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A Hot Box Story, Part I

Posted on Fri Dec 29th, 2017 @ 12:50am by Lieutenant Alkan Malaya PhD
Edited on on Fri Jan 19th, 2018 @ 9:59am

Mission: Character Background Stories
Location: McKinley Station, Conference Room 223-A
Timeline: March 17th, 2387: 0324 Hours

The dead of night is generally how it starts. People with Starfleet Security badges on their tactical vests burst into Malaya's room as if there might of been a bomb on the station and evacuation was imperative.

Sleep gnarls were still in her blue eyes as Malaya was forced to dress as they went. The security team did not speak about the mission, at all. They did not miss handle her either - as if they had been briefed on Malaya's aversion to strangers touching her.

Her wake-up call was more akin to boot camp. A lot of yelling and nonstop until she was out of her quarters.

"I need a banana," Malaya repeated that line for what might of been the tenth time during their hall sprint. Once they were in a turbolift, she asked more directly, "Why can I not have a banana?"

"Orders, Lieutenant Malaya." The male Bolian to her right answered. A chief petty with various lower-ranked enlisted around him. Six, to be exact.

Malaya nodded her head and looked up a moment to see his face, then nodded once more and veered her head towards the front of her. The Bajoran watched the bright blue lights of the front panel, pass downward as the lift went up.

"Bajorans place their surname first. I am not Lieutenant Malaya. I am Lieutenant Alkan," she reminded the chief.

There was not enough time to reply as the lift doors opened and she was ushered into what she knew to be a conference complex. When she saw more and more uniforms, she was prompted to make extra sure her uniform looked presentable.

It did, though she chose her combat vest instead of the jacket. It made a good tool holster, really. Malaya just wished there was enough time to grab her tool belt.

Ahead of her was a humanoid male doctor being handled the same way. No uniform, so he must be contracted with the fleet. That, or he just went with his security detail in whatever he had on.

As each person was ushered in, their detail left. Malaya's was no different. And inside the conference room, she saw about two-hundred people. Medics, scientists, engineers. Civilian and Starfleet alike.

"We're on the clock, so please find your name tag quickly and be seated." Malaya looked in the direction of the dais at center stage. Rear Admiral Jerick Austin. Two months from retirement and head of the Starfleet Engineering Corps.

He rarely makes appearances to non-engineering personnel, she noted to herself.

Malaya was among the last to find her spot. A classroom set-up with each row of desks being raised. Comfy high-back chairs to make long lectures of sitting more ergonomic.

The name tags were not conspicuous at all. The top row listed her rank and name, the middle row listed her job (engineer), and the bottom row listed her assignment - Team Delta. Malaya began to look at the name tags around her. Her entire row was one team.

"I am Rear Admiral Jerick Austin and along with Rear Admiral Doctor Chrissy Zawiski, we assembled the best minds of Sol Sector to solve a problem both technological and biological." He turned to his colleague. Both were aged with retirement on the horizon.

Doctor Zawiski was a diagnostician, Malaya knew. Mostly because Zawiski was curious about Malaya's PPD-NOS upon entering OCS, and actually wanted to try and give it a name. That was a long time ago. Malaya thought the doctor was nice. She did not pretend, unlike many other doctors the Bajoran met.

"The USS Scion sent out a medical distress signal and a quarantine beacon twenty-six hours ago," the grey-haired admiral began. "A Sovereign-class vessel running on a skeleton crew of fifteen. Their CMO transmitted a report to Starfleet Medical about an airborne virus they picked up from members of a returning duck-blind mission."

It was at this point Malaya found herself looking at microscopic pictures of blood samples with time stamps. She did not know what that meant at all, but the doctor on her right let out a quiet gasp of air. That too, she did not know the meaning of, but anyone not with Malaya's condition would know it was something hard to recover from.

"There are not enough crew to man the ship efficiently," Zawiski informed. "At current, these fifteen crewmen were unaffected due to early isolation protocols put into effect. Patient Zero, however, unintentionally spread the virus via visitation to the ship's lounge during a peak traffic time, and the virus spread there like wildfire.

"Stage One of this virus begins with high fevers and congestion - often coughing spells are present as is lethargy and sinus drainage. Stage Two begins approximately fourteen hours later with puss-popping blisters on the limbs and chest. It is this stage where the virus spread is most dangerous."

Malaya felt her tummy churn when she saw the graphic photos of patients with blisters popped so severely that you could almost see bone.

"Stage Three is respiratory arrest and even on breathing machines, all twelve Trill crewmen died, including one joined Trill who's symbiont is resting comfortably in a bath as we speak. But this virus has weakened it so severely that it needs a host, which the Trill government has waiting aboard the USS Eclipse. We have less than forty-eight hours to get that symbiont to its new host or it will die," Zawiski informed.

Malaya watched as the doctor switched spots with Rear Admiral Austin. He switched to a star map, showing the Eclipse just outside the quarantine zone of the Scion.

"Most of the Scion crew are nearing the need for breathing machines, which the ship is low in availability," Austin informed. "And the warp core temperature is starting to rise. Point-one degree every fifteen minutes. We can't send in medics without keeping the core stable, and we need to do so with unaffected, non-engineers on that ship."

"The mission priority is to save the symbiont," Zawiski announced. "All of you are here to figure out how to do this. If the ship and crew can be saved, that is your secondary concern. Any questions?"

Malaya raised her hand very quickly.

"Yes Lieutenant?" Zawiski smiled at her. That made Malaya feel different things in her tummy. Good things.

Malaya, as usual, bobbed her head about, avoiding eye contact as she looked about the room when she spoke. "I was not given opportunity to eat. Before, or as we start, I would like a banana."

Lieutenant Alkan Malaya, PhD
Chief Engineer
USS Arcadia, NCC-89015


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