Javier Costala
01-1-2008, 07:10:19 PM
Stars, the entire Milky Way galaxy, that's what Ajani thought about the most when he remembered his home. At night, after the day's work had been completed and the evening meal eaten, he would sit with his father, older brothers and a friend or neighbor and tell stories, talk about local politics or just enjoy the night air around the fire. The pungent yet pleasant smell of wood burning and a strong cup of hot tea warming his cupped hands were simple things. But it was these memories that returned Ajani to the small farm where he had spent his childhood.

The Obatu home was in the rural area of southern Africa thus small fires were common but large electrically-lit areas were much more scarce. And then there was the intentional retreat from modernity because Ajani's parents believed in the old ways. They felt so strongly about the traditional culture of their ancestors and its continued survival that they had resigned from their tenured positions as anthropologists at Rhodes College and moved to a rural community. Ajani had been born five years later. He was their fourth child, the baby of the family, whose perpetual good humor and infectuous laughter quickly gained him noteriety in the community. The Ndebele people were known for their love of humor and Ajani's skill at bringing laughter to even the most taciturn countenances was remarkable.

His father, Moseko Obatu knew that his son would not remain homebound. While everyone visited around the shared fire, his son's eyes were nearly always skyward. On clear nights, Ajani could see the bright glint of Space Station McKinley among the brilliance of the other twinkling lights. Some day I will travel there. the young man promised himself.


"Chief, have the away teams returned?" Ajani inquired of Ibrahim.

"They have," the Acting Chief of Engineering replied simply. Mustapha had reported to Main Engineering for his shift. He had found the area filled with Gamma shift personnel, some working to repair the damage incurred by the planetary probe, and then others such as Ajani waiting for some word on their friend, Petty Officer Costala.

"Have they returned safely?" PO Obatu asked, re-phrasing his first question.

Mustapha looked at the young engineer, searched his face then said, "As far as I know, it does not look good..they have been through a trying experience and..there are wounded." The chief turned his attention back to the console in front of him. "And some of them are infected," he added, exhaling as he spoke.

"The infected.."

"Petty Officer Costala is one of them," the Chief said without looking at the younger man. He did not elaborate on Costala's condition further. If what Miller told me is true..then Costala may not be an engineer much longer. "You should continue with your duties Ajani," Mustapha said, "I could use your help with.." He turned to the engineer but found that the man had disappeared.


They eagerly watched the small console screen together, even though at times Javier's attention was drawn away from the players on the field by the nearness of T'Shaini. He watched some guy hit the ball toward the back wall. The crowd apparently thought this was a good thing as their response was a roar of approval. Javier snuck a sideways glance at T'Shaini, she was watching the game intently so he turned his head so he could begin softly kissing her cute, pointy left ear.

"And that is what is known as a ground rule double, which is when…is when," T'Shaini cleared her throat. "excuse me, it is difficult to concentrate on explaining the game when you are…" oh my… doing that."

"Ground rule double," Javier repeated in a low tone, "got it." He stopped what he was doing long enough to ask, "So what does that mean?" Then Javier picked up where he had left off, his lips moving up to the tip of T'Shaini's ear.

Literal as only a Vulcan can be T'Shaini blinked and attempted to focus. "Well, in this particular instance it is because the ball bounced fair on the f..ff…field, and then left….play, over the wall…" He would not ask if he did not want me to explain, correct? "interestingly enough, it is not truly a 'ground rule' simply a…simply a misnomer that has…can you truly concentrate on the game and do that at the same time?"

"Mmmh," Javier grunted in the affirmative as his arms slid around her waist.

"Ohhh, alright." She squinted as if that would bring the ballplayers on screen back into focus. If he can do it, I can do it. "Now, clearly the manager has given a signal to ear…bunt to advance the mmmmm runner."

"Mmm hmmm," he replied. The moan sounded interested and enlightened, which was what he was so desperately trying for and failing with every extra inch of her skin that his lips touched. A whistling noise filled his ears. Javier paused, his mind searching for the recognition of the sound. Blades! Javier thought as his eyes popped open and found the source of the sound.

Standing behind the couch that he and T'Shaini were seated on was Abselem! Javier hesitated. This isn't right. He can't be here. We haven't even.. The spinning blade stopped its smooth arc and flipped over in a familiar pattern. Before he could even react the longer blade was plunged down into the back of T'Shaini's neck! The blade was drawn back swiftly and T'Shaini's body collapsed against him. "Jesus!" the engineer exclaimed as he caught her.

<>Forgiveness for your disobediance.<> Tennyson's eeiry voice rang out in the room.

Cradling T'Shaini's body, the engineer watched as Abselem's blades swept forward again. Light reflected off the blade then it swept over his vision with searing pain. The room went dark as a warm, sticky substance covered his eyes blinding Javier. He cried out but did not release T'Shaini. "Sickbay? Sickbay? Transporter Room, medical emergency, transport two to sickbay..Transporter Room?" the engineer called out helplessly.

<>Forgiveness for your rebellion.<> Abselem's father explained.

He could hear the whistle of the blades. Then they stopped and he felt the swords enter his body. A solid punch to the back of his neck and another to his stomach, then the ripping as they were withdrawn, jerking his body along the blade's edge.


"He suffers," Ajani told the doctor that stood beside him, "even in his sleep he finds no peace." They watched Javier through the stasis unit, the doctor noting his brain activity and the way in which the engineer jerked fitfully while still asleep.

"He has been through was.." Doctor Thorne shook her head as words failed her. What she had seen and done only a matter of hours ago seemed almost surreal when she thought of it. "His case was the most advanced..I..excuse me," the doctor said as she excused herself to tend to another patient.

"Doctor? Why is he wearing this environment suit?" Ajani asked as he indicated the black suit Javier was clothed in.

One of the nurses approached and called out, "This is the same suit that Lt. Torrik was wearing. We need to cut that thing off. It tried to kill the science officer." The nurse hurried away and suited up so he could enter the stasis field. Upon returning Bramley was given an apparatus resembling an inverted pair of shears. The tool was used to cut through environment suits in emergencies. He was about to put the tool on his belt and take a bottle of liquid nitrogen when another suited person showed up and took it from Miller.

Bramley stared at Ajani, the African man grinned at him from inside the containment suit. "Let's go." Bramley shrugged and both men entered the quarantined area. They worked quickly and efficiently and soon Javier was removed from the suit which was placed in quarantine itself, in a sealed chamber that only the CMO could access. Ajani knew evil when he saw it. The suit reeked of the underworld and restless spirits. After leaving the quarantine area, he had to follow discontamination procedure before he was allowed to enter sickbay again and check on his friend. Ajani found the ship's counsellor observing Javier.

"I think, he will recover," the African engineer told the Vulcan woman in a quiet, polite tone. Siyawela laphesheya lulezontaba ezimnyama, wami.* Ajani thought as he looked through the barrier.

T'Shaini gaze did not waver from the window in the stasis unit. "Dr. Munro is certain she is close to discovering an effective treatment." The dispassion of her tone was belied by the intensity of her stare. "I have no doubt in her ability to do so." Her hand rose, in spite of itself, to lay flat on the clear barrier. "Soon." With that whispered promise T'Shaini returned to Jillian's lab to render what support she could in her search for the cure.

JP with T'Shain & Ajani Obatu

*'We have crossed the dark mountains my friend.'
Rhian Gaius
01-2-2008, 12:52:44 PM
Chaos. Lucky for her. Transported to sickbay, she stood in the back of the room as medics tended to the beamed-up and gurneyed-in crew members. Voices overlapping, asking for status, stims, and serums. Bright light from overhead bleached colors from vivid hues to faded tones. The smell of sterility overwhelmed. Some patients lay silently on biobeds as medics attended; some protested their ministrations. But no one had noticed her, not yet.

Exit, stage right.

A door in the back of sick bay most likely led to the CMO’s office, which would lead to the main hall. And the CMO would not be sitting at a desk during this crisis. She slipped past the whooshing doors, traversed the small office—nice sculpture—and passed into the hallway. She hadn’t been bitten and the virus wasn’t airborne. Figured she had at least time to view the results of a GO24 firsthand. Not something a pilot saw everyday, and a story that could be told many times over drinks at the bar. A habit for pilots, telling stories over drinks. Yeah, they exaggerated, but the underlying story was always true. Too easy to find out otherwise.

The Hawking's pilot would also need the code to open the transwarp conduit, assuming they hadn’t somehow made one of their own. And making it back to the Outpost was definitely on her to-do list. The Cardie cartography map of this sector of space had been lost when the Expedition autodestructed, so finding a habitable planet wouldn't be easy. She headed for the bridge, passing several crewmembers, who looked at her strangely. A bloodied Vulcan was probably something they didn’t see everyday.

Made it to the turbolift at the end of the hall.

“Bridge," she said. "Computer, who is the pilot for the Hawking?” she said.

“Chief Helmsman Vince Stryfe.”


“Height, six feet three inches. Hair color, brown. Eye color, blue. Distinguishing marks, ten inch scar and Marine tattoo on right arm.”

Tanis cocked an eyebrow. “Not bad.”

“I do not understand,” the computer said.

“Never mind. You wouldn’t.”

The doors opened. The image on the large viewscreen transfixed her, and she stepped slowly forward, until the vista filled her field of vision. The clean lines of ten photon torpedoes stretched out from the Hawking—fingers to choke the life from the planet. Cauliflowered on the surface, opaquing, then drifting off in grey tendrils. The curtain of smoke parted. Center stage—ruination.

She knew the image would sear her memory, make it as vivid to her on her deathbed as it was right now. And she wondered if she shouldn’t have stayed in sickbay.

“That certainly didn’t disappoint,” said a voice next to her. She turned to see a man sitting at the helm, brown hair, blue eyes.

“Vince Stryfe?”


“Tanis Lev. Pilot. If you need some help getting back to the Outpost, I’m offering mine.”
Torrik Nils
01-2-2008, 01:30:29 PM
:: USS Hawking ::
:: Sickbay ::


Mistaking it at first for some form of tech Nils wearily glanced about the room attempting to ascertain its source. The sound seemed to come from everywhere, but it was unimposing and gentle. And instead of being technical it was organic…and feminine.

The diminutive Kai Opaka sat in the corner of sickbay apparently nonplussed by the commotion pulsing through the room. She hummed an old Bajoran nursery rhyme. Their eyes met and locked for only a brief moment. Her soft smile comforted him and she nodded sweetly, nudging his consciousness forward.

“Jillian,” was the science officer’s first word as he burst from his unconsciousness. Quickly he jerked his head to the corner of the room the Kai had inhabited only nanoseconds before. She was not there.

“Lieutenant, you’re alright,” said a female nurse her hand resting on Nils’ chest. “Do you know where you are?”

“USS Hawking…where is Jillian,” he blurted trying to sit up. The world swayed beneath him as dizziness ensued.

“Dr. Munro is busy in the lab,” the nurse said helping Nils back down to the biobed. “She left instructions to keep her updated on your status…” she wandered off, apparently to do just that.

Nils took mental inventory of his body, making sure everything worked. The last thing he remembered was facing off against Tennyson…and apparently losing. All things considered he felt well enough. He felt sure this was in no small part due to Hawking’s medical staff.

“Hey you,” Jillian said stepping quickly to his bedside. She didn’t look well.

“Have you found a cure,” the Bajoran asked trying to sit up again.

“Stay still,” the doctor commanded, none too gently. “And don’t worry about that…that’s my job.”

“Mmmk,” Nils said forcing himself to overcome the dizziness and remain upright. He managed by sheer force of will, and only just barely.

“Looks like they have you sorted out,” Jillian said scanning Nils’ chart on her PADD. “Gave us quite a scare actually. Your neural pathways were threatening to shut you off. Maybe…”

“I need to tell you something,” the Bajoran choked out. His voice was hoarse from untold volts of violent current shooting through his body. “I just… need to say it. I want you to know…”

"Nils, can this wait? Sorry, there's just so much going on and I need to focus on all this data. I'm not sure it's going to work, but I'm getting close" She turned to meet his eyes, completely disconnected, "You saw what I found on Tetrodotoxin, right? It's incredible. I mean, it's a horrible substance, but I think I know what those scientists had in mind…." she rambled on as she wandered off, back to her work.

With a look of shock, Nils gently laid back down on the biobed, straining all the while. Jillian had never shut him down so completely. But he was being selfish. Of course the cure was more important than their troubled relationship.

But it didn’t feel more important to the broken Bajoran…

Thanks to input from Jillian Munro
Camenze Taray
01-2-2008, 03:24:26 PM
Camenze dropped her head into her hands, rubbing her eyes. Streams of data glowed in from of her. She had been feeling useless, so, though she was not a medical doctor, she had put on her uniform and she had decided to set her lab to looking at the virus. There was something here she had seen before something…reptilian?

Reptilian. Dinner on the trade ship…she'd gotten a sample on the sly, just for her own study. She slid her chair over to the drawer she had placed in in and put it into the scanner. Yes, there was something….she dropped her head back into her hands. What?
She felt a nudge on her foot. Her Hortan lieutenant was also working on the problem. He rubbled at her for a few moments.

"Yes," said Camenze, "the structures are similar, I agree, it's a good thought, but the bio…" he interrupted her.

Cameze shook her head, finger flying over the board in front of her. "But that not really possible…" He countered her argument by placing a new sample into the scanner.

"My Gods!" Camenze got down the the floor and kissed the top of his head…at least, what she thought was the top pf his head. He spun around in pleasure.

"Taray to Dr. Munro"

"This is Dr. Glorm here, Dr. Muro is unavailable at the moment"

"Yes, sir, I'm sorry to interrupt but I'm sending you some data that might be helpful."

"Give me a condensed version, quickly."

"Right, again, don't know if this will help but there is a similarity between the virus and a dormant virus found in the C11H17N3O8 chain of the Reptilian visitors we had."


"Umm, we were just thinking…maybe if you could make the virus think the infected crew here were reptilian, well, maybe it would go dormant too."

"Taray, I'm…"

"It's just a thought, I know you have been working like crazy on this, but, there is one Reptilian crew member on board and one pre-historic dino….if that helps. I'm sending you samples from them both…The chain might just go inactive if it thinks it's in a Reptilian host."

"Thank you, Taray, it just might." With that the comm link went dead.

"Well, we did something, maybe it helped?" The lieutenant quickly responded with a long seres of rumbling noises, sounding rather like rocks in a blender.

"Ha! True, but I'd never consider eating that unless I was…" Camenze stood, her gaze locked outside her window. "What the…" She stepped over the Horta, drawn to the window. She pressed her hands against it, imagining she could feel the coldness of space outside. What she saw was beautiful.
Beautiful death.

The planet was dying in front of her eyes.

"But we…did we have to? Did we? To kill a planet? A whole planet? Even a planet of death?" The lab was built with a seres of ramps so the Horta could go where he pleased. He had used one to come up eye level with Camenze and was now looking out the window next to her. He turned to her and spoke.

Camenze nodded,"Yes, it was. Horrible death. I…I keep seeing things I saw there, did there…. But, to kill every last thing? Could there be no other way? I know, you think some good may come of it but…" He responded to her and she took a moment, looking back out the window. She rested her forehead against it, closing her eyes but still seeing the explosions.

"This wasn't why I was sent here, this wasn't why I came. Not for this, not for…that."

Leaning over, she put her arm around the living rock next to her, taking comfort. The Horta, often reported to be one of the galaxies wisest races, was just close enough for her translator to pick up his words, so rarely heard, and echo them though the empty lab.

"Death lies on her, like an untimely frost upon the sweetest flower of all the field"

Harry Finn
01-2-2008, 04:21:44 PM

It had quieted down since the mass influx of injured from Halcyon. Recovery rounds were the current priority and looking at the scans on Cadet Finn, Miller frowned over the EEG. Did the man's brain never turn off? She glanced at his chart and saw that he had been administered ketamine during surgery, which explained the continued activity. Looking back at the oscillating neural patterns she sighed. Too soon to consider administering thiopental or ambizine. It was a pity he couldn't just let whatever it was go… she knew Finn to be a decent person, her son certainly had taken a shine to the man… but he was also quite possibly the most tightly wound individual she'd ever met. Taking a peek at the next patient on her PADD she winced… Lieutenant Torrik… make that one of the most tightly wound individual's she'd ever met.

Turning towards her next charge, Nurse Miller didn't notice Finn's eyes beginning to open.

What am I doing here? Kerrin tried to simultaneously look as if she was supposed to be in sick bay while she tried to locate the bio bed Finn was in. Luckily the staff was far too busy to notice one more uniform making its way confidently around the room. Gorsky had just happened to mention that Harry had been injured on the away mission and was in sickbay…and off she went. Gah.

"Oh god." It just slipped out. He looked…atrocious. "I thought it was just supposed to be a fact gathering mission…" she whispered to herself.

"Had a dream about you…" he could only make out a blur but he knew her voice.

Kerrin jumped at the unexpected words, then stiffened as they penetrated. "No, it's Kerrin." She put her hand out to cover his. "Alex told me you were here."

"Yeah," the blur was sharpening and yes, there were the sea green eyes… looking… he tried to focus… sad? "You… was you…" he tried to reach up with his free hand but it fell back, a useless lump of flesh. How he felt. "It was… nice…" he frowned, "at first… the kiss was…" but his words were as tired as his muscles and he left the sentence unfinished.

"Ohhhhh." She swallowed hard and wondering if questioning a man in sickbay was akin to taking advantage of a drunk woman. "Wait, at first?" She smiled down at him. "I hope I didn't grow fangs and try to bite you."

"Noooo," he thought back, "turned corpse… knifed… 't hurt…"

She pulled back in horror. "I…I'm sorry?"

"Don't… " Harry tried to hold her but he couldn't. She was slipping away, like his life slipping through his fingers onto the cold ground, "go…" but he couldn't feel her hand and his vision was blurring again and it was "Just a dream," he whispered, lost, "just a dream… Kerrin… "

"No, I am here." Screw caution. She grabbed both of his hands tightly. "I won't go, I promise." It had been so long since she had felt needed, even if it was only because he was out of it, it was like a drug. "Not a dream."

"Not?" He felt the pressure of her hands over his, even drifting back to the faded realm of the tranqs he felt it, then he sighed out her name once more as his eyes closed, "was an'mazing… kis…"

She watched as he slipped back under the spell of sedation…whoa. She stared at their enfolded hands and felt a tear slide down her cheek. Roughly shrugging her shoulder up to wipe the tear without breaking contact Kerrin made a face at her own stupidity. Just because he softens up when drugged does not mean he is going to give you the time of day later on. For what seemed like the millionth time she wondered what it was about this man that got under her skin. It seemed as if no matter how many times she told herself that someone this damaged was not a good emotional investment she kept being drawn back. Latent masochism. Feeling that it was somehow unfair that he had experienced the kiss when she hadn't Kerrin leaned forward and brushed her lips against his.

There was another softness, warm against his lips and it seemed Harry hadn't quite fallen all the way back, "I must be … alive," the words floated out of him, of their own volition it seemed. His eyes remained closed but, even as she drew back, "'I want… that…"

Well, Kerrin could be mortified that she was caught kissing an unconscious man or she could ride the wave. Lips twisted into a crooked smile she tried to make sense of what he was saying. "You want that?" Ohhhh. "Mmm, yes…alive is good, not always easy, but good."

As Harry finally fell into what Kerrin hoped would be a truly healing sleep, the ship's sensors recorded their actions, as they recorded most everything Finn did aboard Hawking, sending the images of the fallen man and the woman who watched over him to a remote junction, there to await retrieval. It was the kind of scene sure to catch the interest of the individual who had programmed this highly specialized surveillance.

A Kerrin/T'Shaini/Harry brain trust
Jillian Munro
01-2-2008, 05:00:21 PM
:: Sickbay ::

“Doctor!” yelled Usha Stryfe from the other side of the room, “It’s Javier…something’s wrong!”

Jillian dropped the PADD that she was working on and ran over to stasis unit in the surgical area, “Status?” she asked while opening up each of his eyes to inspect his pupil dilation.

“His voluntary skeletal muscles are weakening”, Usha shook her head, “It’s getting worse. A couple of more minutes, and we’re going to lose his heart.”

“Well…before his heart, we're going to lose his lungs," Jillian rubbed her tired eyes, "The Tennyson strain is entering its last phase”. She scanned the stream of data on the wall console, “We already knew that it effectively paralyzes the bodies muscles – I just didn’t think it would happen this fast.”

Jillian knew that whatever was happening to Javier, was going to happen to her. She tried to push the thought out of her head, Focus!, she told herself.

T'Shaini had been attempting to stay out of the way, but at the commotion she quickly moved to Jillian's side. "May I inquire as to the status of Javier?"

Jillian's heart sank, she couldn't imagine what T'Shaini was feeling right now. She looked over at Nils. Or maybe she could - it had only been hours since she thought she had lost him forever. She rested her hand on T'Shaini's arm and squeezed tightly, "The Virus is causing a defect in the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles. It's interruption the communication at the neuromuscular junction."

"The junction where nerve cells connect with the muscles that they control, correct?" she asked.

Jillian nodded, "Normally when impulses travel down the nerve, the nerve endings release a neurotransmitter substance called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine travels throught the neuromuscular junction and binds to acetylcholine receptors which are activated and generate a muscle contraction." she looked down at Javier, "In this case, the virus is blocking, altering and destroying the receptors for acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction which prevents the muscle contraction from occuring. It's also acting as an autoimmune disease because the immune system is beginning to mistakenly attack itself."

T'Shaini frowned. "What does this mean?"

Jillian tried to remain calm, her first instinct was to get T'Shaini out of sickbay so that she could focus on Javier, but she knew that wasn't the right thing to do. If it were Nils on that bed, nothing in the universe could get her out of that room, "The muscles that control his breathing are weakening at this point. His ventilation is becoming inadequate, so….we're going to have to put him on life support."

It seemed as if the Vulcan had turned to stone. "I have every faith in your abilities Doctor."

Jillian sighed. She tried to smile, "Thank you, T'Shaini." She motioned towards L'mek, "Can you please assist Doctor Stryfe? I need Javier breathing normally within the next 2 minutes."


Jillian nodded, One thing at a time, she told herself. She took one last look around the room, "I'll be in my office." She walked away from the pressures of sickbay and slumped herself down in the chair behind her desk. Covering her face with her hands, she began to cry.

"Hey," Nils said, leaning on the door jam for support. He struggled further into the office and made himself a human barrier to the crew and the Doctor. Had it been him having a weak moment, being on display would have made it all the worse. The least he could do was guard her from prying eyes. "You ok?" He rested one hand on her shoulder. The other leaned on the desk holding most of his weight.

She turned towards him and wrapped her arms around his body, "I'm just so happy you're OK." She looked up at him, "I almost lost you."

"Never," he said hoarsly. "You know I'm too stubborn to be idly influenced… that includes severe electrocution." He wrapped one arm around her trying to hold his own weight. "Now…are you okay?"

She rolled her eyes and managed to let out a chuckle between her sobs, "I don't know. I can feel myself getting worse and it's making it more and more difficult to think." She lifted up a PADD and dropped it again on her desk, "I've got all this data…and it's useless. I'm just not smart enough to put it all together."

"Nonsense," the Bajoran said softly. He held her at a distance and looked into her eyes. "It's a biochemical equation - that is all." A stirring out of the corner of his eye pulled his attention. When he turned to look there was nothing there. A moment of reflection passed. "Kai Opaka had a saying… Look for solutions from within. I know you can do this, Jillian. I believe in you." The intensity of his stare contradicted the weakness of his body.

A tear escaped Jillian's eye, she looked at the console infront of her and smiled, "I need to know more about the function of receptors. I need to wrap my head around the molecular basis of synaptic transmission in the nervous system," she looked up at Nils, "I can't fake this, Nils. I need to…" her voice trailed off as the wheels started to turn in her head.

Nils smiled weakly. "That's an encouraging look. What are you thinking," he asked, trying to engage his own mind. Concentration was at a premium considering it was all he could do to remain standing, but he gave it his best.

She snapped her fingers, "That's exactly what we need to do. We need to fake it. There has to be a way of replacing the…YES! YES, that's it!" She jumped up from her chair and pulled Nils over to a wall console, she opened an article on the Thymus gland, "OK, I'm going to give you the nutshell version of this, but…the Thymus gland plays an important role in the development of the immune system, it's cells form a part of the body's normal immune system. Javier's body has basically reset itself, he has no immune system and his body doesnt have the means to recreate one. We need that immune system if we're ever going to get his acetylcholine receptors back to work."

A ridiculous smile exploded across the surly Bajoran's face. It was so giddy and in opposition to his standard countenance that it looked borderline bizarre. "Javier is alive!?"

Jillian's focus was distracted by Nils' question, "What? Yes, of course he is. I mean…he's alive…for now."

"I'll be damned," Nils chuckled. "He's more stubborn than I am…" Nils shook off the momentarily realization. "Sorry… So no immune system. You think you can encourage his immune system to…restart?" He was truly perplexed.

"Well, here's the problem…the gland is basically non-existant." She saw the confusion in Nils' face, "The gland is somewhat large in infants, grows gradually until puberty and then gets smaller and is replaced by fat with age. Unless we have a baby on board…we're going to have to grow us a Thymus gland. Fast."

"Human physiology is so strange…" Nils swayed on his feet. His body was nearing its limit on remaining vertical. "Where are you going to get a human baby gland then?"


"A synthetic human baby gland…" the science officer's eyes were dreamy both from realization and exhaustion. "That's smart… But where are you going to get nanopro… Nevermind." There were more nanoprobes on board Hawking than any ship in the fleet, considering her crew. Plus Jillian didn't particularly enjoy talking about her time in the collective. He let the thought go unspoken.

Jillian smiled, "Yeah…I'm sure someone around here can donate a nanoprobes…or two." She paused to take a long look at the man she loved. He looked like hell. "Nils, you need to go back to bed."

A JP by Nils, T'Shaini and Jils
Javier Costala
01-3-2008, 03:54:51 PM
Ajani had left sickbay and returned to his quarters. He was worried for his friend and co-worker. He knew that Starfleet had well-trained physicians and that the Hawking's doctors were dedicated to their patient's wellness but there was something else at work within his friend. Ajani had sensed this when he had helped Bramley remove Javier from the clutches of the black suit. The suit had offended the African man's spiritual nature to the point where Ajani had nearly flung the abhorrent manifestation aside once it was taken from his friend's form. He had not discussed this revulsion with the doctors or the counselor that was present; but Ajani knew that the conflict that consumed Javier went deeper than his physical wellbeing.

The engineer sat on a small, carved wooden stool and stared at the deck in front of him. In his hands, Ajani held a small woven bag which contained spiritual mementos that he had collected over his lifetime. The first of these had been given to him by a sangoma or traditional healer when he was seven, others he had found and were significant according to the trials he had faced. Ajani's triumphs and failures could be told by the items within the small bag. But if one had inquired about the items in the bag at that moment, an answer would not have been forthcoming because Ajani was not in his quarters aboard the Hawking.

With a stick he calmly drew figures and patterns in the sand as the wood in the fire cracked and sparks shot upward into the night sky. Ajani completed the pattern and waited, breathing easily, calming himself as he waited. From the darkness beyond the edges of the fire, figures began to move soundlessly. Out of the corners of his eyes Ajani recognized the figure that seated himself to his right. Relief flooded through him as his brother waited silently even as others drew near. Silently the circle was completed around the fire then Ajani greeted his ancestors.

"Ngi bingelela ubabamkhulu," he said respectfully to the men that sat around the fire. Ajani barely lifted his eyes from the glow of the fire. Tradition dictated that eye contact could only be made with equals or friends and his ancestors had moved on to a higher plane of existence so Ajani respectfully lowered his eyes. "I have come here to ask for your guidance and your protection," the man continued.

"Your family will always have our protection," his mother's father replied resolutely.

"Inkosi, I ask not for myself but for my friend," Ajani answered, glancing in the direction of his grandfather's feet.

"Umntwana," his father's father said, "your friend has his own family to watch over him." The atmosphere grew tense after this statement and Ajani tried very hard not to allow his grandfather's reference to him as a 'child' distract him from his original purpose.

"I don't think so Inkosi, I am asking that you help him," Ajani replied stubbornly. He was about to say something else when his brother, Thulile spoke, "Umfowethu," his voice bringing peace in its tone, "I will walk with you and your friend."

The atmosphere around the fire changed for the better. The older chiefs seemed to agree that Thulile would be best suited for this request. Ajani was outwardly silent but inside he rejoiced in the assurance that Javier had gained a considerable ally. Thulile's words were all Ajani needed, "Ngiyakubonga Umfowethu," he said to his brother as the young man picked up the stick and began to draw over the patterns in the sand. The fire dimmed and he was drawn from that plane to another as his room come back into focus.

'Ngi bingelela ubabamkhulu.' - 'I greet you grandfathers.' very respectful.
Inkosi - chief, also respectful.
Umntwana - child
Umfowethu - brother
'Ngiyakubonga Umfowethu.' - 'Thank you very much brother.'
01-3-2008, 10:56:39 PM
T'Shaini watched Jillian walk away and inwardly berated herself for placing more pressure on what was already an impossible situation. Of anyone, I certainly should know better than to do that. She contemplated following the Doctor to her office to apologize then saw Nils…much better.

At sea, her gaze swept the room, although she had no real purpose here in sickbay, she could not seem to leave. Ohh, Harry. Perhaps it was shameful that her attention had been so fully absorbed in one direction, but it was not something that touched her at the moment. She crossed sickbay to the bio bed where he lay, eyes closed and still. Closing her eyes as well she took a moment to restore her balance.

"Psst," the hiss rose up from the seemingly quiescent Finn.

Eyes still closed, one eyebrow raised.

"Shit," the whispered expletive was immediately followed by a "Where's Miller?"

Her eyes popped open. "Do you require medical assistance?"

"NO…" Harry winced at his own voice, then dropped the level again, "no… she keeps wanting to dope me up and I'm just starting to get the feeling back in my toes… is she around?"

T'Shaini snuck a glance back and saw Miller half sprinting across sickbay with her arm laden with medical supplies. "She appears to be fully occupied at the moment."

"Well, that's something," he shifted his position slightly, ignoring the phantom twinges and allowed himself to finally look up at the Counselor. "So… are you going to tell me what happened?"

"Javier is in a stasis unit awaiting Dr. Munro's cure of the virus, his condition seems to be deteriorating." She intoned flatly.

"Not about that… but, yeah, that's… well, better than I expected…" he realized how inadequate anything he said would be and, besides, he didn't know if she even cared enough to hear it, right now.

"Well, after you two left, Pev managed to make contact with the Hawking, he had discovered that signals…"

"Not that, either… not… on the planet," a grimace flashed across his features at even the mention of that particular level of hell, "well, sort of on the planet." He peaked around the obstruction of T'Shaini and, satisfied the area was a Miller-free zone, began to sit up.

"Are you certain you should be doing that." T'Shaini leaned in and without really knowing why, aided him in sitting up.

"I'm fine," he shrugged off the assistance, as well as the temporary impression that there were two Wendy's offering him aid. "Fine. It's just, some conversations you can't have laying flat on your back." He focused on the Wendy he thought was real and, knowing the conversation could be cut short at any moment, cut to the chase, "I want to know what happened to you, down there. How did you… why are you like," he waved a hand at the blankness he felt was inhabiting Wendy's body, "this?"

"Oh." She had not expected this. "I am a Vulcan."

At that he sat up just that much straighter, "Cut the crap, Lieutenant. Your species isn't known for enabling a complete personality switch in less than half an hour." He realized he was breathing quickly, too quickly, getting dizzy with an anger that was far older than this moment, "The last time I saw anyone change that drastically, it took a good three weeks."

Finn's rapidly growing agitation was perplexing. "Personality change? I have not undergone a personality change. I am as I have always been." T'Shaini knew she was oversimplifying the matter but it was essentially true.

He had to look away at that. It was the kind of answer he'd probably have gotten from Sara, way back when, had he bothered to ask why she'd changed so much… so very much. But he hadn't asked Sara because he knew, "Everyone lies," before dismissing the woman next to him with a subconscious shrug.

Three weeks…three weeks…oh. T'Shaini placed her hand carefully onto Harry's shoulder. "I am not lying. Granted I was not telling you the entire story, but I am not lying." She waited until she believed she had his attention. "I found myself beginning to be overwhelmed by my own reactions…it was becoming…cumbersome. In order to continue to function in a manner conducive to achieving the teams eventual survival I needed to do something about it." The counselor looked to the ceiling as if the correct words to explain what she had chosen to do to Harry would appear there. "You have heard of the Vulcan ritual of Kohlinar." She waited for his nod of acknowledgment. "It is something I have never believed in, I had chosen to seek a path wherein I would not close myself off, but embrace the emotion without allowing it to control me." A slight frown creased her brow. "My philosophy failed me." She drew her hand back and clasped them in front of her body. "Whereas not as all encompassing as a Kohlinar ritual, indeed that is a study of many years, there are methods that can be undertaken in an emergency…"

Don't say anything, don't say anything, don't say any…ah, f**k it! "Failed you?" Harry latched onto, for him, the most vital portion of the explanation she'd finally deigned to offer, "How? How did your philosophy fail you? Do you think there was a single one of us on that planet who wasn't fighting through a shitload of conflict the entire time we were down there? T'Shaini," he looked back at her now, "I almost shot… shot Costala down in that basement. I was… I was forcing my hand to keep that gun pointed down…" of course, as he'd later discovered the suit Costala wore was bulletproof but, at the time, "I was ready to kill him," he said, "and no doubt every member of the team had more than a few bad spells. As far as I know, right now, all of them held onto themselves." He took a breath, realized, that, yes, he really should have kept his mouth shut. "I'm sorry… I… I have no idea what I'm talking…"

"Yes you do. The difficulty is, I cannot guarantee that I would have. I did what I felt needed to be done."

"Guarantees are for large furniture purchases," Harry said, again without thinking. Then again, it's not like he was the galaxy's poster boy for informed choices. "But, anyway, I appreciate you being honest." Wow, that sounded lame. He vaguely wondered of the gray around the edges of his eyes meant something, "So," he added, looking in the general direction of T'Shaini, "when do you get to be… you… again?"

T'Shaini looked inward. "Am I not me?" Focusing back on the outside world she lifted one shoulder in a very slight shrug. "I do not know, I have yet to have time to investigate the situation…in other words, I barely knew how to set this in motion, I have little to no idea how to release it, or if I should."

Having gone down a similar route, himself… though for very different reasons… Harry had no easy answers. Her newly acquired wall… and how could he see it as anything else… was at least of a more durable material than his own had ever been. Maybe, maybe rather than questioning her choice he should be petitioning for the blueprints, the better to keep his own emotions out of play.

"Alive is good, not always easy, but good," he heard himself saying and frowned. Where had that come from?

How could she counsel him to allow others in when she had shut down herself. "Well spoken."

"Thanks." I wish I knew who'd said it. He thought he recalled a voice…. but, no… why would she have been there? "Anyway," Harry's focus, wandering, caught sight of another familiar figure. "Oh, hey, LT."

"Finn," Vanona Hawthorn greeted him with her quiet smile, "Counselor," she nodded to T'Shaini. "Doctor Schaeffer indicated that you might be waking, soon. I wished to make sure that the reports of your death had been exaggerated… again."

In an attempt to sound like herself T'Shaini raised one eyebrow at Finn. "You know what they say, third time is a charm."

"Doctor… Kerrin? Schaeffer? She was here?" How had he missed that? "Oh, yeah, thanks for that," he tossed at the Vulcan, who was so clearly trying it almost hurt to see. If he could see. The gray parts were starting to overshadow the not gray parts.

"Harry?" Vanona looked to T'Shaini, "perhaps…?"

Positioning herself on the other side of Harry. "Of course."

"I really, don't…" Harry tried but a Vulcan on the left and a half-Klingon on the right made a whole posse of Millers look like pansies. Falling into the bed, once more, he heard someone's voice from the enclosing murk.

"I will watch over him, Counselor. Consider it a Security thing."

Just another day at General Hospital…
Jillian Munro
01-4-2008, 12:15:14 AM
:: Sickbay, CMO's office ::

It had been five hours since the idea of nanoprobes popped into Jillian Munro’s head. Five hours, 32 minutes and 15 seconds, she thought to herself as she re-ran the simulation on her computer.

The procedure, in theory, was quite simple: Take some nanoprobes, re-program the microscopic machines to rebuild a thymus gland, introduce the nanoprobes to Javier’s blood stream, and voila. New gland. New immune system. Perfect.

Not so much.

There was still the problem of the acetylcholine receptors. How the hell am I going to get those to work again? She asked herself. Just as she was about to close her eyes and rest her forehead on her desk, a loud thunk vibrated the console infront on her. She looked up, startled.

“Did you know that Starfish need not fear the guillotine because they can regrow limbs?”

Jillian stared at Nils in complete confusion.

"A guillotine", he repeated, "It's what they used to behead people with during the French Revolution?".

"Yeah, I know what is is. I was just thinking about how weird you are."

Despite his ghostly-white-clammy sickly looking skin and bloodshot eyes, the smile he flashed made her heart melt. He chuckled, "Who knew that this biology stuff was so fascinating…"

"…and dare I say, fun?", she added with a raised eyebrow.

"I wouldn't go that far." He sat on the edge of her desk and wiped a bead of sweat that was trickling down his face.

Jillian sighed, "I thought I told you to go back to bed. You need to give your body time to recuperate."

"Yeah? And you have a team of nurses and doctors and yet you still feel you need to stay up all hours of the day," Nils shook his head, "I can rest later. You need me more than I need me right now. Plus, I owe Javier."

Jillian sat back in her chair, puzzled, "I'm not sure how that makes sense, but I'll take whatever you've got."

Nils motioned to the stack of PADD's he had previously dropped on her desk, "I think I figured out how we can get those receptors working again."

Jillian jumped forward and quickly began flipping through the PADD's, "How?"

"It's quite simple actually," he began, "We need to synthesize the enzyme acetylcholinesterase".

"Of course!" she exclaimed, "It converts acetylcholine into the inactive metabolites choline and acetate…How did I not see that??" She scolded herself.

Nils furrowed his brow, "Don't beat yourself up, Jils. You needed fresh eyes, that's all."

Jillian placed both of her hands on the sides of Nils' face, "You are a genius. I love you." She kissed him hard. "Tell me everything!"

"Well, it turns out that this enzyme is abundant in the synaptic cleft, and its role in rapidly clearing free acetylcholine from the synapse is essential for proper muscle function. I ran some scans - guess how much of this enzyme is present in Javier's body?"

"I'll take Zero, Alec."


"Nevermind, it was a bad joke, " she said waving her hand, " OK, so we send out the nanoprobes to rebuild his Thymus gland. This will boost his immune system - and will essentially begin sending out a plethora of T-cells to fight the Tennyson virus."

"Exactly. I found it interesting that T cells are produced in the Thymus gland."

Jillian nodded, "Yep, our lifetime supply of T cells diminishes with age and the process can be accelerated by stress and disease. After they go, so do we. Fun stuff, huh?"

"Indeed." He said flatly, "Sorry…continue."

"Alright, so we get his T cell numbers up, way up…we hope to hell they put up a damn good fight for the virus, meanwhile we nuke his body with acetylcholinesterase, so that the acetylcholine receptors can juice up."

"Has the virus done any internal damage that is beyond repair?"

"Most definitely. He'll need to undergo several treatments of skin graphs and organ tests." Jillian frowned, "We're not going to have time to test this all out."

Nils nodded, "I know. But given the situation, I don't think we have much choice."

"I need to talk to T'Shaini."

5 minutes later :: Sickbay: CMO's office ::

"I think I have potential solution for the Tennyson strain", Jillian began to say slowly.

"Yes?" Lack of emotion did not necessarily coincide with infinite patience.

"…But it hasn't been tested. I mean, it's all theoretical at this point. I'm not sure if it will work, and to be honest, I'm not sure what the side effects would be." The more she spoke, the more she realized how ridiculous she sounded. Was she really going to suggest that T'Shaini let her use Javier as a guinea pig?

"I gather you are considering using Javier as a test subject."

Jillian nodded, "Yes", she smiled softly, "Look. I understand if you don't want me to do this. But…if I don't do something…"

T'Shaini held up a hand to stall the spate of words. "You are CMO, it is your call to make."

"Yes…but, he's your…" This was border line inappropriate, "…I mean…he's your…partner." She said quietly.

She attempted to soften her tone understanding why Jillian was broaching the subject with her, and what pressure she was under. "I appreciate you consideration, but I have no jurisdiction in this situation. If you are looking for my personal support of this procedure then you have it. You said yourself his conditions is worsening rapidly…what other course is there?"

Jillian looked down at the floor, attempting to conceal her tears. She was exhausted, grumpy and overly emotional, "Thank you, T'Shaini." She looked up, "I promise I will try my hardest to make this work."

:: Sickbay Surgical Area ::

Jillian rested her hand on Javier's forehead. She closed her eyes and silently whispered a prayer to Nils' prophets, "Jia'kaja, tre'nu'tol'a rem… La'por i'lanu kos… I'nar tan'a'tali nor…" She had heard him say it a few months back when she lay dying on this very same biobed. Despite the pain she had been in at the time time, the prayer had brought her comfort.

L'mek activated the biofunction monitor, located at the head of the biobed, "I'm ready when you are, Doctor."

"Thank you." She picked up the hypospray that she had loaded with her own nanoprobes and held it infront of her. Taking a deep breath, she rested the hypo on Javier's neck, "Injecting nanotic solution," she pressed the button firmly, "Now".

"How long do we wait before we began working on receptors?", asked L'mek.

Jillan sighed, "Your guess is as good as mine. I can't imagine it will take very long for the nanites to do their job…"

A beep chirped from the biofunction monitor, "Jillian, the Thymus gland has been restored. Javier's T cell count is climbing."

Jillian walked over to the monitor, to look for herself, "Well…that was…fast." She was in shock, "Almost creepy fast."

"Indeed. But it is is Borg technology, and they are…"

"Efficient. Yes, I know." She added.

"I'll begin administering the acetylcholinesterase enzyme," said L'mek.

Continuing to monitor Javier's bio-readings, Jillian watched his body orchestrate it's defense against the virus. She looked up at Nils, who was standing on the other side of the biofield, and smiled, "I think it's working."

Thanks to T'Shaini for lending her voice. Thanks to Nils for letting me use him as I see fit…(oh! And thanks for letting me write your dialogue, too) ;)
Javier Costala
01-4-2008, 11:09:30 AM
"Please don't die," Javier said as tears streamed down his cheeks. He held T'Shaini's body in his arms. "Don't.." he said as he felt her warm skin grow cool and the breath leave her body. "T'SHAINI!" Javier called out but she remained slumped against him, unmoving. "Jesus! Somebody help me!" he yelled towards the people in the room, but as always they ignored him. It was a re-occuring nightmare, always the same in that T'Shaini died and the engineer couldn't do anything to help her. He gently laid T'Shaini on the ground so he could slap his commbadge, =^=Transporter Room, I need a medical evac!=^= but the frequency was static. The engineer cursed and placed his own lips against T'Shaini's blowing oxygen into her lungs, hoping that this time he could save her. He pulled away and inhaled deeply then covered her lips with his again, pushing the air into her mouth in an effort to resuscitate T'Shaini.

Her lips grew warm and Javier heard her breathe as her chest lifted against his and retained the rhythm of life. He started to pull away but felt her arms circle his neck and hold him down. Javier lingered over her for a few minutes before pulling away. The nightmare had changed; before he had never been able to save T'Shaini. "You're alive.." the engineer's voice said in amazement before it faltered as he found himself looking at Caterina.

"What do you want?" Javier said through clenched teeth, "and what have you done with T'Shaini?"

Lia's mother, in title only, smiled back at him. "I want you to come with me," she said then turned her head and nodded towards the darkened corridor behind them. The engineer looked around in confusion, realizing the dream's venue had changed, and he and Caterina lay on the floor of the Lisbon Starport. Javier pushed away from her and stood to his feet. He studied his surroundings, everything was familiar and appeared as it had when he had worked as a civilian technician in the building. A chime from the audio speakers alerted Javier to a message, he stopped to listen to the announcement. <>When you feel so tired but you can't sleep, stuck in reverse.<> it said then cut off abruptly. The engineer stared at the PA system. Where have I heard those words?

He looked back towards the dark corridor Cat had indicated. If memory served him right it led to her office. Why would she want me to go to her..oh. the engineer realized as his memories of that time in his life returned.

"Come on Javi," Cat said as she grabbed his hand and began to pull at him. Besides Cat's efforts there was also a pull from the corridor itself. Javier looked past Caterina at the corridor, which seemed to end in nothingness. There was something foreboding about the darkness and as he watched it, it seemed to grow outward.

"Get off of me!" he said and pulled away roughly. Cat fell back with a thump that made him wince.

"Well that wasn't very nice Javier," Marla remarked as she stood to her feet. The engineer did a double-take, but it was Marla that faced him now. He sensed people moving around them and his eyes were drawn to their surroundings. It was a large hall full of marines in their dress blues. Javier gaped at the SFMC Birthday Ball. What am I doing here? he thought until Marla took his arms and pulled him close for the dance. He stared at his hands, clothed in the white formal gloves then looked down at his own dress blues in shock.

"This can't be happening.." he said. Marla rested her head on his shoulder, like she used to. Javier looked around in confusion. "When did I..?"

"When you lose something you can't replace," the song blared from the marine band, "When you love someone but it goes to waste, could it be worse?"

"Javier, let's leave early," Marla suggested as if on cue.

"Where would we go?" he asked without thinking.

"There," she said and he followed her finger as it pointed towards a dark place near the entrance of the hall. "I have something special planned for tonight.."

"I..uh..I can't," Javier replied, but his refusal didn't come as easily this time. Marla..I wrecked it. Could this be another chance? He glanced at Marla's face, it was sincere and caring just like it had been. She does want what's best for me..she always did. His eyes moved back toward the dark spot near the doorway. "Okay, can we talk about this.." the marine started.

"Don't be silly Javier," Marla said playfully as she began to pull on his arm. "Come on, you'll like this." Marla seemed to have gotten stronger somehow and his dress shoes couldn't find purchase on the floor as she pulled him toward the dark area. It also had the same gravitational pull as the dark corridor.

"No, no…" he repeated just in case she hadn't heard him then broke away and ran in the other direction. He could hear her shouting at him but Javier didn't slow down until the dancing couples surrounded him. He plowed into them and knocked a few aside before the mass slowed his movement. Javier plunged through them, body-checking the more stubborn couples out of his path. They turned to face him. Blue cloth turned black as he realized he was fighting to get through a group of his 'brothers'. Javier struggled to break free but he was borne back by a wave of the combat-suited figures. He could feel the pull of the dark nexus behind him as the suited figures pushed him towards it.

<>Join me.<> the familiar voice, that haunted his dreams every time T'Shaini died, ordered. <>Become perfection.<>

Out of the corner of his eye Javier caught the reflection of light on the tall grass. Grass? The light flashed again as he struggled to find the source of the light. The engineer searched the hall, but it was no longer a hall, the hall disappeared and grassy savanna covered what had been the ballroom's floor. A tall African man walked through the grass, as he walked he spoke but Javier couldn't understand what he was saying. The soldiers of Tennyson fell back from the spoken words. Amazed, Javier could only watch as the tall man broke through the suits and scattered them like chaff in the wind.

"Go," the man told Javier, pointing behind him, "leave this place. Return to your family." The engineer turned and found himself looking down a path that led into a valley, along either side of the path stood other tall Africans. Each of these held a torch that lit the areas around them and held the suited figures at bay. Lights will guide you home.. echoed in Javier's thoughts as he set his foot on the path. It was difficult at first but as he walked the way became less difficult.

Ajani and the others laughed. The engineers had gathered around the master systems display to discuss PO Costala. Ibrahim had been doing his best to keep up the engineer's spirits and had told a story about the man's resiliency before launching into another story about Costala's unique habits.

"When did he sing that?" Kal-El asked.

"When he had to traverse the left pylon and run tests on the Bussard Collectors. It was a long climb but I could hear it echoing down the tube," Mustapha replied with a broad smile. "He's the only engineer I've ever known that sings to the systems he's repairing."

"And what was he singing?" Ajani asked.

"An old Terran song..let's see," the African man said as he thought about the words then in his baritone sang, "Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and I will try to fix you."

He could hear whispers, small sounds, the steady beeping of a machine. I need a drink of water.. Javier thought as his tongue ran over his dry lips. He opened his eyes but the room was still dark. Someone needed to turn on the lights.

"Lights.." he croaked, "brighter."
01-4-2008, 09:00:18 PM
"Dr. Murno…Jillian…" T'Shaini looked down at Javier, who was finally showing signs of life, but it did not look positive. "it appears he may be convulsing…"

Jillian put her hand on Nils' shoulder and pushed him back down on the biobed, "Now, sleep."

Nils nodded, "Yes, now go…GO!"

Turning her attention towards T'Shaini, she quickly walked over to Javier's biofunction monitor. A smile crept across Jillian's face, "He's…dreaming. Well…more likely he's having a nightmare of some sort, but I'll take anything at this point. The important this is…the synapses in his brain are firing…" she continued to scan the readout, "His neuroanatomy looks good."

"Ahh, thank you." T'Shaini took the hand that was grasping at the sheets and enfolded it in hers. The reassurance of the Doctor's prognosis seemed to translate itself to Javier's body, and she saw his encephalous struggles cease. Soon after the lids of his eyes began to flicker.

"Lights.." he croaked, "brighter."

T'Shaini's own eyes opened wider as she looked to Jillian across the intensely illuminated sickbay.

Jillian slowly waved the medical tricorder wand over Javier's head, "Looks like there's an inflammation inside his eye, affecting the uvea. I'm not sure why? But the uvea provides most of the blood supply to the retina, so until we reduce the inflammation, he'll be temporarily…blind."

"Blind? What could have caused it?"

"Well, causes of uveitis can include autoimmune disorder - which he had, infection - which I'm sure he has plenty of at this point, or exposure to toxins." Jillian pulled the skin around his eyes to inspect it visually, "This purple discoloration…any idea how that got there?"

A vision of the tracks of amethyst tears pouring down Javier's face on the transporter pad flashed across T'Shaini's mind. "I do not know, they were affected when he arrived on the Hawking."

The darkness lightened and he could make out vague shapes like outlines in a dark fog just above his head. The drone of voices, indistinguishable to him at that moment, was a steady buzz in his ears. Something or rather someone touched his face and the sensation was entirely opposite to that of the harsh metal of the combat suit's helmet. Nice, soft, warm.. he thought. One of the voices was more familiar now that he had listened for a minute or so.

"T'Shaini?" he asked, his throat hurting and Javier's voice sounding very rough to his own ears.

"Yes." She squeezed his hand to underscore her response.

He turned his head towards the sound of her voice. The darkness grew and he could not find her in the fog that filled his vision. His hand wrapped around hers. "Did Harry make it?"

"Yes, yes he did. His surgery was successful and currently he is resting." T'Shaini refrained from pointing out a biobed that Javier could not see.

Jillian rested her hand on Javier's arm, "Javier, it's Jillian. You have a purple substance surrounding your eyes. Do you know what this is?" she asked.

I kept my promise. the engineer thought before Dr. Munro spoke. He listened then searched through the memories of his last moments on Halcyon. "The suit..the Voice said I had been disobediant and the helmet injected some type of liquid into the skin around my eyes. It burned…and then nothing..I mean, I guess that's why I can't see now." Javier turned his head upwards and the light grew. "I can see the lights above me barely, but you two are lost in the fog."

"Exposure to toxins…that would explain the uveitis," Jillian confirmed, "I'm going to have to take some tissue scans." She held a Resonance Tissue Scanner above Javier's eyes and began collecting data.

"Doc, have you given yourself the vaccine yet?" Javier asked, remembering that the doctor had been infected too.

Jillian shook her head, "Not yet", she took a moment to think of a reason why, "I suppose I haven't…had time."

"You must make time." T'Shaini looked down at the obviously worn and ill doctor. "Now.

Jillian smiled, "Understood. I'll go now," before turning to leave sickbay, she looked down at Javier, "You are free to go back to your quarters, Javier. But I'd like to see you again tomorrow for a checkup. Also, I should have the results of the tissue sample by then."

"Yes Ma'am," the former marine replied respectfully. His hand had not moved from T'Shaini's and his thumb stroked the back of her hand softly. Javier looked in the direction he had last heard the counselor's voice. "I need to speak you..if you're not too busy," he said quietly.

T'Shaini had been looking down at the familiar sight of his hand moving over hers, lost in the attempt to feel she was startled by his question. "Yes of course, always. Since you have clearance to leave perhaps I can take you back to my quarters to recuperate. I am certain it will be more comfortable than the shuttle."

"I'm almost willing to bet it will be," Javier replied with a smile. He moved his hand from hers long enough to sit up, not an easy task, then slip his legs to the side and stand up. Both movements were a chore to complete and he wavered unsteadily after standing. "That virus really did a number on my muscles. I may need some physical theraphy.." the engineer said as he turned his head, 'looking' to either side of the room then held out his hand. "You're going to have to lead this dance," Javier said to T'Shaini.

T'Shaini took his hand and looped her arm through his. There would be time to explain later. "I promise, no pirouettes…well, not yet."

See no evil, speak no evil and Dr. Evil
Javier Costala
01-4-2008, 11:13:36 PM
The ship was underway. Javier heard the crew talking about the destruction of Halcyon in the corridors as he and T'Shaini made their way to the counselor's quarters. The engineer also felt the movement of the deck and surmised that they were leaving the dead planet. He had not spoken since they left sickbay, instead listening to the crew and squeezing T'Shaini's hand at intervals. Finally, when they reached her quarters, Javier stopped after the doors closed.

"Has the virus been cured? Without a doubt?" Javier asked as he placed his hands on T'Shaini's arms, turning her so she was facing him.

"Yes I believe so, according to Jillian, the combination of the regrown thymus gland and the nanites in your system, well with the addition of…" T'Shaini's eyes almost glazed over as she scoured her brain to recall what the doctor had said. "ace..acety…acetomowhatevers replacing enzymes in your system…" Her voice began to trail off. "Perhaps it would be more informative to ask Dr. Munro."

Javier's hands moved upward until they rested lightly on T'Shaini's shoulders. "What does my face look like? Is it bad..grotesque? Or deformed?"

"No…not at all. You are still very pale, but that is to be expected. And your eyes…"

"What about my lips? Are they crusty?" he asked.

"Crusty? No…"

"Are you sure? Because I was wondering why we aren't..oh nevermind," Javier said as he lowered his head hoping that his lips would find hers. He got her nose. "Sorry," he mumbled then worked his way down to her soft lips. Turning his head as he kissed her passionately, Javier pulled T'Shaini into a close embrace.

Not quite as much time as I had hoped for. In a clinical way T'Shaini found it interesting, her body was responding to him even though it was not triggered by her emotions. It was far less intense but still…pleasing. Also interesting that her thought processes were not disrupted, usually any close contact with Javier made certain that she had difficulty forming sentences, never mind analyzing the situation. She held his face with her hands and pulled gently away. "I think I need to explain something…"

Lost in a world of warm, moist lips Javier was withdrawn from the sensation by T'Shaini. Thoughts came rushing back and woven among them was the one Tennyson had planted and cultivated whilst the engineer had been on Halcyon. "But Harry said it wasn't true.." Javier said out-loud. Could Tennyson have been right after all? He wished he could see T'Shaini's face. "Is..are..are we finished?" he asked the counselor, his voice breaking midway through the painful question.

"What?" She had no idea where that had come from. Was that the way she was reading now? "What is not true?" She took Javier by the hands and led him to sit. "Even as I am, I do not wish for us to be finished. I will of course abide by your wishes, whatever you decide."

"No..I don't want to lose you," Javier told T'Shaini as he felt his eyes water. "The Voice in the suit..he would tell me things," Javier swallowed, then continued, "He said you were all planning to kill me. He said..he told me that you were..with Harry. Sometimes he would play pieces of your conversations and all the time he would say you didn't want me anymore." Javier blinked and felt a tear break free from his eye and roll down his cheek. It burned on its way down his face, trailing a minute amount of the toxins that Tennyson had injected him with. "I thought you were pulling away from me, in the bunker and now..and..and I don't want you to."

“Ahhh.” Akin to looking through a kaleidoscope and suddenly having the pattern snap into place, his words made so many things said and done on the planet clear. An echo of an emotional response brought her hand to cup his face and brush away the tear. "No, on the contrary…" She took a deep breath, her failure on the planet still left a bitter taste in her mouth. "I found myself incapable of processing the emotions that the situation evoked. I decided that I could have been a danger to the team if I was not more under control so…I…took control. Locked away emotion." Flat…empty…nothingness. "And I am afraid I have no idea how to undo it."

"That was why it felt like you were pulling away," Javier said, "I had gotten so used to you having emotions that when you rid yourself of them, I thought you were just shutting me out." The revelation that T'Shaini still wanted to be with him made Javier view her emotional withdrawal as a challenge rather than a barrier. He took her hand and pulled her closer to him, leaning back as he pulled her into an embrace on the couch. "I think we should approach this in a logical manner. In other words, try everything we can to unlock your emotions," Javier said in a serious tone. "I know what the first approach should be..pancakes my love, we need pancakes."

This jp is brought to you by IHOP
Anthony Trann
01-5-2008, 01:03:58 AM
"Crewman Trann, you alright?" Said a voice, Anthony opened his eyes, breathing deeply as though each breath was his last.
"Crewman, you alright?, Don't worry your in angels wings" Said the ensign, who was, cradling Anthony, she pulled his sleeve back to reveal severel bite marks, and another one on his collar.
"Come on, we need to get you to a bed" Finshed the Ensgin, she helped Anthony get up as they trudingly dragged along to the sickbay floor.
"wait, wasn't I?" Before Anthony could finsh he was hurled onto one of the beds in the sickbay.
"Don't worry, one of the doctors will be around and give you a couple of shots" Said the ensign, she brushed off some of the dust that Anthony had passed on to her.
"Shots for what?" Asked Anthony, still wincing at the pain.
"I don't know, but apparently" Before she could finsh a voice from the distance called her, and she rushed off.

Anthony rested his head against the pillow, he took a deep breath, then arose.
"Ensign?" Called Anthony, the ensign gave him a glance and waited for him to finish.
"Has Bianca fields been beamed up?" Asked Anthony, the Engisn shook her head, then ran off to another table, one harbouring someone in much worse condition than himself, whoever it was.

Suddenly that person, a female, rose up, and lunged one of the nurses, gouging on the poor individual. A security team raised his phaser and fired severel shots, but to no avail, another two corspes reanimated and continued the onslaught, screams and shouts filled the sickbay as more and more of the creatures flooded the area…


"Hey Trann?" yelled a voice, Anthony shook, startled, he looked around the sickbay, there were cries, but they were mainly for instruments tools, nothing serious or therting. Where he expected to be insuing violence, was nothing. he blinked, nothing. Shrell stood over him, an inqusitive look on his face.
"You alright, care to explain?" Shrell asked, Anthony shook his head.
"You'll know one day" Said Anthony, he gave a deep sigh, then reached over for a glass of water, Shrell took off.
Harry Finn
01-5-2008, 10:07:58 AM
Schaeffer, no, Kerrin,

This is a note in my own handwriting. I wanted you to see this handwriting (extra points if you can read it) so that if you ever receive something that doesn’t look like this with my name on it, or no one’s name on it, it’s not from me and I’d be grateful if you’d let me know immediately about that. This way we can avoid any more 'anatomically correct chocolate heart' misunderstandings… hopefully.

Right, look, I suck at letter writing… too much like reports. Let me say that, yes, I really am sort of gaga over you… you are funny and smart and know how to make gross props for haunted houses and have a mean right hook… these are all things I find attractive in a woman. Also, well, believe me when I say your looks (especially in that red sweater thing) do you no harm.

But here’s the thing, and it’s going to sound like a bad holonovel but it’s true. There are some people who are kind of pissed at me and they’ve got someone here, on Hawking, making sure I know it. They’re the type… they’re not beyond taking it out on someone I care for.

I know this from experience.

So, yeah, I like you. And if this were anything like a normal situation, I’d have Gorsky ask Miller to ask Munro to ask Torrik to ask you if you liked me, too.

But it’s not a normal situation. It’s a dangerous situation and that means I won’t allow any harm to come to you and right now that means… well, if I can get through this… if I can, then feel free to tell Torrik to tell Munro… you get it.

Now that the mushy stuff is out of the way, thank you for being… present while I was under the weather recently. It took a while to remember, after the dope wore off but it was… very kind of you. I haven’t been deserving of your kindness, I know.

Also - enclosed you’ll find a type 1 phaser, which I’ve taken the liberty of checking out on your behalf. Please keep it with you at all times and, if you would care to become better acquainted with its workings, I’m sure I could find the time to test you out on the firing range. In which case I’d be more than grateful if you’d wear that red sweater thingee…



He’d just dropped the plain brown paper envelope in front of Schaeffer as she sat at breakfast. He hadn’t said a word, just looked once at those amazing eyes and remembered. He recalled seeing them in sickbay and how their sadness had made him feel. That she’d been there at all was a small miracle, that she’d stayed, holding fast, had been…

There had been words, too but those had fled, leaving only trails of their meaning… but that was enough.

Striding down the refreshingly corpse-free corridors of Hawking, Harry felt a smile tugging at his lips. The look on Schaeffer’s face when he’d dropped the envelope on her lap was priceless. Then the smile was replaced by something different. Something harder. He’d meant what he’d written… he would not allow any harm to come to her, or anyone else on the ship.

Which meant it was time to go on the offensive. Time, way past time, to root out the tool Acker had placed on the Hawking. Time, finally, for Harry Finn to be alive.
01-6-2008, 08:01:04 AM
Kerrin preferred having breakfast in the mess hall rather than replicating it in her quarters, it was a chance to jumpstart her brain before work and watch the swirl of people interact. Applicable to her field that she found watching the differences in body language between those just getting off shift to those preparing for the day as absorbing as she did. So absorbing in fact that she froze, a giant spoonful of oatmeal halfway to her mouth, when Harry appeared before her. Wow, he looks good. He did, little of the remnants of Halycon were visible (Gorsky had given her an earful of what had happened on the planet) as a matter of fact, since he had been forced to rest post op in sickbay he actually looked better than she had seen him look in a long time…not necessarily a good thing for her.

She sat there, mouth open, spoon in hand, not moving, as he dropped an envelope in front of her and abruptly left. Only the plop of the oatmeal sliding off the spoon onto the table pulled her from her stasis. Uck. Quickly wiping her mess away, she picked up the package…heavier than I expected. Opening it, she pulled out a letter and first taking a look around to see if anyone was paying attention, began to read.


Just wow.

She could feel her face grow hot as she read due to the horrifyingly adolescent reaction she felt overtake her. She squeaked out loud at the ' I’d have Gorsky ask Miller to ask Munro to ask Torrik to ask you if you liked me, too.' and had to control the urge to pump her fist at the knowledge that her red sweater worked exactly as she had hoped. In her excitement at finding out that she was not just pouring feelings into the void she managed to completely disregard the warning at the top of the letter…

…until she looked back in the envelope and saw the phaser.

What am I supposed to do with that? And how am I supposed to carry it with me all the time? She looked down at her cleavage…nope, not there. Then a smile began to blossom. "I suppose it could be part of my lesson at the firing range…"
God, did I say that out loud? I should use it to shoot myself. Breakfast forgotten, she scooped up her prize and hugging it close, made her way to her lab with something that was suspiciously like a skip to her step.

What did you say Kerrin? Of course I will post this for you.
Javier Costala
01-6-2008, 04:47:13 PM
In her opinion there was nothing better, the temperature was warm enough to not require extra layers, but not so warm as to be uncomfortable, the air was redolent with the aroma of fresh cut grass and Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana was being sung beautifully by the New York City Opera several hundred yards away in the open air. "I thought this might be restful." T'Shaini said, readjusting the skirts of her terran summer dress she chose to wear in keeping with the setting.

Javier could feel the warmth of the sun on his face as he elevated his head upwards. The fog that was his vision grew lighter as he found the point in the sky where the sun shone. The engineer leaned toward T'Shaini and rested his head on her shoulder as he listened to the music. The song was unfamiliar but pleasant and relaxing and it was a welcome change from medical tests and dealing with the emotional fallout of the mission to Halcyon.

"This is perfect," he said with a sigh. His fingers slid over the material of the blanket on which they were sitting before he left his hand open, palm outward, so she could fill it with her own. "I've never been to New York before..well..except that one time when we went to Central Park with the dogs."

"I spent some time here between semesters in the Academy, actually where we were with the dogs is just over a hill to the right." Amazing how, as difficult as the time with Q had been, it paled in comparison to the recent events. She slid her hand over his and searched for the pull that should accompany his touch, or the concept that she had almost lost him. There were reverberations but she knew the difference. Rather the opposite of the pain of a phantom limb, but just as frustrating. "Do you mind?"

He had raised his head and looked to the right after the comment about the dogs, as if he could catch a glimpse of familiar landscape. He could distinguish vague shapes in the fog but not much else. Right, still blind. Javier squeezed T'Shaini's hand while wondering what had happened to Scottie, the small terrier that had been Baca's playmate for the day.

"Do I mind what?" he asked.

"This…me…what if I cannot find my way back?"

"What if I never get my sight back? Would it change how you feel about me?" Javier inquired.

"Not quite the same thing, your not being able to see has not changed the essence of Javier, whereas I feel as if my attempt to not follow the traditional path is what defined me."

"Essence of you think people would buy that if I had it bottled?" he asked, cocking his head to the side.

"I shudder to think what it might be that you are bottling…and have no doubts whatsoever that there would be a market for it."

The engineer burst out laughing, it was much needed laughter and something he hadn't done in a while so Javier enjoyed it. "I think I'll keep my essence to myself," he finally managed to say and inhaled deeply. The fragrance of the grass and the bite of the clean, fresh air filled his lungs. So different from Halcyon.. He turned his attention back to their conversation, pushing thoughts of the virus choked planet from his mind. "I was surprised when we first met, you didn't seem like an ordinary Vulcan," Javier admitted. "Most of them would not like a stranger, or anyone for that matter, kissing chocolate icing off their lips." The engineer smiled as he thought of when he had first met T'Shaini. He slowly came back to the subject at hand. "I can understand why you needed to shut yourself off emotionally on Halcyon. Different people have different ways of dealing with stress. Harry liked to crackwise while darkly projecting our chances of success." Javier shrugged and added, "And I just tried to focus on what I needed to do..what was best for our survival." His hand went back to the place on his neck where the suit had injected him with the serum to balance the virus. There would always be a scar to denote the spot, almost like he had received a booster shot of some type. "I'm glad we all made it off the planet alive," Javier said quietly, "and if I never regain my sight or if you never find a way to unblock what you've shut out..I'm happy that we're alive and together."

"Thank you, and yes, you are quite right. I do not need to abandon my efforts, but I need to be grateful for what we have all retained." T'Shaini leaned back onto her elbows and let the beauty of the day wash over her, practicing feeling gratitude. If it is meant to return, then it will return.

Javier nodded and sat silent for a moment listening to the orchestra, which was playing some sort of sad, strained melody. "I'm tired of sad, strained melodies," he said suddenly, "I've had my fill of sad, strained melodies…that's all Halcyon was full of.." The engineer stood to his feet then said, "You play an instrument right? Bass?"

T'Shaini blinked. "Well, electric guitar actually…but I have not picked it up in several months."

"Perfect, I haven't played a guitar in six years so you have the advantage," he replied holding out his hand to help her up off the ground. "We're hijacking this performance. Lead me to the instruments..preferably the piano."

"Oh…" T'Shaini kept his hand as she strode toward the 'stage'. No chance for a guitar with that orchestra. "Computer, Fender Strat…candy apple red." She scooped up the guitar as it appeared with her free hand without breaking stride. Hopping the several feet onto the stage, she led Javier to the bench of the enormous grand piano and then plugged into the amp that had appeared with in conjunction with her request. "What are we doing?"

Javier found middle C then played around with the keys a bit, letting his fingers glide over the ivories as he acquainted himself with the piano. Hello piano I am Javier. I will play you now. I can make you sound really good. He passed when he heard T'Shaini plug in the guitar, several members of the audience gasped as they realized they were about to get a full dose of rock 'n roll orchestra. "How about..well…uhm." He tried to think of something that mixed the two genres of music. "Metallica?"

"I was more thinking what are we doing onstage with City Opera…but Metallica will do." She quickly tuned her guitar. "Nothing else matters?"

"Excellent, then we go into Fuel?" he asked, the adrenaline beginning to kick in. Javier limbered up his fingers and ran them up and down the piano top. "And we are making an artistical union for all these good people," he added with a wave at the crowd he couldn't see.

"Far be it from me to disparage an 'artistical union'" T'Shaini looked around at the puzzled but expectant faces of the orchestra. Thank goodness they seem to be compliant. "On three?"

"The opening solo is yours alone ..oh..Computer, music and lyrics to 'Nothing Else Matters' and 'Fuel' by Metallica for the orchestra pit and performers..thank you," Javier said in excitement.

"It's my pleasure Sparks," the computer's female voice replied.

"Uh..three?" Javier said, hoping to move right into the song and skip any embarrassing dialogue about the computer and its nickname for him.

Taking a glance at the music T'Shaini saw that yes, she had a good 32 bars of solo before the violins entered. Tapping her heel on the ground to mark the tempo for herself she let the tips of her fingers pluck out the opening melody.

Javier listened intently to the opening chords of the song as a smile grew slowly on his face. He was hoping that in some small way the music would help T'Shaini reacquaint herself with emotion. Even if it doesn't..she still plays beautifully, the engineer surmised before something brushed against his leg. He sat very still then reached down towards whatever animal was sitting against his leg. Javier knew it was an animal because he could feel the little chap breathing like he had just ran down a hill. His hand found wiry, short hair and Javier knew that it must be a dog. He petted the small dog until it began to lick his fingers. I wonder if T'Shaini programed him in? The dog began to bark and scamper around the piano bench. The engineer could hear its nails tapping on the wooden bench and knew it was trying to leap up and sit beside him.

He reached down and picked the dog up and put him on the bench. Instead of appeasing the animal, the change of altitude seemed to make him even more excited as he barked and began to lick Javier's face. "Ah T'Shaini..some help?"

The orchestra more than adequately carrying the piece T'Shaini put down her guitar and walked over to the piano at Javier's call. "Oh." A small white dog was up on the bench vying for his attention…and it looked remarkably like the dog they had met in the park before. Did Javier program him in? Scooping him up in her arms she tried to read the tag he was wearing, it says 'Scotty'… and noticed that there was a note attached to the collar.

Dear Vulcan Temptress, no you have enough collars, this one isn't for you. Scotty was getting lonely and depressed and needs a playmate so I thought to myself, who better than someone with the same thought capacity? Naturally a Klingon came to mind first but then it was Javier. So here he is, tell your trained caveman to take good care of our little friend.

Waiting for my private Dance,


Perhaps it is a positive thing in this instance that I am unable to feel "Javier, it is the dog from the park…a present from Q…for you."

"Scotty?" the engineer's mind returned to the terrier.."Did Q keep him in the holodeck did he..I guess it's better not to ask," he said as he petted the dog who squirmed in T'Shaini's arms. "I wonder how Lt. Torrik feels about dogs?"

JP in the Park!
Harry Finn
01-6-2008, 10:19:40 PM
USS Hawking
Gorsky/Finn Quarters

The cabin was empty, again. Gorsky had become quite the ladies man over the past couple weeks. Either that or geek was the new black. Either way, hard to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Finn, with another 48 hours off the roster, flopped onto the bunk and enjoyed the utter relaxation which accompanied the action. He didn’t know if the twenty-something hours on Halcyon had just worn him out that much or he was still enjoying the aftermath of Miller’s tranqs but since the extraction he’d been sleeping more than he had in two and a half years.

It felt good.

Melting into the thin mattress he remembered that he’d forgotten, again, to coordinate mission reports with Costala and by that he meant making sure neither of them mentioned just which of Father’s suited soldiers shoved a blade into Harry’s guts. As things had turned out it was a no harm, no foul situation and Harry knew, from years of reports to various aspects of Command that trying to explain that while, yes, technically the hand which had done the deed belonged to Costala, Costala himself had not been in charge of his body at the time….

No. Better all around to gloss over the more taxing aspects of events on planet and focus on the overall ‘hey, we prevented a galactic zombie invasion’ angle.

Making a note to himself to dig up the engineer next shift come hell, high water or Jeffries tubes (though he really, really hoped it woudn’t come to that), Harry started to drift.

To be pulled back from sweet oblivian by the beeping of an incoming message on the desk terminal.

“Nobody’s home!” but the beeping persisted. Someone wouldn’t take no for an answer. “Fine,” he rolled out of bed and flung himself behind the desk. “If this is one of Gorsky’s harem I’m gonna short sheet his bed…”

“Finn, here,” he told the activated screen before he noticed it was blacked out.

“I’m looking for John Huston,” a voice, heavily filtered, came through, “or were you Peckinpaw? Hard to keep straight, after all that’s happened.”

Harry straightened. No one knew those names. No one but him because he never put aliases in reports and all the others who'd been involved were dead. “I’m sorry,” he started tapping in a search code and it got bounced back almost the moment he’d entered the last digit, damn “there’s no one here by either of those names.”

“Oh, come now, Harry,” the voice was a mash of varying sound bytes but the inflection was dead on, “don’t add lying to your list of sins.”

Shoving in an isolinear chip, Harry began to record the conversation. “Rich, coming from, what, the spook of a spook? Don’t think you’re impressing anyone but yourself, buddy.”

“I’m impressed by you, Harry. Not everyone wears the murder of an old man so comfortably.”

He didn’t have time to respond because that’s when the transmission cut out.

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