A/N: Happy Whumptober early! Since I'm doing all 31 prompts for The Musketeers but also a few for Picard and Merlin, I figured why not start posting some now. Enjoy!

Also thanks to 29pieces for beta reading and tessseagull for the Spanish!


No 10. Trail of Blood

Enoch moved his white bishop five spaces across the chess board, taking Ean's rook. Grinning, he leaned back in the navigation seat and folded his arms across his chest, mighty pleased with himself.

Ean, leaning against the middle console, canted his head in appreciation of the move and crossed his arms, one hand cupping his chin as he considered the board. Behind him, Emmet was dozing in the other bridge operations chair.

It was a rather quiet night on La Sirena, what with the captain off ship. His absence gave the Emergency holograms a chance to remain on and enjoy some recreation and mutual companionship without Captain Rios constantly barking at them to get lost.

"Alright, where is he?" a prim voice sounded angrily from below.

Ean huffed while Enoch sighed heavily. Well, their subroutines were based off of their captain, so there was bound to be some commonalities.

Mister Hospitality stormed up the steps onto the bridge and marched right over to Emmet where he grabbed the ETH's legs and shoved them off the console they were propped up on. Emmet let out a startled snort and blinked in confusion.

"What?" he asked disinterestedly.

"Don't play dumb with me," Hospitality sniped, hugging his leather-bound PADD against his chest. "What did you do, slaughter a tribble?"

Emmet squinted at him. "¿Qué coño haces?"

Hospitality scowled. "Do you know how hard I work to keep this ship pristine?"

Enoch thought about pointing out that the captain did that, but a subtle head shake from Ean kept him quiet. The EEH moved one of his few remaining pawns. Enoch tried to ignore the spat between the steward and Emmet—it wasn't exactly uncommon—but the next thing out of the Hospitality Hologram's mouth caught his attention.

"You think it's funny, replicating a bunch of blood and just tossing it across the floor? Well, I'm telling you, you can clean it up." He gave Emmet's legs a kick.

Enoch straightened and turned his full attention to Hospitality. "There's blood on the floor?"

"Yes."

Emmet furrowed his brow. "No fui yo."

Enoch leaped out of his seat. He had a bad feeling about this. Emmet could be a slob but he didn't usually intentionally make a mess for Mister Hospitality to find. "Where?"

Hospitality rolled his eyes impatiently and gestured toward the mess. Enoch turned and made his way downstairs, the others following. The dark red splotches were difficult to see in the low lighting with the dark gray metals, but Enoch spotted the trail.

"Increase lights by forty percent," he said.

The ambient lights brightened considerably, illuminating the blood drops spaced across the floor in a linear path. Enoch looked up and down both directions it went, trying to gauge which way was coming and going.

"Looks like it passed through the cargo hatch," Ean said, already examining the far end. "But where's it heading?"

Enoch walked along the path in the opposite direction until it rounded the corner and stopped at the closed doors of the lift. "Computer," he began hesitantly, "locate Captain Rios."

"Captain Rios is in his quarters."

Alright, then.

Enoch turned to look back at the others. "I think we're going ta need Emil."

They all shared grim looks of understanding at that. Enoch pivoted on his heel and strode toward the medical bay. The moment the doors swished open, he was bombarded with a high decibel of Klingon opera music. Emil was at his desk, flicking through data streams.

"Does that have to be so loud?" Enoch shouted over the belting Klingon.

Emil shut off the music and swiveled in his chair. "It's my subtle version of 'Do not disturb.'"

"Well, we have a medical emergency."

Emil sighed loudly and got to his feet. "What's the captain done now?"

"We're not sure. You should come take a look."

Enoch led the EMH back out and pointed to the blood trail on the floor. "He's in his quarters."

"No one saw him come in?" Emil asked.

Everyone shook their heads. The captain apparently didn't want them to know about this, which did not bode well.

"Alright." Emil walked over to a control panel and began tapping out commands. He muttered something under his breath. "Well, he's not dead yet."

With that, he turned and strode toward the stairs, taking them two at a time as he hurried his way up to the upper deck where the crew quarters were located. Enoch and the others quickly went after him, even Emmet, who may have had a blasé attitude about everything else but cared as much about their captain as the rest of them did.

They marched straight to Captain Rios's door and Emil punched the key entry. It beeped a negative response. Emil scowled and typed in the EMH's override command. The door swished open, revealing a dark interior.

"Lights," Emil snapped.

The flood of illumination would have stolen Enoch's breath if holograms needed to breathe. Rios was half sprawled on his bed, one arm draped across his stomach, and his black shirt had a large dark stain on the side.

"You sure you got those readings right?" Ean asked worriedly.

Emil moved to the side of the bed. "Med kit," he barked. The requested item materialized on the mattress next to the unconscious captain, and Emil immediately began to run a medical tricorder over him.

"Look at this mess," Mister Hospitality tutted, gazing at the bloodstained floor and bedsheets.

Emmet rolled his eyes.

Enoch picked up the captain's discarded jacket and carefully folded it over the back of the chair. "Will he be all right?"

"This time," Emil huffed. He put the tricorder away and picked up a hypospray next, which he loaded with something and swiftly injected into Captain Rios's neck. Then he grabbed another medical device and pulled up the captain's shirt to get at the wound.

Ean leaned over to get a look and let out a low whistle. "Someone gutted him."

"I'm sure he was asking for it," Emil said brusquely.

"Hey," Emmet interjected in warning.

Enoch shook his head sadly. Unfortunately, they all knew the truth behind their captain's self-destructive tendencies.

"Emmet, would you please secure a ship's lockdown?" Emil requested. "We don't know whether anyone might come looking to finish the job."

The ETH gave a gruff nod and left.

"Enoch, perhaps you can set a course in case we have to leave suddenly?"

He nodded and turned to leave.

Mister Hospitality started muttering to himself as he began picking at the bloody bedsheets. Ean grabbed his arm and steered him out of the room with a firm, "Later."

They all went off to handle their various responsibilities as La Sirena's Emergency Holograms, leaving Emil to patch up their wayward captain on his own.

But after Enoch finished plotting out a course in the ship's computer, he meandered back toward the crew quarters.

"No one asked you," a very familiar, very irritable, and blessedly conscious voice drifted out.

"If you truly wanted to let yourself die, you wouldn't have come back here," Emil snipped.

There was no response to that.

Enoch waited a beat before coming around the corner and into the room. He flashed Captain Rios a beaming smile. "Captain, good ta see ya awake."

Rios huffed and turned his head away. He was reclining in bed properly now, sitting up against the headboard and pillows. His shirt had been removed but the wound was gone. Emil must have held off bringing the captain around to consciousness until after he'd completed the dermal regeneration.

Enoch gave the EMH an encouraging smile, knowing he wasn't going to get any thanks from his patient. Emil acknowledged it with a clipped nod, threw one last glance at Rios, and then left. Enoch went to the bookshelf and picked out a book, then sat in one of the upholstered chairs.

"What are you doing?" Rios growled.

"I thought I might read to ya for a bit," he said cheerfully. "Unless you'd rather Mister Hospitality come back and start cleaning up the blood. I'm sure he's having a coronary imagining the stains setting in."

Rios snorted but didn't make any further objection, so Enoch settled back in the chair and opened the book to where it was last marked and began to read. It wasn't a suicide watch, just his own clumsy attempt to show his beloved captain he wasn't alone, and that he'd be missed if he was gone.