Previous Next

Diagnosis (Backpost)

Posted on Thu Dec 1st, 2011 @ 3:44pm by Lieutenant Commander Soraya Delrisa

Mission: All Souls Descend. Season 2, Episode 6
Location: Infirmary

The doctor sat in her office, looking at the map on the wall. A Mercator projection of the world as her species knew it, some 800 years ago. Earth was the center of the universe then, while great civilizations rose and fell all over the galaxy. How advanced they had thought themselves, how intelligent, even smug. You just don't know what you don't know until you know.

She still wasn't sure how she was going to explain everything to this young couple. She was familiar with Brianna, who had been bringing her bubbly boy in for his regular checkups, but she was unfamiliar with his father Alex. Now she would meet him, and tell him that his daughter may not live to see her first birthday. She sighed.

"Doctor Delrisa, the Winters are here," the duty nurse said over the comm.

"Send them in, please," she replied.

Brianna and Alex entered, she was holding Maya protectively to her chest and Alex was holding Mac. "I see by your expression on your face that what you have to tell us isn't good news Soraya." Brianna said when she saw the doctor's expression. "Soraya, this is my fiance, Alex Winters. Alex, this is Dr. Delrisa." She made the introductions quietly.

Alex looked the doctor up and down. Unfortunately, with all the chaos he had walked into on the station he hadn't had time to learn much about the doctor herself. Not that he would let that stop him from learning what he could about her while he was here. After all, personal interaction was usually the best form of information a person could get on another. Overall, Alex was skeptical about doctors and for good reason. The only one he had ever trusted turned out to be a spy for Starfleet and subsequently broke his heart. On the plus side, had she not he would have never have gotten to know Brianna as well as he did. For that he was thankful even if their lives had been one tragic complication after another. Time would only tell if they were strong enough to make it through all the hardships, but Alex had faith. It was about the only thing he had faith in these days.

"Doctor," Alex said plainly as he began to pace around the room. The child in his arms sleeping soundly, "I understand that you have been studying Maya. Now I can understand that you may have found some interesting developments in her, but this is information that must stay between the three of us here. I only tell you this because you have now inadvertently become embroiled in something you would have been better off being oblivious to. Of course you could try to deny it, but that would be futile in the long run. Still, they say ignorance is bliss so we will abide by that little proverb. Although it does beg the question of who they truly are. Those who make up the they that say that ignorance is bliss may in fact be just as ignorant as those they say are bliss. Regardless, I'm sure you have questions, but I will only answer the ones that pertain to what you need to know which is in fact that the child you see before you is the by product of someone who was genetically altered at a DNA level. Perhaps you've heard of a Vulcan doctor known as Strak?"

Soraya was surprised by Alex's defensive approach. He's just worried about her, she thought. He should be.

"No, I'm sorry. I'm afraid I don't have many contacts in the Vulcan medical community," she answered. "Do you know what is going on with Maya's genetic code?"

"I'm no doctor, but what I do know is that her mother's genetic code was altered considerably. From that of Trill to that of Betazoid," Alex said not really knowing what more he could say without more information, "I'm sure from your scans you can see that there are traces of three different species strands in her makeup. However, one of those strands is the result of an experiment that from first impressions seemed to succeed, but now that I see the child would say that mother nature had other ideas. Without Strak's medical notes, I know less than you do about what is happening with her. I can tell you that Dr. Strak is somewhat of what one might call a mad scientist. He believes that he can play god and his experiments on humanoid subjects is the very reason he is considered such a dangerous criminal. A modern day Frankenstein in some regards. Or perhaps Dr. Moreau would be more appropriate. Regardless, untangling his work may prove next to impossible depending upon your education and expertise. Now I can try to find the mother if you think that would help, or for that matter I could try to find Strak himself, but these options require the one thing we most likely do not have. Time. So, doctor, as much as I dislike having to admit it, I am at your disposal. You are the expert here and you will need to tell me what you need. I will in turn tell you how possible it is for me to get it for you."

"Mr. Winters," Soraya began, "Please have a seat. I will tell you what I know, and perhaps we can fill in the blanks together. We may need to find this 'Strak' and bring up on charges before the Vulcan High Command."

"I'll start from the beginning. As you know, DNA is the blueprint for making any living thing. Complex multicellular beings have the same blueprint in every cell, but only the intructions for doing that particular cell's job are ever used. For example, the cells that make up your heart contain the information to be any other cell in your body, but only the instructions for being a heart cell are used. It's called cellular differentiation, and it allows us to be more than the sum of our parts. We also have another kind of DNA in each of our cells, mitochondrial DNA. Nuclear DNA comes from both parents, mitochondrial DNA only from the mother."

"What seems to be happening in Maya, or at least in her red blood cells, is that her nuclear DNA contains codes from human, Trill, and Betazoid origin, but the combination is not the same from cell to cell. Her mitochondrial DNA is still Trill. Whatever this Strak did, he did only to the nuclear DNA. This brings us to the problem with Maya," the doctor said, pausing to make sure the couple had understood her so far.

"Maya's Trill mitochondria are producing the proper amount of energy for Trill cells. Her cells, however, are only part Trill, and this varies slightly from cell to cell. Both human and Belazoid cells require almost twice as much energy as Trill cells. This is why she is so small and weak, her body is literally underpowered. I would like to run samples of her other cells through the sequencer, so I can determine if this anomaly is present in other kinds of her cells. The differentiation of her blood cells indicates that it is. Her mother is also in danger, since her cells are now Betazoid with Trill mitochondria. She may already be dead."

"The only options I can see are to alter her mitochondria to higher-output human or Betazoid ones, or to adjust her nuclear DNA to mostly Trill. The technology to do either does not currently exist on this station."

"Then the solution is simple," Alex stated plainly, "We need to either go somewhere with the technology or we need to bring the technology here." It was as black and white a situation as he had encountered in some time given the world of gray he lived in. The problem now lie in the urgency of the situation. While Alex still hadn't fully integrated into life aboard the station yet, he wasn't blind to what was happening on it. A mystery of sorts given the number of coincidences that have popped up recently. Coincidences Alex had long ago shuffled away as a trend. One that was right up his alley if the rumors were correct. Ghosts. Intriguing as they were, this was family and family had to come first. The thought that Jadzia may have dropped off the child because she was dying troubled him. While she was no Brianna, she did have a place in his heart and he would hate to see her suffer.

"Doctor, I will need to know what you wish to do. If you need resources here, then I believe between my own and Brianna's contacts throughout the Galaxy we can get you what you need. The issue of course being how difficult some of the technology may be to come by," Alex explained, "However, if you wish to go somewhere else like Pasteur Station or some other specialized medical facility then we must decide that now so we can secure the proper transport."

"That will depend, Mr. Winters. Johns Hopkins Hospital on Earth has the technology and the geneticist to help Maya. We need to find out if it will be faster to transport her there, or the doctor and her equipment here," Soraya said.

"I can assure you it will be far quicker to transport her there than to wait for the bureaucracy to get a doctor and some equipment here," Alex stated plainly. He didn't like the idea of going back to Earth. Much less going back to Earth to a hospital. He had already spent so much time there in one and now that he was finally free of it he wanted to try to get his life back together. Silently he cursed Jadzia for bringing this down on him. She must have had a good reason. Probably the health of the child, but it still ground his gears when he thought about it. He didn't like being used whether it was by friend or enemy despite his own hypocrisy when it came to the subject. "Between the two of you, I'm sure the Commanding Officer would be more than willing to give up a runabout for a medical emergency like this. All you will need to do is ask him. Granted I could do so myself, but I believe it would be better if someone with the kind of status as either of you or preferably both of you have would ask since it eliminates any means of hesitation about the validity of the ship's use. So. Can I count on you both to take care of this? If so, then I will begin gathering everything I have on the experiments performed on her mother. After all, one can never have too much information."

The doctor sat back in her chair, considering. Alex clearly wanted little to do with the child, and this was too much for Brianna to handle alone.

"I will have a medical evacuation scheduled for Maya. Brianna, if you cannot take her yourself I will have a pediatric nurse assigned to her," Soraya said. She ran through a mental list of Starfleet personnel who owed her favors for various reasons, including an ex-boyfriend. She looked at the baby in Brianna's arms, and smiled. Maya really does look like my Annabella, she thought.

Alex didn't need to ask Brianna if she was going. He already knew the answer. She was far too kind and empathic not to go on the journey. Still, he decided to make a point of asking her just so that she didn't feel like he was making choices for her, "I will be making this trip. Are you with me?"

Brianna looked at Alex and then back at his child in her arms. "Yes, of course I am with you Alex." Tears welled up in her eyes, she would do whatever it would take to save this child's life. "I cannot do anything but go with you."

"Make whatever arrangements are necessary including having a nurse. Brianna and I will both be accompanying the child to Earth. Although, I would prefer it if you came along with us," Alex stated emotionlessly, "I can't explain it all right now, but the short answer is I want someone with us medically that I can trust. So I'm asking you as a favor doctor. Will you accompany us to Earth?"

"I will ask the CO's permission to accompany you. We need to keep her on the high calorie diet, and I want to see her every 48 hours to assess her condition and make certain she doesn't take a turn for the worse." Soraya closed her eyes for a moment, choosing her words carefully.

"If her condition takes a turn, we will have to induce hypersleep until we reach Earth. Elise Chun is the foremost geneticist in her field, This is Maya's best chance," she said softly.

Brianna nodded. "I will do everything I can to keep her alive, I will watch her closely Soraya." She was trying to be strong but was failing miserably. This baby, even though it wasn't hers, already had a special place in her heart.

Lt. Brianna Winters
Chief Diplomat

Lt. Alex Winters
Chief Intel Officer


Previous Next