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A Pound of Cure

Posted on Wed Aug 23rd, 2023 @ 10:08am by Captain Akiva ben-Avram & Captain Mrazak & Lieutenant JG Ryland Dedeker & Lieutenant Commander Leonora Wolf MD & Lieutenant Teejay & Warrant Officer Laena ben-Avram

Mission: Season 1 Interlude II (E5.5)
Location: Infirmary USS Phantom
Timeline: ID 6

"Just so we're clear," Ryland said as he was dragged into the increasingly crowded Infirmary, "I ain't taking whatever you cook up in here."

Akiva sighed deeply. "Ryland... you're one of the main transmission vectors for the entire outbreak. If we don't treat you, then that will get traced back to you and bring Memory Theta unwanted exposure. I'd allow that if it was anything dangerous, but as it stands, this has been a finger in the eye."

Shaking his head, Ryland replied, "You don't get it, Captain. I'm talking to Sophie in my dreams. The only way I can find her is if I stay infected."

The incredulous look on Akiva's face could not be plainer, but he turned to the subject matter experts. "Is... could that possibly be true?"

Leah who was sitting at one of the bio beds nodded, a strand of manky, matted hair falling in her face as she did so. "Yes, sir. I get it, it's too fantastical to believe but both Teejay and I experienced the shared dreaming with Ryland, Sophie, Captain Mrazak, the Cardassian woman and some others. We talked to each other in those dreams. It's entirely possible they are communicating like that." Wolf shrugged, "in the lack of a better option we should pursue this one. Besides, we can keep Ryland monitored. As soon as he finds Sophie and we retrieve her, we give them the cure."

"I don't give a fluctuating fusion what you do or don't do with it," Mrazak cut in as he rolled up his sleeve. "I need less talking and more synthesizing. Then I'm confiscating the first dose and you all can do whatever you like from there."

Those unusual words made Akiva's brow furrow. "Mrazak? What are you not telling us?"

"Nothing!" Mrazak barked the word in his usual distemper, but the corners of his mouth tore up in a smirk that barely contained a giddy laugh.

"Doesn't sound like nothing," Akiva pressed. "You're already cured. What do you need with another dose?"

"None of your damned business, ben-Avram!" Mrazak turned his shouting on Leah and Teejay. "Are you two going to get moving or will I be forced to work it out myself?"

"We're moving," said Teejay flatly, his hands fidgety but confident as he worked with the lab equipment and checked the readings on-screen. "Trust me, I want this even more than you do," he added, as politely as he didn't feel like being. "But you're not having the first dose to take away from here," he added, uncaring whether or not the rank was higher than his own. "We need to use the first dose here and now so we can determine if it works. Then you can take one wherever you want."

Leah hopped off the bed, the touchdown making her cough. "We need to make sure that the genetic markers are cross species adaptable." She said as took a vial and an extractor and stepped over to Mrazak, pointing towards his shoulder. "We have half-vulcans and humans infected as well as others. Your blood could cause issues if we simply synthesize the same strand. Wherever you got the cure, they would have had doses adjusted for multiple species."

While at first Mrazak made to argue, a thought occurred to him that gave him pause and then made him chuckle with sordid delight. "Ah, yes. That insufferable, diehard hexapod at Division 14 never could concoct a passable antigen. Perhaps it is best that I take the refined final product."

"Division 14, really now? I didn't realize they got called in. It wasn't us..." Leah said as she pressed the extractor against Mrazak's shoulder. "Good that they did though, because this thing is awful," she said with a slight cough into her elbow.

As green blood oozed into the vial, Leah removed it, and handed it over to Teejay so he could continue the analysis. "Any idea which birdie sang the song of their people?" she asked of Mrazak both out of curiosity and wanting to keep the narcissistic vulcan occupied.

"Don't know, don't care," Mrazak said with the impatience of a man burdened by unnecessary delays. "Division 14 can go to Fusion for all it matters to me."

Nicely done, thought the other half-human in the room as he took the vial from Leah and whacked it solidly into the analyser. Yup, markers looked good, and a whole bunch of readings promised the scientist that this was all going to be just peachy. Teejay shifted the calibration some, trying out options with a close attention to the strands of DNA, his human benchmark and his intended outcome. Once he'd studied in greater detail, the new readjusted alignment now secure and promising great things, Teejay switched from analysing to synthesizing and snatched up the newly filled first dose of finished product. Said vial went from his hands to infuser to Leah's left arm far more swiftly than any street magician could shuffle a deck, and Teejay went straight back to brewing up a second.

"How ya feeling?" He asked Leah, noticing already the slight shift in the surface of her skin. It was working, Teejay celebrated internally. It was working! He held Sample Number Two tightly in his hand and looked to Mrazak. "You want your free sample neat or with a mixer?"

Leah nodded with a sigh of relief, "it's having an immediate effect. Not a hundred percent yet but on its way." She replied.

Laena discreetly interrupted the commotion with a tug on Akiva's sleeve. "Hey." Her brown eyes danced with simultaneous joy and apprehension. "About before..."

"Yes..." Akiva dry-coughed into his hand, looked around the entire room in two sweeping cycles, and curtailed his anxiety enough to look at the teal uniforms. "I'll get one of the doctors--"

"Wait." Laena took Akiva's hand and gave it a squeeze. "A lot has happened today. Maybe we've said some things we regret. None of us do well being hasty. If you need a moment, Akiva, then we can take one." Her other hand rubbed her abdomen in a slow, loving circle. "We have plenty to spare from the rest of our lives."

Due to the assumptions laden in and out of Laena's words, her sweetness did not help Akiva much. At least he could remember how to breathe with a little pressure taken off. "Yes... yes, thank you."

"Would you like to sit down?" Laena gave an airy chuckle and gestured to the seat next to her.

Akiva thought for only an instant and nodded. Sitting was good. "Yes..."

When he sat down next to her, Laena coiled her arms around his and rested her head against his shoulder. "I'm glad things are finally slowing down," she whispered. "I should've waited to drop such news on you. Before, I mean. That wasn't fair. I... I guess I was scared. Panicked. If I'd known we would have a still moment like this, I could have--"

"Laena..." Akiva reached over with his free hand and gave her nearest hand a reciprocal squeeze. "Can we just... sit?"

"Oh." She didn't know what to make of that exactly. "Okay. Sure."

Giving her head a pat, Akiva took a deep breath and let it out as slowly as could be.

A young Bolian Lieutenant Junior Grade stepped into Sickbay at that time, "Captain! You're back!" She took a tricorder from the nearby trolley and walked over to Akiva and Laena. "Are you alright? How can I help?"

"We'll need just another mom--" Laena began to say in a sweet-but-firm tone.

"Medical exam," Akiva cut in. "We... she needs a prenatal screening."

Laena looked at Akiva with uncertain eyes, but a soft smile soon crept back. "Yes," she confirmed, turning to look at the Bolian med tech. "If you please."

Doctor Meraxa Soltz, the young Bolian Lieutenant blinked at the sharp exchange. They just came back from Risa and they were having problems already? Babies were awesome! What was there to be clipped about?

Meraxa pulled herself together quickly, "of course. If you'll follow me for some privacy?" She motioned for Laena and Akiva to follow her into the adjoining room.

"This is the medlab, but we have a functioning bed and you guys can have privacy here." The bolian motioned for Laena to get on the bed. "If you can lie down for me, Chief, we'll get the screening done in no time. My name is Doctor Meraxa Soltz, by the way, it's great to have you!" Her voice lilted with excitement as she stepped over and wheeled an tray toward the bed.

"Yes, I believe I signed off on your transfer," Akiva noted aloud. "Welcome."

Laena followed arm in arm with Akiva, a tight grin on her face. She could barely contain her excitement.

Meraxa opened the tricorder and tapped on it to adjust readings and connected the monitor on the trolley to it. She plucked out the probe from the tricorder and began scanning.

Moments went on, making Meraxa frown a little. "Chief, if I can ask, what was it that made you think you'd need a prenatal screen? All my scans are showing negative, but I just want to rule out any potential issues, just in case, healthwise for you."

The smile on Laena's face lingered well past its peak. Her ears heard the words and her brain processed them, but her mind struggled to acknowledge their meaning.

"What?" Akiva asked, then looked at Laena. Had this been a joke? No. Laena wouldn't joke about this. The doctor's query, then, became very important.

"There... I..." Laena's head bobbled as she fought for the words, but coherence eluded her. In the end, she buried her face in her hands and began to weep.

Akiva sat back in his seat, closed his eyes, and sighed, quietly praying for death. The question he wanted to ask was too painful even for him. Slowly, his hand slithered toward hers like a blind snake. He found only her fingers, so their tips intertwined in the most meager of embraces. "I'm sorry..." he whispered at last.

Meraxa observed the exchange, a bit confused at the reaction. "The reason I ask is because I see no signs of pregnancy taking place," she said. "If there was a miscarriage, I would have seen signs of it on your scans, hormonal levels, residue, but there is nothing to indicate conception having taken place."

She tapped on the tricorder quickly, "I also compared it to scans taken last time when you 'had' conceived just to be sure, and the scans come up as completely clean. I am so sorry. I will give you a moment, but I'd like to talk with you more, just to make sure there aren't any neurological issues."

With a small nod to both, she stepped over to the other side of the room.

"Go away!" Laena bawled into her hands.

Akiva nodded. "Thank you, Doctor. You may go now."

And the two just sat together, drowning in their own thoughts. Meraxa quietly made her exit.

"What the in the flaming blue nebula are you talking about?!" Mrazak exclaimed at Teejay regarding his neat-or-mixer query. "All I care about is whether this dose is as good or better than the original antigen or not. Is it?"

Leah stepped over to the tray, "he's asking if you need the dose for a vulcan, a hybrid or a different species." She motioned towards the two vials currently there.

"Vulcan," Mrazak said tersely. These people were prying far too deeply for his taste. "And make it quick. I... I am needed elsewhere."

"What she said," confirmed Teejay, expression and tone serious now. "Just need to be sure it'll work, there's a little tolerance, but better safe than sorry." He picked up a third vial, fresh off the press so to speak, and handed it swiftly to Mrazak. "Here you go, sir." That handover completed, he stuck the infuser against his own arm and exhaled. Damn, but he'd be happy to be rid of this motherfucker.

Mrazak snatched the vial away from Teejay and held it over his head with both hands. "YES! AT LAST!" A diabolical chuckle rumbled out of his throat as he ran away as fast as he could.

By that time, Akiva walked out of the private room. Alone. He caught the tail end of Mrazak's triumphant shout and paused mid-step as he reassessed the room. Leah and Teejay didn't look any more clued-in than he was, so they were unlikely to be forthcoming. Ryland was nowhere to be seen. Shaking his head, Akiva just tapped his combadge. "This is Captain ben-Avram to all senior staff: meet in the Strategic Operations Conference Room. Repeat: all senior staff to the Strat-Ops Conference Room."

"We have a cure, sir. We've got cross-species adaptability so we can distribute with ease." Leah told Akiva, placing a hand on Teejay's shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze.

Ryland jolted awake with a lurch. Apparently he had drifted off asleep. "I DON'T WANNA BUILD A SNOWMAN!" he shouted. Looking around, his physical surroundings returning to him, he said, "Don't ask. I know Sophie is. No time. Gotta tell the others so we can go get her."

"Okay." Akiva was neither believing nor disbelieving at this point. He walked out of the room wearing the face of a man who was accepting what he saw and heard only because he hoped to wake up himself.


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