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JP: LtJG Loxley & LtCmdr Jo Marshall - Great Responsibilities (Part I & 2)

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Honestly, just a lovely little sim that wraps up a plot from our last mission, and is just something we don't see enough of: crew thanking each other for what, for many of us, is just mundane. You know. Saving each others lives and all that.

Lovely work, Marshall and Loxley! I loved reading this two-parter.


(( First Officer’s Office, Deck 2, USS Gorkon ))

Loxley stepped out of the turbolift and paused. His eyes were drawn up towards the ceiling - above him, he knew, was the Gorkon’s bridge, a place he had very rarely set foot on. Up there the bridge crew were busy making sure everything ran smoothly as the Gorkon hurtled towards Earth and their much-needed shoreleave. It was a little odd being just metres away from the nerve centre of the ship, the place where the most difficult decisions were made by the people with the experience and will to make them.

Which was exactly what had brought him here.

The hybrid turned his attention to the unassuming doors along the short corridor and found the one he was looking for. Shifting his weight to a more comfortable stance, he pressed the door chime.

Marshall: Come in!

Came the muffled shout from inside; someone used to having the door open more often than closed and hadn’t become accustomed to adjusting the volume of her voice when it was. Lox limped into the room as the door slid open.

Loxley: Commander, do you have a moment?

Marshall: Hey, Lox. Of course, come in.

Jo patted the sofa beside her and gestured to the reclining chair opposite. It was a cosy office; not huge at all, but it fit the furniture inside comfortably enough. Sitting cross-legged on the sofa, she leaned forward to snatch up her mug of coffee from the low table and took a sip as she nodded to his abdomen.

Marshall: That’s a decent limp you’ve got there.

Loxley: Oh, it’s not as bad as it looks. It’s not really painful, just numb, and Tali estimates I’ll be back to normal in a day, maybe two.

Marshall: She does like to give a bit of a push in those estimations. Always levied with some kind of “or else” threat. Does wonders for the spirit.

Lox settled gratefully into a chair, absently rubbing his left leg. The severed nerve had been repaired, but while it was healing, his leg felt as if it was constantly on the verge of an extreme bout of pins and needles. Like he’d been sitting awkwardly for hours and had just stood up.

Loxley: I wanted to thank you, for what you did down there.

A blonde eyebrow lifted atop a blue eye, hesitation twinned with a confused expression as she swallowed the mouthful of coffee, her mug pausing at her lips.

Marshall: The lifesaving bit?

Loxley: Not the lifesaving bit. ::He paused.:: Well, okay, not just the lifesaving bit. That was definitely appreciated. But I was referring to Valdran.

Ah, Valdran. The Vulcan posing as a Romulan they had found down on the planet. He’d been very amenable when they’d first arrived there; going as far as helping them build the start of the medical facility, only to disrupt their efforts the whole way through from underneath. Finally, he had been the one to confront them, and opened the door to all of his unconscionable activities.

There was a part of her that wished she’d let him die. With a gentle nod, she cradled the mug in her hands, resting in her lap as Loxley continued.

Loxley: You could have let Commander Sevo use Valdran for the transfusion, it would have been much less of a risk than using your own plasma. From a medical point of view, it would have been the best thing for me.

Marshall: I figured as much. ::She sighed, chewing the inside of her cheek as her head bobbed a little.:: I wasn’t sure which way your hybrid blood skewed.

Loxley: I know you know it was the right choice but I… ::He hesitated, trying to find the words and justify why he’d come.:: ...I guess I wanted to tell you that I agree. Even if I’d died, it was still the right decision. And also to apologise for putting that decision on you.

Jo regarded him for a moment across the low table, then leaned forward to put the mug down, her elbows resting on her knees. Making those decisions in the heat of the moment was never easy; it could never be simple to make those calculations in the heat of action and make those decisions that could readily affect lives going forward. Finally, she dropped back against the sofa and let her hands rest on her knees.

Marshall: Thank you for saying so. I was really worried, Lox.

Loxley: ::his lip curled in a dry smile:: I was a little concerned, too.

Marshall: I thought about what I would want if it was me. We had the blood there, but we couldn’t take it from him; it would have made us no better than him, taking from the incapacitated what wasn’t ours to take.

Loxley: Exactly. I shouldn’t have even considered it.

Marshall: That’s what happens when we’re on the brink of death. We just want to live. ::A wry chuckle escaped as she ran a hand over her face.:: I’ve been there.

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(( First Officer’s Office, Deck 2, USS Gorkon ))

Lox regarded the blond-haired First Officer for a moment. He’d seen her medical record, of course, and knew that she had far more than her fair share of injuries in the past.

Loxley: I can imagine. Usually I’m the one making the medical decisions, though, so it was strange to be on the receiving end. The ethics of the situation were… complicated. But I would have made the same decision if roles had been reversed.

Somehow, Jo had known that. Maybe it was the years of working with Loxley now, being able to depend on his analytical mind and instincts that had made her question when they didn’t seem like him. But she’d seen desperation too many times to count, and it had taken more than enough people out of her life. There was a memorial to some of them a few decks below.

Loxley: There are lines we don’t cross, no matter what. I’ve always thought that makes us better than people like Valdran. Hell, you know how angry I was when those mercenaries attacked the hospital. But then I was willing to vault straight over that line in order to save my own life.

Marshall: It’s a lot to deal with in a tense situation.

Loxley: It’s a lot to think about.

Marshall: It is.

A wistful sigh escaped her lungs as Jo leaned forward to place her mug down on the table, her elbows resting on her knees. There was a time when she would’ve found it difficult to think about herself; a younger version, a little less bold, or perhaps bolder. Her lips twitched as she considered it for a second and then considered the young doctor in front of her, knowing how her next words would sound before she said them.  

Marshall: I’m going to give you the line of recommending booking a few sessions with a counsellor to talk it over. Standing on that precipice and looking down doesn’t weigh easily on the mind.

Lox nodded slowly in agreement. He still had nightmares about being eaten by giant monsters back on Trueno, although thankfully they weren’t nearly as bad as they had been. And now this.

Loxley: I had been thinking the same. I’m sure Corliss is keeping an eye on me, but still…

Marshall: Corliss doesn’t count. I mean, she does, ::she waved her hand,:: but someone else. Corliss loves you. It’s hard to be impartial with someone you love.

Loxley: Don’t worry, I won’t tell her you said that. ::he smiled:: But I know what you mean, she wouldn’t act as my counsellor even if I asked, far too much of a conflict of interest. But I’m sure she’ll be able to suggest someone on her staff.

Marshall: How did the transfusion take? Have I got Namura baying for my blood, so to speak?

Lox sat back in the chair and scratched at his neck distractedly. He didn’t really want to tell Jo that his body had basically treated her blood plasma as poison and the medics had needed to flush it all out. That felt somehow ungrateful.

Loxley: It… kept me alive until we could get back to the Gorkon, so in that regard it was perfect. As for Tali, I’m afraid I couldn’t make out what she was muttering under her breath. I think I heard the word 'amateurs’ in there somewhere, though.

Marshall: At least we’re in the same category as her academy professors, then. That’s some small comfort.

The young woman chuckled, if only to ease the gnawing sense she’d done the hybrid doctor more harm than good, and in the long run, it may have consequences lurking in the deep waters. No doubt Tali fought tooth and nail to bring him back from the brink of whatever they’d pushed him to, and she made a mental note to check in with her when she got a chance. If that happened to be never, that worked too.

Loxley: She’s the very personification of ‘tough love’ but I wouldn’t want any other physician looking after my care. She had her hands full when the away teams all came back, especially as two of the medics were among those needing attention.

Marshall: There is the reason she’s still on the Gorkon. ::She winced and added a shake of her head.:: Don’t tell her I said that.

However true it was, it wasn’t up to Jo to discuss it with anyone other than Quinn and Tali herself, though Loxley had been a member of the ship long enough to have felt the abrasive nature radiating from the doctor like a suit of armour. Tali didn’t pull her punches, provided straight answers, and could be affable once those she deemed worthy chipped away the layers of ice. It just took a while to get there.

Lox paused, shifting in his seat slightly as he looked across at the woman opposite him.

Loxley: How about you, Commander? How are your ribs faring?

Marshall: I can’t complain. ::She smiled warmly, dropping her hand to the offending side.:: I’ve had worse, and this gives me ample excuse to take it easy and walk around the nature reserves with Erin instead of signing up for skydiving.

Loxley: I’m glad we’re taking some time off. I think everyone needs to heal. Well, the physical injuries, that is. Corliss can take care of the other wounds. Those are much, much more tricky than the ones I deal with. And take longer to heal.

Marshall: If only we had a dermal regenerator for the soul. I suppose we do, in a way. Corliss has had the biggest impact since coming on board.

Loxley: I am slightly in awe of her, I’m happy to admit.

The hybrid pushed himself to his feet, his leg giving a little wobble as he did so. He was definitely looking forward to the sensation returning to normal.

Loxley: I should leave you to it, Commander. I’m sure you’ve got plenty to do before we arrive at Earth.

Following his lead, Jo did the same, able to move without much more pain than a twinge and a wince. Once stood, she plucked the coffee mug from the table, fully intent on retrieving more to power through the rest of the administration she had to do in the interim. Her thoughts flit for a brief second to the very awkward reports she had to read through, though they had less to do with the mission, and more to do with family.

Guilt radiated, but she shoved it back down, and instead, shot a wry grin to Lox.

Marshall: Haven’t we all?

Lt (jg) Loxley
USS Gorkon


Lt. Commander Jo Marshall
First Officer
USS Gorkon

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