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

Death All Around

Moon Station Charon - Sickbay
8.12.2400 @ 1230
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Walker-Halsey blinked and looked around the room.  Sickbay.  What a place to end up.  It resembled the early designs of the NX class and appeared to be fully functional.  She did a quick inventory and found she only had possession of a tricorder.  She looked to MacDonald, who had a look of several feelings on his face.  He held his tricorder in his hand and nothing else.

“Whoever…or whatever transported us here removed our weapons and equipment…and left us with…a tricorder each.”  She nodded to the security officer, “That is why you cannot find your dagger.  I suspect this was intentional.”

Dougal scowled,  “Bloody thievin’ bastards. That dirk was a gift.”

She walked around the room slowly, examining each shelf, screen, and console, “It is in incredible shape, this station.  200 years has been increasingly kind the operations of this place.”

“Aye a wee bit odd,” he said walking in the opposite direction looking at things,  but not using the tricorder. 

She stepped towards the door and found it unmoving.  She flipped the manual override.  It didn’t respond.  She attempted a quick emergency override.  More nothing. Theodora turned to Dougal, a frown evident on her face, “It appears we are locked in, Lieutenant.”

“Perhaps we could construct an explosive and blow the door apart,” Dougal suggested as he glanced over the various items located in the medical bay.

The interim science chief walked around the room, her eyes searching the contents carefully, “It is highly unlikely that we have been placed here in order to make out escape…easier.”  She looked to the wall where bodies traditionally were stored.  Two out of the four units had blinking green lights.  “I do not think we are alone, Lieutenant.”  She clarified, “At least we appear to be the only two alive bodies.”  She motioned to the wall.

Dougal frowned, “Aye, well, it is a sickbay. But after 200 years?”

She sighed, “Let us see why we are here.”  She stepped up to the first and flipped the switch, and the unit opened slowly, rattling along old and worn mechanics.  A human body lay before them.  Dead.  The body was clean, and no injuries were present.  She looked to the security officers, “Peculiar.”

“Aye, lass. You can say that again,” Dougal replied, walking around the body, examining it without touching it.  He paused at the right shoulder.  The uniform wasn’t Starfleet, and was mostly generic blue/grey overalls zipping up in the front. There were no identifying marks except for a circular black patch sewn on the upper sleeve.  “I dinnea think this poor wee bastard is from 200 years ago.”

The Vulcan gave him a nod, “That symbol is familiar to me.  I cannot recall the meaning, but it is a recent memory.”  She slipped out her tricorder once more and scanned the body carefully.  “He’s…human.  Age is somewhere 25 to 30.  Tricorder is detecting particles and microscopic debris that suggests this man has been in traveling in space…and within the last month.”  She gave him an appreciative nod, “This man is a recent addition to the station.”  She stepped over to the other container and flipped the switch as the final body was revealed.

It was a young girl.

“Bloody hell!” Dougal swore and turned away white as a ghost.  “Poor wee lass.”

The human side of Walker-Halsey shuddered, but she pushed her Logic over it for the moment as she scanned the body with her tricorder.  She went from head to toe, frowning at the report the tricorder was sending back.

He took a deep breath, “I dinnae ken what to make of this. This no makes any sense.”

She returned to where Dougal stood, “The tricorder estimates her age to be 10 to 12 years old, human.  She’s a recent addition as well….” she handed the tricorder to Dougal and went to rummaging through the equipment cabinets until she found a spare hypo unit to draw blood.

“Too young.  So much life ahead of the lass,” he commented his anger starting to rise.

A raised eyebrow was her first answer.  Her second, “I suspect these two are related.  You see, the features on the face are similar.  In order to determine why the hell we’re here, we need to determine why the hell they are here.”  She quickly used the blood draw on the child and then the man.  She slipped the two samples into a nearby DNA sequencing unit, “There is a deliberate lack of equipment…and a deliberate placement of equipment.”  She waited quietly for the results.  She glanced at Dougal, “It is an interesting dynamic that you are here with me in sickbay and not your wife.”

Dougal looked around helpless, “Aye it does seem a wee bit spartan. If Aimee were here I’m sure she would be more useful, but here I am.  The best I can do it patch ye up if you get shot.  Beyond that, I’m afraid I’m a wee bit useless. Whatever game is being played I am no amused.”

The diagnostic unit beeped and Walker-Halsey checked the results, “Father and daughter.””  She returned to the bodies, “The question is, what are we supposed to do with them?”

Before Dougal could respond, the deep and inhuman voice returned, “WE NEED THEM.”

Dougal looked unsettled,  “I wish the bloody bampot would bugger off an haud its wheesht.  An’ what would it bloody need with these poor souls?”

Theodora raised an eyebrow and looked from the bodies to the ceiling and back again as she thought out loud, “If whatever it is needed them, it could have transported them once we opened the units.”  She got close to each body and examined them closely, “What does it need with them that it cannot do for itself?”

“Aye well, the way I see it, it… he… whatever… is either messing with us and it’s a part of some psychological torture or it has something to do with the poor bastards we found on the Colorado.”

Walker-Halsey stared at him in a very human way, the shock of his thought process rolling through her.  Her Vulcan logic reasserted itelf a moment later as she grappled with the idea, “You are not wrong, Lieutenant.  I am beginning to wonder if we are to act as the hands of whatever has placed us here.”

Dougal frowned. That wasn’t a pleasant thought.   “Hands to do what?”

The voice returned, more insistent this time, “WE NEED THE HEART AND THE MIND.”

Halsey stared at the child and accepted the tricorder from Dougal.

“Literally or metaphorically?” Dougal asked.

She scanned both the heart and the mind of each, shaking her head as she did.  It took her a moment longer to find a medical tricorder and scan further.  She let out a long sigh, “I am not sure how this was done…but the heart of the adult male is in prime condition for a transplant…and the same goes for the child’s brain.  Everything else in the body has decayed and would serve no purpose to anyone or anything.”

“So literally… The ghosts will no like this desecration.”

Walker-Halsey threw both tricorders onto a nearby table and cursed in Vulcan.  She closed her eyes and took several long breaths as she worked through what their task was.  It took her considerable time before she was able to speak clearly and without the rage that threatened to burn through her soul, “I do not anticipate whatever or whoever put us here will allow us to refuse to do the work.  Even if we did…this…thing…has control of much of this place…and possibly beyond.  There’s more where we came from.”

“Aye, it’s logical,” Dougal replied.  “And what happens if we refuse?”

Theodora shook her head, her human emotions sending chills down her spine.  “I am left to wonder if these two are examples of what could happen.  They are recent acquisitions.  It would track that refusing to do what is tasked would earn a harsh removal from the equation and eventual replacement.”

Dougal shuddered, “Aye, I’ll my chances with the wee ghosts.  Maybe they will understand.”

She moved to the counters and cabinets and began to pull out equipment.  She found the gowns, face shields, gloves, and more.  She handed supplies to Dougal, “I do not relish this, Lieutenant.  I may appear Vulcan in appearance and bearing at times…but my humanity is having a struggle reconciling what we’re are about to do.”  She donned her equipment, taking each piece slowly and carefully, “I will need to punch something in the near future.”

“Aye, I understand the impulse to be sure.”

She approached the child first and took a long breath, “I need you to hold her head, Lieutenant.”

He approached the child.   While he didn’t protest, there was a tear in his eyes as he grasped the lifeless head in both hands.  “Go on, and bloody get it over with.”

Walker went about the work with great care and deliberate honor to the child’s body.  It took her fifteen minutes to cut open the head and go about the process of removing the brain, which she then placed in a container that had appeared on a counter behind her.  Her breathing was even, but her heart sped at warp.  Moments later, she had reattached the skull and returned the body to the wall and out of sight.  She leaned against the door with a deep sigh, “You’ve had to do your share of terrible things in your security life, Lieutenant…how do you process the darkness?”

Dougal shrugged.  “I dinnae ken.  Maybe ye don’t,” he admitted truthfully. “It’s easier when the bastard’s shootin’ at ya.  Ye don’t think about it much ye just react.  But every time ye take a life, a piece of ye dies as well.  This is bloody distasteful,  but as my wife would say, ‘They are dead.  The body isn’t the person any longer, and it should not let it bother you.’ Be thankful lass, ye are no hurting the wee bairn.  Her demise was no our fault,  as painful as that wee thought might be.”

Theodora thought over his words for a moment and gave a quiet nod in response.  She returned her attention to the next body, “This…will not be as clean as the other.”  She picked up the laser cutter and carefully went about the work of removing the man’s heart.  It took her longer to ensure proper transplant procedures were followed, and she apologized to Dougal as she asked him for various pieces of equipment as she went, “You will have quite a story to tell your wife when you return.”

“Aye, I expect so,” he agreed. 

Her hands started shaking, and she closed her eyes, focusing on the act at hand.  Her humanity had a habit of slipping through her control at key moments, and at times she wished she could just amputate the damn thing.  “We met on Starbase 1.  It was a whirlwind experience.  Being Human and Vulcan at the same time when experiencing the full effect of love was…an interesting experience.”  She accepted the next tool, “You and yours?  If your tale involves saving her in the midst of the battlefield, I’ll be impressed.”

Dougal laughed,  “No, not exactly.   As I recall, it was after a rather hash tongue lashing after the lass patched me up from taking a Sasanach bayonet in the shoulder on the holodeck back on the Hippocrates.  Another hospital ship, ironically. I kent right then an’ there the lass was the woman for me, and I would marry her.  Took almost a year for her to say yes.”

Walker-Halsey listened as she finished the last pieces of the readying the heart for removal.  “Leopold asked me after a year of our courting.  If he hadn’t asked, I was very ready to ask him myself.”  She gently lifted the heart out of the chest and placed it delicately in the second container, sealing it with a long sigh.  “I cannot imagine not having him in my life.”  She stripped the gloves off, tossed them in the trash, and tapped the button to return the body to the wall.  The door closed with a clang, and she removed the remainder of her protective measures.

“Now what?” Dougal said, looking around.

Suddenly the voice returned, “BRING THEM TO ME.”

Dougal winced again. He was really beginning to despise the bloody voice… or whatever it was.

The smile on her face had faded, resolving into a deep scowl, “I really wish to punch this thing.”  She picked up the container with the brain and nodded to the heart, “Let us figure out where it wants us to go next.”

“Aye, me too lass. Me too.”

The door to sickbay groaned open, beckoning them forward.  Theodora grumbled, “And away we go.”

Dougal glanced at the door and back to Theodora, “I’ll take point lass.  I have a bad feeling about this.”  Theodora nodded him forward and followed.