(( Corridors en route to Main Sickbay - USS Gorkon ))
:: Ayiana and Emilia had taken the ride in the turbolift down to Deck 7 in silence. Much to Ayiana’s embarrassment, she had completely overlooked the thought that Krugol would want to be with Ferier’s side. She didn’t even know the pair had any sort of relationship, at least not outside the quickly fading Dream. Then again, Ayiana was often quite oblivious and dense to such things. Her motivation for being at Ferier’s side during the Joining was to make sure it went well, and that she was there in case Ferier or Doctor Yiggtissi needed help or advice. ::
Sevo: I’m sorry, Ensign. It didn’t occur to me that you’d want to be there when I...erm...volunteered to come down.
Krugol: ::Emilia replied with a soft sniffle.:: It’s not your fault, sir. F-Ferier and I didn’t exactly make our relationship public for all the ship to see.
:: The corridor they’d arrived in was almost eerily silent. As Ayiana and Emilia continued through the empty decks, nothing seemed to change. The same monotone doors, passing by the same coloured bulkheads. The familiarity of it all was somewhat comforting. At least that was one thing in her life that wasn’t about to change. Emilia dragged a cold finger across her face, attempting to sweep away the remainder of her breakdown on the bridge.::
Sevo: It is none of our business, anyway.
Krugol: I guess you’re not wrong
:: After a few moments, Ayiana stopped walking suddenly, and pounded a fist into the corridor wall. ::
Sevo: Dammit! Why am I even coming? You were right; Ferier needs *you*, not me. And with Doctor Hahn on board, Doctor Yiggtissi has all the expert Trill advice he needs. :: Massaging her fist. :: Ow.
:: Emilia jumped at the sudden impact on the wall. Her eyes locked with Ayiana’s reddened fist as it hit the wall. Her shocked expression desperately searched for something to say, but nothing seemed to come to mind. Emilia carefully stared at the commander’s angered features, hoping that by some possibility she would be able to say something reassuring.::
Krugol: Commander… you’re our first officer, and more than ever we need you to be there. I know for a fact that you may not have much of a relationship with Ferier, but for many of us onboard… much like the admiral, you give us the morale to keep going. It’s at times like this where we need you… sir.
:: Emilia spoke anxiously, attempting to calm the angered trill before her. She was almost at a loss of reassuring words. Emilia had hoped that something she’d said got through to Ayiana.::
:: Ayiana turned to her fellow Trill, smiling. She never really thought she was that vital to the crew. Ayiana was well-aware that she tended to be introverted and quiet. ::
Sevo: Really? I didn’t know. I’ve never been one for socializing, and I didn’t think I had that much of an effect on the crew. oO Maybe it’s this red collar. Perhaps it’s not as tight as I thought. Oo
Krugol: Your reputation says otherwise. I-I’m not speaking for all of us junior officers when I say this, but... we look up to you, not just you, but to the senior staff. You’re an inspiration to those of us trying to reach a point in our lives where we’re accomplished enough to be validated in our Captain’s, or Admiral’s eyes. Instead of being seen ‘as that ensign I now know the name of, but will probably forget later’. A-And we see you as a person who’s reached a stage where we adore you, we adore how accomplished you are, we adore your ability to stay cool under pressure and we adore how much you’ve worked to even be here. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what you’ve been through to earn the privilege to sit next to the Admiral. Right now.. more than ever, we need you to be there for us, Ferier needs you.
:: Emilia smiled at Ayiana, returning her smile with a soft, closed mouth giggle. An odd feeling of ease seemed to come about reassuring her fellow crewmate. She offered her hand in a friendly gesture, semi motioning for Ayiana to follow.::
:: Ayiana paused at Emilia’s words. It warmed her heart to hear the younger Trill woman say those things. At the moment, Ayiana could only stand there in the empty corridor as Emilia continued. ::
Krugol: Someday, I hope I’ll be like you. I hope I’ll learn to be like you... Lieutenant Marshall, Lieutenant zh’Aella, Lieutenant MacFarlane and even Ferier… so I can tell stories of my time in Starfleet in god knows how many lifetimes. The stories of the ship named the Gorkon, and all of its wonderful people that kept me going, and inspired me to become more than I ever could be.
Sevo: I...uh...I don’t know what to say…
Krugol: ::Emilia stared at the commander.:: For now, w-we should get moving. They won’t wait up If Kian gets there first… ::Emilia replied, returning to her usual dainty, pitched tone of voice.::
Sevo: You’re right. And thanks, Ensign.
(( Main Sickbay – USS Gorkon ))
::The medical staff had once again settled as Dr. Yiggtissi and Dr. Hahn prepared to begin the Joining. It was a rather disquieting scene but as the seasoned physicians began, a wave of confidence rushed over the attending staff. Yiggtissi thought back to his training and recalled the simulations he had participated in, almost as easily thumbing through a medical journal. He quickly looked up at Hahn who appeared calm, if a little troubled. It was clear by his methodical movements that the Trill clinician was no stranger to this practice. ::
::Yiggtissi turned his eyes to Ferier. The very mild sedative that he had administered early was in full effect, as Ferier’s eyes opened and closed at random. It was standard practice in Joinings for both parties to remain awake with local anesthesia being used at the site of the incision. Hahn had prepared the opening on Ferier as Yiggtissi waited by the small stasis table that had been pulled close.::
::Lanta laid back on the biobed. Usually, he felt calm but on this occasion, his nerves were jumping as if electric was running through him. He had left the Bridge without a word to Emilia, hoping that wouldn’t be a regret and hoping when the Symbiont was implanted he felt the same he still wished he had said something, anything to her. His feelings ran deep for Emilia in a short time he had come to love everything about her. Lanta had no idea if Emilia felt the same, although he suspected she did. In a very short time, she had become the most important person to him and he had just turned and gone to sickbay to be changed forever a blending of personalities of memories. Lanta was nervous and scared. It never occurred to him not to be a host any more than it could occur to him not to breathe. He was approved by the Commission and had spent his all life preparing to join. Why then now did he have second thoughts, was he really that scared of losing Emilia. Lanta turned to the Chief Medical Officer and the Counsellor all the nurses and other medical staff. He was missing people. He wanted friends, family, and loved ones. Yes, there was the Trill medical officer but as he didn’t know him he didn’t count. He wanted Emilia there to be the first thing he saw as a joined Trill::
Lanta: Doc, ::To Yiggtissi.:: Can I have Ensign Krugol here with me, please?
Yiggtissi: Of course. I’ll call her down.
Lanta: Thank you, Doctor.
::Hahn's dark eyes flicked over toward Lanta, a small frown of concern drawing his greying brow together.::
Hahn: Are you sure? This is an ending, as much as it is a beginning.
Lanta: I am, I have to do this for me and Kian.
::The doors to sickbay slid open once again revealing Lieutenant Commander Sevo and Ensign Krugol. They quickly made their way to the side of Ferier. Yiggtissi had completely forgotten how much support the young man would need once the Joining was complete. Usually, family and friends were in attendance during and after to make the adjustment from host to host. Yiggs was happy to see Sevo in that respect. As for Krugol, he assumed she had come to offer the same, having no knowledge of the delicate relationship the two officers had formed. ::
Yiggtissi: ::Looking back at Ferier, smiling,:: Well it would appear she heard your request from the bridge.
::Lanta’s heart leaped with joy as he saw Emilia come into the sickbay. He was quite surprised to see Sevo. Working on the Bridge he had worked alongside her a lot but never really on a personal level. As he thought about it he realised he was happy she was there. It was fitting that as a Trill she was there too.::
Sevo: We wanted to be here, both as emotional support- :: gesturing to Krugol. :: -and in case you need any help or advice.
::Lanta was grateful for the both of them. Looking at Emilia he understood what potentially they were both giving up for the sake of Kian.::
::Emilia embraced the man she’d called her love with open arms. Her arms coiled around his body tightly, almost refusing to let go. Emilia took a deep breath, she was truly uncertain with how things would go. Maybe by some miracle, the symbiont wouldn’t overwhelm his personality, maybe by some miracle, she wouldn’t have to let go. Emilia shifted her gaze, quickly scanning the room around her. From the looks of it, the inevitable was almost upon them. Just how much would the pair really lose once that time comes? After a brief moment, Emilia surrendered her tight hold on Ferier. She took a step back.::
Sevo: oO Well, this is awkward. Oo
::Lanta returned the hug. Of all the people he wanted close Emilia was at the top of the list. He would have also wished for Groznin to be there as his friend and Jo as his colleague plus the Admiral. Realising that shipboard matters were of the uppermost importance he was overjoyed that she had allowed Emilia and Sevo to be there. Tears formed in his eyes and he blinked them away.::
::After a few minutes had passed, the sound of a transporter signal began to hum and the familiar shape of a teardrop began to materialize on the small table. Yiggtissi flipped open his tricorder and waved it quickly over the symbiont. The screen scrolled through several images and various bits of information as the Saurian processed it all. ::
::Ayiana stared at the tiny life form on the table. It was hard to imagine, even to a Trill, that the little mass of primarily brain tissue could contain so much knowledge and memories. Yet for all that, it was incredibly fragile. Ayiana often wondered what evolutionary pressures forced such a being into existence - needing another life form to explore its surroundings. Otherwise, a Symbiont was completely and utterly at the mercy of predators. The prehistoric Symbionts would have had to have unwavering trust in any creature they came across. ::
Sevo: How is Kian? ::She referred to the Symbiont by name, rather than simply "the symbiont" as many aliens were keen to do.::
Yiggtissi: Its life signs are fluctuating slightly which I can only assume is a sign of post-stasis shock. We should begin immediately.
::Hahn nodded in silent agreement. The Trill doctor was unusually quiet, and despite his professional demeanour, there was the distinct sense that he was unsettled about something — the procedure, or perhaps his participation in it.::
Sevo: Yeah, it can’t survive long outside of a host or it’s spawning pools.
Krugol: The sooner, the better.
:: Yiggtissi carefully picked up the small creature and turned back to the biobed. As Yiggtissi held the Kian symbiont in his hands, he could feel the warmth emanating from it. He could almost feel the lives of several lifetimes in his hands as he placed the symbiont on Ferier’s stomach. He looked at Hahn who frowned slightly and gave a quick nod.
:: Ayiana approached the bed where Ferier was laying. He was garbed in the usual dull hospital gown, except it had a large opening over his abdomen. She still wasn’t sure why she wanted to be here; her sudden request on the bridge surprised even her. Doctor Hahn was aboard and participating in the Joining, and Ensign Krugol was more than capable of being Ferier’s emotional support. Perhaps Ayiana felt she was taking on a more of a "maternal" role with Ferier. ::
::Emilia stood at Ferier’s side, her hand holding tightly to his. She watched as the symbiont was placed on Ferier’s stomach, it was a strange sight, to say the least. Not many individuals ever got the chance to witness a living Trill Symbiont, nevertheless witness an implantation. Emilia’s hand trembled with a cinch of fear as she looked upon the symbiont. A sour taste laced her tongue. Despite the beautiful sight, it was certainly a very decisive view. It wasn’t Emilia’s place to question Ferier’s decision, nor did she think she could sway the man in the wake of saving legacies worth of experience. A tear effortlessly slid down Emilia’s cheek, carelessly landing on the back of her hand.::
::Lanta laid on the biobed, thanks to the mild sedative and the closeness of Emilia he was now relaxed. He gripped Emilia’s hand tightly but somehow also gently. This above all he did not want to lose. It was his duty and privilege to become a host. It was also his privilege and honour to be with Emilia this above all he would not change. He understood there would be changes, after all, he was going to absorb several lifetimes of experiences and memories. Maybe if he thought of nothing but Emilia he would essentially remain as deeply in love with her as he did now. Mentally he sent a message to the Symbiont, mess with my feelings about Emilia and I will rip you out. Life without Emilia wasn’t living it was just existing::
::Doctor Hahn. It was strange seeing him. He was yet another doppelganger from the alternate reality Ayiana and much of the Gorkon crew were trapped in over a year ago. But his prime counterpart from this universe was an unjoined Guardian named Kael Tam who helped Toran with his zhian’tara. Due to the traumatic death of Toran, his memories were buried by the Sevo symbiont. Later, Ayiana ran across Tam on the Gorkon, now a Starfleet officer, who had recognized the Symbiont name Sevo, and was instrumental to Ayiana in remembering Toran and beginning the process of unlocking his buried memories. Unfortunately, Kael Tam had died Over There, and Ayiana rarely saw Hahn. So it was with mixed feelings that she was working with him today. ::
Lanta: Is everything OK?
Hahn: Kian's a little weak. ::He glanced at the readings on the biobed, frowning.:: It looks as though it's been in stasis for quite a while.
::For a moment, it looked as though he had more to say, but after he glanced toward Lanta, he held his tongue. Ferier’s heart flipped back and forth as he took looks at both the Symbiont and Krugol. He hoped that following the implantation his feelings would be as strong for the beautiful Trill as they were now. ::
Lanta: oO Please let this symbiont be OK. Oo
:: Ayiana moved to the head of the biobed. ::
Sevo: I want to check with you one more time, Ferier. Are you doing this for yourself, or out of an obligation to save the symbiont? Despite what the Commission often says, its life is not more important than your own. You have free will.
Lanta: I’m doing it for both, Commander!
Sevo: If you think this is not for you, or you are not ready, say so now. In four days, this will be permanent.
:: Lanta looked at the symbiont and then at Emilia. So many gains and so many potential losses, well one loss. Was the price worth the cost? He hated himself for the answer, but it was yes. To preserve the memories and experiences of several lifetimes his and Emilia’s emotions came second best.::
Lanta: The time is now, please proceed.
:: Ayiana smiled, giving Ferier a light pat on the shoulder. ::
Krugol: You’re going to be okay Ferier. I-I’m here.
::Emilia’s delicate grip tightened around Ferier’s tender hand. Her hand began to tremble as each moment ticked past. It was like watching a countdown. Waiting for each second to tick past felt like an eternity in her eyes. Each eternity she attempted to cherish with her beloved. Each eternity of seconds, moulding into countless minutes that ticked by unnoticed, lost in those precious seconds.::
Lanta: Thank you, Emilia
::Yiggtissi watch the interaction between Krugol and Ferier and as he did, flashes of his wife ran across his mind. He had remembered, briefly, being with them on Trill but what happened after that, he had no clue. He knew that over time, those memories would return but at the moment, it was very disconcerting not knowing. ::
Yiggtissi: Everything is normal, Ferier. Simply relax.
Sevo: Have you opened his pouch yet, Doctor?
Hahn: ::Mildly,:: No backseat doctoring, Commander.
::Hahn shook his head, accepting her apology with a tired, kind smile. As infractions went, it hardly registered, and he turned his attention toward Ferier and Yiggtissi.::
Hahn: Are we all ready?
Yiggtissi: Let’s proceed.
::Yiggtissi gently picked up the Kian symbiont as Hahn slowly opened the small flap of skin on Ferier’s stomach. He slowly inserted the living mass inside Ferier and watched a part of the symbiont attached itself to the young Trill’s insides. It burrowed deep and as soon as it settled, its color immediately began to improve, turning from a pinkish-grey to a deep brownish-red. Yiggtissi shot a nod toward Hahn and he expertly and neatly closed the pouch. Grabbing the tricorder from the side of the bed and starting at the implant site, he began a careful diagnosis. The little device began to spit out information as Yiggtissi waved it up and down the length of Ferrier’s body. After several seconds, he closed it up and set it down. Looking over at Ferier, a smile stretched across his face as though he had suddenly walked from a cold room into the warm rays of a beaming sun.::
Yiggtissi: How do you feel?
::Kian looked at where the Symbiont had been placed and subsequently Joined with him. The picture that would stay with him forever was the image of Emilia looking down in concern. As the symbiont settled into place, memories flew through him each new second revealing a past that was his and yet not his. Emilia, the thought of her still made his heart jump. Amazingly and thankfully he still felt the same about her. Memories from Kudrem filled him. She had been a willing accomplice, and had agreed to the removal of Kian, knowing that it might result in its death. This would need to be discussed with the Admiral later. He had more important things to resolve right now::
Ferier Kian: I am whole ::He looked toward Emilia,:: Emilia… I love you that has not changed!
::Emilia drew a shaky breath, reaching out a hesitant hand towards Ferier. She questioned, just how much of him was left. Was it Kian talking? Or was it really him? Once that first tear fell, the rest followed along in an unbroken, constant stream. Emilia’s hand broke away from Ferier’s as she pressed it against the biobed. With her free hand, she covered her mouth, begging for nobody to see her in such an ugly state, muffling her suffocating sobs. Her mind was a cluttered mass of emotions, filled to the brim with relief, mixed with fear, fighting against her churning sorrows and anxieties. In reality she had nothing to worry about, he was alive and well. Emilia’s stomach gurgled in an almost sickly manner, as her face was drenched with the wet stains of her anxieties. She fought her first instincts to hug him in reassurance.::
Krugol: ::Muffled.:: F-Ferier
::Hahn glanced between the pair, another frown creasing his brow, though once again he kept silent on whatever thoughts were running through his mind.::
:: Ayiana hoped Ferier’s feelings for Emilia would remain. His personality could still change as the Symbiont’s memories and personality slowly blended with his own. The pair was going to have a rough few days as they tried to figure out the new Ferier Kian. ::
Sevo: How are you feeling? The initial rush of memories can be disorienting.
Kian: To say the least, so many memories.
Sevo: Take some time to acclimate yourself to your new...um...you. You’ll find a lot of things have changed.
Kian: And a lot of things have remained the same.
::Kian looked at Emilia. It was amazing, even with new memories and experiences she still looked as beautiful as when he was Lanta. He held her hand, not willing to ever let it go::
Krugol: ::Emilia looked to the doctors.:: Doctor.. May I hug him?
Kian: oO Say yes, Doctor Oo
::Hahn glanced between the pair of them, the frowning shifting to make room for a worn, gentle smile. He nodded, gesturing toward Ferier.::
Hahn: Of course. Physically, he's fine.
Kian: So can I get up as well?
:: Kian, without waiting stood and moved towards Emilia. His arms raised ready to embrace her. He felt a little weak, but then considering what the entire crew had been through it wasn’t a surprise.::
::Emilia graced Ferier with a smile, almost knocking him over with a longing hug.::
Krugol: I’m glad you’re okay…
::Kian practically fell in to her arms.. Laughing and crying tears flowed freely. Maybe it was due to the implantation as he had never been overly emotional before. He pulled Emilia in closer. He could smell the scent from her hair. The closeness of her made him weak at the knees. Her shape fit in snugly as he wrapped his arms around her and buried his face deeper in to her shoulder.::
Kian: I am OK, ::To the Doctor:: Am I cleared for duty, Doctor?
Sevo: I’d suggest he at least be checked out by a counselor.
Yiggtissi: I’d say take it slow for the next twenty-four hours but I see no reason to keep you here. And I agree with the first officer, you should see Ensign Fortune right away.
:: Yiggtissi nodded and watched the two lovebirds held each other close, locked together like two swirling galaxies ready to collide. He removed the red tunic, revealing his duty vest underneath. Yiggtissi felt as though he had been awake for days but there was no stopping just yet. There were shift assignments to approve, files from new transfers to examine, reports to read on the status of Nkai and he needed to speak with Denato. He glanced back over his shoulder and watched as Ferier and Krugol sat on the bed, still glued together. A smile stretched across his face. He wasn’t quite sure what provoked Kian to remove her symbiont and leave it for dead. Was it just a ploy to make a quick escape? If so, then she was more cold-hearted than anyone realized. ::
Lieutenant (JG) Ferier Lanta/Kian
Lieutenant Yiggtissi, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Ensign Emilia Krugol
Lt. Commander Ayiana Sevo
Doctor Kael Hahn