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

Enemy Within

USS Mercy- Shuttlebay
August 12, 2400 @ 1600
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Dougal had been silent on the ride over. As O’Shea was helping him off Dougal stiffened and turned to O’Shea. A spider-like metallic implant was growing out of his right cheek “We thank you for removing the entity. You will adapt to service us.”

O’Shea jumped back with a shout, “Fecking ‘ell!” As he stepped back his phaser raised on instinct but he paused before firing. The assimilation was in its early stages, there was still a chance but they need to get Dougal to medical now and he wasn’t sure if stunning him would help. “I’ll give that a pass mate,” he said as he hit his combadge. “Emergency transport for two to medical,” and tackled Dougal a second before they dematerialized. 

A second later they rematerialized in medical just before they hit the ground. “WE NEED TO SEDATE HIM NOW!” O’Shea shouted, “A Borg injected him, we don’t have much time.”

Aimee rushed over fear etched across her face, “What the hell happened?”

O’Shea adjusted his position, pinning Dougal’s arms. “There was an old borg drone on the station, the entity was using it. We had to keep it busy while the others disabled the entity. He was injected with nanoprobes. He didn’t say anything, it’s moving slower than I would have expected. Can you disable them?”

“Yeah, only problem is that I haven’t a clue how to do that. It’s not like there’s Borg countermeasures in medical school rotations,” Aimee replied fear and worry etched upon her face.

Dougal’s skin was already turning an ash grey, and the veins were appearing black under the surface. “Resistance is futile.  This drone must be escorted to your deflector array.  Your distinctiveness will adapt to service us.”

O’Shea looked back at Dougal as he began to struggle, “I already said not today mate,” he said before turning to Aimee, “Nothing? What the hell did they do for Picard and Seven of Nine? There has to be something on file related to the Artifact that the Romulans have. Maybe radiation?”

“Of course there is!” She snapped. Taking a deep breath she let it out slowly through her nose. “Sorry. I need to do some research.  Keep him… entertained will you?”

O’Shea looked back at Aimee as he continued to struggle against Dougal, “Sure, I guess we can have a tea party, do you prefer Earl Grey or Peppermint Dougal?” he said as he rolled his eyes. “Please be quick about it.” As he turned back to look at Dougal he watched in abject horror and disgust as yet another implant pushed its way out of the Lieutenant’s hand and spread over the back of it.

Twisting slightly he took a risk and released one of Dougal’s arms and quickly tapped his combadge, “O’Shea to Chief Pach, I need you in medical now.”

“Lad,” Dougal said to O’Shea.   For the moment he was in control. His voice was weak and there was pain in his eyes. “It cannae connect with the collective… It will try to establish its own…”  He sucked in air fighting a losing battle.  “For the safety of the ship you must kill me.  Tell… tell Aimee I’m sorry.”

O’Shea looked down at Dougal and smiled sadly, “Hold on, we are not there yet mate. And you can tell Aimee whatever you want when you get through this.” As he finished talking the door behind him slid open and Chief Pach ran into the room.

The large Klingon looked at Dougal and O’Shea before he cursed, “Ghuy’cha’,” and quickly kneeled beside O’Shea grabbing hold of DOugal.  “What happened?”

O’Shea looked back at Pach and shook his head, “Borg on the station, we need to limit his movement. The Doc is working on a way to neutralize the nanoprobes.”

Pach nodded and looked around, “Biobed, we can restrain him there.”

“Agreed,” O’Shea said before looking at Dougal. “Hold it together. We are going to get you to the bed and strap you down. Keep fighting it.” Dougal nodded slowly but O’Shea could see he didn’t have long left. “On three,” he said to Pach, “One, two, three!”

Both Pach and O’Shea moved together and lifted Dougal while limiting his movement and unceremoniously dropped him onto the biobed. “I will hold him, you get something to restrain him to the bed,” Pach said and shifted his position to get a better grip on Dougal.

O’Shea stepped back and looked around for Aimee, “Doc? How much longer?” he shouted before grabbing the restraints built into the bed and secured Dougal’s arms, legs and torso. “Not sure if that will be enough.”

Aimee returned from her office,  “Well, the good news is that without the Collective the assimilation process cannot be completed.   The nanites will eventually construct a neural transceiver,  but that takes time and raw material that the body doesn’t have.”

“Might want to tell him that,” O’Shea said. “We have him restrained for now but would it be a good idea to sedate him so we can stop the process?”

She nodded and filled a hypospray. She didn’t think it would help, it would help make Dougal more comfortable. Pressing it to her husband’s neck she injected the drug and he fell limp.  “Well, there’s that.  I have a few ideas that might work.  One of those ‘it’s so stupid it might work’ kinds of things,” she said.   “Ever hear of an EMP?  I would wager the collective would adapt quickly to it, but in this case it might just be enough to deactivate the nanoprobes.”

O’Shea nodded as he looked down at Dougal, seeing him visibly relax before slipping into unconsciousness. Looking up at Aimee he frowned, “I don’t think that would work normally but on a long individual with the assimilation process incomplete I think it might just work. What do you need from me?”

“I got this,” Aimee said to O’Shea.   “Go and decompress. I’ll let you know when I am done.” Her smile was genuine.   It could be worse and they now had a plan.  Once the assimilation process was halted it would be quick work to remove the implants. “You are a good friend of his.  I appreciate that deeply.”

O’Shea looked back at Dougal then to Aimee and frowned, opening his mouth to say something before stopping. Sighing he nodded, “Will do Doc. Call me the moment anything happens.” He turned to look at Pach, “Watch over medical and Dougal. Keep the crew safe if needed.”

Pach nodded, “I will remain here until relieved.”

“Appreciate that. I will be back in a couple of hours.” O’Shea said before looking over at Aimee, “I’ll be back soon.” With that O’Shea left medical.

Later…

An hour later with Dougal moved to recovery Aimee stood to the entrance silently watching him peacefully sleep in the dimmed medical ward.  A nurse walked behind her on her round, but didn’t stop go check of them.

Simple bandages covered the wounds.  She would go back in a day or two with a dermal regenerator, but Dougal’s body had been through enough.   She wanted his levels to return to a more normal state before introducing a whole new series of stimulus.

“He’ll be fine,” Aimee assured O’Shea. She held up a Petri dish of completely inert nanoprobes. “It worked too well.  I guess they weren’t expecting us to use such a primitive tech.” She smirked at that thought.  

O’Shea took the dish and held it up to the light looking at the collection of nanoprobes, though a single one was too small there were enough there to create a discolouring on the dish. “Seems like a glaring oversight for them. One I would not have expected.” He handed the dish to Aimee and glanced over at Dougal’s sleeping form. “The drone was old,” he said, “really old. Could be the nanoprobes and the drone itself were starting to fail.” He shrugged and turned back to Aimee, “Though none of that matters. Good work, I would suggest you write it up and send it to Starfleet medical, never know when that knowledge may be useful to others.”

“Sir?” Dougal asked in a croaking whisper.

O’Shea’s head snapped around and looked at Dougal, “Lieutenant, how are you feeling?”

“Like I got trampled by a wee Highland bull,” he replied.

O’Shea grinned, “A raging cybernetic bull you mean…”

Dougal let out a soft chuckle, “Aye lad.”

Aimee moved to Dougal’s side and read the wall mounted monitor.  “Your vitals look good, and your levels are returning to normal.”

Mo ghràdh, kiss me lass.”

Aimee resisted the urge to slap him, and leaned in and the two fell into each other’s embrace. “I love you,” she said softly.

“Tha gaol agam ort cuideachd mo chridhe,” he replied in his baritone. 

“I am glad you are on the mend Dougal, take some time to rest, follow the doctor’s orders and I will touch base with in a day or two.” O’Shea said and turned to leave.