When the Sinful strike back
Timeline: (slight backpost)
Now that she was onboard the so-called USS Victory, there were a few things on Val Seran's to-do list. She had to relinguish her personal weapons - including the GX-80 long range universal weapon, her personal sidearms and her hidden combat knives - at least until the transfer had gone through completely. In order to get to that point she had to have a physical taken as well as study the rules and regulations of the SFMC.
First on the list though was the mandatory physical.
As she wandered the ship, both forms marching in synchronized steps, she couldn't help but marvel at the ship's design. It was elegant and comfortable where it could be, yet not to the extent of a Dalacari craft. Gone were the soft, rounded edges and padding on the walls and floor, replaced by colder, harder materials. Yet still there was the obvious hand of a designer at work, and equally obvious it was to the Dalacari shared mind that the Victory's design was at a half-way point between the Dalacari and the Ts'usugi design philosophies.
Whereas the Dalacari designed their ships with elegance and safety first, function second and the Ts'usugi's philosophy was more or less the polar opposite, function over form, the Starfleet design seemed to be a melding of the two, function where needed, form where possible. If this same balanced philosophy held true in every aspect of the Federation's manifesto, then the Dalacari truly had chosen well in asking them to arbitrate.
Now though she reached the sickbay and both forms stepped inside, taking a moment to look around. It was clear to her that the Federation's medical facilities - while capable - were still a bit less advanced than those on a Dalacari vessel, but she could forgive them that. For now though she called out. "Doctor?" As usual it was the uninjured form that spoke, the one that still had both her natural arms.
Sitting in her office, Sara was keeping busy between cases by updating both the medical files onboard the Victory as well as those of her own people. Sometimes it was hard to keep moving back and forward between Nissari and what the humans called English, but than again alien languages was never one of her strong points. She preferred to look at their physiology rather than their writings. Hearing someone in sickbay call out for a doctor, Sara quickly finished up the report she was working on, code locked her console and walked out into the main sickbay area.
"Hello, how can I help you?" Sara asked, not recognising this new person.
This new person was two almost identical bodies, resembling a humanoid version of a small Earth predator called a stoat. They wore identical uniforms of earthen tones, designed to be practical more than stylish, even their mannerisms and movements seemed in synch. The only telling difference was that one of the two bioforms had an artificial arm and wore a sombre black armband around her natural arm.
It was the other that spoke though. "Hello, Doctor. My name is Val Seran. I am a Dalacari, and a new transfer. I'm here for my mandatory physical, before starting my duties."
"Oh you're a Dalacari? Wow, the Federation does do some fast work. Well than Val Seran, if I could get you to take a seat on one of those biobeds, we will get the scans done and you can be on your way" Sara said, moving over to the closest biobed. Activating its holographic display, she programmed the biobed for a standard medical scan.
"While we wait for the program to load, why don't you tell me a little about your species" Sara said, turning to face her furry paitent.
"I'm only a Marine, not a scientist or doctor, but I'll tell you what I can." spoke Val, as the bioform with both natural arms still there sat down on the indicated biobed. The other stepped close and started speaking.
"We are a binary race, two bodies, one consciousness. Both my brains work together, functioning as one, though a low level telepathic field with a range of roughly eight of your standard meters. One consciousness, one set of thoughts. What one body sees, hears, smells or feels, the other does too." she explained. "The theory is that we evolved from a race of pack hunters, using telepathy to function as one and bring down large prey with numbers. Over time as we evolved to become smarter, the 'pack' grew smaller, and here we are."
Now the Val with the prosthetic arm offered a PADD, "This contains the most up to date medical files on my people. I've been given specific permission to give you these files. Baseline vital readings, nutritional and environmental needs, most common health issues, things like that." she continued. "Normally Dalacari alternate speaking between the two bioforms, often switching mid sentence. I however have had - "
she paused a moment, subconsciously the Val Seran with the prosthetic arm rubbing the sombre black armband that only she was wearing. " ... experience and training in dealing with single Dalacari, Dalacari who've lost a body." Ears wilted slightly on both forms as she spoke. "We've found it's more comfortable to other races, races who are of single body and mind, if only one of our bodies speaks at any given time." She didn't mention it took concentration and effort to do so.
Taking the PADD, Sara began to skim through the information. From what biological information was there, they weren't that dissimilar to other humanoids she had studied, but the telepathy was a little out of the normal. Although she could sence their bond, it didn't seem strong enough to invade the minds of others, and from what she had just been told it wasn't evolved for that purpose anyway.
Putting the PADD down as the program began its scan of the purely biological body, Sara smiled, "well, it seems that I am no longer the only outsider onboard" she said, turning to the other body, "I'm not sure how much you know of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets, but my species is not apart of it, much like yours. I am Sara'draphia T'eseri and my species is called Nissari, it is a pleasure to meet you Ms Seran" she said, giving a slight bow, "and for the time that you will be onboard this ship, I will be your doctor and Chief medical officer"
The files also have a section on what to do if a Dalacari gets separated from itself, or if one of the bioforms becomes heavily injured or incapacitated. It speaks about how being separated even briefly leads to severe deterioration in mental function and being separated in such ways for prolonged periods of time usually leads to severe mental trauma, though military personnel are trained to withstand separation longer than the untrained. It speaks about how separated Dalacari revert to more instinctual behaviour, and the first instinct is to end the separation.
"Pleased to meet you, Sara - ... Dra- ... My apologies. Your name is very exotic to me, I will have to practice on it." Val spoke, looking apologetic. She did offer a soft smile though, honestly pleased to be meeting new people, face to face rather than through a scope. "I know the basics about the Federation and its member races, but I can't say I've ever heard of the Nissari, nor met one before today." It was the one on the biobed, who still had both natural arms and wasn't wearing an armband, that spoke.
Sara nodded, "as I said, my people are not a part of the Federation. Also, you may call me Sara for short, or just Doctor is also acceptable" she said, finishing up her scans, "alright, if you can now swap places, I'll scan your other body."
The two bioforms did as base, swapping places. "Alright, Sara it is. You can call me Val is you want, we Dalacari put our given names in front of our family names, like I think most species in the Federation do."
"Val it is than. Am I than to call both of your bodies the same name?" Sara asked, scanning Val's second body. She was especially fascinated by its prosthetic limbs. "I also imagine you have an interesting story behind that limb"
"Ideally, yes. I am one person, one mind, one set of thoughts, just occupying two bodies. If it makes you more comfortable though, you can refer to my bioforms as Lefty and Trigger." The whole one spoke, but then the one with the prosthetic arm took over, holding her arm up. "For obvious reasons."
When Sara asked about the arm though, both bioforms wilted slightly, taking a breath before answering, the one with prosthetic arm speaking as she absentmindedly ran her good hand over it. "Traffic accident. Drunk driver. I lost an arm. My husband lost a body."
Hearing this, Sara's smiled dropped, "I apologise, I didn't mean to cause you pain" she said, finishing up her scans, "if you wish, I may be able to regenerate your lost arm"
That actually cased Val pause. She shook her head - both of them - at the apology though. "Don't worry about it, it's not - " and the other bioform seamlessly took over the sentence. " - like I'm not reminded of it every moment of every day. You didn't know, no apology necessary."
After that the Dalacari remained silent for a moment before continuing. "N-no. On the regeneration. It's - ... I'm used to this by now. It's a - " and back to the other bioform. It seemed like she lacked the concentration needed to keep focus on only one body, to prevent the speaking from jumping to and fro. " - reminder of my past. Of what happened. It would feel like cheating to regenerate the arm."
"I understand, it was only an offer, which is always available should you change your mind" Sara replied, turning back to her scan data, "well, it seems your biology is relatively similar to most humanoid species, which is surprising but not entirely unexpected" she said, turning back to the fully organic body, "do you mind if I ask you a few questions about your telepathic abilities?"
"Sure." the bioform on the biobed spoke. "Go ahead, ask me anything you want."
"Having two minds linked together, does that allow you to process information faster?"
A soft smile. "I expected this question and have read up on the subject before coming here." It seemed that Val had regained enough composure to enable her to keep focus, as she would call it, on a single bioform. "There have been many studies into this very subject ever since we learned that it was our duality that was unique in the universe and most other species were single."
"While we do have two brains working together to form a single mind, a lot of that brainpower goes into the subconscious communication between the brains, synchronizing thoughts, sensory input, things like that." Val continued. "Although we Dalacari have an inherently superior sense of the three-dimensional space we live in compared to races which see things from only one angle and our sense of hearing is also above the norm, in terms of intelligence or information processing we are roughly on par with Humans and behind Vulcans."
"That said, we do multitask better. I can have both of my bioforms concentrating on separate tasks. Like readings two books at the same time, for example. Or writing a report while cleaning my weapon." the Dalacari mused. "In fact, I can get bored if there's not enough to do to keep both bodies busy."
"Facinating" Sara said, taking notes as they went, "I'm not sure if you've explained this already, but if one of your forms is asleep, does the other form have a reduced processing ability or do you generally have both forms sleep at the same time?"
"Dalacari twins do everything together, at the same time. Eating, working, resting, sleeping. It's not so much a choice as simply one mind doing one thing. If for some reason one body is forced to stay awake as the other sleeps, well, the experience is - ... " Val paused a moment. " ... Miserable. Almost like being apart. Almost like being single. Just not quite as severe."
The Dalacari hesitated another moment before continuing. "It's difficult to explain ghosting to someone who doesn't have a concept of it, but - " the other bioform took over the speaking role, shifting focus. Apparently the subject of the discussion meant she couldn't concentrate on keeping the focus on a single body. " - one body is asleep and the other awake, there is no communication. Just emptiness."
Val switched focus back to the other form again. "Mind you, that emptiness is still better than the noise, the static, of being apart. Of being a single." Both Dalacari bodies frowned. "Mind you, both bodies sleeping at the same time is a very strong instinct. There would have to be an outside force keeping - " a focus shift again. " - one body awake while forcing the other into a sleep state. We will normally go out of our way to avoid ghosting."
Processing this information, Sara licked her lips in thought, "ok I think I'm starting to understand. Just to follow on, if you lose one of your bodies, can you form a link with another single Dalacari or for that matter someone with telepathy of their own?"
Val shook her head, both of them. "No. The link is only ever between the two bodies of one person. Losing a body is a very traumatic experience, only one out of a thosuand Dalacari that do lose a body continue to function in any productive way."
"I understand that, but has anyone put any research into trying to link two single body Dalacari?" Sara asked, bringing up the bio scans she'd just taken from the two bodies. "From what I can tell, your bodies are perfectly capable of operating on its own and the only thing that causes the trauma is the severing of the telepathic link. I believe the Trill can have a similar problem. Perhaps, with your permission, I could look into this for you during my spare time?"
"Generations of the best Dalacari scientists and doctors have spent centuries trying to answer that very same question, using - and I mean absolutely - " a focus shift. Apparently she couldn't quite maintain the concentration to have just one body speaking, saying what she was. " - no offense - using superior medical science and technology to what the Federation has, and have been unable to do what you are suggesting." Val explained. "Again, I mean no offense. I'm no scientist, I'm - " And the focus switched back to the other bioform again, seamlessly picking up where the other stopped. " - just a soldier."
Sara nodded, "no offence taken, my people have their own problem the can't find a solution for. I will respect your decision and leave this subject alone" she said, closing the holographic display, "and with that said, if there is nothing else you need to tell me, I have no further questions for you. If you have any I am happy to answer them"
"No questions right now." answered the Dalacari, standing up from the biobed. "Everything in order then? I'm cleared for duty?"
"Well, I can't speek for any other part of the process, but medically yes you are cleared for duty" Sara said with a smile, "just remember if you ever change your mind about replacing your arm, I'm always ready to talk"
"Thanks doc." Val smiled and left.