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

A Home Visit

USS Mercy Bridge
8.12.2400 @ 1245
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Leopold was pacing the bridge.  It had only been a few days, but he was discovering habits of himself as a CO and he wasn’t sure how to feel about it.  The center chair was a place of command and momentum.  He had officers on an abandoned moon station and no way to reach them.  They’d tried.  The interference had come at them from every direction, from sensors to communications to other parts of the ship’s operation.  For the moment, the actions and programs that his interim Chief Engineer and team had put in place were working.  He’d quietly asked the science officer to keep a close eye on it all as he had all the confidence in what they had done… but he had all the concern that whoever was doing all of this was going to find a way to push back.

Though stationed on the bridge at the main security station, Izi was silently stewing about not being on the team that went to the base; her antennae were moving in slow circles.

Halsey turned to his security officer, Iziraa.  He hadn’t heard from the Chief Counselor, and his concern about the impacts on his Betazoid officers was growing.  “Lieutenant, you have the CONN.  I need to check in with one of ours.  Anything changes, give me a shout.”

Izi’s antennae stopped moving, and she blinked her eyes several times.  She wanted to ask the captain if he was sure, but that would have made her look silly.  “Yes, sir.”

When the captain was gone, Izi nodded to the officer taking her place at security.  Before sitting in ‘the chair’, she looked at it as though it was going to talk to her.  She didn’t know what it would say, but she knew she had to sit, because the rest of the bridge crew were watching.

Finally, in the chair, she tried to relax, but her stomach was fluttering, and her antennae were vibrating.  She whispered quietly to the Water Guardian, asking that nothing bad would happen.

Choi’s Quarters

Halsey left the bridge and took the turbolift to the quarters’ area.  He approached the door and taped the doorbell.

The chime of the doorbell jolted Egrel awake. He let out a shriek of pure terror followed by the thud of him hitting the floor. He managed to gasp out, “E-Enter…” The counselor pushed up onto his hands and knees, chest heaving. He shook in fear, his skin pale and drenched in sweat.

Halsey stepped through the open door and gasped out loud at the sight of his Chief Counselor.  He didn’t even hesitate as he tapped his badge, “Halsey to Sickbay – I have a medical emergency in Choi’s quarters – requesting triage and trauma response!”

“I… uh… On my way, Captain,” Aimee replied. She sounded disoriented, as if she had been startled out of a deep sleep.

He ran to Egrel’s side, slipping out his medical tricorder as he spoke calmly to the Betazoid, “Lieutenant Choi, I need you to tell me something that you see in the room.”

Egrel turned to sit on the ground, slumped backwards against the bed. His pulse was through the roof, and the man was shaking like a leaf. He showed the signs of a flight or fight response. He stammered, “I uh. You?”

Halsey wasn’t thrilled with what the tricorder was finding, “Good…what else do you see?”

Egrel’s eyes rapidly roamed around the room, “My… My desk?”

The CO nodded and slipped out his medical bag, finding his hypospray, “And what is on the desk?”

Egrel’s chest heaved as he managed to get out, “PADD? A mug?”

He loaded a calming agent into the unit and deftly put it up against the sweaty and shuddering neck of Egrel Choi and pressed it in as it hissed with a release.  “Look at the walls, Choi.  What is the color you see?”

Egrel’s shaking slowly eased. He started to slump forward, his words coming out choked, “Red. So red. So much. It’s everywhere!” They were white.  Halsey wondered what the man was truly seeing all around him.

Aimee was the first to arrive; concern etched on her face.  Whatever it was before,  she was clear-headed now.  She was already scanning Choi, dictating vitals to a nearby nurse, “Heart rate is 188, BP IS 140 over 95, O-two sats at 96.” Looking at Halsey, she demanded,  “Have you administered any medications?”

The CO handed her the hypospray container, “Calming agent – nothing too strong.  Whatever it is, it’s having multiple points of impact.”  The doctor was about to respond to him when his badge beeped.

From the bridge, Izi called Halsey on the comm.  “Captain, this is Lieutenant Iziraa.  We’ve received four reports that Betazoid crew are experiencing telepathic attacks, though not as severe as what happened to Petty Officer Torell.”

“This is bigger than a few nightmares and cold sweats,” Aimee said. “The Counselor isn’t in any immediate threat, but I’m concerned about the erratic brain readings and elevated blood pressure and heart rate.”

Halsey gave her a nod, “You’re the chief medical officer, Doctor MacDonald.  I yield to my command team.”

“Let’s get all telepaths to sickbay so we can monitor them. All of them.  If they have any ancestry of a telepathic race, I need them all in one place. Especially if they aren’t showing any symptoms. I need to figure out the pathology of this.”

The CO hit his communications badge, “Halsey to Lieutenant Izirra; we need to all telepaths to report to sickbay as soon as possible.  You’re probably going to need to get some of your medically inclined security officers pressed into service to help find our folks if they’re not responding to calls.”

“Acknowledged, sir.  I’ll get on it,” said Izi.

As the nurse and an orderly helped Egrel to his feet, Aimee leaned into Halsey, “You should know sir, my great-grandmother was a Betazoid.  As far as I know, I have no empathic or telepathic abilities,  but I may be compromised.”

Leopold raised his eyebrows, “I’ll stick with you for the trip to sickbay, just to be on the side, Doctor.”

SICKBAY

Roger was already in his office; had been there since 5 am, in fact, as he was an early riser. He’d snuck out before Lucy and Minnie had woken but had scribbled a quick note to tell his wife he was headed down to prep his office for the day and that he’d eat later in the cafeteria. He often forgot his meals, and he’d surely had starved to death if Lucy hadn’t been there to force him to eat at least one meal a day. He was just busy, not just with his job but also fatherhood and trying to be a crew mate too. 

Many hats took many hours, and he was only one person. He also had a small bit of a martyr complex-a thing he was trying to fix about himself-and thought that it was his fault if things fell apart because he wasn’t working hard enough. He knew logically this was untrue, but he couldn’t help his feelings. So now, he was cleaning his office, in case of an inspection or something-HIS would be neat, and it wouldn’t be his fault.

 The call came over his badge to ready the trauma bays. Grabbing his supplies, he rushed out of his office into the larger sickbay and made his way to the trauma beds. He was setting everything up, with the help of a nurse, when he got the call that all of the folks who were currently or MAY BE affected were required to report to the sick bay. He instructed the nurse to start preparing the rest of the open beds, and soon, they were ready. Just in time, too, because Aimee came through with Lt. Choi on her arm, a nurse supporting his other side, and behind him, Captain Halsey. 

“Bring him here,” he said, indicating the ready bed. “I have the trauma kit ready.” He got the bio-bed turned on as they helped Choi onto it. “What’s going on?” He started the scans and looked to the others. “I saw something like this in the Dominion War. A solar flare caused something similar. What we did was use the Cortical Inhibitor. We could try that, or see if simply containing everyone in here and just letting it pass, is the better course of action.” He read the images and words being spat out at him from the specialized bed. It was going to be a long day. 

“I concur.  We need to inhibit that part of their brain.  But, it’s only a short-term solution.  We need to figure out the pathology too.”

Halsey accepted a PADD from an orderly, and he began to pull the various scans and readings they were getting as the sickbay doors opened to some wide-eyed patients and some being supported as they hobbled in, to two that were being wheeled in on mobile biobeds with a trauma and triage team already moving to accept the patient.  He glanced at  Harrison, “Congrats on the promotion, Doctor Harrison.  Run the case with your Chief.  You’ve got a capable crew here.  I need to return to the bridge.”

Aimee nodded, “Very well, captain.” She turned to Harrison as the sickbay’s speed began to pick up.