Dr Crawford's Casebook - The Next Generation
Episode 3 - A Voice from the Past
'Deanna, it is good to have you on board again'
'Why thank you Data, it's a pleasure to be here, or should I say Captain?'
'As you know, I do not have a first name, but if I had I would certainly expect my old friends to use it - Data will be more than acceptable'
Deanna Troi favoured the Enterprise Captain with a gracious smile that he remembered well and clasping his arm gave him a kiss on the cheek.
'The captaincy suits you well Data. Now, tell me about this problem that Will asked me to help with.'
As they walked towards the turbolift Data started to tell her about the medical case they had acquired a few days earlier from a damaged civilian vessel. Apparently injured in a plasma conduit explosion the female passenger had lapsed in and out of a coma ever since but the ship's doctor had never been able to maintain the conscious state. What worried Dr Crawford was that she seemed frightened every time she neared consciousness and because she was pregnant he hesitated to use the drugs that he would normally have prescribed to lift the coma. Feeling that the fear was the key to the problem he had asked the admiral for advice.
'As we were a good distance from any Starfleet medical facility and not far from where you were working he decided to give you a call.'
'What do we know about her?'
'Little more than her name, Rhea Baalie, and that she's human. Starfleet records are notably bare.'
The turbolift doors hissed open and they crossed the bridge that she knew so well, entering the admiral's ready room, where Will Riker slipped easily from his chair to greet his one-time lover. Data quickly made an excuse of ships business and left them alone.
'When did Data learn to be so tactful?' Deanna asked in amused surprise.
'Oh he's matured a lot since Jean-Luc suggested he be made captain - developed into quite a charmer. ' Will could hardly contain his smile at seeing her again and took her two hands in his.
'You haven't changed at all - as lovely as ever.'
'I can see where Data learned the charm' she laughed, in a voice of soft honey, 'It's good to see you again Will'
'Actually I'm not the only one to teach him in that respect - but you'll meet that gentleman shortly.'
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
An hour later they walked into Sickbay to see, at the far end, Dr Khaireddin Crawford tending to his latest patient. It was a sight that Deanna was hardly prepared for and she stopped in her tracks tugging at Riker's arm and whispering.
'That's the doctor!? Why didn't you tell me he was ...'
'Vulcan, or blond?' responded Riker with a conspiratorial grin, and received a dig in the ribs for his trouble.
'Admiral!' said the subject of their discussion, turning to greet them and breaking into a warm blue-eyed smile that forced the normally unflappable Deanna to consciously stop her jaw from dropping.
'And this must be Counselor Troi - delighted to meet you' he continued, and she wouldn't have needed to be a Betazoid to be convinced it was genuine.
It was with some effort that she forced herself to smoothly complete the formalities and ask about the woman lying motionless on the med-table.
'Her physical injuries have responded well and her condition otherwise is 86.7% of optimum, however the coma persists. It is my impression that some mental or psychological trauma is blocking her normal recovery.' The voice, Deanna noticed, was now measured and perfectly Vulcan in its manner.
'How far into the pregnancy is she?' Deanna asked.
'Just under 4 months, too early for the use of Tri-parazonal, and there is insufficient response to anything else'.
'I'd like to spend some time alone with her if that's alright doctor, to see what impressions I can pick up from her subconscious, then we can take it from there.'
'Certainly'. I'll arrange monitoring from my office next door.'
'Fine, I'll get settled in and be back in an hour.'
As they walked back to their crew quarters Deanna was thoughtful.
'What did you think of our doctor?' Riker asked her, receiving another playful poke in the ribs as she snapped back into focus.
'I think you're a wicked tease Will Riker, you should at least have warned me what to expect.' She paused, remembering, and went on 'Beverly told me a couple of years ago that she had a Vulcan student who was an outstanding prospect, but that couldn't be him, he'd only be....'
'Twenty-four years, six months and seventeen days' Riker interrupted in a passable imitation of Vulcan precision. 'much too young for you!'
Which was why, if there had been any passing crewmen, they would have seen a starfleet rear-admiral being punched soundly on the shoulder and then pulled unceremoniously into the temporary quarters of the former ship's counselor. Which troubled the admiral not a bit.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
An hour later Deanna returned to the sickbay to find the composed figure of Dr Crawford ready for her. Starship chief medical officer at 24, and not just any starship either - she still couldn't take it in, but she could feel his confidence even through the Vulcan repose.
'If you require anything I'll be observing, so just state your request' and he left her alone with the unconscious woman. Settling into a seat thoughtfully provided she cleared her own mind to better sense the one that currently lay dormant beside her.
Slower than with conscious thought, the impressions gradually began to form. He was right - fear was strongly present, but of what it wasn't clear. Yet there seemed to be some element of love too, but somehow mixed with reluctance. Though she tried hard to clear her mind to full receptivity there was nothing else. It was most puzzling. Emerging from her meditations she addressed a request to the unseen ship's doctor.
'Dr Crawford, you said she didn't respond sufficiently to other medication - but would it be enough to give me a better impression of her conscious mind?'
'Possibly', came the reply over the intercom system, 'would you like it done now or do you require time to prepare?'
'Now will be fine.'
A small spray hypo rose from the side of the med-table restraints and applied the drug requested as Deanna once again opened her mind to her patient. As the effects began to appear she started to feel the fear building again, stronger this time, more focused. Words started to form, jumbled but gathering coherence, 'wrong', 'mustn't', 'not fault', 'sins of the fathers'. She found herself being drawn into a whirlpool of emotions and had to concentrate to remain objective. There was such conflict, deeply divided loyalties, fear for others and for herself. Deanna became aware that the unconscious woman had begun to stir and appeared to be trying to speak; she leaned close over her and tried to grasp what was being said.
'Counselor, is anything wrong, do you require assistance?' the Vulan voice was tinged with concern but Deanna didn't hear it as she focused completely on the increasingly restless woman on the table. As Crawford left his console and moved into the sickbay he saw from the entrance his patient's eyes open wide and stare into Troi's. They locked together, both seemed hypnotised, and suddenly, before he could reach them, both women cried out and slumped down on the table..
'Counselor, can you hear me?' Getting no response Crawford lifted her gently from across the body of the patient and put her back into the chair, his diagnostic probe already recording her condition.
'Admiral Riker, please come to Sickbay immediately.'
In less than a minute Will Riker strode into the medical quarters and saw Crawford tending to two patients on adjacent tables.
'There was some sort of interaction between them during empathic investigations', Crawford said before Riker could finish the question.
'Our mysterious visitor is now in a deeper coma than before; Counselor Troi is unconscious but seems otherwise unharmed, I'm just about to revive her.'
Riker watched with concern as Crawford pressed the hypo to Deanna's neck and she started to come round.
'Deanna, are you ok, what happened?'
She looked up at him with a puzzled but strangely serene look.
'Deanna? why do you address me by that name?' The voice was deeper, and with a natural command that was different from her usual soft demeanor.
'What else would I call you' he replied, momentarily confused.
'Mistress, as you would normally.'
'Should my colleague also address you as Mistress?' Riker responded, playing for time, eyebrows raised and motioning towards the doctor.
'Hardly', she replied. 'The Voevoeda Bolshoia will call me Guzel, as he has always done.'
....... to be continued.