Removal and Retrieval
Posted on Sat Feb 9th, 2019 @ 10:08pm by Captain Christopher James & Captain Charlotte Reynolds V1 & Lieutenant Commander Kenna Wolff & Lieutenant Commander Maralen Seitha & Lieutenant Elias Lindholm & Ensign Colby Pierce & Lieutenant Commander Summer Gallagher & Lieutenant Andromeda Sheffield Dr
Episode 4: Fires of Arcadia
Location: Medical Isolation Lab, USS Defiant
Timeline: Once Aboard Defiant
The Isolab was small. There was room for a lone bio bed, and for two or three medical staff, and that was it.
Outside, it was different. There was security, and ranking officers both new to the Defiant and old.
Summer Gallagher, was the former XO and Chief of Intell of the Defiant, and she stood silently behind her captain, Captain Chris James, the former CO of the Defiant and currently of the Artemis, watching with the current command team of the Defiant, Captain Charlotte Reynolds and Lt. Maralen Seitha as their acting CMO entered the Isolab where the Defiant's Strategic Operations Officer currently Lay, heavily sedated.
Summer glanced around noting that there were security officers now entering under the command of Lieutenant Lindholm. For their presence may be required if things went wrong.
Andromeda Sheffield, the current acting CMO of the Defiant studied the woman laying on the bio bed. She was strapped down to the point that if Andie didn't know better, would have suggested the woman was into some rather interesting after work activities.
Andie was dressed in a clean suit and O2 re-breather as was her two assistants who stepped in behind her.
Andie glanced at the glass wall, two way glass but she knew who was behind it. "Captain Reynolds. I would like you to have someone look up the Commander's current will. I need to know what her wishes are if this thing... tries to kill her while we try to extract it."
Charlotte didn’t want to think about that option. “I’m pretty sure her stance would be ‘dear god, don’t let some brain slug be the thing that takes me out.’”
"You may think that Captain, but if Commander Wolff's wishes are to die with dignity, rather than live her life as an invalid, I need to know."
The Captain grumbled. “Just try to keep her alive, Doctor.”
The Acting CMO merely turned back to the patient. "Find out please" And then she picked up a tricorder and began to run a deep scan of Kenna.
Maralen stood silently beside his captain, his expression inscrutable. He did not really know Ms. Wolff, but that didn't matter. She was one of his crew, and she was in trouble. He knew as well as any of them did what the odds were of her coming out of this whole, but he was not dwelling on that; that would serve no one.
He understood the doctor's request and Charlotte's reactions to it. Both had valid points, but he secretly hoped that it would not come to that.
Elias had a security team stationed outside the Lab, and two armed officers with him inside the lab. He had seen the incredible strength someone infected with this parasite possessed, so he wasn't taking any chances. He was now hoping that they would be able to extract the creature. At least it would prove that the infected were not totally lost.
Pierce stood with the security team, holding a phaser rifle.
***Inside the Isolab**
Above the bio bed a holographic representation of Kenna’s form appeared. It was just a humanoid form, with bones and organs and blood vessels clearly shown. Andie frowned. “Mass of scar tissue.” She muttered. “Consistent with previously documented injuries. Funny though the records were not updated when she did her on-boarding physical. Nurse make a note of that. The Physical was incomplete. And have someone run a look over the other physicals done in the past 6 months. We may need to get them redone.”
The nurse nodded.
The scan moved to Kenna’s neck and a long red image superimposed itself around the spinal column and into the base of the brain. Andie didn’t flinch as she spoke. “Parasite is wrapped around the brainstem, and has tentacles into the upper vertebrae. Looks like minimal damage to the vertebrae themselves, but, Increase magnification by 250%.”
The Scan zoomed closer. “Oh you sneaky…” she muttered. “Nurse, increase the sedation, I think our friend here is overcoming the stun.”
Indeed Kenna’s brainwaves had begun to flux and her hands opened and closed, though they were tied down.
“Yes Dr Sheffield.” The nurse pressed a button and sedative was administered to Kenna, knocking her further unconscious. The hands stilled and the brainwaves subsided. Beneath the host’s brainwaves pattern another appeared.
Andie took a long needle and said. “Tilt Bio bed 90 degrees.” The bed did so and Andie removed the part behind Kenna’s neck. Then she knelt and slowly inserted the needle into the back of Kenna’s neck.
Those watching could see the needle enter the host’s neck and then into the parasite.
“Administering Sedative to Parasite.” Andie announced. “Watch Hosts bio-signs”
The bio bed began to wail as Kenna’s heart rate began to plummet. “Oh you son of a targ!” Andromeda muttered. She however continued with the sedative and after several moments, heart rate of Host leveled out to normal.
“Yeah that’s what I thought.” Andie stood and the nurse rotated the bed back to normal as Andie again looked at the glass. “Captain Reynolds, this … Parasite is very clever. It can as you can see control its hosts bodily functions. And it fought with me to stop me from sedating it. Had I stopped, it would have won but I doubt it would have killed Kenna. It needs Kenna alive. And it is trying to scare us off.” She took a breath. “Do we know how it got inside her?”
Summer looked at Chris. As senior Officer he would have the privilege of informing of that event.
“Um...,” Chris cleared his throat not loving the fact that the scene was playing out in his mind again. “General Javier...regurgitated the bug. At which point she forcibly opened Kenna’s jaw and the creature crawled inside. So...I guess it entered orally. After a moment of resistance, Lt. Commander Wolff became subservient to it.”
Charlotte’s brow furrowed in sympathy. “Kenna...” She looking at the poor woman, strapped to the table. She’d been so reserved, the Captain had barely gotten to know her. But her record explained that. An incredible history of trauma had built up her rigid defenses. She eventually turned to Captain James. “You said the General regurgitated it?”
“Yes,” Chris replied. “It appeared to come from her abdomen.”
Charlotte thought this over for a second. “All the other parasites have been imbedded in their necks. You think this could be some sort of queen bee situation?”
Maralen winced at the image the story presented, looking at the woman in the isolab with sympathy. He was also thinking about what Charlotte had said; he had thought of that as well. "It would be the logical thing to guess." he said very softly. He was still calm and steady, but his voice now carried the sympathy and compassion he felt for poor Kenna. "That thought had occurred to me as well. They have to be spawned somewhere, and given that they are parasites, inside of another living host would be the most logical place." As much as that thought sickened him for what it meant to Starfleet, it was the most logical assumption.
“I think we need to know more about where the General might have picked this thing up,” Charlotte said. She turned ready to give Kenna an order to search personnel records, but caught herself. “I’ll make sure to get someone on that soon.”
She pushed the intercom. “Doctor, how’s it coming?” She didn’t want to pressure the doctor, but she didn’t like not knowing either.
When told how the creature had entered Kenna, Amdie had turned back to her patient . She and a nurse had rolled Kenna onto her stomach and had restrapped her down. "Captain. I need the body of the dead Ensign, Nurse Halliwell here says you killed someone with the parasite inside them earlier. "
Charlotte nodded. “I did. Ensign Thiriv was infected and attempted to kill me in my quarters. I was forced to kill him. You think his body could help?”
"I need to make sure I am cutting the right things. The dead officer will do for that." Andromeda replied.
“I’ll have it brought here immediately,” Charlotte said, not even hesitating. “Fair warning. I damaged the creature while it was inside him so part of that area was destroyed. And the creature extracted itself from his body before I killed it. But hopefully it still provides useful information.”
Andie nodded. "Thank you Captain." She went back to prepping Kenna.
A thought that had been buried deep in the back of her mind finally resurfaced. “Oh...we, uh, might have a live one too.” The live one had been stored in perpetual stasis, within the bio sample chamber of Defiant. It would have been shielded from the baryon purge. “Our crew managed to recover one from a Tholian ship. It appears to have been genetically altered to survive that climate. But anything might help, I guess.”
Andie looked over her shoulder. "That one too. Captain this is not going to be easy and quick. You all might want to go about your duties." Andie took a breath "And I am going to be honest, it might not work."
An officer came and whispered into Charlotte’s ear, causing her to grimace. “Doctor, her will? She says she wants to die with dignity. But...do your best to not let it come to that, ok?”
"I will." Came the reply from the doctor.
Charlotte limped toward the door. She was back on her feet, but it’d take a few hours for her leg to truly be back in normal condition. “I’ll be on the bridge. We need to get Defiant moving.” She looked back over her shoulder. “Bring her back to us, Doc.”
As the captain headed for the door, Summer glanced at Chris. "Go. I'll stay here just in case." she said softly.
"Ok," Chris said, resting his hand on Summer's shoulder. "Let me know if her condition changes."
Summer nodded and settled in to wait.
Another door opened and two containers were wheeled in. One was obviously a body, the other a stasis tube.
Andie took charge and hours passed, Andie was running out of options as she examined the corpse time and again, and studied the parasite in stasis.
She had done all she could and now, she had to try and take the parasite out of Kenna. Sedation would only last so long.
Moving back into the Isolab, she glanced at the Artemis' XO sitting by the wall with security. "Commander Gallagher?" She said softly. "You should go and rest."
"No. I will wait." Summer replied. "I.. set her up on the mission. I was a part of the group who .. ordered her into it."
Andie knelt beside her. "And we will get her out of it, Commander. You need to rest."
"Just save her doctor." Summer replied.
"I intend to." Andie stood and moved into the Isolab.
The nurse was standing there. "She is waking up again. I am not sure we can sedate the Commander again without causing damage to her. "
Andie nodded. "I know..." She had a bad feeling about this whole thing. "But we do not have a choice." Andie checked the readings. "Parasite is still out. Host is waking," she confirmed. "Let's numb the incision area."
Together, Andie and the nurse worked together in the surgery. They carefully pinned Kenna's hair up, cut the uniform off of the back of Kenna and shaved the back of her neck and upper back. Then they began to numb the back and shoulders.
Andie picked up the laser incisor. The incision they made was long, starting at the base of Kenna's skull to the juncture of her neck and shoulders.
In silence the pair worked, seeming to communicate without words, but there were words, softly spoken as they cut deeper into Kenna's back and neck.
"It's still out."
"I know. I don't want to kill it yet, but I need to remove it..."
"If we kill it..."
"We kill Kenna." Came the soft muttered reply. And deep down, Andie wondered if they would have to.
==Outside the Isolab==
Summer watched in silence. Occasionally she would send a written update to Chris and Charlotte.
Maralen stood silently off to one side. The lady in the isolab was one of his crew, and he would not leave until she was either dead or saved from this thing. Charlotte was right; one of them had to get the ship moving; but she had gone to do that. And one of them needed to stay here too, so he had done that.
He was worried, but it did not show. His tail was coiled very tightly about his waist as it always was, and his expression was his usual calm, though he used it now as a shield, a suit of armor. His eyes tracked between the doctors, Kenna and Summer. He could see that the other Commander was worried, perhaps even felt a bit... guilty. He could understand that, but ultimately the decision to send Kenna had been theirs, not Summer's. Still...
Silently, he moved to stand beside her silently and rested a gentle hand on her shoulder. His expression now was warmth and assurance, though he still did not speak.
==2 hours later==
"And that should.." Andie cut the last filament attaching the parasite to Kenna. They had had to sedate her another 2 times in the procedure and Andie was worried about brain damage being added to. She lifted the parasite free and placed into a stasis tube. Then before she closed, she ran a scan over Kenna carefully.
"All clear." The nurse said.
"Get one of those scanners the captain had. To make sure."
The nurse went out of the lab and returned with the scanner.
Andie began slowly sewing up the internal muscles and tendons with the regenerator and layer after layer, she carefully fixed the ship's Strategic Operations officer.
The nurse gave the all clear and leaving the isolab reported to Summer.
Summer hit her comm. "Gallagher to Reynolds and James. Doctor Sheffield has finished removing the parasite from Commander Wolff. She is closing now."
Captain Reynolds' voice was eager as she replied. "On our way!"
A few short minutes later, they arrived at sickbay. Charlotte entered, striding up to the comm panel. Captain James followed close behind. "Doctor, you have good news I hear?"
Maralen moved now up beside his captain silently. He did not need to say anything since she had already said it.
Andie looked up from finishing her surgery. "Aye Captain." She replied. "I have removed the parasite and the scans show Commander Wolff is clear of any parasitic activity. Her wound will take a few days to heal, after that, I recommend counseling and the like before resumption of duties. She will wake in 2 hours or so," Andie paused. "Captain, there is a chance that the constant sedation could have caused more brain damage to the Commander."
Charlotte nodded solemnly. "I understand. Do what you can." She clicked off the comm, before flipping it back on. "Wait...this procedure. Is there any chance we can replicate it?"
Andromeda nodded. "Not sure how we would on those like Javier... but yes."
Summer snarled softly "You don't have to worry about Javier. You can do her autopsy."
Charlotte shook her head. "If I'm right about Javier having the queen inside her, then it's likely this procedure wouldn't work anyway. Put together a report on the procedure with as much detail as you can. I want to update those fighting for control of the station on how we can try to save at least some of the infected crew."
"Aye Captain." Andromeda replied. "I will send it to the Station at once."