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Elbow Deep

Posted on Wed Mar 31st, 2021 @ 1:43pm by Lieutenant Teejay & Lieutenant Commander Leonora Wolf MD

Mission: S1E5: Symphony of Horror
Location: Belmont Station, Autopsy Suite 2
Timeline: Sometime before 'Passing The Buck'

There was this little blonde sliver of hair just matted to her forehead, tickling her upper lash line in such an annoying way and had been for the last thirty minutes or so, since they started the autopsy.

Leah couldn't remove the offending hair however, as the rest of her was entangled in a different predicament. Namely trying to dislodge the liver of the Corvan corpse splayed on the bio bed before her and Teejay who was assisting her in her research.

"Grab the micro scalpel, please? We'll need to make a tiny cut otherwise I'm going to tear the liver apart trying to get it out and measured." The norwegian said, a little bead of sweat travelling down her forehead and down the right lens of her protective goggles.

Every dead thing had its own scent, and this one was no different. The dark blood and soft tissue was reminiscent of older corpses he'd been around, though its aroma was that of the recently deceased. Teejay had adopted a support strategy that combined being momentarily distracted by the intensity of Commander Wolf's concentration and how that played out on her serious features with being immediately available whenever she implied or actually asked for help. He was halfway to using a gloved hand to push that wayward hair out of Leah's eyeline when she asked for the instrument.

"Here you go," Teejay said, turning back with the scalpel and aiming to physically assist rather than relinquish it. "About here?" He checked before moving to make the incision.

Leah had almost recoiled as she realized what he'd been doing, or at the very least what she'd thought he'd been doing. "Uh, yes, thank you."

Silently and with a deft hand, he nicked the connective tissue, then moved out of the way so that Leah could extricate the organ. "All yours," Teejay said, amused by the politeness of their interaction so far. He was used to a stricter regime in most cases, this was - well a little refreshing, dead Corvan notwithstanding. "You want me to wipe your brow?" He offered, reaching for a sterile cloth in anticipation.

Leah had placed the liver on the scales. "Weight, 1.9 kilos. Length 20 centimeters. That's interesting." Then she realized Teejay had asked her something. She turned around, blinking the stuck hair away, "sorry, you were saying?"

"Never mind," Teejay responded, lowering his head as he grinned. As he looked back up he reached up to push her hair away with the clean heel of his right hand glove. "Interesting, how?" He asked then, re-investing some in their current job rather than the woman leading the way. It was a tricky transition to make, what with Commander Wolf's confident presence and that delicious accent, but he tried regardless. "What are you seeing?"

"Thanks," Leah said with a smile as he removed the offending hair away. "Look at the liver..." she said, turning to face the scales again, "it's enlarged in size and weight. Corvans are basically Environmentally Adapted Humans." Wolf went on to say, "I wonder if the liver's state is indicatory of the issues observed on effectiveness of NOS-4-A2? We need to analyze it, see if we can determine why the liver is too big and too long."

With an internal effort of will, Teejay looked from Leah's face to the organ that had recently been cruelly separated from its owner. She was right. It was big for a human equivalent, black fluids and all. He mentally chastised himself for being distracted and delved into his mind's archives for a moment. If the liver was affected then... "The meninges," Teejay stated. "We should check those too. I can cut and prep the skull, if you want to analyze the liver," he offered, with a tone as cool as if he were suggesting making them both a mug of green tea. A light shrug. "Or vice versa."

Leah made a grand sweeping gesture, bloodied gloves and all, "cut away." She said just as casually. "I'll have a look at the liver. Though likely we will need a few more specimens before we are able to make an accurate determination."

He stopped short of rubbing his hands together in anticipation, shifted position to the head-end of the long, shallow tray and readied a laser scalpel. That first cut swept up the cool, throat catching scent of wet, cut bone and then led Teejay to circle the Corvan's skull. As he popped the top away like a gory cap, the brain lay presented in its dark shadow of oily membranes. "Yup," he said, matter-of-factly. "Something's wrong here too..."

"Yeah, what do you see?" Leah asked, not turning her attention from liver scan.

"Not so much what I see," Teejay stated, gently scooping out the fragile brain to hold it in the palm of his hand. "It's what I smell... definitely something off about it." Not that he'd been around many Corvan brains, but this scent was so clearly wrong it stood out regardless of the species that had owned it. "The cerebrospinal fluid," he continued. "It smells like liquorice and..."

In his hand, that squishy softness was cool and already taking a little damage to one side from the mere pressure of the half-Vulcan's fingers simply resting beside it.

"Anis seed almost." Leah nodded as she stepped over, "Lets...." she said, then stopped short, a concerned look on her face as she looked around the room.

Everything that wasn't bolted down has began to shake, gradually increasing in intensity. Before she could say anything she was knocked off her feet, darkness surrounding both herself and Teejay as instruments dislodged from trays, chairs fell over, PADDs and body parts.

Wolf felt something hit her head and then lost consciousness.

As the ground rippled beneath him, Teejay's focus temporarily remained on the Corvan brain in his care. But the shockwave increased, the room spun and then the lights went out. He dropped what had once been the driving force and intelligence of a living soul, slid on the slippery remnants as it splatted on the floor, and heard the rest of its body shift to follow its mind. In the dark the last thing he was aware of for a moment was the cold, dead weight of that corpse stealing the air from his lungs and an organ tray bouncing off his forehead.

Coming to a scant few minutes later, Teejay reached up and pulled a wayward scalpel from his shoulder then made concerted efforts to roll out from under the messy remnants of the body atop him.

"Commander?" He called into the black. "Commander Wolf? Leah?"

Leah's head was spinning, then it swam a bit before starting to swim again. Something was pinning her down, lying across her back and shoulders. The floor was cold, almost comfortingly so.

Then sounds started appearing on the periphery of her senses. Someone was saying something. A small trickle of something wet dribbled down the side of her head. Then the sound came again.

After a few seconds the sound became clearer. Someone was calling her name. Teejay?

"Teejay?" Leah croaked as she finally tried to get up, but failed, the unidentified weight still keeping her close to the floor. "Ugh!"

He was up now, sat in a crouched position feeling out about him cautiously with one hand as the other pressed against his forehead where something had hit him. "Yeah," he answered, tracking the sound of her voice easily enough as he negotiated the darkness. His hand found Leah's arm and followed the limb down to slip his hand into hers and give it a comforting squeeze. "You okay?" Teejay asked. "Anything feel broken?" His free hand sought more physical information. "Something's on top of you," he noted. "I can move it, but..." He needed to know she'd be okay if he did.

"Yeah, bit of a scrape on my temple, but nothing's broken, I don't think." She said, squeezing his hand back. "I'm pinned from my lower back down, can't tell if it's the chair or any of the instrument...." Leah paused for a moment, "oh...ugh," she made a sound as the tip of her heel felt something wet and gooey.

"Try to keep still," Teejay warned gently as he let go of Leah's hand and used both of his to investigate further. He used his voice to report his findings, knowing that if their positions were reversed he'd be grateful for the running report. "It feels... I think it's the top half of the bed?" He paused, confirmed the edge of the offending article and nodded, then realised she wouldn't see that gesture. "Yup," he confirmed with a brightness to his tone now. "Definitely part of the bed. Plus," he grinned, the expression colouring his tone. "You've got your feet in Corvan intestines. Feels like all of 'em..." A pause, a secondary check and he added. "Keep still, I'm gonna lift this up."

It wasn't a difficult weight to shift, not with his advantages in inherited strength, but the size of the thing made it awkward to grasp a hold that would remove any threat to the trapped Commander below. Teejay took a moment to be absolutely sure, then shifted the whole bed upward in one motion, and punted it over to the far side.

"Move slowly," he suggested, and he stayed close by, ready to help if Leah's first self-assessment had been incorrect.

Leah wiggled her toes first on reflex, and found her feet still encased in the gooey mass. "The generators should have kicked in by now." Leah commented, gingerly moving her legs, at first just extracting herself from guts before attempting to get on her feet. "Are you okay yourself? Ungh!"

The gash on her forehead throbbed as her body sensed movement.

"Guessing the morgue's low on the priority list though," noted Teejay as he adjusted position and pulled out his PADD to use as a torch. Holding it screen down between them it illuminated a bit of space without hurting their eyes, enough to see the wet mark on his shirt and the line of blood on Leah's brow. "I'll live," he said, with a smile. "Couple minor injuries." He offered his free hand out to help Leah up and frowned as he noted that head wound. "Looks like you took a hit there," Teejay said, gazing into her eyes and checking pupil response to the light. "How ya feeling?"

Leah grabbed his hand and slowly lifted herself to her feet. "I'm fine, I can fix it with a medkit. There should be one just to the right of the entrance, look for a latch. We need to put this guy back in the freezer and try to get out, see what's going on."

In truth she wanted to already be out there, but they needed to follow protocol. She had to be the Doctor first, then she could be the intelligence officer who was more interested in information than maintaining hygene and quarantine protocols.

Ouch, and likewise on the medkit, thought Teejay as he moved towards their entry point with caution. He tested the exit door - nothing yet. Sure enough though, his hands found the medkit on the right, and beside it an emergency torch. Switching that on, he panned the beam low across the devastation of body and medical equipment and took a straightforward path back to Leah.

"C'mere," Teejay said, with a dumb grin. "Lemme fix ya right up, you can fix me, and then we'll pick up dead Corvan together, okay?"

Leah took a few tentative steps towards Teejay, testing her equilibrium. As she realized that equilibrium out of whack wasn't a problem, the norwegian grinned, then winced as the smile made the skin on her temple tighten and tug, causing more pain.

"Aw faen..." she cursed softly in her native tongue.

The half-Vulcan watched, judging the human's motions and coming to the same conclusion - Leah's balance seemed solid - but that wound on her forehead? That looked nasty, the bruise barely coming out yet, but the blood overexaggerating the depth. At least he hoped it was. "C'mere," Teejay beckoned with voice and hand. "You're gonna be okay, but you gotta stand still for a moment." No one had left a dermal regen kit down here - it was the morgue after all - but he'd clean the wound and seal it well enough for the moment.

"You're impatient for a Vulcanoid." Leah said as she stepped over to Teejay with more ease, though her face was still grimacing as she did so, movement was painful, eventhough it was just her head that had suffered any kind of damage.

Teejay smiled. "You're hurt," he pointed out with kindness. "My urgency is based on a need to ensure you're alright." The smile morphed into a broader grin. "But yes, you're right, I am. I think I mostly got the downside of the Vulcan parent deal." Gentle hands carefully ensured Leah's head wound was clean and sterile before he sealed the wound and stuck a sterile dressing over it. He did his best not to press too hard, but the wound was nasty, any touch in its vicinity had to hurt. "Soon as we get outta here," he promised. "We'll get you properly fixed up, okay?"

Leah rolled her eyes good naturedly. "What got you into sciences instead of actual medicine? You have a good bedside manner." She asked as he attended to her wound.

A big dumb grin flooded the man's face at that. "Well," Teejay said waggling his free hand's palm in the air to one side while the other was busy. "Actual medicine requires a great deal more study time and a lot less sleep." He paused, as if needing to dredge up the next thought from deep within. "Dead folks don't mind if you make mistakes? And I've learned a lot of interesting things from following the dead where they lead me. Spent a lot of my life with the dead. Maybe they ain't that chatty, but they do make you realise how important the living ones are." There was a significant pause. "Most of them anyways." A shrug. "Some more'n others."

Leah merely shrugged, "I can see that." She reached up and gingerly felt the bandaged spot. "Not bad, Doctor Teejay. Now let's pop this guy in the freezer and see what's going on out there."

Dim lights flickered back on, and the blaring of the alert filled the hallways.

Well, that was mildly disappointing, he thought, but early days in their working relationship, and she had just been hit on the head. "I'll clear him up," Teejay declared as he shouldered the main weight of the corpse. "You open the freezer for me?"

Leah nodded, wincing in reflex as she stepped over to the freezer unit and tapped in a command to open the door.

Without much ceremony or obvious concern, Teejay shoved the body in as best he could as soon as the freezer drawer opened. He moved to gather the rest of the sizeable chunks lying about the place and then, once all of the once-Corvan was tidied up, he turned to Leah again. "C'mon," he said, forgetting his own minor wounds for the moment. "Let's get you some real help, huh? Need to lean on me?" He asked, with an amicably hopeful grin.

Wolf rolled her eyes at the offer, but chuckled none the less. "I'm fine. Let's get to a control area and see what's going on first. If the Doctors need us they will direct us accordingly."

There wasn't anything in the system or surrounding area that could create such a blast on its own, her intelligence training told her. Which meant whatever it was it had to be man-made. But what? A warp core explosion? A weapon test and/or discharge? They had to get out and figure it out.

So confidence and humour - check! Teejay relaxed a little more and dismissed any immediate concerns about concussions in his work colleague. He nodded, and led them both to the door which opened into the access corridor, then stopped at this open boundary for a second or two.

"That was something really big," he said, dark eyes bright with curiosity. "Earthquake? Some kinda traumatic ship death?"

"Somehow, I doubt it." Leah admitted, "that's what I aim to find out." She said as she lead the way down the hallway to the right. "Only one way to find out! Come on then!" Frost threw over her shoulder at Teejay.

He grinned and picked up the pace. Cleary these were going to be Interesting Times, and those? Those were his favourite.



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