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Medical mystery

Posted on Sun Jun 25th, 2023 @ 11:02am by Captain Shran dh'Klar & Commander Samantha Howard & Lieutenant Commander Shoniara T’ghann-Travis Dr & Lieutenant Commander Callie Raven-Grayson & Petty Officer 1st Class Amethyst Reece

Mission: Writing the Q Cards
Location: Sickbay

Julia's heart raced as they headed towards Sickbay, uncertain of exactly what awaited them. Was this another one of Q's tricks, designed to humiliate and amplify her failings? Or was this indeed the beginnings of what could be a plague outbreak on the Washington? Kilrathi fever had claimed many lives during a recent mission, they'd made good headway I to a treatment since then but as far as she knew, Shon still hadn't finalised it.

Linds half ran beside Julia until they approached sickbay then slowed down. “We need to discuss what, where we are going to go. Amethyst is the immediate concern and then testing everyone which I think we should ask Dr Perrim to test you first and then the rest of the crew that might have interacted with her in the last few hours. To be honest Julia I think it is down to Q all this. After we have stabilized and made her more comfortable I would like to continue the work Shon aka me was doing. I can use the office computer. The answer was in the Kilrathi combined with human dna. What do you think?”

"It sounded as though they were getting somewhere with it, so we may as well start there. I have to admit my molecular biology is a bit rusty."Julia admitted as they entered Sickbay, confronted with Perrim treating Amethyst. Thankfully Oxfords body was now covered and under the main quarantine area.

In Sickbay Amethyst was in quarantine, she wasn’t feeling very well at all thanks to the fact that she was running a high fever. Her symptoms had gone from a mere sore throat to a nasty cough and fever in no time at all. She lay on the biobed in just her uniform vest, her hair sticking to the clammy skin on her forehead.

Perrim left Amethyst for a moment and approached the duo. "It's definitely Kilrathi fever, I need to test both of you urgently" he announced from inside his biosuit.

Amethyst sat up on her bed, in her mind’s eye she could see something that wasn’t there. The Kilrathi fever playing tricks on her, her eyes followed an imaginary person who was trying to escape the quarantine cell. “Wait! You...can’t leave! You have to stay in here with me!!” She stood up. “ back here!”

Linds turned to Amethyst trying to reassure her verbally but, of course it didn’t work. “Dr Perrim you will have to sedate her gently, 2cc’s only of midazolam please. Then test us as quickly as you can so we can get suited up.” Linds stood next to Julia hoping that she would not fold as Perrim tested them as Jan joined them. They waited a few short minutes that seemed like forever. “All clear Doctors, Lieutenant Commander, suit up and come on in.” Linds breathed a sigh of relief.

There was an audible sigh as the screen came back negative. Now that her own life wasn't in jeopardy there was an ever so slight release of pressure in some ways. In others ways, it increased as those in need demanded her full attention. Julia took a breath and moved forward.

Janet had arrived in time to catch the test results, She was glad that no one else was infected. Now it was just a case of curing Amethyst.

The biosuit was surprisingly light and comfortable but the faceplate and helmet was, to Linds very restricting. She looked to Julia and Jan to help as she began to scan Amethyst who was now lying down the sedation having worked. Linds began her assessment of her patient hoping that Julia would take over so she could continue her research into a vaccine. She had forgotten for a moment it was not hers but Shon’s, but, then she realized that in effect she was Shon. “I can do this!” She exclaimed out loud. She knew at any minute Q could turn up but she was caught up in the moment. She felt a sharp prick of fear as she thought about Seth and Shasta and prayed that they would not develop the fever

Julia stepped towards Amethyst and scanned her, thankful that she was now stable and calm. She was conscious but lying calmly. "I think she's stable for now, everything is holding in the yellow zones and not progressing for now" she said with a modicum of confidence.

Remembering that her alter ego Shon had done most of the work on the Kilrathi virus and was close to an inoculation she was desperate to begin sifting through the work that had already been done. Although not a molecular biologist she knew quite a lot about dna. She looked at Julia who still looked scared. “Commander Howard I would like to look through the options we currently have. If you can spare me I would use the office?” Linds was not sure she should leave her but she figured out that she was within earshot.

“I’m not sure what I can do to help in regards the Kilrathi Fever, but I’ll tag along with you” Janet smiled warmly.

"Thanks - we appreciate all the help we can get at the moment" Julia replied with as much courage as she could muster.

Linds sat down in front of the equipment and looked at it trying to clear and identify in her mind each piece and what it did. She knew the equipment itself would help her but as she looked she began to shake until her teeth chattered. She stood and backed away knocking the stool over behind her “I can’t do this!” She exclaimed and turned to run away. Then she saw Amethyst lying still, moaning and looking pale her hair wet wrapped round her, and Julia in her biosuit. The whole of sickbay could be seen from the office and she felt a flood of love for this place she had visited so often for so long.

She breathed slowly in, and out the noise a sibilant hiss in her suit, then from somewhere deep inside her a small flame began to grow as she remembered researching the problem for the sim prior to being conveyed here by Q. Smiling she turned to Julia.

‘All Kilrathi are born with the gene that carries the fever although to them it is just a treatable childhood disease like measles in us. Perhaps splicing that gene into human DNA with a nucleic acid amplification test. That will amplify any genetic material in both human and Kilrathi hosts and then I could try to splice it together. “Could it be that easy? Julia?” She asked her.

"We haven't got anything to lose by trying" Julia shrugged "Was that where Shon was up to in her research?" She asked, looking over Linds' shoulder. "I remember our alter ego's took some blood samples when the Kilrathi beamed over after we...they.. arrived at the planet. Argh... pronouns are killing me!"

Linds smiled “I can certainly understand that” she said. It looks like the tests I, sorry Shon ran have now discovered this Kilrathi carry. I am just going to run experiment after experiment and hope that something occurs to me, or pops up.”

Linds began to feel hot despite the internal cooling of the suit. No matter how she looked at it she had no idea what Shon was considering or how she was going to do it. She tried reasoning that she Linds had written it and she had a plan that Shon would make work. She looked at the screen. “Computer tell me about RNA splicing.” It seemed that there was a short wait before the female voice intoned ‘ RNA splicing is the process by which introns, the noncoding regions of genes, are excised out of the primary messenger RNA transcript, and the exons, coding regions are joined together to generate mature messenger RNA. The latter serves as the template for synthesis of a specific protein.’

“Ah ha!” she shouted as she moved to the small lab enclosed by sickbay where Shon’s experiments were. The Kilrathi samples along with the samples taken from the colonists were still in stasis. She put Amethysts sample into the RNA decoder and waited. She knew it would take a few minutes so she returned to Julia’s side as she looked after Amethyst. “I think I am on the way now to see what happens when I splice the Kilrathi RNA with Amethysts, then we inject her and wait to see what happens. What do you think?”

"I guess so, we've got to try something or she'll die like the rest of them. Are you up to doing the genetic splicing or does the computer do that part?" Julia asked, watching Amethyst 's vitals slowly beginning to deteriorate again. "I think we may be running out of time"

Linds looked at Julia in disbelief that Amethyst was deteriorating so quickly. “No, these machines are incredible, just think what we could do with them in our time. They will do the splicing. I wish we had more time to test it but I guess our poor friend is going to be our first test case. It will take me several minutes to enter the coding into the machine and ask it to replicate a medication we can inject.” Linds looked serious, well more serious than her current serious face. “I think we have about a sixty per cent chance of success but if not this will kill Amethyst within seconds.”

"I don't think we have the time or the option not to test it. If we don't, she'll die, if we do, she still may die, if it works - we dodged the proverbial bullet" Julia replied, casting her eyes over the unconscious Amethyst.

She took the Kilrathi denuded RNA samples and the human ones and, with shaking hands injected each one into opposite sides of the small machine. “Right, switch it on and …we wait.” She pressed the ‘on’ switch. “Out should pop a cure, which will also be a vaccine, for humanoids at least I hope. If not we’ll Julia we are facing an outbreak of biblical proportions.” Linds rubbed her neck through her suit wishing this would work. So they waited.

Twenty minutes later a small vial emerged with a clear liquid within. The machine beeped it's completion and sat silently waiting for further instruction. "I guess this is it" Julia commented as Linds reached for the vial.

She nodded unwilling to recognize the moment was here when a real not fictional life was in their hands. Linds took the injector and and pressed it gently into the chamber, it slid in with a satisfying hiss as she stood. “Well here it is, you or me?”

Janet could only stand and watch, this was crunch point. If it worked Amethyst would survive, if it didn’t then Amethyst would most likely die.

"Well it's a team effort, but you may as well administer it. I'll monitor her vitals and start praying to any deity who will listen." Julia quipped as they moved over to Amethyst. She looked towards Linds in anticipation. "Let's do it"

They left the relative safety of the office and returned to their patient. Amethyst was now almost unconscious, some of her life support functions now being supported by the biobed sensors. Linds knew that they should have performed much more research over a couple of days, or even weeks. She tried to push the consequences of failure into the back of her mind and become Shon confident in their cure. She knew she had written into her character an excellence in viral medicine and some of that had come from her. She stepped up to Amethyst. “Amethyst I don’t know if you can hear me but I am going to give you an injection that might help.

Amethyst managed a slight nod of her head, but hadn’t got the energy for much else.

Linds looked at Julia and depressed the hypo into Amethyst’s carotid artery. “This might take a few minutes but if it’s working we will see an improvement in her general vital signs.” Linds stood looking helpless, arms at her sides waiting.

"You look quite dreadful" a voice said nonchalantly from behind Linds before Q suddenly appeared. "You look as if you aren't certain about what is going to occur, which I admit, you humans seem to do quite often."

“Zip it Q!” Janet gave Q a look that told him to back off. “If you aren’t going to help, then shut up and be quiet!”

"Bold words for a mere human" he quipped. "Perhaps you'd like to swap places with your other alter ego. She looks to be in dreadful trouble, not sure you'd care for that."

Linds snapped as all her pent up emotion came flooding out. She turned to Q and before he could vanish she slapped him so hard across the face that her arm cramped and her feet rocked “YOU FILTHY LITTLE MAGGOTY WORM HOW DARE YOU!” She shouted.

Q grasped his face in pain. "Ouch! You hit me! Nobody hits me, not even my Aunt Kathy. Who do you think you are?"

“She’s a formidable woman” Janet smiled as she looked at Linds. “I wonder Q, how would your auntie Kathy feel about what you’re doing?”

"How about we find out?" Q replied with a smirk. He snapped his fingers and in a flash, Admiral Kathryn Janeway appeared.

Janeway looked around. "Where am I? What am I doing here?"

"Hi aunt Kathy" Q said with gusto.

"Q? Why have you brought me here?"

He pointed at Janet. "This one told me to."

“Admiral...” Janet stood looking utterly flabbergasted. “I’m sorry! All I said was I wondered how you’d feel about the mischief Q has been at aboard our ship.” She reached her hand to her comm badge. =^= Sickbay to bridge...Captain you’d better come down here right away. We have an important visitor. =^=

Joe was startled as the comm signal came in. =^=A VIP? I was unaware of anyone coming aboard.=^=

=^=Captain, this is Admiral Kathryn Janeway. It would appear Q has brought me aboard your ship.=^=

=^=Admiral Janeway? I'll be right down.=^= Shran replied as he hurried to the turbolift.

Janeway looked around the sickbay of the ship and centered her attention on Q, "What have you been doing here Q?"

"Aunt Kathy, they are trying to blame me for their misfortunes. I admit to having some harmless fun, but they think all of their problems are my doing." Q crossed his arms in protest, obviously pouting.

"I am quite aware of what sort of things happen when you are just having fun. I thought we had worked out all these matters years ago on Voyager. Where is your father?" Janeway questioned.

Linds had given up on Q and his antics and returned to her patient. At first there was no change, in fact Amethyst appeared to be getting weaker as her blood pressure and pulse continued to bottom out and her fever grew higher. In desperation Linds switched the biobed to full life support. “Please, please please” she whispered as she grasped Amethysts hand. “Don’t die.” The biobed alarmed stridently as Amethyst stopped breathing. “No!…” Linds said and stepped back. Turning to Julia she looked at her not knowing what to say as there was nothing she could. All the sound around her had stopped apart from the beating of her own heart loud in her ears and her breathing echoing around inside her suit.

Linds closed her eyes. Everything she had ever wanted in her Star Trek writing life seemed to be bound up in this moment. She had been so sure she could do it, save everyone as her alter ego Shon would have done and embrace and love this life active once again and………she turned and looked as the biobed functions as they began to trace the faint beginnings of respiration and then a pulse jumping into being. Soft and thready at first but maintaining. Linds hardly dared to look as the fever began to break. “It worked Julia, it worked.” She forgot protocol and grabbed her hugging her close. Linds began to cry and as her tears fell she saw only Amethyst lying on her biobed her RNA forever changed spliced with DNA from the hated Kilrathi.

The last few minutes were a plethora of emotion, from fear to anxiety, awestruck to despair and back again. The interchange between Q, Janeway, Linds and Janet was something she would remember for the rest of her life. Right now though, they had a patient to save.

"He is around. I've been allowed to have some alone time to study humanity. I decided to do that here. I was going to visit you afterwards Aunt Kathy" Q replied.

"While I'm sure your intentions were good, perhaps you can see that things are a bit, chaotic here" Janeway replied.

The blue hue of a transporter came into focus as Joe materialized in the middle of sickbay. He looked around and spotted Janeway, "Admiral, it is a pleasure to have you aboard our ship" he said, doing his best to contain his enthusiasm of meeting the real Janeway, who in fact looked just like Kate Mulgrew. "I assume Q brought you here."

"He did captain. Might I ask why you transported to sickbay?" Janeway questioned.

"I assume you haven't been informed about the medical emergency underway. Sickbay is a quarantine area, unless something has changed" Joe replied, looking over at Julia and Linds.

Linds turned to see Joe a half smile on her face and, in the best Washington tradition began. “Captain, I injected our patient with the developed cure and it looks like it has worked. Sir this is the cure for Kilrathi fever for all the colonists and maybe a vaccine as well.” She looked at Q and then saw…..”Admiral Janeway I am not sure why or how….are YOU Aunty Kathy?” She exclaimed.

Joe gave a reassuring nod. "Good work Linds."

Janeway looked a bit embarrassed. "I'm afraid so. Part of my trip to the Delta Quadrant. Tell me about this Kilrathi fever disease. I am not familiar with it."

Linds nodded. “Certainly Admiral. We came across a planet that had been settled by humans, we were told that they had been taken there by a warlike race called the Kilrathi. The colonists made their home there and were engaged in trying to repel repeated attacks from the Kilrathi to take over their world. We were asked to help with a plague that they told us was initiated by the Kilrathi. There is, sorry was no cure. To cut a long story short Admiral we managed to capture a Kilrathi and found markers in their blood that confirmed they also had human DNA. My CMO and myself were able to synthesize a cure by splicing the two RNA strands together. We have just given this to a member of our own crew who appears to have contracted the disease. This inoculation appears to have been successful. However this is still a fluid situation. Excuse me Admiral I must return to my patient.” Linds smiled and returned to Amethyst who was still unconscious.

Janet stood letting the medical professionals talk to Janeway, it was so odd to be faced with the character of Janeway. Instead she concentrated on Amethyst, how would a combining of RNA affect her?.

The question was soon answered as the biobed alarms started to sound, Amethyst had begun violently fitting.

Linds had been looking at Amethyst as she began fitting and, for a moment Linds thought she was going to pass out. Her breathing became fast and her vision grew black. However she began to breathe deeply and her vision returned. She grabbed an empty hypo and looked over the medications available to control the seizures. As a retired medical professional she knew most of them, as, even centuries later a lot of the meds they had on the Washington would have been synthesized over the centuries with the old ones. She picked one and placed the hypo over it locking it into place wait ha satisfying hiss “5ccs midazolam” she said as she depressed the hypo into her patient’s carotid artery.

Amethyst immediately ceased fitting but the biobed continued to alarm as once again Amethyst’s heart stopped. “Placing her on complete life support now” Linds said as the bio functions once again took over the lifesaving procedure. She turned to Joe, Julia, Q and The Admiral. “I don’t know what happened, the RNA mutated virus was working, something else is happening. I will have to take a look at Amethyst’s pathology.”

"You used an RNA mutated virus to deal with the Kilrathi virus. Did you make the necessary adjustments for genetic drift?" questioned Janeway.

"Good one aunt Kathy" Q remarked.

"You seem to be in your element admiral" Joe added.

"To a degree. I will always be a science officer first and foremost" Janeway replied.

“Doctor, I will take over the patients resuscitation if you wish to continue with the virus. She should be able to be maintained on life support for five hours, indefinitely in stasis.”

Linds heard the welcome voice of Perrim behind her. “Thank you Doctor, if you could liaise with Commander Howard?”

"Certainly" replied Perrim.

Linds retreated back into the comparative safety and quiet of the small lab and began again with a specimen of Amethyst's blood post inoculation.

"Perhaps I could assist you" Janeway offered. "I might as well be useful if I'm here."


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