From the USS Meridian... "Life By Eyes Flashing" Part Four - The Side Effect by Lieutenant Ethan Chastain Special Guest Writer: Lyryn Cate as Commander Sylvia Warren It had been a long month and a half. There were doctors everywhere with scanners and PADDs, documenting God-knows what, and he was always escorted by an orderly that looked as if he'd rather be tanning on a Risan beach than walking through a dimly lit medical research facility on the fringes of Federation space. Kallon, Ethan thought his name was, always had a scowl on his face. Such a bright moment before getting hyposprayed eighteen times with fifteen different medicines. The doors whisked open and Ethan walked into the room. It was as sterile as ever; maybe even more so than when he was there two days before. "Heya Doc," Ethan said as he sat on the biobed and removed his shirt. The white-haired doctor was at a table across the room at a massive replicator. If he hadn't gone to medical school and knew exactly what everything did, he would've been scared to death. "What's on the agenda for today?" "Just another round of neural stimulators, Mr. Chastain," Sylvia Warren smiled kindly, checking the calibrations on the hypospray. "Nothing out of the ordinary," she added with a hint of irony. "How are you feeling today?" "Not bad, thank you. The last round of tests left me a little queasy, but I think that was from the inhibitors to prevent the spread into the cardiovascular symptoms. Does that sound about right?" He always smiled when he recited the stuff he remembered from the weekly briefings. The research was in his room too, but he remembered the things that were important. "How are the other patients faring? Same as me, I hope?" "Pretty much the same," she said offhandedly, laying out the series of hypos. "And the queasiness should be mild and ease up quick enough. Are you ready?" Sylvia carried a tray with the objects next to the bio-bed and quickly ran a scan. Ethan sighed, "Do I have much of a choice? Three in the neck, one in the upper arm, two above the heart on the chest, and one in the abdominal area. It's like clockwork, Doctor. I think I've told you this a hundred times, but I wanted to be the research for this test, remember? That's why I was here. I didn't want to be poked and prodded, but somehow I was convinced by this old crone to do it in the name of science and medicine." He grinned. "Who still has her touch," she chuckled. "Ah, to be thirty years younger. And it is research. You are doing the most important part, Ethan. Don't make me give you the speech again." Winking, Sylvia began to administer the doses carefully. "Yeah, yeah," Ethan smirked as he felt the injections. They stung and throbbed a bit, but it wasn't anything that he couldn't handle. He closed his eyes and breathed deep as he felt the medicine course throughout his body. The one in the abdominal caused his stomach muscles to clench and he felt like he was going to throw up. He coughed a bit and then laid back down as she walked away. "Each time it gets worse and worse, you realized that right?" "That's what they tell me, but it'll pass quickly enough. It's not unbearable is it now, Ethan?" She looked down at him with slight disapproval. But only slight. She actually had an affinity for the boy. "Only four and a half months to go, right? I'll manage." He pulled his shirt on, suddenly feeling a bit light-headed, and turned to his escort. "All right, Benson, to my quarters!" The tall man scowled, but there was a hint of a smile Ethan was sure, and motioned towards the door. "Right away sir. Want me to smile at ya and shine your shoes for ya?" The man broke a smile, for the first time ever. It had been an ongoing joke between the two of them for a couple of weeks, but the man never showed emotion; Vulcan in training, he was sure of it. Ethan did, in all actuality, feel like royalty. He knew there were at least a dozen others, but he felt special. "Thanks, Kallon, you've got a great sense of humor." Ethan stopped at the door, and leaned around his follower, "And, Doc, if you want to come and observe my progress, don't hesitate to make your presence known so I don't turn around and have you staring back at me. It's enough to screw up my head enough to spoil your experiments." "Go home Ethan," she teased, going back to her scan comparisons from before and after. "Grow old, Doc," Ethan teased in reply and then left. The walk back to his cell was the same one that he'd made a million times before. He saw people curled up in corners and laying on their cots, a couple more people had been restrained to their bunks. It was those that Ethan felt the most sorry for, those that couldn't handle it and realized - albeit too late - that what they had gotten into was way over their head. Ethan was doing all right and managing. Being away from everything, everyone, was a hard thing to deal with. His thoughts drifted to Tyler. The young man was no doubt serving happily in a state-of-the-art sickbay on some ship roaming the cosmos. For the first time since he'd made the decision, Ethan felt jealous that he wasn't out there too. It would end up just like it was, Ethan continually tried to reassure himself, Tyler and he would live out the lives that they had planned. The forcefield sizzled away as he was snapped back to reality. "Come and go as you please," Ethan told Kallon as the man stepped back and began walking away, "I don't mind the solitude, but the isolation sucks!" He smiled to himself as he laid down on his cot, folding his hands behind his head. For now, it was just another day down and another one to go. He was still living by his new motto: one day at a time. Sylvia finished running Ethan's scans through the computer, comparing them to the ones before and the ones before that. Every change was noted and charted. When something... "Interesting," she commented, tapping the stylus from a PADD to her lips. Brow slightly furrowed, she decided to check in with the boy to ease her mind. Setting down at the console, the doctor activated the com. "So, still nauseous?" she asked, a might bit cheerier than she really meant to. "Damn it all, Doc," Ethan said, bolting upright and putting a hand to his chest, "What part of 'tell me the next time you're watching me' didn't you understand? And, yes, but still mildly. Why?" "I was getting to that part. Hey, Ethan, I'm watching you." He could hear the bit of smirk in her voice. "Monitoring your vital signs." Sylvia hadn't mean to frighten him. Sometimes her impatience got the better of her. Something was off. "Doctor?" His voice and tone were suddenly official. "What's up? Is everything all right?" "You tell me, you're the one with the accelerated heart rate. How do you feel?" "I'm doing just fine. Feeling a bit gross, but I've been reading this really cool ancient horror novel," Ethan was going to get the PADD off the table of his cell when he turned and saw it airborne at him. He ducked and it clattered into the forcefield. Hearing and watching it ripple in effect as the PADD skid across the floor, Ethan looked at it unsure of what had happened. "What the hell was that?" Sylvia jumped when the object sizzled for a split second against the field. What the hell was that? "I - I don't know," she said, looking around, trying to understand. Get control of yourself, she admonished. You'll scare him senseless. She took a deep breath. "I'm sure it's nothing, Ethan. But I need you to try and calm down, hon. Your heart rate is elevated and those cardio inhibiting drugs only go so far. We don't want to damage your heart." "Damage my heart? This study was a neurological study! I need to sit down," he turned just in time to see the chair slide across the floor and hit him in the legs. He doubled over and took the chair down with him. His face hit the not-so-welcoming floor and he tasted blood. "What the hell is going on?" Medical issues, for the first time ever, scared him. Narrowing her eyes, Sylvia watched with disbelief. That neural pathway change was minute. It couldn't... right area of the brain, though... "Now, Ethan, calm down. We've talked about this before. We inject the inhibitors to protect your other organs while the drug runs through your bloodstream. Just a precaution. Only and extra precaution. There's no need to worry," she tried to soothe. "No need to worry?!" Ethan was on his feet, a trickle of blood silently caressing his chin. He wiped it away, "I just almost lost by head to a flying book and I almost took a header into concrete thanks to a chair that can't stay inanimate. Calming down is not something I want to do." It was all happening so suddenly. His normal time in his cell had been turned upside-down; all this was new. No, no, no. Slyvia closed her eyes, squeezing them tightly shut, trying to recall anything she could. She closed the com-link for a few seconds in order to take a few panicky breaths where he couldn't hear her. Reopening the channel, the doctor spoke slow and kindly, "Ethan, hon, I need you to do something for me, okay?" "Yeah?" His eyes were full of panic. The epitome of calm, Sylvia, you didn't make it this far by panicking. "I need you to sit down." His heart rate was way too high. "And I need you to focus on my voice, taking a deep breath. You're letting this scare you and we really need to get your pulse down." She didn't want to resort to more drugs at this point. His blood was already pumping those treacherous chemicals around faster than it should be. He shook his head, "No, last time I wanted to sit down I found myself on the floor and bleeding! I need to get out of here, lower the force - " His mind went on fire. The forcefield crackled as if his hand was touching it, but there was nothing in contact with it. He could almost ... feel the energy. It surged through his head and his hands went there as if he could do something to stop it. The white pain was so intense he found his knees buckling. Crashing to the floor he found himself almost whimpering. "It - it - it hurts. Help me." "Ethan!" the doctor commanded. "Stop panicking and focus on my voice. Do you hear me? Ethan? Listen to me, just my voice. Concentrate. Do this for me, hon. Listen to me talk." "I ... can't ... it ... it ... hurts too ... much." His brain was on fire, rapidly turning to smoldering ash and glowing embers just meters from a training medical physician; he had to admit, in between bursts of immense pain, that his situation had a shred of irony. "Make it stop!" "I can't make it stop!" A shred of desparation tinged her voice. She couldn't... couldn't lower the forcefield. It was against all protocol. Even to save the boy's life. He was beginning to become a medical experiment gone wrong. "Ethan, you have to do this. You're stronger, smarter..." He can?t take this, she thought, moving out from behind the console to the edge of the field. "Look at me," she commanded, dropping to her knees, slightly aged joints cracking with the effort though she didn't notice. He looked up at her, his blinks became sporadic as he forced himself with all his will to stare her in the eye. Slowly, as he watched nothing but her, the painful sensations ceased and he reverted to whatever he was before. "What the hell was that? I could see and feel and touch the energy of that field without trying. I just did it, like I was pulling on it. The chair and the book too." Breathing heavily, Sylvia didn't break eye contact with Ethan, her warm blue eyes surrounded by laugh lines keeping his in check. "Much better. I knew you were stronger than that." She nodded slightly. "Tell me what you feel." "I don't know. I feel, everything. I can't explain it." "Okay, let's start with your head. Pounding? Ache? Rushing?" "Alive. It is ... buzzing." "Heart pounding?" He was breathing more normally. That was a good sign. "Feeling dizzy?" "No, neither. I felt connected to them as if they were apart of me." Ethan stood up and turned his gaze at the PADD that had found a resting place on his bed and enclosed in shadow. "I can almost feel it." He reached out with his hand and it floated off the ground and out from under his cot. It rose into the air and he moved his hand and moved it around and rotated it up in front of the doctor. "Read me the title." Sylvia was too amazed to speak. It was a... a... it was totally unexpected. Incredibly so. And the control. That quickly. She felt faint herself. I created this, she thought. Everything around him buzzed with its own, how could he explain it, life force. Everything there in that small room became something to him. He looked at the doctor and then closed his eyes. The chair rose up off the ground, the PADD stayed floating where she could see it, and the table lifted along with the bed. "It's amazing. It's exhilarating. The feeling ... it's so powerful." I created this... created... the thought continually looped through the doctor's mind as she was already formulating the tests and procedures to follow. And security. Power. It was in Ethan's hands now. No longer in hers. The question was, what had she really created and what would the consequences be? Would he cope with the responsibility of power? Would he be her monster? Am I Frankenstein? she wondered as she stared at the title by Mary Shelley floating before her eyes. All under Ethan's control. And, as easy as he picked it up, everything slammed down to the floor. "I think that it is time that I check out of here, Doctor Warren. This is not what I signed up for." "Don't be rash, Ethan. This is a tremendous breakthrough." Slowly standing to her feet, she never lost eye contact with the young man. "I'm not being rash," his voice was smooth and steady, "You wanted to test an accelerate for neurological medicine, and I've suddenly been struck with the ability of telekinesis. A tremendous breakthrough, yes, but not something that I will stick around for. You've discovered how to tamper with the universe. I can't let you continue experimenting on me. I can only hope that I am a special case that the conditions were right." "You know I can't allow you to leave until the course is complete. Six months, Ethan. That was the agreement." She couldn't let such a discovery slip from her fingers. He shook his head vigorously. He knew it was a ploy. Six months for the initial study and he would be duped, or forced, into more studies after that. "No, the agreement was for the accelerates. This, well this doesn't come close to what was going to be covered. I'm leaving this establishment, Doctor. And you would be wise to let me." "I'm not in control of that." She was pushing, testing the limit and she knew it. "I'll give you one more chance before I walk out of here on my own." He wasn't entire sure that he could do it, but his experience with the items in his 'cell', as he now deemed it, made him more than comfortable attempting to get out on his own. Ethan had taken an oath to do no harm, but he would do what was necessary to walk out of the facility as a free man. "Doctor, please." Tears welled in her tired eyes. "Ethan, don't do this." "Don't do what? Don't leave and get back to the life that I left behind? I won't stay here to be locked up and tested like a guinea pig. And you know that your higher-ups, when they find out about this, will want to keep me here longer. I will no longer be a volunteer, but a prisoner." He took a step towards the invisible field, a tone of pleading and desperation in his voice. The thought of being locked away forever scared him to death. "Ethan." All the attachment that she'd come to feel for the young man was poured into that word. "I'm no longer watching you," she said softly, as she turned and walked away. This was his chance. He thought about it, thought about it hard, and he could feel the panel on the opposite wall. And, in a mere instant, the electricity of the forcefield dissipated into oblivion and he stepped out into the corridor a free man - almost. Commander Warren?s retreating form, hunched over from painful crying, turned a corner and disappeared. "Thank you," he muttered, knowing full well she didn?t hear him. Taking a couple of steps he found himself staring at an orderly. Kallon met his gaze and refused to move. "Mr. Chastain, I think it would be wise for you to step back into your cell. Or, if you force me, I will put you back there by any means necessary." "For your sake, Kallon, you should stand aside." Ethan watched the man, the large man, fold his arms. The man meant business, Ethan knew. There was a new feeling in that instant. Ethan could feel Kallon?s life force. Much like his ability to sense the chair, he could feel the man. He wondered... Kallon made a step towards him with his arms outstretched. Ethan acted as he focused his mind. Kallon lifted up off his feet and moved back with alarming speed. The sound of his skull impacting the wall was enough to make Ethan cringe; he was soon realizing that he didn?t know his own strength. "I?m sorry," he stated genuinely as he walked past the unconscious man. He made his way to the shuttlebay virtually unharassed. Ethan would like to have thanked Commander Warren for that. He activated the shuttle and saw the panel blinking. He smiled as he activated the communications and found his transfer orders to report to the USS Dresdin. His status was an experiment washout. Smiling, he piloted into the atmosphere. New powers or not, he was still Ethan Chastain. New powers or not, he was still human. It was confusing and exciting all at the same time. Exploration of his new abilities were already enticing him. And, for a couple of minutes, he piloted the ship with his mind as best he could. He wasn?t really good at it yet. But, with practice, he figured it could prove to be a gift. His new fear: could Tyler accept him with his new talent? --------------------------------- It's here! Your new message! Get new email alerts with the free Yahoo! Toolbar.