A PERSONAL PROBLEM

By Diamond and AFL

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PART ONE.

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"Are we keeping you awake, Doc?"

Helena hadn't realized she lost focus until the Australian pilot, sitting to her right, asked the question. "Excuse me?" she spoke in a small voice, legitimately confused.

"The Commander just asked you for your weekly report, Helena." Victor Bergman said and looked at her, concerned. It wasn't like her not to pay attention.

"I'm sorry." She blinked a couple times and stood, hoping the movement, walking slowly around the Command Conference table, might shake her out of the stupor she found herself in. "We are continuing to do well …" she said, biting back on dizziness.

John Koenig watched Helena closely. Something was wrong, he sensed it, but did not begin to know what was troubling his Chief Medical Officer. She had wanted to talk with him yesterday and he now wished he had found the time to hear what she had to say. Last evening the testing of Area Three's shields just seemed too important and he had politely brushed her away, saying they would talk later. Unfortunately, later never came. It was late by the time testing finished and Helena had turned in before he made his way to Medical Center. At the time Koenig figured if it was that important she would talk with him today, after the conference.

But now - watching Helena as she spoke and nervously clutched her own hands - he found himself wishing he had made the time; visited her in her quarters if he had to. Helena was speaking clinically yet with a sort of evaporating professionalism that alarmed him.

Suddenly, her voice faded away altogether and she stood still for a moment just before she collapsed.

"John!" called Bergman as she hit the floor.

Koenig was there, he and others helping her up and into the seat Paul Marrow had vacated. "Helena." He was on his knees before her and lifting a hand to gently but firmly grasped her jaw, looking into her glossy-vague eyes. He heard Sandra calling for Dr. Mathias as he asked, "Helena, can you hear me?"

"I'm okay …" she whispered but even as she spoke her eyes closed again and she looked faint.

Victor lifted a hand to feel her forehead, "No fever." he said then gently squeezed her upper left arm, a friendly gesture, which produced a reaction no one was expecting.

Helena cried out, pulling away from him. She then massaged her shoulder and arm.

"Your arm hurts?" a baffled Koenig asked, trying to penetrate her dazed manner. "Can we see it?"

She did not answer, appearing lost, so he made a command decision and gently pulled the zipper on her white sleeve. He drew it down to her elbow and examined the arm underneath.

"What the hell?" Carter exclaimed.

Her upper arm was swollen and terribly bruised.

"How did this happen, Helena?" Koenig asked, alarmed.

"An accident." she said and tried again to pull away, "But really ... it's okay."

Mathias arrived with a stretcher and two orderlies, "What happened?"

"She was listless." Sandra said, "I could see that she was having a hard time focusing the minute she arrived."

"And she was late." Morrow added, "I've never known Dr. Russell to be late to a meeting."

Mathias shined a light into Helena's eyes and noted an odd reaction.

Koenig could see the unease in Bob's expression and watched as he moved around him, behind Helena. He was examining her scalp and when he pressed on a certain area Helena whimpered in great pain. Koenig's hands slipped from hers and, in empathy, moved up to her lower arms to hold her steady.

"Head trauma." Mathias announced, concerned but professional. "Dr. Russell has been very recently hit on the head."

"Her arm." Carter told Mathias, "Looks to me like Doc Russell has been put through a wringer."

"Helena, can you tell us?" Koenig asked. He now felt angry with himself. Something had happened to her and she was trying to talk with him about it yesterday. He was certain about that now. "Helena, I ..."

"Later, Commander." Mathias advised, "We need to get her into Medical Center."

A listless Helena was brought over to the stretcher, laid down and strapped in. She did not protest but her eyes looked up at John Koenig, a little afraid. She seemed to be asking something without words and he knew what it was.

She did not want to be left alone.

"Victor, take over the meeting." he said and followed the stretcher out of his office.

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(Also thank you to Kathy)