“I have to get to sickbay.” Conscious of their audience, Emily raised her voice. “A doctor’s never off duty. Small crisis, nothing to worry about.” She made herself smile and wave. “Sorry for rushing off. I hope to stay longer next time.”
Then Jake had her out the door, hastening down the corridor toward the crew-only gravlift. “Small crisis?”
“I understand about patient confidentiality, but as chief security officer of this ship, I have a need to know, Doc.”
“The bodyguard—Arln—he coded. My staff revived him, but Bevar says there are new symptoms.”
The gravlift carried them rapidly up the levels. “What kind of new symptoms?”
She put her lips next to his ear. “Bleeding from various orifices.”
He bit off an oath. Catching a curious glance from a crew member descending on the other side of the gravlift, he spoke softly. “Can a virus cause those symptoms?”
“Not anything as simple as a norovirus, no. We might be dealing with something else in his case. Or,” she said, barely touching the landing platform before striding through the corridor, “we might be lucky and this is specific to him.” She gave him a sidelong glance. “Arln did have some unusual physical challenges not apparent to the naked eye.”
The reception area of the sickbay was empty. Emily ran through, on her way to the patient treatment area, registering in passing that Jake halted to call for reinforcements. Good idea. Whatever was going on, she didn’t need passengers or crew wandering in until the situation was under control.
The situation was dangerously out of control, she realized at a glance. Arln was convulsing in the bed, blood pouring from his mouth, nose and eyes. Medical alarms were beeping and buzzing. Bevar and the nurse on duty were attempting to keep the patient’s breathing unobstructed. Their gowns and masks were blood-spattered. Emily grabbed a sterile gown for herself, fastened a mask across her face and yanked on gloves before she joined them at the bedside.
“What have you administered?”
Bevar named a coagulant and a level-one sedative. “I talked Maeve into dispensing it without your seal because he was seizing so badly.”
Emily nodded. She scanned the monitors. Heart rate was way above the upper boundary. All other vital signs were sinking or erratic. Even as she watched, the patient simply collapsed like a leaking balloon, and all the readouts flatlined. She moved to the bedside, Bevar making room for her, and grabbed the proper probes. Pausing for a moment as she took in the big purple splotches spread across the man’s chest, which had not been there earlier, she blinked. No time to examine those now. Activating the tools, she attempted to resuscitate Arln yet again, with no success. The medical team worked for half an hour before she shook her head and allowed Bevar and the badly shaken nurse to stop. “We lost him. You both did the best you could for him. I’ll be sure to prominently note your outstanding efforts in my report.”
“What do we do now?” Bevar’s voice shook. His hands were clenched on the side of the bed.
Emily was cautiously examining the purple blotches on their late patient’s body. “Like Groskin,” she muttered. “What in the seven hells are we dealing with here?”