Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 3 – Island of the Damned (IOTD)

IOTD 32 – Life and Death and Life

USS Mercy / Palasa Planet
12.28.2400 @ 2200
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The door closed, and Harris paced the room as Henry Wyatt sat on the couch, his hands clasped together.  It took him a moment to compose his words.  He exploded, “What in the actual hell just happened?  You…knew about this?”

Wyatt sighed quietly, “It is our curse.  Knowing enough but not being able to share.”

Harris wasn’t done, “You…you knew this was what would happen…and you didn’t share?”

Henry explained, “The effect of the Jade Dilithium wasn’t known to the Vulcansah until it was too late…and they didn’t share it with any prisoners.  I don’t think they knew that I was aware of the situation.  I wasn’t sure how long it would take to have its…final effect.”  He looked into the eyes of the furious captain, “You know the rules of my people.  This moment…these events…they are a part of the timeline that must occur.”

Ambrose just stared at him, “Will my first officer survive?”

Wyatt gave a quiet nod, “Her exposure was brief.  When your teams on the Island decode the records and logs, they will find the studies on Jade Dilithium go back hundreds of years.  It takes a long time for the poison to become truly potent.”  He sat forward, fingers steepled, “The Arretans will die.  Each of them.  They will have to be returned to their containers.”

The CO hadn’t stopped staring, “And of the Palasa people?”

The El-Aurian shrugged, “You will decide their fate, captain.  They are a terrible group of people with no real goodness within them.  I know the Starfleet way is to save everyone – including the ones who were just trying to erase you from history.”  He spent a moment contemplating what he felt, “I don’t know what kind of captain I would have been if I had to answer his question.”

Harris sat roughly in the chair at his desk, “What question?”

“The last one he asked. ‘What of these bodies?  Do you not care for them?’  The truth is, I’m not certain my answer would have been the right one.  I’ve lived a few lifetimes.  Watching the killers kill and the killed kill.  You start to wonder if someone should try and change the direction of things.”

“You would have left them to die?”

Wyatt shrugged, “I don’t know, captain.  In that moment…my response would have been, ‘Go to hell’ and leave them to suffer in the pits of their sin and malice.”  He stood from the couch, “That’s not the right answer, at least when you’re wearing this uniform.  Do I need to report to the brig?” He said it simply.  There was no sarcasm, just an honest question.

Ambrose chewed on the question.  “You didn’t knowingly give the Vulcansah the Jade Dilithium.  You hid facts from my crew and me…but it wasn’t from a place of malice or conspiracy against this ship.  You acted as you saw fit…and despite the little play, we acted out, you’re not currently a member of Starfleet.  I need to consult a few people, write reports, and talk to my Task Force command.  You’ll be confined to certain areas of the ship with a security escort at all times.”

Wyatt walked to the door and turned to Harris as it opened, “You’re the kind of captain I wished I’d had when I was in the fleet.  Life might have been different for me.”  He picked up his escort, who was standing outside the door, which then closed.  Ambrose leaned back in his chair.  He had a lot of calls to make.

 

 

“You cannot kill me.”  The body that held Rimush was on a biobed on the surface of the planet, and it was slowly shutting down.  Jordan was working with the mobile triage unit they had setup as the last pieces of the mobile hospital were being put in place by the engineering team.  She had tried to speak with Rimush, but he’d stared straight ahead, repeating that they couldn’t kill him.  

She sat on the stool next to his bed, “Whatever passes for death for an Arretan will come to pass for you, Rimush.  The body you occupy will fail.  And then your spirit will be unable to go anywhere unless you choose to go into the arks we’ve constructed”, she pointed to the stone boxes with diagnostic equipment installed, “There, you can at least die without feeling everything this body is going to be feeling.”

He scoffed, “This pain is nothing to a being such as me.”  Even as he said the words, he grimaced and cringed at the steadily crescendoing stabs of pain that assaulted his senses.  Reid sighed and moved to the others.  T’saath was laying a few beds over.

“Enhed.”  The being that had held the Vulcan’s body was defeated.  A deeply saddened look was permanently etched on the face of the usually unemotional executive officer.  She turned her head as Reid sat on the stool.

“Doctor…Reid…you said I could go into…that ark?”  A nod from Jordan.  “I regret us, doctor.  I wish I had done the things I had done.  I wish I could live a changed life.”

Reid took T’saath’s hand in hers, which felt awkward, but she pushed through, “We know so little about your next stage of life.  We’ll stand watch over your ark until you pass, Enhed…I promise you.”

T’saath’s eyes started to flit as she struggled to breath, “Then I will say goodbye to you, Doctor…Reid…thank you for your kindness in the face…of our evil.”  Reid watched the readings and then glanced at T’saath, who had a curious and somewhat offended look on her face.

“Lieutenant…why are you holding my hand?”

Reid slipped it out quietly and chuckled, “Your host needed some comfort.”

An eyebrow went up, “I do not require comfort.  I require sleep and silence – I must meditate to repair the damage she has done to my mind and spirit.”  She closed her eyes.  Jordan moved down the line.  She met up with Ensign Yoshiyuki.

The assistant chief medical officer reported that Manish while fighting the requirement to transfer to an ark, was coming around to the idea. At the same time, Shu had quietly agreed and had completed his transfer moments ago.  The body he had occupied had been damaged too much.  “There was nothing we could do.  Mardo’s occupant, Tashlultum, is proving a challenging host.”  He led her across the tent to where the security officer was strapped into the bed.  She was snarling and spitting at anyone that came close to her.  “She believes we’re going to send them to oblivion.  I think she’s going to end up killing Mardo if we don’t find a way to get her out of there.”

Reid frowned, “Any progress on that front?”

“A few theories, none pleasant.  One is that we kill Mardo…at least temporarily.  Tashlultum would be without a host and due to her poisoned status…would have nowhere to go aide from the Ark to live out her last hours or days.”

Jordan knew it could be done.  It didn’t mean that it should be done.  “Make preparations…I need to consult with the captain.”

She stepped away and tapped her badge.  She filled him on the latest.

=^=So we’re down to Rimush and his wife.  The true believers.  Can you do it down there, or do you need Mack’s facilities=^=

Reid considered the hospital, “I’d need a few more portable devices…but I think I can do it.”  Harris gave her the go.  She went to work.

 

 

“Rimush, Tashlultum…we gave you the option to get out willingly.  The health and safety of your hosts are our biggest concerns.  Now we have to do this the hard way.”  Reid stood at the head of the biobeds, equipment, and medical staff surrounding them on the planet’s surface.

Rimush spat back, “You cannot kill me.”  Tashlultum just stared daggers at Reid.

Jordan tapped at her PADD, “Let’s begin.  Start the clock.”  The staff started the equipment, and a chrono unit clicked on above them as the timer clicked forward.  The temperature on both bodies began to drop.  The goal was to hit somewhere between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius. The heart and lungs would slow and eventually stop, allowing for the body to be restarted within thirty minutes.  Reid kept her eyes on the readings as the heart rate slowed along the respirations.  Slowly the two bodies began to approach the state of circulatory arrest.  Both Arretans began to panic as they started to feel what was happening.

Rimush spoke slowly, “What…are…you…doing?”

Reid kept one eye on the PADD, “We’re putting your host bodies into deep hypothermic circulatory arrest.  They will die.  And you…you will have to choose oblivion or the comfort of the ark for your last days.”

“But…you…cannot…kill…me.”

Jordan tapped at the PADD, “You’ll be the one deciding what happens when you die, Rimush, not me.”  She checked the readings, “Get ready, team; we’re at 22 degrees.”  The alarms started to ring out minutes later, and a long solid beep filled the room.  Reid restarted the clock.  The two bodies suddenly shook and groaned and then went still.  One minute went by on the chrono.  

A science officer reported from the ark section, “We’re reading both Rimush and  Tashlultum have entered their arks.  They are secured.”

Jordan sighed with relief, “Let’s get them started back up.”  The team quickly went to work, and within ten minutes, the patients were transferred to the intensive care unit section of the mobile hospital.  They still had a massive number of people to evaluate and monitor as the night continued on, but they had put an end to the nightmare.