Chapter 1 - T’Shan & T’Preava

T’Shan made it from her office to sickbay in less than 30 seconds of receiving the communication from the Doctor’s aide. She did not know what to expect, the request was only for her, no further information. She had known some Vulcan doctors to use similar tactics when giving bad news, but she assumed it was not that, mostly because she hadn’t seen the Doctor yet. Upon entering the medical facility, she looked around for Doctor T’Preava, and began in the direction that seemed most likely.

Beneath biobed 5 on the far side of the room the doctor had torn off the panelling, revealing the structure and circuitry underneath. An opened case of engineering equipment lay open on top of the bed. As the door swished closed, T’Preava sat up from the floor behind the bed and welcomed her invitee. “Good morning Lieutenant. I’m afraid this bioded has been severely malfunctioning. I was hoping for your assistance.” She stood as she spoke and walked through her office into the back of the sickbay. “Excuse me while I wash my hands.” As she walked, she held her hands up to keep them from dripping a viscous blue over the floor.

“Greetings, Doctor.” T’Shan approached the biobed quickly, and instinctively went to touch it, but recoiled at the last moment. Blue bioneural gel dripped down the face of the bed’s interface. “What has happened here?” She asked, her hand still hovering near the surface of the console.

The doctor returned to the main sickbay wiping her hands dry with a cloth-piece, and setting another on top of the bed. “I had attempted to find the error in the bed’s systems myself. I’ve discovered that bioneural circuitry is less forgiving to errors than isolinear systems. The replacement is in the closed box beside you.” T’Preava laid her hand over the bed allowing the scanner to activate, and raised an eyebrow. “I must say, the scanner has been more accurate since that particular pack… went offline. My heart rate has dropped by 305 beats per minute.”

T’Shan was momentarily speechless, and decided to clear the screen with her hand, wiping the gel on her pants, leaving the offered piece of toweling for when she thought she would not be getting them dirty again. “While I appreciate that being technically alive brings gelpacks into your purview, it may be in everyone’s best interests if you were to consult Ops in the first instance of systems malfunction.” She picked up the remains of the pack, gel slopped from it onto the carpet, and she made a mental note to get a cleaning crew down here as she began to examine the individual strands of connective tissue.

T’Preava was quick to explain, “I apologise, Lieutenant. I didn’t think of it as a medical issue however. I simply made an error in my technique whilst attempting the repair.” She stood straight as she looked down at the Operations Chief on the floor.

Amidst the limp mass of fibrous nerve-connections spilling out the bag, she noticed something unusual that held her attention across several of the dendrite branches. “Doctor, if this were a sentient being’s cranial nerves, what would you suspect this sort of scarring indicated?” T’Shan held the bag towards the Doctor.

The doctor kneeled down to inspect the mass, unsure of what to make of it. “If it were a being with a traditional circulatory system, it may be signs of previous haemorrhaging, or a stroke wherein the blood vessel had burst.” She replied. However, the circuitry in question was not a traditional circulatory system. The doctor found it rather curious. “It may not be scar tissue. Excuse me for one moment.” T’Preava stood back up and walked to the other side of the room, where she took a medical tricorder and briskly returned underneath the bed. She opened the tricorder and began scanning, rhythmic beeps and chimes were an all too familiar sound. “Intriguing, the mass appears to be a large-scale infection that this pack has successfully eradicated. This is simply dead matter, I believe its decay is what is affecting the circuitry.” 

“This is.. a complication. I may need to alert the Esquimalt fabrication teams. Hopefully this is an outlier and not representative of a wider issue.” T’Shan began to calculate how long it would take to replace all the packs in this room alone. It would not be simple or quick, even with teams from the station. “Perhaps this impromptu vivisection will prove to be beneficial.” T’Shan took the expired package and left it on a clear benchtop space. She returned to the biobed, and looked it over for a moment as she cleaned her hands. “I can replace the circuitry and the panelling, but a team will need to attend to perform a deep clean. Bioneural gel leaves a distinct and unpleasant odour after expiration. If you do not use olfactory inhibitors already, I would recommend it if enough time passes before it is cleaned.” T’Shan took the spare gel pack and knelt down so she could reach inside the structure.

“I will notify the captain of this. It may be difficult to requisition any personnel from the station with our hastened departure.” T’Preava walked over to the central console in the room. She set down the tricorder and picked up a padd she had prepared beforehand. “Once you have finished replacing the component, I would like to discuss your medical status. I need to conduct your physical, and we both need to know this biobed is operational again.” 

“It may be more efficient to speak directly to Chief Vuchas on the station. We have been working together on several pre-launch details and he has a team on standby for any required assistance.” T’Shan explained as she connected the gel pack and pulled herself out from within the internal area of the biobed. She looked at the biobed with discomfort, she found physical examinations to be an undesirable aspect of service. “I believe all the essential components are in place.” She said, settling herself down on the surface.

“We launch within a matter of days. I will certainly confer with Vuchas, but if we intend to keep the captain’s schedule we will have to do the majority of the inspection and repair ourselves. I can assign a medical team to sweep the ship, and the operations division can replace the infected packs.” T’Preava initiated the scan from the console at the head of the bed. Noticing T’Shan’s unease, she thought it best to comfort her. “This will take just a moment.” It didn’t take long for T’Preava to notice an inherent flaw in using T’Shan as the first test. T’Shan’s vitals were showing as rather unusual, but whether it be because of the recent malfunction or because of her heritage. “Do you know on-hand what your normal blood pressure, body temperature, and oxygen levels should be? I’m afraid I can’t quite tell if these results are accurate.” T’Preava put her fingers on T’Shan’s wrist counting under her breath. 

“I apologise but I do not have those details committed to memory. I believe there should be annotations on my personnel file from Dr Graham, my most recent physician aboard the Letayo.” T’Shan answered honestly.

A few more seconds passed of T’Preava counting her heartbeat. “I will compare your results here with those on file then. You may get up.” T’Preava returned to the central console to pull up the file and compare. Cross-checking each vital. “You seem to be in perfect health, at least according to your previous records. I should let you go now, we both have some work to do.” She resumed tapping the console, becoming intensely focused.

T’Shan stood, but before she moved away from the bed, she resolved to ask something that had been perched inside, waiting to escape. “Thank you, doctor. Before I go, may I ask your opinion on something? You may be unable to give an answer immediately, but I would value your candor.”

T’Preava stood straight again to listen attentively. “Of course.” 

“I understand some Vulcans find the subject distasteful, even in a doctor-patient context, and if so I would find a referral agreeable.” T’Shan prefaced her question, a result of experience. The doctor acknowledged T’Shan’s reluctance to ask straightforwardly. “I realise that it can take many decades for Vulcans, and to not have experienced it at my age is not abnormal. But I am curious if you think it is likely, or if there is even a possibility that can be measured that I may experience the pon farr. I feel that if it is a likelihood, we should discuss treatment options at some point in the future.” T’Shan asked. 

The doctor remained silent for a moment, there was a lot to consider when answering. “Well, as you say T’Shan, you are only a young woman by Vulcan standards. However, you are not a standard Vulcan.” T’Preava walked back and sat on the bed opposite T’Shan. “Most hybrid Vulcans do exhibit the usual symptoms of Pon Farr; albeit with some variation. I can’t say that I have ever known an Andorian/Vulcan hybrid though. If you are especially concerned with having- or not having the experience, I am able to do a more thorough scan of your reproductive systems at another time. Would that be appreciated?”

“Any insight you can offer would be most valuable, Doctor.” T’Shan nodded with gratitude.

The doctor bowed her head. “Return to me tomorrow afternoon.” The doctor returned to the console, and picked up a padd, holding it to her chest, she continued. “In the meantime I have to coordinate the scanning of the gel packs. I’ll have the junior officers report directly to you once they isolate the affected systems.” 

“Thank you, Doctor. Live long and prosper.” T’Shan said, making the Vulcan salute. “Likewise, Lieutenant.” The doctor responded, allowing T’Shan to leave.