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Enemies or Friends? [PLOT]

Posted on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 @ 2:52pm by Lieutenant Commander Yumi Han & Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant L'Nel Haadok & Lieutenant JG Jackson Smith & Lieutenant JG Luka Stern & Lieutenant Jacques Fantome
Edited on on Sat Oct 21st, 2017 @ 1:30am

Mission: Mission 2: Echoes of the Dominion
Location: Sickbay
Timeline: 30 March, 2394 - 1700 Hours
Tags: skinmorph


"Jackson. Are you okay?" Luka asked, her eyes following where the doctor had taken Fantome. There was blood across her jacket. Was it his? Fantome's?

"I am fine." Jackson responded to Luka's inquiry without looking at her.

Luka nodded, squeezed his hand, and headed for the door. "I've got to find Yumi. I need to know she's okay, in person. Please let me know what happens with Fantome."

Jackson nodded to her as she left, he tried to respond but words did not come out. If Fantome died...

The door slid shut behind her. Jackson stood in sickbay. He looked around, his mind having difficulties comprehending what had happened and what was around him. He saw several crewman in various stages of injury, most asleep, some restlessly. His mind didn't register who they were, just that they were family hurt. His hands rested at his sides limply, Fantome's blood dripped off of them and pooled on the floor. He looked to the back room, where the Doctor and nurses had whisked Fantome. He closed his eyes trying to focus, the adrenaline was gone. His chest hurt from the blast, but it was something he easily tossed aside. It was his head that pained him. The images of his knife piercing Fantome's chest, flashed before him. The blood flowing out and over his hands. He looked down to see the blood dripping to the floor. His stomach lurched and his heart pounded. His attack was justified and he had wanted to kill Fantome. But when he looked into Fantome's eyes, when he heard that plea. He knew Fantome was just like him. Doing exactly what he would do. Could he forgive himself if Fantome died? Everyone else had been there to help him, but no one was there for Fantome. Jackson slowly walked over to the sink and washed the blood from his hands. He looked over to the door to see the doctor coming out. Jackson looked at the doctor, expectant, hopeful.

Fantome was the last and the worst. Jerant had been tricky and required speed to get him transfused and cleared of the venom coursing through his system, not to mention the claw wounds from the Le Matye. Fantome's wounds included a two nicked arteries and a nearly severed pulmonary vein. L'Nel spotted Smith and was reminded of their holodeck training... imagine a time when manual surgery was the only recourse, and blood donation had still been the primary source for transfusions. Between Jerant and Fantome holding blood with the efficacy of a sieve, and without the precision of an assistive laser guided surgical bay, one or both would have been lost.

For once, the doctor was unaware of Smith's emotional plane. Or anyone else's in the room. He was numb and locked down from hours of surgery, triage, and the swirl of pain, panic, anger, shock of those around him. On autopilot, he picked up a PADD and started rounds with the patients in the main room.

Jackson moved over to the doctor. He touched his arm, "Doctor, can I see Fantome?" He looked pleading at the doctor.

L'Nel stopped and looked down at the touch on his arm, finally computing. He hadn't greeted the chief, he realized. "I would not advise it. He is..." He stopped, focused. "Apologies. Fantome has been in intensive surgery. You may enter the room, but he may not be in a state to respond." L'Nel set the PADD back down. The medical staff was thorough; no one needed his help here. He held out a hand to indicate the way to the post-op room Fantome had been moved to.

Jackson nodded to L'Nel and then braced himself as he headed towards Fantome's room. He wasn't sure if he wanted to find him conscious or not. His heart started to beat faster as he nervously crossed the threshold and moved towards Fantome. Jackson stared at Fantome, lying in the bed, his hands clenched and unclenched as he looked down on the man that tried to destroy them all.

Without the skinmorph, Jacques' face looked like a mouth with no teeth. The skin was smooth near his nose, turning rough and split by the time it reached the crater that had been his left eye. His entire face was ashen brown and drawn with a tint of white around his mouth and eyes. His breathing was quick and shallow. Jackson's footsteps dropped like stones into his sleep and he struggled to consciousness. His good eye fluttered before opening fully. His glance around the room was furtive, the look of someone expecting to be hurt. His gaze finally found Jackson.

"Here... to finish me?" He said with a tired smile.

Jackson flinched at the words, "No, I am not." While Jackson knew that his position was bad, it was nothing to what they had done to Jacques. They had mutilated him and were probably holding his family hostage. What would he have done if instead of altering his memory they had held his family hostage? "Jacques...I don't know what I can to do to help... but I will try."

Jacques looked up at the ceiling. "Everything is out of my control now. Part of me is glad." His eye looked back to Jackson. "But another, smaller, part of me would kill everyone on this ship right now if it meant saving my family." He sighed and then winced. "I don't know if that makes sense to you, Jackson. This is a good crew. I'm sorry for what I did to you."

"Nothing to apologize for, I think I handled walking naked through the ship fairly well." Jackson tried to smile. "I understand. I don't know what I would do in your situation. I do know, though, that your family is our family. I will find a way to keep them alive, and we will rescue them." Jackson looked determinedly at Jacques.

Jacques nodded. "I know you think that. But the," he pointed at his gaping eye. "thing. Was using our communication system to let them know whether I was obeying. Without that signal, they've already killed my family." Tears ran down the side of his face, but his voice became cross. "You don't understand anything. These doctors didn't even--they don't know it was there," he barked.

They had been watching the whole time? This revelation hit Jackson like a ton of bricks. If it was true, there was nothing that could be done for Jacques family. There was nothing Jackson could do...nothing. "I...I am sorry."

At first L'Nel had drifted to the side, discretely shuffling equipment that was perfectly organized, giving Jackson and Fantome what semblance of privacy he could while monitoring Fantome. At the mention of this, he drifted to a bank of computer screens to flick through Fantome's charts. What had he missed? Were there any indications of...

Looking fitfully around the room, Jacques's eye burned with anger. He wheezed in pain and tried to sit up. Red coins bloomed on his shirt as he succeeded only in breaking capillaries in his tender regenerated skin. "I'm leaving," he gritted. "You want to keep me here against my will. You have no hearts. I have to go. The sun needs me. I have to go. I have to walk, and the..." His eyes stared into the distance and his voice faded awkwardly from rage to a breathy choke.

While Jackson felt sympathy for Jacques, there was no way he was going to let him out. Jacques was still a threat to the ship. Jackson braced himself, ready to stop Jacques.

"Fantome, you need to stay down. You aren't going anywhere. I will not give you a second chance at this ship or my friends...Fantome...Jacques!?!"

Jacques's stared slack-faced into space for a second before every joint in his body slowly coiled. Fingers clenched his blanket. Elbows drew it to his chest. His chin dug down into his neck. Jacques's eyelid shut tightly and quivered like he was trapped in a restless dream. Between clenched teeth and grimacing lips, a glossy track of saliva slid like rain down his chin. His muscles locked into rigor, and the biobed monitors blared a shrill alarm. He wasn't breathing.

"Doctor!" Jackson rushed to Jacques side. He recognized a seizure and did his best to care for him until the doctor arrived.

L'Nel's attention snapped away from the monitors. He'd gotten so engrossed in rechecking the results, he'd missed the first signs of strain. L'Nel helped Jackson turn Fantome to the side to clear his air passage. He murmured, "Carbamaze--no, he had four CCs of teipinecin, the interaction will slow his heartrate dangerously..." The doctor firmly pulled Jackson away as he triggered the securities on the biobed. Who knew they would be needed to protect the man rather than the ship so soon after his sabotage.

The stasis shield glided into place from the parallel girders that closed over Fantome's large form, containing the seizing, but not stopping it. L'Nel's expression was tense, and he was seeing Fantome's charts still displayed on the side panel scrolling through his mind as he compared drugs and potential reactions.

The veins on Jacques face and hands bulged like blue worms crawling beneath his skin, growing until they might burst. His heart monitor spiked as it labored to pump a dwindling oxygen supply to his clenched muscles, and his dark brown skin blackened to midnight. To chief Smith, the doctor's stillness might seem like a panic freeze, like he was at a loss, even like he was allowing Fantome to seize without interference purely for revenge.

The possibility of seizure had been so minimal, L'Nel thought. The drug cocktail in his system and his current injuries made adding the types of drugs normally used dangerous... but the damage from the seizing, which showed no signs of abating, was growing more dangerous in comparison. This clearly was not a normal seizure. In fact... the realization clicked, and he blinked and began moving. He went for the biobed and dialed in instructions for a corticosteroid to reduce nerve inflammation and scheduled an automated plasmapheresis. The treatments wouldn't solve the seizure, but if his hunch was correct and Fantome was suffering from some form of multiple sclerosis, this would improve the long term recovery and perhaps allow him to wake up. After L'Nel got the seizing to stop. He would have to risk dropping Fantome into a coma in the meantime.

Jacques sagged into the biobed as the treatment took effect. Heavy breaths puffed bubbles of saliva from his mouth. He rolled to his side without opening his eyes, seeking comfort for suddenly weary limbs. The air he swallowed into his stomach escaped in a burp. His brain activity monitors smoothed from an earthquake's seismograph to a rhythmic wave and towards a sinusoidal alpha wave. Laying on his side as consciousness slipped away, Jacques nodded his head all the way from the sky to the ground and back. "Not, no, like that, it's not, it's over here." His body stilled, moving only with the slow bellow of his lungs. After half a minute, his brain wave was broad and smooth.

Whether he woke again in hours or days, it gave L'Nel time to figure out what exactly the skinmorph had done to Fantome's brain and what, if anything, he could do to fix it.


Ensign Jackson Smith
Chief Flight Control Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Ensign Luka Stern
Alien Archaeologist/Anthropologist
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant L'Nel Haadok
Chief Medical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Warrant Officer Jacques Fantome
Transporter Specialist
NPC (by Captain Llwyedd & Yumi Han)
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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Comments (1)

By Lieutenant Commander Yumi Han on Mon Sep 25th, 2017 @ 11:47pm

I've seen and heard too many of these. Luckily, Jacques has L'Nel and 24th-century medicine to save him from them, long-term.

It was good to see Luka check in on her friends, though, maybe she needs a new uniform soon. ;) Jackson will figure out a way to save Fantome's family if anyone can! I'm glad he got a chance to talk with Jacques and come to a kind of truce after they'd been at odds with each other for so long.