Night Shift

It was late at night in the Academy clinic and Joanna was alone. Finishing up some chart work she quietly hummed a song her Father used to sing to her when she was young. When she came to Salen's chart she found herself automatically flushing slightly. Trying to ignore what she felt was a childish crush Joanna cross checked every reading with the database on Vulcan norms to make sure that her report to Dr. Lancer was perfect.

"In great health, but terminally shy." Joanna smiled to herself.

Joanna looked over the small digital photograph that was included in his chart. He was staring at the camera as though he was expecting it to steal his soul. Sighing sadly Joanna closed the chart and shut down the digital tablet. As she went to leave the deserted clinic she noticed that one of the biobeds was still turned on.

Walking over to the bed she leaned against it to reach the touch screen. Before she could reach the shutdown a noise caught her attention. She turned around and scanned the darkened room for the source of the noise with her heart racing slightly. At first glance she didn't see anyone.

"H...hello? Is someone there?"

"I am sorry, it was not my intent to frighten you."


Stepping out of the shadows Salen flashed her an apologetic smile. His shock white hair looked even more unearthly in the bluish night lights of the clinic. Joanna's heart started to pound against her ribs as he walked up to her. She glanced around and realized that he was between her and the only door. Finding herself more excited than frightened she held her ground as he came up and stopped just a few inches away from her.

"Wha...what are you doing here?"

"I just wanted to properly thank you for helping me out this afternoon, I much prefer your care to Dr. Lancer's. Thank you for stepping in and taking over."

"Of course," Joanna nodded, trying to sound professional "it was the least I could do."

Joanna's already laboring heart raced faster as Salen smiled mischievously and closed in the small distance that lay between them. Joanna tried to back up a bit, but she instantly bumped into the biobed behind her. Salen chuckled softly and put his hands on the biobed on either side of her to keep her from escaping. Joanna froze, unsure of what to do next.

Salen leaned in closer so that his warm breath brushed against Joanna's neck causing her skin to prickle pleasantly from the slight touch. When she made no move to fight him or cry out for help Salen nuzzled his cheek against hers. Feeling brazen Joanna reached up and carded her hand through his hair the way she had wanted to earlier in the day.

When Joanna's fingers caught the tip of his pointed ear Salen growled deeply in pleasure. Without taking his hands off the biobed he pressed his body against hers firmly, although backed up against the biobed she didn't feel trapped. Salen stayed motionless against her for a moment as though waiting for her to make the next move. With nothing more than a few thin layers of Starfleet uniform separating them Joanna could feel his oddly placed heart beating impossibly fast.

With her nose against his cheek Joanna tilted her head back slightly to get a better look at her midnight visitor. Salen mistook the motion as an open invitation for a kiss and pounced on the opportunity. Joanna put her hands on his chest to push him away, but quickly changed her mind. She snaked her arms around his neck so that she could pull him deeper into the passionate kiss. Salen bit down softly on her lower lip as he ran one hand down her side. Suddenly breaking off the kiss he slipped his arm behind her knees and with one fluid motion pushed her back and lifted her up onto the biobed.

Once pined to the biobed Joanna jerked awake with a gasp. Disoriented by the vivid dream she sat up panting for breath. It took her a moment to realize that she was alone in her dorm room. Joanna shook her head to try and clear it before slowly untangling herself from the twisted sheets.

"What the hell was that?" Joanna muttered to herself.

Joanna dragged her delicate hands through her curly brown hair. Feeling restless she got out of bed and headed into the small shower. The spray of the shower helped her relax, but when she tried to go back to bed she found herself tossing and turning. Growling in frustration she grabbed her digital tablet off her desk.

Sitting up in bed she turn on the tablet and started sifting through the assignments that were due for the week. Before she even knew what she was doing she opened the medical chart database. Since she knew that the Academy tracked who looked at what chart she made sure to open several of her day's patient charts before double clicking on the one that actually interested her.

During the short physical Joanna hadn't had the chance to closely inspect his history. The digital picture that stared out at her from the glowing tablet held the same haunting expression that she remembered from her dream. She had glanced at the photo when he was in the clinic, she just hadn't realized how well she'd memorized it until the dream. The six marks cut into his cheek under his eye looked like they still hurt.

The chart was no interested in divulging any of Salen's secrets. There was almost nothing written in it. Other than annual physicals Salen did not seek out medical attention at the clinic. Most other Cadets came in at least a few other times for various injuries or illnesses, but Salen had either managed to stay healthy or he dealt with any medical issues on his own. He had no past medical history available, only a birth date, and an emergency contact: Admiral Pike. Joanna looked at his age and noted that he was a few years younger than she was. She read through his other physical reports but they stated pretty much the same thing that she had written in her own.

"Joanna, put the chart down, this is one step away from stalking." Joanna shook her head sadly. "Who am I kidding? This is stalking."

Joanna was just about to close the file when a quick referral note caught her eye. She opened the link and found that during his initial health screening he had been referred to a Dr. Hsing. Joanna was only vaguely familiar with the name, about all she could recall was that Dr. Hsing was CMO over in the the psychology department.

With her curiosity overwhelming her better judgment Joanna continued to pry into Salen's chart by looking up Dr. Hsing. Hsing had a bio on the Academy web page that gave a brief overview of her credentials and specialties. When Joanna read that Hsing specialized in psychological therapy for torture survivors her heart skipped a beat painfully.

Returning to Salen's chart she noticed that Salen had never taken the doctor's recommendation to go see Dr. Hsing. Joanna paged back through the chart until she came to the front page with the soul capturing photograph. She enlarged the picture and gently traced her fingertip against the scars on his face.

"This was no animal attack." Joanna whispered. "What happened to you, Salen?"