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LtCmdr Tracey Townson - For The Love Of A Child


Blueheart
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((USS Discovery-C - Quarters - Once All Settled on the Bridge))

::Tracey sat in her dimly lit quarters gently rocking the Romulan infant child in her arms as the stars streaked by outside her window. Tracey looked down at the child and he up at her with his dark eyes which was in sharp contrast to her own. When thier eyes met, Tracey smiled and pulled the child a little closer to her chest. The child did not push away, but neither did smile, but continued to stare almost in curiosity at the new expression on Tracey's face. He then gently reached up and lightly touched Tracey's lips with his hand.::

TOWNSON: ::whispering:: Its a smile, Hvaid. I...I wish you could...

::Tracey's smile disappeared at the last of her trailing off spoken thoughts but the child's tiny hand still rested on her lips and their eyes remained locked for a moment longer before the child's head turned to look back out the window at the streaking stars. And as Tracey looked at the top of her sleepy infant's head, and the tiny hand slowly slid down from Tracey's lips until it fell limp next to the child and onto his adoptive mother's lap, Tracey's feelings of concern were welling up inside of her.

::It was not just the concern that one day, perhaps, this child whom Tracey had grown strangely attached to, would one day encounter his true parents and be taken away from her. But also the fact that she had grown attached to this very unique Romulan child whose emotional centers of his brain were disconnected, and therefore showed no emotion whatsoever. Without the assistance of the Vulcans nor the Romulans Tracey wondered if she was up for such a challenge of raising this child.::

((Three years ago - Starfleet Medical - Psychiatric Division - Office of Doctor Samuel Huff))

::Time and time again, Tracey's fate was almost sealed by the Dominion forces in which she fought against everyday. Either through physical or psychological confrontation of learning of another friend, colleague or family member killed by the hands either directly or indirectly, by the enemy. Death was a fact of life for her through her adult life and now was no different. With her eyes still closed and her head leaning back, Tracey, through a new round of tears, knew she would eventually learn her fate. If that was the case, it would be better to get it done now rather than later.::

TOWNSON: How did I do?

HUFF: You passed.

::A frown formed on Tracey's face as she brought her head forward.::

TOWNSON: I don't understand...how?

HUFF: ::smiling slightly:: The test is designed to see how one copes in a no win situation. You appear to have performed adequately. Congratulations.

TOWNSON: ::turning her head slightly to look out the window towards the San Francisco, early morning, sunshine filled skyline, before turning back to face her Doctor.:: A no win scenario?

::The Doctor nodded.::

TOWNSON: ::shaking her head:: That's not a no win scenario, Doctor. I could have turned my ship around and left those on the Kobyashi Maru to die. To me that was more of a setup. A no win scenario is one where you have no choice. Where death is imminent no matter what decision you make.

HUFF: I see. And if I would have told you you didn't pass. Would you have considered that a no win scenario?

::Tracey stared at her Doctor for a long time before she reached for her long, black hair and began twirling it in her fingers.::

TOWNSON: What do you mean, Doctor?

HUFF: It is no secret your desire to reenter Starfleet. Have you considered any alternative?

TOWNSON: No!

HUFF: Why not? You are aware there are no guarantees.

TOWNSON: It is who I am. It is what I was trained for all my life. I am not capable of living any other lifestyle.

HUFF: But you are vibrant, young, bright and a quick learner. If you cannot get back to your universe of origin, I am certain you would easily find yourself, in time, able to adjust, settle down, and perhaps even start a family. Have you ever concidered children?

::Tracey shook her head. She then stood in her medical gown and slippers and walked towards the window.::

TOWNSON: I'd like to change the subject, Doctor.

((Present - USS Discovery-C - Quarters))

::Even in her universe of origin, children were not on Tracey's radar. To bear a child while the galaxy was at war was not a prospect she wished for any potential offspring to have to deal with. Therefore she made certain that pregnancy would be an option she would never have to deal with. Since coming to this universe, these thoughts remained the same but for a very different reason. By laying down too many roots in this universe, it would be that much more difficult for her to return to her own should the opportunity arise. This was the reason she stayed at arms length from her comrades, trying not to develop deep rooted relationships at any level. And save for two occasions when she knew she would never see them again, refrained from any type of intimate relationships. But besides Jack, the medical student bartender at the Twilight's Edge on DS 17 and Doctor Charles Sampi, Tracey would push those away who would come too close.::

((One Year Ago - Outside Tracey Townson's quarters, the night before Dr. Charles Sampi's departure from the USS Tiger-A))

::Charlie took a breath and rang the door chime. After what seemed like the longest pause, he heard an answer.::

TOWNSON: Come.

SAMPI: Hello, commander, it's Char... Dr. Sampi. I just wanted to see you for a moment if that's all right?

::Tracey turned her head towards the shadowy figure standing in the doorway and smiled as she leaned back in her chair and looked up towards the ceiling.::

TOWNSON: Making a housecall Doctor?

SAMPI: Not exactly. I just wanted to see you before I left.

TOWNSON: ::turning slowly and looking back towards the door.:: Of course, Doctor. Please, come in. Sit down. ::gesturing towards her bed directly across from the chair Tracey was in::

SAMPI: oO The bed... huh... Oo

::One of the first things Charlie learned in medical school was never to sit on a patient's bed. But then, this really wasn't a biobed, and besides, Tracey wasn't lying on it. For now, at least.::

::Charlie cautiously sat down.::

SAMPI: Are you feeling better?

TOWNSON: ::looking for a moment at her shaky left hand before returning her smile towards the Doctor.:: A little. I'm a big girl, Charles. I'll heal. But thats not what you came here for.

::It was a statement. Not a question.::

SAMPI: ::chuckles:: I must be so transparent... you're right. I guess I needed to see you because of what happened... in the corridor after the ceremony...

TOWNSON: ::looking away before returning her gaze on the Doctor.:: You saved my life, Doctor. I wanted...I wanted to give something back in return.

SAMPI: oO Something, eh? Oo Well, I...

::Charlie let out another small laugh and looked down.::

SAMPI: This is so silly, but now that I'm going, I guess it doesn't matter anymore... ::He looked up.:: I like you Tracey. Or rather, I've had a bit of a crush on you...

TOWNSON: ::smiling:: I see.

SAMPI: I regret not being courageous enough to get to know you better... I told myself since you were part of the crew, and I was the chief medical officer, then technically you would always be my patient in some way, so it would be inappropriate... but I think that was more an excuse I could tell myself.

::Charlie looked down again, in shame.::

SAMPI: To not worry about getting hurt possibly if you didn't feel the same way.

TOWNSON: ::looking towards the window before returning her gaze towards the former Chief Medical Officer.:: Sometimes life gets so hectic that we sometimes miss those signals that are right in front of our noses.

SAMPI: ::looking up suddenly:: Do you?

TOWNSON: Do I what, Charles?

SAMPI: Feel the same way, that is? I know you didn't really get a chance to know me more either...

TOWNSON: ::smiling slightly:: I trust you Doctor, and with that trust I feel comfort around you. How far that would go is anyone's guess.

::She looked down for a moment::

TOWNSON: I am a soldier, Charles, and you are a healer. We are exact opposites from one another. But you have shown a true interest and care for my well-being that has gone unnoticed. But that has changed. When I learned of your departure, a part of me wanted to jump up and say "no!". It was at that moment when I realized that my feelings for you were perhaps more than just Doctor, patient variety. I apologize if I made you feel uncomfortable in the corridor after the conference. ::looking down.:: Hearing what you have just told me now brings a bittersweet feeling to me. I wish we had more time. But at the same time, I don't want to hold you back.

::Charlie just sat for a moment, taking in everything the woman had just told him.::

SAMPI: I... I don't know what to say...

::He then smiled.::

SAMPI: Well, actually, I do know one thing. You don't have to apologize about what happened in the corridor. It was a very pleasant surprise.

::Tracey stood up as she pushed on her cane with all her strength. She stood in front of Doctor Sampi and spoke in almost a whisper.::

TOWNSON: Catch me.

::Charlie gave a puzzled glance before she let her cane drop to the floor and fell into the Doctor's arms.::

SAMPI: ::looking down at her:: Tracey!

TOWNSON: ::looking up into the eyes of the Doctor and smiling:: Before your departure, I have one last request of you, Doctor.

::As Charlie looked down at her, he knew she could ask him for anything at that moment--a case of 2309 bloodwine, the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, anything--and he'd strive to get it for her.::

SAMPI: Yes?

TOWNSON: Stay with me until I fall asleep.

::She listened to his heartbeat through his chest. He gave a soft chuckle and leaned back against the headboard of the bed as Tracey continued to rest against him.::

SAMPI: Of course.

::Tracey smiled as she rested her head on the man's chest. She could smell his skin and could feel his chest slowly rising and falling. Tracey felt a comfort in the man's arms she had not felt for years. But she knew it would be short lived. The Doctor would be gone by the morning, she knew. And she wanted so much to ask him to stay, but she was a child of StarFleet, and she knew the sacrifices that had to be made. She only hoped that the Doctor did as well, as she looked up into his eyes and smiled.::

TOWNSON: I... I hope none of this changes your plans, Doctor.

SAMPI: ::sighs:: Well, Captain Riley just signed the final transfer request...

TOWNSON: ::smiling and sighing:: Good, otherwise I would have ordered you to go.

SAMPI: ::laughs:: I believe I have the same number of pips as you, *commander*...

::He looked down and grinned broadly.::

TOWNSON: ::still smiling:: I know...::as she pressed her left finger against each one of the Doctor's three pips before moving it to his cheek.:: But a girl can always try.

::Her head then slowly lowered back onto the Doctor's chest. Charlie took the blanket from the bed and placed it over her gently. He kept his arm wrapped around her as she closed her eyes.::

SAMPI: You know, there is a scheduled leave after the first six months of the fellowship program. Perhaps the Tiger won't be so far away then...

::The doctor looked down to see though that Tracey had fallen asleep. He smiled. Was this really happening? What were his plans now? How could it ever work? Did it even matter?::

::He kept a watchful eye on her, but it wasn't long before he too closed his eyes.::

::As the Tiger continued on its journey, one in which Charlie would not be able to follow, the two drifted off into a place where they could remain together, if only for a moment.::

((Present - USS Discovery-C - Quarters ))

::Tracey never saw the Doctor again past that memorable evening, as he had slipped out and left the Tiger before she awoke. Once again, Tracey felt unhindered should she find a way to return to her universe of origin. But now she had a child. One that was almost inexplicably dropped in her lap when she found the infant in an abandoned cave on Bilire IV. A child she became almost instantly attached to the moment she picked him up in her arms, to the point where she dove a batleth into the forehead of a Klingon to protect the child from harm.

((Six Months Ago - Hill Tops - Bilire IV))

::Tracey held the child in her arms as tightly as she could without smothering him, as she ran with the others. Keeping up was not easy, but she fought the pains that were beginning to develop as well as old injuries whose pains of some were reemerging.::

ZERXES: We can approach from a hilltop and provide cover; give them an escape route.

RILEY: Which hill?

::Everything was moving very quickly....::

TOWNSON: ::lifting her head from her footfalls and scanning the area visually.:: 11 o'clock, Captain! ::shouting through the pounding raindrops.::

RILEY: How much farther?

TOWNSON: We should be getting closer!

RILEY: Townson, are you doing okay?

TOWNSON: I'm fine, Captain. ::she put on a false smile, but she was struggling. She was too proud and in essence, stubborn to ask for help. Besides, she knew she'd be hard pressed to leave the child out of her care.::

::The team stopped and Tracey looked up and at the scene in front of her. She then looked at the Captain as she too appeared to try to figure the next best course of action. Suddenly the new security officer spoke up, and Tracey's attention was drawn to him.::

ZERXES: Two providing cover fire, two going down there to cut a path.

::Sidney's eyes widened at the fact the Ensign was now giving her orders to provide him with cover fire. It shocked her so much, there was a second before she spoke.::

RILEY: Ensign, you don't want to give your position away....

TOWNSON: Wait! I've gotta..

::But the man had already rolled onto his back and pulled his rifle into position. Sidney shook her head, if she yelled at the eager man she'd give away both her and Townson's location. She sighed and pulled out her phaser setting it to the highest stun setting.::

RILEY: Keep the child safe.

TOWNSON: Yes Captain.

::Tracey moved back and rested the child onto the ground in an area she assumed would be able to shelter the child from errant fire and potential debris. She then crouched down and pulled out her phaser and pointed in the general direction of where Zerxes went running from her naturally carved out trench area.::

RILEY: I'm going after hot shot so he doesn't get himself or us killed.

TOWNSON: I'll cover you, Captain.

::Tracey then watched as the Captain headed away as she trained her phaser on nothing, but should something attack the Captain, Tracey would have a good shot at it from her location. With her senses at their peak, Tracey picked up a minor unnatural sound from to her left rear of her head, close to where the infant was. For a fraction of a second, she thought it was the infant himself who moved or made a noise, but turning her head slightly, the unnatural shadow of a large individual could be seen. Her eyes darted up just in time to see the Bat'leth blade come slicing down towards the two of them.::

::In a heartbeat, Tracey threw up her right hand and the Bat'leth made contact with it accompanied by the telltale screeching sound of steel meeting steel as the weapon slashed through the false flesh of her prosthetic hand. The power of the impact shook the phaser from Tracey's left hand and the weapon rolled down the hill. Tracey gripped the blade and looked at her enemy in the eyes as she squeezed the edge of the blade and would not let go. I minor tug of war ensued and once Tracey felt the weapon was useless in her grip, she let it go. The Klingon slipped back momentarily and Tracey took the opportunity to stand and with lightning speed, reached for the Klingon's neck with her right hand, as the loose false flesh dangled from it in the wind.::

::The Klingon tried in vain to pry open Tracey's grip, to no avail as Tracey looked up and an evil smile spread across her face. He then tried to push her arm away with his as the Klingon's ability to breathe was becoming more and more labored.::

TOWNSON: Don't even try, Klingon. You'll rip your own esophagus out.

::With the clouds moving at the pace of the ever increasing wind gusts, and the large raindrops pouring down over her face and matted hair, Tracey's grip remained secure on the Klingon's air pipe, just under his chin, as she pointed towards the child lying inches away, still covered in a StarFleet tunic. Both of the Klingon's hands were gripping Tracey's right wrist as he fought for each breath he took.::

TOWNSON: On your knees, Klingon. ::pointing towards the Romulan infant.:: Pray to the child, and I may let you die an honorable death.

::The Klingon shook his head weakly and tried in vain to spit at the recognizable Romulan child whose pointed ears were clearly in view. Not liking the response from the Klingon in her grips, Tracey increased the pressure just a little more. as she watched the color begin to drain from the face of the Klingon. Moments later, the Klingon dropped down to his knees as his oxygen levels began to deplete.::

TOWNSON: Good, Klingon.

::One of the hands of the Klingon went limp, and reached for a dagger from within his torso, and with one last ditch effort, slashed up at Tracey's right arm, cutting across her right forearm.::

TOWNSON: NO!!!

::With her left hand she gripped her right forearm as the red liquid seeped through her fingers, but she didn't let go of the Klingon's neck. As the Klingon tried one last slash Tracey caught the weakened Klingon's arm, wielding the dagger and drove it into the Klingon's torso.::

::Suddenly the Romulan infant let out a wail. A shriek, and Tracey turned. With her focus on the child, the Klingon withdrew his dagger from his own torso as a look of intense pain developed on his face, and once cleared, with Tracey's attention drawn to the child, slashed at Tracey's torso, and created a deep gash in her belly. Tracey turned back to the Klingon, now keeling over in intense pain and once again, increased her pressure as she swore in Romulan.::

::This time Tracey grabbed the hand of the Klingon holding bloddy dagger and brought it up and drove it into his forehead. With blood covering both of her arms and torso, and bent over in pain as she tried to stop the bleeding at her belly with her left arm. She watched as the Klingons eyes rolled back into its head, and when she could no longer feel a pulse around her grip of the Klingons neck, she let go, and the Klingon collapsed backwards with his hand still in the dagger as if he had driven it there himself.::

::Tracey looked at the dead Klingon for a moment before gathering up the child and heading down the hill to join the others as the storm didn't let up.::

::Tracey was in no condition for another fight, but from what she noticed, things appeared to be calm for the most part.::

TOWNSON: Captain.

((Present - USS Discovery-C - Quarters ))

::Tracey looked down at the now sleeping infant and gathered him up in her arms, stood up, closed her eyes and held him close as to protect him. She then headed to the infant's crib and gently tucked him in. Tracey stood and watched the child sleep for awhile, before crouching down close to the infant Romulan. She then gently brushed his cheek with her real left hand and whispered as a tear rolled down her cheek.::

TOWNSON: I love you, Hvaid. And I will make certain that no harm shall ever come to you. And should a portal open back to my home, I...I just don't know anymore what I would do.

::And with that, Tracey sat cross-legged at the side of the crib and cried for those she had lost in a universe that now only existed in her memories.::

-TBC-

Lt. Commander Tracey Townson
Chief of Operations
USS Discovery-C

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