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Proximity Alert

Introduction The Station Puzzles Away Team
The Thing Bug Hunt Deep Space Nine The Second Attack
Infirmary Hunger Awake!  

Chapter Eight =/\= Infirmary

It was dark in the station sickbay, and all Ahmad could see was Dr Qnayf looking down at him.

"He's coming around now, Commander."

"Thank you, Doctor." Sisko entered his field of view, concern visible on his face.

Ahmad could barely speak, and his words were slurred. "It is dark, where are the lights?"

"Don't try to speak, Captain. You've suffered some neural damage, Dr Qnayf is trying to compensate."

In the distance he could hear the thrumming of the various pieces of machinery in the sickbay, and realised he was still on DS9.

"Why is it so dark?" Ahmad persisted in asking. His voice sounded strange, as if distorted by static.

"One of the primary power circuits went out. Not to worry, Chief O'Brien's working on it," Sisko replied as he turned to leave. As if on cue the lights went on to full brightness, and Ahmad closed his eyes instinctively.

"So how are you feeling." Qnayf asked

"I don't feel any pain, either in my head or in my back. The last thing I remember was being in my room and burning, searing pain in my spine, arms and legs." He tried to move, and nothing happened. "What's happening, I can't move."

"Easy, Captain." Qnayf assured him. "I gave you a mild neural tranq to help rectify the nerve damage. The effects will wear off in about eight hours."

"Eight hours! This thing's on the loose and I don't have eight hours!"

"Dammit, Captain!" Qnayf said, her voice like a steel whiplash, "You're in no condition to do anything. Why don't you delegate this to Neil while you recuperate, that's what he's there for. You need the time."

"Fine, let me talk to Neil."

"He's waiting outside," Qnayf replied and stepped away to confer with Dr Bashir at another bedside.

"Captain, how's it going?" Meechan asked, approaching his bed.

"Awful.And thanks to our little Klingon torturer I can't move for another eight hours.", Ahmad replied

"I heard that, Captain!" Qnayf called from the other end of sickbay.

Meechan shook his head in sympathy, "That'll be the neural squelcher. We found you just in time when you passed out. Don't really know what happened there; did the thing attack you? Was it a psionic attack? If we were a few minutes longer would you even be talking to us now?"

"If this is what happened on the Proxima, how come I'm still in one piece, so to speak, compared with the research personnel?"

"They must've been exposed for a greater length of time, more time for the central nervous system to break down; just a thought."

"How goes the evacuation?"

"Badly. We can't tell the people the truth or there'll be a mass panic and we can't fabricate some excuse, because some bright spark sees through our porkies. And besides, if they go they want to take their stuff with them."

"I've heard about one guy on the promenade, a real slimy character, people hate him, but they may listen to him. What about talking to him."

"That'll be Quark the Ferengi Bartender."

"He's the one who's hell bent about taking all his stuff with him!"

Ahmad gazed up at the ceiling, introspectively. "Neil, this thing.. this Asmo project, its out of control, and it can take any shape, and is out for the kill. And I'm stuck in here.

"That's where I come in. It's what I get paid for after all."

"There's another problem. I don't know how much longer I can hold out."

"What do you mean?"

"Have you noticed how cute Major Kira Nerys looks?"

"Not particularly - she looks a bit too sharp and spiny for my taste..." Meechan broke off in mid-sentence, and gazed at Ahmad more intently, "Akeel, when you start talking about women, that can only mean one thing - it's that time again, isn't it?"

"Yes, I've got about six weeks."

"That doesn't give us much time before you get absolutely unbearable and have to piss off to planet Vulcan!"

"I know. Work with Odo and Sisko on getting the punters off DS9, whatever it takes. Get O'Brien to rig up some convincing fault which may go at any moment - if you know what I mean. If that doesn't shift them nothing will!"

"I'll try, Captain."

"'Do or do not. There is no try!'" Ahmad said, putting on a strange quavering voice.

"Where did you pick up that gem of wisdom?" Meechan laughed.

"Saw it in a holosuite a while back - some dramatic fantasy that I've forgotten the title of."

"Well I'd better get on to Odo and O'Brien, come up with some story for clearing DS9. Have fun, I'll catch you later."

"Cheers, Neil."

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