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  Lieutenant Commander Desiree Thibodeaux & Ensign Dean Spearhorse, SD
 
Spherical Thinking - JDL: Dr. T. & Ens. Spearhorse
 
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Spherical Thinking
JDL: Dr. Desiree Thibodeaux and Ensign Dean Spearhorse

Ensign Spearhorse was quite concerned when he heard of the strange weapon the away team had found. He was in the lounge eating lunch contemplating the possible ramifications of and potential uses for device and the empty sphere. As he ran through the options, his mind fell on a very disturbing thought. What if the Orion had stumbled on the weapon and the empty sphere was not discharged…… but was some sort of snare, just waiting for a new subject to entrap…… or at least to entrap their soul…… being imprisoned in such a sphere would be a living hell…… a living physical being consigned to a non corporeal existence.

Dean did not know if he new science officer in charge of the investigation would welcome his input it if he shared his theory with the lieutenant commander him his theory outright, so he taped his commbadge to contact a fellow officer, one he trusted to listen when he bounced his idea of of them.

While he was waiting for a reply, he saw the edge of a lunch tray as it was slid onto the table across from him. He looked up to see the familiar face of the Darmok's CMO, Dr. Thibodeaux, known by the crew as “Dr. T.”.

“Want some company Ensign?” She asked, taking a seat without waiting for his answer. Her tray was piled high with an array of...interesting and fragrant...selections. She had some sort of mixed green salad that possessed the strong aroma of fresh herbs, a main dish that reminded Dean of an ultra-spicy Indian vindaloo over rice, a flatbread of some sort, and two giant pieces of carrot cake. Her beverage of choice was a steaming mug that smelled like fresh ground coffee.

He instantly deactivated his comm. He deduced that the doctor must have wished not to be disturbed during her lunch for two reasons -- she was not wearing her commbadge and she had been the person on the other end of his unanswered call. “Just the person I was trying to reach.” He told her before going on. Dean wanted to lay out his thoughts before something or someone interrupted them.

“Dr. T, you and Engineer MacArdry have examined a number of the spheres we have collected.” he started. “Did it ever occur to you that we may have some kind of Orion bounty hunter stealing the souls of his targets…… yeah, I know that's a wild idea but what if the empty sphere was a repository and the weapon was the collection device.”

Desiree had begun munching her salad as Dean began. As she listened to Dean Spearhorse continue to speak, a knot started forming in the pit her stomach.

Dean continued, “Would there be a way to free the spirits without killing them or would they need some kind of host shell…… a clone or something of that nature to embed them in first.” he concluded.

The tension in her gut grew as she contemplated the enormity and the potential horror of the thoughts of the young Ensign sunk in. She swallowed her greens and washed them down with coffee. She did her best to conceal her burgeoning feelings of dread.

If he is right...this could be one of the most horrible crimes ever perpetrated. She thought as she chose her next words carefully.

“I see you've been keeping up with new developments regarding the spheres. As I recall, you were the first one to sense the possible consciousness inside them.” The doctor took a few hurried bites of her main dish. “I haven't been doing as much discovery and research with the spheres as our new CSci, Commander Relok has been. He's hunkered down in one of sick bay's labs busy running every test, scan and experiment he can in an attempt to solve the mystery. I've been trying to do some research in my spare time regarding examining the remains of the Orion in hopes of learning more about where he had been recently and what he was up to. I had not considered any thing remotely like the possibility that you've suggested and I'm not sure about Commander Relok, since I have not had a chance to discuss the implications of that...weapon with him.”

I should have been doing more to assist Relok. I have been doing some work on the remains, but I could have squeezed in more time to help on the side. She swallowed her bite and suddenly realized she had been absently staring into space.

“I'm sorry, I'm having trouble comprehending what sort of person would do such an abominable thing. The Orion's listed occupation was trader...but he did have several aliases and if he were a bounty hunter, he'd hardly be advertising that everywhere. What you're suggesting would be one of the most devious and evil ways of collecting bounties that's been dreamed up. As far as releasing the inhabitants of the spheres...that is the most tricky and delicate topic. I don't believe that Relok has determined exactly what...uh...portion…….of the beings has been trapped inside. We don't know much more than they have emotions and scattered thoughts. Before we release them or put them into bodies, we'd have to be much more certain what we're dealing with and which species, whether or not they are hostile or friendly……”

“Regarding who we are dealing with.” Interjected the ensign. “These individuals could just as well be innocents ...for all we know.”

When Spearhorse spoke, Desiree had scooped another bite of her vindaloo up with some naan bread. It hadn't yet made it to her lips yet when she heard his remark and his words caused her stomach to clench into an epic knot.

“Manti!* What kind of animal would trap the essence of innocent citizens or even children in the spheres? That's worse than bounty hunting...that's kidnapping! It's almost too monstrous to contemplate that…….” She put her food down and shoved the entire tray away.

“You have heard of a certain planet that is forbidden to go to by all federation vessels correct?” he imparted. We thought having humans in a zoo was an abomination…… what if there is some kind of collector that is trying for his own menagerie to steal the knowledge of that society or something of that nature.”

The doctor's body shuddered as she contemplated that possibility. “I was hungry.” She stated. “Here I was feeling sorry for myself that I have been working so hard managing sickbay, taking care of the crew, doing a bit of research into the mystery of the spheres and the Orion. It was already awful considering that life-essences are being contained inside them, but listening to you, my mind is spinning with that abominable scenario. and any number of other heinous scenarios...I've been far too lax, those sphere are my patients and I should be tending to them as I would any other patient. I haven't done nearly enough and it would be remiss to continue to sit here and enjoy a leisurely lunch. I need to get back to sickbay and see how I can best assist Commander Relok.”

“Sorry Doc, making you feel bad wasn't my intention. I just needed someone to bounce a few theories off of.” the security-tactical officer admitted. “Please, just pass on my theory and also ask Commander Relok to make sure to secure the spheres in case the essences we have been sensing are not friendly.  And make sure you both approach the mystery with an open mind. Please excuse me, I have to get back to the bridge. I'd appreciate it if you could keep me updated.”

The doctor nodded emphatically. “I will. Though I don't know Commander Relok that well yet, he seems to be somewhat unusual compared to most Vulcans, I think you'd get along with him. And never apologize for sharing your thoughts with me. You may have an idea that can save lives.” She hurriedly drank several swallows of coffee and disposed of her meal. When she looked back at the table, Spearhorse had already slipped out and she quickly departed.

TBC…….

* “Manti!”: Haitian Kreyol for “No! That can't be true!”

   
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