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What Could Be

Posted on Tue Apr 19th, 2022 @ 3:33pm by Patricia Crow & Lieutenant JG Chance Crow

Mission: Shore Leave

Chance and Trisha approached the clinic, climbing the slight incline to the front door. He felt fortunate for the shore leave that allowed them to make this consultation appointment. It gave them plenty of time to ask all the questions either of them could think of, and he planned on being thorough. The nervous energy coming off his wife was palpable though, so he squeezed her hand. He wasn't sure he could promise her it would be okay, as common a platitude as it was, since so much about this was questionable. So he merely flashed her a reassuring smile.

She squeezed his hand in return and entered the clinic. It was a light powder blue lobby and it looked and felt sterile without feeling. A stern looking woman sat at a desk at the far end of the room, easily forty feet away. She looked up, said nothing, then back down to whatever it was she was reading.

That small action didn't give Chance the warm fuzzies. Under normal circumstances, it would have just seemed like bad customer service, but add to that the fact that what they were here to discuss was at least somewhat experimental, and he wasn't entirely comfortable with the experience off the bat. However, more than anything, he didn't want to deprive Trisha of the experience she wanted but never thought she'd get. He knew that meant he had to be the objective one though. Fortunately, his profession as a doctor meant he could be that.

He led the way, approaching the receptionist's station to check in. He locked his gaze on her until she acknowledged their presence. "We are here to see Doctor Am`bo. We have an appointment. Doctor and Mrs. Crow."

The woman, looking to be in her fifties, slid her finger over a PADD. “Mhm,” she murmured quietly. “Go through the door, fifth door on your left.” She halfway motioned to a door to their right. Normally Patricia would have been more assertive with that kind of attitude but she was too nervous to even notice it. She led Chance by the hand to the door and then down a hallway. She could pick up a scent but she couldn’t place it. Chance would have however.. Most medical students knew the smells associated with a lab.

Chance committed the short direction to memory and followed his wife through the first door. He was aware of the chemical smell that hung in the hallway, but there were no windows to the rooms that lined the corridor. So there was no telling which doors held labs and which offices. But ignoring that, he counted 5 doors down, almost at the other end of the hall, and knocked.

"Come in."

Patricia led him in and looked around a very lavish and professional looking private office. A man, looking to be in his eighties, sat at the desk.

"Congratulations. Most people are scared away by Theodora. You're already ahead in the game."

The younger man was a bit surprised by the apparent assessment, not only that there was one, but that she was it. He'd thought her standoffish, yes, but not scary. The other thing that had caught him off guard was the age of the man in front of them. He had expected someone of mature age, but not quite this advanced. He decided to voice his concern. "I wasn't aware this was a quest with pass or fail tests."

"All of life is such a quest. Speaking of life, I expect that is why you have come all this way. The son of a Starfleet Captain must love this lady very much to seek me out."

Chance didn't like this. The man was being cryptic, and making it obvious he knew who Chance was, which shouldn't matter. "The lady is the one who did the seeking." He glanced at Trisha, uncertainty clear on his face.

The old man waved them over and motioned to the chairs in front of his desk. “And I know why.” He pushed a button and internal scans of both of them appeared on a monitor behind him. Both of you are extremely healthy though she should knock off the smoking.” He cast a glance at Patricia who avoided his eyes. “It’s obvious what the problem is and I expect I know who is responsible for your condition. The good news is, I believe it is reversible.”

“It is?”

“You are missing organs which are nothing but cells held together for a purpose. If we replicate your own cells and manipulate them I see no reason we cannot replace the organs in working order.”

She looked at Chance. “What do you think?”

Chance looked at the scans as he listened to the the explanation. "Theoretically," he responded to his wife, "it's sound, but tests have often revealed trouble spots." He turned toward Dr. Am`bo. What sort of testing have you done, and what's been published about your work?" He'd grill the guy if he had to. He wasn't taking any chances.

"I have spent more than half my life testing this process. In the early going we made mistakes and we learned. We started with animals and moved onto more complex systems. Most of what I have published has been hidden away by the Federation. I'm sure you know of my history."

"I know what's been published by or about you." Chance answered. "Tell me about the testing? What were the initial results? What was modified? What are your latest results? What is your success rate?"

"Initially the results were poor. We found the key was cloning very specific cells located in a region of the brain. Manipulating those cells led to more success and finally successful organ cloning. Our patients have a 81% chance of their bodies accepting the new organs."

The younger doctor nodded. "And the mortality rate?"

The older man steepled his fingers. 60%.

Patricia let out a breath. "I've had worse odds."

Chance only nodded to her. He didn't want to have a back-and-forth here in front of Am`bo, no matter how affable it was. "Have you kept track of pregnancy success rates after the procedure?"

"90% carried to term, 4% early delivery."

Chance nodded again before looking at Trisha. "You got any questions?"

“How long does the process take?”

Am`bo,leaned back in his chair. “If everything goes smoothly you could be celebrating a birth in a year.”

“Three months?!”

“It doesn’t take long to cultivate the cells. As soon as the organs are grown and we conduct the surgery we’ll know if your body accepts them within 72 hours. Give another two months for the normal…bodily functions to kick in and you’ll be ready.”

"Thank you, Doctor," Chance said. "I think the two of us are going to discuss the information you've given us and get back to you with our decision."

"Don't take too long to decide or you may be waiting for months or years."

Chance stood and reached over to shake the other doctor's hand. "You bet," he answered. Once they had both left the office and put some distance between them and the facility, he spoke. "What did you think?" he asked with caution.

“I think you don’t trust him and don’t believe him,” she glanced at him as they walked. “He’s the only person I could find, and it wasn’t easy, who does things like this. It’d be our only opportunity.”

He half grinned at her answer, which seemed typical for her. "I meant what did you think of him and his plan, not, what did you think I think." He waited for her answer before saying his thoughts out loud.

“He seems to be hiding something but I don’t know what it is. The fact he knew who you were means he looked into us as much as I looked into him. But I’m willing to make this work for us.”

He wasn't surprised she felt that way. She had looked death in the face almost every day in the past. This must seem entirely benign to her. But she was also right when she guessed he didn't trust the other doctor. His having checked their backgrounds sent up red flags in his mind, in addition to the slightly shady nature of his business.

As they entered their transport, he added his opinion, "I also felt like he was hiding something, and his knowledge of us and our family was unnerving, to say the least. Honestly, I don't like it. I know the risk doesn't bother you, but I feel like it's staring me in the face." He took her hand, turning her towards him. "I don't want to lose you."

She looked up into his eyes. He was always so open and easy to read, it’s one of the things she first noticed about him. In a life full of deceit he was always honest. She could have told him he had nothing to worry about, God knows she’d said it before a million times. She knew it never eased his worry, it was more aimed at easing her own. “If you don’t want us to do this, then we won’t. It’s as simple as that. And no, I’m not going to hold anything against you. I think it’s obviously important for us to be united in this for our family.”

He pulled her into an embrace, thankful for her response, even if he knew it wasn't that easy. "Yes, but I don't want to take that opportunity away if it can be done. However, I don't think we have to worry about his schedule filling up. I want to do more research on him. Find some reliable results, and see where that takes us."

She smiled at the embrace. “I’ll make some calls and get the real story behind him and his fall from grace. Also find out about that woman…something was off about her.”

He nodded. "You ready to head home then?"

“Yeah, but it’s a long trip. Got any ideas on how to pass the time?”

He grinned down at her. "Probably the same ideas you have."


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