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Eyes on Me

Like all Kelpiens, Saru knew when he was being watched.

Some of his own crewmates, he realized, were stalking him, prowling at the edges of his heightened senses, so that he could not determine who was lurking only that someone…several someones, in fact…were there, lying in wait, anticipating…what?

But something was off. His threat ganglia did not sense danger nearby, only…a presence, watching, waiting.

As the first – and still only – Kelpien in Starfleet, Saru had faced more dangers than many of his kind had ever fled. Were his senses becoming dulled to true danger, or, possibly worse, was he seeing shadows when nothing was there? Could a being who had evolved to live and cope in a state of constant fear suffer an emotional breakdown from constantly facing mortal dangers for a prolonged period? His prudent nature dictated that he consider the possibility that there was something wrong with him.

They had a little time before they arrived at the Charon's coordinates. Time enough for him to go to sickbay for a checkup. He wasn't sure who he would put in charge if he was unwell, but as acting captain, he could not allow himself to become a danger to the ship.

Commander Gotthelf was the next senior officer, but Commander Webb, being Head of Security since Commander Landry's death and having been her second prior to that, was more qualified. He didn't know which of them he would choose or even how to make the choice if he needed to step down, but if he was unfit, was that a decision he should be making?

Lieutenant Commander Airiam was currently the next senior office on the bridge, and in his opinion, more qualified than any of the higher ranking officers on board by virtue of having actually worked on the bridge for the past several months. He left her in command for the moment and went to sickbay.

=/\=

"You're right as rain, sir," Doctor Pollard assured him as she helped him sit up from the biobed. "All readings are well within normal parameters for a Kelpien."

"Are you quite sure?" Saru pressed. "There's no chance the stress of the current circumstances could be compromising my judgement?"

"Well, certain hormone levels are a little high, adrenaline, for one, but I wouldn't say that makes you any more susceptible to making bad choices than it would any other member of the crew," she replied. "Perhaps, if you could explain your concern to me, I could do some more focused testing…"

Saru clicked in frustration. He had hoped to avoid getting into specifics. He hesitated just a moment, and then forced himself to give her the truth.

"I feel as though I am being watched, but I have no sense of danger," he explained. "My species is highly adapted to detect any sort of threat. To feel eyes on me wherever I go and not feel threatened seems…unnatural to me. I am worried that my senses might be malfunctioning. I am concerned that I might be unfit for duty."

The smile Pollard gave him then went a long way to reassuring him.

"Saru," she said, placing a comforting hand on his arm. "You are being watched, my friend, but you feel no threat because there is none. You are our captain now, and we are all looking to you, for comfort…reassurance…leadership. We are watching you to see how afraid we should be, and you have shown us that there is nothing to fear."

Saru clicked thoughtfully, smiled slightly, stood up, and straightened his uniform.

"Thank you, Doctor Pollard," he said. "It is an unusual sensation to be the subject of such intense…benign scrutiny. I thought it prudent to make sure there was nothing wrong before we faced the Charon. I should be getting back to the bridge now. Carry on."

Pollard stood at attention, nodded briskly. "Aye, Captain, and thank you, sir."

Saru stiffened to attention himself and returned the nod. Then he strode out of sickbay, confident that he was ready for whatever came next.

=/\=

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