Hello to fanfic again. If it so happens that you are my previous readers of my Loki stories then I am sorry I have been away for so long. I wanted to get back into writing though, but right now my interest has shifted after seeing STID. I will likely continue my Loki stories after inspiration in November once I see Thor 2. Fair warning right now, I am more of a Star Trek The Next Generation fan so I'm not as educated in this universe with the exception of seeing movies (The Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock and the Voyage Home and of course the Abrams films.) So I apologize beforehand to any older Trekkies out there, but I will at least try and do the characters justice. Let me know how this goes, I have quite a bit planned and seeing as there aren't as many Khan stories as I thought there'd be, I figured I'd give it a try. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the OC
The day was already starting out horrible, "How could you do this to me Leonard?"
If he was any less of a man he would have cringed at her sharp tone. She'd called him by first name, something she only did when he was bugging her profusely in Sickbay. She was all business and bad mood as she accompanied him outside of Starfleet. It was getting late into the fall and the fog of the bay had blown in making the Golden Gate bridge look like a floating masterpiece of architecture. The sight was comforting when they weren't off planet and it kept Bones momentarily distracted from having to answer his younger counterpart. He tightened the lapels of his jacket with one hand while tightening his grip on his med-bag with the other. His eyes darted to the flags whipping and cutting the autumn air, getting lost in the hypnotic rhythm while thinking of a reasonable answer that would satisfy his friend's apparent feeling of betrayal, "It's only for two weeks."
The air outside seemed dominated by her presence as her mouth formed a thin line, "You've delayed our five year mission on the Enterprise. Is Jim even aware you're doing this?"
"This is a private study being conducted so no, Jim doesn't know and it has to stay that way." He returned a scolding look her way.
"Two weeks, and you had to drag me into it!" She cried in exasperation, "Why couldn't you pick someone else?"
"It's a small operation, only twenty people were chosen and I needed you as an assistant. They weren't going to do it without me, and I wasn't going to do it without you." He explained rationally while holding the door to the building open for her, "Besides, I thought it was your dream to one day branch off into neuroscience? This could maybe be that first step."
"Well yeah, maybe." She admitted, "But at my own pace and I didn't have time right now after I was preparing for a five year mission. Good job for ruining that." She straightened her crisp white uniform while bending over at the knees to brush off her crepe sole shoes. Everything she was adorned in—with the exception of her black rimmed glasses pushed up high on her nose—was surgical white. Clean, fresh and simple with the small Starfleet insignia on the left breast of her shirt.
He was wearing the very same uniform, as was expected in a lab, "The two weeks off will do the crew some good. There's a benefit next weekend for the unveiling of the new design for the Kelvin Memorial Archive and we've all been invited anyways."
"Great, my mind's really going to be in the mood for a party after studying Augments in cryo tubes." She said flatly, "Be honest with me; did you only pick me because I wasn't afraid before?"
"You're the best nurse I've had since Chapel asked for a transfer over a year ago. And we've been friends for longer than that." He said while in attempt to skirt around the question, but she wasn't buying it with a cryptic glare. He sighed in exhaustion, that old man feeling creeping on him as an unwanted guest, "I know you won't get jumpy. There's no room for shaky hands."
"Bones, he's asleep. They all are for that matter. All we'll be doing is looking at the effects of their blood, which we already know doesn't enhance the subject. Khan's blood saved Jims life, but it didn't give him any biologic changes that can be compared to the Augments. Researching this seems dangerous, like we're delving into something we shouldn't be." She smoothed the hair on her head while tightening the chignon at the base of her neck. Not a hair was out of place whenever she working, nor could an ounce of make-up be found.
"All the work we're doing is purely academic. It will be saved in files for future reference, that's it." He shot her a reassuring smile, "I wouldn't have agreed otherwise and I wouldn't have dragged you into it Nina. The only reason I was asked in the first place was because I discovered the healing properties to save Jim in time. We're the only medical staff involved, everyone else will be biological researchers."
"Great, so we get to check vital signs while they go and play with a sleeping race." She stated bluntly with a sour expression pouring from her face. Nina hated being used almost as much as Bones did; he was just more diplomatic at handling it. It was something that came with age or the patience from his divorce, either one.
He gave her a wry grin in returned, "Come on, I want to at least get a good work station if all we'll be doing is checking vitals'." He reused her own words with sarcasm. They walked to the steel elevator of the medical sciences building where he brandished a special key card before the steel plated doors, "We're in the basement."
"I've never been down there before." She admitted nervously.
"That makes two of us." He replied just before stepping into the confined space. Nina followed after, wringing her hands nervously as she checked her PADD. Like lightening, her body broke out into a cold sweat just as soon as the doors closed and they started to be lowered down the shaft. She kept closing her eyes shut tightly for intervals before they would dart around the compartment. Her foot started to tap next and Bones let out a sigh, "You're still dealing with claustrophobia then?"
"It's getting better." She said quietly.
"Really?" He exclaimed in disbelief, "I could fix you with a sedative if that would help."
She shot him a smirk before chewing on the inside of her check, "Don't make fun unless you've dealt with it yourself first."
"Honestly Richardson, between your claustrophobia and habits of being superstitious, it's a wonder you can even travel in space." He teased though wondered if it was a low blow considering his own inclinations of motion sickness.
She scoffed, "Being superstitious is not an illness Bones."
He breathed a laugh, "Tell that to Scotty. The first time he met you, you shoved him out of your loft door because he tried to open an umbrella in the room. I don't know who was more surprised. The look on his face…" He broke off into another chuckle.
She rolled her eyes just as the doors opened with a hiss down in the dank levels of the basement. She sucked in a large gulp of air when stepping out of the lift before following at McCoy's side. Blue neon lights directed their path down the long dark corridors and not a sound could be heard in the lower bowels of the building except their shoes stepping in unison, "Why did it have to be underground?" She said swallowing while looking back the way they came to make sure it hadn't disappeared. That was her only saving grace, to know there was an escape.
"It's secure down here. They couldn't have it in just any old place where someone could accidently stumble onto it." Bones answered frankly, "It's only two weeks, and we won't be down here the whole time."
"Yeah, and I already miss sunlight." She murmured.
"We have to sit in on a seminar first." He explained to her as voices started to echo off the walls and travel to them from a distance, "It's nothing mind numbing. Should be us making contact with the head of the research department while specific jobs are handed out and then we can get started. We were already running late so I won't be surprised if we're the last ones." He gave her a knowing look.
"Oh, you're blaming this on me?" She affronted, "I'm sorry if I wasn't in a hurry to subject myself to running tests on living people."
He sighed, "It's alright. For the record, I'm not entirely OK with this either, but we'll get by."
They ceased in their conversation as a large archway opened up to a large room filled with rows of chairs and a display screen already portraying a grid of information. Many heads turned around in their seats while a man who stood at the front of the makeshift lecture hall held up his hands in welcome, "Ah, Doctor McCoy, we were beginning to think you weren't coming. And this would be your assistant I presume?"
Bones was about to reply, but she beat him to the punch, "I am Nurse Richardson and I will be helping Doctor McCoy with anything he needs during this academic study sir."
She could see the head of this research committee looked soured by her speaking, but quickly brushed aside his scorn in favor of an engaging smile, "Why yes of course Miss. You and the Doctor may take a seat so we may continue."
A swift hand latched on to her forearm before pulling her into the back row. She looked at McCoy innocently while he frowned, "Dammit Nina, you'll get us in trouble with that kind of insubordination. Just keep your head buried in the sand and let me do the talking, alright?"
"I'm sorry; I'm just uncomfortable with this whole situation. Don't tell me this doesn't seem suspicious to you?" She reasoned while placing her bag and PADD at her feet.
"We're about to find out." He muttered before shushing her with a hand.
Her shoulders sagged slightly and she crossed her arms over her chest while pretending to listen. What information she missed, she would no doubt receive from Bones. He had a habit of reiterating everything if it was of the utmost importance. Her emotions were running amuck and she felt guilty about lying to Jim and the rest of the crew. Bones was too, she could see it, but a request at this high of scale couldn't be refused. Saying it was an academic study looked better on paper as opposed to running tests on humanoids. The Federation was still in turmoil over everything with the Klingons and studying Augments was clearly another last resort many were willing to look to. Biological warfare almost felt like cheating, but then Nina was skeptical that they'd find advancements coming from Khan's crew anyways. She hadn't thought about him or those events in the past few weeks they'd been back on Earth. Being in that place and remembering his name got her thinking though and she was soon distracted away from the pep talk at the front of the room by the events in which she had first been introduced to him in Sickbay on the Enterprise.
Nina watched the other nurses from her vantage point at the desk as she worked on a rundown of the medical files of the entire crew that her and Bones hadn't yet finished in all of the chaos. After being caught up in a chase for a wanted fugitive, everything had been put on the backburner until they had spare time. She wasn't getting much of anything done with the way the flapping and bickering continued from the corner of women. They looked distraught, like a house of hens just disturbed for the eggs, "What are they doing over there?" She asked with a scowl.
Bones shot a look to her line of sight and shook his head, "I gave an order to check his vital signs. I told them I didn't care who did it, so long as it got done."
"Well there's your first mistake." She jumped in forwardly, "You should have made just one of them do it so it had to be done. They're going to waste their time doing that so they can avoid the situation."
He hung his head against his fist on the desk, "I'm running out of good nurses. Most are all fresh out of the Academy. Imagine this being your first off planet experience on an important mission?"
"I can do it, why didn't you ask me?" She sat back while raising a brow.
"Nina, you don't have to be brave all of the time you know."
"Who said this had anything to do with me being brave?" She shot back curtly while rising from her seat, "I'm going over there to put an end to this before they start flipping a coin to see who goes. This is the Enterprise, we should still show a little class, even for a murderer."
"Be in uniform in my Sickbay next time!" He called while she did a quick look down at herself.
She hadn't changed out of her civilian attire since going down to Kronos and somehow she didn't think she'd warrant the same kind of respect in black jeans and a white cashmere sweater as she would in her Starfleet uniform. There wasn't time to change though so she shrugged off the uncomfortable itch as she approached the group of women. They immediately silenced at her appearance, no doubt ashamed by the way they were behaving, "Ladies, what's going on here?"
"I'm sorry Nina." Corinne spoke up, one of the quieter girls though she was a patient nurse and Nina got along well with her, "We know Doctor McCoy gave us an order, but no one wants to go near him."
"I'm here to relieve you. Can I have a scanner please?"
The rest of the nurses visibly folded in relief at her declaration while Corinne passed her a scanner. "Thank you Nina." She said along with the collective standing behind her.
Their deliverance and appraisal did little for her confidence and she wasn't sure how much help her lying game would be for her either. The scanner felt like a lead weight in her hand as she continued to walk in her boots. Clearly her rationality had already left her, sitting back in her chair at McCoy's desk as he watched from the sidelines. It was unlikely she'd be put in harm's way, but it didn't ease her mind as she stood before him in what she hoped was defiance masking her frailty. His eyes searched over her, eyes that she could scarcely call a name to until she was reminded off diamonds. Cold and sparkling with an edge, certainly ones she wouldn't want to put around her neck at any rate. Should she say something? He didn't seem like he was going to break silence so she opted for the same, allowing him freedom to watch her as she took his vitals with the scanner. She was quickly perplexed by the speed of his heart rate, though it seemed to be at a normal function working with the rest of his body. She mentally was thankful that Bones had already collected a blood sample, saving her from having to put her hands on him. She took a step back, this time her eyes meeting his, though while he remained stoic she could feel the carpet slowly being pulled out from under her.
"Why do you stare Ms. Richardson?"
Her head and heart were screaming so loud at her in fear for her crucial mistake. She should have walked away at once; instead she had allowed time for a window, enough for him to speak to her. She breathed for all the air in the room with avarice before forcing her voice, "I think I am staring at perfection, unless you tell me otherwise." Dammit, now he'd have to answer her. She was unhinging quickly from the reserved façade she had molded so well in her academy years. Only friends and crewmates were supposed to be able to get to her. She had made a strict rule to always keep her distance with patients, especially ones' of the dangerous variety. She only now realized it was a thin line dividing the two.
"Perfection?" He drawled smoothly, "Your race hasn't a clue on the meaning of the word, being as you are flawed beyond recall."
She found his logic rather endearing and didn't hesitate to smile at his answer, "I suppose that's true."
He ignored her attempt at sentiment of his knowledge while never breaking his concentration on her, "They are afraid."
She turned her head back to the nurses who had made themselves busy with menial tasks. She could also tell McCoy was watching in protest but she didn't make a move to reassure him now that she was trapped into sharing words with Khan, "Yes, thus my reason for being here."
She grew cold and hurt as he cut her soul with his stare, "You are no less afraid than they are, no matter how you would cloak yourself from me. To be rank with fear over the one thing in this room that has nothing to gain from your wounds; you fascinate me. With one hand you would shield your comrades and with the other you'd wish to stop me, but you cannot have both."
She bit her lip and shook her head at herself, ready with her comeback and curious on how he would respond, "I guess that makes me an over achiever then." She shrugged though his calm demeanor never waned, "And I'll even admit to being afraid. I just hide it better than they do."
"Nina!" She was startled by her name being called from the other side of the room though quickly collected herself as Jim came over, "I need to speak with you for a moment."
"Yes Captain." Her eyes shifted one last time to Khan who hadn't stopped in his smoldering stare. She supposed it was a win on his side because she had to turn away as she followed beside Jim back to McCoy's desk, "What did you need Jim?"
"Nothing." He said sharply while turning to her, "I just didn't want you talking to him. Or anyone for that matter." He shot Bones a look of derision.
"Oh." Her mouth was left agape for a moment at the gesture, "Well…thank you."
"What did he say?" McCoy asked from his chair.
"Nothing important. I think he just liked to patronize me was all." She consciously fiddled with the bottom of her sweater while placing the scanner down on McCoy's desk, "You can look over his vitals. With your permission, I'd like to go change back into my uniform."
"Dismissed." Bones agreed.
She disregarded the looks of worry on both of his and Jim's faces as she walked from Sickbay, carefully aware of the eyes watching her go. 'He must have had a penchant to make people squirm with that gaze', she thought bitterly. She never spoke with him again after that, but inside she felt as if he had already acquired everything there was to know about her in one sitting.
Review if you are curious for more.