Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Out of Mind, Out of Sight I: Probe

“That must have been quite a powerboard accident.” Dr. Fenna said, running the ocular scanner over Lieutenant Commander Sri’s eye.

“I didn’t say I had a powerboard accident.”

“That’s good, you don’t have the lobes to sell that.” She picked up a hypo when Sri’s hand shot out and gripped her wrist tightly.  Dr. Fenna’s slow distainful stare went from Sri’s hand on her wrist to the Betazoid’s anxious expression.  “And just what do you think you are you doing, Lieutenant Commander?” Her tone was acidic.

“What is that?” Sri asked with an accusatory nod to the hypo.

Fenna twisted her wrist slightly. “The blood vessels in your eyes are grossly inflamed. A vasaldialator will reduce the inflammation.” She sarcastically added, “if that is in agreement with your medical opinion.”

Sri paused, then sheepishly looked away, gently releasing her hand. “Sorry, its Reflex.  I prefer to know what I’m being injected with so that I can ensure my—“

“Neurotransmitter levels balance? Yes. You’re type II Evans” Dr. Fenna’s irritated tone became a recitation “manageable, provided you stay away from most drugs and almost all psionic strain.” She reassumed her appraising stare. “And, since you didn’t come back from Risa with any embarrassing body mods for me to remove, I’ll assume the former is not a problem.” She jabbed the hypo high on Sri’s arm.

“Ow!  I am a qualified medical tech, and can provide treatments up to class II.”

“Oh good. You know how to turn on an EMH.” 

Sri rubbed her upper arm sullenly. “If you’ll recall, Doctor, you signed off on me assisting one Subcommander Vattera T’leth Ventari with her sleeplessness. It turned out to be a bit more than that. A simple probe became – complicated.”

“Romulans make complicated a pastime. Hold still.” Fenna said, holding another instrument. “I can treat some of those ocular lesions with a vasal dialator so you’ll at least be able to bat your baby blacks at Captain Tilmana without his math going too far south.”

“Let him stare. My numbers are already bad.”

“Everyone’s numbers are bad.  The ship’s a shambles, and my labs would be completely unpacked if it weren’t for your Aenar friend. I don’t know how your teams got your labs assembled so quickly.”

“I don’t micromanage.”  Sri said simply.

The Doctor shot her a sour look and changed the subject. “What happened during your testing?”

Sri considered the doctor long enough to decide her curiosity was genuine.  “She hasn’t had steady sleep in days – a reoccurring nightmare keeps her from having normal sleep pattern.  Her last psionic contact was with a Vulcan inexperienced in the – tactful elements of psionic contact.”

“A Vulcan without a bedside manner? How unusual.”

Sri prickled at the mockery. “You don’t understand Vulcans, you’re one to talk.”

“Warm as an Andorian’s –“

“Forget it -- Naturally she was disoriented and uncertain how to proceed.   I couldn’t get in touch with her chief medical officer, so her commanding officer approved the assessment and attended instead.  She has a sense of comfort and trust around him, so I thought he might help her stay calm.”

“And what did this elaborate preparation get you?”

 “I determined psionically sensitive, but currently has no defense, nor any control.  It seems that her nightmare is actually happening continuously. She’s just more aware of it when she’s sleeping.”

“Some sort of trauma loop?”

“It seemed that way, but it adjusts to outside –“ Sri abruptly paused.  “You’re familiar with memory trauma?”

“I’m passingly familiar – I found some of the doctoral works from a certain Betazoid telepath…”

“…oh. Its pretty rudimentary. We were just scratching the surface back then what we’ve learned from treating Undine manip-“ Sri stopped, sensing the Fenna’s irritation. “Right the patient.  I tried to approach the source, but it made Subcommander Ventari more aware of the nightmare, which became a lucid dream.  The shock of lucidity caused her central nervous system to seize, and I was connected to her. We were both seizing.”

 “Why didn’t a lab attended break the connection?”

“We weren’t in a lab.  Don’t look at me like that—“

“I wasn’t—“

“You were going to.”

“Lt Commander Sri, why don’t you let me have my reactions before you respond to them.”

“Then stop shouting.”

“I’m not—“

“I don’t mean vocally“ Sri snapped with a scowl at Dr. Fenna, who slowly lowered the  hypo she gripped like a knife.  Sri sighed, forcing her tone to become gentler. “The lab made her uneasy. It was supposed to be a simple probe. Its not unusual for basic probes to be conducted in more casual environments, to keep labs free for more complex procedures.”

“That’ll teach you.” Fenna said dryly.

Sri rubbed the back of her neck. “I’ve run hundreds of casual probes. This was an unusual situation “

“I’ll say.” Fenna said, her expression hidden as she consulted a PADD. “From medical scan, I’d guess this isn’t your first go around with seizures.  So you were in the middle of her nightmare.” 

“I wasn’t alone. During the seizure, Captain Olson tried to help me, and touched me. The connection was powerful enough for him to be pulled in as well.”

“Remind me not to touch you during a seizure. Wait, do you always allow strange captains into your head? I mean it is Risa—“

Sri waved her off.  “No no no. I’ve talked with him before. He wasn’t a threat, and if I do have a seizure, wear gloves and administer 12 cc’s of oni-“

Fenna snapped her fingers in front of Sri’s eyes. “Do you always trouble focusing, Lt. Commander?”

“I’m just a little tired.” Sri said lamely.

“You’d think Betazoids could lie better. You’re exhausted. What happened?”

“The nightmare seems to be repetitive – some traumatic event that happened on her previous ship, and a figure forcing her to watch it unfold over and over. I thought with the help of people she liked and trusted I could pull her away, so I helped Captain Olson assume enough physical control to touch Subcommander Ventari’s commanding officer.”

“Did it work?”

“Captain Olson was able to touch him and I extended the connection, but, her commanding officer went berserk, and turned Subcommanders Ventari’s mindscape into a battlefield, trying to ‘defeat the demons’. Ventari was terrified.”

Fenna shook her head. “Shoot every problem. It might help against the Iconians, but in our minds, our demons are as part of us as our angels.”

“Exactly! You did read that paper!” Sri said with some pride as Fenna rolled her eyes. “Everything in a mindscape is connected to the host mind. He was winning the battle, but killing her. I had to protect her as well.”

“That’s …four connections? Your file has you highly ranked, but that’s – something.”

“I can’t hold that long.”

“How did you break connection?”

“Breaking the physical. I shoved Captain Olson.”

“But you were –“

“My telekinesis is on file.”

Fenna glanced at her PADD. “Well, so it is.  Mostly small objects. In the tens of microgellars.  How profuse was the nosebleed after?”

Sri shrugged. “I’ve had worse.”

Fenna ran a sensor across the bridge of Sri’s nose, frowning at the tricorder. “Yes, I can see you have. So the connection was broken? What was the treatment plan after that?”

“Her commander had her and I beamed to the Tokalak.  It was critical to make sure Subcommander Ventari could rest. If I focused on separating her from her nightmare, I could make sure she got a full sleep cycle. ”

“So you didn’t sleep. Noble, but that will only aggravate--“

“I know—“

“One regular sleep cycle won’t—“

“I. know.” Sri said with an irritated finality.

“Stop that.” Fenna snapped. “Maybe you’ll listen to your doctor when you’re declared unfit for duty.” She matched Sri’s wide-eyed stare. “I mean it. After the staff meeting, you’re to report to your quarters and get rest. Six to eight hours.”

Sri set her jaw, weighing how hard it would be to simply ignore the doctor. But, her orders meant she could get much needed rest instead of another duty shift. “Fine, but I need to check in with my teams.”

“No more than an hour.”

“Am I dismissed, Sir?” Sri asked with mock formality, sliding off the biobed. But Dr. Fenna was already gone, attending another patient.