For Piotr's Sake

Chapter Eight

Nurse Bennett wondered how she was going to explain to Dr. Petrova why she was hauled away from sickbay so abruptly by the captain after mentioning the name of her new acquaintance. She knew that the doctor had heard the name Gary Seven and wondered how she was going to put the cat back into the bag. She needn't have worried. The doctor gave her a gentle smile as she stepped through the threshold, the doors to sickbay softly swishing shut behind her.

"Welcome back, Ensign. What was that all about?"

"I am under orders not to discuss my nocturnal visitor, Ma'am." Leila answered nervously, glancing furtively over at her boyfriend, who was now sitting up, his head resting on his pillow, his eyes closed. He was looking better now that the doctor had used a new medical instrument on his burns called a dermal regenerator. However, he was still pale and weak, still with a bandage around his head. Leila knew it would be quite a while before he was back on his feet again.

"I see." Petrova answered. "One of the captain's many fairy folk we mere underlings aren't supposed to know about. I quite understand." Petrova noticed her glancing at her significant other. "Go ahead. He's waiting for you. However… talk with him ten minutes tops. He's still in a bad way and needs to rest."

"Understood, Doctor." She looked into the face of her superior curiously, a slightly bemused expression forming on hers. "Fairy folk?"

"That's what I like to call them. They are certain entities and individuals whom he knows whose existence have been classified by Starfleet Command. I am privy to some, but also have been ordered to keep silent about them."

"I see. That's very interesting."

The doctor gestured towards Cameron with a smile as she returned to caring for the other injured crewmembers. "When you get finished with your little visit with Quincy, I want you to go to the rec room triage center and check on the progress of Pavel's brother and the others."

"Yes, Ma'am." She responded with a bit of fear and uncertainty. She had heard how violent and evil those from the other universe were. She had also heard that the other Chekov had sustained a severe concussion as well, and also had three broken ribs and a fractured ankle. His wife and science officer, whose name was Irina, had been one of two who were killed during the Tholian attack. The remainder of the uninjured crewmembers of the ISS Defiant had been assigned guest quarters; among them their chief of security, Commander Sulu, who had been the one who had asked for their assistance after the attack. Doctor Petrova had asked him if she could do anything about his scar on the right side of his face and asked him how he had acquired it. He told her that he got it in a bar fight on their Space Station K-7 and that it gave him such a tough, mean look that almost nobody had guts enough to cross him. The scar had helped him to get a reputation as a tough hombre, not to be tangled with. He didn't want her to do anything to it. The scar worked in this universe too. Out of all the Defiant survivors, he was the one who made them all the most uneasy.

"Don't worry." Petrova told her, knowing that the head nurse, a Deltan male named Kamdar, and some security people would also be there along with the orderlies who had appeared on the bridge after the shock wave hit. "They probably won't bite…hard."

Leila grinned. "Oh, that makes me feel much better."

Pavel Chekov heard the last exchange, chuckled softly in amusement, and winced with pain from his head injury before drifting back to sleep.

Before Miss Bennett returned to her post, she had gone back to her quarters to give the captain the coordinates to escape the void. Ms. Rahda returned to her quarters, clutching a bottle of pain pills in her left hand that the nurse had given to her. Captain Terrell headed for the Auxiliary Control room, at the same time quickly thinking of a way to explain to the man inside how he had acquired the coordinates without giving away the existence of Gary Seven. He then smiled as he thought of Rahda. He would say that she thought of them. If they didn't work, he would at least have someone to blame. If they did work, he would promote her to Lieutenant Commander. Also, there would be no trouble for Rahda to open the pill bottle she had been given with one hand, being that there was no need for child-proof caps on a starship full of adults. He had quietly ordered Security to post guards at sensitive areas on the ship, just in case their "guests" had any ideas of causing any mischief. A few of them were being given a guided tour, under the watchful eye of their chief of security, Lt. Commander Roger Dixson. The two guards at the entrance to Auxiliary Control stood at attention at his approach.

"At ease, gentlemen." Terrell ordered, pressing the door buzzer. "Save it for the bad guys." They complied somewhat, looking a little tense, but amused by the captain's sense of humor. Apparently, they had heard how fierce the people from the other universe could be as well and were prepared. They watched as he entered and then assumed their stances.

Mr. Beckwith stood at attention as the captain entered. Terrell knew that he was curious as to why he ordered that the ship was to be moved one parsec, being that nothing could be seen in the void and the proximity sensors did not seem to be working.

"At ease, Mr. Beckwith." As the head navigator reseated himself, Terrell handed him the PADD with the supplied coordinates, hoping he wouldn't notice that the device was a medical one. "I have a present for you. This is from Lieutenant Rahda. It contains coordinates she believes will get us out of the black void."

"Thank you, sir. How is Lieutenant Rahda? I heard she was hurt on the bridge."

"She has a broken arm and a concussion but she should be all right in about a week."

"I'm so glad." He said with a smile. Beckwith studied the notes on the PADD and his eyebrows furrowed. The captain, startled, knew that he recognized the device as being from medical. He would have to think fast.

"I know it's on a medical PADD, but Ms. Rahda's was damaged during the disaster. She was being treated by Nurse Bennett when she thought of these coordinates."

"I see. They are brilliant, Captain…worthy of a Medusan. I think they will work."

"Wait until I'm back on the bridge and then give them a try."

"Sir, I am wondering about something…"

"What's that, Lieutenant?"

"Why did you ask us to move the ship? It's like nighttime in Raymond, Mississippi out there." The captain knew that Beckwith was from the town he mentioned. He told him it was so dark at night that a person could not see his or her hand in front of their faces. Because most liked it that way, street lights were never installed. Raymond became a star gazers' Heaven, since there was no light pollution to obscure the night sky.

"I had a hunch that there was something in the way. I was just playing it safe." The captain found that he was becoming a most accomplished liar. Beckwith bought it.

Leila approached her boyfriend's bedside. He stirred as she took his hand and smiled at her weakly.

"Well, if it isn't my little angel of mercy…." He squinted at her, his vision fuzzy without his glasses. "I…thought you were mad at me."

"I was." She said, glancing at his overhead readings. "I forgive you, even if you are a tribble brain."

"I suppose I had that coming." He said, feeling a twinge of pain from his head injury and groaning softly. "What…happened to me?"

"You got hurt on the bridge when that shock wave hit."

"I was…hurt?"

"Yes, indeed you were. I have been so worried about you, Cameron. You almost died." Tears formed in her eyes. "I love you."

"I love you too, honey." He peered at her and groaned as his head started to ache and the room started to spin. "I…should not have said what I did. Your…job is as important to you as mine is to me. I…I'm…sorry." He squeezed her hand, partly with affection and partly to keep his equilibrium. "Will you marry me?"

"Yes, Cameron!" Leila answered with astonishment but without hesitation. She paused, however, wondering if his proposal was the result of his brain injury or if it was genuine. "I have to go now. Dr. Petrova has ordered me to go into the lion's den in the rec room. Get some rest. I will hopefully be back later."

Cameron smiled as she gave him a peck on the cheek, not really knowing what she meant, but very content that she accepted his proposal as he drifted back to sleep.