USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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How Far

Posted on Fri Jan 15th, 2021 @ 2:00pm by Commander Martin Sorenson & Commodore Yoshi Minawara & Captain Amelia St Lacroix

Mission: When the Bough Bounces
Location: Main Medical Bay
Timeline: MD05 0800HRS
2292 words - 4.6 OF Standard Post Measure

"Coffee. Black. Extra strong." Martin pulled the mug from the replicator as soon as it appeared and downed a swallow. He hadn't gotten much, if any, sleep and probably looked it. A hand rubbed over his face reminded him he hadn't shaved. Maybe he should give up and grow a beard like he had during residency - he was roughly the age he'd been then after all. Plus, it might be his last chance. If he couldn't find a cure, in a week he'd be too young too shave.

The doors to sickbay parted, and in stepped the Commodore. The medical facilities were busy, a hive of activity, but he noticed the fact that many of the people present didn't quite look right to how he remembered. It didn't take him long to find the Doctor, and the rough look he had, something mirrored in the Commodore himself. He'd been up until the later hours of the night keying in his own report and strategy for quarantining the vessel if it came to that. Alice was infected, there was no doubt about it in his mind, the wrinkles he was the most familiar with seeing were slipping away, which meant there was a good shot he was too. "Let me guess, liquid sleep?" Yoshi asked as he approached the other man. A quick study of his face showed he also didn't look as old as he was suggested to be.

"More like liquid don't pass out," Martin replied wryly. "We're getting more cases. My rough estimate at present is that at least 60% of the ship is affected." He took a moment to scrutinize Yoshi's face. It looked younger, but he wasn't sure if that was because of actual de-aging or if it was perception filtered through exhaustion plus an edge of cynical depression after the last 10 hours or so. "I'll give you the full report in my office. Probably best if we do your exam in there."

Nodding, Yoshi followed close behind, stepping through the doors, letting them close behind him. A heavy sigh escaped. "I can tell you for sure Alice has it," he said, cutting straight to the chase. "I have stared at that face for years, I know when it changes," he added, leaning against the desk. He was anxious, and didn't really want to sit, but standing didn't quite feel right. Changing gears, he addressed the previous note. "Sixty percent is a heft number, Security and Intel come back with anything? Any starting point?"

The doctor opened his scanner to take the necessary readings. His instinct was to say something to help put Yoshi at ease, but at the moment he honestly couldn't think of what that would be, so he focused on questions. "It is a hefty number, but there are two pieces of good news: it's not as bad as it would be if this was airborne, and very few children seem to be affected. In fact the preliminary evidence suggests that either they've all been miraculously shielded from exposure or pre-adolescents may be immune. That's based on only partial data, but more is being fed back in real time from scanners as security and every emergency hologram I could task has begun scanning the crew. I have suspicions, but not enough to give you a firm starting point. I'm going to need," he paused, overtaken by a yawn, "...sorry... time to shift the data, try to account for variable de-aging rates, duty schedules, movement and contact tracing over the last several days to identify when and where it initiated."

Looking over the other man, even as he scanned him, the Commodore had to wonder if there were other side effects, besides the de-aging. The energy needed to grow was exhausting, he had to imagine the energy needed to begin restructuring new cells, while also shrinking the bone mass was going to be absolutely insane. How much had the doctor de-aged even since he had seen him last? All of this was without the mental toll it was undoubtedly taking. "After this you need to get some sleep Martin," he said softly, a little too much like a parent talking to a child. "All the stimulants in the galaxy won't clear your head if you're exhausted. Pass the research and study to Nolan, and get some rest," Yoshi added. He could see the objections forming already, but the Commodore steeled himself a little. "Don't make me make it an order," he concluded.

His eyes darted to the screen, and a frown formed. He was no doctor, nor was he intimately familiar with his own biometrics, but he knew enough to know things looked off. "So, bad news?"

"I worked worse hours than this last time I was this age," Martin noted, more to deflect concern than in real objection. "But I'll hand it off and take a nap. I'm apparently not quite a young as I once was," he admitted drolly. Closing his medscanner, though apparently too late to break news gently, the doctor nodded. "You have it. So far, you're only about 3 years younger, but I'll need a second reading later to work out your rate of change. Then we'll need to discuss what to do when your body starts to change too much."

A nod, one that was slow and calculated. "Three years isn't bad, puts me pre-launch of the Vesta," he said with a mental note, taking into account the time jump. It was an automated response, one from him having to think it over and consider it. There was a moment where the mask the Commodore was formerly well regarded for slipped into place. "I'll do what I can until that point then," he said. In his head he went through a checklist of ship functions that he could assist with getting moved over to new operations. He was avoiding the thought of his body changing too much, snapping back to the room mentally, he looked at Martin again. "No point making a fuss, Martin what can I do to support you? Ship is moved over to pretty much automated operations, at this point she can fly herself, so no reason for me to sit in my ready room and mope."

"Planning to make sure you will be okay isn't fussing, Yoshi," he replied, but didn't push it. He understood Yoshi's preference for being useful rather than worrying about his own fate. Martin had been in that mode himself for most of the last day. "But until I know enough to make solid plans, what I can use is your expertise in running things. As much as I hate to admit it, this is wearing on me, and I can't effectively coordinate all that needs to be done and work on medical response and investigation to sort out what's caused this and how to reverse it."

"Ewan and I will take over," replied Minawara, crossing his arms. It was something to do at least, keeping him from being just sitting about. "You focus on this and keep things running. We'll go until crew start to be unable to complete duties and then we'll go from there." He heard the doors outside his open and paused as the chime outside the office rang out. He looked back to Martin with a cocked head. "Expecting someone?"

Martin nodded thanks. "Better you planning that part than me. With luck there will be some capable people that haven't shown signs of de-aging who will remain unaffected." He nodded at the door. "That should be one of them, come for a follow up: Captain St LaCroix."

The door hissed open and the faceless mask of a Force Recon helmet met them. Marine standard procedure meant that, in the case of a potential quarantine situation to wear their environmental filters if they had them. For the FR that meant the whole suit to remain combat effective regardless. Stepping in, Amelia looked between the two of them, and the Commodore could feel the concern off her. "Bad news, I am assuming Cap'," came the thick French-Canadian accent, dulled by the helmet. Yoshi offered a noncommittal shrug, and the Marine looked to Martin. "Team is secure, and we look good for now," she said, "We are beginning our sweeps of the ship, hunting down anyone showing more advanced signs, but we have eight possible outbreak points, all of them are the ones you can expect. Lounge, bar, gym, arboretum, Engineering, shuttle bay, holodeck 3 and the bridge."

"Yes. Not airborne, but clusters where people congregate." The statement was out loud, but more to himself. The lab was working on blood and tissue data to try to isolate an agent, person to person or surface contact transmission was almost certain now. The transmission pattern wasn't completely clear yet, but more follow ups to set de-aging rates and they should be able to determine incubation and initiation... he stopped, a piece of data nagging at his lack-of-sleep fogged brain. "Did you say none of the Marines has tested positive?"

"Oui," came the response, matched a shoulder shrug. "Our team has zero rate, and as long as we stay in armor, we should be able to keep it that way," she nodded to the Commodore. "Keep us at least combat effective. Let us move through the quarantine spaces no problem too doctor. I'd imagine we can get just about anywhere on the ship with little risk to us," she concluded with, giving a report, and tapping her wrist to quickly double check the PaDD built into her HUD. "Zero traces, which is weird, the pups have been at the bar a lot lately."

"Yes..." Martin pushed his tired brain to work through the implications. "Especially since LT Marocain has it and," he tapped at his PaDD, bringing up contact tracing data to double check his recollection, "their time in the bar was often with him. I think even well within what we're postulating for incubation period, provided I'm right about when he was infected, which is tricky since he's the only Kainan affected and..." He stopped himself, realizing he was rambling. "Captain, could you have your Kainans come by medbay? I'd like to run some more detailed scans."

Amelia nodded. "Of course Doctor, I'd be happy to have them come down. I believe they are finishing a sweep of Cargo Bay Four right now," she paused, confirming on her own tracker for her team, and nodding again. "Lance Corporals Haldane to Med Bay as soon as you are finished your assignment," she keyed into her internal comms. Looking to the Commodore, she added, "Privates Hoffman and Huynh are standing by at Engineering. We let Commander Mantel know, but I'll be honest, I don't know how he took it, he just walked off. But at the very least, if needed we can transfer command to Engineering and secure from there sir."

Yoshi nodded, thinking this over. The Bridge was already infected, especially if himself and Lieutenant Marocain were infected. "I'll transfer the ECH to Engineering to stand by, if myself and Ewan are effected, we're going to have to prepare to lock the ship down, and move on emergency power. He scratched his chin, and then turned to face Martin. "I'll let you have the Marines, direct any coordination concerns to myself. Also see if Lieutenant Trenton is infected. If not, send him to me, I am going to put him to work securing sections of the ship." The fact that Bathory wasn't in the room was telling, and Yoshi made another decision. "Captain, any of your team not involved directly in contact tracing or securing Engineering, have them move to find Doctor Bathory, I have some questions for him." Lastly he turned back to Martin. "How soon do you want me back for my second scan?"

"Trenton wasn't affected when I saw him yesterday, but he had been exposed," Martin informed them, mentally reserving side-by-side cryo chambers for him and Yoshi. He added talking to engineering about fabricating more of those to things to hand off, but decided exams could be legitimately interpreted as orders superceding the suggestion to rest. "He's due to be rechecked today. As for you, sir, I'd like your follow up in 6 hours."

With a final nod, Yoshi pushed off from his perch. "Very well, I'll see you in six hours," he said, nodding to the Marine. "Until then I'm headed to Engineering to start the process of getting things settled." Straightening his uniform, he looked from the woman to his Chief Medical Officer, and back, and then strolled from the room, leaving the pair alone. There was a pause, as the woman studied him, her helmet's scanner pulling his information quickly as she'd set it up to, and her eyes narrowed behind the visor. She wasn't really curious about the results, they didn't make sense to her anyways, not really. No, she was looking at the dark rings under his eyes, the sunken look. Reaching behind she pulled a chocolate bar from one of her pouches, and handed it to the Doctor.

"Taurine, Caffeine, sugar, b12 in addition to the regular chocolate," she said. "I wouldn't take a nap if I were you either, but you need to keep your energy up. Each square is equal to a triple shot espresso and an energy drink mixed together. Use sparingly, and mind the crash," she said, turning on her heels. "The pups will be here soon Doc, don't work too hard," Amelia added as she strolled from Medical herself.

Martin looked at the pouch, at the Marine already halfway out the door, and nearly laughed at her parting words. "I'll do my best. Thanks."

 

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