Chapter 7: Second Chances
"Do I look all right Bones?" I looked at Bones seriously; I did't want to look a mess when the Admirals came aboard. All the senior crew and all those getting promoted had been invited to the Admirals welcoming party and about fifty other members of the crew were there too, just to show off.
Every one of them was in their dress uniform and they were lined up neatly in the main hanger, looking like a well organised army, rather than a Starfleet crew. They were stood in colour co-ordinated groups.
The only people on the ship that weren't in their dress uniforms were the thirty or so engineers that Scotty called the "deep engineers", who work far in the bowels of the ship. They were all wearing their usual white and red overalls.
"Jack you look fine and, for the love of Christ, will you stop fidgeting!" Bones growled at me.
"Sorry Bones, I can't help it, I'm nervous." I whispered back.
"Well, don't be. They're here now so stop stressing."
There was a whistle, telling us to stand to attention, which amazingly everyone did. The doors to the shuttle opened with a rather pompous swish and a metallic thud when it hit the floor of the shuttle bay. The Admirals stepped off together, Pike and Jon both look well enough. Pike looked a little tired under the eyes but Jon looked good. They walked down the gang plank and saluted the Captain and Commander Spock.
A growl and a bark came from somewhere on the shuttle and two very similar looking beagles, ran down the ramp, fighting and barking at each other, only to stop simultaneously and sniff the air. They'd caught a familiar scent and suddenly they were running at me, barking like crazy. I caught Jon's eye just before they jumped at me and he nodded so that everyone could see, which meant everyone could relax as well.
I smiled carefully, making sure it wasn't too obvious and I bent down to catch both of the dogs. They didn't look very old, because their ageing process had been slowed. It caused no harm to them and allowed their owners to keep them for longer. They jumped up, licking my face only for Jon to call them back, so that I can stand up.
D'Artagnan went straight away but Porthos paused a little and stared at Scotty intently, causing him to shift under the dogs gaze. It served him right for loosing him in the first place I guess. Jon then introduced Stef's dad (one of the senior instructors and Leader of the engineering division), the newly promoted, Commodore Reed, T'Pol and Doctor Phlox too. They're all people I'd known for a long time and three of the few people who knew mine and Jon's situation. There were a few other members of Starfleet's top brass in tow. Sulu told me that Pike said the maiden voyage of the newest flag ship, "deserved more pomp and circumstance" than they could afford when they jetted off to help Vulcan. Well, it was certainly getting its much deserved "pomp and circumstance".
The Admirals and entourage were to the officers. Bones was first in at the deep end, being grouchy, even with the Admirals. Not saying much and typically being Bones.
I was a little bit nervous, to say the least. I knew quite a few of these people, because of Jon, or because I'd been into trouble a lot.
"This is Lieutenant Commander Karev, although, I'm sure most of you know her." I'd have scowled at the Captain if Jon hadn't been stood just there. I nodded to Pike and Jon, and smiled carefully at T'Pol, Malcolm, Phlox and Alex Tyler, Stef's dad. They mostly smiled back and Pike offers a hand, "Good to see you again Commander, it's a nice to change from seeing you in trouble."
I did scowl as I took his hand, I couldn't help it, "It's good to see you too sir."
Jon offered a hand too, which I took, "Well Commander Karev, you seem to still have a good repertoire with my dogs."
I grinned at Jon and replied, "Well, I was around them often sir."
"Too often, as I recall."
I felt very sheepish under that look and started to look to the floor, luckily they moved along and I got a nod from Commodore Reed, Phlox and T'Pol, as they move along to Scotty, who gets growled at by Artie and Porthos.
I looked at Bones who raises an eyebrow and I shrugged. At least that part's over.
There was a pretty good party going on in Rec room 1. Basically most of those who were in the hanger to greet the Admirals were there. I was sat in a corner with Bones and Stef, drink in hand, wondering how I was going to tell Jon what I wanted to tell him, without it sounding like a B movie reunion.
Bones however was sat calculating how many hangover cures he' and I were going to have to give out tomorrow and Stef, well I think Stef was scouting for her dad… or guys. Either way she was searching the crowd.
I had my eyes fixed on Jon. He was stood with the Captain, Spock, Admiral Pike and T'Pol. He looked the same as he ever did, except his hair was totally grey, rather than the brown it was when I was a kid. I sighed and Stef and Bones looked at me.
"Something the matter Kiddo?" Bones asked furrowing his brow.
"Not really, it's just weird, usually when I see him, I'm in trouble or, I'm complaining or we're not even at Starfleet. It's very strange not being able to talk to him like I usually do."
"Who? Your step-dad?" Stef was obviously a little drunk and a little distracted.
"Well, who else was she going to be talking about?" Stef turned and glared at Bones but didn't retort.
"Yeah, Jon." I sighed again. I was still stuck on how the hell I was going to say what I wanted to.
"What's troubling you kid?" I looked at Bones and Stef and shrugged,
"I need to talk to him, I just don't know how to."
Bones laughed, "That's easy, you walk up to him and the little group he's acquired and ask to speak to him."
"That'd draw attention though," Stef said simply, knowing exactly what I was going to say.
"Oh yeah, so who exactly knows?"
"Who knows what McCoy?"
I froze as I turned around to see Pike and the group stood behind me. I looked at Bones and mouthed, 'How the HELL did you NOT notice them?'
"Erm…" Bones couldn't think fast on his feet right then, and fuck, neither can I.
"It would appear we have entered upon a conversation where we are not welcome." commented Spock, saving all of us.
"You're not unwelcome sirs; it's just not a conversation you'd have with your superiors." I managed to say as I picked up Porthos off the floor to scratch behind his ears.
There was a few seats around and they got pulled up, "So, what conversation would you have with your superiors?" Jon asked raising an eyebrow in a very Vulcan manner.
"Why is it that all captains who have Vulcan first officers do that?" Stef asked nodding towards the raised eyebrow. (Yeah, she's drunk.)
There was a pause which was broken by a beep from both mine and Bones' comm.s
"Or why it's always just as everything get interesting that my comm. goes off," I asked rhetorically as I pulled it out of the pocket in my jeans.
"Karev?" I snapped.
"Doctor Karev, there's been an accident in engineering, we need you and Doctor McCoy right away." said the calm voice of Nurse Chapel.
I looked at Bones who rolled his eyes and got up almost walking into Scotty, who started to say "there's-"
"Yeah I know, lets go." Stef took Scotty's hand to pull herself up and left with him and few of the other engineers in a flurry of red. Bones and I nodded to those who'd just sat down with us and quickly headed to Sickbay at a run.
"There are some serious chemical burns, several broken bones three of which are compound fractures and the guy who started it all is still out cold."
"Thank you Marx," Bones took the P.A.D.D. from her hands and said, "I'll take the compound fractures, from the looks of that one over there, I'll need to operate anyway. As for the guy out cold I'll look him over first, make sure there isn't any serious damage and that everything's alright."
"I'll take the four with chemical burns, two of them have got broken Bones and once I've finished, I'll check on him again." I replied.
That was it, a minute of talking and we got to work. I worked on the third degree burns first, they needed to be cleaned and checked to make sure they didn't get infected. I sighed as I worked on a sedated Ensign; Sickbay was going to be full…
"Keep an eye on the young Ensign I want to make sure that his burns don't get infected. Also check on the Lieutenant who started it all, if he's awake I want to talk to him." I said, handing the young nurse next to me a P.A.D.D.
"Yes Doctor, and… you did amazingly today I don't know how you, Dr McCoy and the other nurses managed." She said admiration clear in her voice.
I smiled at her kindly, "It's just practice, eventually you'll learn to just work under pressure. You did really well for someone who's just come out of the academy and never worked a full trauma before. You'll get there. Right now, you did a good job, just work quicker."
"Thank you Doctor, I'll go check on the Lieutenant." She left and I walked over to Chapel at the nurse's station. I leaned on the edge of it and met here eyes,
"She's got a good footing, but why is she here and not on a less…active ship?" I asked.
"Her father's someone high up in Starfleet medical, the head of neurology Dr. Richard Fry. From the whispers going around that's how she got here." Chapel answered leaning in slightly so we were not overheard.
"Ah, that explains some of it, but I'll give it to her, she's a good nurse, she just needed to be a little more seasoned, I guess." I replied.
"She'll learn as she goes along, although I would suggest we-"
I cut her off, "Remove her from Alpha shift, try and introduce her to the action slowly?"
"Yes, that's what I was going to say," she said, looking a little astonished.
I shook my head and explained, "She's not going to learn like that, move one of the beta shift nurses onto alpha and that way we have an extra person on hand if we need them. "
"Yes Commander, I'll deal with it as soon as possible." I scowled as Chapel grinned at me. I knew she was just joking but I was too lazy to try and smile.
There was a small sound from behind us as Nurse Fry cleared her throat, I turned to look at her, "Doctor, the Lieutenant is awake."
I nodded and took the chart P.A.D.D from her hand, "Go and wake up Dr McCoy… carefully."
Chapel grinned at me and I shrugged, "She's got to learn."
She giggled and I chuckled quietly.
"Comm. Scotty if he's free he might want to come and talk to him when me and Bones have finished." She nodded and I went to talk to Lieutenant…Fisher.
"Hello Lieutenant, I'm Dr Karev. How do you feel?" I asked the dark haired Lieutenant.
"I'm all right, my head hurts a little and it's a bit of a shock to wake up with a broken wrist." He replied quietly.
"Mmmh, I suppose it is. Speaking of waking up, if you were tired on your shift why didn't you swap with someone, or if it's been a continuous thing, why didn't you come to Sickbay?" I questioned while checking his pupil response.
"Kiddo?" I turned around and looked at Bones, "Scotty's here,"
"Okay Bones send him in, also his pupil reposes are a little slow and his grip isn't great, think it could just be from the concussion?"
"Probably, but I want to hear what sleeping beauty has to say first."
"Aye, so would I." Scotty took one of the chairs around the bed and I stood next to his bed on the other side, while Bones leaned against the door.
"I didn't fall asleep, I couldn't have fallen asleep, I made sure as hell I wasn't going to fall asleep-…Caffeine, I drank maybe five or six black coffees and I never drink coffee. Ever. I had some pro-plus pills too, I know we're not supposed to, but my son's sick back on Earth and I was up all night talking to my wife,"
I looked at Bones, who furrowed his eyebrows.
"Fisher, you know that you're not allowed to work if your tired, so why did ya?" Scotty asked.
"Because when I got to work I didn't feel tired, everything was going all right and then the next thing I remember was a lot of noise, shouting and then I woke up here,"
Bones cut across him, "Scotty, wait. He can't have fallen asleep with that much caffeine in him, it's not possible, there's something else wrong here,"
I looked back to Bones waiting for him to explain his idea, "Could be a brain lesion, have one of the nurses do an MRI."
With that he left and goes back to his office, I walked outside with Scotty, "He's right about the caffeine, and if Bones' thinks it's neurological you should trust him, it's his main specialty. Think of it this way, at least you know he didn't fall asleep."
"Aye, I guess it's somethin' let me know all righ'? I've got a get back to engineerin' and check on them."
"I'll let you know when I can," I said quietly and then he walked quickly out of Sickbay.
I turned around and asked, "Amanda? When did shift change?"
Nurse Croft looked at me carefully, "About five minutes ago."
I nodded, "Could you get a scan of Lieutenant Fisher's brain for me, we want to check for a brain lesion. Use one of the full MRI's their picture quality's better than the portable"
"Yes, Doctor." She said, moving to collect the equipment.
I went to sit at the nurses station, looking over the patients reports, one of my patients break was far worse than was expected and he'd started to show the symptoms of crush syndrome. It's a build up of potassium in the blood, though t the moment we're treating him with sodium bicarbonate but if he got any worse we would have had to treat him with glucose and insulin, which is risky in itself.
I was about to relax and let the nurses attend to the rest of the patients, most of whom were undergoing skin regeneration or bone regeneration, but there was a shout from Nurse Croft, "DOCTOR!"
"What?" I rushed to the bed,
"What…" I stopped and bit my lip, "Go get Doctor McCoy immediately."
Fisher's bleeding from his eyes and nose…
Twenty minutes later, we'd managed to get a look at the MRI pictures. There wasn't a brain lesion, not even a tumour. In typical style, it wasn't going to be easy.
Bones looked over the MRI pictures carefully; neurology wasn't a major speciality for me, so I made him check them. I was sat with Nurse Croft, waiting for him to say something, "There's nothing. Not even one little tumour or lesion."
Amanda shrugged, "It could just be conjunctive coagulopathy from the trauma."
I shook my head, "It can't be, he was sick before the accident, you can't take in that much caffeine and fall asleep."
"Maybe he didn't fall asleep maybe it was a caffeine overdose?" she suggested carefully, still watching Bones.
He sat down in his chair and shook his head, "A caffeine overdose wouldn't cause the bleeding and he shouldn't have needed that much caffeine in the first place. Scotty has those guys working simple shifts, no overtime no doubles, to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen. There was a problem before the accident."
I furrowed my brow, thinking.
"What about a brain infection Bones? The infection causes the neurological symptoms and DIC causes the bleeding?" I suggested trying to be helpful.
"He's not got a fever though," Bones replied, "Nurse Croft do an X-ray Venogram and check for venous sinus thrombosis."
"Yes Doctor," she left quickly to get on with her work.
"Bones wouldn't that have shown on the MRI though?" I asked thinking about it carefully.
He shook his head, "Not enough to make a clear diagnosis."
I nodded and stated, "You're the neuro-guy."
He laughed, "You have the better job though."
I smiled, "Yep, I had happiness and joy."
I grinned as I left to check on the other patients in Sickbay. The ones under re-gen need to be seen and checked over every few hours to make sure everything is working properly and I went to check on the young Ensign Collinson-Laurence who had presented crush syndrome. He was getting better; his potassium levels had come down but I ordered a final course of sodium bicarbonate to be sure.
However, there was still Fisher to worry about and one of the Ensigns that Bones treated isn't looking too good. At the moment there's not much to worry about, but the wound means that regeneration is not a good option so we've had to remove it and leave his body to its own devices.
As I was checking the last of our patients, the Admirals, the Captain and Commander Spock walked in, rather noisily.
"Sirs, if you can't shut up, I'm going to ask you to get out." I snapped in a low voice. They turned and looked at me, most of them in shock,
"I have patients who are trying to sleep," I explained quickly, my voice still dangerously low.
"We came to find out how the injured engineers were," the Captain said, glaring at me.
"None of them are critical and all of them are stable, some of them will be here for a few days. Most have got chemical burns or broken bones, although some of them have both. One has a concussion and a broken wrist."
"Where's Bones?" he asked, changing the subject,
"In his office resting, he's had to do two operations today, back-to-back and he's tired."
"After two operations?" Admiral Pike asked looking surprised.
I surveyed Pike carefully, "He's not physically tired, sir, more mentally, resetting bones and then having to pin them is a mentally exhausting task. He's not sleeping anyway,"
"It's impossible to sleep with the amount of noise Jim makes." I smirked as Bones emerged from his office behind me.
"Thanks Bones," the Captain scowled a little and it deepens when Bones ruffled his hair and said, "Don't be such an infant."
I suppressed a chuckle and went back to work, while Bones got left the much more tedious task of explaining to the senior staff exactly what we're dealing with.
About thirty-five minutes after they arrived, Spock and Admiral Pike left. However, the Captain and Jon stayed in Sickbay. They're sat in the office with us. No one batted an eye lid when Bones poured four glasses of bourbon from one of the bottles in his desk. I was sat on the floor, leaning against the couch, Bones is sat at his desk and the Captain and Jon are sitting behind me, on the couch.
"How much trouble did you get into at the academy Karev?" I looked up at the Captain carefully, it's evident he's wanted to know the answer to this question for sometime.
"Enough, I guess. I could just toe the line between too much and enough to piss everyone off and not get kicked out." I replied nonchalantly.
"You weren't trouble as such," Jon interrupted quietly, "you just had enough attitude for the whole of the academy. You'd wander off for days at a time, especially during your last year. And the way you always used to argue with Malcolm, god you used to wind him up. What did you once call him?" he questioned with a laugh,
"As I recall, I called him lots of things. But on numerous occasions I called him a tool." I replied, suppressing the urge to chuckle.
Bones laughed suddenly, "I wanted to do that for years."
I shrugged, "Guess I beat you to it."
"Why though? Commander Reed was one of the best weapons and self defence instructors at the academy." The Captain looked confused.
I shrugged again and Jon and the Captain stay silent. I met Bones' eyes trying to get him to take the Captain somewhere else so I could talk to Jon. It took him a few second but he finally took the hint, "Jim I have rounds to do and I need to check on Fisher's Venogram. Fancy a walk to work off the alcohol?"
"Better than sitting here, Bones." He replied, simply. I chose to take that as the insult it was and scowled. As he stood up and put his empty glass on Bones' desk. I picked myself up off the floor and went to sit behind Bones' desk facing Jon.
"It was fortuitous that they left, it's Bones' fault, he knows I wanted to talk to you. Sorry, I'm rambling." I blurted out quickly.
He laughed, "It's all right, your mother used to that when she was nervous too. What did you want to talk to me about?"
This was not going to be easy, not because I didn't know what to say, because I had no idea where to start, I sighed, "I guess I should start at the beginning. I guess you've noticed I've never really been nice to you. I never tried to be, never wanted to be."
"It was pretty hard to miss," he said smiling slightly, expecting me to go on,
"I had my reasons for it, I was a kid and I needed someone to blame. I blamed you for my parents getting divorced; I blamed you for losing my dad: I blamed you for losing Nathan. You were the easy target for all the hate that really shouldn't have been directed at you." I paused, letting it sink in a little, before going on,
"I was thinking about things yesterday and I remembered something someone once said to me, I can't remember who. They said that to move forward we have to let go of what had happened in the past, and as I was thinking about it, I thought about everything that'd happened and I realised, rather late in the day, that it wasn't your fault. You were there when my mum needed someone to love because she didn't love my dad anymore, and he didn't love her. The only reason they stayed together as long as they did, was for me and Nathan. It was perhaps the worst decision they ever made. If they'd split up when they realised they didn't love each other anymore then all the shouting and throwing things and everything I had to hear sat up in my room, wouldn't have happened. It's taken me nearly twenty years, but I know, for certain now that for all these years I've been blaming the wrong person, because I shouldn't have been blaming anyone at all…"
I paused again, I had to be careful how I said this, "Jon I don't have anyone, I don't know where my dad is, I don't know where Nathan is. My mum's dead and all I have left is you. Jon, I'm asking…I'm asking if you'll give me a second chance and maybe we could attempt a step-father-step-daughter relationship…thingy."
He smiled at me gently, "It's taken you twenty years to say that…"
I shrugged and nodded, "Yeah I guess,"
He got up and walked over to me, pulling me up and into a hug, "Twenty years for you, all of five seconds twenty years ago for me."
I mumbled into his chest, "You're a dick-shit."
He laughed, "I know, Mal tells me that all the time."
I chuckled, I could hear Commodore Reed's British accent saying that, in my head. It was worth the stern look I got from Jon. Totally worth it.
"MERDA! Non può essere vero!"
"Lieutenant, is summat wrong?" I looked up to see Scotty's staring at me,
"The whole power unit is out down here, it's a mess, the wires have melted and some of the panel has obviously caught fire at some point. It's fucked."
"That's what I said," I replied looking back at the panel and going over the power relays with a tricorder.
"When you were speaking Italian?" I looked up at Scotty, frowning a little.
"I was speaking Italian?"
"Si Stefania," My father was stood behind Scotty looking at me sternly.
"Scusa papa!" I looked down at my work and hoped he left…soon.
I'd finished talking to Jon, who left with the Captain as soon as we'd finished. I was pouring over Chekov's notes to see how we're progressing when Bones shouts through to the office, "Kiddo, get out here."
There was something in his voice that made me move faster than normal. It wasn't panic, we're doctors we don't panic, it was just…something. When I reached the bed I meet Bones' eyes and he frowned.
"His Venogram showed no filling defects, but now he's spiked a fever of 102"
"Bones you want to do a differential now?" I asked, looking over the sleeping form of Fisher.
"Got a better idea kid?" he snapped back quickly.
I rolled my eyes, he was in a funny mood so I didn't argue, Nurses Croft and a young nurse I went through the academy with, Alison Campbell were stood with us. Campbell suggested, "It could be meningitis"
However, Croft cut across that idea and said "he didn't say his neck was sore."
My head started to hurt and I was getting irritated with the whole situation so I snapped, "That's because everything's sore, he fell all of twenty feet. Subarachnoid bleed?"
"Unlikely," Bones answered his brow still furrowed. He was in his thinking pose, one arm folded around his front, the other picking at his bottom lip ruthlessly.
"Bones we've got to start considering infections then," I said carefully, watching him thinking.
"Do an L.P," Bones replied, before walking out of Sickbay, without another word. I looked across at Nurses Croft and Campbell, getting a shrug in reply to my questioning glance.
My comm. beeped from my bedside table. I groaned as I rolled over, grabbing it, and snarled at the poor unsuspecting person, "What?"
"Bones he's fallen into a coma." Jack's anxious voice said,
"What are his vitals?" I asked, slowly sitting up in bed.
I the distance I heard her say, "Excuse me Lieutenant-"
There was a short pause and then she replied, "His BP is 90/150 and his heart rate is 80."
"Who else is there?" I questioned her; curious about whom she was speaking to.
"So lower mammals from security, they wanted to question him about the accident." She answered.
"When did they get there?" I asked,
"About ten to fifteen minutes ago, Bones why does it matter?" she snapped getting annoyed.
"It matters because I want to know that's why. Is nurse Croft there?"
There was some muffled sounds as the comm. was passed from Jack to Croft. "Yes sir?"
"When you gave him the MRI, how was he?" I mentally crossed my fingers as I asked this.
"Fine apart from a little claustrophobic sir," she replied.
I couldn't help but smile a little, "Pass me back to Doctor Karev."
There was more noise before Jack's voice asked, "Bones?"
"Jack, he's got a cyst on his lower spine. Do a C.T to confirm and I'll be up as soon as I can." I said, getting out of bed as I did so.
"Bones, how the hell did you work that out?" she quizzed,
I shrugged even though she can't see me, "I just did."
"Cyst on his lower spine, between V11 and 12, now, how the hell did you get from claustrophobia to that?" Jack questioned, handing me the P.A.D.D with the C.T images on it.
"Stress, spikes his spinal fluid pressure and causes his symptoms. Just before his bleeding started he was claustrophobic, just before his fever started one of the nurses told him that if we couldn't find something wrong with him, he'd fallen asleep and the clincher, security turned up minutes before he collapsed into a coma." I replied, looking over the images.
"Bones, you're a bit of a genius, you know that?" she commented, watching me with a little bit of awe.
I laughed and answered, "True, but I'm crappy with kids that aren't my own."
She laughed and said, "That is why you have me, Mr Neuro-genius."
I scowled, causing her to laugh.
Everything was a mess; there were blown units all over engineering deck. Luckily none of them are used to deal with the warp core. There were broken power relays, some of the supports had collapsed from the initial explosion, and there were broken pipes and water all over the floor. Plus it was my mess to clean up. These people broke the ship and now me and these poor others had to clean it up, even though most of them had nothing to do with it. All this shit is because of one person. One person and the whole thing collapsed on itself. My comm. beeped in my pocket,
"Scott here," I answered it quickly.
"Scotty it's Jack, you should probably get up here." She said in a neutral tone, so I can't tell if it's good news or bad.
"Can ye gimme five minutes, av got some work to do first."
"Sure, no problem."
I closed my comm. and finished up the repairs on the cooling system.
"Scotty?" I walked into Sickbay to find Dr McCoy waiting for me.
"Yeah?" I asked carefully, wondering whether what he has to tell me is good or bad.
"Jack wanted to be here when I told you, but I told her to go to bed. We've found out what Lieutenant Fisher's problem is. He's said we can tell you so: he has a cyst on his spinal column which is increasing his spinal fluid pressure and causing his symptoms, particularly when he's under stress." McCoy said, as if he expected me to understand a word of it.
"So he didn't fall asleep?" I asked, just trying to clarify.
"No he collapsed." Dr McCoy replied with a hint of a smile.
"Can I see him?" I questioned, feeling guilty about what I'd said to him.
"Certainly, he's just had surgery to remove the cyst which was a success. He'll start coming 'round in about five minutes. He'll be a little groggy at first but eventually he'll understand you." He answered with a grin.