Star Trek: The Medusa Syndrome
The Affliction Spreads
Chasing the Wisp
A year has passed since the events narrated in
Survival Test. The cadets,
Gerron, Gol, Jarmia,
Prev, Taylor and Vida
are approaching the end of their second year at the Academy. Exams are almost
over and the annual Sadie Hawkins ball is rapidly approaching. The dance, a long-standing
Academy custom, turns the social tables by requiring women to ask men to the
dance. Professor Axander Moltros, a Centauran archaeologist who also at the
Academy has also just returned from a major dig on Digrala III and will be presenting a
series of lectures on the dig and the discoveries made.
To unwind following their end-of-year examinations several of the
cadets decide to go sub-orbital sky-diving. Gol decides to attend one of
Professor Moltros' lectures. The professor is an entertaining speaker and makes
a potentially boring lecture come alive with personal anecdotes, observations and tales
of camp life. One by one he shows the audience the Digralan artifacts he's
recovered, including his most significant find, an object he describes as
a 'Digralan Omphalas'. The Omphalas is a statuette just under 1 meter tall. It depicts
a seated humanoid figure with exaggerated features. The professor estimates that it is thousands
of years old and says that it seems to have been of religious significance to the Digralans.
It is early morning and the members of Griffin Squad are starting to rise. Suddenly
Vida's voice can be heard calling for help. The cadets enter her quarters to find her
lying in bed unable to move. Taylor immediately requests an emergency transport to
the Academy medical center. A medical examination reveals an unusual, never-before-encountered enzyme has
entered her body by unknown means. The enzyme somehow interferes with the ability to process certain nerve
impulses causing paralysis. The condition does not seem to be immediately
life-threatening & the doctors
predict Vida will return to normal in a few days as the body's natural immune processes clear out the
enzyme. Vida is kept in the medical center for further observation and tests.
The Affliction Spreads
The next day another cadet is admitted to the medical center
with the same symptoms as
Vida and a day later another cadet is also admitted. The affliction seems to be spreading at the rate of
1 person / day. All the victims are female cadets. As a medical student Taylor has easy access to the medical
center and the doctors. The doctors are concerned that the affliction is spreading but remain confident that the
condition is temporary. Taylor talks to the other victims. Both recall the terror of waking up unable to
move but seem to have little else in common. One attended the lecture given by Professor Moltros. Both
have yet to find a date for the Sadie Hawkins Ball.
Taylor confers with the other cadets. Jarmia decides to check transporter logs for the last week, to see if
this reveals any common factor. Gol returns to Vida's apartment to perform some tricorder scans.
Jarmia spends some time persuading Starfleet Security to check the transporter logs for Vida and the other
victims. The logs do not reveal any common factor.
Gol, assisted by some of the other cadets, performs a tricorder scan in Vida's apartment, looking for anything unusual. He detects a faint energy trail,
similar to that given off by standard Federation equipment (tricorders, PADDS etc). He follows it, with some
difficulty. It leads to the lecture hall where Professor Moltros gave his lecture, specifically to the item he describes as an
Omphalas. Gol also detects two other fain energy trails leading from the Omphalas. He follows each of these
in turn. They lead to the apartments of the two other victims.
Chasing the Wisp
By the time the cadets have explained their findings to Starfleet Security and convinced
them to act it is late evening. The Omphalas is beamed from the lecture hall to a secure area. Based on the
energy readings from Gols tricorder a force field has been modified to prevent whatever entity hides within the Omphalas from escaping.
The cadets return to their quarters.
The following morning another victim is admitted to the medical
center. The cadets begin to
realize that the force field was preventing the entity from returning to the Omphalas. Tricorder scans seem
to conform this. The cadets follow the energy trail to the medical center. Vida has by now recovered and was discharged
a short time ago. The cadets scan the most recent victim. An energy trail leads from the victim to the bed
that Vida occupied. It then leaves the medical center. It looks as though the entity has possessed Vida!
The cadets alert Starfleet Security who quickly pinpoint Vida in one of the
refectory buildings. She is
somewhat confused. The energy trail leads from Vida to a nearby table. The entity seems to be jumping from
person to person. Tracking it sown is not going to be easy!
Taylor talks to the doctors at the medical center again. They conjecture that the entity is
feeding in some way on human emotions and life force. They suggest that maybe it is attracted in some way to
people exhibiting strong emotions. The cadets suggest that a projective empath might be able to attract the entity
which could then be trapped. There is such an empath on one of the Starfleet
vessels nearby so this plan is put into motion.
An EMH is programmed to sedate the empath as soon as the entity appears inside the area covered by the
containment field. The containment field is dropped and the empath start to project strong negative emotions. A while later
a red-orange wisp of energy enters the chamber and moves towards the empath. The EMH sedates the empath and the containment field
is activated. The wisp darts back into the Omphalas.
The cadets all receive commendations and Professor Moltros invites them to join him on the dig when
he returns their next year - an honor indeed.