Chapter 7: Complications

"You are entrusting my brain into her hands?" Crais asked, memories of surgical scissors in his leg at the front of his mind.

"I told you that I needed someone else with medical expertise to do this operation. Jool is perfectly well qualified. Unless you prefer to remain with a three cycle gap in your memory?"

"I promise not to jab anything into your brain," Jool said, with a small smile.

Crais gave Carma a doubtful look.

"Honestly," she said, "any other man in the whole uncharted territories would be thrilled to have the undivided attention of two women for three arns. Now lie back, relax and we'll take a look inside your skull."

"How comforting," Crais replied, just before Carma knocked him out.

***

Crais woke, feeling slightly groggy and tried to focus on his surroundings.

"How are you feeling?" Jool asked.

"Was the operation a success?" he asked, looking around. "And where is Carma?"

"Carma has gone to keep Talyn company. We successfully removed the neural blocker, but I don't know how long it will take for your memories to resurface. It could take several days before you notice any difference."

Crais nodded. "I must return to Talyn," he said, and tried to get up. He discovered that he was locked into a stabiliser.

Jool grinned. "Carma insisted on at least three arns for you to recover. She said this was the only way to get you to take them."

Irritation flashed across Crais' face as he reluctantly lay back. Jool grinned again. "Don't worry Crais," she said. "If you're a good boy, I'll let you out in two!"

***

He found Carma on Talyn's bridge.

"Feeling better?" she asked.

"I would have preferred not to have spent two arns unable to move with only Jool for company," he replied.

"It was in your best interests. I wanted to give your body time to start recovering after the operation. I knew you'd be up, trying to finish repairing Talyn, the moment you woke if I'd let you. You went through a serious procedure."

"And now it is over," Crais said, putting his hands on her shoulders.

She shrugged him off. "Bialar...Crais, I still don't think we should get involved."

"I am no longer your patient."

"When I said that carers didn't become involved with patients, I didn't automatically mean that we would become lovers when that had changed."

"I gained that impression," Crais replied, slowly moving round to stand in front of her.

She avoided his eyes. "That's not my fault."

"May I ask what is holding you back?" he asked, studying her face.

"Is it so hard to believe that I just don't think we'd make a good match?"

Crais shook his head. "In the short time I have known you my perception of you has been altered so many times, I no longer even imagine that I understand your motives. You seem to change your intentions from microt to microt. But one thing I am sure of is that you want us to share more than danger."

She looked back at him, her expression hard. "Whatever you believe my feelings to be, my answer is still no. There is no chance that I will change my mind. Just...accept it. It is for the best."

"I cannot agree with that."

She didn't answer. As she walked out he caught a few muttered words. They sounded like 'you will'.

***

The sleep cycle had begun, but Crais was determined to know what was going on. Some instinct told him that she would still be awake as he was. He strode down the corridors on Talyn until he reached her quarters and activated the door controls.

He shivered when he entered the room. The temperature felt far below optimum, far enough to be uncomfortable for him. After a microt, though, this slid far from his mind when he spotted the figure on the bed.

She was curled up, arms wrapped around her stomach as if she was in pain, moving constantly and making feverish, incoherent sounds. He almost ran the few steps to the bed. He put a hand to her forehead and recoiled instantly at the heat radiating from her. One thing was certain, something was very wrong.

Instructing Talyn to inform Moya of their imminent arrival, he scooped her up and carried her quickly to the hanger. Bundling both of them into a transport pod he flew as rapidly as he dared to Moya, where Pilot greeted them in confusion. Giving Pilot instructions to wake Jool and send her to the medilab, Crais hurried there himself, Carma in his arms, completely obliviously to her surroundings.

***

"Tell me what is wrong with her," Crais growled, worry shortening his temper.

A decidedly sleepy and rumpled Jool glared back at him. "I won't know until I finish running the blood test, which will take longer if you keep interrupting me."

Crais turned back to Carma, a worried look flashing over his features.

"I'm working as fast as I can," Jool said, in a more comforting tone. "The ice bath should help to keep her temperature down, I can't do anything else until I know what's causing this."

Crais nodded in acknowledgement, his eyes never leaving Carma's unconscious form.

Jool looked at her results. Her brow furrowed and she studied the sample through a microscope. Crais noticed her expression.

"What is it?" he asked.

Jool bit her lip and looked up at him. "Her entire system is flooded with Herazine, it's a metabolic bi-product of Deuterol," she replied.

"What is that?" Crais asked, searching his memory and drawing a blank.

Jool hesitated again. "It's a narcotic Crais. Extremely powerful and highly addictive, dependence develops very quickly. Judging by the levels in her blood and the damage to her internal organs, she must have been using it for at least five cycles, probably longer."

"And that is why she is ill," Crais said, emotions battling inside him.

"Wherever her supply is from, she doesn't have any more of it. Her body has gone into withdrawal, it can't function without the drug."

"What can you do to help?"

"Nothing," Jool said. "The only way to stop the symptoms is to get more of the drug. Production is tightly regulated and we could never get sufficient currency to buy enough. Besides, the drug is destroying her body. Even if we get her more, I predict that it will cause organ failure within a few cycles and ill health long before that. I can't do anything to help her."

"There must be some way?" Crais demanded.

"Maybe there is, but I have no idea what," Jool replied helplessly.

Crichton chose that moment to walk in, rubbing his eyes. "Hey Crais, Pilot said you were down here...what the hell happened?" he asked, spotting Carma.

"Her body is suffering intense withdrawal," Jool supplied.

"Withdrawal from what?"

"A drug called Deuterol."

"She's a drug addict now?" Crichton asked. "Man Crais, you really know how to pick 'em."

"If you have nothing helpful to add Crichton," Crais snapped, "I suggest that you leave."

"How long will it take to get through this?" Crichton asked. "Then we can get some answers."

Jool looked back at him. "Her body is in shock. Her chances of survival are almost non-existent."

"There has to be something we can do," Crais said again, wanting to believe it.

Crichton looked thoughtful. "You've got to get the remains of the drug out of her system first, right? Couldn't we just use Moya's filters to pump it out of her?"

"I do not know if that would be possible," Crais replied.

"Yeah it is, we already did it one time when Aeryn was sick," Crichton said, thinking. "They had this thing on Earth where they could put you under and pump like cleansing fluid through you until they got it cleaned out of your system so you didn't have to go through the withdrawal."

Jool looked doubtful. "Even if we remove all the remains of the drug, I don't know if her body can survive without it."

"We must try something," Crais said. "I suggest that we do not waste time."

"I'll fix it up with Pilot, you bring the patient," Crichton said.

Crais, Crichton and Jool hurried down the corridor, each silently hoping that this would work.

***

Crais' face slowly swam into focus.

"Hi," Carma whispered groggily.

"Hello," Crais replied.

"What happened?"

"We have removed all traces of the drug from your body and cleansed your system as best we could," Crais replied.

"How am I?" Carma asked softly.

"Jool predicts that you will make a full recovery."

He was lying and she knew it.

"Are you going to give me an explanation?" he asked, uncertain whether or not to press her.

"Will any one do or does it have to be the truth?" Carma asked weakly.

"I would prefer the truth," Crais replied.

Carma closed her eyes for a moment. "You ever wonder how someone goes from being a carer to being a spy?"

"On many occasions."

"It's quite easy, you just remove all their other options," Carma said, a note of bitterness entering her weak voice. "As soon as the government heard that my father was involved with the Veldone's project, they recalled me to the national training centre. Everyone in the medical profession goes there to be trained and evaluated. I didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary, and at first it wasn't."

She stopped a moment to steady her breath.

"Then they took me off into the interview rooms and they asked me if I would take the job of spying on my father. I told them I didn't want to. All I wanted to be was a carer, not a spy. They said...fine," she said, spitting out the last word. "I didn't know they were already feeding me that stuff. Ever since the day I walked in the building. After that interview they stopped giving it to me and I got sick. That's when they told me...that I had to do it or I wouldn't get any more of it, and if I didn't get more I'd most likely die. I'd never felt anything like the pain I had when they took it away, I was pretty much willing to do anything not to feel it again. They've supplied it to me ever since and I've kept doing their job. Now the contract's run out."

"And they would allow you to suffer and die."

"If I had stayed they'd have used me again for something else, until the drug finally killed me anyway. I don't want to live like that anymore. I'd rather just die here."

"You are not going to die," Crais said definitely.

"Sorry Captain, it's out of your control."

"You are *not* going to die," Crais said again. "You can survive. You survived the purging process which was far more terrible than this. All you have to do is to focus on regaining your strength."

"So I can do what exactly? There isn't much call for a carer or a spy around here."

Crais smiled. "I am certain that I can find something for you to do," he said.

Carma gave a weak smile. "Maybe it would be safer to ask someone else," she said.

Jool and Crichton stood just outside the doorway, unknown to Crais and Carma, watching them.

"Crais has found himself someone other than Aeryn to think about. That has to be a good thing," Crichton said.

"Don't get his hopes up Crichton," Jool replied.

"You don't think she'll make it then?"

Jool turned to him sadly, "it would be a miracle if she even makes it through the
night."

FIN

A/N: This story has a complete sequel and an incomplete third part (currently being written), which I will probably not post here. If you would like to read them, go here:
http://pub120.ezboard.com/ffarscapediscussionfrm35. The sequel is 'Wounds', the third part 'The Quick Fix'.