The bridge was nearly empty, save for Picard and Raffi discussing options for making up time after the setback they'd suffered. Picard looked up in surprise as Rios appeared, making his way stiffly across the deck.

"Captain Rios," he greeted.


Picard studied his stilted gait, the way he held one arm braced across his middle. "Should you be out of sickbay yet?"

"No reason not to be," came the casual reply.

"It looks as though your EMH hasn't finished treating your injuries," Picard pointed out.

Rios shrugged, which triggered a grimace. "He didn't say anything against it."

Raffi snorted, breaking her silence. "Because you deactivated him."

"He's an emergency medical hologram. The emergency is over. Now, I assume you want to get going." He moved toward the captain's chair.

Picard didn't understand this man, whose impeccable maintenance of his ship to Starfleet standards didn't match his treatment of himself.

Raffi rolled her eyes.

Rios reached for the chair, only to throw a hand out to brace himself on the armrest, eyes squeezing shut as he bowed his head. Raffi was next to him in an instant, pressing close but not touching.

"Cris…" she said, voice pitched low with a well of understanding Picard couldn't plumb, but also a note of warning. "Just stop."

"I'm fine," Rios gritted out.

"Yeah, you look the picture of it."

Rios flicked a look under his arm toward Picard, who suddenly felt as though he were intruding on something.

Raffi studied the ship's captain for another moment. "When was the last time you slept?"

"That's what the EMH asked," Rios responded humorlessly.

"Too bad for you, you can't deactivate me."

Rios sighed and reached a hand up to rub his forehead. "It's not a good time," he said, tone emphasizing something Picard once again wasn't privy to.

Raffi, however, pursed her mouth in understanding. "I'll make sure the EMH wakes you the moment it starts," she said softly.

Rios looked indecisive for a moment longer before he finally slumped in apparent defeat. "Activate the navigational EH," he said tonelessly to the ship.

The hologram flickered on, ready to serve.

Rios gestured dejectedly to the captain's chair. "Have at it. Admiral Picard can fill you in."

"It would be my pleasure," the EH chirped cheerily.

Rios didn't say anything, just let Raffi sling an arm over her shoulder so she could help him back to sickbay. Picard watched them go before turning to the chipper EH.

"Will he be all right?" he found himself asking the hologram.

The EH sighed sadly before smiling again. "That is what we keep aiming for," he answered, then took a seat and pulled up the piloting controls.