Suffer the Little Children - Part 1 (RP Log)
|10 May 2014|
- Saith & Soah Coffeehouse [Deep Space 9]
- The smell of coffee and chocolate overwhelms the senses as you enter through the glass doors from the station's promenade, a little brass-colored bell attached high on the door dings whenever it is opened-- a purely novel gadget, surely. This is a small place, quite modest in appearance and setting. No more than three small tables sit overlooking windows to the bustling commerce area outside, windows that are partially obstructed by a display of boxes of tea and large bags of gourmet Rihannsu coffee.
- Artwork hangs on walls, bookshelves between the canvases hold a variety of well-worn Rihannsu literature and wooden bins of custom tea and coffee varieties. A little further back in the shop, a glass counter showcases no less than a hundred different types of chocolate confections, from the mundane to the extravagant. A row of clear glass containers sit atop the counter, also filled with sugary treats. This is one of those hidden gems that most visitors will pass by without a second glance; the sweets are heavenly and the coffee is ground and brewed as you wait. There hardly ever seems to be more than a few people in the shop at any given time. It is obvious that a place like this is about more than its wares. It is about relaxation and companionship, it is about unwinding from a long day and laughing with friends.
Vrillak smiles back. "Well, my dear. I have never thought about it. But I will do so." The doors open, and low amounts of noise cause Senka and Vrillak to gaze in that direction. A Vulcan family enters. By their civilian garb, they could be traders, if not particularly wealthy ones. The father is short, shorter than Senka, with unreadable black eyes. The mother is tall and elegant-looking, her green eyes full of intelligence and something else. With them are two children. A boy of about 10 and a younger girl, perhaps 5. The girl is obviously not as able as her brother to control her emotions, and the expression on her face is quite clear to read whether or not you know Vulcans. It's pain, physical pain. Her mouth is turned down in a grimace. The father strides up to your table and interrupts the conversation. "You are the chief medical officer of this facility?" He demands coldly of Senka. "That is correct." "What rates do you charge for your services to non-military personnel?" The father comes back in almost a snap of a question. Senka raises an eyebrow. "I accept no payment for my services. It is against regulations and my own inclinations." "What regulations govern the treatment of civilians aboard this installation?" The father's tone is as close to harsh as a Vulcan will allow, his frustration and something else possibly evident in the set of his jaw, easily detectable to another Vulcan. "There are no regulations restricting the treatment I may offer civilians, especially as we are not at battle ready status." The mother's expression is, if this can be said of a Vulcan, gentler, or at least, more long suffering. "We regret the need to disturb you," she says, glancing between Senka and Carey, noting the uniforms.
Vrillak comes to his feet. he offers the family a silent bow. "I'll be on my way," he says quietly to Senka and Carey, looking more so at her. He smiles and makes an exit.
Vrillak leaves for Promenade - Section B.
Carey takes one look at the little girl, and noting that Senka is already in conversation with the parents, she gets up and goes to her knees before the child. "Hello, little one," she says gently, making eye contact and smiling in a motherly way. She watches the parents out of the corner of her eye, being sure not even to intrude too closely into the child's space so that it's clear she isn't being threatening or anything other than warmly kind.
"Greetings," the girl says softly. Her right hand comes up, and the little fingers part in a Vulcan salute. "Peace and long life," she offers. A ripple of pain crosses her features, and she lowers her hand.
"I am Stelv," the father offers. "And T'Priel, she who is my wife. Our son, So'sov, and this," he finishes, "is our daughter, T'Lila. As you have no doubt deduced, T'Lila is in need of medical assistance, and we have as yet been unable to find adequate care." Senka stands. "I come to serve," he offers. "Your service honors us," the father replies. Looking at You, Senka murmurs an order he didn't think he'd ever have to give and he certainly didn't imagine giving it like this. "Lieutenant, bring T'Lila to the infirmary and initiate a full bioscan."
Carey's eyes soften even more at the name. "T'Lila," she says, still smiling at the child as she stands. "What a beautiful name for a beautiful girl. Will you come with me so we can see about stopping that pain?" She holds out a hand briefly, a purely instinctive gesture, as with any other child, she would take her hand or put her arm around her, but turns it into a gentle beckoning gesture.
"You may go, daughter," T'Priel murmurs gently. "We will converse briefly with ..." and for the first time all three adult Vulcans seem to realize that in the urgency of the situation, Senka hasn't had the chance to offer his name. "Senka, cha' Sovek," he offers. "with Senka," the mother finishes. The girl places her hand in yours and leaves with you.
Carey leaves for Promenade - Section B.
- General Ward - Station Infirmary [Deep Space 9]
- The entrance to this room is set with two different walkways around the top of this semi-hexagonal compartment. Several biobeds face inwardly, as rays of a sun, towards a central laboratory table. Monitors also are sprinkled about this room for access to lifesigns and patient information.
Carey is sitting next to the biobed where T'Lila now rests, talking softly to her as the scan progresses. She has given the child the little bear that she customarily carries in her satchel for patients' use. "There we are," she is saying as the door opens. "Almost done now." She has the same gentle smile for the little girl, but as she turns her head to meet Senka's eyes, it falls away entirely.
Crossing the medical ward, Senka studies the bio readings impassively. "T'Lila's parents are waiting in the duty office." The scan finishes. He looks from you to the scans and back to you . "You can deduce the nature of these readings?" He asks gently. "T'Krev's Disease," the girl supplies. "A rapidly acting malignancy.' She grimaces. The words are delivered well enough, but they’re spoken almost as a single chunk, perhaps a phrase she has memorized.
"It resembles advanced-stage lymphatic cancers in other species,” Senka murmurs to you.
Carey blinks in undisguised astonishment to hear such a phrase from such a little child, but recovers herself quickly. "Yes," she says quietly, then points to the pain indicator. "Can we do something about this?" she asks Senka, her foremost concern for the moment being to relieve the immediate suffering.
Selecting a pain suppressant, Senka considers the bio readings and injects the girl with an initial dosage. The tension in T'Lila's face eases. "Your parents," Senka tells her in her own language, "tell me that you have begun your initial training in the mind rules. Your control is impressive given the circumstances and your age." She nods, and a small smile appears. It was high praise, and she's taken it as such. To you he says in Standard, "Initiate a complete subcellular profile. Draw three vials of blood. I want a full hematological workup."
Carey nods. "This is going to take some time," she says to T'Lila, "and I need you to lie as still as you can while the scan is running, okay? You'll hear a hum when it starts. Is there anything you need or would like to have to keep yourself occupied while I run the scan?" Her tone is still gentle and warm, as it has been all along, but there is more respect in it now for this child who appears mature so far beyond her years.
The girl shakes her head. Senka approaches. "I am going to assist her," he tells you. "Her parents have given their permission." Before you can ask, "permission for what," Senka takes the guest chair next to the bed. He looks into T'Lila's eyes, and you may notice that they, like her mother's are green, not unlike another Vulcan you know. The girl seems to know what Senka is going to do as he raises his right hand. "Will you permit me?" He asks her? "Father always tries, but he cannot make the pain go away. It hurts him." she says. "Can you?" From a Vulcan child, it has the sound of a straight up question. But it's a plea. Gently, Senka brushes aside a lock of her hair and lays his hand alongside her face. his hand practically covers the whole left half of her face, given how small she is. Senka draws in a breath before gathering his own resources. "So much pain," he murmurs. The suppressant has only taken the edge off of supreme agony, it seems.
Carey smiles gently as she observes what's happening and nods. "You're going to be okay," she almost whispers to T'Lila as she starts the scan and then goes to the supply cabinet to get the vials and the necessary hypo for drawing blood. Going around to the other side of the bed, she lifts and straightens T'Lila's right arm and pushes up her sleeve, her touch as gentle and delicate as possible lest she somehow disrupt the meld. She places the hypo against the vein on the inside of T'Lila's elbow and activates it, watching as one vial after another fills with green blood.
Senka deepens the meld. T'Lila has been in pain for a long while. From her perspective, he sees run-down hospitals, offers of drugs for treatment, drugs their family could never afford. The family abandoned its trading finally, determined that their top priority should be seeking medical treatment. Even Bajor could not treat T'Lila, it seems. They lacked the drugs and some of the knowledge of Vulcan physiology. Finally, someone suggested seeing a Vulcan specialist, and there was a hint about Deep Space 9. But would the military offer them help? Senka senses the hopelessness of T'Lila's parents as the girl perceived it.
Carey detaches the last vial of blood as it seals itself automatically. Her eyes go to T'Lila's face, what she can see of it around Senka's hand, as she completes that task. Then she goes to the door and hands the blood samples out to a technician in the lab. After a murmured conversation in medical shorthand, she returns to the bed and positions herself at the head of it to watch the progress of the scan.
In her mind, Senka erects a barrier between her and the pain. It has the strength and solidity of a level 10 containment field. Abruptly, T'Lila's pain indicator drops to zero. Surprise spreads across her face. She looks unbelievably happy. "You are a healer," she says in the meld and out loud. "I do have healer's training. That is correct," Senka replies in the meld only. Do you know how to initiate healing trance?" "No. I cannot focus enough to learn it." "The cause is sufficient," Senka sends. "I will induce a healing trance. It will allow you rest while I consider how to treat your condition." Fear. "Will it hurt?" Every child's question. "It will not." "Are you certain?" A human child might have asked, "You promise?" For answer, he sends reassurance down the mental link. You would notice slight tension as he mentions the healing trance, and as he reassures her, she relaxes and smiles again. It's an untroubled smile, free of pain.
Carey looks from the readings to T'Lila as she speaks, and as she watches the child relax, her own face shows a depth of tenderness and compassion Senka never would have seen there before, should he look. She quickly returns her eyes to the display, remembering what she's supposed to be doing, but the tender look remains.
T'Lila's bio indicators begin to sink. Heart rate slows, respiration slows, and she gives every indication of falling asleep. The indicators slow over the next several minutes as Senka guides her mind down into an almost coma-like state. The pain no longer matters. It can't be felt. You would note an increase in certain metabolic activities, but whatever it is, it won't touch the cancer. Nonetheless, the girl is deeply unconscious, and her pain indicator remains flat-lined. There is a peaceful expression on her face as Senka finally breaks the meld. "Sufficient," he murmurs to you. "We may speak freely here. We will not disturb her." He looks over at you, his expression suggesting that he expects that you don't understand what's happened.
Carey looks at the readings, then at you, back to the readings and back to you. "So...is that healing trance, then?" she asks. She keeps her voice soft despite your reassurance that T'Lila won't be disturbed.
Senka nods. "It is. It will be wholly inadequate for treating her condition, but it will suffice to slow the spread of the cancerous cells and to alleviate her pain while treatments are devised."
Carey looks down at T'Lila's now peaceful face again. "Poor little one," she says even more softly. She makes a move that would normally be used to smooth back hair from a forehead, but her fingers ghost through the air just above T'Lila's forehead instead of touching her.
"She would be quite insensible to mere touch," Senka supplies calmly as he studies the lab reports just delivered to him.
Carey smiles slightly, very slightly, and brushes back the child's soft dark hair beneath her hand. The smile quickly fades to be replaced by intense sadness, mingled with the maternal tenderness of before.
"This is going to be a most intractable case," he murmurs. When the scan finishes, he downloads the data to his pad and compares the data sets with the blood analysis.
Carey waits, quiet and still, letting you work. You might sense a little of her attempt to achieve at least the calmness she's seen in this smallest patient. It's a concentrated effort, but one of mere minutes, and her eyes rest on you now without wavering.
Senka looks across at you, and if you see coldness in his eyes, it's probably not because he doesn't care, but because he's brutally controlling and suppressing his emotions. He speaks softly, handing you the data. "The green represents healthy cellular tissue. The yellow, compromised but salvageable tissue. The crimson, completely compromised areas." The chart is a representation of T'Lila's internals including her bones and muscles. There is very little green to be seen. Most of her tissue is yellow shading towards red. Her liver, kidneys and one lung are mostly crimson. Her heart is green with some yellow. Her brain is mostly green, though it too is starting to be affected. Her blood is almost entirely crimson, and her bones are limbed in mostly crimson where her bone marrow is depicted, though the bone tissue itself shows up in mostly yellow with crimson shadings.
Carey's calm shatters like a dropped glass. "Oh, gods," she whispers as she looks over the chart. She opens her mouth to ask the obvious, "What do we do now?" but meeting your eyes, she doesn't speak the words.
"She will, obviously, require replacement of several key organs. Her blood is contaminated because her marrow is defective. She will require a complete bone marrow replacement along with total replacement of her blood volume, and those procedures are not the sort that many hospitals can have been prepared to undertake. I am not surprised that drug therapy was offered. A pointless procedure." He hesitates. "I am not certain that even these procedures will be sufficient. This is a most advanced stage of metastasis."
Carey nods, taking a deep breath. "We'll have to match her blood type," she says, thinking aloud without considering that she has no authority to decide on any course of treatment. "And her bone marrow. A blood stimulant could maybe create enough of a blood supply if we find a match for her, but bone marrow..." She trails off and lowers her eyes, realizing that she's rambling and possibly not being helpful.
Senka nods. "You are essentially correct. Her blood type is rare in the Vulcan population. Neither of her parents has it. It seems that she inherited it from a grandparent. We will have to conduct full cytological screenings of her parents in any event. Doubtless, one of them can supply the necessary bone marrow. Regarding the blood, I shall survey the Vulcans, and also the Romulans, aboard for volunteers. It may be that someone has a compatible blood type and can serve as a donor. If so, we may place that individual on blood stimulants so that we can obtain the base amount we require."
Carey nods again. "But..." She hesitates, dreading to ask such a prickly question, but unable to ignore it. "How are we going to keep the disease from eating up the new blood and marrow as fast as we can supply it? It seems to move fast."
Senka nods. "That," he murmurs, "is the reason I am uncertain of our success. We must find the source of the mutative cells and correct it."
Carey frowns. "That's not going to be easy, as far as it's already spread."
Senka nods. "The prognosis is most grave. However, logic dictates that we give this matter our utmost effort."
A look that could almost be called wry, although without any accompanying humor, flickers over Aliyah's face and is gone in an instant. "Well, of course," she says.
"Untreated, T'Lila would die in a matter of weeks. I estimate 2.5 to 4 weeks." T'Lila and dying are not concepts he likes linking. "The healing trance has extended that estimate." He looks at you. "please draw three more vials of blood and aspirate three samples of bone marrow from T'Lila. I want genetic profiles and DNA mapping performed on T'Lila's samples. Order the med lab to do so immediately, alpha level priority. Then, escort her parents here. I want blood samples and bone marrow samples taken from both parents. I am certain they will cooperate."
Carey gets up from where she's been sitting and immediately sets about collecting the requested samples. "How long can her body maintain healing trance?" she asks as she works.
Senka says, "She cannot remain in trance indefinitely. I will pull her from it in several hours."
Carey nods as she collects the final sample. She departs for the med lab and then enters the duty office. Only a moment later, she reemerges, accompanied by Stelv and T'Priel, and the three enter the infirmary together. "What is my daughter's prognosis?" Stelv asks. "Grave," Senka replies quietly. "A 76% likelihood of her not surviving has been estimated." Her father intends the statement as an inquiry. He wants an answer and will not brook refusal. "A more accurate estimate at this time would be 90.717%, Senka murmurs. Stelv studies Senka quietly.
T'Priel's gaze goes immediately to her small daughter and rests on her for a moment as she enters. "She's all right," Aliyah says gently to the woman. T'Priel's face remains smooth and expressionless, but her green eyes are more expressive than her husbands. She nods as her eyes move to the nurse and then to you. "We thank you," she says quietly to you. Aliyah, meanwhile, is calibrating the biobeds next to T'Lila's, resetting them to Vulcan norms.
Senka studies the parents. "We will require blood and bone marrow samples." "No one has suggested this before," Stelv says. "Indeed. You are at one of the few facilities who can pursue this cancer most aggressively."
"If you'll each take one of the biobeds," Aliyah says in a tone of quiet deference, "we'll collect the samples we need. It will be painless." T'Priel moves at once to the biobed to Aliyah's left and sits on it without speaking.
Stelv takes another biobed. Senka nods to you to proceed.
Carey turns to T'Priel first, less intimidated by her than by Stelv, although she doesn't give any outward sign of this. "If you'll just hold out your arm, please," she murmurs. When T'Priel does, she takes the blood sample and then a sample of bone marrow. "Thank you," she says when she's finished. Then, after getting fresh containers to hold the samples, she turns to Stelv.
Stelv simply regards you. He holds out his arm.
Carey doesn't speak this time. She takes the samples and then steps back, turning to take them to the lab as well.
"I will inform you when I have results,” Senka murmurs. "Logically," Stelv says. He stands and looks down at his daughter."
T'Priel stands as well, her gaze following her husband's. Her eyes move from T'Lila's face to the brown stuffed bear nestled beside her. Her face remains expressionless except for the smallest tic and something in her eyes. She looks back at you and arches one eyebrow.
Senka looks at the bear. "My nurse believes that small plush objects have therapeutic value." "Indeed,” Stelv says neutrally.
Carey reenters in time to hear that comment. She looks where everyone else is looking and blushes, but only slightly. "I apologize if I offended," she says, and looks an anxious question at you, having all but forgotten the bear in the wake of the seriousness of T'Lila's illness.
"You have offered no offense," T'Lila's father assures you.
Carey nods with a slight smile. "It's hers for as long as she's here," she says quietly. T'Priel meets her eyes for a moment, and though the Vulcan woman's face does not change, Aliyah's smile widens and softens just slightly. She nods as if in answer to something unspoken.
Stelv brushes his fingers over T'Lila's face and raises an eyebrow at Senka. "You were able to effectively alleviate her pain." Senka nods. "I was unable to do so." The admission seems to torment the other Vulcan, though perhaps only a fellow Vulcan or even only a healer would know it. "You do not possess a healer's training, Sir. You could not have done more." "We were unable to locate any trained healers." Senka nods. "That is not an unexpected outcome," he murmurs. "You have also induced healing trance." "I have," Senka confirms. "It will not be indefinite, as her body is in too deteriorated a state to benefit from or maintain the trance, but it offers her a respite." Stelv nods wordlessly, fingers still resting on T'Lila's forehead.
T'Priel takes the chair beside T'Lila's bed and rests her hand next to Stelv's. Aliyah's face softens further as she observes this, and she averts her gaze lest she cause embarrassment and busies herself with sterilizing and putting away equipment.
When she's finished, Aliyah takes one of the chairs from beside the next biobed and wheels it to Stelv's side of T'Lila's bed. She does so without comment, pushing it just near enough to allow him to sit, if he wishes, without lifting his hand from T'Lila's face.
Stelv remains standing stoically. The family meld continues for several more moments and is dissolved apparently by mutual consent. Stelv nods to Senka and you and leaves, saying nothing. Perhaps he thinks there is logically nothing that needs to be added at this point. His wife lingers a moment.
As T'Priel lifts her hand from T'Lila's forehead, she brushes back an errant lock of hair with the most subtle of gestures. "You will inform us when you must awaken her?" she says, standing, the question barely raising the end of her sentence. Her face is, if possible, even more inscrutable than before. Even her eyes reveal nothing, as she is employing her utmost control.
Senka nods. "We shall," he murmurs.
T'Priel nods to both of you and follows Stelv out.
Senka looks at you after the parents leave. "We will await the analyses while she sleeps."
Carey nods and sighs, bringing a hand up to rub at her forehead. Then, unnecessary though it is, she lifts the light, folded blanket at the end of the bed and gently covers T'Lila to the chest. "Rest well," she murmurs very softly.