Just a short piece this time.
The surface of Galador III. October 25th, 2151.
"I'm beginning to think you fancy Doctor Locke." Hoshi Sato said with a smirk.
Lying on the camp bed, Autumn James half lifted herself on her elbows. "Fancy Doctor Locke...are you crazy?" Despite her incredulous tone her voice was quiet, ragged.
"Well, think about it. I've only known you a little while, and this is the third time you've required serious medical aide. I reckon you're engineering these situations so you can spend some quality time with him."
James dropped back and stared up at the sloping roof of the tent. "Me. Fancying Locke. Huh. I can't even begin to count the number of ways that is wrong."
Sato smirked. "I'll get Polly, she's good with numbers. Speaking of whom, she's worried sick about you. Actually, I think we all are. It looks like---"
She was interrupted by Captain Archer's voice from out side. "Knock knock! Sorry, I can't actually knock on a tent. Are you decent?"
James pulled up the blanket and nodded to Hoshi, who said "She's fine sir. Come on in."
He poked his head through the flap. "Autumn, how you doing?" he asked, concern evident in his tones.
"I'll survive sir. Just a bit run down, that's all."
"Are you sure? This is a new planet, a new ecosystem. We don't know all the dangers. If you feel anything unusual, it's vital you let us know. Your health may be at risk."
She was shaking her head. "I'm just tired sir. A bit of rest and I'll be back on duty next shift."
That, he thought, sounded reassuring. On the other hand, even if she was unwell, she wouldn't want to admit it, not to him. Marine pride was at stake. "Alright then. If you're feeling OK that's good. It'd be terrible if there were some nasty virus or bug going round. You're in top notch health, you might be able to shake it off. Some of the other members of the survey team might not fare so well. There could be real trouble. But if you're sure you're fine..."
And there it was. A slight hesitation, a momentary flicker in her eyes. "Actually...now I think about it...I do have a bit of a sore throat."
Without announcement Doctor Locke entered, almost bumping into the Captain. "Right. Out of the way, I've got another test to run."
one?" James groaned. "I don't think I've any blood left."
Archer scampered awkwardly out of the way to sit besides Sato on the other bed. "She was just saying she's got a sore throat."
"Which is what I'm going to check now." Locke said, producing a tongue depressor from his bag."Why do people always assume I'm going to be taking blood?"
"You usually do." Hoshi muttered under her breath.
"Now. Open wide...say ah...and again. Yes, yes, this confirms what I suspected." Locke rummaged in his bag for a moment, extracting a small spray. "Open wide again.This should reduce the inflammation." He gave a quick burst into her mouth.
James pulled a face. "Ergh. Horrible. Oh, feels better though."
"You're sounding better too." Hoshi said.
"You should try to remain quiet as much as possible though." Locke said, putting the spray away.
"Is there a risk of further damage?" Archer asked.
"No, I just find her annoying."
Archer leant forward. "So what's the problem? Some sort of virus?"
"No no, nothing like that.From the examination I conducted earlier, plus the results of the blood tests, I was able to conclude that she has been poisoned."
"Poisoned?" Hoshi repeated.
Locke shot her a withering gaze. "That is what I said. A non-organic compound. Corrosive in nature, hence the damage to the throat and mouth. Almost certainly ingested when our intrepid marine attempted to drink an entire river. Fortunately she vomited most of it back up, before it could really get into her system, although what did
get in is responsible for her poor state of health at present. I'll give her a shot of inaprovaline after she eats. It'll have to be soup though, no solids for forty eight hours."
James looked at him. "So what was it? The poison?"
He shrugged. "Not sure yet. There wasn't enough left within you to make a full analysis. I'm basing my diagnosis on your symptoms."
Archer stood abruptly. "That's it. I'm recalling the Enterprise."
"Wouldn't that be like telling Commander Hernandez she was right and you were wrong?" Hoshi teased.
"Doesn't matter!" Archer snapped. "One of my crew is injured, that's all that counts. I'm getting her to the facilities on Enterprise as soon as possible, it's not worth the risk."
Locke held his hands up. "Captain, there is no further risk. James' condition is stable, there's nothing I could do for her on the ship that I can't do here."
"John...trust me." Locke said
After a moment Archer nodded, then turned and said "Sorry." to Hoshi.
"It's alright sir." she replied. "Hey, doctor, would it help if you had more of that compound you think is responsible?"
"Certainly. It would help me assess the possibility of any long term health risks. I was thinking of sending a team to collect samples of the river water."
Hoshi bent down. "Well, while they're doing that, you might find something useful here." She held up one of James' boots, still caked with mud.
Locke ventured one of his rare smiles. "Yes. That may help. Good thinking, I'll get started right away." He took the boot and left.
Archer stood silently for a moment. "Right. James, stay here, get some rest, that's an order. I'll go get someone to bring you some soup. And then, I'll have a little chat with the scientists, and find out how this whole sorry mess happened."