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LtJG Pierce and PNPC EMH Mark III: Break

Segolene LeMarnix

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((USS Apollo - Sickbay))

::Pierce saw the look of distaste briefly cross Barne's face as she shipped him off to Emma. It wasn't unusual from crew to prefer a human doctor over a holographic one, no matter what skin it wore. That said something about the human condition, that a race who frequented holodecks as a means of near-perfect escape were not comfortable with that same pre-programmed concept touching their outsides and insides. It was a small relief that Emma understood the feelings that most humans had towards their digital counterparts.::

::The EMH caught a glance from the doctor that she had taken to understanding was a means of non-verbally requesting someone's presence. She had seen the same look pass between couples numerous times, although those seemed to be looks more of anger than of a medical nature.::

Barnes: Thanks Bones. Nothing like a walking computer to play with your mind.

::Emma gestured for Barnes to sit down.::

Emma: Despite your concerns, I am perfectly suited to the task at hand.

Barnes: Oh very funny. So what are you doing, EMMA?

::The comment hadn't seemed particularly funny. The idea crossed through Emma's central processing unit that this could be a side effect of the encounter that Hugh Barnes had undergone just hours before, but it was an idea that fizzled out just as quickly.::

Emma: We will be examining you to find if you share any of the same neuro-degenerative symptoms as Johnson and the Nelson crew members.

Barnes: Been listening in again have we?. The only problem I've had is a short recurring dream, nightmare, vision or whatever about the last time I saw my wife alive.

Emma: I suppose what I was doing could be called eavesdropping, though my hearing was finely tuned within this program to aid in medical procedures.

Barnes: If you say so EMMA. Is this going to take long?

Emma: Not particularly.

::The neural scan began moments after Barnes' head hit the bed. He was very tense, but as the moments passed he calmed down and the sine wave emerged. There were high levels of activity in the brain stem – not enough to imply that the patient was having waking dreams or hallucinations, just that his lower brain function was up and he might be more prone to wild imaginings.::

Barnes: All clear EMMA? Am I fit or just slightly mad?

EMMA: Whatever happened on the ship seems to have stimulated some of the memory storage in your brain. Should you experience vivid flashes during waking hours or have serious trouble sleeping, please let someone in Sickbay know. However, you appear to be free from all the other ailments plaguing the Nelson's crew.

::Ramos's swelling seemed to be going down. Pierce eyed the counselor with trepidation. Too many of the staff were operating below what was considered safe, but she realized the drive to work was strong in the whole crew, especially now with a pseudo-crisis on their hands.::

Pierce: How does that feel now?

Ramos: Hmm? Oh, right. It's... better.

Pierce: I'm sorry about before. The impact was deeper than I thought.

Ramos: It's alright. No harm was done

Pierce: ::smiling:: I should hope.

::Satisfied that everyone in Sickbay was either in slow recovery or at least not getting any worse, Sidney took a minute to take a deep breath and pause. The room was quieter than it had been in a while.::

Barnes: Bones.

::Pierce turned to look at the security chief.::

Barnes: About the problem we were discussing about the Borg, if you want to continue, how about over dinner?

Pierce: ::startled:: Dinner? Of... of course. I'll try to clear some time as soon as it's possible.

Barnes: Anytime that suits you. Just let me know.

::With that, Barnes turned and went to check in with Neebo, leaving Pierce leaning against the bed. Suffice it to say, this would be her first interpersonal interaction with a stranger in a long time, outside of medical facilities and active duty. There was lots of potential for terror. For example, the tone of the evening had been left blank. Would this be a chummy dinner with wry jokes in the mess, or would this be a philosophical discussion over a fine wine? Too much of the nature of human interaction was overwhelming to Sidney even after her years in Starfleet. Too many years among Betazed mindgames.::

::Doctor Pierce hadn't moved or said anything for a few moments. Her lack of movement was particularly noticeable within the confines of a still Sickbay. Emma strode over and gave her a soft touch on the shoulder. The other woman jumped.::

Pierce: ::small gasp:: I'm ... I'm so sorry.

Emma: Are you alright, Sidney?

Pierce: Yeah, I was just... ::making a circle with her hand mid-air:: miles away, you know?

Emma: ::looking concerned:: Miles away. The distancing of one's mind from one's body.

Pierce: Your programming has some baffling detail.

Emma: For this version of the Emergency Medical Holographic program, the coding engineers felt it was best for me to have a sub-routine dedicated to the vernacular of various races so that nothing would be misunderstood or taken out of context.

::Pierce chuckled a little bit.::

Pierce: What did your scans of Barnes pick up?

Emma: That he is fairly healthy, that his hallucinations were brought on by the same issues as everyone else, but that he will manage. I believe it is time we started working on a treatment.

::They both moved to sit down in Pierce's office. There were nearly ten different bio-scans to examine, plus a partial readout of the creature's energy signature and scraps of the Nelson's medical record. Emma began plotting symptoms and comparable diseases while Sidney placed healthy brain and bio-scans side-by-side for comparison.::

Pierce: ::murmuring:: We need to silence the primal functions to get rid of hallucinations, we need to stifle the paranoia, and we need to get that rogue energy signature out of their systems.

Emma: Bio-feedback loop.

Pierce: Would amplify the issues, assuming the nervous system will continue to act like a short-circuiting power relay. Anti-psychotics.

Emma: Medication will not solve the problem, only temporarily allow respite from the symptoms.

::Pierce got up out of her chair. She had been fidgeting as she thought anyway; the pacing was merely an extension of that. She crossed the room ten, twenty, thirty times before finally sighing and sitting back down. There was something. Something that could combine all of this. She frowned.::

Pierce: If all the problems are neuro-chemical in nature, why not just... have the body fight it off?

Emma: Unlikely - this is not a virus or bacterial infection. The bodies of our patients do not have the anti-bodies to fight off an infection of this nature.

Pierce: It's not an infection, more like... a hormone imbalance. I've been coming at this all wrong. It's not a neuro-toxin, like something that has been added to the body's existing chemicals. ::She stood up, walking out to into the room.:: It's a sine wave, or a pulse that disperses the ability of a subject to think and act rationally. What if we just... fought back? Reached into our mind and re-balanced our own leaning towers?

Emma: Elaborate.

::Sidney's mind was firing rapidly. She struggled to get all of her thoughts in one place. This is how every breakthrough in an essay had been, every game won, every right word in the right ear; like firecrackers going off just behind her eyes.::

Pierce: What if we put the body to sleep, keeping them and everyone else safe from physical harm. We then move everyone into a REM state and let their brain sort out what is wrong with them.

Emma: Using the processor to assess the damage and repair it. Interesting. There would be great risk of harm. They could awake as a different person.

Pierce: I don't know. Do you think the human body would knowingly harm parts of itself in sleep? Most of the time spent dreaming is an attempt by the higher functions of the brain to get everything right. If we're in a pleasant dream we might try to stay there, otherwise everything is about waking up and setting things straight. We put them to sleep, we let their minds go. We get everyone back.

::They looked around the room at the cluster of injured bodies. Pierce let out a slow stream of air.::

Pierce: ::quietly:: Any volunteers?

Lt JG Pierce

Chief Medical Officer

USS Apollo

also simming for



USS Apollo

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