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Log of the Month for December, 2018

Consulting Exoimmunologist
Posted on December 23rd, 2018 by Emilaina Acacia

“Oh, this place is awesome,” Emilaina grinned at a monitor where her elder sister appeared out of uniform, evidently off duty. Emily was going through the new samples from her colony immunological survey, and processing them through a machine that displayed wild patterns of colored dots of light as holograms, sequences which she was one of only a handful of people able to read.

“Yeah?” Averianna laughed, “I knew you’d get used to it. How’s your new office?”

“Official,” the Doctor clasped her hands together, “Averi, being on the flagship is amazing. This lab is the best probably anywhere in the galaxy outside of the Academy, and I just get free reign in here. They give me anything I ask for. They let me put holo-projectors in my office so I can run the combinatory genetics program, they authorized my requests for literally the most top of the line equipment, I get seemingly instant research approval.. I could do some incredible stuff here.”

“To study germs,” her sister pointed out, “which I will remind you, is gross. But I know what you mean. I think you deserve it, kid. I tried to read your thesis and I got.. parts of it.”

“Wait, you actually—“ Emily trailed off, her smile fading as a flashing red message indicator at the side of the screen caught her attention, “—err, I’m getting a call. From… Starfleet Medical. I—well, guess I’ll call you back.”

“Ooh, good luck,” Averi got in as her feed was shut off. Emily pulled up the alert onscreen, and immediately stood up straighter to salute the commander greeting her on the other side, a man whose tired face she may have seen once at school but could not now recall.

“At ease,” the older Human man in Starfleet blue smiled softly, his eyes ragged, “Could you please take this call privately?”

“Yes sir,” Emily tapped the console, the screen going dark. Her heart was pounding as she made her way into her office and sat down. It flashed through her mind that she might be in trouble. Why the sudden priority call from an unfamiliar commander? Why the privacy? She pressed a button, and the windows of her office blacked themselves out. She pulled the call back up on a screen that folded up from her desk.

“Good afternoon, Doctor Acacia. My name is Doctor Shiplan,” the commander began, “I’m calling you because we need your expertise.”

Emily blinked twice, her head spinning for a moment. She was so overwhelmed by being suddenly called that she had forgotten that she was in her position, the very one that had put her in such a good mood all day. She leaned forward, resting her elbows on her desk.

“A case?” she asked softly.

“Jane Doe is a cross-breed humanoid of three different species. John Doe is a cross-breed of two. The patient is the Doe’s four-week-old potentially viable fetus with genes from five different humanoid species, two seemingly incompatible. Though, fortunately, the mother is half Human so it looks like we have a chance,” the man said all in one breath, very matter-of-fact. Emily felt all of her air escape her.

“God,” she breathed out, without meaning to.

“I know,” Doctor Shiplan replied gently, his own sympathy clear. The two were there for just a moment, before they both sat up a bit straighter.

“Four weeks?” Emily prompted. Both medical school graduates, they would know that’s sooner than most women even learn they’re pregnant.

“Suffice it to say the child is wanted, we have Jane admitted for round the clock monitoring until we can guarantee stability. It’s been rough so far. Jane’s body is now actively trying to reject the fetus, we need you to help us get her immune system under control.”

“Okay,” Emily replied, taking a deep breath, “Forward everything you have to the Atlantis, I will send you a list of additional samples to retrieve for me and how to process them.”

“Thank you, Doctor,” the commander bowed his head, and the screen went black. Emily stared at her blacked-out windows with wide eyes for a moment before shaking her head to clear it, then pressing the button to cause her windows to regain transparency. She watched her console as data streamed in rapidly, information on the patients, plenty of scan data, and even a live status feed. Emily took a deep breath. She quickly typed up instructions on how to gather an immune system profile on five species worth of grandparents and family friends.

She stood, heading out into the lab. A passing crewman asked if she was alright, causing her to take a moment to collect herself. She tried not to seem concerned or excited, though she was a thrilling mix of the two. She came to stand in front of a large, brand new device—one of the things she had specifically requested, as it would happen. It was about the size of a car, and had a sheen of polished metal to it. She wiggled her fingers in anticipation of breaking the seal on something so expensive, then stepped onto the platform for operating the device. Three blue-tinged holographic screens appeared around her at elbow height. She began typing into each of them a bit at a time.

Differently colored projections of holographic dots of light in loose clusters, the tightest parts of which vaguely resembled the blood vessels of the body, appeared spread across the air above the device, and the dots moved individually as Emily manipulated them with the control panel. To the untrained eye it would have been hard to figure out what she was up to, but the holographic projections of light would occasionally bump into each other, display a blurb of math and chemical names, and dots would either go back to their colored cluster or change places. Thin white lines connected some dots on different clusters. In the center, three clusters seemed to represent the mother, father, and baby respectively. Five clusters around the edges contributed their dots to the cause of trying to stabilize the center clusters. The overall colors of the clusters changed over time as differently colored dots migrated between them.

The Doctor worked on that machine for hours. Other officers came and went. A few even came to speak to Emily, but she couldn’t quite recall what they’d said to her aside from that it hadn’t been important enough to break her haze of focus. She finally seemed to finish when she stopped for a while to triple-check the chemical tags on the center cluster’s dots, stepped off the platform causing the device to turn off, and went to take a seat back in her office. She sent Doctor Shiplan her own long stream of data, giving him a prescription for a gene edit for the mother, three for the fetus, and a recipe for a wholly unique chemical cocktail to give the woman designed to strongarm her immune system into stopping the rejection (hopefully) without killing her. With the equipment she had she could have easily synthesized the medicine, so she was confident the Starfleet Medical personnel could get it done.

Emily leaned back in her chair, her heart once again pounding. She had now quadruple-checked everything, but she was still nervous. While things like this had happened before, this very specific thing had never really been done, at least not that the Federation had data on. Moreover, now that she was out in the real world she could have real effects on real patients with an experimental or highly customized treatment. If she was wrong, if her assessment varied by a few of the wrong antigens from one species, two lives could end. But then, that was why they’d have called her with her, as her mother had put it, “incredibly specific doctorate”. She sent the data. She had tried her best. It wasn’t the first case of humanoid hybrids being risky pregnancies, but she was invested now. She wanted good news. Guiltily though, perhaps even more than good news, she was most excited for the data. She hoped she would be staying on the case, perhaps she would even get to see the face of the five-way hybrid.

Of course, there would be none too quickly. Her treatment would take up to three hours to fully work, during which she expected an agonizing wait near a medical console. Then, of course, at least eight more months of assessment that was likely to be highly volatile. Somehow that made it more exciting. A white message indicator appeared on her desk screen, and Emily took the call. Averi reappeared, still in her street clothes.

“You said you’d call me back,” Averi mused, though obviously not upset, “I tried to call you but the computer said you were ‘unreachable’. I’ve never heard it do that before.”

“I got distracted,” Emily smiled wryly, now looking pretty tired from how her day had been going.

“They demote you?” Averi poked fun, and Emily rolled her eyes.

“Actually, sounds like I’m getting honorable mention on a case study that will definitely be in next year’s Starfleet Medical Journal,” Emily grinned. Her sister knew not to ask for too many details, but the two finished their catching up over a replicated cup of tea as the Doctor looked at the data coming in from the samples she had requested. She was also watching the patient’s status feed flit across her monitor as she talked, and was able to breathe a small sigh of relief when she saw her new Jane Doe’s fever begin to plummet.

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  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    This is interesting subject matter with a great description of the process of using the machine. Nice log!

  • Alexis Wright says:

    This is a late comment, but I love the description of her “haze of focus” — I’ve so been there. Nice work!

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