Super-Note:I have undertaken the task of re-writing the earlier chapters of PUTP. In the several years that it has taken me to write this, I have not only developed certain characters, Olivia especially, more thouroughly, but I have also acquired more knowledge about these characters themselves, simply by writing them. Unfortunately, this left a story with inconsistencies, primarily in characterization. In addition, the "Chapter X, Part 1/Part 2" thing was a little excessive, so I have re-numbered chapters and am aligning them with 's chapter drop-down selection.
Picking Up the Pieces
All original characters by me, Star Trek franchise not by me.
This story was originally written to be a sim story, meaning it is supposed to be accompanied by pictures from the Sims 2. See it with pics at SimTrek, MTS, or my site. (Google "sim trek picking up the pieces" for simplicity.)
Cirtri. Situated in a quiet little corner near Federation space, it didn't seem like much would happen there. The planet itself was beautiful, serene, a good vacation spot. If it weren't for the fighting.
For many years, the two rival governments of Cirtri had been fighting a war of sorts, a war of threats, alliances, and midnight stealth attacks. The two often involved themselves in the affairs of such powers as the Federation and the Romulans, supporting their respective allies with technology and supplies, and getting the advantage of having someone much bigger on their side.
And thus was the situation now. Within the Federation, there was a near-rebellious coalition of developing worlds that wanted a faster rate of technological development than the Federation thought was good for them. Their former leader, a peaceful, charismatic man, had been assassinated and replaced by someone with much more militant ideas. Cirtri's Lecxéan government began showing concerning support for the faction's new leader.
So, the Federation sent unofficial ambassadors T'Lea and Kareb to their unofficial ally, Xis, to try to swing events in the Federation's favor.
While they were there, however, Lexcé attacked Xis' capital city, Euneva-Kwa, in the middle of the night, forcing a complete evacuation of the city into its extensive network of underground tunnels.
It was from this situation that Capt. Andersen and the USS Taurus was sent to rescue them, and return them home.
Chapter 1: Diagnosis
Dr. Hernandez, Chief Medical Officer, straightened several PADDs on her desk and instructed the computer to turn off her office lights.
There was a sharp rapping on the transparent aluminum walls, and her assistant, Dr. Steve Mackenzie, was standing outside waving.
"Computer, unlock doors."
The door slid open. She stared at him.
"Hey, Olivia. Uh ... are you leaving?"
"I left a message to your terminal."
"Oh. I haven't checked it yet."
"On your request, I leave a message every day to inform you when I leave." Which was at the same time every day. Yet he still insisted on stopping her on random days on her way out.
"I ... I'm right next door. Like ... two meters away."
"Yes, you are."
"Well, um, anyway, goodnight, Olivia. See you in the morning." He still stood in the doorway, blocking her way out
He turned and went back into his own office, and Olivia left Sickbay, taking her usual route back to her quarters, which took her through the guest quarters section before officers' quarters.
Rounding the corner to the guest quarters' corridor, she saw a dark form lying, motionless, on the floor. She fumbled for her medical tricorder as she picked up her pace.
As she neared, she recognized the robes the person was wearing and realized it had to be T'Lea, the Vulcan un-official they were bringing home. She dropped to her knees on the floor and felt for a pulse, finding one, and finally succeeding in retrieving her tricorder. T'Lea was not breathing.
She tapped her combadge and called the EMH in sickbay. "I need an AG-lift at my location immediately."
He appeared next to her with the anti-grav stretcher in less than ten seconds.
"She's cyanotic," he noted. "What happened?"
"I found her here like this. She's apneic, heart rate at 150." She turned to him. "Help me lift her up."
Once they got T'Lea up on the stretcher, she began breathing again, and both Olivia and the EMH hurried to scan her.
"Resps returning to normal," The EMH reported.
They ran back to Sickbay. "Hypotonia, mild lactic acidosis ... Probably post-ictal," Olivia said. "Find her husband for me, we will need to talk to him."
Sickbay's doors opened and Steve met them at the doors. Doc, the EMH, disappeared to find Kareb.
"You're back. What happened?" he asked as they transferred T'Lea to the main biobed.
"I found her apneic and bradycardic, heart rate at 150 ... both pulse and resps have returned to normal. Hypertensive, hypotonic, mild lactic acidosis, decreased cortical activity ... "
Steve read the results of the scan passed to his tricorder. "Seizure?"
"Put the results of a full head scan up on the lab screen."
They worked quietly for a few minutes, Steve coordinating scans, Olivia testing reflexes, level of consciousness, and such, noticing that Steve kept moving in more and more towards her personal space.
"What are you doing?"
"You're too close."
He stepped back. "Sorry." He turned and walked off to the lab screens.
T'Lea moaned and started to roll onto her side.
Olivia came to her side. "T'Lea, can you hear me?"
She moaned in response.
"Steve," Olivia called. He looked up at her, but didn't return.
"Where ... am I?"
"You're in Sickbay. You've had a seizure."
"I don't know where he is. The EMH is finding him."
Steve spoke up. "Where is Doc, anyway? He should have gotten back by now, shouldn't he?"
"I don't know." She turned back to T'Lea. "T'Lea, I need to know, have you ever had a seizure before?"
She slowly rolled over so her back was turned to Olivia, and mumbled, "Just leave me alone."
Olivia sighed. "T'Lea, this is important."
"Leave me alone."
"I am sure you are in some pain, and not feeling well, but a seizure can be a very serious sign ..."
"Olivia," Steve called, interrupting her. "I've got your scans up over here. I think the questions can wait 'til later." He motioned towards the screen.
She shook her head and followed.
The scan revealed three large areas of past damage where healthy neurons had grown completely intertwined with damaged ones, some even forming connections with the damaged cells.
"I'm guessing this isn't her first seizure," Steve said. "You're the neurologist, what do you think?"
"Neurosurgeon," she corrected. "Computer, show overlying structures."
What appeared was a skull with healed fractures, each lying directly over an area of damage.
"Depression fractures." Steve sighed. "Blunt-force trauma."
"Computer, give me the approximate age of injuries."
"Level of healing consistent with injuries greater than fifteen years in age. Estimates past this point in time may not be accurate."
She walked back over to T'Lea.
"T'Lea, this isn't the first time you've had a seizure, is it?"
She groaned and rolled over. Olivia had awoken her. "No."
"I thought I asked to be left alone."
Olivia sighed. She often had trouble getting her patients to tell her what she wanted to know ... surgery was so much easier than this.
Suddenly, the EMH appeared in the doorway. "Kareb wants to know if his wife will be returning to him tonight."
"You didn't bring him?" Steve asked.
"It appears our patient has a history of recurring seizures. He is not concerned."
"So he's demanding her back?"
"No. He wants to know if she is returning tonight, and if she is not, he will come here to Sickbay. He also wishes to know if she has regained consciousness yet."
T'Lea attempted to pull herself into a sitting position. "Yes, I will be returning."
"I don't think that's a good idea." Olivia said.
"Tell him I'm on my way." With that, she stood up, albeit unsteadily, leaning on the bed for support. Steve rushed over to catch her if she fell.
"Don't ... touch me."
"You're leaving against medical advice," Olivia said.
"You have to sign ..."
T'Lea cut her off. "Just leave me alone."
"We're only trying to help you," Steve said, still standing close enough to catch her if she fell.
"At least wear this." Olivia held out a neurocortical monitor. "It'll alert Sickbay if you have another seizure."
T'Lea shook her head and groaned, but allowed Olivia to put it on. With that, she walked out of Sickbay, slowly and supporting herself along everything in her path.
"Doc, follow her. I don't want her falling and hurting herself."
He nodded, and followed.
"Well, then ..." Steve began.
"Well then what?"
"That was interesting."
"That was not 'interesting.' She left AMA."
"Yeah. I think we managed to upset a Vulcan ambassador."
"I do not think we should have allowed her to go so easily."
"What should we have done? Restrain her? You can't do that, Olivia."
"You could have convinced her to stay."
"I could have, huh?"
"Well, I'm glad you have confidence in my abilities, then. But I don't think she was going to stay no matter who talked to her." He headed towards his office. "Well, Olivia, I need to get back to what I was working on before you guys came in. I'll see you in the morning."
"I also have work to do. I will be in my office."
"You just left for the night like, half an hour ago. You have more work now?"
"Relating to T'Lea, am I right?"
"Why does it matter?"
"It doesn't, really. I just ... have you eaten supper yet?"
"Well ... uh, we ... I don't have any patients now, so maybe we could sit, you know, grab something to eat, sit here and talk, you know, collaborate. Work ... together."
"I prefer to work alone."
"I - I know ... I just ... you know, never mind. It's okay." He turned back towards his office, muttering under his breath, "Don't know why I even try. You probably hate me anyway."
"I don't hate you."
He whipped around. "You heard that?"
"You are not as quiet as you think."
"You don't hate me."
"Then why do you go out of your way to avoid being around me, Olivia?"
"I don't. I do not avoid you. I spend more time with you than with anyone else in the department."
"Yeah ... at work. 'Anyone else in the department.'" He sighed. "It's just work to you, isn't it?"
"It is work. What do you want it to be to me?"
"I want us to be friends, you know ... like you and Thelis. You spend time with him, you go running with him every day. It's not like I'm jealous ... but, I mean, would it kill you not to shoot me down every time I suggest doing something together that's not required by our jobs?"
"Thelis and I exercise because it is good for our health. We converse about things related to work."
She cocked her head to the side.
"Look, Olivia, I know you spent a bunch of time at Starfleet Medical, where you didn't have to live with and deal with the people you worked with all the time. And I understand that you've been hurt, in the past. I get that. You know, I know it's got to be hard for you. And ... and, I'm sorry. I just ... please don't push people away because of that."
She looked back at him, both confusion and pain written on her face.
"Hey, I ... I'm sorry. I guess I shouldn't have brought that up."
"If you wish, I will spend time with you tonight."
"You don't have to, Olivia."
"Do you want me to spend time with you or not?"
"I do, but ..."
"Then I will. Do you want to work in my office?"
"Then go get a PADD."
Steve sat in his office. Olivia had actually made an effort to do something with him. But he felt terrible, like he'd guilted her into doing it.
It wasn't even anything that wonderful. They sat on the couches in the little "waiting room" inside her office, she ate a big plate full of plain rice, and they talked about neurology.
Now she was still there, still working, almost three hours after she was off, two hours after he left her alone again. She'd probably end up falling asleep there tonight, like she had so many times before.
He didn't know what it was about her, why she could drive him crazy but he still couldn't stop thinking about her. Why he'd gladly take her abrasiveness over her absence any day.
How had this happened, he wondered almost every day now. How had he fallen in love with her, fallen so hard?
And why couldn't he help but let tonight give him so much hope?