Tom switched positions for the fifth or sixth time. It was remarkably disconcerting to be the only one conscious in Sickbay. He couldn't sit still when the only other motion was the steady rise and fall of the chests of the otherwise prone patients, and the only sound their inordinately loud breathing, accompanied by the occasional beep of the computer as the Doctor went through the motions of declaring the entire crew unfit.
It was an incredibly long, as well as slow, process. Designed, of course, to prevent some trigger-happy doctor from abusing his or her power and taking over the ship. Which was exactly what the EMH was using it for, although in a situation certainly never imagined by the Federation.
The Doc had completed the very first step in their improvised plan, flooding the Shuttle Bay with the same innocuous sedative that was permeating Sickbay. He refused, however, to let Tom continue on while he himself finished with the competency declarations.
Perhaps he didn't trust Tom.
Which was an incredibly wise decision, considering what Tom was contemplating at the moment.
Sitting there, staring at the Doctor's back when his eyes weren't darting around the room, watching the unmoving patients and waiting for them to do something other than breathe, some mighty drastic thoughts were entering his head.
Tom had thought that after those in the Shuttle Bay were effectively incapacitated, he would be able to re-circulate normal air, beam out the unconscious occupants, and be on his way.
Except, he couldn't do that stuck behind a force field in Sickbay.
Where the Doc seemed intent on keeping him until his ship-wide mobility was needed.
Tom was getting very nervous. The more he thought about what the Doctor wanted him to do, the more uncomfortable he got.
The Doctor's plan, even with Tom's additions and modifications, was just barely passable, in Tom's opinion. It was a valiant effort, yes, but the Doctor wasn't the one putting himself in the line of fire. The Doctor was putting Tom in the line of fire.
Tom had had just about enough of being shot at, bitten, and attacked by vicious half-Klingons for one day, thank you very much.
He had enough bodily harm inflicted in the past few days to last a good while.
He really, *really* did not want to receive any more so that the Doc could keep the floundering ship from imploding for a few days.
And, he definitely didn't want to be here when that happened.
"You done yet, Doc?"
"Hardly," replied the Doctor, in a tone that suggested Tom should shut up and be patient.
Tom sat back, sighing.
His sigh was drowned out by a sudden hiss. The hissing of air being flushed through the ventilation system, filling Sickbay with normal air and suctioning out the impure air. Even through the protection of the electro-static field, Tom could feel a sudden chilliness flush the air surrounding him.
The Doc whirled, eyes going to the nearest ventilation duct. Immediately, he turned around, hands going back to the console, probably about to stop the procedure.
He never got the chance.
The power to Sickbay fluctuated, darkening and then re-lighting the consoles. Tom heard a buzz as the force field around him dissipated.
The hologram flickered-the Doc barely had time to look shocked-and then he was gone.
The dimmed lights grew brighter, leaving Tom staring at the spot the Doc had been standing.
He didn't have time to react-to try to reactivate him or anything-before the hatch in the ceiling was cracked open.
A woman dropped through. Tumbled, really, landing none too gently on the floor. She narrowly missed landing on one of the patients.
Tom wondered what the Doc had done with his phaser, as he locked eyes with B'Elanna Torres.
Part 48 | Index page