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Life's Fitful Fever

Posted on Tue Nov 22nd, 2016 @ 7:26pm by Lieutenant Commander Cara O'Reilly MD

Mission: S1E2 - Unity
Location: Sickbay
Timeline: Mission Day 8 - 1315


Saalkan had remained in his quarters when off duty for the last few days. The required meditation he needed to maintain his composure meant that he could not spare any time outside his scheduled duties for anything else. Not that he maintained much of a social life.

When he reached Sickbay, he was pleased to find minimal medical personnel and no other regular members of the crew. That would make this encounter... less undesirable. In fact, the doctor appeared to be alone in her office. He approached without being invited.

"Doctor," he said quietly, "I have a discreet personal matter I need to discuss with you."

Cara was picking at a replicated sandwich at her desk as she reviewed a few patient charts. She looked up when Saalkan entered her office and then gestured to the small sofa. "Have a seat," she said, wiping her mouth and fingers with a napkin as she stood up and walked around her desk. "How can I help?"

Saalkan cleared his throat. "I am required to report that I am currently undergoing Pon Farr. I have thus far been mitigating its effects through meditation. The mounting symptoms are quite inconvenient, but I find the traditional treatment methods rather unattractive. The least unattractive of which would be medication. And, thus, here I am." He steepled his fingers and stared straight ahead.

"Do you have an arranged mate at home?" Cara asked, sitting down on the sofa's matching chair and leaning her elbows on her knees.

"No." Saalkan said tersely. "I am celibate. Sexual relations have a way of making matters... complicated." He took a breath and exhaled. "I am formally requesting medical sedation."

"Well, Saalkan...we could go that route if you really want to," Cara said, looking into Saalkan's eyes. "But there is an alternative to sedation. I have used...what I call medical cocktail...quite successfully. It is a combination of two medications...Cefobegon and Fexomide...that, together, neutralize and block the hormone that is secreted during Pon Farr. The treatment requires regular injections twice a day for two weeks. It will also require regular blood draws to check your hormone levels. As with any treatment that involves changing what your body does naturally....there are some risks." She smiled. "Nothing in science and medicine comes without I said...I have used this treatment to help the four Vulcans I worked with on Outpost 67 and it was successful. Would you be interested?"

Saalkan twitched as he considered Cara's words. "I am agreeable," he said at length. "Do you have other records from your time at Outpost 67? I have been conducting a study of... academic interest... for the past several years. Particularly among survivors of mortal wounds or chronic illness."

"I'm afraid I didn't do much publishing while I was there," Cara said as she made a notation in his chart of the exact dosage of the two medications. "But what I did would most likely be in Starfleet Medical's library," she added as she handed the PADD to the nurse who disappeared to prepare the medication. She added another pillow to the head of the biobed and said, "lie back and relax. The cocktail is a slow infusion and will take about 20 minutes so get comfortable."

"Very well." Saalkan kept his mouth pressed into a thin line. Vulcans might feel impatient, but they did not scowl about it. After laid down and allowed Cara to start the treatment, he asked, "May I inquire as to how you developed this... 'cocktail'?" His eyes were closed as he began to enter a low-level meditative trance. "I would assume another Vulcan may have suggested it."

The nurse had brought in the medication and an intravenous infuser. As she located a vein in Saalkan's arm, Cara, who had been jotting down a few notes in Saalkan's chart, looked up and raised an eyebrow. "I didn't think Vulcans made assumptions," she said, partially teasing him. She went back to what she was doing as the nurse set the infusion rate. "At any rate...your assumption is incorrect. As most assumptions are," Cara said. "I developed the cocktail out of necessity. 67 is very remote," she said, setting the PADD down and shoving her hands into the pockets of her labcoat. "It was a logical alternative to putting our Vulcan crew members under sedation," she added with a smirk.

"Educated guesses are perfectly logical," Saalkan countered. A smile teased his lips as he added, "Sometimes an assumption is the closest thing to adventure one can still find on Vulcan." He breathed deeply several times, enhancing his meditative trance. "Doctor, in your years of medicine," he asked, suddenly breaking the silence, "have you ever observed a case of reversal of autolysis or necrosis?"

Cara was double checking her monitors. She looked over at Saalkan with interest. "I have heard of it but have never observed it," she said. "Have you?"

"Only anecdotal reports, regrettably." Saalkan sighed, eyes still closed. "With as many encounters with sepiturnal lifeforms as there have been over the centuries, I do not understand how athanasia has evaded our research for so long." His eyes shot open. "What do we gain in pursuit of the stars if we cannot master ourselves?"

The nurse looked over at Cara, questioningly and Cara smiled at her. Winking at the nurse and smiling she said, simply, "that's a good question." To the nurse she made a motion with her fingers to indicate slowing the rate of infusion, which the nurse did.

"Indeed, Doctor, I have found it is the only question," Saalkan said as his eyes began drooping. "The only one that matters." After another moment of silence, Saalkan asked, "If there were to be any sudden and unforeseen fatalities, I request permission in advance to assist with the autopsy."

With a soft chuckle, Cara patted Saalkan's leg and said, "I'll be sure and let our pathologist know," then she checked the infusion again. "We have about 3 more minutes," she said. She noticed Saalkan's eyes closing and she snapped her fingers in front of his face. " Stay awake for me," she said, a little more firmly. "Come on. We're almost done." To the nurse she whispered, "turn up the Fexomide. That'll stop the euphoria."

"So is he drunk?" the nurse asked as she did as she was instructed.

"Not exactly," Cara answered. "The Cefobegon is an enzyme that, alone, can cause Vulcans and Romulans to experience a euphoric state. Similar to what a Human feels when we take Tetrahydrocannabinol. The Fexomide is a blocking agent that, when mixed with the Cefobegon seeks out the endorphins secreted during Pon Farr and blocks them. The side effects vary. One of my patients became childlike and I had to hold his hand during the each treatment to keep him from having a panic attack...much to his embarrassment." She looked over at the infuser and noticed it was empty. "Ok. DC the infuser and draw some blood. Send it to the lab to do a hormone level. Saalkan? You are all done. How do you feel?" she asked as she sat the head of the bed up a little more and checked his pupils for their reaction to light.

Saalkan closed his eyes and nodded while forcing himself to regain his center. He was better than this. "I am well," he said, opening his eyes. "Pon Farr is in remission. Am I to trust the confidentiality of this medbay will remain in effect?" He realized he had grasped Cara's forearm without knowing it, and let go. "My apologies."

Cara smiled. "No apology needed," she said, softly. "And what goes on in here...stays in here. Now...follow my finger with just your eyes," she said and held up her index finger. Slowly, she moved it from right to left then up and down. "Good. As soon as you get your sea legs back, you are free to go. But have another treatment today and two a day for the next 13 days. Failure to complete the entire cycle will result in Pon Farr returning in full force."

"I assume the captain may need to be informed," Saalkan intoned with something subtly akin to frustration. "Will my superior officer be notified if it does not affect my ability to perform my duties?"

"There's an unused lab off of the rear corridor," Cara said, quietly. "We will conduct your treatments in there. You can tell your superior officer that you are helping me with a research project. The CO doesn't need to know anything."

Saalkan turned his chin to the side by just a few degrees, carefully studying Cara. At length he finally said, "I appreciate your discretion." He sat up on the biobed and put his feet on the floor. "Please alert me when the next treatment is ready." Without another word, he hurried out of Sickbay.

Cara watched the Vulcan leave with an amused smile.



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