Slowly running the dermal regenerator over the captain’s bruised abdomen, Doctor Forbes held the medical device tightly as he treated his commanding officer. The glowing blue light pulsed against the skin, slowly healing the harm Captain McCallister received when Hunsen was under the combined influence of the blood dilithium and baby telepathic pitcher plant. “Almost there, sir,” Forbes said with his positive bedside manner. “Though you do know Doctor Slyvexs will question me for why I treated you now instead of when she offered you treatment last night.”
Trying not to move too much as he allowed Forbes to work his miracle, McCallister nodded a bit. “I know, she’s going to kill me.” He answered.
“And me, probably,” Forbes added. He finished working on the captain’s stomach. “Turn over for me, sir.”
McCallister complied and shifted himself so he laid flat on his stomach while Forbes worked on the bruises on his back. “I was just too tired last night to want to be fussed over, especially as we’ve now got over forty-seven thousand guests on board that needed treatment.”
“Sickbay has been busy all morning, sir. So many of them are grateful we saved them from being taken to the Devore detention and labour camps,” Forbes said as he reactivated the dermal regenerator and slowly hovered it over the massive bruises on the captain’s back. It was evident how hard Hunsen had punched and kicked the captain from his injuries. “I take it we’re not going to hear from the Devore anytime soon?”
“I believe so.” McCallister said, “That said, I’d imagine they’re not going to go quietly.”
“There, all sorted, sir,” Forbes said as he switched the device off, placed it back in the tray, and took out his medical tricorder.
McCallister pushed himself up and picked up his vest that was draped over the side of the bio-bed. He had requested a private room, one to avoid dealing with Slyvexs and her ‘I told you so’ attitude and two, he wasn’t keen on bumping into any of the crew that had mutined against him. “Thanks, Remi,” He answered as he pulled his vest over his head and pushed his arms out of the proper holes before standing up and picking up his undershirt. “I have to say, from what I heard from Commander Duncan and the others, we owe a thanks to you and the other senior assistant chiefs that stepped up during the crisis.”
Forbes looked at his captain with a bewildered expression. “Sir?”
“You, Decter, Marova, Abbej – you all pitched in when the others were under the influence of the telepathic pitcher plant and the blood dilithium,” McCallister stated as he pulled his shirt on. “You four have been lieutenants for some time now; you should seriously start considering the next steps in your careers.”
“Do you want me off the ship, sir?” Forbes questioned.
Shaking his head, McCallister picked up his uniform jacket and put that on too. “No, but you should all consider taking the next bit of work to gain that third pip on your collars, just like Tomaz and Craigen.”
“I wasn’t sure if having that many lieutenant commanders on board the Odyssey would be allowed?” Forbes said as he scanned McCallister to make sure there were no other hidden injuries.
“You know that’s not the case, Remi,” McCallister replied. “We’re like a travelling starbase; there’s plenty of opportunities for you all to do it. Hell, we’ve got cadets on board; we’re more like a floating academy campus in the Delta Quadrant.”
Forbes nodded in acknowledgement. “I will definitely consider it, sir.”
“Thank you, you’ve been a lieutenant for too long now and the same for the others. I’ll speak to Max about it,” McCallister said after Forbes gave him the all-clear that he was okay. “Can you declare me fit for duty?”
Forbes picked up a nearby PADD and typed into it. “All done, sir, but you know it’s the chief medical officer’s job to reinstate you to be fit for command?”
“Damn, I thought we could get around that,” McCallister grumbled before the door chime went off. “Come in,” He answered.
The doors parted open, allowing three of McCallister’s command officers to arrive. Commander Duncan led the group with Master Chief Court and Penelope behind him.
“Talk of the devil,” McCallister said, referring to his first officer, “Good Morning, everyone.”
“Morning, sir,” Duncan replied, “You all okay?”
The captain nodded as he pulled his jacket across and clipped it into place by his shoulder. “All fine, thanks to Remi’s handy work.” He smirked at the senior assistant chief medical officer.
“Fit to return to command?” Penelope asked, looking between McCallister and Forbes.
“Fit to return to duty,” Forbes corrected her. “Doctor Slyvexs has the honour of declaring him able to return to command,”
“We need to pay Remi more,” McCallister mockingly said to his first officer. “So if I’m not back in command, who is?”
Duncan looked at Penelope. “Technically, Penelope is as I transferred all of the command codes to her before I was knocked unconscious by the baby telepathic pitcher plant.”
“We really need to come up with a better name,” McCallister stated.
“Lukiz has been using Princess, simply down to the fact that Counsellor Horin shared how, in her link with it via the neurogenic field, it was represented as a humanoid girl.”
“Is Lukiz making Princess a thing?” McCallister wondered.
“I believe so, sir,” Duncan confirmed. “Anyway, we wanted to update you on our situation.”
“It doesn’t take three of you to deliver such news,” McCallister said. “How bad is it?”
Court passed a PADD, “Though we are using emergency and auxiliary power to extend our life support systems, we won’t be able to maintain hosting our guests for much longer.”
“Over forty-seven thousand guests are paying a toll on our environmental controls and other support systems. Guest quarters are crowded, and so are the cargo bays and shuttlebays. We’ve converted all of the holodecks, but we can’t sustain this for much longer, sir.”
The former operations officer within him came to life as McCallister reviewed the information before him. He could see from the PADD that they had at least three, maybe four days before the Odyssey’s systems started to kick back from their overuse. Furthermore, their deuterium supplies would end up being eaten up sooner. “Am I reading this right? Our deuterium emergency supplies have been topped up since our last resupply at the Kadi home colony?”
“Umm, yeah, about that,” Duncan started to explain. “We were able to restock them.”
Intrigued by that point, McCallister pressed to know more. “How?”
“We stole it from the Devore,” Penelope answered bluntly, “well, to be precise, I stole it.”
McCallister looked at the ECH, surprised to hear that. “How? Why?”
“When we found the Brenari on their ships, we knew that once we had saved them and dealt with…Princess…” Penelope paused as she used Jen’s designation for the baby telepathic pitcher plant before continuing with her explanation. “They would be a threat to us. So as part of my plan to disable them, I borrowed their deuterium supplies.”
“I take it we’re not planning on giving it back to them?” Court checked with the ECH.
“Seeing as they kidnapped those Brenari, I thought it was only right we would need some sort of compensation for saving that many on our ship,” Penelope said with a slight shrug.
“That almost sounds poetically justified,” Court said with a smirk.
“Indeed,” Penelope replied. “I also damaged their engines, sensors and weapons enough so that we would be far from them before they tried to chase after us.”
“Was there anything else we ‘borrowed’ that I should know about?” McCallister asked his ECH.
“I may have transported some hardware over,” Penelope admitted.
“Some hardware?” Forbes repeated. “Don’t we have three new transport ships in our main bay?”
Penelope shot Forbes a look for sharing that with the captain so soon before turning to her superior. “Again, sir, I acquired them as I believed we may need the extra support with the Brenari.”
“More poetic justice?” McCallister asked.
Penelope nodded. “Indeed, but at the time, it felt like the right tactic to ensure our survival and to avoid the Devore finding out about the Gahery Sanctum.”
Passing the PADD back to her, McCallister chuckled a bit. “Well, who am I to argue with the captain of the Odyssey?”
Grinning now, Penelope thanked the captain for his support. “I appreciate that, sir, but we still have the dilemma of our guests perhaps overstaying their welcome?”
“What are our options?” McCallister asked them.
“Is there really any other choice?” Court rhetorically questioned. “There’s nowhere else they would be safe except for one place.”
“Tobias is right,” Duncan said, agreeing with his husband. “We should head to the Gahery Sanctum and see if Adale and her people would take them in.”
“Agreed,” McCallister expressed. “Are we certain we’re not being followed or tracked, though?”
“Long-range sensors have not picked up any other Devore ships in the region, be they masked with their refractive shielding or not. The squadron we disabled is still repairing, and Princess has swiftly moved on from the area.” Penelope reported. “We can set a course to the Sanctum and see if we can mask our warp trail.”
“Sounds like a plan,” McCallister agreed. “And what about the blood dilithium we collected?”
“All safely on board the Telemachus,” Duncan informed. “It’s currently manned by a full crew complement and those that are non-telepathic who are closely following us.”
“Excellent,” McCallister said, liking what he was hearing. “I suppose I best face the music and speak with Doctor Slyvexs.”
Forbes spoke up. “She was already seeing another patient; let me see if she’s free, sir.”
McCallister nodded in agreement, and Forbes swiftly left the treatment room.
“Fascinating,” T’Rani said as she looked at the scanner’s readouts on the holographic display before her.
“That’s one way of describing it,” Slyvexs said as she glared at the readings too. “How do you feel?”
T’Rani took a breath and looked to Samris, who was holding her left hand tightly, before staring back at the Denobulan doctor. “I feel…nothing.”
Rolling his eyes, Samris shook his head. “Really, T’Rani? You feel nothing?”
“I suppose a slight headache has been present, but I had alluded that to my experience with the blood dilithium and being possessed by the infant telepathic pitcher plant,” T’Rani replied. “I suppose now the evidence before me proves that it is something more.”
Sighing, Slyvexs shook her head. “Vulcan logic always wins,” She grumbled before smirking at the pilot. “T’Rani, you are about to enter pon farr ahead of your normal cycle,” The doctor paused. “And if these readings are correct, then Princess has given you a parting gift.”
“I am not sure if that was the infant telepathic pitcher plant’s intention, doctor,” T’Rani said, still in her deadpan tone.
“T’Rani, for the first time since I have known you, your experience with Princess has left you with the opportunity to conceive a child,” Slyvexs said plainly. “This is good news, and Princess has given you a push start,” The Denobulan woman looked up at Samris. “You both have a lot to discuss, sooner rather than later and before those neurochemicals become too imbalanced.”
T’Rani looked up at Samris. “Lieutenant Samris, do you wish to mate with me and produce an offspring?”
Samris stuttered in his response. “I-I-well-I think we should follow the doctor’s advice but do it in a private location.”
“Very well,” T’Rani said as she got up from the bio-bed she had been sitting on the end of. “Doctor, if you no longer require our presence, we will return to our quarters to discuss this matter.”
Slyvexs smirked and just nodded. “Keep me posted,” She replied and then added to one more piece, “when you’re ready!”
The two officers soon left the private examination room, and just as they walked through the open doorway, Slyvexs’ deputy entered.
“Remi, you okay?” Slyvexs asked as she downloaded her scans and added them to T’Rani’s medical records.
Forbes just nodded, “I’m fine, and I have the captain wanting to return to command, with your blessing, of course!”
With another smirk, Slyvexs finished her update and switched off the console she was using. “I wondered when he would turn up and want back command of his ship!”
Standing under the warm waves that hit him from the sonic shower, Tremt Hunsen was hopelessly trying to block out every memory that kept on returning to his mind from the last few days. However, despite how much he tried, he was failing. Screams. Cries. They were all there. Then the flashbacks of him taking Henri, Theo and William hostage appeared before his brutal attack against the captain. The rage was so powerful. The memories were overwhelming. Trying to make sense of everything, along with what he experienced within the neurogenic field, made everything feel just so much. Punching the sonic shower wall in front of him, he felt the madness seeping all over him. Hitting the wall one more time, he ordered the computer to adjust the shower’s mode, so it was no longer sonic waves softly crashing against his skin but pure warm water instead. The smooth transition didn’t feel any difference; instead, pouring the water felt like a better way to distract him from his thoughts. It didn’t last. The water mixed in with his emotions, and he could feel the tears starting to appear under his eyes and before long, he found himself sobbing. Dropping to the floor, his bare skin hit the puddle with a sudden splash, and the chief engineer pulled his legs up to his chest and buried his head into his knees as he continued to cry at what he was remembering and feeling.
Questions began to run through his mind.
What would he have done when he took the boys hostage? Would he have harmed them? Would he have taken their lives to prove a point? How far would he have gone to push the captain into a position where he gave in to his demands?
Then the memory of aiming his phaser at Samris appeared. He knew at the time that Samris was on his side, but the Romulan counsellor was questioning his behaviour. He became a threat, and for some reason, Hunsen’s reaction was to almost intimidate the counsellor in remaining at his side. Would he have shot Samris? What setting was his phaser set at? Was it stun or kill? Or worse, vaporise?
Then the outrage he carried out when he discovered that McCallister’s idea to circumvent his plan to take control of the ship pierced his heart and mind. The burning sensation he felt like a dagger through his chest. He wanted to be sick, but his tears were taking over. The water from the shower was almost drowning the tears, though. Would he have killed the captain?
The guilt, the shame, the humiliation, and the anger was too much. Why had it been him? Why had this organism picked him and T’Rani to be the ones to take control? Was it just looking for someone to help it? Or did it want something more? Was it more bothered about devouring them, like its natural instinct required, or did it genuinely want help removing the blood dilithium fragments from its body?
Rocking back and forth on the shower floor, Hunsen couldn’t find the answers he sought.
For the first time, he didn’t know what to do or what to feel. He felt numb. He felt sick. Really sick. Instantly, he got up and rushed over to the nearby sink in his bathroom and emptied out his guts. The nauseating sensation lasted longer than he expected until there was nothing else to bring up. Activating the tap, he ran the cold water, placed both hands cupped together, and splashed the water against his face. Looking up, he stared at his own reflection of his naked body and once again, the feeling of shame and anger overwhelmed him. Punching his reflection in the mirror with his right fist, he immediately broke it, and the smashed pieces fell into the sink below. Looking down at his knuckles, the Betazoid chief engineer covered the blood that started to come from the cuts he had just sustained. He walked back into the shower and slumped back down on the floor. Dropping his injured hand onto the wet floor, he let the water pour over the blood and watched as the mixed liquids trickled into the plug hole at the end of the shower cubicle.
He sat there, almost in a trance state, just watching the water run down his body and away.
Hunsen didn’t know what to do, so he remained there under the warm water.
A second later, he felt someone calling out for him.
Horin was reaching out to him, but she was only in the next room. However, he didn’t respond.
He closed his mind from her and closed his eyes. Hunsen didn’t want to move. He didn’t deserve someone else’s attention, not after all of the pain he had created. He was paralysed with absolute guilt.
The door chime went off and Jordan looked up from the PADD he was reading while lying on his bed. “Come in,” He answered.
The door parted and standing there with a warm smile was Beatrice Grant. Instantly, Jordan shot up from his bed and quickly made himself look a bit more presentable. All of the cadets had been told to take the day off after the recent incident involving the blood dilithium and the baby telapathic pitcher plant. He had opted for a lay-in, he had only just had a shower and got changed into what his dads are had referred to as scruffy, lazy clothes. A navy blue hoodie and black jogging bottoms. He hadn’t bothered doing anything with his hair either, which he instantly pushed to one side and soon regretted that choice as he could feel it now sticking up.
“Beatrice!” He exclaimed.
Grant smiled at him. She was wearing similar casual clothes but still looked beautiful in Jordan’s view. “Hey, Jordan, is it okay if I come in?”
“Umm…yeah…sure.” He hurried over to where he had a small arm chair and pulled his uniform that was draped over it and offered for her to sit down.
“I’m sorry if I’m disturbing you, but your bother said it was okay to come in when I knocked earlier. He was on his way out when I arrived and he pointed me in the direction of your room.” Beatrice stated before thanking him for the chair. “I just wanted to check in and make sure you’re okay, after what’s just happened.”
“Yeah,” Jordan said, trying to act cool and calm and just shrugged. Normally he would have Alfie by his side helping him, but this was completely different now and he was now by himself. “Yeah,” He repeated, “I’m all fine.”
“Good,” She nodded and smiled.
He then realised he needed to return the question. “And you?”
“Yeah, the same,” Beatrice shared. “I just wanted to say thank you for being so calm. It helped me.”
“Oh,” Jordan said, surprised to hear that, “thanks.” He returned the smile as he sat awkward on the edge of his bed and then tried to act cool. “It was nothing, I suppose I was just taking lead from my dads and Commander Tomaz.”
“Your dads are pretty cool,” Beatrice stated.
“They are,” Jordan agreed with a proud nod.
“And you’re so good with S’Tem.” Beatrice complimented him.
“So is Alfie,” Jordan added, not wanting to take all of the credit. “So…um…what have you got planned for today?”
“Nothing,” She confessed. “You?”
She smiled, “Fancy doing that together?”
“Sure…um…should I see if Alfie wants to join us?” Jordan suggested.
Wincing a bit, Beatrice just smirked and relented. “Sure.”
Jordan smiled before he called his friend to see if he was free to join them, but he was completely oblivious to what Beatrice was implying from a moment ago.