Star Trek: Cygnus

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Post 30 - Reassigned

Posted on Fri Oct 9th, 2020 @ 12:18am by Lieutenant Elodin Devan MD
Edited on on Fri Oct 9th, 2020 @ 12:22am

Mission: Episode 1: Clean Slate

Capella IV
Near the Klingon-Federation border
October, 2399 (Earth calendar)
= = = = = = = = = =

Elodin Devan loathed administrative meetings. He hated them with a passion. But part of his six-month engagement with Doctors Without Borders involved taking part in such things. He looked at the twenty faces assembled around the table. Representatives of Doctors Without Borders, nurses, scientists and local administrators, all were assembled to help resolve the current health crisis.

The planet of Capella IV, a Federation protectorate for the past hundred years, had recently been dealing with an outbreak of a deadly virus that had baffled local medical authorities. This close to the Klingon border, in spite of the new treaty, Starfleet had been hesitant to send a team from Starfleet Medical, so they had used backchannels to get a team from Doctors Without Borders on site.

There was a two-fold approach to the epidemic. The research team had developed a vaccine to prevent infection, and there was a treatment available for those who were already infected. The virus caused painful scarring of the epithelial layers of the mouth and upper respiratory tract, before descending into the lungs, and killing the alveolar cells, preventing the exchange of oxygen with the blood cells. In essence, after bleeding out of their mouth, nose and throat, the patients suffocated to death. It was a very slow and painful death. So far, out of a population of three hundred thousand people on Capella IV, twenty-five hundred people had died, and a further five thousand were infected. And the three-month incubation period was just beginning for some of them.

Administering the vaccine was proving to be a logistical nightmare. The Capellans were divided into ten tribes, spread out over isolated areas pretty much all over the continent. But the greatest challenge came from the fact that Capellans deeply distrusted doctors, and firmly believed that anyone weak enough to become sick deserved to die. However, given the amplitude of the current crisis, the Teers of Capella had requested the help of the Federation in erradicating this disease.

"Teer Maak," spoke Elodin, addressing the seniormost Teer present at the conference. "Let me make sure I understand you correctly. We can administer the vaccine to prevent further infection among your people. But you are explicitly refusing to let us treat those who are already infected?"

The Teer stared at the doctor for several long seconds before merely nodding his head. Elodin was dumbfounded by his reaction - even the Teer's son was infected by the virus. He was effectively sentencing his own child to death.

Elodin got to his feet. "I can't accept that answer," he replied. "Five thousand people are suffering horribly from something we can cure. Your own son is suffering. And you won't let us do anything to help them."

The Teer also got to his feet. At over seven feet tall, he was towering over Elodin, and tried his best to intimidate him. "You will do nothing," he spoke slowly. "If they are too weak to survive, they will die."

And with that, he turned and left the meeting.

Elodin exchanged looks with the other Federation medical personnel, still unable to believe his ears. He opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by Ambassador Nealon, the Federation dignitary who had called in the medical team in the first place.

"Doctor Elodin," said the diplomat. "Please remember that we are guests here. I want to make sure you understand Teer Maak's decision. We certainly don't want a diplomatic incident."

Frustration was reaching its peak as Elodin turned to the small-minded diplomat. "And let me just make sure you understand that I can shove a plateful of vaccines up your -"

"Doctor," interrupted th'Shylis, Elodin's Andorian head nurse. "We should really be getting back to the ward."

Elodin shot Nealon a dirty look, then spun on his heels and walked out of the conference room, followed by th'Shylis. He walked at a brisk pace through the corridors of the medical installation, fury spurring his steps.

"That jackass," he said, ranting about Teer Maak. "What the hell was that all about, trying to scare people into submitting to him just because, you know, he's so tall…"

th'Shylis was struggling to keep up with the blonde medical officer, who was walking at his top speed, fueled by his anger at the bureaucrats who had been sitting around the table. Never in his entire career had he allowed political consideration to interfere with his treatment of a patient.

"Doctor Elodin," came a voice from behind him.

He stopped dead in his tracks, and turned to see Administrator O'Leary walking up to him.

"I know you're frustrated, Doctor, we all are. But please, consider the broader implications. If we treat patients against the ruling Council's wishes, they may ask us to leave the planet altogether," explained the Administrator. "And then who'll be left to take care of them?"

"Administrator O'Leary," began Elodin, trying to keep his calm. "I'm a doctor. My primary concern has to be taking care of the patient right in front of me. I can't be distracted by political considerations like that. And I can't, in all conscience, allow a young child to suffer because of some outdated morality."

Before O'Leary could reply, Elodin turned and entered the medical ward.

= = = = = = = = =

Elodin quietly made his way through the rows of patients in the makeshift emergency hospital they had set up for the entire province. Seven hundred patients in all, at various stages of infection, and very little that he could do to help them under the circumstances. He could administer pain medication, and ease their suffering, but he was politically blocked from treating the virus. And he knew that all that was required was one injection of the medicinal cocktail. He had helped to develop the multi-layered liposomal and escheriosomal delivery system, designed to release the various drugs at different times after the cocktail was administered to the patient.

But now he wasn't allowed to use it. Because of politics and of an outdated value system.

As he walked past a patient, a hand shot up from the gurney and grabbed his. The hand was small and frail, the fingers gnarly and crooked as a stork's feet, adn the skin was thin as parchment paper. An elderly woman looked at him with panic in her eyes. Blood had stained the corners of her mouth and run down her nose. She coughed, and blood splattered Elodin's labcoat.

Elodin sat at the edge of the woman's bed, and pulled out a hypospray, ready to administer pain medication and a sedative. But the woman grabbed Elodin's hand and threw the hypospray away before Elodin could inject her. The medical officer could hear rasping and gurgling sounds in the woman's throat as she struggled to find breath, before finally the sounds stopped. The old woman collapsed down on the bed, exhausted, and blinked one last time, from eyes hidden deep inside the wrinkles on her face. Elodin fought back tears of sadness and frustration as he gently stroked the woman's hair and her cheeks, and watched as the life ran out of her eyes.

Finally he got to his feet, pulled the sheet over the woman's face, and tagged the gurney for cleanup. Orderlies would come to collect the body and get the gurney ready for the next patient. The body would be burned, to avoid any chance of contamination.

He resumed his rounds, and finally came to a stop next to one of the small pediatric gurneys they had set up in a separate room. Children were kept separate from the adults, and individually, so as not to frighten them when the end came for one of the other patients.

The Teer's son looked up at him, his eight-year-old eyes filled with exhaustion and fear. He could see the sadness in Elodin's eyes. He stretched out a hand toward him. His small fingers were trembling.

"Baba doesn't want you to do it," said the boy.

"Your father is a very stubborn man," confirmed Elodin.

"Yeah," said the child in a rasping voice.

Elodin's data padd suddenly vibrated in his hand. He looked down at it, and saw the message indicator blinking. He pressed a thumb to the fingerprint reader, and opened the message.

His six-month leave of absence was coming to an end, a fact he'd lost sight of during the crisis on Capella IV. True to form, the message contained transfer orders. He was hereby requested and required to report to Devron Fleet Yards within three days, and stand by to receive further transfer orders. His preferred nurse, th'Shylis, had similar orders.

He looked at his small patient, completely taken by surprise by the order. He'd been so wrapped up in the current health crisis that he'd totally lost sight of the fact that his leave of absence was coming to an end.

He accessed the transport schedule. If he wanted to meet the deadline, his only option was to take the next available transport, which was four hours away.

The child held his hand tighter as a coughing fit seized him, sending blood splatters on the bedsheet.

"I'm scared," said the young boy after he'd caught his breath.

Elodin grabbed another hypospray from his pocket, resolve guiding his hand. He pressed the hypospray to the child's neck, and injected the medicinal cocktail that would cure him.

"Don't be," he said, following the injection with a dose of sedative. "Prophets, please, tell me I'm not doing a big thing badly," he breathed. Inwardly, he knew he was doing the right thing, but this time the political consequences scared him - not for what might happen to him, but for what they might mean for the other patients, and the other staffers here.

He quickly made his way through the pediatric ward, and quietly injected the children with the cocktail. The Teer might be able to disown, or even kill, one child who had been "illegally" cured from the virus, but it was something else entirely to do the same to two hundred and fifty children. And if the entire tribe turned its back on these children, they could go off and found the eleventh Capellan Tribe. Some of the children were already well into their teenage years, and would have the maturity needed to look after the younger ones.

He found th'Shylis at the nurses' station, and showed him the transfer orders.

"It's time for us to leave," he said, his eyes carrying the urgency of his order. He wanted to get offworld before someone discovered what he'd done. Maybe his departure would help smoothe over the diplomatic fallout.

th'Shylis frowned, his antennae perking up with perplexity. But he knew better than to ask questions.

They had very little personal belongings on Capella - nothing that couldn't be replaced. They each grabbed a small hand baggage with a change of clothes and basic toiletries, the data padds with their transfer orders, and headed for the Spaceport.

Once they were spaceborne, Elodin breathed a sigh of relief. He was happy about what he'd done - two hundred and fifty children would survive. His only regret was that he hadn't been able to do the same in the other tribes. But hopefully, he thought, his actions would serve as an example to medical personnel assigned to the other tribes, and others would follow.

He pushed the thoughts from his mind, and pulled out the data padd. He called up information about his future, and accessed the public Devron Fleet Yard records from the Starfleet database, in an effort to learn more about his next assignment.

 

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