Waking Up, Part II
Sickbay, USS Portland
Immediately after Part I
Authors: Lt. (JG) Brad Silverton, Lt. (JG) Sera Williams, Lt. (JG) Marcus Kallan, Ensign Nikki Barclay (played by Alenis Meru)
Brad settled into his chair. He had no other appointments for the day yet he had a good deal of work ahead of him. All he had to figure out was how to disable implants within a Borg queen before she was able to destroy the alpha quadrant task force and save Captain Banninga in the process.
"Simple!" Brad said out loud to himself. At least he was able to have some peace and quiet.
"Computer pull up..."
The doors to sickbay opened, revealing three officers. Ensign Nikki Barclay was in the lead, and she sprinted towards Brad's office for the third time in as many weeks. Of course, the last three times all turned out to be figments of her imagination -- when she convinced herself that she had food poisoning, a brain tumour, and the Talaxian Flu. The latter was in spite of the fact that she was over 70,000 light years from the last recorded case of the Talaxian flu, but she knew in hear heart that it was possible for flu bugs to traverse the vacuum of space halfway across the galaxy. "Dr. Silverton!" she shouted in a tone even more panicked than usual. "Dr. Silverton, are you here!"
"reference.. research.... of........ borg." Brad's command to the computer trailed off into a sigh as he thought to himself.
'Of course Nikki is here. Why wouldn't she be? I'm sure she found a case of Talaxian flu variant that places itself into suspended animation and is undetectable.'
He walked out into the central hub of sickbay. "Ensign Barclay I am sure whatever it is you think you might have is not as bad as you believe." He stopped in his doorway and looked at all three officers.
"'Sup, Brad," Marcus said, his arm in Sera's, not out of any gesture of romantic association, but to help keep the officer on her feet despite bouts of dizziness. "Grab a neural scanner. Cross-link it with ship's internal sensors. I bet you'll find something interesting in Lieutenant Williams' gray matter."
"It's me this time," Sera reassured Brad. She too had learned to cope with Nikki's variety of perceived ailments. "I can read emotions and I threw a vase into the wall... a vase that was two meters away from me," added the Chief, trying to downplay her own fears. "Biobed number three?" she asked, referencing her temporary home in Sickbay after the incident with the reactor.
"Well that one seems to be your new second home." He went over to help Marcus get Sera to the biobed. He went over and got a neural scanner and started to activate it.
He continued as he started to scan Sera. "Now what do you mean you can read emotions and move objects?"
Had she been Ensign Barclay, she would have explained the situation in terms of being able to launch the Portland lightyears on a whim or being able to read every thought and memory in the quadrant. However, Sera tried to downplay what was happening because of her own fear. "Well," she started, "I woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare about the Borg. I went to the sink to splash some water on my face when I thought I saw a shadow move near the down, when I moved my hand the vase sitting on my dresser flew towards the door and shattered. After that, I could somehow feel what the crew in adjacent rooms were going through. I could feel their fear, their hatred... everything. I even knew why they were feeling what they were feeling." She turned her eyes to the doctor as she said, "I even know what each of you is feeling now."
Nikki tensed up at the mention of knowing what everyone was thinking. Her breathing became shorter and shallower and, not wanting anyone to read her thoughts, she tried to block Sera out. Closing her eyes, she focused intently on the most neutral thing that she could think of. Her breakfast. "Bagel. Cream cheese. Smoked salmon. Black Coffee," she repeated over and over in her head until her mouth began to water.
Brad spoke to Sera without looking up from his console as he made adjustments to the settings, "If that is the case Sera than what am I feeling right now?"
"Well, I wouldn't call it arrogance, but you are calm and confident in your skills," Sera returned, feeling a little relieved that the doctor wasn't in a state of panic. That, or maybe he didn't yet know what was going on and thought it may be a quick fix.
Brad smiled reassuringly to Sera. "See? We'll get to the bottom of this and have you back in Engineering in now time."
Out of the corner of his eye, Brad saw Nikki tense up after Sera spoke about her telepathy. He wasn't relishing having a second patient on his hands with a concussion from her passing out and striking her head on something. "Nurse Hill. Please administer to Lt Williams 50 CCs of D-glucopyranose."
Maria paused for a moment confused. "Sir? But that is just gluc--"
"Please save the commentary for later discussion Nurse Hills." Brad turned to Sera, "This will block Lt Williams' ability to read Ensign Barclay or anyone else's emotions." If she really could read his thoughts she would know to play along. That and the wink he gave her while saying it couldn't have hurt.
As Maria injected Sera with the hypospray, Nikki breathed a sigh of relief. But as she did so, her stomach growled in anticipation of the bagel that she couldn't get out of her head. "May I use your replicator?" she asked sheepishly.
"It's... quiet now," Sera said to mostly Nikki. "The clutter is gone and I can't read any emotions," she lied. Knowing Nikki like Sera did, she knew that her friend needed everything to be normal or the neighboring biobed would have a new patient. "What now?" Sera asked Brad. Uncontrollably, Sera's stomach growled a bit and the craving for a bagel hit Sera. She waved it off with a look at the wall clock as she said, "Has it been that long since I ate?"
Brad finished up with linking up the neural scanner with the ship's internal scanners as Marcus had asked. He had already seen the increased amount of dark energy radiation inside Sera's brain. That certainly couldn't be a good thing. "Alright Marcus we're linked up. What exactly am I needing to look for?"
"Look for cross-firing between the hippocampus and the rest of the brain," Marcus said, pointing to a diagram on Brad's screen. "The signal will resemble a subspace manifold signal along the second and third harmonics." When the inevitable blank or exasperated look no doubt came his way, Marcus added, "It's the same signal of a dark energy envelope being created and collapsing in the span of a millisecond."
"Damn" was the only response Brad gave for a moment.
"Well I guess that answers the question of how long it would take for the residual dark energy radiation to dissipate. " Brad turned his focus from the screen and back to Serra.
"As we already know, Dark energy is barely understood by engineering but even less so by medical. There is nothing to go off of Serra so I need you to tell me everything that has happened to you that is out of the ordinary or anything you have felt since you left sickbay."
"Until tonight, there wasn't a whole lot." Sera thought for a moment, "Now that you mention it... there were a few times that I imagined that I heard other people's thoughts. Also, when I came back into the airlock, my helmet seemed to slide itself off the bench. I just thought it was my imagination or some magnetic glitch."
The Chief Engineer looked past the doctor at her scans and added, "That almost looks like a subspace transmitter, communication relays open subspace eddies on that end," she pointed to the active portion of her brain.
"Which is why playing with subspace manifolds is insane," Marcus said. "Not to be a broken record, but Shras is a nutjob." He glanced at Sera. "I'm not helping, I know. Sorry."
Nikki stared at the readings, then back towards Sera, then back at the readings again. She didn't know what was happening, but it didn't sound good. "Would an ice cream sundae help?" she asked in a meek voice, remembering what her mother would prescribe to her as a young child when she was sick.
"You know, I'd love a sundae. Could you drown it in chocolate?" Sera asked, feigning a bit of excitement. She was glad to have a friend like Nikki, doing everything that she could do to try to help... even if it meant ice cream at times when ice cream may not be the best solution.
With that, Nikki darted off into Brad's office to take advantage of his replicator.
Brad shrugged his shoulders slightly."Well chocolate does have some miraculous properties. This dark energy residue or whatever it is, is flickering in and out of existence. The scans aren't showing anything dangerous or to be overly concerned of. Many types of radiation and energy residue does absolutely nothing. However with that said, I'm afraid you'll have to stay in sickbay once again. We have a good deal of time before we get to the nebula and have you out before then."
"I almost missed being here all the time," Sera replied, trying to sound a bit more enthusiastic than she was but sounding sarcastic.
Emerging from the office, Nikki balanced four bowls precariously on her arms. "Three hot fudge sundaes!" she exclaimed, carrying them towards the biobed. "And one bowl of shaved frozen protein cubes, supplement number 29. Enjoy!"
"Chocolate, the one thing that makes you feel better no matter how bad things get," the Chief Engineer replied as she took her bowl from Nikki. "Thanks!" she added, her voice muffled by the spoon full of hot fudge sundae that she had already eaten.
Capt. Alenis Meru