Lethargic and rubbery, the first officer of the Enterprise woke feeling more like a strung out rubber band. Every limb felt like lead, and the eyelids were no better. After what seemed a millennia of listening to his own laboured breathing, Will Riker managed to crack open his eyes to the vast domain of the cargo bay.
Breathing in and out, remaining still because he felt too drained, Will continued to stare across the rows of make shift beds littering the Enterprises' deck, finally working out the layout to be Cargo Bay 3. A thin sheet covered each of the dormant crewmembers, including him. It's weight oppressive as he tried to move.
What happened? His mind screamed. The same white sheets indicative of past rescue missions he'd managed, even from battle-damaged ships. But why was he here?
Thinking hard Will Riker blinked a few times as the visage of Ogawa in a sealed white suit pointed towards him. Her voice lost within the sealed environment.
Struggling against the thick sludge that inhabited his body, Will swung a hand forward to flop outside the sheet, only to hang limply from the bed edge. His arm viewable before him, white, pale, sickly.
[Relax commander; you're making the first signs of recovery] Ogawa settled in to squat down before him, eye to eye. Her gaze taking in his confused bright blue eyes and slow blinking lids.
Another white form moved behind her only to soon take her place.
[Blink twice if you recognise me] the figure asked.
He lay there for two more heartbeats taking in the blur of the figure before him, afraid to blink in case he closed his eyes forever. Things were starting to turn sideways.
[Do I look familiar?]
Another three beats of his heart and he struggled to force out a foul breathy answer.
"Beverrli." He gasped till she rushed forward to adjust the mask he had not been aware he was wearing.
[Don't talk. We need to keep the oxygen/ferrin mix inside you, not wasted on conversation.]
With heavy laboured breaths he soon felt better through the adjusted mask.
[Glad you could join us again, you had us worried] her smile did wonders.
Blinking rapidly, Will began to look around some more. How many of us are there? He wondered.
Seeing his concern Beverly rested a hand on his bare shoulder. [Epidemic. Took us by surprise fairly quickly, but it's nearly under control. You seemed to go down pretty fast once the symptoms immersed.]
Trying to roll over to his side, Will Riker thought he resembled blancmange more than a hardened Starfleet officer. Limbs wobbling around till two techs at Beverly's nod helped him to roll to his right.
Reaching up, he tried to remove his mask, pulling it down a little before Beverly halted his movements. "Never thought I'd end up naked under a sheet in cargo bay 3." He grimaced.
[Well it's better than morgue 3] She smiled warmly, glad to see her pseudo brother recover, moment by moment. [We managed to synthesise the antidote just as you dropped. Had poor Deanna terrified Will.]
His eyes widened noticeably, and Beverly wished she hadn't worried him. [She's fine, only seemed to affect males with a certain ability]
"Great." He groaned noticing some of the crew surrounding him. A frown beginning to wrinkle across his forehead, just like a caterpillar on a mission. "What ability?" He queried.
[Empaths, telepaths, twins, high psi raters and ] she looked around before whispering his link. [ Imzadi]
"What did IT do?" concerned that maybe he was missing something downstairs, it was numb below his waist, and he was mighty dizzy.
Beverly smiled [something that women have wished for, for many years] her grin widening. [Seems you managed to catch a little red baron action]
Will frowned, where had he heard that before?
[Aunt Irma] she taunted
Again he squinted, a headache forming on top of the one he woke with.
[Oh come on Will, don't tell me Deanna hasn't given it a name.]
"Deanna is behind it?"
[No. But with her link you became susceptible to it from the moment you caught the virus. You see the viral properties enhanced those men whose talent lay in feeling or sensing others, the problem was, and it also made you hormonal.]
Will lay quietly trying to take it all in. "you're saying I'm hormonal?"
[Well not exactly. It's more that you're sensing other women and their discomfort and it's exhibiting its symptoms in you.] Blushing a little
"I'm what!?!" Will roared, suddenly slumping back down to the make shift triage bed as a sharp pain rippled through his abdomen. "I need chocolate." He gasped. "No make that pain killer."
[At least we caught it so that you're now only feeling the same an earthen woman would. The full dose of the virus overloaded your pain receptors when it first appeared. It's why we've so many still out cold. You're lucky you're just linked via Deanna and not a full empath.] Watching him cringe.
"This is normal?"
[Every month] Beverly nodded, watching Will squirm.
"I'm never going to tell a woman to buck up and get over it again." Will sighed. "I think there needs to be a national holiday organised." He smiled.
[Medals?] She suggested in mirth as she caught the laughter in Will's blue eyes. [Good to see you feeling better Will. Just lie back, relax and enjoy the national holiday at the captain's expense.] Patting him affectionately on the shoulder.
"Bev wait! What did you tell him was wrong with me?" Will began to worry how he'd bare the teasing that was bound to come from his close friends and past workmates.
[Don't worry Will, I told him you were still a full blooded male but just a little more sensitive to the ways of women.] Leaving him be she began to walk away only to think of one last thing before he relaxed back into slumber.
[Oh and Worf said he'd be happy to get you a skant, to match your new femininity, but Deanna beat him to it.] Pointing to a garment now lying across the bed. [Get up before you're allowed mister, and you get to wear that back to your quarters.] Having seen Will's jaw drop in distaste, Beverly turned away before tears of laughter ruined her vision.
Deanna's aid in coming up with a plan to keep Will in bed, working flawlessly.
Meanwhile, back in her cabin, Deanna Troi laughed as she felt the rolling waves of mirth, fear and payback cross the bond. "Payback Imzadi? I think on behalf of all women, we got you first."
The 'Aunt Lwaxanna' end