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Flushing the System

Posted on Tue Apr 21, 2020 @ 4:47pm by Captain Madelina Weisz & Lieutenant Calista Aereen MD & Master Chief Petty Officer Thomas Barnes

Mission: The Nanjing
Location: Sickbay - Private Treatment Room

Doctor Aereen had set up all the necessary equipment and had just gotten off the comm with the Master Chief that he was on his way. She had made a few refinements to the protocol in the medical database and was confident the treatment would rid the Engineer of almost all the nanoprobes. A Plan B already being formulated to deal with any last stragglers.

The door to the private treatment room opened, and an orderly escorted the Chief Engineer and the Executive Officer into the room. Tom took a look around and immediately noted all of the equipment set up around the bed. Part of him was instantly rendered nervous. The rest of him wasn't too sure about this either, but it was necessary. He inhaled and held that breath for a moment before exhaling. "So..." he said at last. "This is it, then."

Maddy was much calmer than she'd been during the briefing, and was no longer angry. Now, she was worried. She turned her attention to Tom, unable to keep her face free of emotion. "Are you sure you want to do this?"

"It's either this or walk around never knowing if some random electrical pulse inadvertently turns into a Borg drone," Tom remarked. "Though, I had no idea it would take so much effort."

"Yes, I know it may look like a lot but there will be a needle in you arm. Then you basically sit back and try to relax while we get all those little buggers out of you." Aereen said.

"Relax..." Tom muttered. There was a four-letter word if he'd ever heard one today. "I'll do my best, Doc. What do you need me to do first?"

"I'll need access to your arm so if you can remove your jacket and take a seat." She said.

Tom nodded. He unzipped his jacket and handed it to Maddy. As he hopped onto the bed, Tom began to roll up his right sleeve. It wasn't long before most of his arm was exposed and he was leaning against the firm bed.

Sterilizing the area she set to work making the final preparations. "You'll feel a small pinch," She said and with a final nod inserted the needle. The Master Chiefs blood began to flow through the needle as the equipment began the process of filtering the nanoprobes out of his blood.

Tom flinched at the prick of the needle. In an instant, his mind flashed back to an hour and a half ago when an unknown Borg device transformed him into a data reader. Flashes of the download echoed in his mind, in addition to the feeling of being helpless.

At least this time, Tom had the ability to move. His lip quivered for a moment as he let his head set back and his eyes focus on the ceiling. Hold it together, Tom... he urged himself.

Maddy gave Tom's free hand a gentle squeeze. "I'm right here," she said softly.

Tom, still staring at the ceiling, gave it a squeeze. "I'm glad," he said softly. He felt so bare, so helpless in this moment. He'd never felt like it before, and it was truly unsettling.

"Alright everything looks good," The Doctor said with a reassuring smile, "How are you feeling?"

"Honestly?" Tom asked, his voice soft. He didn't know how exactly to respond to that, but a thought popped into his head, just enough to give him a ray of comfort. He squeezed Maddy's hand and answered, "A bit flushed."

"I know this procedure must be very unnerving, but your vitals are strong and stable, but I can administer a mild sedative if needed." Calista said.

Tom shook his head. "I think I'll be fine, at least for now. It... It doesn't seem very painful... just invasive."

Maddy placed her free hand against his forehead and began to rub gently. "Just relax, my love," she said softly, giving his hand another gentle squeeze. "And I owe you an apology for how I reacted to the news. I freaked out more than I should have, and I'm sorry."

He smiled as his eyes shifted to look at her. "It's all right. It's not every day the one you love almost turns into a Borg."

"You're definitely right about that," she said, smiling down at him, but it soon faded. Maddy was always honest with Tom, and had no intentions of allowing that to change now even with the Doctor present. "I wasn't so apologetic when it came to Michael, though. I actually hit him."

Tom had closed his eyes just as she started talking, but that did not last long. His eyes opened wide and he turned to face her. "You... hit him? How are you not in the brig?"

The redhead nodded. "I did, in his face. As for why I'm not in the brig, well..." Her voice trailed off.

"Everything looks good, tap the call button if you need anything and I'll be back to check in." Calista interjected quickly, before stepping out of the room to give the pair some space.

"Thank you, Doctor," she said, offering Calista a smile before she left the two of them alone. Maddy turned her gaze back to Tom. "I'm not in the brig because he kissed me. At least... that's why I think I'm not."

"He did what!?" Tom bolted upright in the bed, only to get caught in the tubes running in and out of his arm. "Gahh!" he shouted in pain and laying back down. "Damn, that hurts!'

Maddy winced. "Easy, honey, easy. The second I realized what was happening, it was over. You're the only man for me, and I would never do anything to jeopardize what we have together. I can promise you that nothing like that will ever happen again."

Tom shook his head. It was a stressful time for everyone. He found it almost hard to believe that just a few hours ago, everyone was preparing for the battle for their lives against the Borg, only for it to be the first piece in a much larger mystery. "It's... It's been a hell of a day. I tell you what though... if the Commodore makes another pass at you, I'll get him assimilated."

"I won't fault you for that," she said. "And, you're right. It has been a hell of a day. I'm within my rights to give you the rest of the day off. And considering what you're currently dealing with, I think that's probably for the best."

He sighed. "C'mon, Maddy. You and I know both know I can't do that." Tom leaned back, closed his eyes and shook his head. "I'm the only one that saw... whatever happened. Unlike the Borg, I can't download my memories. This threat is still out there, and I'm the only one that can recognize it before it's too late."

It was her turn to sigh. He was right. Again. "Let's see what the doctor says when your procedure is done. I don't want you to overdo it, though."

"Believe me, I don't want that either." Tom shivered suddenly, feeling a chill from the blood cycling in and out of his body. "I can see why this process is archaic."I

"Is there anything I can do to make it better?" She asked. "Do you want me to see if I can get you a blanket?"

Tom could only nod. Cold seemed to be seeping in from everywhere. If only he could reach over and pull over his jacket.

Maddy rose to her feet and went to get a blanket from a nurse. She wasn't gone long before returning and placing it over him, being careful of the tubes. She reached for his jacket and placed that over him as well, then removed her own to do the same. "Let me know if you feel like you need more. I'll do anything I can to make you comfortable."

His eyes had closed in Maddy's absence. Tom felt as though he'd gone numb in that short window. The blanket and the jackets did little to elevate his temperature. "Ma...." he murmured before going silent.

"Tom? Tom..." Maddy trailed off, rushing toward the door. " Doctor Aereen! Someone!" She rushed back toward the bed and took his hand, trying not to freak out when she felt how cold it was.

Aereen enter the treatment room, she glanced at the readings to see Thomas' vitals had dropped. "Thomas, how are you feeling?" She asked. His temp had dropped three degree's and his blood pressure was elevated. She tapped a few commands on the terminal and raised the temperature of the room, and activated the heaters in the chair.

Tom did not immediately respond. His eyelids fluttered slightly, but he did not speak or acknowledge the doctor's presence in any form.

Calista checked the readings again, "Thomas can you hear me?" She asked again as she hit the control the stop the dialysis. A moment later she removed the needle from his arm, pressing a small piece of cotton to stop the bleeding before taping it down.

He moaned, eyelids fluttering slightly under the bright overhead lights. "Wha..." Tom's voice was weak, lacking the energy beyond anything more than breathing. "What happened?"

"I'm not entirely sure," Calista started, "We didn't administer any drugs so you shouldn't be reacting to anything." She started scanning him in more detail, "And the nanoprobes are still inactive."

Tom moaned and sighed. "Well, what does this mean?" he asked her. "Is it... is it some sort of reaction to the process? What, do I have a blood problem or something?"

"I don't know, there is no reason for your body to respond this way," Calista said with a pause. "I'm going to have to keep you here for observation and we won't be able to resume the process until we know why this happened and we can ensure it won't happen again."

He shook his head and attempted to sit up. Tom didn't make it very far, having to grab the side of the biobed to steady himself. Though he was lightheaded, his engineering brain started to think. "Could the nanoprobes have something to do with it?" he asked. "Perhaps they're not as dormant as we thought."

Maddy looked between the two if them before helping Tom get to a sitting position. "Surely, there has to be an easier way? With all the medical advancements we've made over the centuries, something else has to be able to do the job without jeopardizing his health."

"All the nanoprobes are still showing as format and are not active, and to be blunt, the only other idea we had was to use the transporter to try to filter them out, and on that level, we're talking about keeping you partially materialized for almost two minutes," Aereen said. "It's almost a much riskier procedure than the dialysis is, or at least should have been. The only other thing I can think of is to try to get your immune system to attack them, and we know from experience that the nanoprobes often become active when directly attacked at a cellular level."

"Frankly, I'm not a fan of any of those options," Tom replied. "I want these nanoprobes out, but I'm not going to risk my life for it. Maybe I should just let them stay there for now until we come up with a better way." He sighed and glanced over to Maddy before looking at the Doctor. "As long as the probes remain dormant, am I free to return to duty?"

"I agree with him," Maddy stated. "I don't want anything done that will put his life in jeopardy."

"For now, yes, they remain inactive, however, I'm requiring you to wear a transpectral biomonitor, it will keep a watch on them and send you and myself an alert if anything changes. I'll keep working on the data I have and see if I can figure out what's going on." Aereen said.

"Transpectral biomonitor?" Tom asked. He was certainly unfamiliar with the device and its functionality. "Where exactly do I wear that?"

"Side of the neck, it will be programmed to monitor your nervous and circulatory systems mainly," Aereen said, she retrieved the small device from a cabinet and it set it on an interface pad of the consol. Her fingers danced over the controls as she entered the specific parameters and a moment later placed the device to the Master Chief's neck. "Hows that feel?"

Tom nearly flinched the moment the biomonitor was placed on his neck. He'd already been freezing as a part of the process, and the cold metal suctioned to his skin was still unexpected. "It feels like I've been lowjacked for a while."

"Bit more complicated but the basic idea is correct." The Doctor said as she offered a reassuring smile, "We will figure this out."

The engineer felt the doctor's assurance, but Tom was not comforted. He supposed he wouldn't feel comfort until this was all over. "I... I appreciate that, Doctor."

He looked to Maddy and offered a meager smile. "I guess that's it for now then," he told her. "I suppose we should get back to the mission."

Maddy nodded her head. "Yes. I'll walk with you, then head back to my office," she said, wishing this ha had gone better. "Thank you, Doctor." With that, she made her way out of sickbay with Tom, hoping he'd be okay after all of that. Hell, if she had her way, he'd be going to their quarters to rest.

 

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