U.S.S. Corsair - NX-011979
Nebula II Prototype
“Sic Parvis Magna”
(Greatness From Small Beginnings)
======= SICKBAY =======
“Nice of you to come down here on short notice”, Dr. Keith Durandal said looking up from his desk with a pleasant expression at the arrival of the captain. He set down his padd and reached over turning off his computer terminal which flickered and then went dark.
“Your message said it was urgent doctor. Why else do you think I’d be down here”, Captain Taverain Ramius replied. His voice was flat and without feeling as it always was within the walls of any medical facility. The captain was not fond of doctors, nurses, or any medical personnel. They alone had the means to identify his unique capabilities, if they looked hard and long enough, which Ramius went to great lengths to keep secret. Only a handful of individuals knew of the captain’s abilities with the doctor being one of the few entrusted with Ramius’s dark secrets and responsible for his physical health, that is when the captain permitted it.
“Yes of course”, Durandal answered his fingertip grazing a button on his desk. “The matter is quite urgent indeed.” He stood and placed his hands in his white lab coat flashing a warm smile. “It has been far too long since your last physical. Time for a checkup Taverain.”
“I don’t have time for this”, Ramius coldly replied. “Nor do I appreciate being lured down to sickbay on false pretenses so you can hook me up like a lab rat. We can do this some other time.” He turned for the exit leaving the doctor’s doorway.
“I’ve locked the doors”, Durandal called out. “I also took the liberty of disconnecting the computer’s audio inputs so your command codes won’t be heard. I suppose you can attempt to unlock them manually, but then I’d be forced to sedate you in the process.”
Ramius turned his head over his shoulder and flashed the doctor a menacing stare that could almost kill.
Durandal pulled a phaser from his jacket pocket and deftly tossed it into his other hand. “You require maintenance just like anyone else aboard. You are a rare specimen to be sure, but even you need an occasional checkup. Now we can do this the easy way or the hard way. I’ve asked politely for months and you’ve refused. I’m afraid I can’t allow you to put this off any longer.”
“You have the backbone to use that”, Ramius said with a smirk.
Durandal grinned and lowered the weapon at Ramius. “Do you have the desire to find out?”
“I must say I do, but phaser fire would draw unwanted attention. Ok doctor. You win this round”, Ramius replied with a sigh putting his hands up in the air and turning around. I assume we are alone?”
Durandal saw the captain’s grin grow wide followed by a flash of red in the depths of his dark eyes. Before he could react another sensation presented itself – it was warm breath on the back of his neck. He blinked. The captain was gone. He turned his head and looked down to see the captain’s hand gripping his arm. Ramius was directly behind him.
“Let’s just call this a draw instead shall we? I hate losing and even if you had pulled the trigger I doubt you would have hit much other than the wall. I couldn’t have you damaging sickbay now could I?”
Durandal nervously swallowed as Ramius released his arm and headed into sickbay which was dark with the exception of a few blue lights.
The doctor tossed the phaser onto his desk with grunt of dissatisfaction. “He always had to have the upper hand – always had to show off. The man was incorrigible.” Sighing, Durandal headed off after the captain who was waiting patiently next to the bed the doctor had prepared.
“If you’ll remove your shirt and pants we can proceed. I know you would prefer to get this over with.”
“I’d prefer not to do it at all, but this ship’s medical staff can be quite persistent and determined.” Ramius pulled off his tunic and removed his pants stripping down to his underwear at the doctor’s request. Keith Durandal was one of the few men he trusted both as a close friend and with his secrets. If there was one man alive who could destroy his life it was the doctor and the knowledge he had allowed him to amass and study. However such knowledge came at a price. The doctor could never speak about his research, never share it, never gain any recognition. The knowledge he obtained or discovered was too dangerous to ever release and thus his research on Ramius was for merely pure intellectual gain. He had sworn to protect Ramius’s secret even at the cost of his own life and thus had been granted a chance to study something no other man of science had seen, let alone dreamed of.
Ramius had taken up his place on the bed under a bright, white light in the relative darkness of sickbay. Neither man spoke for a time. Ramius simply stared upwards into the light as the doctor made several final preparations.
“I here we are headed to Vulcan”, Durandal said opening a tricorder and running it along the length of his patient’s body.
“Vulcan. Yes. We just arrived. Should be in orbit within the hour.”
“I see. What brings us to the home of Surack?”
“A devotee of the Vulcan philosopher doctor?”
“Some. I find his teachings most…logical.”
“Fascinating”, Ramius quietly responded.
Ramius felt a warm hand touch his skin. The sensation caused gooseflesh to appear across his chest as the cool sickbay air chilled his body. “You know the routine. I need to obtain a few active samples to examine.”
Ramius granted permission his voice again without emotion, but this time it wasn’t cold.
Durandal pressed a hypo against the captain’s arm and seconds later its telltale hiss could be heard in the silence of sickbay. Several moments passed. “Chasing phantoms again are we”, he asked watching Ramius who quickly became less and less comfortable.
“No. Not this time”, Ramius answered with a labored voice. “The target we are after is very much alive and well.”
Durandal noticed tiny droplets of perspiration appear across the captain’s exposed skin. Ramius’s hands had already curled into tight fists as his body fought against the invading agents the doctor had injected. “Go on. I would love to hear more about our mission so that I can ready sickbay for the invariable casualties I’ll be dealing with.”
“No. Not this time”, Ramius hissed through clenched teeth as his body slowly betrayed him. The pain was growing as was the feeling he was slipping away – becoming something or someone else.
“We…we located a Federation ambassador who had…ties to the incident on Astate two years..ago. We..we believe he may have much knowledge…on NeoDyne…given…his…possible involvement with…the events that occurred there. He just returned from a…deep space mission and….urrrg…I…”
“Try to relax Ramius. Don’t fight it. I know this is uncomfortable.”
The captain’s breath was ragged now coming in gasps as he silently fought the painful, harsh sensations growing within him. His skin prickled with the painful sensation of a million needles while internally his blood felt as if it was boiling within is veins. “And…and you wonder why…I…I don’t come…down here…often”, Ramius managed to say as he dug his fingers into the material of the bed his body trembling and quivering beneath the doctor’s steady gaze.
“I take no enjoyment in inflicting pain Taverain. It is more difficult than you know to see you like this. I do not enjoy inflicting suffering on the living, but in your unique case activating your genetic abnormalities is the only way to see them, take readings, and of course study them. No pain, no gain.”
“Some gain. I…don’t…get anything out…of this.”
“You get peace of mind and so do I knowing that my patient isn’t going to collapse or explode or one of any number of other unsavory possibilities. Besides, Starfleet Intelligence has to ensure you are fit in body and mind. Do you really believe they would entrust this starship, its crew, and its power to someone like yourself who was ill or worse…out of control? They entrust you with a great deal of power, but they are not foolish.”
“I…I…wonder”, Ramius replied gasping for air. His eyes closed tightly as his body began to convulse and spasm on the bed. Only the doctor’s firm, reassuring grip on his shoulder kept him grounded as his abilities bubbled up within him threatening to consume his humanity. Groans gave way to cries as Taverain’s eyes suddenly snapped open. Gone were his blue grey pupils replaced by a bright crimson which always unnerved the doctor let alone anyone else who saw them. Those who had seen Ramius’s eyes in this state seldom lived to tell about it.
Durandal ran several scans and then extracted blood samples from his writhing patient. He turned and pressed a hypo against the captain’s neck and quickly released the counter agent which would stop the biological war he had induced within the captain. Ramius was human like another other male, but alien DNA had been interwoven into his physiology with immense sophistication and skill. It had been done so well and so tightly that his body was able to coexist with its alien half without killing him. Ramius could consciously activate his alien half which granted him temporary and amazing abilities in speed, reaction time, thought, agility, and even healing, but the benefits came at a cost. The longer he used his gifts the more pronounced the side effects became. His human frame was never designed to be something other than what it was. The stress on his biological functions was immense even if he could heal quickly from using his abilities. Antibodies would eventually form and attempt to fight off the alien cells that had multiplied thus granting Ramius his power. However, ff left unchecked, Ramius’s body would destroy itself from the inside out as human and alien cells locked themselves in biological war to assert their dominance over the other.
The genius of those who had given Ramius his curse and gift was Taverain’s ability to suppress the alien genome before it multiplied out of control killing its host. Ramius’s antibodies and immune responses had been expertly manipulated to ensure the alien DNA was kept in check. However the process was not perfect. Durandal, through his research over the years, had discovered tiny genetic flaws. It was impossible to say what the end result of these abnormalities meant. They could be residual effects of the genetic augmentation or they could be a precursor to other, more serious health effects. One thing was for certain, the captain’s use of his abilities were not doing him any favors. However they made him who he was and were impossible to separate. Durandal was tasked with maintaining the delicate balance within the captain and his friend which was no easy task given how little he knew and how much there was yet to learn. Balancing his friendship, his own thirst for scientific knowledge and discovery, and the demands of his duty to both ship and others was a delicate if not taxing game.
Ramius let out a shaky breath. “Yes.”
Durandal handed the captain a glass of liquid. “Drink that. It doesn’t taste good, but it will make you feel better. You should be back to your normal self soon.”
Ramius took the glass as the doctor held his head enabling his patient to drink. Taking the empty glass, Durandal took one of the blood samples and placed the vial into a nearby computer. The machine suddenly sprang to life as the liquid sample slowly disappeared. Seconds later information began to flow across a small screen.
“Hmm, well there’s a slight chromosomal shift from your previous results and there appears to be a few others factors which bear watching. Preliminary results appear normal…well normal for you that is. However, I can’t say this enough, you shouldn’t use your abilities. Their use only wears against your body and you aren’t getting younger Taverain. I suspect as you age the harder it will become to recover from prolonged use of your unique talents. Using them could even prove to be dangerous or fatal in the future. Of course I’ll continue to keep an eye on you even if you neglect yourself and what your body tells you.”
Durandal looked over to see Ramius shivering beneath the bright light. He hated seeing Taverain this way, but as of yet, he had found no other way to obtain information from his dormant half without forcibly exciting it which was an excruciating ordeal for Ramius each and every time. He retrieved a blanket from a nearby bed and covered the captain.
“Rest Taverain. Just rest.” The doctor turned off the harsh exam light as his patient slowly drifted off to sleep. Satisfied with scans of Ramius’s vitals, Durandal took a seat the nearby computer and began what would be weeks of work as he grappled with an enigma. The captain was both a medical marvel and at the same time a harbinger of darkness should his secret fall into hands seeking power. So far Ramius had managed to keep his enemies at arm’s length, but could he do so forever? It was Durandal’s job to ensure he could for as long as he deemed it necessary. Ramius wasn’t just a research project. He was a close and dear friend and one he would do anything for given their history.
Minutes flowed into hours. Durandal finally looked up from the computer astounded by how much time had passed. He had become so engrossed in studying Ramius’s recent test results he had lost track of time. How easy it was to lose oneself when presented with something that kindled childlike wonder and awe.
“Captain, this is the Bridge”, a familiar voice suddenly called out over the intercom. “Captain, please respond!”
Durandal stood and turned toward his sleeping patient only to discover Ramius awake and changing back into his uniform. The man was quite amazing mix of biology, humanity, and iron will. Other men would have gone insane, broken down, or worse given Ramius’s lot in life. Yet despite all the pain, discomfort, and baggage the man carried and endured as a result of his abilities something within him constantly drove him forward. Inside of him was some undying spark no microscope could ever see and no instrument could ever record. It was that, beyond anything else that defined Ramius. Without it he would have succumb to his abilities long ago and would be either insane or dead as a result.
His spirit was what was truly remarkable.
“Yes go ahead”, Ramius answered pulling on his shirt and uniform.
“Sir, we have entered Vulcan orbit and located the USS Charon, however communications has picked up activity on the Vulcan surface. Information is sketchy as it is coming in, but Vulcan authorities are receiving numerous calls which fit a description of a suspect possessing certain unusual abilities. It seems quite the disturbance is ongoing although the Vulcans have as of yet been unable to locate several people of interest in connection with ongoing events.”
Durandal swallowed. “Ramius. Could this be…”
“My twin brother, Aiden”, Taverain finished the doctor’s sentence. “Perhaps, though that seems unlikely.”
“But whom else besides you and your brother can…”
“I don’t know, but it seems like our chat with the Ambassador will have to be postponed for a time until we find out just who or what is causing trouble on the surface.”
“Commander Novada, move the Corsair into transporter range of the areas indicated by the incoming reports and standby. I’m on my way. Ramius out.”
Adjusting his uniform, Ramius slid from the bed to his feet and quickly grabbed the side of a bed. The doctor moved to assist but Ramius held up a firm hand. “I’m fine doctor. Just a little tired with a nasty hang over. You make one hell of a wicked drink combo. I would love to stay, but I find my visits to sickbay twice a year to be quite sufficient.”
“Do be careful Taverain.”
“Aren’t I always”, Ramius replied with a weak smile. He turned and quickly left sickbay leaving the doctor alone shaking his head.
“Ugh. You’re a hard headed, stubborn patient Taverain Ramius. Durandal knew as did the captain the earlier drink was a sedative along with a few other vitamins and such to help rejuvenate the body. Ramius had never said anything and dutifully drank even when he knew the end result was a few hours of sleep. Leaving himself exposed and vulnerable only showed how much trust he had placed with Durandal.
The doctor smiled and shoved a hand into his pocket. Turning he set about restoring sickbay and removing all traces of the captain’s visit as well as his own activities. While he cleaned he wondered what adventure and trouble had befallen the Corsair and its captain this time. Trouble seemed to follow Ramius like a lost puppy. The only question this time as like others was how badly would they get bitten? Only time would tell. He better have sickbay prepared just in case. Often the smallest of things could turn into giants in the blink of an eye.
[ To Be Continued ]
Captain Taverain Ramius
Commanding Officer, USS Corsair
Commander Keith Durandal, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, USS Corsair