

“I see. If that’s what needs to be done, then so be it. I assume you’re fully capable of handling your present mission without the captain?”

“Yes Sir.” She nodded in reply.

“Very well. Effective immediately, I’m granting you a field commission to the rank of Captain and transferring command of the Aquarius to you. Proceed with your mission as planned. I will send a letter to Trill to Derohl and his family, but should he be conscious enough, give him my regards.’

“Yes Sir. I will. Makoto out.”

Aki sat there a moment as the screen faded to black. She had not expected to make Captain at the expense of a fellow crewmate, but there she was. She fought back a tear as she thought about the captain, someone she had come to respect and admire, someone she even began to think of as a friend, would no longer be around.