Summary: Shem and Zaharis try to find some logic in the two recent suicides.
Date: 102 ACH
Related Logs: Loyalties, By Whose Hand?, and Rock Bottom

Chief Medical Officers Office Genesis - Deck 13
102 ACH 23787 Souls

The office of the Chief Medical Officer is a small room, used mostly for consultations and review of sensitive patient materials than the paperwork of the Medical department, which goes through the Naval Administrative offices. Still somehow it has file cabinets along one wall stuffed full of papers, two chairs in front of a desk behind which a large leather chair is set. On the desk sits a computer terminal.
Sitting on the file cabinet is a Rod of Asclepius carved from two different types of wood. The rod is made from lighter wood, while the snake is darker. The eye of the snake is inlayed with tiny crystals so that it sparkles in the light. It stands on a smallish pedestal with a legend: Do no harm to thyself nor to others.

Someone is knocking at the door.
You hear shouting: Come in.

Shem comes in from Sickbay.
Shem has arrived.

Zaharis is behind his desk, smoking what's probably one of the last cigarettes in the fleet as the vent whirrs quietly overhead. He looks up from the papers as someone knocks, spinning the pen over his fingers.

Shem pushes the hatch closed behind him. He's holding a thin, unmarked manilla folder. Lips pressed together mutely, expression serious. "Sir," he mumbles as he approaches, compounding it with a salute.

Marines and their mysterious folders. Shit. Zaharis puts his pen down, trading it for his cigarette. The other hand salutes and lowers. "Lieutenant. How can I help you?"

Shem drops his hand down to his side. "Sir, it's about this autopsy on Ensign Lowes. I have a couple of questions."

"Figured you might." Zaharis knocks his mouse with his fingers, waking up his computer screen. "Have a seat." He pauses a few seconds to type, presumably something related to Lowes as the screen blinks and brings up a file from their autopsy database.

Shem takes a seat and puts the folder onto the desk. He clears his throat.

Zaharis hits enter and, once the screen displays what he wants, looks back at Shem. "Shoot."

Shem opens up the folder and scans through it. There's some underlines. "What's the significance of his pupils being big?"

Zaharis glances at his screen, then back at the MP. "The Ensign suffered an injury to a particular part of the brain that would typically cause constriction of the pupils rather than dilation. Common sign in this sort of situation. That they were dilated suggests some other influence…most logical is that it was a toxin of some sort."

"Toxin, sir?" Shem asks. "Drugs, that sort of stuff?"

"Yes." Zaharis nods, his lips thinning into a faint frown. "Some psychoactive drugs are known to have that effect. It's all the more significant because Commander Regas displayed the same sign."

Shem frowns. "Did you get a drug test on them, sir?"

"Yes, both were negative." Zaharis flicks ash off his cigarette. "However that doesn't rule it out. A number of drugs exist that don't show up on normal tox screens. You have to know exactly what you're looking for to scan for them, and we don't."

Shem tilts his head to the side and scratches the lower eyebrow with his thumb. He looks back down at his page. "Was Lowes being seen by a shrink, sir?"

Zaharis shakes his head. "No, he wasn't."

"And this smoke around his fingers, sir," Shem asks. "Do you think you guys can figure out the source of?"

"We're looking at it." Zaharis frowns. "He didn't have any signs of cigarette or cigar-based chemicals in his system. Then again neither did Regas, and Regas was observed smoking right before his death. What did the people who saw him shoot himself say about it? Did they see Lowes smoking by any chance?"

Shem shakes his head. "My people are sitting down with the witnesses as we speak, sir." He closes the folder. "Those cigars I sent down, did they check out as authentic?"

"There was nothing about the cheroots that was off," Zaharis says, taking a drag off his own cigarette. "But again, that doesn't rule anything out. It's just…bizarre. I mean, there are plenty of drugs that can cause depression and increase likelyhood of suicide, but a drug that -causes- someone to go shoot themselves? It just doesn't exist." he pauses a moment. "At least…not that -we- have."

"How about something that causes somebody to get real paranoid?" Shem suggests, cautiously.

Zaharis frowns. "None I can think of that specifically cause it, though there are plenty that can have that side effect."

Shem glances at the chief medical officer's cigarette. He sniffs. "I'll see about finding out where the commander got those things."

Zaharis glances at the end of the cigarette, perhaps abruptly aware of the irony. He doesn't put it out, though. "That might be prudent. Did you find any evidence of them in Lowes' belongings?"

"I haven't started digging around his life yet," Shem answers.

"Alright." Zaharis falls silent for a few seconds. "A cheroot. Even if it is that…the dose of a drug that one could get into something like that is minute. There's something we're missing here."

Shem replies, dryly, "No doubt about that, sir."

Zaharis pulls a last drag off the smoke and mashes it out into his ashtray. "Well, let's keep looking. I have the strong feeling that whatever started with Regas isn't done yet."

"I'll let you know what I find, and please keep looking into that smoke," Shem answers. He grasps the folder in one hand and puts the other on his knee. "By your leave, sir?"

Zaharis nods, his expression remaining in a thoughtful frown. "Dismissed, Lieutenant. Keep up the good work."

Shem stands and pops off a salute. Off he goes.

Zaharis salutes back. And of course, stays there.

Shem leaves for Sickbay [o].
Shem has left.

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