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A Step Closer To Normal

Posted on 26 May 2016 @ 3:44am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij

Mission: Outbreak
Location: Sickbay
Timeline: MD 10 || 0700 hours

Jayla scanned Harvey for the umpteenth time in the past two hours. He was steadily improving. Scanning him was just an excuse to be near him. Even though he seemed to be improving, she was still worried. She wouldn't relax until she was absolutely sure that he was okay.

Harvey began to stir. As he did, his body once again began to feel the cot underneath of him. Though it still felt like sleeping on solid limestone, the Captain found himself more refreshed than he'd been in days. His senses slowly returned, detecting the familiar whirr of the life support systems, as well as the beeping of monitors and tricorders. Well, just one tricorder, and it was very close.

The Captain's eyelids slowly opened to see the proximity of the tricorder, and the familiar brown eyes behind it. "Hey," he said softly. He might feel refreshed, but his body lacked energy.

Jayla grinned. "Hey," she replied, stowing her tricorder in her pocket. "How are you feeling?"

He paused for a moment to evaluate himself in order to give a proper response. "Not tired," he replied, cracking a smirk.

Jayla's grin widened. "Good," she said. "Are you hungry? Thirsty?"

"All of the above," Harvey said, deciding to sit up. His muscles ached slightly as he did so, but not nearly as bad as he hoped.

"I'll be right back," she said, hurrying off to Sick Bay's replicator. She desperately tried to remember what his favorite food was, but couldn't come up with anything, so she just ordered a bowl of a simple sausage breakfast bowl and a glass of water. After a moment's hesitation, she ordered a coffee, too, then had to replicate a tray on which to carry them. "I hope this is okay," she said as she approached him again. "If not, I can take it back and try again."

The smell was enough to revitalize him. "Thanks," he said, having sat up on the cot. Harvey accepted the bowl and took a bite. It might be replicated, but it was better than nothing at this point. "How're we doing?"

"Much better," she answered. "Everyone who has shown symptoms had gotten the T-cells and those who haven't have been tested for the virus. Just about everyone tested positive, so now we're trying to figure out why not everyone showed symptoms. We also have a lead on a vaccine, but that's still in the preliminary stages."

Harvey nodded. "Then it sounds like we're not out of the woods yet, but the rough patch is over." He took a bite of the stir fry. "T-Cells, huh?"

"Yeah," she said, pulling a chair over to his bed and sitting for a moment. "It turns out Trills are immune. We made a sort of vaccine out of dead virus to force our bodies to produce more antibodies, then isolated the T-cells, which we gave to everyone who's infected. I... may have told you this the last time you woke up," she added, unable to quite remember.

"To be honest," Harvey said, finishing the mouthful, "I don't remember much after the lab. I remember... Anger. Hurt. Frustration." Before placing another bite in his mouth, he added, "I do remember accusing you of being in league with the Consortium, though."

"Yeah," said Jayla, wincing. "That hurt. But, I understand. The virus makes people do mad things. I heard that one girl accused her boyfriend of being her dead ex and tried to stab him with a laser scalpel. There was a brawl in Talons that started when one man went on a rant about everyone being Consortium and trying to kill them. They had to flood the bar with anesthezine gas. So, I know you weren't quite yourself at that point." She paused. "You... don't still think I'm with them, do you?" she asked nervously.

Harvey shook his head, his mind having already started to focus on putting some of the pieces of his memories back together. "Can you imagine what would have happened if we didn't stay for a couple days of R and R? Thankfully no ships left during that time either. Otherwise, this situation would be a lot worse."

"Yeah," said Jayla. "I've thought of that. If we'd gone on to wherever it was we were going, we could have spread this thing who knows how far." She sighed. "It could have been a mess."

"Indeed." Harvey finished another bite. "I imagine it's still a mess on the planet below. We're a ship of over 500, and there must be a few million people on the planet below. I'll contact Unity and see if the Hopkins can relieve us out here as soon as possible." The Olympic-class medical ship would be more than capable to continue the cleanup.

After consuming another bite, he asked, "How'd you figure out Trills were immune?"

"I was studying the virus's progression in my own system to get a baseline of what happens," she said. "Then one test told me that there was no longer any virus in my blood. So, I started doing some experiments. I added virus to phials of my blood and found that they died almost instantly. Then, I was able to isolate the antibody. I noticed that no Trills had reported symptoms, so I went around and took blood samples. Sure enough, they all had the antibody." She sighed. "Making enough antibodies to cure the crew wasn't easy," she added. "We probably took a few risks there, but we didn't have time to be safe."

Harvey had paused eating by this point and was considering what Jayla was talking about. "Antibodies are nearly impossible to synthesize," he commented. He quickly thought about how many Trill were aboard and did the math. "You stretched you and members of this crew to save the rest of us?" he asked rhetorically, a bit of both surprise and contempt in his voice. Thinking of how many were on the planet below only made his head hurt. It really would take New Risa weeks, if not months, to fully recover.

"Not really," she replied. "My first reaction was to just inject myself with a massive amount of virus, but then I realized that was dangerous. And besides, dead virus works just as well. Then we had to unfold the virus because when it dies, it folds in on itself. Bast wouldn't let me inject myself with the unfolded virus, so he tested it. The only side effect was a bit of exhaustion, so I made the Trills all take time off duty if they were going to help. And anyway..." she said hesitantly. "I- I couldn't let you die. I couldn't have lived with that."

Harvey responded to her hesitation by freeing a hand to cover hers. While he might not have agreed with her methods, Harvey recalled a few unorthodox methods of his own from his youth. "I tell you what," Harvey stated, "it's not the best way for a former doctor to die. Falling to some unknown disease." Looking into her eyes, he added, "Thank you."

She smiled weakly. "I mean, there are the others, too," she said. "I've never lost s patient before and now I've lost six." She closed her eyes and swallowed hard. "It's... I think I'll have to talk to the counselor."

He did remember inklings of the lost crew in his hazy memories. Harvey set the bowl down and wrapped his free arm around her waist and drew her close. He'd lost dozens, if not a few hundred, before, albeit under very different circumstances. "It's never easy," Harvey told her.

She let him pull her close and in fact, sat on the edge of his bed and leaned her head on his shoulder. "I can't imagine it is," she said miserably. "I never want to feel like this again."

Harvey said nothing. He laid his head on hers and wrapped his other arm around her. There were so many things he could say, but he knew none of them would make a difference. All he could do was comfort and console her.


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