Interlude: Doctor Patient Confidentiality (4)
AN- Thanks to Drakependragon and Reikson
Interlude: Doctor Patient Confidentiality (4)
“Miss Lawson,” Chakwas said dryly, “…may I repeat my oft-made suggestion that you wear something in the field that’s a little less flattering to your admittedly-impressive figure and a little more protective of it?”
Miranda quirked an eyebrow. “Is that your professional opinion, Doctor?” she asked archly.
Chakwas snorted, jabbing a thumb into Lawson’s still sensitive side in lieu of actually talking.
Miranda gasped from the pain, instinctively grabbing at the wound.
“Why, yes, Miss Lawson, that would indeed be my professional opinion,” the doctor smirked.
“All right,” the genetically-engineered woman backed down, gritting her teeth from a fresh surge of pain. “Well, I happen to have something that I was saving for the big mission, but I suppose that I can wear it on regular assignments as well.”
“Please do,” Chakwas nodded, running her omnitool across her patient’s wound. “As much as I’d enjoy the company, you’re much too valuable to be sitting on the sidelines.”
“Helen, I sign your pay stubs.” Miranda reminded the old woman pointedly.
“In medical matters, my authority supersedes Shepard herself,” the good doctor shrugged.
“Fine,” Miranda grumbled. “So, will I get a clean bill of health? Shepard’s made herself clear; anyone who doesn’t get a sign-off from you will be staying behind when we hit Hagalaz and the Shadow Broker.”
“Your injury’s healing well,” Chakwas shrugged, closing her omnitool as the dermal regenerator finished its work. “Normally, I’d say that you should sit out the next mission or two, but your enhanced rate of tissue regeneration means that you’d probably be combat-capable, if not completely combat-ready, by the time we reach Hagalaz. Just take it easy and find someone large to stand behind. I’d suggest Grunt, that Krogan boy. “
“I was a little worried. About the wound, I mean.”
“It was a fairly-decent patch job,” Chakwas shrugged, still examining the scan results on a nearby terminal. “Who do I have to thank for the work that I don’t have to do to patch you up?”
“Xander Harris, apparently,” Miranda winced as Chakwas kept probing her wound. “He saved my life, even applying the medigel by hand when it wouldn’t circulate through my system.”
The aging doctor nodded grimly. “It’s… not unheard of,” she said noncommittally, turning back to her monitors and examining something on them closely.
“Is there a problem, Doctor?”
“You said that Xander worked on you?” the older woman asked, not even looking at her. When Miranda nodded, the older woman’s eyebrows climbed. “Did anything… happen, while he was groundside? Anything odd or unusual?”
“Nothing worth mentioning,” the genetically-engineered woman shrugged. “I mean, I had some kind of OBE, and a hallucination that Xander’s eyes were glowing gold.”
“Evidence of your need to rest and maybe take it easy, perhaps,” Chakwas sighed, tapping away at something on her terminal. “But I know all too well how people like you tend to respond to being told to take it easy.”
“So… no worries, then?” Miranda asked. There was something about the doctor’s demeanor that had her on edge.
“No, no, you’re quite fine. The picture of health, all things considered,” the aging doctor said.
Miranda frowned somewhat. Something was bothering Chakwas, all right. She seemed incredibly taken aback by something that she was seeing on the monitor.
“Are you sure that everything’s all right, Helen?”
“I’ll get you a list of crew injuries and medical recommendations, shouldn’t take me more than an hour before they’re on your desk.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” the genetically-engineered woman sighed, leaning back on her bed. “I’m glad to see at least one person on Shepard’s team who can fill out paperwork.”
She noted the way Chakwas seemed disturbed by whatever was on her desk terminal.
Heading to her office and sitting down in her chair, she actually let herself slump in relaxation.
She couldn’t rid herself of the feeling that the good doctor was holding something back, as though she was hiding something. Most of Shepard’s crew liked their secrets, a personal security measure that she understood and even approved of as a sentiment.
But Chakwas had been something of an exception, a flawless professional in the same fashion of many other people who ended up in Shepard’s orbit.
That is, until now.
Bringing up one of her monitor screens, she called out, “EDI, I have a priority request.”
“Yes, Miss Lawson?”
“Access the ship’s medical database. Pull up the deleted files of ship CMO Helen Chakwas.”
“Working… the only deleted item is an image from a medical scan. Would you like it displayed?”
“Who’s the subject of the scan, EDI?”
“You, Miss Lawson. The image timestamp says that it was taken only a few minutes ago.”
“This scan is what my internals look like, right at this moment?”
“Yes, Miss Lawson.” A picture flared to life on her computer, a slideshow of data that had been deleted and even redacted. “Doctor Chakwas apparently replaced this scan with the results from an older examination, and went to great lengths to hide this deed.”
“Why would she delete a scanned image of me?”
“Unknown, Miss Lawson.”
Miranda looked at the digital readout of the actual file in question. The images looked familiar to her, almost strangely so. “EDI, am I looking at my uterus?”
“Yes, Miss Lawson.”
Miranda was as familiar with her internal organs as any man or woman could be. However, she had gone to great lengths in order to familiarize herself with her uterine walls in particular.
“Run a comparative analysis between this picture and what’s on file.”
“Working…” EDI intoned. “…complete. Displaying results, Miss Lawson.”
Miranda had only needed to look at the two pictures side-by-side for a few seconds or so before she found herself breathless. The filed scan image showed her uterus as it’d been even only a few hours ago, including the scar tissue and the many small polyps that had lined the walls of her uterus for most of her life.
Such extensive damage meant that she couldn’t get pregnant even if she wanted to, and Miranda had long suspected and blamed her father’s genetic tailoring for this particular shortcoming.
But the results of the deleted scan revealed something shocking; the polyps and scar tissue that she had been so familiar with, were now all gone.
Bringing up her omnitool, Miranda quickly synced it to her terminal and ran an extrapolative program on the two pictures now being presented to her side-by-side. A few minutes later, as the results highlighted the differences between the two images, she sat back in her chair in shock over the implications of the results.
Her scarring had somehow been reversed. If she was so inclined, she could become pregnant with a child of her own.
The only possible explanation for this miracle was that Xander Harris’ intervention on Haestrom was somehow responsible.
She found herself touching her belly in wonder.
Such healing seemed impossible, nothing short of miraculous.
Then she remembered something, and her mind began churning.
Why would Chakwas want to conceal something like this from her?
Of all the things that she could possibly lie about, why this?
“EDI, is there any connection that Helen Chakwas might have with Xander Harris? Something not on the official record?”
“There is only one notable connection,” EDI’s voice seemed apologetic, if possible. “Helen Chakwas’ medical education was funded by a sizable grant from both the Summers Trust and the Rosenberg Foundation. Xander Harris is listed as a founding member of both groups.”
“Xander paid for Helen Chakwas’ tertiary education?” the genetically-engineered woman echoed aloud, incredulous. “But that’s impossible; he’s only in his late twenties at best, and Helen’s at least thirty years older than him.”
“I do not have enough information to speculate. But both the Rosenberg Foundation and the Summers Trust are public organizations, well known for their charity work ever since they were founded in 2100.”
She frowned. “EDI, are there anyone else on the Normandy with connections to those two organizations?”
“Working… there is only one match. Mister Moreau’s medical treatments, as well as some of his early education outside the Alliance military, were paid for by grants from both the Trust and the Foundation.”
Miranda continued staring at the two pictures side-by-side on her monitor, unwilling to believe what she was seeing. “EDI, I’d like a copy of any medical reports that Doctor Chakwas has made regarding this incident.”
“She has made no mention of this incident at all, Miss Lawson.”
Her frown deepened into a scowl. There was definitely a cover-up at work here, and for the ship’s CMO to be in on it could mean disaster for the mission. “EDI, have a copy of these scans sent to my Illium dropbox via burst transmission.”
“Would you like a copy sent to Cronos Station?”
“No!” she nearly shouted, panicked. If Xander Harris really had pulled off this medical miracle, then she needed him on hand if his… treatment… turned out to be temporary. “Under no circumstances is any of this information to be sent to Cerberus Command. At least, not until I know what’s going on. Any response to my queries is to be routed directly to me, my eyes only.”
Joan Shepard was stronger and faster than any normal human had any right to be, and she’d said that her enhanced physical abilities had come as a result of coming into contact with Xander Harris. However, Shepard had been vague on HOW Xander had managed to achieve that feat, amongst other things.
For instance, there had been that slip-up with Oleg Vodyev. A quick extranet search of ‘Oleg Vodyev the Bomber’ revealed an old documentary-vid detailing humanity’s history with the mass-effect, dating back from about ten years ago. There was even a clip in which one of his coworkers waxed nostalgic about Oleg making a critical breakthrough while drunk off of Smirnoff Jägerbombs, his favorite drink.
Xander had mentioned something to that extent, now that she thought about it.
Rumor was that Aria T’Loak had temporarily boasted biotic abilities well beyond what could be naturally accounted for, even in the most powerful of Asari Matriarchs.
Now, one of the few defects that Miranda Lawson ever had, the one that she’d assumed would keep her from ever knowing the joy of having a child naturally and being the parent that her father had never been to her…
Now, that defect was gone. As if by magic.
…and the only connection between all these people was Xander Harris.
Now, she realized that Helen Chakwas seemed aware of the cause of this miracle, and was actively attempting to cover up its existence.
The answer was obvious; she was protecting Xander Harris. But for what reason?
All four of them were ongoing people of interest to the Illusive Man.
They were a puzzle to her, one that her boss held many of the pieces needed to decipher; pieces that he insisted on hiding, even from her; his most trusted aid.
There had to be a reason for his secrecy.
For the first time since she’d come aboard, Miranda Lawson cursed the Normandy’s extensive surveillance apparatus.
How could she search for the truth about the Illusive Man’s connection to all this without him discovering what she was after?
She knew, better than anyone else alive, that the Illusive Man liked his secrets and was willing to kill to protect them.
If he couldn’t reach you, then he’d find someone that he could reach.
Which meant that she had to check on Oriana immediately.