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But if you can still dream – 19

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To die, to sleep;

To die, to sleep;
To sleep! Perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.
Hamlet III, 1

Rose: Benzodiazepines

“We have no idea” the frog-like medic stated. “Your blood results are good, maybe only the iron levels are a bit too low – you could benefit from a change of diet, Miss Tyler. But in the behaviour tests I see overall slowness of response, drop in the general awareness and significant problems with concentration. How do you feel in these areas? I know that the poisoning with whatever it was – hopefully someone will identify it – might have affected your brain processes, but nobody could have predicted that the effects will last that long.”
She pursed her lips.
“I’m afraid I’m not sleeping very well lately” she answered finally. “And then during the day I can’t focus on text, I have to read the same sentence three times… It’s as if I could not take any more knowledge in. I just can’t work like this…”
He nodded, chewing the tip of his pencil.
“Your performance will be, I’m afraid, deteriorating. I’d say you should take at least three weeks of vacation,but you Torchwood freaks wouldn’t recognize vacation if it came up close and spit on your shoe.”
“I already have taken a week. This seizure came on the first day… What should I do, go home and watch TV all the time?”
He scratched back of his head in thought.
“Let me think… I’d suggest you take a dose of this” he scribbled on a notepad “and simply stay at home. Read or listen to music, no watching TV – the blinking pictures may have adverse effect. Stay as long as you need. I’m putting you on a prolonged sick leave.”
She sighed.
“What does it do?”
He looked up at her.
“The medicine. What does it do and what does it contain? I’m allergic to some drugs, so I’d rather not add asthma or spots to the whole mess.”
He recited the ingredients slowly, watching her nod at every name.
“Very well. Here’s your prescription. Pick the stuff up in the hospital apothecary. They will be expecting you.”
Bedside manner from hell. How did he became a doctor?
Dismissed, she stood up and slowly walked to the door.

She fell backwards on her bed and looked at the label. Of course the booklet inside the box was thicker than the capsule holder and she totally disregarded it, only taking a look at the “adverse drug reactions”.
Lots. Aw, hell.

Of course she got at least half of the list of these. Her throat was sore and somehow constricted, her left hand was a bit stiff and she would have sworn someone had wrapped her brain in cotton candy.
She got up quietly, putting the cover back over his sleeping form and sneaked out to the corridor. She more felt her way forward than saw it – her brain still working on low power, eyes not quite catching the details, ears…
Someone was singing.
The voice carried along the corridor with firmness, self-assuredness and openness of a professional singer. It was a rich, strong but surprisingly mellow tenor which reminded her of something, but she couldn’t quite place what.
Before she made a conscious decision, there she was, standing in the door to TARDIS kitchen, the most homey room on the whole ship.
Lights were low, but the stove lamp was lit so she could take in all the peculiarity of the scene – a pan full of scrambled eggs, a stack of half-burned toast on a plate, a butter dish and, in the middle of it, singing “Can you feel the love tonight” into the whisk, dancing and making wild gestures was a dead man. Naked.
She apparently stood there for a bit too long – took some time to analyse her observations – because he turned.
She saw the perfect face, slightly tousled hair, sculpted muscle and the infuriating smile that made women (and some men) swoon at the very sight of him.
His lips moved, eyes widened, he was saying something, walking to her, reaching out, but she didn’t hear, didn’t see, didn’t think. She screamed.

“Seizure!” the nurse cried, as the body on the table tensed up and contorted painfully. The attendants grabbed a flailing limb each and held Rose down on the bed.
“As you see” Martha Jones gestured helplessly. “We have no new ideas. Or, rather, they have no idea, as I have been denied access to Rose’s records.”
Pete Tyler twisted his gloves in desperation as he watched his wife look forlornly at Rose through the thick glass.
“I’ll make sure you get authorised” he uttered finally. “No way they are treating her like a test subject. I won’t be able to be here all the time. Even then they would probably be able to go behind my back. You will make sure they understand that for cutting up Rose they will pay by being cut themselves. Cut away from the employee list at least” He squeezed his eyes shut. “If they cannot come to any reasonable solution, we’ll take her back home. Can I rely on you, doctor Jones?”
She nodded slowly, wondering what she got herself into.
“You will need details that are in Rose’s Torchwood personnel file. When you read it, you will understand why it is of utmost importance not to let these… butchers… find any reason to cut Rose open or try any invasive treatment.”
Jackie turned to them, determination shining in her face.
“Doctor Jones, my daughter is something special. I’m not saying this because she’s my little girl. She may be, when time comes, the only person who can save this whole universe. And I like this one as much as my previous one – even better, considering Pete here – I’d much rather it stayed as it is. Oh, stop it, Pete. She will read Rose’s file, mine too, if she wants, and it’s all there. Doctor Jones” she turned to the astonished medic. “Rose was born to me and Peter Tyler who died before she even walked. We, and one other, were transported to this reality a bit under two years ago, and have replaced two persons who were killed at that time.”
“Cybermen” Martha whispered.
“Jackie Tyler of this world was converted” Pete’s voice was hard and low. “Jackie agreed to stay in her place.”
“Only Rose never existed here, so we had to create a backstory for her. So, of course, parts of her medical history are sham, only put there to explain her visible scars and some changes that might have occurred.”
“But couldn’t you have just given the real explanation? After all, any accidents she might have had couldn’t be so different from what could happen here… Could they?”
“Werewolf scratching across her back, 1800’s stitching. Laser burns. Non-earth colourings in her tattoo. If watched through red-green 3D glasses, she is surrounded by a swarm of shining particles. Enough?”
“She is also mildly telepathic, highly empathic and has slight telekinetic abilities” Jackie added. “Do you feel we could have included any of this in a normal report?”
Martha Jones, MD, just nodded.
A day (and a sleepless night) later a very determined Martha Jones was standing in front of the main desk and repeating her demand. Finally, after the third recitation of her authorisations, the guard gave up and let her in. She noted his name carefully. Pete will want to know.
After an evening of extensive reading and a night talking to Pete and Jackie, she had, finally, knowledge on which she could base her analysis of Rose’s health. And also re-evaluate whatever she herself diagnosed before.
Which was a lot.
“Basing on the blood samples, Rose is no longer human. No human being would have been able to live with these mineral levels, low sugar and, well, several other abnormalities. I will have to cook up results that will give a diagnosis of severe anaemia and some general infection. Giving her supplements and general antibiotics – with reference to her allergy listing, of course – may help her and will give the team something to do. Also, it seems that this situation is a recent development – her last blood test was only five days ago – and based on it, your Torchwood physician prescribed the pills – it was showing slight iron deficiency, nothing more interesting.”
Pete nodded and simply turned his laptop towards her, an application to falsify blood results already running.
“There is, though, another and much graver problem” Martha had his attention immediately. “Her sleep patterns. She doesn’t sleep. No more than an hour per day.
“Although Rose is, as I said, probably non-human, we have never yet met a species that would be able to survive on next to no sleep. Rose’s EEG shows that even when we perceive her as sleeping, her brain is still working at full speed. Only for an hour or so she goes into what would be, for any of us, a light sleep. No deep sleep phase, no REM – only an hour of barely useful nap every twenty-six hours or so.”
“That means brain damage?” Pete has seen people go without sleep for much longer than was healthy for them.
“Not necessarily” Martha bit her lower lip. “The blood results may be an outcome or be linked to the sleeping problems. She may be suffering no damage at all. If her physiology has been altered enough to cope with the blood abnormalities, it may also be coping with no sleep. But I don’t know, frankly, ANY species with such ability.”
Jackie made a strangled noise. The other two looked at her suspiciously as she raked her perfectly coiffed hair with her fingers.
“I know one” she finally uttered.
Pete sat straighter suddenly.
“You think…?”
“I suppose so.”
“Damn.”
Martha waited, suddenly no longer the centre of attention. And quite glad about that. She was a physician, not a xenologist, and her knowledge of aliens was limited to the humanoid ones that have been apprehended by Torchwood. Finally, the pair returned their focus to her.
“What are the real risks here, doctor?”
She inhaled slowly.
“Starting from the ‘human’ risks – as you said, brain damage, personality disorders, ataxia, aphasia, anything, basically. Any other? Well, hard to estimate without knowing the physiology of whatever species she is mutating into, but I suppose similar, including additional physical changes, and, if the change in total is too large, organs shutdown. For the time being, she is staying without contact with us, but her brain is working full-speed, as if she was completely conscious. Her heart rate is 160, BP almost 145/110. This means she’s burning down energy in a rate that is hard to equal by the ‘safe’ IV nutrients we can give her. Also, if this goes for much longer, her heart is going to sustain damage. The options we have now is either putting her into deeper sleep – to make her brain and heart slow down – or try to wake her up in order to check what is actually going on with her.”
Jackie’s eyes jumped nervously from the doctor to her husband.
“Do we have any safe drugs that would keep her in deeper state of sleep for long enough?”
“Fortunately, yes. She had no adverse reaction to Thitrax, so we can give her the deep-coma amount safely and work from there” she rubbed her eyes and nose tiredly. “However, there is always a risk that she won’t wake up from this. I have no way of even guessing the state of her brain – what it is supposed to be and how badly it’s screwed up now. I’m sorry. But I’d rather say it now, then surprise you with this when she doesn’t came back.”
“But if you try to wake her up now…?” Jackie’s lips trembled.
“Her heart will probably give in. And I frankly can’t say what we could do about it, as transplant would probably be out of question.”
Pete drew his wife closer.
“Deep coma. At least we will still have options then.”

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Written by Srebrna

2014/06/01 at 01:45

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