Midnight house call
Location: Statzias quarters
Timeline: A few hours after surgery
Lyras couldn't sleep. Something Statzia had said kept milling around in his mind and no attempt at meditation was helping to clear his thoughts. Sighing to himself, he slipped out of bed and walked up to the replicator.
A few minutes later, carrying two steaming mugs of hot chocolate, he called at the lieutenant's quarters.
Statzia blinked back into the present, pulling her eyes away from the viewport. A quick glance to the chronometer on the wall let her know that over an hour had passed since she'd settled into the chair, not wanting to attempt to go to sleep--and that is was well-past a reasonable time for anyone other than the Beta shift to be up. "Enter," she called out.
A little uncertain, Lyras stepped into his patient's quarters, doing his best not to let his curiosity get the better of him. He knew very well what time it was, and that it was well beyond a decent hour to come calling. "I apologize for the intrusion," he started softly, "I could not sleep..." He paused, sizing her up. "And apparently, neither could you?" he added, holding one of the mugs out to her.
"It's not that I can't," Statzia said quietly, taking the mug and gesturing to the other side of the sofa. "I just know what waits for me when I close my eyes. Besides, I've already received the notification that I've been relieved of duty until further notice, so what's the harm in sleeping in, right?"
Lyras nodded, easing himself down as he nursed his own mug between his hands. "Have you ever tried meditating?" he asked carefully. "I have found that, on occasion, it is helpful. You are not alone in your experience. I too lost friends, and nearly an entire crew and there is no getting them back."
Statzia nodded. "Meditation, acupuncture, massage, sensory deprivation chambers." She gave a soft sigh before taking a sip of the cocoa. "They sent me to Risa for 6 months, hoping the sun and sand would be a healthy change of pace. Put me through all kind of therapeutic programs. But it's been over a year, and the nightmare still plays in my mind every time there's a deep sleep. Either I'm reliving the mission, helpless to move, or my subconscious puts me through the torture of trying to do something differently--with the same result."
"What about EMDR therapy?" he asked, sipping his drink carefully. "It is an old method of helping PTSD patients. I am not well versed in it but this holodeck must be able to assist with it?" He arched a single eyebrow at her, expecting a response to that. "I am no psychologist, but I do understand some of your pain."
Statzia's gaze wandered out the window, as if searching the passing stars would help her search through her thoughts. "How did you lose your crew?"
"A gaseous entity feasting on haemoglobin," Lyras answered sadly, "the irony is, that I probably would have survived the attack due to my Vulcan blood. But I was put in stasis in the transporter buffer, along with five others. I do not even remember why me, possibly because I am a doctor?" He shook his head, twirling the dark liquid in his mug around as he thought about it. "One hundred and fifty years later, I am one of the six survivors. I do not know if the others are actually still alive, one may have passed away not long after our rescue. I had little contact with them as I decided not to remain, and return to the academy."
Statzia ran her thumb along the rim of her mug. "I didn't get to say goodbye, either. The ship held the funerals while I was still in Sickbay--between the psychotic breaks and the surgeries, I was kept there for a month. I got back to my quarters, and Tallin's personal effects had already been removed, like he'd never been there." She looked up from her cup. "Did you ever reach out to your family? Their descendants, I mean."
Lyras shook his head. "No, I have no family that I am currently aware of. My mother died ten years before we were discovered and rescued and I had no siblings. My mother had no siblings either and I know nothing of my father." His expression hardened a fraction. "Nor do I wish to, even if he does or did have another family. But I do not even know where to begin if I did want to know. I also do not know how Romulan society views bastard children."
Statzia nodded. "I don't have any contact with my family, either. My mother died when I was still a baby, and my father was too busy trying to run his next con or business deal to bother with having a daughter. My four older brothers basically raised me--until I overheard that my father was considering bartering me as a part of one of his business deals." She set her empty mug aside. "I--I had been stealing some of the business profits little by little for the last three years, sensing he would do something like this. I packed up and ran as soon as we hit the next station. I never told them where I was going, and never contacted them. It's been 10 years since I saw or spoke with any of them."
Lyras looked thoughtful for a moment. "Do you think that, somewhat being abandoned by your family, and the death of your crewmates may cause a similar feeling? In a sense, you did lose your family twice." He paused for a moment. "And that your response to your new leg is a way to try and keep a possible new family at bay for fear of forgetting the old one?" It did make sense to him. She had left her birth family, and had lost a surrogate family when she lost her leg. The connection, to him, was perfectly logical.
"It shouldn't have been me." Statzia averted her gaze, blinking back the tears that she knew came with every time she talked about it. "Everyone else on that mission had a family, either back home or on the ship. Gods, there was an Ensign from Microbiology who left behind a wife and newborn twins. I should have better scrutinized the report on the planet's tectonic activity, or insisted on a structural integrity report on the cave after the first tremor. Instead, the cave wall gave way, and I wound up under the rubble, and it was likely the smell of my blood that attracted those--things into the cavern."
She pulled her knees--both of them--up to her chest. "I didn't have a family to leave behind, or who would have probably cared if I died in the cave or not. We never stayed in one place long enough for me to make friends, and I was never very good at making friends at the Academy, either." Statzia swallowed back the lump in her throat. "Of all the people on that mission, it shouldn't have been me. Not the con man's kid, who probably has no business being in Starfleet anyways. And putting me back together?" She wiped at her eyes with her hands. "I don't deserve it. I'd gladly trade what's left of me if one of the others could have made it back to the shuttle before--"
"Your crew is your family now," Lyras offered, "back then, and now. We both would trade if we could, but we cannot. We can only try and learn to live with our experience..." He watched her closely, seeing the change in her expression and hearing her voice crack up. Setting his mug aside, he leaned forward to reach for her hand. "Perhaps, there is a divine purpose in our survival," he offered, not sure if she believed in any kind of deity. It was a Human thing to do, wasn't it?
Statzia gave a quiet sigh, allowing him to take her hand. "And if I don't believe there's some higher power?"
"What about destiny?" he asked quietly.
"If I waited on destiny to do its thing, I would have been payment for one of my father's business debts, or part of a trade deal. If I want a destiny, I have to fight for one. People like me--we don't get one of those shiny 'happily ever after' endings." Statzia pulled her hand back.
"There is no logic in that. If you were meant to be payment for a deal your father brokered, then that would have happened. But you are here, therefor, your destiny must lie with Starfleet. You are alive, therefor destiny still has something in store for you." He gave her a small smile. "Besides... were you not dating someone? That beautiful engineer?"
A flash of confusion crossed Statzia's face, then one of realization. "Lieutenant Vesu?" She slowly began to laugh. "There is absolutely nothing going on between myself and the Lieutenant. And I don't...'date' anyone. The only person I've ever been in any committed relationship with was Tallin." Statzia uncurled herself, standing carefully. She gingerly made her way to the desk, taking care not to let the prosthetic leg get too far ahead of her. She opened a drawer and pulled out a small holocube.
Statzia returned to the couch, extending the cube as an image of her and a male Ferengi, their foreheads pressed together, appeared.
Lyras studied the image, and he could see the happiness of the two people depicted in it. "He looks..." He tilted his head, studying the male. "Unfamiliar," he finally finished, knowing that this probably wasn't helpful. "I have never seen his species before."
For the first time in a while, there was a hint of a genuine smile on her face. "If you've been in stasis for this long, probably not. I've spent more time with the Ferengi than I have with humans. Where Vulcans value logic, Ferengi value profit and business sense--neither of which my father had very much of. I never learned much of value from him, except how to make up for his business shortfalls. I'm pretty sure I only survived the Academy entrance exam because I almost beat my Kobayashi Maru." Statzia seated herself back on the couch and began to rub one of the sore areas near the connection of her new prosthetic. "I was in a Bridge simulation where we had been taken over by Klingon separatists, and the Captain was being held at gunpoint. I had almost talked the separatist leader into joining me in the conference room for a drink when they ended the simulation." She chuckled softly. "It might have worked, if they had programmed a bartender into their simulation."
"There is logic in valuing profit. If not for profit how would a business thrive?" He watched her rub her leg, wondering whether it was habitual or whether something was really bothering her. He decided to let it go and observe a little longer. "I never took the Kobayashi Maru test," he admitted, "it was not necessary and I saw no logic in trying to beat a scenario that was programmed not to be won."
Statzia gave a soft chuckle. "There were apparently parts of my Academy entrance exam that--did not meet the standards of a Starfleet Cadet. You don't exactly get a formal education when you spend most of your life doing ship salvage jobs and shady business deals. Being the youngest of five, my brothers usually sent me to dig through personal effects left behind on whatever junk heap we were taking apart. Sometimes I found PADDs with educational content on it, or if I was lucky I'd come across a real book--and I'd learn as much as I could from it before selling it to some vendor at the next station we docked with."
Her brow furrowed in a slight wince as she rubbed the other side of her knee. "But I aced anything that involved my hands. One of the test administrators pulled me aside and threw me into a holodeck. Had me take apart and put together a half-dozen parts and pieces of various ships, and then threw me into a Kobayashi Maru. So, they let me in, on the condition of an extra year of remedial studies." She looked up at him. "I'll bet you passed with flying colors."
"Not exactly. Before entering Starfleet, I had never been off Vulcan. I knew precious little of alien cultures and social aspects of academy life were alien to me. I struggled there because only few would consider working with me." He scrutinized her movement. "Are you in pain? I can prescribe you something for that, you should not be in discomfort.... Or maybe I can provide assistance? I am not well versed in it but I can provide some neuropressure therapy."
Statzia shook her head. "I think I've had enough poking and prodding and hyposprays for one day. I think everything is just sore from the procedure, and probably from hauling around the extra weight for the last few hours." The silent plea on her face said she really didn't want a return trip to Sickbay.
"It should not be giving you discomfort and there should not be additional weight. No more than your original prosthetic." He frowned, reaching out. "May I?"
"Really, I'm fine." Statzia gave a quiet sigh. "As many problems as the last prosthetic caused, I wore it as little as possible and avoided it as much as I could. It's my own fault for not keeping up on the exercises as much as I probably should." She gently took his hands in hers. "I promise, if it's still bothering me by morning, I'll come see you directly. Besides, it's late, and one of us still has a duty shift in the morning."
"One of us can take the next shift if necessary," Lyras countered mildly, looking down at the hands that held his. Gently, he pulled his hands back, hoping he wouldn't hurt her feelings. Covering her hand with his was one thing, but for them to be actually held was a bridge too far for him. "I want you to promise to try and keep up the therapy with this one," he said, "it will only help you in the long run and we are all here to help you as needed. Remember that, we are here for you, we all are."
Vulcans and touch...right. "Whatever it takes to be a good Starfleet officer, right?" Though Statzia managed a smile, it was hard to hide the frustration in her voice.
It wasn't hard to miss the frustration, even Lyras could hear it despite his general lack of understanding in regards of the wide variety of emotions Humans experienced. "Not really," he finally said, "but it is better for you in the long run, as part of your healing process."
Statzia reached to the table beside her, retrieving the empty mug and handing it back to Lyras. "Would be a whole lot easier if they made a prosthetic for the missing piece of my heart." She at least attempted a genuine smile. "Thank you for the cocoa."
"There is nothing missing in your heart ma'am," the Vulcan doctor answered, somewhat clinically, "scanned showed for your heart muscle to be intact, therefor there is nothing to replace." He accepted his mug and stood, giving a final glance around her spartanly furnished quarters. "Goodnight ma'am."
Lieutenant JG Anastatzia Liski
Chief Operations Officer, USS Orion
Ensign Lyras, M.D.
Medical Officer, USS Orion