Part of USS Mercy: Mission 1 – “Life as a House”

Less is Better

Main Sickbay
August 12, 2400, 0900 Hours
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Sorek had called Counselor Choi, asking him to come to the main sickbay.  Sorek needed to ask something of him and was waiting in the corridor for him to arrive.

Egrel strode swiftly down the corridor, spying the Commander. He approached him and offered a faint, pleasant smile and a nod, “Sir. You requested to see me?”’

“Counselor, as you are already aware, you and Lieutenant Cordon experienced a telepathic intrusion.  Captain Halsey and I feel this could happen again and it could be stronger and more dangerous the closer we get to the Charon base.  I’m going to ask Doctor MacDonald if she can create an injection to partially or fully inhibit telepathic abilities.  The hope is to give telepaths some level of protection.  If she can, we will need a test subject.  I cannot order you to do this, so I’m asking you to volunteer.”

A look of worry crossed Egrel’s face. He heard horror stories of how dead and robotic people can be if a Betazoid’s telepathy is inhibited or gone. He nods slowly, “As long as it is reversible. I do not think I could be prepared for how debilitating or traumatic losing one’s telepathy is to Betazoids.”

“I understand,” said Sorek.  He wouldn’t want to permanently lose his ability to mind meld.  “Thank you.”  He motioned toward the door for Choi to enter first.  Once inside, they approached the reception desk.

“Yeoman, I need to speak with Doctor MacDonald,” said Sorek.  “Please inform her.”

“Yes, sir.”  The young woman hurried off.

Choi followed in behind Sorek. He clasped his hands behind his back, emanating an air of nervousness about the whole ordeal. He was still shaken from the previous encounter.

The Yeoman poked her head into Aimee’s office breaking from her thought, “You have visitors Doctor.”

Aimee sat up and started organizing her desk, “Yes, of course… uh yeah, send them in.”

After a few moments, the yeoman returned.  “Doctor MacDonald will see you.  She’s in her office, sir.”

Sorek raised an eyebrow.  “Indeed.”  Glancing at Choi, he led the way through sickbay.  Stepping into the CMO’s office, he greeted MacDonald, explaining why they were there.

“Do you believe you can create an injection that is safe, temporary, and with no side affects?” said Sorek.  “Counselor Choi has volunteered to test the medication.”

“There is,” Aimee replied cautiously.   “But, bear in mind this isn’t my specialty.  I haven’t dealt with Betazoid neuroscience since medical school.   I will need to consult neurology before I start mucking around in people’s brains.”

“We’re due at Charon base in just under two hours.  I know this isn’t fair to you, Doctor, but that’s when we need it,” said Sorek.

“No need to apologize,” Aimee replied with a dismissive wave. “Pressure I can handle, but in this case we take care of it right now.” Leaning forward she pressed the comm button on her desk, “MacDonald to Doctor Williams.”

“Go ahead Doctor,” a female voice replied.

“Can you come to my office for a consult.”

“On my way,” the neurosurgeon responded,  “Williams out.”

A few minutes later an older woman with kinky black hair graying at the temples entered. Aimee explained the situation and Dr. Tessa Williams nodded.  “Yes it can be done of course.  30cc’s of Zolpalaprim every six hours, but it’s usually doesn’t fully mask the telepathic ability.   In about ninty-percent of cases subjects are no longer able to communicate telepathically. The only way to fully remove the ability is surgical intervention,  but that is permanent.”

Sorek was surprised it was so easy.  He looked at Choi.  “Are you ready, Counselor?”

Egrel hesitated and nodded, “I suppose I am as ready as I will ever be, yes.” He was just as surprised as Sorek appeared to be. He was incredibly nervous and anxious about the whole ordeal.

Williams nodded, “I’ll be right back.”  She was gone for a few minutes and returned.  “So, this drug stops the ER-Alpha and ER-Beta receptors from binding with a hormone that works with your limbic system which is vital in your telepathic abilities.   This hormone is actually very similar to nuclear-estrogen so believe it or not this drug is also a very good contraceptive in women.”

“I don’t like using it,” Aimee added.  “The side-effects can be… uncomfortable.”

Williams nodded, “That’s the next thing.  Side-effects do include things like nausea, vomiting, headaches, lowered libido, and increased risk of blood clots. If you are ready we can proceed.”

“Before you do anything, Doctors, how dangerous is the risk of blood clots?” said Sorek.  “The plan is to inject every telepath on board.  We can’t have crew experiencing strokes.”

The two doctors looked at each other and Aimee shrugged, “It’s not zero.  Vulcans are less susceptible than Betazoids, but it’s relatively low.  It doesn’t exactly cause them, but increases the risk by several-fold.”

“Every drug has risks. Do the benefits outweigh the risks?” Williams asked.

Aimee thought for a moment,  “Yeah, I think so. Considering what I saw happened to Lt. Cordon and post autopsy of the Colorado’s captain. There’s something mucking around in the minds of people,  and it appears telepaths are more susceptible.”

“Good enough for me,” Williams agreed.

“You may proceed when Counselor Choi is ready,” said Sorek.

Williams nodded and pressed the hypospray against Counselor Choi’s shoulder and injected him. After a pause, she asked him, “How are you feeling?”

The counselor nodded his ascent before he was given the hypo It took a few moments for it to course through his body. Choi winced and cradled his head in his hand, “That is… remarkably unpleasant. My head… I don’t like it, but…” He straightened up and took a deep breath, “I hope this helps.”

“Me too,” Aimee said concern crossing her face.  Opening a tricorder she made a few scans and sighed with relief. “Vital signs are normal.”

“Doctor, please attach a cortical monitor,” said Sorek.  “Counselor, go about your duties, but keep a PADD with you and record everything.  This is vital for all the telepaths on board.  Call Doctor MacDonald at the slightest sign of trouble.”  He looked at MacDonald.  “You can release him at your discretion.”

Aimee rummaged around in her desk before removing a cortical monitor.  She wasn’t happy Sorek had just told her how to do her job… The worst part was that he was right.  Talk about rubbing salt into that wound, she said to herself.  Standing she placed the monitor on Choi’s right temple and then turned to her desk and without sitting she linked to monitor to the ship’s computer.  “You are free to go Counselor.  Try to take it easy, at least at first. Try to get as much rest as your duties will allow. Oh, and redose yourself in six hours.” She handed him the hypospray.

Egrel stood and took the hypo, a wave of nausea washing over him. He grimaced, “I.. I think I will take a nap. I will keep track…” He nodded, “Six hours, noted.”

“Thank you, Doctors,” said Sorek.  “Counselor, I will walk you to your quarters.”  Now the waiting began.