A/N: Thank you SnidgetHex and pallysAramisRios for reviewing!
And this is my last whumptober piece for this fandom.
No 27. Extreme Weather
Agnes ran her gaze along Cris's mermaid collection.
"Kind of incongruent," she commented. "The whimsical collection of mermaids next to the collection of books on the existential pain of living."
He came up behind her and slipped his arms around her waist. "I suppose I'm an incongruent kind of guy."
Yes, he was, but in an enigmatic way Agnes found alluring. She turned in his embrace and stretched up on her toes to kiss him. Linked like that, they started to make their way toward the bed. But just as they were about to tumble onto it on their own power, the ship suddenly lurched violently, flinging them off their feet and onto the cushioned mattress.
"What was that?" Agnes exclaimed, her heart rate immediately kicking into overdrive with all kinds of horrible thoughts of the ship being under attack or having a warp core breach.
Cris scrambled off the bed. "We dropped out of warp."
Agnes could tell that wasn't the whole story because, for one thing, she knew dropping out of warp normally didn't feel like that, and for another, Cris went rushing out the door. The ship was still juddering and part of Agnes wanted to stay right where she was and hold onto something, but after being in a firefight with a bunch of Romulan warships, she didn't exactly want to go back to being a coward now. So she sucked in a shuddering breath and hurried after Cris.
She was a few steps behind him when they reached the bridge.
"What the hell happened?" Cris demanded.
"We passed into an ion storm," Enoch reported. "The disruptions to sub space pulled us out o' warp."
"Ion storm, is that bad?" Agnes asked as the ship lurched again and she threw her arms out to keep her balance.
"This one's a force five," the ENH replied.
"And that means what exactly?" she pressed.
"That you'd better hold on to something," Cris said as he stumbled into the captain's seat and pulled up the piloting controls.
Agnes staggered to one of the other seats in the back and gripped the arm rests with white knuckles as the ship was battered by the variant stress and pressure of the external forces. Alarms started blaring and part of Cris's holographic console shorted out.
"Dammit!" he cursed, his hand shaking on the joystick as he fought to control the ship.
Harried footsteps had Agnes turning her head as the others made their way onto the bridge.
"Report," Picard barked. He still hadn't quite tamped down that command urge.
"Ion storm," Agnes said so Cris and Enoch wouldn't have to be distracted with answering.
"Oh dear," Enoch started.
Agnes was about to ask him what the hell he meant by that when his holographic image spritzed. He glanced down at himself in alarm, then looked up, his wide-eyed expression frozen for a split moment before he winked out.
Cris swore again in Spanish and jerked the ship to the side, nearly flinging Agnes from her chair. She watched bands of magnetically charged whips lash through the space ahead of them, and then one struck out like lightning and hit La Sirena head on. This time Agnes was thrown to the floor, and so was Cris. His head struck the corner of the platform and he rolled into the back of the ops chair where he came to a stop, unmoving.
Agnes's breath caught in her throat, and despite her terror, she crawled her way across the floor to reach him. Blood was pouring from a gash just below his hairline.
"No!" Seven shouted, pulling her way into the captain's seat. "The ion storm will only destabilize the EHs. We have to wait until we've cleared this." She seized the piloting controls and took over wrestling La Sirena through the storm.
Agnes looked helplessly down at Cris. He was still bleeding. She yanked off her t-shirt and wadded it up to press against his head as the ship continued to rock back and forth violently.
Soji managed to haul herself into the operations console and yelled that she was going to try to boost the shields.
"Can't we go to warp?" Raffi shouted.
"Storm's too powerful," Seven replied. "That's what knocked us out in the first place."
Another wave slammed into the ship again, throwing Agnes on top of Cris. She clung to him and squeezed her eyes shut, praying for it to be over soon.
And then with a burst of power to the engines that ignited a series of sparks in the back of the ship, they went careening past the edge of the ion storm and into clear space, flying end over end with the stars through the view window swirling together. Agnes had to look away before it gave her vertigo.
"Is it over?" she asked tremulously.
Seven straightened in her chair. "We're clear," she confirmed.
"Now can we activate the EMH?"
"Yeah," Raffi grunted. "I think that'd be a good idea."
Agnes looked behind her and saw Raffi with her arms wrapped around the railing above the lower deck, a welt blossoming on her forehead. Across from her, Elnor pushed himself up off the floor and clutched at his wrist.
Seven checked a few readings on the console and then nodded. "Activate EMH."
Emil flickered into view. "What is the nature of the- oh my. What happened?"
"Ion storm," Picard responded. "We have a few injuries."
"Cris is unconscious and bleeding," Agnes put in hurriedly, her heart palpitating with fear for Rios.
Emil turned and immediately came to her, calling for a holographic med kit to materialize on the floor next to him. He picked up a medical tricorder and began a scan. "Concussion, bruising. No inter-cranial bleeding though."
He set the tricorder down and grabbed a hypospray next, which he loaded with some type of medication and injected it into Cris's neck. Next he picked up the dermal regenerator and Agnes pulled her bloodstained shirt away so he could begin to mend the gash on Cris's head. When he was done, he put a gentle hand on Agnes's shoulder.
"Do keep him still if he wakes up."
Agnes nodded, and Emil hurried off to check the others.
Cris let out a low moan and started to loll his head. Agnes shot a hand out to cup his cheek and prevent him from moving too much. His eyelids fluttered and he squinted at her as though in pain.
"Yeah," she breathed, smiling with sheer relief. "Don't move yet. You hit your head."
Of course he didn't listen to her and tried to lift his head to look around. "The storm…"
"Seven got us out," Agnes assured him.
"Oh." He groaned again and raised a hand to clutch at his head.
Agnes knew concussions weren't automatically fixed with a hypospray and regenerator and they'd have to be careful for the next twenty-four hours.
"A lot of systems sustained damage," Soji reported. "But we still have impulse engines and we can put a little more distance between us and that storm."
"Good idea," Picard said.
Cris tried to sit up again, and Agnes pushed him back down.
"Stop that," she hissed.
"You heard her," Cris grunted. "Lots of repairs to make. Enoch's offline."
"Is he?" Emil interjected, making his way back over. "Well, that won't do. However, the ship will be in capable hands while her captain is on bed rest."
"Emil," Cris growled in warning.
"I'm sorry, Captain, but this is one area where you cannot push through with a stiff upper lip. The brain is still the most mysterious and remarkable organ in the human body, and there is no treatment to magic away the effects of injury. So please, for all our sakes, listen to my orders just once."
Agnes leaned close and lowered her voice. "For me?"
Cris met her eyes, and she swallowed hard at one pupil being slightly larger than the other. "Alright," he relented.
Emil beamed at his victory, though he quickly squashed his grin when Cris glowered his way. Agnes and the EMH helped him sit up, waiting an extra beat when it was clear the change in elevation made him dizzy. Then they helped him to his feet and started shuffling their way toward the crew quarters.
They paused as they passed Raffi and Elnor, Cris's brow furrowing.
"You two alright?"
Raffi waved a hand weakly. "I'm on orders to rest like you. Though I didn't bleed all over my girlfriend's shirt."
Cris frowned and looked at Agnes in confusion. She sighed, not wanting to explain that right now.
"I'll be all right," Elnor piped in. "The doctor said it was just a sprain."
Cris studied the kid for a moment, then nodded slowly. "Good." He turned his head searchingly until he found Seven. "Thanks for getting everyone through safely."
"I like to think of us as a tag team," she replied with a knowing glint.
Cris considered that for a moment, then inclined his head, which upset his already precarious balance and he swayed, but Agnes and Emil were quick to keep him upright.
"Alright, I'll see this patient to his quarters and then I'll be back for you two," Emil said.
Cris grumbled under his breath the entire slow, slogging journey, mostly directed at the poor EMH who never got any thanks for his work. Agnes gave him a grateful smile though.
They got Cris onto his bed and then Emil left.
"Back to our original destination," Cris mumbled.
Agnes snorted. "Yeah, but strenuous activity is definitely off the menu."
She roved her gaze around the room, then bent down to pick up a mermaid figurine that'd fallen off the shelf and broken into three pieces. It wasn't all that incongruent, this collection. They represented this ship, and by extension, Cris. Including the broken pieces.
Agnes set them on the desk with the intention of fixing them later. But for now, she turned and crawled onto the bed to settle next to Cris.
"I thought you said this was off the menu," he said tiredly, struggling to open his eyes.
"Shh," she replied, carding her fingers through his hair. "Let someone take care of you for once."