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aphelion

Ensign T'Reshik & PNPC LtCmdr Akeelah D'Sena - Meet the Chairs (JP, Part 1 & 2)

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(( USS Constitution - Corridor ))

:: There is a cliché, in certain old Earth movies, of two automobile drivers pulling up beside each other at an interchange. They look over each other's vehicles. Perhaps one tilts his sunglasses down. Perhaps the other revs his engine in invitation.::

:: This is not entirely dissimilar to how Ensign T’Reshik and Akeelah D’Sena met for the first time. ::

:: Turning a corner on her way back from physiotherapy, T'Reshik had not been expecting to find herself alongside someone at the same eye level, and certainly not someone piloting a similar craft. The need for motorized wheelchairs - or hoverchairs, as this woman had - was scarce, thanks to ever-advancing medical technology, and T'Reshik had deemed it statistically very unlikely that she would meet more than a few other users over the course of her lifetime. To have two on the same ship was a coincidence indeed.::

:: She looked D’Sena over, her keen physician’s eye searching for clues regarding the nature of her condition. Rodulan female (non-contact telepaths, she recalled), somewhere between 40 and 70 terran standard years, no abnormalities in facial musculature, posture and hovercraft controls suggest full use of arms, eliminating a small number of systemic conditions and any injury higher than C8… ::

:: Akeelah had just brought her visit with the CMO behind her, it had been taxing and despite her needing the burn of alcohol in her throat she was grateful that it hadn’t been real because she preferred a clear mind. Too bad that her situation made that almost impossible. Her mind was full and she felt restless. But her usual treatment of meditation didn’t come to her easily these days. Her decision was now made, a step in the right direction. ::

:: Waiting for the lift she stared at the doors. She did not see the other woman, but she eaily felt her presence. Even without actively reading minds, Rodulans were sensitive to surface thoughts, but that person had control over those or the ability of shielding them. Another Telepath. But nevertheless she couldn’t hide from Akeelah’s senses, and having been a Security Officer for all of her adult life - other than the few months of being the First Officer and Acting CO of the USS Apollo before Rajel had taken over as CO - she knew when she was watched. And while usually she didn’t care, ever since she was in the chair she couldn’t stand it. ::

:: Akeelah didn’t look up, didn’t turn around, her voice just cut through the silence. ::

D'Sena: What are you looking at?

:: Oh, right, she probably shouldn't stare at strangers without talking to them. Social skills and all that. She knew from past experience that “Sorry I was staring, I was trying to diagnose what you have” didn't go down well, so she groped for the next best thing. ::

T’Reshik: Interesting. I considered a hoverchair myself, but I opted for better power retention and more space for the on-board processor. Is there a significant terrain advantage?

:: That got Akeelah’s attention and her head slowly turned around, surprisingly finding the other woman at her eye level. A Vulcan, at least she still had the ability to make out other Telepaths. She was glad that she was blank to them though, it had helped her job many times. But that was not what occupied her right now. She couldn’t believe it. Another person in a chair? Did Starfleet lose their marbles?::

D’Sena: That must be a really bad joke.

:: T’Reshik blinked at her. ::

T’Reshik: I do not understand. It was not my intention to be humorous.

D’Sena: They send another officer in a wheelchair?

:: T’Reshik looked down at her chair, then at D’Sena’s. Technically, she wanted to say, yours doesn’t have any wheels. But she thought that might be irrelevant. ::

T’Reshik: I am not sure what you are alluding to.

:: Akeelah ignored what she didn’t want to see, or rather feel: that the other woman really had no idea. It did not fit into the view of the scene, what she believed to be true. Anger boiled in her guts and who was better to push it on than the person right in front of her? ::

D’Sena: Don’t pretend you don’t know. It’s obvious that it’s Starfleet’s bad attempt at sending me the message of life not ending now that I sit in this bloody chair. You can tell whoever sent you, that they can stick it right where-

:: T’Reshik glanced at the woman’s pips.::

T’Reshik: Lieutenant Commander, am I to understand that you seriously believe I was sent here for your benefit?

D’Sena: That is rather obvious.

T’Reshik: In which case - notwithstanding the fact that I doubt Starfleet have the resources to assign officers based on such arbitrary considerations - I would seriously question the wisdom of sending a convicted criminal whose injuries were self-inflicted.

:: Now that was interesting. Akeelah turned her hoverchair slightly to face the moment a little more. She was a Security Officer after all, and had been for several decades. Her fully black eyes squinted as she kept an eye on the other woman. ::

D’Sena: What injury have you inflicted on yourself?

T’Reshik: A traumatic brain injury, sustained in the course of illicit scientific experimentation. I was released from a criminal rehabilitation centre no fewer than six months ago. I may never recover from my condition. Not exactly an encouraging example.

:: The Rodulan’s brow jumped upwards. She apparently had been wrong in her assumption of a sick joke played by Starfleet. A sigh left her as she exhaled. Great first impression. ::

D’Sena: I agree. I owe you an apology for my wrong assumption. ::She paused, before adding.:: I am Commander Akeelah D’Sena. Security.

T’Reshik: Ensign T’Reshik, Science. I am Vulcan; apologies are unnecessary. May I ask what caused your injury?

D’Sena: An incident during an away mission. Not planned to be permanent. How did your condition occur?

:: T’Reshik paused.::

T’Reshik: An uncontrolled neurochemical imbalance, typical to Vulcans of a certain age, which was exacerbated by the illicit experiments I mentioned earlier. It is not known whether I will recover, but the specialists deem it unlikely.

D’Sena: That is … unique. ::The lift door opened and she pressed the nav stick to move herself into the lift, making sure to be as close to the back and side as possible so the other woman would fit in as well. :: I wouldn’t be able to tell if there is a terrain advantage. I have not been on anything but this ship since I got the chair.

:: T’Reshik eyed D’Sena’s rig again as the two of them navigated themselves into the lift. ::

T’Reshik: An interesting choice, then.

D’Sena: I want to add that I have not chosen it myself. It was given to me by the attending doctor after my injury. But there have been made adjustment by an engineer to assist with a couple of things like getting in and out or hygiene.

T’Reshik: ::Raising both eyebrows:: Clearly your attending doctor never needed one of these themselves. Those considerations were already included with this one.

D’Sena: ::Looking over the chair T’Reshik sat in.:: Yours does not seem to be the standard model either.

T’Reshik: It is not. ::She tapped a few buttons on the armrest and pulled up a flat screen, swivelling it to show D’Sena the basic schematic.:: There have been adjustments made to the onboard processor, obviously, and I had the chassis replaced with a lighter and more streamlined material.

:: The moment the screen came out she already raised her brows in surprise. But the schematics she saw were rather impressive. It looked like that chair could be an advantage rather than a disadvantage. ::

D’Sena: Fascinating.

T’Reshik: As I understand it, the only advantages that a hoverchair holds are frictionless movement and ease of maintenance, which I believe are offset by the far shorter battery life and the lack of space for additional components. For example. Surya? Switch to auto-navigation mode. How long from here to Engineering?

:: The chair beeped in acknowledgement. After a moment, it spoke in a harsh, mechanical tone.::

Surya: At your current default speed, it will take fourteen minutes and twenty six seconds to reach Engineering, with an error margin of three minutes. There is one turbolift on your route. I am ready to engage.

T’Reshik: Surya, cancel. ::She quirked an eyebrow at D’Sena::

D’Sena: ::And her brow wandered upwards again.:: Fascinating. ::She realized she repeated herself.:: Surya is an unusual name for an on board computer.

T’Reshik: I did not choose the name; it is, I believe, a reference to Earth mythology. But it has been incredibly useful. And of course there are more mundane functions; automated level matching, pre-set seat adjustments for transfer in and out...  the only thing it lacks is a portable phaser turret.

D’Sena: As a scientist you shouldn’t need one either. A regular hand phaser should do the job well enough.

T’Reshik: A valid point, but I would prefer a degree of versatility.

D’Sena: As they say, if you do every job, you will do none properly. Trust that our security team will do the protection.

:: T’Reshik decided not to press the point, given that D’Sena was actually on said security team.::

D’Sena: Your chair is rather impressive as is. If my condition was more permanent I’d request a replacement, but I am starting rehabilitation in a few days, which will hopefully change that.

T’Reshik: You anticipate recovery, then. May I ask the specific nature of the injury?

D’Sena: My spine made hard contact with a tree. It’s a T6 injury, crushed a section of my thoracic vertebrae and severed nerves. A substance that found its way into my body during that away mission caused an infection after the reattachment surgery, and with that complications.

:: She resisted the impulse to ask about the specific nature of the infection. Not everyone was so fascinated by diseases as she was.::

T’Reshik: How long ago was that?

D’Sena: Half a year now. ::It sounded so long, it had felt even longer. Especially since she avoided contact with people for at least 80% of that time. :: How long has it been for you?

T’Reshik: Five years, two months, eight days.

D’Sena: ::Akeelah’s stomach sunk at the thought of being in the chair for that long.:: That must have been difficult.

T’Reshik: It was challenging. But not insurmountable. ::She paused, glanced around. :: We are holding up the turbolift. Where did you intend to go?

D’Sena: To my quarters. You?

T’Reshik: Actually, I planned to visit the gym. I have just concluded a session of physiotherapy on the holodeck and wanted to embark on my prescribed exercises early.

D’Sena: That sounds like a good idea. ::She wondered what kind of exercise she would get prescribed once she’d gone through with the surgery.::

T’Reshik: Join me, if you wish. I do not usually socialise, but we have common aims. ::Pause:: Besides, my parole officer instructed me to try and “make friends”. I need to at least appear to be complying. Engaging in communal activities seems like the most efficient way to do this.

:: Now that sounded familiar and Akeelah couldn’t help but laugh slightly. The whole not having someone on board she’d call a friend, was apparently not only her, but others too. It was oddly comforting. ::

D'Sena: It appears that we are - as humans say - in the same boat. It sounds like it would be beneficial to both of us to share the activity. ::She could do upper body training. She had neglected her training very much, if not to say completely ignored for way too long. It would be a start to get used to it again. ::

:: T’Reshik was slightly confused by the laugh, but let it slide. Perhaps D’Sena was just happy. She hadn’t intended to say anything amusing, but Vulcans often said things that were “inadvertently hilarious”, according to her fellow inmates back at Bayeaux. ::

T’Reshik: Excellent. It seems we have a common goal.

D’Sena: Then lead the way.

:: T’Reshik nodded. ::

T’Reshik: Computer, Deck twelve.

:: The turbolift doors slid shut. ::

 

A JP by

LtCmdr Akeelah D'Sena
Security Officer

simmed by

Captain Jalana Rajel
Commanding Officer
USS Constitution B
Image Team Facilitator
A238906JL0

And

Ensign T'Reshik
Science
USS Constitution
D239311T10

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