We've Got Alota Problems
Who: Seymour Niples, Alota Niples, Dr Keto
When: After Alota was rushed, unconscious, to the medibay
She had her eyes closed, and was taking short sharp breaths. He shook her
gently. "Alota if you're playing this isn't funny. I'm not mad at you any more.
Something was wrong and he knew it. He quickly called for a Doctor and had Alota
rushed to the Blue Dwarf's medibay.
Seymour looked on helplessly as Dr Keto and the rest of the medical staff
hurried about. Alota was lying on a medical bunk with a multitude of sensors
and monitors hooked up to her. Occasionally Dr Keto would mutter something to
one of the other medical staff, who would reply in an almost inaudible whisper
(or, in the case of the Big Pink Tree, a quiet rustle), sometimes passing him an
additional piece of equipment or a nearby ointment.
After almost twenty minutes of concentrated activity, Seymour could stand it no
"Dr Keto, please, what's wrong with her?" he asked, wringing his hands together.
Keto murmured something to Wildflower, who stepped over to the medibunk to watch
the monitors while the doctor stepped away, walking over to Seymour.
"Come in here," said Keto, motioning towards his office. Seymour followed him,
stepping inside the doorway somewhat nervously and allowing the door to shut
"Niples, I'm not entirely sure what I can tell you," said Keto, looking back
through the one-way window that connected his office to the main medibay, "Alota
Niples isn't human. She has the physical appearance of one, mostly, apart from
a few obvious differences..."
"Yes, that. But in the grand scheme of things, that's only a minor difference.
If that were it, I could treat her just like any other member of the crew.
Which is to say, reluctantly and with a minimum of effort. But that's not the
Keto turned and looked at Seymour, was was looking more and more ashen-faced as
the doctor spoke.
"Your daughter's physiology is wildly, indescribably different from anything
else I've come across. She has biological traits I've never seen before, in ANY
lifeform. I'm not even sure I can refer to them as 'biological'. Her vascular
and nervous systems are developed not just to a more complex level, but in a
completely different direction to you or me. I'm not even sure what half the
connections in her brain are linked to, let alone what their purpose is. I'd
venture a guess that this extreme complexity is what allows her to perform these
wormhole jumps you've been seeing, but that's all it would be - a guess. And as
a result of these jumps, I have to assume, her nerves and their connections have
"What...what do you mean, 'degrading'?" asked Seymour, swallowing.
"Exactly as it sounds. She's still PARTLY human, and while she's theoretically
capable of performing these jumps as often as she needs to, her human-like
physiology can't support the demands her non-human capabilities are putting on
it. Large portions of her nervous system are exhausted - some may be
permanently damaged, it's impossible for me to tell at this stage and with the
equipment we have. And now the stresses are showing themselves - erratic
behaviour and unconsciousness are only the first signs. Before long her neural
network will have become damaged severely enough that it will start to effect
the more human areas of her brain - until eventually everything will shut down.
If we can't stop the decay, I'm afraid that it's my opinion that Alota will
Seymour said nothing.
Nothing at all.
"I'm sorry," said Keto, watching Seymour, who was now staring fixedly through
the one-way window back towards the medibunk, "I know that this must come as a
shock to you."
"What can we do?" asked Seymour in a very quiet voice. Keto coughed, hesitated,
then coughed again.
"There may be...one POSSIBLE solution," he said, slowly, "And I hesitate to
recommend it. This is entirely theoretical and I have no evidence to support it
"What is it?"
"The experimental treatment would probably kill her even quicker than..."
"What IS it?" snapped Seymour. Keto sighed.
"Radiation," he said, "What few faint readings I've been able to pick up from
Alota's more...developed neural systems seem to indicate that portions of her
nervous system are not purely biochemical, as in humans, but that in fact they
fire through radiation-based synapses. This means that those specific cells,
which seem to make up a portion of her cerebellum and pallium - parts of her
brain, Niples - operate at a much higher efficiency that our normal,
chemically-activated synapses. I suspect that these are the parts of her brain
which give her the ability to wormhole jump."
"And which are killing her."
"Yes - which is where the radiation treatment might prove fruitful. If we can
temporarily - temporarily, mind you - flood those portions of Alota's brain with
a sustained dose of cadmium II radiation, it could cause those non-human neurons
to react, adapting to the increased load and, potentially, reducing their
demands on the more human parts of her physiology. She could then recover.
Or...well, or it could kill her. It would certainly kill any normal person.
I'm not going to tell you the odds are good, Niples. They're not. They're
awful, in fact."
"Awful...but better than zero?" asked Seymour, glancing back at Keto. Keto
suddenly felt very old.
"Yes. Better than zero," he said, with a slow nod. "But I don't have a source
of cadmium II radiation in the medibay. In fact, I don't think we've actually
got one on board."
"It's okay," said Seymour quietly, staring back out of the window. Across the
medibay, Wildflower was watching the monitors, looking worried. The Big Pink
Tree stood behind her and, somehow, Seymour could see that it appeared to be
wilting. Even the Tree was concerned.
"It's okay," he repeated, "I can find one."
OOC: By request. Tag! ;)