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A Shark Never Sits Still

Posted on Sun Aug 24th, 2014 @ 5:21am by 1st Lieutenant Patrick Shark

Mission: A New Home
Location: Sickbay, Deck 8, USS Gladiator
Timeline: After 'Preliminary Briefing'

Leaving the Marine training center, Shark headed over to sickbay. He was fairly certain his right hand was broken somewhere, not to mention blood was coming out of both knuckle areas. Then again, that's what happens when you don't stop hitting a punching bag for almost an hour and then decide to hit a wall upon leaving the area. Oh well he would think to himself. He's felt worse pain than that before. The haunting video of Mina being shocked still resonated throughout his mind. He was doing everything he could to keep any thoughts about that situation at bay.

Instead, he just walked into sick bay and looked around waiting for someone to show up.

Maya was in her office on Deck Eight going over the medical file of the officer everyone seemed so suspicious of. Lieutenant Junior Grade Patrick Dean Shark, human, born on Earth in the city of Boston on Stardate 37833.0. Former enlisted marine, spent time in Strategic Peacekeeping And Combat Endeavors, a branch of marine intelligence that conducted commando operations. After mustering out for a few months he was accepted by Starfleet Academy where he graduated with high honors and was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade. After serving aboard two starships in operations and security, went AWOL in three years ago.

It was then things got disconcerting. During his three year absence, Patrick Shark was linked to almost thirty murders, including three Starfleet or Marine personnel. What could make such a patriotic young officer on the fast track to promotion go so wrong? Had he been the victim of mind control, of an alien parasite? Was the why Commander Hawkins was taking a chance on him and making him the new strategic operations officer? Maya thought she had some gaps in her record, but it was nothing compared to that of Lieutenant Shark!

The declassified medical notes were just as disconcerting. Patrick Shark was a genetic augment, genetically modified to be the ultimate warrior. His strength, endurance and tolerance for pain were beyond human norm but during times of stress his body overdosed itself on adrenaline causing seizures, mental instability, and other health issues. He could go berserk, injuring who knew how many people before the trauma to his internal organs finished him. Compared to Patrick Shark, Doctor Maya didn’t appear to be such a gamble.

The hissing of the door heralded the entrance of the man himself. Patrick Shark stood over a foot taller than the little Vulcan and his overpowering presence was palpable before he even entered the room. His powerful frame stood up straight allowing him to tower over her at his full height. As if he wasn’t intimidating enough, Maya noticed that he had blood on his hands…

The best part about being a Vulcan is the ability to keep your anxieties to yourself. With professional calm, the new chief medical officer looked up from her desk and said “Hello Mister Shark. May I help you?”

Shark nodded slightly, looking down on the Vulcan. "To be honest I think I broke my hand Ma'am. And, well, it's been quite a while since I've had a starfleet regulation physical. Might as well hit two birds with one stone I guess."

“Were you forced to defend yourself?” Maya asked as rose from her chair with unnaturally fluid motion.

With a shake of his head, he replied, "No. Blowing off some steam in the Marine Training room. Broke a punching bag and then punched a while." His voice was still the low stoic thing it had been since watching the video. No true emotion showed as, well, he had no idea WHAT to feel.

Despite all of her training in psychology, Maya had never made a good counselor. Even empathic telepathy never seem to allow her to correctly interpret a patient's feelings. But she recognized the crippling isolation Shark was under and made a decision to try.

"I too have been a subject of suspicion," she admitted. "After the Theurgy scandal I spent almost a year in holding as my hearings dragged on. You probably don't remember. It was almost ten years ago, and all of the details are classified."

"So, you've read my record," Shark said. "I get being locked up for a year, done that before. But, with no disrespect Doc, being locked up because of a scandal is hardly being hunted down by the fleet you love because of murder."

"I have been hunted down by the fleet I love because of murder," Maya corrected him, "and treason, if it counts."

He smiled slightly. "What do you think they were hunting me for? Treason, being a traitor, being AWOL, and premeditated murder. Kind of got it cornered."

Maya nodded as she ran a handheld scanner over his injured hand. “I know what it is like to need a friend,” she finally said.

He stared down at the scanner, trying to see what's going on. "Yeah, well, with my situation, that is not likely anytime soon. I'm used to being on my own though. Get used to it after a while."

"If you allowed it, you could have a friend extremely soon," the Vulcan replied as she entered her findings in a PADD. "Follow me to the biobed," she instructed as she turned and walked away from her desk using short dainty steps. "I have been where you are now. Unlike the others, I can control my fear and am willing to trust you. I can provide a friendly ear or even a hug if you need it. Isolating yourself is the first step to losing your way, and you have been isolated for far too long," she said solemnly as she reached the biobed and started setting up her equipment.

"I don't do hugs," he said. "And I thank you for the offer, but being on the outside for so long also makes you very wary about trusting anyone. Isolating yourself is the next logical step when you are on a ship where no one likes you, wants you, or trusts you." He sat down finally on the bed.

“I understand,” Maya said as she placed his injured hand into a brace. “Fear is a natural reaction. Hold your arm out straight please.” When he did so, she activated a stasis field that held his hand in place, hanging out there in space. She went to a shelf and returned with a tray on which a number of high tech hand held instruments were arranged. “The emptiness of your isolation is like an old suit that you wear every day, “ she said as she put on a pair of goggles. “Even if it’s threadbare and long out of style you can’t imagine wearing anything else,” she continued as she picked up a tool and adjusted the controls on the side of her goggles. “It is easy to hide behind a mask of indifference to conceal the vulnerabilities within. My people have made a way of life out of it.”

Shark nodded slightly as he watched what she did. "I have to admit Doc, you're the first and only person to actually treat me with some sort of kindness. I forgot what that was." He sighed slightly. "I have a feeling I'm going to have more issues on this ship than I did running from everyone. It is nice to know not everyone judges me too quickly."

“They are young,” Maya replied as she lifted her goggles arranged her instruments. “To those who have never known hardship like you have, you are a threatening unknown. To the few who have backgrounds similar to yours, you represent their own redemption gone astray, a second chance that failed.”

“I am going to pinch the nerve so you will not require any anesthetic,” she said as reached under his underarm. “You will experience some numbness and paralysis in your right limb, but it is only temporary.”

"For how long?" he asked, probably not as nervously as he should have.

"Just until I correct the nerve damage," she assured him as she tapped the controls on the side of her goggles and picked up a tiny surgical instrument that resembled a fountain pen. “Even if you broke free of the restraint and left sickbay right now, feeling and control to your arm would return in an hour or two, probably sooner.” An impossibly thin beam came out of her surgical tool into his injured hand. “That reminds me,” she said distractedly. “We need to work on some relaxation techniques.”

"I don't plan on breaking free Doc, but thanks," he said watching her moves. "You are right though, I need something for relaxation. I've never had much a way to relax. I'm called 'high strung' I believe."

The beam from her little tool disappeared into the wound and Maya didn't reply for almost two minutes as she worked on his hand. Afterwards the little Vulcan raised her goggles, gripped his wrist, and closed her eyes. Shark saw his hand open and close of its own accord. "Nerve damage is repaired, now to close," she said as she set her pen-sized protoplaser down and picked up a device known as an auto-suture.

She then continued their conversation as if no time had passed. "Your mood swings are a side effect of the genetic manipulation you experienced while in your mother's womb," she said casually as purplish white light came out of the auto-suture onto the wound on his hand. “The modifications provide advantages in combat and give you an innate resistance to most forms of autoimmune disease, but your cerebranervous system is having difficulty compensating. If you were a machine, I would say that your hardware has upgrades your software wasn’t programmed for.”

"It's kind of funny that way," he said still staring at the repairs. "I've been working on my control of my disorder. Been doing well actually. I've pretty wlel tapped into what I can and can't do but eventually, this will all kill me. Of that, I am sure."

“Hopefully that needn’t happen,” Maya replied without looking up from his hand. “You have been doing exceptionally well. I am impressed. You have a remarkably disciplined mind. I wonder if that mind could be trained to regulate your body?”

"I've had a doctor say the same thing but I'm apparently not mentally tough enough to handle that yet." He shrugged.

“On the contrary, in order to function as long as you have your mental fortitude must be quite impressive,” Maya debated. “I believe that the proper conditioning could reduce your incidences of biochemical imbalance. I suspect that an implant that would simulate a Vulcan’s mesiofrontal cortex would be of considerable benefit, but it would most likely require years of research and testing to develop one. Has any work been done in that direction?”

"Not really. Is it something you can try and help with?" Shark asked curiously.

“Certainly,” Maya replied as she set down the auto-suture and picked up a dermal regenerator. “It will probably take months of research and testing to be safe, but I’m certain that other cerebral implants have been designed for similar purposes,” she continued as she used the dermal regenerator to regrow the skin over his wound. We can start by taking scans of your cerebral cortex while subjecting you to various stimuli. You really are fortunate to have been born in the current century Mister Shark. It might not seem like it but this really is the best of times.”

"I wasn't really born," he slightly scoffed. It was obvious his demeanor had changed. "Another time perhaps because I've got some stuff to take care of. We almost done Doc?"

"Yes, Mister Shark you're free to go," Maya replied as she took the dermal regenerator away from his hand. She raised her eyebrows when she realized what she had just said. "I look forward to a time when those words will actually mean something," she added gravely.

As Shark stood up to walk out, he laughed, not even looking at the Doc. "Those words will never mean anything Doc, but thanks anyway." As he head that, the turbolift doors closed behind him.


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