((Starbase 118 Ops - Sickbay))
Cadets were not normally the ones who called meetings to order, who set about tasks for others to do - except, maybe, in the case of getting other newer cadets acclimated to how things worked in Sickbay. Usually, it was the full fledged doctors who dictated who did what, when, and where. In that particular case, rank didn’t matter. More people had started flooding into Sickbay. Some fights had broken out at the temple, most due to jealousy spurred by the romantic overtures on the parts of various actors in the play that was set upon the stage of the Gratitude Festival. Thus far, none had been particularly serious, but the fact remained that people were acting outside of their normal selves - or acting upon long seeded desires. Some had admitted having no inclination toward anyone specifically until that very moment when, after imbibing in even just one drink - maybe two - they had turned their gaze upon someone and found themselves consumed with love for that person. For some, to show that love had resulted in actions unwanted by the one to whom the feelings had been toward. For others, those actions had been welcomed, but another had shared feelings, and thus discord had been sown through what should have been a joyous, peaceful occasion.
With the rise of incidences, things had gotten more harried in Sickbay. People who had been looking into the issue were suddenly pulled off to help tend to those who had come seeking help. Or answers. Or both. At one point, the medical lab seemed to be a merry go round as people were called to deal with the surplus of patients, only to return when there was a lull. Frustration was felt by all, and Kherys tried her best not to add her own to the mix that she felt from the others. The pheromonal effects were not as simple as it had seen. While the group with Ensigns O’Grady and Dastrup had certainly been helpful, and had definitely saved them quite a bit of time, finding a way to counteract those effects was not as simple as it seemed. In a body, whether humanoid or otherwise, there were always a variety of genes that had been passed on from parents to offspring. What some didn’t understand is not all those genes were used - or rather, expressed - by the body. The genotype of a person as well as various factors environmental in nature determined whether or not a gene was expressed, and exactly how it was expressed. From what she’d been able to find out, the pheromones that had been added to the drinks - and they had discovered it was only the drinks and not the food - literally caused the body into which it was introduced to express certain dormant genes. Since every body was unique and different, sometimes that expression occurred in different ways. The vast majority had exhibited emotions of a romantic nature. Most of those romantic notions had been focused on one individual, but she’d found that some people had more of an overarching reaction. They were attracted to more than one person.
For some, the reaction had been different. While the pheromone seemed to affect most by activating the parts of a person’s system that guided the emotion of love, others had varying emotional responses. For some, it had turned more violent. For others, it had simply increased the emotional output in general, causing them to turn from one feeling to another, then suddenly swinging in a completely different direction.
The question of how to fix the problem wasn’t exactly unknown either. Since the additive had switched on a gene, it was necessary to switch that gene off. The question was, how to get it to respond properly? Various techniques were used, but not all of them were successful. Despite centuries of study, the genes and systems that governed people’s emotions were still something not well understood. And to mess with those systems, even if it was just to turn something off that was suddenly switched on, one had to tread carefully.
There was also the fact that doing so was a lot like coding a computer. Not only did one have to isolate the gene or genes in question, the instructions given to govern how those genes were expressed, the commands also had to be specific and coded properly to make sure that the solution didn’t add to the problem.
And yet, Kherys had more insight into what needed to be done than most of those there. This was her specific area of focus, her specialty - one of them anyway. The ins and outs of genes and how they worked in the body was something she was quite familiar with, and while she knew she had a lot to learn, she at least had a head start in that department. The hours spent bending over consoles and PADDs had not been in vain. The millions of facts that she had studied time and time again had come to the forefront of her mind when she sent out the call, guiding her fingers as she input the information into the computer, digging and searching, using the blood samples collected and the information contained in the depths of those cells to set up models. With those models, she was able to determine whether or not her ‘concoction’ would be successful - and with the variety that had been gathered by others along with the couple she’d procured herself, they had a decent amount of sampling to be sure it would work on everyone.
But even with that, it took time. And as the hours whiled away, Sickbay grew more and more crowded. Some were sent home, their conditions none violent, non threatening enough to allow them to be registered as needing treatment, then released. Even from where she worked, Kherys could hear the low rumble of voices from the other room every time the doors opened, and the pounding of their emotions, the want and desire that each one of them felt in some form or fashion, pounded at her, forcing her to reinforce those walls and push through to concentrate on the task at hand. It was on her twelfth trial that she found the answer. The ‘magic’ combination of sequences that flicked the switch that had been turned on suddenly shut down everything and brought the entire set back to normal. Had there not been an immediate need for such a solution to be dispersed, Kherys might have taken the time to rejoice, take pleasure in the accomplishment she had made. That, however, was a privilege she just wouldn’t get to have. Commanding the computer to prepare the solution, she oversaw the replication of two - and only two - doses. Models were all well and good, but she was going to make sure it actually worked on the intended before mass producing it. Rising from her chair, Kherys made her way out of the lab and stepped back out into main sickbay.
Everything hit her like a brick. The distance, however slight, had been helped to quell some of the waves that assaulted her, but the closer she drew to the masses, the more those feelings lashed out. The more she, herself, could feel them. For a moment, Kherys stood in the doorway, gasping in surprise and shock, struggling to gain control of the chaos that attacked her. Taking several deep breaths, she straightened, closed her eyes, then let the psychological shields take a sounder foothold. Pushing through the heavy currents, she made her way as quickly as she could to the two who had waited for her return.
Harper: I’m sorry I took so long. Kherys’ words were out before either of them could speak. She approached each of them, holding up the two hyprays she had prepared. Harper: Let’s get you two situated...and then, you can serve your Starbase by helping others get the same treatment.
The hyposprays were pressed against each neck, the hiss announcing that the new medication had been applied. Once done, Kherys stepped back, gaze darting between the two.
Harper: How do you feel?
Relief washed over Kherys’ face and her shoulders relaxed. Their work wasn’t done though and she motioned for the two officers to follow her.
Harper: If you two could go out and start rounding up people who are obviously affected, but not in Sickbay, bring them here, we can start getting them treated. In the meantime, we’ll dose those who are already present, and start spreading the love...so to speak.
Yeah, maybe Kherys shouldn’t do metaphors.
Kherys nodded and, casting one last glance at Tony, she turned and made her way back to the lab, pressing her commbadge as she did so.
Harper: =/\=Cadet Harper to Captain Taybrim, Commander Nijl, and Commander McLaren.=/\=
Kherys paused. Was that the Captain? Something sounded...off. Still, she had to inform them of what was going on, and let them know the end was in sight.
Harper: =/\=I’ve found an antidote. I’ve dosed officers Meeks and Nalni and have asked them to start bringing in others affected to be treated in Sickbay.=/\=
Harper: =/\=I’m about to start making batches in bulk. Anyone who comes through sickbay will have a scan and then get dosed if we find they’ve been affected.=/\=
Kherys knew the scan was important. She didn’t want to give anyone anything that wasn’t necessary, so they would always check first.
Harper: =/\=Copy that. =/\=
Without another word, Kherys commanded the computer to begin creating more of the attitude. Now, it was only a matter of time. Hopefully sooner rather than later, the chaos would be contained, and Ops could get back to normal.
Or, at least, as close enough to an approximation of normal for the base.
-- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Kherys Harper Cadet Starbase 118 Ops M239008AD0 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~