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The Situation So Far

Posted on 21 Oct 2023 @ 3:38pm by Captain Easton Lawe & Lieutenant Commander Derek Martin

1,326 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: Miranda

It was time for a status report, although the captain had been delaying it since he knew that his chief of medical was probably running around half-insane at that time and even though he was captain, Easton did not want to add to that. Still, he needed to...and he opened a channel to sickbay and Doctor Martin.

=/\= Commander Martin here, go ahead,=/\= he responded. He pulled the sheet up over the crewman's eyes he'd been working to save. Thinking that he was just coming down with a cold, or somehow believing he wasn't really that sick, whatever the rationale was, he'd come to Sickbay too late. The young science officer was simply beyond help as one by one his organs had shut down and he was gone. Derek ordered two emergency orderlies to take the body out and away. He'd requested that a cargo bay section be turned into an impromptu morgue, with the temperature lowered significantly. Perhaps the dead would tell them more than the living.

"I know you're very busy right now, Doctor, but do you think you can spare me a few minutes?" Although a ship's captain could order anything, of course, Easton knew his CMO was the most overworked person on the ship right then and he was sympathetic.

=/\= Yes, I can spare a few, Captain. I can spare more than that if you're sick, but I'll be right up. Martin out. =/\= The doctor said and closed the comm channel.

"Take over. I won't be but a moment," Martin said with a sharp nod to one of the junior doctors under his command. He left sickbay and headed out to the nearest turbolift. Moments later, he stepped out onto the bridge to meet with the Captain.

"Come on in," Easton said as soon as the doctor entered the ready room. "Help yourself to whatever you want from the replicator and take a load off for a moment. I can imagine it must still be madness down there." He felt the need to be a little less removed, moving around his desk and leaning back against it. "I just wanted to talk briefing, touch base about the situation as well as how you and your staff are doing." There was the...other thing, but that would come after this.

"It's an absolute madhouse down there, Captain. I've got everyone working full time with no time off. 16 hour shifts on with 8 hours of rest. We're little to no closer to understanding exactly what we're dealing with. It's some sort of virus, or at least something that behaves like one. In Commander Harva it caused a cognitive decline so badly he hallucinated. In others it's caused a general malaise consisting of body aches and fever, combined with a delirium or 'brain fog' of sorts. Whatever this is it attacks the nervous system and the lymphatic system and the blood. We're stuck fighting a rearguard action trying to quarantine who we can, and discover who our enemy is even as we treat the symptoms," Martin gave his report.

Easton nodded. He had read the spare reports that they'd been able to send up and this all built on that, though it may also have answered some of his latter questions. "Have we had any luck at all with identifying what it is, or even being able to locate it in the victim's bodies?"

"We don't have a positive identification. It definitely has a vector like a virus or a disease. We've ruled out the prospect of a parasitic infection. It acts like a virus, but there's something more to it than just that. It survives on surfaces for a very long period of time, but we haven't managed to isolate it yet. I've had a section of cargo bay set aside to to act as a morgue and as a way to work on the corpses to provide us data post-mortem." Derek laid out the answer and rubbed his temple.

"There are only a couple of things that spring to mind on this, Captain," he said. Fatigue strangled his voice. "Either this is something foreign, or it's something innate in most of the species aboard this ship. If it's foreign, it's going in, attacking the cells in the brain, and shifting them to make them go haywire, like little gremlins. If it's something innate inside each and every one of us, then whatever the common exposure is produces the same sorts of results in everyone, like some sort of radiation poisoning producing symptoms in a wide-spread area."

There was nothing in any of what was said that Easton liked...but there was nothing about any of what was going on that he liked. He rubbed one temple. "How many are in our...makeshift morgue by now?"

"We've had four casualties so far. At this point the casualties are limited to people who, as far as we can tell, three have simply refused to report to Sickbay until they've progressed with symptoms to the point that they began suffering further and irreparable neurologic damage, and the fourth refused to come to Sickbay and was killed when they passed out in a Jeffries Tube, falling several decks to their death. It was the disease that was the catalyst, but the fall that killed them. One thing we do know, and we are confident on, is that early detection and treatment seems to be working. Of course this is leaving a lot of duty rotations calamitously short-staffed with people working longer and longer hours to make up for their sick comrades who happen to be quarantined," Derek said.

The captain nodded somberly. "If you haven't already, let's look through the roster for anyone in another department who might have any experience that can be of use," he said. "Everywhere on the ship is short-staffed, but your staff needs breaks lest exhaustion lead to more casualties."

"So far we're doing okay. What we can't handle at present is really taking too many from already stressed areas. I'd rather work the hours, sir, than take people off of Engineering or Operations that are keeping our ship from breaking apart at the seams, but I'll put the crew on notice. I don't know if we'll get anyone, but we'll see and we'll draw from other departments to deputize as needed. If needs be, I'll ask Ensign Walker and Odin if they can lend a hand as well," Derek said.

"Ensign Walker may be useful, but the Odin AI still hasn't resurfaced." Which was a problem...but for another time. "Right now, tactical and security are not highest priority. Counseling, administration, and the pilots should have some persons who can double as well. We will leave engineering and operations as it is, yes." Easton blew out a breath and ran a hand over his head. "Thank you for the update. I will let you return to it, but if you need anything, please don't hesitate to let me know."

"Yes, Captain. And I'd like reports from you and the Exec as well when I update you. You're well aware of the danger this has for folks who aren't reporting to Sickbay. I'd hate to run out of fingers on one hand to count those who pass from this. So please keep me informed of your own health, and anyone else on Command staff that isn't feeling up to scratch," Derek requested and stood, preparing to leave.

The captain nodded. He knew that captains and commanders could often be the worst patients, but he wasn't a fool either. "I will, Doctor," he assured the other man. "Lead by example, and all that."

"Lead by example. Back unto the breach, Captain. Be well," Derek said and gave a salute before he turned on his heel to head back out and down to Sickbay. "No rest for the wicked, or the weary," Derek muttered to himself as the turbolift took him away from the bridge.


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