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The Forgotten One

Posted on Tue Sep 20th, 2016 @ 11:43pm by Lieutenant Mikela Reyes MD

Mission: The Ties That Bind
Location: Seclusion

CMO Mikela Reyes sighed and rubbed the side of her nose in mild frustration. She had been trekking all over this godforsaken colony, trying to engage the people in conversation. They didn't seem to mind if she scanned them, but she needed a larger population to get any use out of these scans, or something to contrast with these surprisingly absent-minded people, but she kept running into individuals or very small, isolated groups working away. She took a moment to lean against the schoolhouse and rest her leg, which was beginning to bother her despite the brace and the cane.

"Are you awake?" came a young, lisping voice.

Mikela startled and whirled to see a girl, about in her early teens, watching her intently. "I think so," she responded, once she got over her initial desire to grab her sidearm and start blasting things. "What do you mean?"

"They won't wake up," the girl responded. "I tried and tried. They're... busy... and they don't have time for me anymore."

Mikela really did feel as if she was waking up after a long dream of trying to chase people down and never getting a clear answer. She took another look at the girl and noticed what she nearly hadn't before, what the back of her mind had been trying to tell her. The girl's eyes were oddly-lidded and spaced just a little strangely. She looked thin and scraggly from lack of personal care. Her gaze was curious, anxious, but not at all cautious or distrustful. "You've got Down's Syndrome," Mikela remarked, without thinking about what she was saying.

"Yes, I know," the girl replied so carelessly that Mikela felt rather awkward.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have..." she started to say. The girl interrupted.

"No, it's okay. I already know, and it doesn't matter. But something's making my family work... they don't even take care of themselves. I can't wake them up. I can't make them do what they're supposed to do. I don't know what to do."

Mikela frowned again, struck by the simple pleading in the girl's tone. She started to collect a simple reading with her tricorder. Then she paused, tapped in a couple of controls, and started a more comprehensive scan. "I've noticed that. I've been trying to figure out why they..." She adjusted her language to match the girl's, subconsciously. "...won't wake up. But you don't seem to be affected. That could give me the breakthrough I need. What did you mean when you said that they don't take care of themselves?" An uneasy suspicion flashed through her mind as she noticed the girl's condition anew. "Or you?"

The girl was sitting on the schoolhouse steps, so Mikela joined her as she continued the scan.

"They'll eat, but they don't eat enough," the girl explained. "They sleep, but only for a little while. It's like they have to do what they're doing. They used to make my food with theirs, and now they don't do anything for me at all. I'm trying to do it right for myself, but I don't know if I'm missing something."

"You are, but it's not that serious," Mikela told her plainly. "Mild malnutrition. It isn't your fault, and I can fix it pretty quickly. Hey... you might be able to help me. I'd like to try something."

"What do I need to do?" the girl asked.

"Just hold my tricorder. I'm going to try to stop one of the people working here. I need you to put that - it's the sensor - as close to the head as you can. I need to find out what happens, okay? What's your name?"

"Sarah," the girl replied, taking the tricorder and holding it steadily. "I don't know how to make this work, but if all I have to do is hold it, I can do that."

"Good girl," Mikela told her, reaching over and touching a key on the tricorder. "That's all you need to do."

Mikela glanced around, and spotted a young man striding past the schoolhouse. "He'll do," she said, and took hold of his arm. He tried to shake her off. She dropped her cane, stepped around, and twisted his arm up behind his back. She didn't pull it hard enough to hurt him, but he found himself unable to continue and unable to get the leverage he needed to pull away. Sarah stepped up to him, fearlessly, holding the sensor up to his temple. She retreated just a little as he tried to twist around. Mikela held him in place, though she could feel her knee starting to protest. He struggled, then struggled harder, starting to drag her around in a circle. His breath started coming in ragged gasps. "Let him go..." Sarah sounded troubled. "It's hurting him... it's making him hurt somehow..."

"Hold the sensor!" Mikela gasped, struggling to hold the man in place. He lurched back and forth, starting to scream oddly. Sarah was in tears. "Let him go! Let him go! You're hurting him!" And yet the faithful little assistant kept holding the sensor as closely as she dared. Finally, the man kicked out, hitting Mikela squarely on her bad joint, and she dropped to the dust, rolling slightly, as he took off at a dead run. Mikela reached out half-blindly, and was surprised to feel her arm caught. Sarah helped her to her feet. "I'm sorry," Sarah whimpered, tears streaming down her face. "I'm sorry, you were hurting him, and I couldn't stand it, it made me hurt for him..."

"Sarah, it's okay," Mikela gasped. She took a couple of limping steps, and Sarah guided her back to the schoolhouse. "You did fine, you did perfectly. You didn't stop recording and you didn't try to fight me. I'm sorry it hurt him, but I had to get the data. I want to help him. I hope I can help him."

She took the tricorder back from the girl, but no sooner had she started looking through the analysis of the data than she heard the message to collect by the Administration Building. "Honey, come over here with me." Sarah scooped up Mikela's cane and offered it to her; Mikela took it gratefully. "Come on over to the shuttle, Sarah," she told the girl. "I'll give you something better than what you've been eating, and I'll be back to check on you soon."

Leaving Sarah with a blanket and a ration pack, Mikela headed for the Administration Building.


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