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Ensign Rosek & Ensign Tarna - Wrong side of the Bio-bed


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((Sickbay, Deck 5, USS Achilles))


:: The faint whoosh of a door sliding open and shut. Footsteps growing louder - stop - quieter now. An almost inaudible beep repeating steadily in a regular rhythm that could easily lull one to sleep. Someone clearing their throat… Janel’s eyes finally opened then squeezed closed again. Bright light. A few blinks and he was met with a blurry scene. A familiar place, not the same as where he’d been. How did he get here? How long had he been here? He was warm and the pain was gone. That was all he’s worked out so far. ::


:: He scratched his head he felt fabric, which was unexpected as he slowly got his bearings. He wasn’t alone but before he saw he had company he saw the IV line in his arm and gasped, touching it lightly with his other hand. Usually he was putting these in other people! It didn’t feel good to be the patient. ::


Rosek: ::grasps his hand:: Take it easy. You’re okay.


:: He turned to see Lael next to him. How had he not seen her there before? He felt a little silly but barely noticed for the overwhelming relief and joy at seeing her again. Never mind how he was, he wanted to know how she was doing now. ::


Tarna: Lael! I’m so happy to see you. How are you?


::A weak smile slid across her lips. He’d been in surgery for what had seemed like hours and she’d spent the better part of it with her stomach in knots. It had been a nightmare. And yet he was more concerned about her. It was one of many things she loved about him. She moved her hand to his cheek. This man, who saw himself through the distorted lens of self-doubt, failed time and again to see himself clearly. He was so incredibly brave, so resourceful, so compassionate and so selfless. How could he think he wasn’t good enough?::


Rosek: ::murmurs:: A bit tired and a bit sore, but I’m okay...now that you’re awake anyway.


:: Though he didn't realise it his face showed little change. Under normal circumstances he would have echoed Lael's smile but today that didn't happen. ::


Tarna: I'm glad to see you up and about.


Rosek: You scared the hell out of me, you know.


Tarna: I'm sorry.


:: He felt regretful and upset about worrying her even though it was unavoidable. His voice remained at the same tone and Janel slowly started to realise that something wasn't quite right. He couldn't put his finger on it though. ::


Rosek: ::pauses:: There’s something I need to tell you, but...I’m not sure quite how to say it.


:: His stomach knotted with concern. The background beeping seemed to come at a faster rate, sounding somehow more insistent, as if mirroring the situation. If it was to tell him about Kaji, well unfortunately he wasn't able to forget it. He took a long, deep breath. ::


Tarna: Say it plainly.


Rosek: ::gaze drops from his:: They found something...the remnants of a serum…in our blood streams.


:: The realisation that on top of everything else they'd been drugged was devastating. He had to know what they'd introduced to his system immediately. He didn't know Lael very well, maybe not at all actually with this revelation. He knew he'd been out of sorts lately and thought it just down to the situation but if there were drugs messing with their minds and bodies too then he found it harder and harder to find the line between real and chemically induced behaviour. ::


Tarna: What was it?


Rosek: It affects decision making abilities in the orbitofrontal cortex and increases stimulation to subcortical parts of the brain like the amygdala, which is involved in emotional processes.


:: He shook his head in disbelief. So that was the cause of the excessive emotional reactions he'd felt. Everything he'd felt... how much of it was real? Was any of it real? He was under no doubt that he'd have felt fear and a good many of the emotions he'd gone through in the circumstances he'd faced. Without that drug messing with his brain though, would he have coped better? He had been deeply ashamed of his apparent emotional weakness but it seemed everything he'd felt had been massively amplified. He just didn't know what to believe now, his sense of reality was skewed so he remained silent as Lael relayed the Doctor's findings about it to him. ::


Rosek: They think that, because of my physiology, my body was able to break the compound down more quickly. ::pauses:: From the amount left in my system, they think the symptoms started to fade less than 24 hours after injection.


:: What about him? Had the drug begun to fade from his system in as quick a period or was he still affected even now? His body would break it down, right? Ke kept wondering how much of what happened could be considered real. He was really struggling with this news and finding it really confusing and hard to absorb. ::


Tarna: Oh. Did they mention how it affects Trill physiology?


Rosek: ::pauses:: The Doctors think that you were still under the influence of the serum when the away team found us.


:: It was worse than a punch in the gut and it really complicated things. He was worried that Rosek might find it easier to come to terms with everything if he wasn’t around to remind her of it. Maybe her feelings had faded and she no longer cared for him? Would his feelings towards her change? ::


Tarna: Where does that leave us then?


:: He couldn't bear the thought of losing her even though he logically knew he couldn't trust his feelings at all right now. He’d felt the most powerful, intense emotions of his life, felt a love and attraction to Lael so strong it made everything else seem pale in comparison. To think it may all be lies and chemical trickery and that he may lose that feeling for her was pretty disappointing and more than a little troubling. ::


::She fought back tears and kissed his forehead. She’d had her time to think about how she felt. Yes, the serum had been in her system when she’d first kissed him. But from what she understood, it didn’t create feelings, only enhanced ones that were already there. It had enhanced the attraction, not created it. The added intimacy of being each other’s only comfort in addition to the degree to which they had needed to rely on one another to survive had only accelerated the growing feelings.::


::Her mother often said that intense stress stripped away all of the nonsense and showed a person’s true colors. She’d seen Janel’s and had fallen hard: courage in the face of certain death, a drive for justice, concern for the welfare of others over his own and a sense of humor that made her laugh when she wanted nothing more than to cry. More than that, she knew that an intelligent man with a good heart lurked beneath the seemingly shy exterior. He was beautiful both inside and out.::


Rosek: You know how I feel. ::pauses:: I meant what I said. No matter what, I’ll always be here for you. Whenever and however you need me to be.


Tarna: Thank you. ::Sincerely:: I appreciate that. Would you mind passing me a PADD please?


::She placed the PADD in his hand. The words had seemed hollow even as she'd said them. Of all the reactions she'd considered him having to the news, this wasn't even in the realm of the possibility. He seemed so calm. It was her worst nightmare at this point. Head injuries were infamously unpredictable. For all she knew, his had caused severe enough damage to alter his personality completely. The question was if she would be able to live with those changes.::


Tarna: Thanks.


:: He took the PADD and used it to look up his own medical file. Never mind listening to some other doctor... he was a doctor and he wanted to see what the damage was, see what they had done to him. He wiped a hand down his rough face anxiously as the data loaded up. There were xrays, brain activity charts and all kinds of data to illuminate just how close to death he'd been and how bad the damage was. ::


:: Because he'd had his head slammed repeatedly off the floor over the course of the last three days at various points he'd suffered damage to the temporal lobe. They hadn't managed to completely repair all of the damage. That was the most shocking and scary thing. The frontal lobes are considered the emotional control center and home to personality. He knew acutely well how that part of the brain was involved in motor function, problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgement, impulse control, and social and sexual behavior. He didn't have to read the file to know his colleagues would be doing various tests on him over the coming days and working out where to go from here. ::


::He read about the surgery, and through the detailed report could see it being performed in his mind. He knew how long it had taken, and how it had gone. He owed Doctor Vess a great debt of gratitude! He still remembered meeting the man on his first day on the Victory at an awards ceremony, it was a shame they hadn’t had more chance to get to know each other. He felt weak all of a sudden and light headed. He rested the PADD on his belly for a few minutes and covered his face with his hand. ::


A JP by

Ensign Tarna

Medical Officer

USS Victory


&


Ensign Rosek

Engineer

USS Victory

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