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Posted on Mon Aug 24th, 2020 @ 2:56pm by Lieutenant JG Christine Resnik & Commander Evan Merlin

Mission: When The Circus Comes To Town
Location: Cold Station Theta
Timeline: SD 242008.24

There was dampness on her cheek that was just starting to register, her head felt like a large stone as she lifted it from where it rested on her arm. Resnik’s fingers brushed over the corner of her mouth, put off by her own drool that was present. The tips of her nimble digits felt an indent where her cheek had rested on a seem of her uniform top. The fog of sleep was lifting slowly, too slowly for the insistent chirping of her commbadge. Her light brown eyes opened with heightened alertness as she tapped. “Resnik here, go ahead.”

The on-duty medical officer gave her a brief, factual accounting of the station’s commander’s current condition, but she could hear the urgency and almost desperation coming through the words. “On my way, update me with any changes immediately.”

Chris had fallen asleep studying medical records of some of the species she was less familiar with. The station commander though, they didn’t even know what he was. Still, his basic anatomy she could deal with, and right now his heart desperately needed her expertise, well the one that was currently not working. Resnik wondered how well his body could function with only half of his pumping system going. She was going to soon find out, a crash course in Merlin anatomy.

Her boots were pulled on in seconds and Resnik grabbed a hair tie on her way out of her quarters, pulling her wavy brown locks up as she sprinted through the corridor, telling the computer ahead of her getting to the turbo-lift that she needed one dispatched to her junction immediately for a medical emergency. She managed to tame her hair into a tight ponytail and then wrapped the loose hair until a bun she secured with the tie.

A body came around a corner and Chris was able to sidestep quickly continuing without a look back at the startled crew member, simply calling out. “Sorry Medical!” That alone usually explained all they needed to know. The turbo-lift ride was brief, but it was just a long enough moment of calm to allow her to steady her thoughts, mentally putting up a shield that allowed her to go completely into surgeon mode.

Her stride was long, but her breath steady as she came into Sickbay, “Is he stable?” She asked, heading straight into a surgical gown, letting the surgical assistant secure her gear and use an ionizer to sterilize her.

“No, not at all.” Was the response she received from the doctor on duty. Resnik’s eyes read the readout from the surgical bed that Merlin had been transferred to, “Need to figure out what systems are struggling with the decrease in blood flow. His second heart should be able to keep up, but he's lost a lot of blood. Let's get started on a modified bypass, just enough help to stabilize him, then I can start to patch up his heart.”

The sound of voices dragged him back to something resembling consciousness. Opening his eyes felt like too much effort, so for now he just listened. Beeping sounds around him, people talking in the background, sounded like Sickbay. Huh.

With that realisation came other sensations. Pain, first and foremost, and the realisation that not everything worked as it should work by far. One heart still out of commission. The second one limping along, trying to do the work for two and protesting weakly. He had the feeling other things began to get wrong as well, though not being a doctor he had no idea just how it worked. It felt… strange, as if he was beginning to unravel slowly, and only held himself together by sheer force of will. It was strange and a little bit scary.

It was enough to make the effort to open his eyes.

Bright light, ugh, and the weird perspective everything got when you're lying down. He blinked and shifted his eyes away from the ceiling. Faces, nearby, looking concentrated and worried. Doctor, yes, not Valeese, but the recent arrival, something Resnik, and the assistant, the one who had been hounding Rook… His thoughts were sluggish and that annoyed him.

Chris saw Merlin's brainwave pattern shift and his breathing increased, usually a sign that the patient had woken. Her attention went from the readout screens to Merlin. His sea-green eyes looked distressed and searching, confused. For a moment the cold and clean surgeon dropped the veil that kept her organized brain focussed. Her hand went to his shoulder and her honey-colored brown eyes met his. "Merlin, you're going to be ok. I have you, and I'm going to fix that heart of yours up. I need you to focus on healing." She sighed and looked around at Marshall with a nod for him to be ready to administer the sedative that would force the Commander out of consciousness.

Chris gave him something additional for pain, seeing it in his face. Though she believed in the cold hard science of medicine, she had been a doctor long enough to know her hand was not the only thing involved in a patient's healing. If someone was resigned to give up, which she doubted Merlin was, there was nothing she could do to make them hold on.

Focus on healing. That sounded like great advice. Problem was he had no idea how to do it. This was the first time he'd ever visited sickbay as, well, a patient, in all of his time on the station. Other than the regular health checkups and the first scans when he just arrived here, he had only been here as a visitor.

"I don't… think I'm… very good… at this patient thing." Again, he barely recognised his own voice, weak and croaking.

"Just rest Commander, you'll be back on your feet before you know it," Resnik reassured her commanding officer. She was confident, but not ignorant. This would not be an easy surgery. That mental veil washed back over her as she nodded to Marshall to put him out and her fingers curled around a laser scalpel. The heavy hunk of metal sticking out of his chest was not her focus yet, though its presence was disturbing and foreign, there was a lot of work ahead of her before she could remove it and start repairing his heart.

"Good… I have… delegates to meet… tomorrow…" The last word was slurred so much that it was almost intelligible and his eyes fluttered, then closed.

"Just rest Commander, you'll be back on your feet before you know it," Resnik reassured her commanding officer. She was confident, but not ignorant. This would not be an easy surgery. That mental veil washed back over her as she nodded to Marshall to put him out and her fingers curled around a laser scalpel. The heavy hunk of metal sticking out of his chest was not her focus yet, though its presence was disturbing and foreign, there was a lot of work ahead of her before she could remove it and start repairing his heart.

"Lets him two replacement units of blood and make sure we have twice that replicated and ready to go," Resnik ordered and faintly heard the reply, her focus shifting to his chest, making a small incision lateral to the knife wound. Her hand was steady and her aim was true, exposing an area just the width of her hand through his chest plate with enough space to access his pulmonary artery. Over her eyes, she pulled on glasses that would allow her to see in micro detail the area she was working in. The blade had gone right through it, spilling unoxygenated blood into both ventricles until the heart couldn't pump any longer.

Chris worked fast, but carefully, installing the temporary bypass to grab the unoxygenated blood, sending it to get oxygen and pumping it right back into his aorta. As soon as she finished, his stats improved and she took her time taking a complete holo image of the alien blade torn through the muscle, letting her get a complete picture and start mentally planning out how she would proceed. His body too needed the break and a chance to bounce back a bit before she got started. They were keeping his dead heart alive with drugs, but the longer it sat idle, the more chance that it wouldn't recover. Resnik managed her time, checking on the organ and his stats. He was weak, but stable now and she was ready.

She rolled her neck on her shoulders and stretched her arms out, from her shoulders, pulling through her elbows and wrists and all the way down to each of her skilled digits. "Alright team, we're going ahead." Chris wrapped her fingers around the handle and held her breath. She didn't want to cause any further damage as she pulled on the blade, steady, but increasing the pull, reversing through the hard muscle and bone it had entered through. Once it was free her breath came out steady, but slow, relieved. She said, "Get that bagged and to security. I'm sure they want to examine that for any clues of the assailant."

Resnik's hard work began now, her repairs were delicate, but intricate, starting from the furthest point of damage deep in the broken organ and working her way in reverse of the entry until the heart was repaired. She let her laser stitching sit just a few moments before she began to reverse the bypass that had been put in place.

His other heart was shocked by the sudden and complete take over of responsibilities again and his stats took a nosedive, "Just watch his brainwaves, Marshall, the rest will pick back up in just a few moments." She made quick work of removing the bypass and that cart was wheeled away. Resnik grabbed a handheld paddle that would shock the newly repaired heart. The confident surgeon found herself holding her breath again, knowing her repairs were good, but hoping she had been fast enough. She glasses were pushed from over her eyes to above her forehead. She watched his stats screen as the first shock was applied. The heart rate blipped and then flatlined out again, she muttered, letting her breath go, "Come on Merlin, let's get that heart going again."

Chris increased the shock just a touch and tried again, watching the heart rate on the monitor misstep in its rhythm a few times, but finding its pace, getting back to a steady, measured rate. "There you go, we got you back in business." She smiled, watching and waiting as his stats increased again. "Let's get him two more replacement units, his overall volume is still low." Resnik pressed a hypo into his skin to administer a drug that would help his body produce more blood while he recovered. Chris let Marshall take over on closing the opening on his chest. The lines were pink and pronounced, but would fade and barely be visible soon.

"Good job everyone. Clean the commander up, get him comfortable and I'll wake him up in recovery." She smiled, happy with the outcome, knowing that if he had a single heart he may not be with them anymore. Chris was pleased with the way the medical team around her had worked. Since she hadn't done surgery with them before, and hardly knew any of them, she wasn't sure what to expect before. Now she was confident and secure with her peers, eager to get to know all of them better.

Resnik went to remove her surgical gear, getting back down to a regular Starfleet medical uniform and pulling her hair out of its bun. Clean and refreshed she headed to the recovery room where Merlin still slept. Happy with his numbers she woke him up gently with a drug that would reverse the sedative.

Waking up this time was a more gentle affair, if only because this time there was no knife sticking out of his chest and the bright light had been dimmed to a more tolerable level. Even before he opened his eyes he knew that both hearts were working again. Reluctantly, but working. That was good.

He opened his eyes and saw the face above him. This time he was pleased to note that his mind provided her name. "Lieutenant Resnik." First name Christine. Yes. Good mind. She looked tired. He wondered what time it was.

Her hand went to his forearm, giving him a gentle squeeze and a weary smile. "Commander, it is good to see you again. Everything went well, we are going to watch you for a few hours, but I think you'll be able to return to your quarters later this morning, maybe noon." Almost as an afterthought, Chris followed up with, "How are you feeling right now?" She had his numbers in front of her and could see that he would be feeling poor, but getting stronger as every moment passed.

"I've been better." He paused as he took stock of what his body told him again. "Been worse, too. Thank you," he added.
"Now I want to be clear, releasing you to your quarters is not releasing you back to duty. You literally just came through something that would kill most people. You just happen to have a backup organ that kept you going enough for us to repair the damage." Chris glanced at the time with a smirk. "You see... you've kept me up all night now and if I let you out around lunchtime and you overdo it, you'll be back here again this evening. I'm a fan of sleep Commander and though I'm a pretty cocky surgeon, you probably don't want me playing around after two days of no sleep."

He gave a small smile, pleased to find that although the muscles in his face seemed stiff and sluggish, that worked again as well. "Isn't that what people… invented coffee for?" Not that he knew from personal experience, coffee had as little effect on his body as alcohol. But he liked the taste on occasion. "Anyway. Not planning on anything more strenuous… than welcoming some delegates. Nod and smile and wave. Then I'll be good… and get some rest."

"Coffee is not *that* good." She smirked. "You're going to get some rest now and as long as everything looks good, you'll be out of here soon. I really hope you take my advice because you need the rest. Let us know if there's anything we can do for you while you're here. I'll be back at a more reasonable hour to check on you."

"If you can give me a PADD so that I can send a few messages… I'll try to get some sleep after that." He actually felt tired, another rare experience.

He quickly typed two messages on the PADD, one to Cmdr Stacker which simply read: "Lunch meeting instead?" with the incident report of last night attached, and a note to Valeese which said, "Please let her know I'm fine." He had no doubt that even from far away, Empress Xue'Daio had sensed there was something wrong.

After some thought, he deleted that one without sending it. Even private messages could be read – especially private messages coming from a rather conspicuous figure on the station such as himself. And the Vorta doctor wouldn't need prompting. If she deemed it necessary, she would send a message herself. He might ask her about it later if they met in person, and alone.

Then he handed the PADD back. "All done."

Dr Christine Resnik
Cold Station Theta

Cmdr. Evan Merlin
Commanding Officer
Cold Station Theta


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