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JP: Crewman James Walsh, Doctor Antonia Peretti, Senior Chief Yoshi Tenzin, & Nurse Orsi Laan - Objects at Rest


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The long, much-awaited final chapter(s) in the emotional roller coaster that has been the Walsh Saga... some truly amazing writing from @Wes Greaves and @Geoffrey Teller! Fantastic job guys! 😁

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((Recovery Ward, USS Indefatigable))

 

James Walsh blinked.  All of his senses seemed to blur into one mindless field of background noise.  The bright white of sickbay, the conversation of two nurses nearby, even the voice of his physician, it all blended into meaninglessness. He could see the lips of the young doctor moving, but his brain didn’t register anything except a singular thought.

 

 

Liz was alive.

 

 

Peretti: Crewman?  Crewman Walsh, can you hear me?  

 

 

James jolted, up as if waking from a dream. He felt disoriented.

 

 

Walsh:  Err. I’m sorry. What?

 

 

Doctor Peretti scowled at the biomonitors in alarm, and then back to her patient.  She knew the news would be a shock to his system but this was extreme.  

 

 

Peretti: Are you alright Crewman?  Your heartrate and blood pressure are both at dangerous levels.

 

 

Walsh: I’m… I’m alright. Just in shock.  She’s really alive? Where? Is she aboard? Let me see her!

 

 

Peretti nodded tightly as the displays started, gradually, going back down and rechecked the PADD the Captain had handed her a few minutes ago.  

 

 

Peretti:  Yes, according to this report from DS9.  She’s not here - she was recovered by the Bajorans and taken to a Federation space station nearby.  She’s...seriously injured.  

 

 

Walsh:  What exactly do you mean?  How bad is it?

 

 

Peretti: The last report we received said she was in critical condition, nothing more.  I’m sorry - that’s all we know.  The station didn’t give us much information, they just told us to get you back there as quickly as we could.  

 

 

Walsh:  Well how fast can we get there?  Someone told me we’re in the Bajor sector. It can’t take that long.

 

 

Peretti: It’s...it’s not that simple, James.  Our ship is presently heading away from Bajor at top speed, we have been for several hours.  We’re part of a task force, attempting to render aid to your ship, the Thor.  James, we can’t turn back now.  I’m..sorry.  

 

 

The man blinked in disbelief.

 

 

Walsh: (incredulously) You’re sorry?  You tell me my wife is alive but dying and we’re going the opposite direction, and all you can say is you’re sorry?  

 

 

Jimmy scrambled out of the biobed, the stump of his hand bumping painfully against the side.

 

 

Walsh:  Where’s the shuttle bay? Let me talk to the Captain!

 

 

Peretti: Hey woah calm down there, Crewman, or I’ll have you sedated and restrained.  I’m not wasting three hours of dermal regeneration treatments just for you to kill yourself trying to get out of bed.  Sit.  Down.  

 

 

It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right.  Frustration, anger, and uncertainty welled up within the man.   There was no outlet for it all, and the tears welled in his eyes.  He was simply overwhelmed as emotion after emotion racked his body.  Begrudgingly he complied with the doctor and sat back on the biobed.

 

 

Walsh:  Oh Liz… (trailing off)

 

 

Peretti:  James, I’ve spoken to the Captain and she sympathizes.  She has reached out to DS9 for more information, and has promised that we will get you back to the station as soon as it’s feasible.  

 

 

She knew it was a thin promise, but it was all she had to offer.  Her hands went into the pockets of her blue lab coat.  

 

 

Walsh:  She could be dying.  Doctor, I’ve just spent the last several days believing that the love of my life is gone forever.  You just gave her back to me only to let me know I might lose her all over.  (overcome with sobs)  I can’t go through that again. I have to see her. 

 

==========================

 

((Recovery Ward, USS Indefatigable))

((Eight days later))

 

The ghost of pain was still there. 

 

James raised his new hand to his eye level.  His body was still getting used to the implants and his attempts to smoothly move his fingers resulted in jerking, clumsy, movements.  The attachment point at his wrist was still red and inflamed, but his body was healing, ever so slowly. Even the worst of the burns had started to fade away and were no longer painful.

 

Out of the corner of his eye, James saw his doctor walking toward her office.

 

Walsh:  Lieutenant Peretti!  Ma’am! Do you have a minute?

 

Peretti: Yes, Mr. Walsh, what can I do for you?  

 

James tried to plaster a smile on his face, but the truth was he was anxious for news.  Any kind of news.

 

Walsh: Is there any news from Deep Space Nine?  Is Liz any better.

 

Peretti: Her condition remains unchanged, James.

 

The news hit like a truck and tears threatened to overtake him yet again. Her status not changing had to be a bad sign.

 

Walsh:  Ma’am, we’ve been towing the Thor for days, how much longer till we’re within transporter range?

 

Peretti: It’ll still be several more days till we’re in range, but you’re not transporting anywhere Mister.  Your nervous system is still recovering from a terrible blow and that implant is just getting settled.  Going to be shuttles only for you for at least a month.  Longer if you keep over exerting yourself.  

 

From his seated position in the biobed, James frowned.  There had to be something he could do to get to her.  The doctor mentioning shuttles gave him an idea though.  While towing the Thor the Indefatigable couldn’t travel even close to her normal cruising speed.  A shuttle could probably outrun her.  If James could get down to the shuttle bay and snag one of newer models, he could beat them all to DS9. 

 

Walsh:  I get it. That’s all I’ve been told. Be patient. Keep resting. Hope for the best.  Do you know how frustrating that is to hear day after day?

 

Peretti: I know this is difficult, James, but I still need you focused on the here and now.  If you exert yourself too much, you could cause permanent nerve damage to your arm and that’ll make the implant impossible to control.  Sit back and let us do our jobs.  If it helps, think about it this way - the next time you see Elizabeth, you’ll be all put back together.  I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.  

 

James paused in thought.  If he was going to get out of here in a shuttle, he’d have to find a way to get out from under the watchful eye of the medical staff.  Suddenly, an idea popped in his mind.

 

Walsh:  Well I can’t just sit here all day every day ma’am! I’m going crazy! I’m feeling better, (motioning to his hand) my dexterity is improving daily, and I haven’t had to have any meds for two days.  Can I at least get some quarters and get out of this place!

 

Peretti:  ....If you promise not to exert yourself unduly, and by that I mean lifting moderately dense pillows above your head, I can release you to crew quarters.  You’ll be wearing a biomonitor - that’s non-negiogatable.  If your readings deteriorate at all, you’re back on this bed for the duration.  Don’t make me regret this, Mr. Walsh.  

 

For the first time in a week, James felt genuinely happy and his eyes lit up.

 

Walsh:  I promise you won’t regret it ma’am.  Thank you.

 

Peretti:  I’ll have a technician come get the biomonitor setup while I get your discharge paddwork together.  Remember.  Zero exertion.  Your body is very fragile right now.   

 

Walsh:  A light walk to quarters and that’s it from me. I’ll rest until we get to the station. 

 

In his mind, Jimmy was already sketching out a plan.  He’d sneak out in the middle of the night and find the shuttle bay.  It’d be easy.  He could fly one-handed.   He wouldn’t lose her again. Not without at least being able to say goodbye.  Not without kissing his wife one final time. 

 

===============================

 

((0330 hours, Shuttlebay, Deck 7 Aft, USS Indefatigable))

It was the middle of the nightshift, and Senior Chief Tenzin should’ve been asleep.  Instead, he was wrestling with an uncooperative navigational array on one of the Indefatigable’s shuttles well past the end of his shift.  Minor faults had developed on most of their complement of smallcraft, as all their shuttles had hundreds of fresh hours on them.  They’d transferred crewmen and material to and from the crippled USS Thor almost non-stop since arriving to assist.  With the ships well on their way back to Federation territory, they finally had a chance to get caught up on repairs.  As the computer cycled through a diagnostic, Tenzin leaned back and thought about it - the images of the Thor, gutted and bent, would stay with him a long time.  Tenzin was about to turn his attention back to the diagnostic when nearby, a large metal tool struck the deck with a resounding clank, ringing the deckplate like a gong.  

 

Tenzin:  R’wak, is that you?  You’re not supposed to be on duty for another three hours.  

 

The pain made James blink and see stars.  How could he be so stupid.  The tool box had been sitting atop a small crate and when he bumped it James had instinctively reached out to grab the dislodged tool with his new cybernetic hand.  Catching the falling device went about as well as one could expect from something that had been recently drilled into his flesh. 

 

James held his breath through the pain and tried to remain perfectly silent as someone called out.  He drew the tiny type I phaser he had managed to acquire on his trek down to the shuttlebay and held the weapon in his good hand. 

 

The lack of response made the situation odder still, and Tenzin's curiosity was piqued.  He’d made it two steps back towards the shuttles hatch when a wild eyed, one handed crewman he’d never seen before stumbled onto the ramp, holding a phaser in one shaky hand.  

 

Walsh:  Stop right there!

 

Tenzin’s hands moved slowly towards his comm badge.  

 

Tenzin:  Son, why don’t you just let me call someone to…

 

James looked wildly about the shuttlebay.  This chief was the only one in sight.  There were no witnesses. He could end it now and just get away. He could get to Liz.  A small voice from the back of his mind however questioned it all.  Could he really shoot a fellow starfleet member?  With as much resolve as he could muster, James raised the phaser and pointed it square at the man’s chest.

 

Walsh:  Don’t even think about it. Get your hands away from that badge.  I’ll shoot! I swear, I’ll do it.

 

Tenzin’s eyebrows knitted together.  The young man looked frantic and desperate, which was a worrisome combination.  He also looked...terribly scared.  

 

Tenzin:  What’s this all about, son?  I know the food around here isn’t Galaxy class, but the mochi ice cream the replicator spits out is pretty decent.  Let me get you a bowl.  

 

Walsh:  STOP.  I already told you. I’ll shoot! Don’t do anything.

 

Tenzin:  Well then, I guess I’m your hostage, Crewman.  Now what’s the plan?  I don’t think the Captain’s gonna pay much to get me back.  

 

Everything had gotten so complicated so fast. Why couldn’t things have just gone to plan?  Why couldn’t he have just snuck into the shuttle and gotten away to see Liz?  Why did everything have to be so hard? Life was unrelenting.  The uncertainty of it all nearly overcame him in that moment and it took all of the willpower James could muster to stand his ground.

 

Walsh:  I’m.. I’m taking this shuttle, and you’re not going to do anything to stop me. 

 

Tenzin:  One minor problem - this shuttle isn’t going anywhere.  Half the navigation array is on a table behind you.  I think the Crick is flight ready, but she’s down the other end of the bay.  I’ll show you.  

 

Without waiting for a reply, Senior Chief Tenzin wiped his hands on a work rag and began walking out of the cabin, past the stupefied man holding the phaser and towards the other end of the bay.  Past the entirely operational shuttles Salk, Lister, Curie and McCoy.  Behind him, his ‘captor’ was sounding winded.  

 

James didn’t know what to do.  He already knew deep down he couldn’t shoot the man.  He loved Liz, and he’d die for her, but he couldn’t bring himself to attack someone for her. Not like this. He wouldn’t shoot an innocent man in the back.  Tentatively, he lowered the phaser and followed.  

 

He was tired just from the walk to the shuttlebay, and as the adrenaline in his body slowly bled off, the exertion from the little adventure began to get to him.  The words of Doctor Peretti resounded in his head.  The two walked past shuttle after shuttle. 

 

Walsh:  (Breathlessly) Chief… I’m sorry.  I don’t want to do this, but I have to get off of this ship.  Liz. I have to get to Liz.

 

Tenzin: Sounds pretty serious, son...I’m sure your girl would appreciate you stealing a shuttle, assaulting a fellow officer….going AWOL….ending your career....bet she’ll just love all of that.  Very romantic.  

 

They were nearly at the other end of the bay, but James just couldn’t keep it up.  He had hit the limits of his frail body, both physically and emotionally.  With the sudden-ness of a candle flickering out, he dropped the phaser and slumped to his knees against a cargo container.

 

Walsh:  My wife, Liz. We were on the Thor together. She was right in front of me when we got hit. I… I thought she died that day. I swear. She just disappeared in the hull breach.  I don’t know what happened...

 

Tenzin: What did happen, son?  

 

Walsh: (verge of tears)  Somehow she made it.  She’s alive. They just told me earlier this week, but she’s not doing well. She’s on DS9 and she's dying. I’m losing her all over again and there’s nothing I can do about it.  

 

Tenzin:  I’m very sorry to hear that, young man.  Doesn’t quite explain all of...this, though.  

 

Walsh:  You don’t understand Chief! The shuttles are faster than the Indefatigable while she’s towing the Thor.  I can get back to Liz again before she dies this time. (sobbing)  I… I can actually say goodbye!

 

Tenzin turned and leaned against the shuttle, crossing his arms over his chest.  His would be assailant had stumbled to the ground several meters back and was leaning heavily against a cargo container, wheezing and winded.  The phaser was on the deck, forgotten entirely.  Tenzin thought of his own family - his wife and children, safe back on Archer IV.  When he spoke again, his voice was nothing but sympathetic.  

 

Tenzin: Son, I’ve never met your wife but I suspect she’d take issue with you killing yourself and ending your career just to hover over her bed till the Security team dragged you to a cell.  In fact, that biomonitor on your skull is blinking pretty fast, I suspect they’d be strapping you to a biobed right next to her.  

 

Tenzin heard the shuttlebay doors open and a commotion of footsteps and voices, urgently calling out for a Crewman James Walsh.  Senior Chief Tenzin crossed to the winded, distraught crewman and crouched down next to him, putting one hand on his shoulder while the other slowly grabbed and pocketed the phaser.  

 

Tenzin:  James….you’ve suffered, and your wife has suffered...hell, your entire crew has suffered.  If you keep behaving like this, you’ll just be adding to their suffering - and I don’t think that’s really what you want.  Is it, son?  

 

James looked into the man’s eyes.  The tears of frustration were threatening to return, but he was just so tired. He was ready for  the ordeal to end.

 

Walsh:  (with a sigh of resignation). . . No. No it’s not.

 

The voices were getting closer.  They had seconds at most.  

 

Tenzin:  I didn’t think so.  When they get here, you let me do the talking, alright?  

 

Walsh:  Might as well Chief. There’s not much I can say for myself now. It’s over. 

 

A frantic looking Doctor whose hair suggested she had been deep asleep very recently rounded the cargo container, medical tricorder in hand.  

 

Peretti:  Crewman Walsh!  Half the ship is up looking for you and your biomonitor data makes it look like you were trying to run a marathon.  What the hell do you think you’re doing down here?!

 

Tenzin winked to the wheezing crewman and turned, his most sheepish grin firmly fixed in place.  

 

Tenzin:  Uh, actually that’s my fault, Doc, real sorry.  Young man here was just on his way to bed when I asked him to lend me a hand.  Seems like I might’ve worked him a bit too hard, though.  Come on, Crewman, on your feet, back to bed  - guess I’ll have to fix that navigational array myself.

 

The Doctor gave Tenzin a long, questioning stare, which shifted to the young man on the ground and back to him without diminishing in intensity.  Thirty years of experience getting chewed out by everything from Admirals to Ensigns had prepared him for this moment, and his smile never waivered.  

 

Peretti:  Chief, you can’t just enlist my patients whenever you want - this man is in an incredibly fragile state!

 

Tenzin:  Yep, sorry Doc, I should’ve known better…::Tenzin’s eyes locked with James:: Won’t happen again.  Sorry about that son - we’ll have to get that bowl of ice cream some other time.  

 

James didn’t know what to say.  His tired eyes looked back and forth between the doctor and the man holding him up.  He had expected to get read his rights and taken to the brig, but now he didn’t know what would happen.  After a long pause, James finally mustered a stiff response. 

 

Walsh:  Uh, sounds good.  Thanks Chief.

 

Peretti:  Come on, James.  Lets get you back to your quarters.  As for you, Senior Chief - you better pray this little outing hasn’t damaged his new implant or you’ll be hearing from the Captain about this! 

 

Tenzin:  Of course ma’am, terribly sorry to cause a fuss ma’am.  

 

As the young man was led away and the shuttlebay doors closed, Tenzin let out a long breath and fished the errant phaser out of his pocket, disabling it and putting the safety back on.  He’d get it back to the small arms locker before anybody missed it and, on his way, he could swing by the ships lounge.  He was definitely in the mood for ice cream.  

 

===============================

 

 

((Two days later, Surgical Recovery Ward, DS9))

 

The recovery ward was nearly empty.  Had he been there under different circumstances, James would have wondered if the numerous empty beds were a good sign, or a bad one.  Now, all he felt was anxiety, apprehension, and a burning drive to find Liz.

 

The nurse at reception had told him that Elizabeth Walsh was still in the recovery ward, bed six ‘C’, and she had still not woken from her medically induced coma.  James searched intently for the wall markings that represented the ‘Charlie’ block of the recovery ward.  Finally the thin colored line painted on the walls transitioned to a light green and James knew he was in the right place.  None of the patients laid out on the beds looked familiar, and he counted off the markings on the floor.

 

James: One, two, three, four…

 

Seeing the correct bed, James sprinted the last few meters to the edge and his heart immediately sank.  The number six was stenciled on both the bed frame and the ground.  The ‘C’ block was clearly identified by the color coded walls.  He was in the right place, but the bed was empty.  He had been too late.  

 

Orsi:  You must be James.  

 

Nurse Orsi had rarely left the ward in the last few weeks and had spent much of her time on the exact spot where a wounded young man was now hovering anxiously.

 

Turning to see the source of the voice, James found himself face to face with a Bajoran woman he had never seen before.  With his good hand he wiped his eyes and tried to make himself appear in some fashion of control over his emotions.

 

James:  Uhm, yes.  Who… 

 

Orsi:  You truly walk with the Prophets, child.  It seems they’ve delivered you here just in time.  

 

James: Just in time… do you know Liz? Elizabeth Walsh.  They… they told me she was here. 

 

Orsi could feel her smile creeping upwards.  

 

Orsi: Oh, no one has told you?  

 

The smile on her face, her demeanor.  Something wasn’t right.  Where was his wife?

 

James:  Tell me what?  Ma’am, I’ve just been through the longest week of my life. Please, I’m begging you. Just talk to me plainly. (voice rising) Where is Elizabeth?

 

From behind them both the doors to the main infirmary opened, where two nurses were helping to support a young woman, taking tentative, uneven steps.  When she took her attention off the floor and locked eyes with James, everything else fell away and she rushed forward, hobbling into his arms.  

 

Elizabeth:  Jimmy!  

 

James:  Liz! Oh my god! Liz!

 

He ran to her and swept her up into a hearty embrace with his one good arm.  Tears of joy rolled freely down his face as he buried himself in his wife’s arms.

 

Nurse Orsi Laan thanked the Prophets for their mercy, and for allowing an old woman like her to be here for this moment.  The warmth and love that radiated off this pair could’ve powered the station for a year, and it filled Orsi with an elation she’d rarely known.  

 

After a long joyful moment, James Walsh released his wife and looked into her beautiful face.

 

James:  How?  How is this possible?  That thing that hit the ship. . .

 

Elizabeth:  ::sobbing::  When the hallway...I thought you were….oh Jimmy….

 

James drew his wife to him again in a renewed hug.  He never wanted to let her go. Ever. Again. 

 

James:  I know honey. I know. Me too.

 

Nurse Orsi cleared her throat from nearby, breaking the trance the two had fallen into.  

 

Orsi:  Time enough for that later, you two.  This one…::Nodding to Liz:: needs to get back to bed.  ::Orsi briefly appraised James:: in fact, you look like you’re about to drop.  Come on now, both of you, into bed before you make an old woman pick you up off the floor.  

 

It was as if speaking the words aloud made it true.  The weight of anxiety and dread that James had carried into the ward was gone, but it had been replaced with a different kind of weight. The emotional and physical toll of the last week all seemed to crash down on him at once, as if his body had been holding out just long enough for him to see Liz before it gave way to the stress.  In that moment he felt more tired than he ever had before.

 

James:  Please, I’ll do anything you say as long as we can be together. 

 

Elizabeth:  Oh, James, your hand....

 

Orsi:  All is as the Prophets will it, my child.  Liz woke up a few hours ago and we’ve had her in the main infirmary, performing tests - she’s going to be alright, my child.  Not that I ever doubted it.  Now…::Orsi smiled beatifically at her charge, finally awake and whole.::  I believe you two have some things to discuss.  I’ll give you some privacy.  

 

With a shoo’ing motion, Nurse Orsi Laan all but dragged the other medtechs out of the ward and closed the door behind her.  This was a moment that these two had paid an enormous price for and she wouldn’t dare to interfere.  

 

Back in the ward, the two were in adjacent biobeds, but their hands remained connected and neither could take their eyes off the other.  

 

Jimmy Walsh looked into his wife’s eyes again.  He could hardly tear himself away from the sight of her.  He was so relieved, so filled with joy.  He couldn’t imagine ever being happier than he was right now. 

 

Elizabeth:  James, there’s...there’s something I need to tell you.

 

James:  Liz, what could you possibly have to say that needs to be said.  Just seeing you again is all I’ll ever need

 

Elizabeth:  You’re going to need bigger quarters, Jimmy.  Much bigger quarters.  

 

His brain cycled slowly, and it seemed as if the room entered slow motion.  Was she saying what he thought she was saying?  Could it really be? After all of the death. . .

 

James:  Liz... (pause) …Are you… You’re pregnant? 

 

Elizabeth:  Actually...it’s twins.  

 

James was wrong.  Now he couldn’t be happier. 

 

 

===============================

Specialist Elizabeth Walsh

USS Thor - NCC 82607

Nurse Orsi Laan

Critical Care Nurse, DS9

V239509GT0

&

Lieutenant Antonia Peretti, MD

Chief Medical Officer, USS Indefatigable

&

Senior Chief Yoshi Tenzin

Deck Chief, USS Indefatigable

V239509GT0

 

Crewman James Walsh

USS Thor - NCC 82607

E239702WG0

=========================

 

 

 

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It has been an absolute pleasure bringing this saga to an uplifting conclusion, and a wonderful opportunity to write with the exceptionally talented @Wes Greaves.  All of this started with an idea of his making, and I cannot thank him enough for letting me build upon his start.  Experiences like this are exactly why I enjoy 118!  

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