X.S. Tech, Part II
“So when did you realize how you felt about Tal?” Clara asked, as they sat together in the small café outside the infirmary, “If you don’t mind me asking.”
“It’s difficult to say.” Henry replied, “I’d always liked her since I met her. She was the sort of girl I’d always liked. The cute girl next door sort of girl.”
Tom headed over their way with Dalby and Telfer in tow and Henry and Clara turned and rose to meet them.
“What’s the prognosis on Celes?” Tom asked.
“She’s still in surgery. Bishop said he’d come out and let us know.” Henry replied.
“Who’s Bishop?” Tom asked.
“He’s the chief surgeon of this facility.” Henry replied.
“That is correct.” came a voice as Bishop came striding over to them.
Before Tom could speak Henry asked, “Status?”
“She’s stable now but still in a comatose state.” Bishop replied.
“Can we see her?” Henry replied.
“Of course.” Bishop said as he led the way into the infirmary’s intensive care unit.
Tal Celes lay on her back in a biobed. The sound of her breathing, steady. Her eyes were closed and she was clad in a hospital gown. A thermal blanket covered her from the shoulders down to her toes. There were various displays around the biobed that displayed her respiration, heart rate, and brain activity.
“What’s your initial prognosis?” Henry asked his gaze flickering between Celes and Bishop.
“I extracted a chemically propelled lead slug, nine millimeter, which expanded to eleven point seven two centimeters inside her body. The bullet narrowly missed hitting her right lung but did some severe damage to her large intestine. I found that she was also bleeding internally as the result of that same bullet.” Bishop began, “I extracted the slug with minimal trauma to the surrounding tissue. She was lucky that the round did not expand any more than intended by its design. Had that been the case...”
“I get the idea.” Paris said, “What about recovery?”
“It’s too early to make that prognosis.” Bishop began, “I’ve done everything I can to repair the damage she’s endured. She’s presently in stasis right now to facilitate faster healing. I will bring her out of that stasis within the next eight hours. After that she should regain consciousness.”
“Should?” Telfer asked.
“Yes. Should.” Bishop replied.
“What do you mean by should?” Henry demanded.
“I meant that the enforced stasis treatments should assist in her body’s recover but as far as regaining consciousness right now it is too early to say.” Bishop said, “My database suggests inconclusive evidence that comatose sentients do possibly hear the words of those speaking to them. I allow visiting hours and perhaps members of your party could spend some time with her.”
“Were you programmed with a bedside manner?” Tom asked.
“In a manner of speaking, yes.” Bishop replied, “In fact my appearance and those of my particular model number were designed to appear and act human to put patients at ease.”
Clara put a hand on Henry’s shoulder and said, “You know Bishop is right, we don’t know exactly what a comatose person hears. It might help her with recovery.”
“I’ll take the first shift and see what I can learn about their medical technology as well.” Henry replied.
“Alright.” Tom replied, “We’ll look and see what we can find out about their technology as well.”
“Tom.” Doc Brown said, “It’s quite conceivable that Biff and Armus know about this particular world and likely have followed us here.”
“That technology that they have around here might be something they’d want to steal.” Dalby replied, “I think if we check on what technology they might want to steal and come up with a way to help them defend themselves against the Heartless they might be willing to help us get home. I found something that could possibly get us home. I saw a flyer for some sort of interstellar transporter technology. If I can figure out how it works I might be able to transport us back to Voyager.”
“Worth looking into.” Henry replied.
“Dalby, when’s that exhibition?” Tom asked.
“1600, about three hours from now.” Dalby replied.
“Alright. That gives us three hours to look around and learn what we can about their technology.” Tom replied.
“I’ll stay here with Henry and Celes.” Telfer replied, “I want to see what I can find out about their cybernetic technology. If they can create something as advanced as Bishop...”
“Understood.” Tom said as he and Dalby left the room.
Henry watched for a moment as Celes lay there. Her eyes were closed and her complexion a bit ashen. He didn’t want to look away, as if his gaze kept her heartbeat regular and her breathing rhythmic. If it weren’t for her complexion or the surroundings of the medical bay he would almost believe she was asleep.
He pulled a small chair beside Celes’ biobed listening to the hum of the machinery that scanned her and that kept her alive and regulated her stasis.
“Tal, I really don’t know if you can hear me, but here it goes. I never got the chance to say this to you,” Henry began, “I’ve always cared for you. More than you know...”
Stasis felt so odd. Like she was in her body but not quite. It was like lucid dreaming. She could hear voices talking about her state of being. This Bishop character talking about her prognosis. Henry. Oh Prophets she could hear him. He definitely sounded angry and hurt in the same breath. He was swearing he would kill 3-D for what had happened.
The others had left the room but Billy was still there. She could hear him talking with Bishop for a while before they headed away. Only Henry remained. And by the sound of his voice it sounded like her injury had really affected him in a bad way. He was saying something about caring for her more than she knew.
Could it be true? Did he really feel something for her? Something more than friendship?
Henry continued to talk, “I can’t really figure out a way to say this, so I’m simply going to say it. I’m in love with you, Tal.” Henry replied.
Could it be? Could he really be feeling for her what she felt for him? Was it even conceivable that he had those feelings for her, more than those of a really good friend? Was it really so hard to believe that he had feelings for her?
Henry felt a lump rising in his throat, “My life just wouldn’t be the same without you. I want you to tell you all this with you awake and responding and able to tell me whether you feel the same way or to just bugger off.”
His eyes watched the even rise and fall of her chest. “If anything else happened to you I’ll never forgive myself.” Henry declared.
Meanwhile Telfer was pointing his tricorder at Bishop and making some preliminary scans. “Wow.” Telfer said.
“If you please, Mr. Telfer, kindly don’t point that scanning device at me. I know you’re not an X.S. Tech competitor, but the scanning does make me feel uncomfortable.” Bishop replied.
“Sorry.” Telfer replied, “It’s just you’re a lot more advanced than any android I’ve ever run across.”
“Androids are commonplace on your world?” Bishop asked.
“Not really. But the most advanced android I happen to know anything about is the Soong-type android, one of which serves Starfleet as an officer.” Telfer replied as he put the tricorder aside.
“Soong type android?” Bishop asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Compared to you, at least from my initial scans, he’s a data PADD.” Telfer replied, “Your synthetic flesh alone, with its texture and entirely human appearance is decades ahead of anything a Soong class has as covering.”
They moved towards the biobed where Celes was and Telfer gently asked, “Any changes?”
“Nothing.” Henry replied.
“Hey, mind giving us a bit of space.” Telfer said.
Henry nodded and headed off to do some thinking. He gazed at his comatose friend. Were it not for her ashen complexion and the various machines around her, the peaceful look on her face, closed eyes, and rhythmic breathing made it look as though Tal were just sleeping soundly.
“Tal, if you had any doubts about how Henry fells about you I hope they’re erased.” Telfer began, “I really want you to pull through. God it wouldn’t be the same on Voyager without you, my best friend.”
“Feeling better, Marty?” Clara asked.
“Much.” Marty said, “My foot feels a tad sluggish, though.”
“A natural consequence of the low grade stasis I put your lower leg through.” Bishop said as he walked into the ward, “I put Marty’s lower leg in a low grade stasis to facilitate faster recovery to the traumatized nerves and chemical burns on his foot.”
“How’s Tal?” Clara asked.
“Still no change to her condition, yet.” Bishop said.
“Who’s Tal?” Marty asked.
“Tal Celes. She’s one of the Starfleet people that helped rescue you.” Doc said, “She was shot saving Clara from 3D.”
“What about Marty?” Doc Brown asked.
“I expect him to make a full recovery. He should be on his feet tomorrow morning.” Bishop replied as he headed out of the room.
Henry Kano brushed past him and headed over to where Clara, Doc, and Marty were.
“Marty, this is Henry Kano, one of the Starfleet away team members.” Clara said.
“Charmed.” Henry replied without much enthusiasm as he extended a hand. Clara could see the man’s sunken eyes.
“Where are Tom and Kenneth?” Doc asked.
“They’re checking out some of the technology of X.S. Tech.” Henry replied, “I heard something about some technology, an Interstellar Teleporter of some sort.”
“Great Scott! If Biff learns anything about it he and Armus will be here any minute!” Doc Brown said.
Meanwhile Tom and Dalby were in an anteroom when a viewscreen suddenly came to life and a bald green skinned humanoid female appeared on the screen and began to speak, "Welcome to the universe of X-S. You are about to observe the latest scientific works brought to you by X-S Tech, the galaxy's leader in innovative high technology. But first, let me share with you the fascinating story of our company. We began many galactic years ago on a world quite distant from your own. From one small manufacturing plant we've grown into the largest consumer oriented research and development company in the universe. X-S Tech is number one in: Electro Robotics, Cryo Cybernetics, Techno Surveillance, Planetary Restructuring, Genetic Engineering, and Hyperspatial Transport. Here at X-S, helping others seize the future has always been our goal. It's a tradition handed down from our founders and carried on by current chairman, L.C. Clench."
“Chairman Clench. Helluva name.” Dalby smirked as a bald green skinned humanoid male walked onto the screen.
"We were, of course, extremely enthused when our market research probe discovered the Earth. A world with so many eager customers is always worth our greatest effort." Clench began.
“Huh. Sounds like a Ferengi.” Dalby smirked.
“I’ll have to agree with you there.” Tom replied.
The female alien appeared on the screen again, "And for today's demonstration, thousands of skilled X-S engineers have worked round-the-clock. We think you'll find our hard work well worth your while. After all ..."
The camera turned back towards Clench, ". . . If something can't be done with X-S, then it shouldn't be done at all. Now, I know some critics have implied that we are interested in the Earth soundly for commercial reasons, for . . . profit. But I believe we have an important obligation to help less fortunate planets upgrade their technology, profit is simply a by product we've learned to live with. So join with me now, won't you, and together we will seize the future with . . . X-S!"
The screen went dark and a loudspeaker sounded, “Please gather all belongings and proceed to the next room.”
“Well I guess Billy and Henry are gonna miss the show.” Tom remarked.
“3-D what kind of an idiot are you?” Biff began, before getting right into 3-D’s face and railing angrily at him, “I’ll tell you what kind. The sort of idiot who not only fails to find the flux capacitor once, but twice!”
“Perhaps I can make an example of this incompetent fool.” Armus said.
“I’ve got him.” Biff said, “3-D consider this a warning. Fail at an assignment like this again and you’re getting turned into a Heartless.”
“Y-yes boss...” 3-D replied.
“And don’t think I won’t do it too.” Biff replied.
“Boss, we might save something from all this yet.” 3-D said, “I put a tracking sensor on the DeLorean in case anything like this did occur.”
“OK genius. Where are they now?” Biff said.
“May I?” 3-D replied, indicating a computer.
“This better be good.” Biff replied.
3-D punched a few keys and it showed the DeLorean’s present location in yet another dimension. “Alright. We’re going to go to that dimension and take that flux capacitor and time machine from Doc Brown...”
To be continued. Up next the away team must deal not only with Biff and company and Armus with the Heartless, but also an unwanted visitor from deep space...