Previous Next


Posted on Mon Mar 5th, 2018 @ 8:08am by Lieutenant JG Cey'aaren
Edited on on Tue Mar 6th, 2018 @ 12:39pm

Mission: Earth
Location: U.S.S. Flying Dutchman, Sickbay
Timeline: Backpost

It had been roughly two days since Cey'aaren had been released from quarantine aboard the runabout, Greenbrier. Lieutenant Commander Silaa had seen to getting him quarters for the duration of their trip back to Earth. The rest of the runabout's passengers were still in Sickbay recovering after their exposure to the Direlli parasites. Each of them had undergone experimental surgery to remove the rapidly growing larvae that had been implanted into their nervous systems. Doctor Fostersmith, the Flying Dutchman's Chief Medical Officer, and the rest of the medical staff, including the the EMH, had worked for nearly twenty hours to ensure the infestation had been eradicated.

Mia Jiminez, the young biologist who had been transformed into a Direlli Vector had been confined to the brig during the time. This afternoon, she was scheduled for her own examination by the grey-haired Fostersmith. Cey'aaren had been spending his morning with Edor and the others, watching over them as they slept, their bodies still weak after the inasive brain surgery. He had tried in vain to research the Direlli Swarm, both in his temporary quarters and here in Sickbay. No matter what kind of information he requested he found himself on the wrong side of a digital wall erected by Starfleet Intelligence that someone with his security clearance had no hope of surmounting.

He watched as the Vector was transported into the medical bay on the other side of a level ten quarantine forcefield. Once the shimmer of the transporter had diminished Cey'aaren could see that the Vector was no longer wearing the standard issue Starfleet uniform that it had worn while pretending to be Mia. Instead, the prisoner had been given a pale yellow jumpsuit reserved for those in custody of Starfleet Security.

A mere moment later four enlisted security specialists strode into Sickbay. Each of them, three humans men and an Andorian woman, had phaser rifles in their hands, though theydid not have the weapons at the ready. Behind them was the Flying Dutchman's commanding officer, Peçia et Vohl. The Grazerite commander entered with an air of confidence that immediately set her apart from the others.

"Doctor," she said, the expression on her face serious and stern, "I hope you won't take offense, but in the interest of your personal health and safety and, more broadly, Federation security, we've elected to have the Vector's examination conducted by the EMH."

Fostersmith cleared his throat before address his CO. "I don't mind at all commander," he said. "After what I saw pulling those things out of our people's head, I don't want to go anywhere near that thing."

"Computer, activate emergency medical hologram," Peçia said, summoning the illusory form of a balding human man in his early fifties.

"Please state the nature of the medical emergency," the hologram advised as he came into existence, formed from light and engergy focused by projectors mounted through the medical bay.

Cey noticed that the Dutchman's EMH was an older model than those currently being installed on Starfleet ships. He found that surprising given that the ship was routinely travelling to and from the area surrounding several of the fleet's highest production shipyards.

"Doctor," The commander said turning to the holographic physician, "the woman in that forcefield has been compromised by an invasive alien entity, which we believe most closely resembles a parasite. You assisted in removing the creatures larva from the passengers of the Greenbrier."

"I remember vividly, commander," the holo-projection responded to the grey-skinned officer. "You'll want me to go in there and ascertain the severity of the infestation inside Miss Jiminez, I suppose?"

Cey'aaren watched as the commander nodded and placed her hand on the EMH's shoulder, as if she was comforting him. "I'm afraid so doctor. If she tries anything, you can't be infected by her larvae. With your help, we ensure there is no danger of contamination and that the Federation remains safe from this new menace."

The Dutchman's commanding officer was convincing, even when she didn't really have to be, Cey'aaren noticed. From his right there was a light groan as Edor shifted in his sleep.

"Believe me commander, I understand," the hologram said as he walked through the forcefield with no I'll effect. Only a momentary buzzing, like electricity, marred the air as he passed. There was a table inside with a medical tricorder and other diagnostic tools. The EMH went straight for the tricorder, the most basic of the options before him, and perhaps the most useful overall. Used primarily as a scanning device, tricorder were highly customizable and could be used for a variety of functions with very minor changes.

As the EMH began his exam, removing the hand scanner from the tricorder and moving it around the Vector, Peçia et Vohl stepped up close to the forcefield wall. "What exactly should I call you?" She asked the bug now living inside Mia Jiminez's body.

The thing stepped closer to the forcefield as well, the EMH following dutifully behind her. "Please, try to remain still," he said as he shuffled along.

As she began to speak, Cey noted that Mia's physical appearance had changed somewhat in the last few days. Her incisors had become sharp and elongated, he saw when she opened her mouth to say, "The swarm does not possess the need for individuality like you humanoids. Vector alone will be sufficient." He voice had shifted too, it sounded distorted, almost like a hive if bees was caught inside her throat.

Cey'aaren watched as Doctor Fostersmith monitored the scans from the EMH's tricorder in real time on one of the large wall monitors. "It looks like the parasite has compromised her entire spinal column," the human physician said quietly to the commander.

"You killed the children?" the thing inside Mia asked, she blinked, and Cey'aaren realized her eyelids closed side-to-side now, sliding over multifaceted eyes, no longer those of a human.

He shuddered at her description of the eggs layed in his friend's and fellow officer's brains forcibly and without their consent. Peçia and Fostersmith both seemed disturbed too. "We did," the commander replied, steeling her nerve and regaining her composure.

The Vector threw Mia's body, hard against the energy barrier screaming in rage. It was only seconds before she jerked away, the field causing her nervous system to feel like it was on fire. "I said 'remain still,'" the EMH said to her as he tried to continue his work.

"We didn't have much choice," et Vohl said flatly, her voice as devoid of emotion as she could manage.

Inside the quarantine area the EMH put down the tricorder and picked up a cortical monitor, a circular device about half the size of a hockey puck. He put one holographic hand on the Vector's shoulder and placed the monitor on her head with the other.

Cey'aaren stood up from beside Edor's biobed. "We've dealt with hive-minded, individuality-suppressing aggressors before," he stated as he walked forward to stand a few paces behind the Grazerite. "You need our bodies to spread your species, but we are so much more than just our bodies. Our diversity, whether that be biological or ideological is our strength, not our weakness."

Peçia turned and glared at Cey'aaren with yellow eyes as he approached, and Fostersmith was boring holes in the back of the young lieutenant's head. "I'd never heard of the Direlli before this," Cey continued not waiting for permission from et Vohl. "But the Federation has faced bigger and badder before. You don't scare us lady."

"Excuse me, commander," the EMH interjected, cutting Cey'aaren off. "According to the data I've been gathering, the Vector is continuing to mutate Miss Jiminez's biology."

Now that he was closer, Cey could see that Mia's hair had an oily sheen he hadn't seen before. It seemed to be spcrawling with a multitude of tiny bugs, much smaller than those that had attacked them on the Greenbrier. She turned her head at the hologram and hissed, green-tinted spittle passing through his face harmlessly where it landed on the carpet behind him.

"Care to elaborate, Doctor?" Peçia said turning to Fostersmith.

The doctor tapped the monitor and Cey'aaren and the commander both joined him. "Aside from some fairly obvious physical transformations and the neurological infestation, there's also a hardening of the skin happening that isn't obvious to the naked eye just yet. It appears that some of her organs are being retasked to handle different functions and there is a trio of new organelles currently growing inside her chest cavity." As he went over the changes the CMO pointed casually to different areas depicted in the screen. "No doubt she was being honest when she told commander Silaa that there was no way to reverse this."

"It's good you got to the others when you did," Cey said to the doctor.

Inside the quarantine, the EMH was pressing a hypospray to Mia's arm and taking a sample of her blood. The fluid drawn into the instrument was thicker, more viscous than human blood and had a burnt orange color.

"Any idea how long until her next gestation period?" Peçia asked. "She told Silaa this was only her first. Who knows how many gestations she can have or how frequent they might be."

Fostersmith shook his head. "Afraid not, sir. We're still learning about these things as we go."

"It's like terraforming, commander," Cey'aaren observed, starting at the monitor. "Bioforming, I guess you'd call it?"

"Exactly what I'd call it," Fostersmith said. Until we've had more time to study the data, I have no idea what we might be in for. Frankly commander, he said looking at Peçia, "I'm not sure it's even safe to keep her onboard the ship."

Et Vohl shook her head. "We don't have a lot choice in that regard, doctor." She crossed the room to the replicator set into one of the walls. "Coffee, black," she ordered the machine.

After retrieving her beverage from the nook she turned back to the doctor and the diplomat. "Anything else you want to note right now, doctor?"

"Just one, sir. Because of the aggressive and infectious nature of the parasite," he tapped the screen, zomming in on the cranial area, "I'd recommend the Vector remain inside the quarantine field here in Sickbay. The ventilation systems are kept separate from the rest of the ship, and will at least minimize any exposure risk."

As Fostersmith finished his recommendation Mia screeched, a gutteral low howl, as she lashed out at the hologram with her. Her strikes, like her apsaliva before, passed harmlessly through the non-physical entity. She landed prone on the floor and thrned, he mouth open in a hiss, tiny larva splashing across the floor and walls from the nest growing in Mia's hair.

The EMH reacted quickly while those outside the quarantine watched helplessly. The holographic doctor slammed the hypospray down on the table and grabbed up the tricorder. Opaque wings burst through the skin and fabric on Mia's back as she prepared for another fruitless attack on the hologram. He tapped several buttons on the device in his hand and the tricorder began to emit a high pitched whine. The Vector grabbed at Mia's ears trying to protect itself from the sound. Even those outside the forcefield covered their ears at the auditory assault.

Tiny bugs exploded with inaudible popping sounds, leaving tiny spots of orange on the walls and floors of the area. Within sixty seconds the bugs covering Mia's head had all perished leaving her completely bald. Not long after, the Vector collapsed unconscious on the floor.

"Keep that thing sedated until we know more about it, doctor," Peçia said as the noise died down. "Let me know when you've had time to study the data. Lieutenant Cey'aaren, is it?"

Cey nodded.

"You're with me," the commander ordered as she started toward the exit.


Previous Next