Page 3 of 4
Re: MED Lieutenant JG Emily Acacia
Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:08 pm
What an emotional treatment of the potential issues with all of the half-this/half-that/a third this characters that are so casually strewn throughout the Trek fandom! Using a Vulcan judge that Emily's father gets through to was a nice touch in a well-written log. Great work!
Doctor Empath Part 2: Death
Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 7:32 pm
USS Atlantis, present day...
Emily was shaken awake, jerking to sit upright, her forehead red where it had been pressed against the surgery table’s screen. She took a moment to blink before mumbling, “Bring in the next one.”
“It’s over, Doctor,” the nurse who had awoken her still had a hand on her shoulder to steady her, “Doctor Straynj just finished the last surgery. Everyone’s stable. You should go sleep.”
“Everyone’s stable?” Emily echoed numbly, rubbing her temples and trying in vain to block out the tide of existential aching coming from every direction.
The nurse grabbed Emily’s arm with a bit more force, pulling her to stand and then trying to help take off the Doctor’s scrubs. Emily swatted her away, mumbling thanks for the effort and untying the cursed red garment herself.
She wanted to hold her head down and hide her shame as she shambled out of sick bay in her blue pajamas polka-dotted with old-timey science fiction references, aching with guilt at the realization she’d just passed out on the surgery table some time after the seventh or eighth operation. Doctor Tailor made it a point, though, to thank her on her way out, bringing her at least that one step out of the darkness.
In the turbolift she leaned her back against the wall and finally let out the deep, guttural groan she’d been holding in.
As she rounded the corner and saw engineers standing in front of the open door to her quarters, she felt her stomach drop. She first slowed her walk as she realized that this was a bad sign, then immediately started power-walking again as she remembered her cat.
“Doctor, it’s alright,” a man put up a hand to stop her from walking into her own quarters. She could see the shimmering of the containment field over his shoulder, and she was struck by its size.
“That bad, huh?” she breathed, then took another step, craning her neck to try and see. She frowned as the engineers shuffled her back, waving a hand as she tried to summon the words through rising panic.
“Doctor,” the stern voice of a Vulcan in Starfleet yellow caught her attention. He had three fresh bright green claw scratches down the side of his face, and the usual dead-serious Vulcan expression, “Your animal was secured and brought to your temporary accommodations if that was your concern.”
“Right,” Emily sighed with relief and a just little tinge of amusement, then followed the jittery Human ensign assigned to take her to usually-empty room she’d be sleeping in. It was much like her quarters but without any character. She found some peace in the fact that she wasn’t worried about her research, her obsessive backup strategy giving her at least that peace of mind--her quarters, sick bay, the medical research lab, and the science backup database all had copies.
She had not seen it but a silver vase was stuck half way out of the containment field between her usual quarters and the vacuum, four silver-cast flowers now listlessly floating through space in tandem with the battle debris. She wouldn’t even think about them for a long time, having lived all her life in a world unconcerned with things. It would sooner cross her mind to wonder how her orchids had fared.
“Apollo?” she called as she turned on the lights. She began searching under and behind furniture, starting with the bed. Finally she found him squished between the standing dresser and the ceiling, a squinted pair of electric blue eyes peering down at her. She wasn’t really in the mood to lose a hand trying to fish him out, as much as she might have liked a hug, so she left him there.
She sat down in front of the mirror and looked at her own face, surprised at once by how bad and how good it looked. Someone must have fixed up the burns and cuts on her face when she’d fallen asleep. She stared in the mirror for a long time, willing herself with all of her might to feel nothing while the world washed with a torrent of emotions around her.
Eventually she gave up and laid down, grabbed one of the pillows from the bed to curl herself around, and cried herself to sleep.
Starfleet Medical Academy, 5 years ago… 2AM
Emily laid on her bed, walking her feet along the ceiling with her head dangling over the bunk mattress’s edge. Her roommate, T’Paea, was sitting at their shared desk working on writing something. Emily had always been confounded by anyone who bothered to write with actual paper and pencil, let alone over-dramatic Vulcans staying up late and writing by candlelight. Fortunately the flickering light at least made for something interesting for Emily to let her bored eyes follow.
Emily’s insomnia was at its worst in med school, and this night was no exception, “You aren’t haunted by… the reality of your own power?”
“Are you?” T’Paea cast neutrally over her shoulder.
“I am, I think,” Emily played with her dangling hair with one hand, holding onto one of the bed’s posts with the other to keep her balance.
“What do you think you will do?” the Vulcan never slowed her writing.
“It’s more.. the sheer potential for harm, you know? Like, if I’m doing surgery, if I’m.. I have tools inside someone’s body, one wrong move and I could just kill them. Or cripple them. For life, you know? Then they’re just.. like that,” Emily rambled, “Or if--with what I want to do, like if you fuck up bad enough with genetic editing and immunology, you can cause--”
“You’re talking about accidents,” T’Paea cut her off, reeling her back to reality, “You’re fortunate enough to live in a society where mistakes are seen as just that--unintended outcomes.”
“My mom says it’s like driving a car,” Emily fluffed her hair again, “You know you could swerve off the road and kill everyone you’re with at any time.. doesn’t mean you would, just that you can. It’s a Human brain thing I guess.”
“You come from not only one hyper-emotional species, but also a second that is telepathically entwined with emotion. I won’t pretend to understand you,” T’Paea glanced up, her serious Vulcan eyebrows accentuating her point, “But I should say--and you should know as well as I do--that intrusive thoughts are likely a symptom of your anxiety or obsessive compulsions.”
A long moment of silence passed. Emily cracked a small smile, “Huh. Yeah.”
More than a decade ago, on Betazed...
Some feelings are harder to shake than others. With some things every time you experience them it’s just as good or as bad as the first time, and with others the pain fades over time. The first time Emily met death, it was actually a surprisingly peaceful experience.
Darokkatan’s great grandmother, Emily’s great great grandmother, was technically the owner of the home Darok’s extended family used as a congregating spot. For most of Emily’s childhood she remembered ‘Mamaw’ as being one of the best chefs she knew. Her property covered a sizable patch of forest where wild Drakberries grew, and on those summers the kids would pick berries for Mamaw to make pie with.
Mamaw spent her second-to-last summer mostly in bed, so when the next year rolled around and she wasn’t doing much better, most of the usual summer festivities were traded for spending time at home. Averianna led the cousin-brigade in making summer pies. Later, the kids all helped decorate a home-made casket for Mamaw, true to old island cultural traditions.
Most of the family was by her side when she passed. The chill of a soul rattling up a Betazoid’s cat-like bones is unforgettable. Emily’s cousins and aunts and uncles embraced and shared in crying. The next day, her surviving friends came over. Some were very old, some surprisingly young. At the end of the week she was buried next to her husband who, in pretty typical Betazoid fashion, she had outlived by almost two decades.
Death is something that aches more than it feels. In moments when life is snuffed out, an empath can feel it, but it’s almost tolerable. It’s like a winter chill pressing on your joints, or breathing in spit you meant to swallow. It stings, but it doesn’t last. What hurts is when people remember, and ache, and mourn. The feeling of remembering someone is compounded the more pain that memory evokes.
The way her family had done a ‘funeral’ wasn’t so bad. When the sitting room was stiflingly full of emotion, Emily wasn’t the only one who stepped outside to cool herself off. Living among people that emotionally in-tune was somewhat helpful, no one looked at her strange or pressured her to talk about it. They all just.. intuitively knew what she needed for her own grieving process.
Emily’s first Starfleet funeral came many years later. She’d almost finished med school when they learned that a pretty recent graduate of Starfleet Medical had killed himself aboard his stationed ship. The story was as publicized as any such tragedy in a post-scarcity utopia, but most memorably, the funeral was an emotional hell.
It wasn’t anything like a calm home wake. His family was there, but they had not seen him die. Everyone there from his friends to his teachers blamed themselves in one way or another. The tears were not of loss, love, and memory, but of regret. The striking difference in feeling between expected and unexpected death marked Emily’s heart forever.
Starfleet Medical Academy, 3 years ago… 8AM
Emily looked at the scattered pile of papers she was still trying to organize despite the physically looming deadline. She was up next, and she may have never worked harder on a project in her life, but she was still incredibly nervous given the nature of the presentation.
Data Visualization was a course with a few different versions. It was pretty standard Starfleet fare, taught soldiers to make charts and graphs that actually made sense. The version of the class specific to medical students had an air of polish to it that Emily found incredibly intimidating, but that had been a problem for most of her time in school.
The most stressful part of this particular presentation was that she didn’t really have the visual she wanted. The algorithm she’d been writing was only half finished. The first presentation was by a future therapist with some really cute ideas for patient-facing graphical gamification of treatment for depression, complete with her own drawings. Something about people who could draw well always made Emily guiltily jealous.
Time seemed to slow as Emily walked up to the front of the classroom, setting her stack of poster-board with clouds of dots drawn in colored pencil leaned up against the blackboard. She took a deep breath, and looked at her notecards.
“In, uh.. in focusing on the presentation of data I’ve developed a somewhat new idea of graphical representation for my own field, immunology. For too long it’s been common to use strict species-centric representation of things--which, I--I do know Human medicine is primary here, but it doesn’t make as much sense for immune factors in the world as we know it now.”
She swallowed nervously and glanced up at the audience. What she saw spurred her on, a few twinkles of interest in the eyes of her peers. She stood up a bit straighter, trying to ride the feeling that people cared about what she had to say. She grabbed one of the poster boards, holding it in front of herself.
“So.. the algorithm I’m working on to do this with a holo-emitter is only half done,” she felt the need to excuse herself, despite the fact that it was something she was working on independently of school for her own research. The actual requirements of the presentation were theoretical anyway, but Emily was still beating herself up over not having her PhD-level work completely done, “But I’ve drawn the idea here. This is uh.. me, actually.”
She pointed to different colored clusters on the diagram, explaining them as she went, “The colors represent factors. Blue are your memory cells, like Human memory b cells or Betazoid antigen markers. Red is your attackers, white blood cells, antibodies.. green is your communication hormones, signals to start or stop actions, nervous responses.”
The second diagram was of a Human student who’d allowed Emily to use her for the presentation. She’d also drawn four lines dividing the dot-cloud into sections, “So you can see a bit more clearly on a Human.. tight clusters around organs that have a lot of immune functions, a clear line of communication between organ clusters.”
After a while she forgot to be nervous, explaining how the dots got tagged with numbers based on protein production and gene activation. At least half of the class glazed over, but the other half learned a lot about the future of an extremely small, specific, and surprisingly important field.
Especially as someone who always struggled with intrusive thoughts, Emily found a sort of perverse satisfaction in the eyes of fifth-and-sixth-year med students glazing over when she spoke about what she knew best. She tried to cling to moments like that, summoning them for strength in times like the breath between the fifth and sixth battle-related surgery.
USS Atlantis, present day, late at night...
Crewmen lay in the morgue being prepared for individual funerals based on different cultural practices. The Trondheim colony and their clinic had an even bigger number to count.
Emily was still in surgery, surely by now it was number twenty… or thirty...
Her hand slipped, and her knife severed the crewman’s ankle tendon. Blood poured everywhere, streaking up the walls. She reached out for him to try and help, but the room stretched forward and he was far out of reach.
A Xovul was there, in the room… he shot one of the nurses, and threw the other against the wall. Everything went from dark to darker, Emily began to stir…
She sat up with a gasp, backing up against the headboard of her borrowed bed. The only light in the room came from a flashing yellow icon on the standing console on the desk--a medium priority message.
With a few hours of sleep in her it occurred to her with a sense of sinking dread that she needed to make a few calls.
Disheveled, she managed to haul herself to the desk chair. She didn’t give much thought to her appearance when she opened the message, though fortunately neither did the caller.
She’d been expecting her sister but she also wasn’t too surprised by what she saw--her father, mouth agape with unabashed snores as his head was lulled completely back. He must have fallen asleep in his desk chair waiting for her to pick up.. probably hours ago.
Suddenly realizing she was a complete mess she quietly got up and went to quickly brush her hair and dab her face with a rag. When she no longer looked like she’d just been through hell, she tapped a finger on the console screen, “Dad? Daaad~”
“Emi?” the man snorted, stirring. It took him only a moment to see her and become visibly overwhelmed with relief, “Oh, thank the four.”
“You fell asleep in your office,” Emily cooed with mock-sadness.
“Word’s out about the Xovul,” the man wasted no time, “Are you alright, Laina?”
“I may never sleep again,” Emily half-joked, still trying to make herself feel better.
“They must’ve failed in your education, then.. I learned that first day of med school,” Darok offered a faint smile, then waved a hand, “Well--you can, you know, get to sleep, I just needed.. to call you.”
“No, it’s okay--thank you, actually. It’s been.. a whirlwind,” Emily sighed.
“I told you to become an engineer,” her father jokingly chided.
“You did,” Emily couldn’t help but smile, “Goodnight dad.”
Screens went dark on both sides, and Darok made his way back to his quarters. Emily dialed up the console to call her sister. Averi was asleep, however, so Emily left a short video message instead.
“Hey.. I’m alive,” Emily smiled awkwardly, “I’m gonna.. try to get some sleep. But… I love you.”
She watched her video back twice with a straight face before sending it, trying to decide if she was satisfied with something so short. It was enough for the middle of the night, though, so she forwarded it to her mother and her other sister as well. She then laid back down, hugging her hug-pillow and staring up at the ceiling.
After a while she got tired of her mind racing and gave herself a sleeping aid, making nice with the nightmares long enough to recharge her body. She expended all of her conscious effort trying to block out the thick, unpleasant emotion that hung through nearby space like a nebula of interwoven pain.
Re: MED Lieutenant JG Emily Acacia
Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 1:59 am
What a fantastic log, from the little details like the print on her pajamas, to her emotional arc, to the vignettes from the past that help frame the present. Wonderfully done!
Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:02 pm
The night of Atlantis’s 22nd anniversary party...
Emily laid in her bed staring at the ceiling, a frequent feature of those sleepless nights when her mind was racing. Her heart was torn half way between joy and sorrow, her arms wrapped tightly around the pillow she had hugged to her chest.
The party had been… a lot of fun. Too much fun, maybe. She’d worn a pretty dress for the first time in years, watched a bunch of psychic bears crawl all over her XO, and danced with a boy she liked. Of course, that was the problem--or at least the source of her gnawing guilt.
A part of her wanted to talk to someone, but it wasn’t the sort of thing she thought she could talk to her sister about. Or her dad. Or Riley, or Wright, or.. anyone, really. So instead she just closed her eyes, letting her mind flip between good and bad feelings, waiting, hoping for it to stop.
Over a decade ago, Earth...
Emily was sitting at a lunch table at school. She was almost done with her first year of middle school, and until that point she’d done a fairly good job of avoiding the question. Usually she could slip away or change the subject, but as Emily and her peers got older, they got more insistent on this discussion.
It was something on everyone else’s minds. Like thirst for water or hunger for food, most of the people around Emily thought about this sort of thing every day. Of course they assumed everyone experienced the world the way they did, as all kids do. It only became inconvenient when the subject was unavoidable.
“Who do you like?” Maya Williams, bubbly blue eyes and blonde pigtails, asked the girl sitting next to Emily. As Darcy set down her fork and turned bright red, Emily felt the pit of her stomach drop.
Maya and the other girls at the table squealed and prodded at Darcy while Emily was desperately looking around the room. She knew based on the way the conversation was headed that the question would come to her next, so she had to pick a name, and quickly. She thought of her friends, but immediately realized that giving any of those names was likely to make things awkward.
Her eyes settled on the half-Vulcan boy who attended the school, her shoulders relaxing a bit. Morton Byler was quiet, unassuming, probably not interested in rumors, and not someone Emily knew well… perfect.
“Come on!” Maya squealed, “We won’t tell anyone. We just wanna knooow.”
“I don’t know,” Darcy droned, looking between the three eager, prying faces. After a pause she gave up and sighed, blushing ever more, “Alright, fine,” she lowered her voice, “Morton.”
“Morton!?” Maya squealed, and Darcy flailed both arms to shush her. Maya lowered her voice as well, needling her some more.
Emily’s eyes widened, and she was becoming increasingly pale. This wasn’t good, and she only had a limited amount of time to come up with something else.
“Well.. Emily~” Maya finally relented on Darcy, turning to the panicked half-Betazoid, “You next. Who do you like?”
“Uhh…” Emily reflexively deflated. That was the wrong answer, though, because it made Maya even more excited.
“Ooh! Is it someone we know?” as Emily again looked around the room in a panic Maya gasped, mumbling, “Is it a girl~?”
Fortunately in the twenty-fourth century whether someone was into boys, girls, or others didn’t really matter to most people. The problem was the assumption that it was, by default, someone, when in truth Emily had always been much more interested in math than people.
“No one,” Emily mumbled in a feeble attempt to fend them off with honesty. The problem was, of course, that was exactly what she’d say if it was a lie to fend them off.
“Come ooon,” Maya grinned, bouncing excitedly.
Emily swallowed, then sighed. She’d summoned a name from the back of her mind, the boy she’d sat next to in science the year prior. They hardly saw each other anymore, so she figured it was a safe bet he wouldn’t be upset if he heard about it. It came out more like a question, “James Ano?”
Emily sunk into her chair, bitterly relieved for it to be over as the girls squealed their excitement.
Two years later, The Acacia Family Farm…
Emily had been actively searching for the right time for over two months. It had to be a time when her father was home, which narrowed the potential opportunities considerably, but she’d also already let several opportunities pass her by out of anxiety.
At fifteen going on sixteen, Emily was pretty much certain that she had figured out her sexuality. She knew, both from what they’d told her but also from picking up psychic signals, that the people around her all felt something she didn’t. The lingering fear keeping her from taking the plunge wasn’t a fear of rejection, rather that her parents might say something, well… ignorant.
Darokkatan, her father, sat in one of the plush chairs in the farmhouse living room reading from a PADD, the girls all sitting on the floor around the coffee table on which a mostly forgotten card game sat half-finished. Their mother Janessa was bringing finished plates of food back to the kitchen two at a time.
There was quiet, and Averi and Tori were both staring intently at Emily as they could both feel the dark cloud hovering over her head. Their father was ignoring it--he didn’t want to put pressure on his kids to share their emotions. Still, it was obvious to everyone in the room that Emily was stewing over something.
Tori reached over and grabbed Emily’s arm, giving it a squeeze. Emily looked at her smiling face and managed a small smile of her own, soaking in the silent encouragement. Finally, she stood up, taking a deep breath.
“There’s something I have to get off my chest,” Emily began slowly, choosing her words carefully. Janessa paused behind Darok’s chair to listen, and Darok let out a soft sigh of relief, setting his PADD in his lap.
“I’m asexual,” she blurted out.
Darok was the first to react, simply raising both eyebrows, nodding once, and replying in a definitive tone, “Ah. Alright.”
“What does that mean?” Janessa asked, trying not to sound worried, though her expression gave her away.
“It means she doesn’t experience sexual attraction,” Darok answered, picking back up his PADD to resume reading. As he thought about it he realized he pretty much already knew, he'd just never wanted to linger or think much on his children's sexualities.
“Ohhhhhh,” Averi gasped, and Emily looked at her with a worried expression of her own. Seeing her sister’s distress, Averi immediately felt the need to clarify, “No, like.. I knew you weren’t straight, I mean.. I just assumed you were gay. That’s cool too, though.”
Emily relaxed visibly, letting out a breath she’d been accidentally holding, a small smile creeping onto her face in response to her sister’s reaction.
“Oh.. but you’re so young, you just haven’t met the right person yet. You don’t have to decide something like that now,” Janessa tried, in good faith, to be encouraging. Emily twinged and the other empaths in the room felt it too, all three of them turning to look at Janessa simultaneously, an often unsettling feature of living with your alien children.
“Dear,” Darok’s tone had changed slightly--the way he spoke when he was making it clear that you will listen to him was a bit closer to the voice he used with patients. He was gentle but completely firm, no one daring to interrupt him, “I’ll provide you some reading materials, okay?”
“Yes, I’ll..” Janessa trailed off, waving her hands to dismiss the thought before going over to hug Emily tightly, “Well you know I love you, no matter what.”
Emily returned her hug, then another much later that night when Janessa burst into her room to tearfully apologize for her initial reaction.
Starfleet Medical Academy, ‘College’ years...
Emily saw a therapist throughout college, a requirement for most medical degree tracks to help mitigate the adverse mental health outcomes associated with being a doctor. Everything Emily had that she’d call ‘a relationship’ through high school and college ended roughly the same way, and at a point it started to grate on her.
“The hard part is when.. and how… to have.. you know, ‘the talk’,” Emily picked at her fingernails, frowning as talking about it made the thoughts surface.
“How have you usually done it?” Joran, her therapist, prodded gently. Emily cringed.
“I mean.. I know I could do better, it’s just--”
“Woah, no, it’s not about you needing to do better,” Joran cut her off to pull her back out of the self-deprecating spiral she was trying to slip into, “These conversations are hard. There’s really no right or wrong answers, just how well it works out and what we learn from it.”
“Well…” Emily sighed, “the first one I waited.. about a week. I didn’t mean to wait that long, I just kept worrying about it and I could never get it out,” she leaned back in her chair slowly, “I’ve only had.. two people not dump me as soon as they found out. There was.. Harris, he wasn’t that great, we only lasted I think three weeks anyway. And.. Violet, the longest, almost six months. She thought it would be fine and we were for a while but I guess… she realized it wasn’t.”
“Have you considered a dating service or event specifically for asexual people?” Joran asked genuinely.
“I mean.. I haven’t found any, if you do let me know,” Emily shrugged meekly, “And online dating is usually a, uh… unique minefield for asexual people.”
“I can imagine,” Joran expressed sympathy, taking notes, “Well. It is an important discussion to have, and the earlier the better because things like sex, whether or not you want kids, basic.. funadamental lifestyle stuff is a big place you find incompatibilities that can’t be worked around.”
“Right,” Emily sighed, nodding lightly.
"It can be very helpful to just.. state what you want, outright. Can you put to words what you want?" Joran prompted.
"I mean.. ideally? Long term? I guess... You know, a relationship.. a partner, someone I live with, love, cuddle.. just... without sex involved," Emily shrugged, "That's just such a weird thing to.. say to people."
“Have you considered some sort of outward visual signifier? I know some people have worn a black ring--”
“Nobody knows what the ring means,” Emily interrupted him without even realizing she had, “I wore one for most of high school, it… yeah. It may be old, but it’s obscure. I don’t really think there’s a good way to visually…” she trailed off, waving a hand to say ‘you know’.
“You know.. odds are slim you’ll face much discrimination for being open and out. As you know, Starfleet doesn’t allow any sort of discrimination so you could deal with anyone who gave you actual trouble administratively,” Joran pointed out, noting her apprehension at talking about this openly. He then checked his watch, sitting up a bit.
“It just feels like… something not worth mentioning, or weird and awkward to bring up, unless it’s.. you know, important. But then, when it is important, I end up agonizing over it and I just never want to bring it up,” Emily groaned.
“Well we should definitely talk about this more next week,” Joran nudged.
The night of the party...
Having thoroughly failed to get to sleep, Emily found herself sitting at the desk in her quarters, flipping through old notes on the console. She’d had an idea and wanted to see if the computer could do it for her, since she hadn’t the slightest idea where to begin in making clothes for herself.
She found a 3D image of a dress she liked the cut of, using her finger to turn it to get a look at all sides. She sat askew in her chair, one knee pulled to her chest and one arm wrapped around it.
“Computer.. overlay this pattern with the asexual pride flag,” she instructed, and the image flickered. The dress re-appeared in evenly sized stripes of four colors; from top to bottom black, grey, white, and purple.
Emily tilted her head, musing thoughtfully, “Hm… add sleeves. No--shorter sleeves. And taper the hem to be longer in the back...”
Re: MED Lieutenant JG Emily Acacia
Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:42 am
A very good log with a touching treatment of a good topic! I especially liked her father’s reaction, which I truly hope would be the norm when someone comes out 400 years from now, if coming out is still even a thing.
Consulting Exoimmunologist Part 2
Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:09 pm
The attack was finally over. In the medical research lab stacks of petri dishes labeled with names of the dead contained cellular residue scraped off the walls of the Xovul shipyard after good Starfleet men and women had been vaporized.
And for what?
After the chaos in sickbay died down and Doctor Acacia had done her number of examinations in the morgue she finally returned to the lab, haggard. Her feet screaming with ache, her head fogged with sorrow, she never even saw the very short Human lab tech trying to get her attention and ran chest-first into the girl, knocking her over.
“Oh, god, I’m so sorry,” the Doctor cringed, grabbing Lilly’s arm to pull her back to her feet. The flustered Ensign tried to apologize back, which Emily gently scolded her for.
“There-- um, a message came through for you a couple hours ago, we must have missed it in the chaos,” Lilly chirped after the Doctor as she began heading for her office, “It was, ah, Starfleet Medical? A Doctor.. Shippo? Or something like that.”
For just a moment Emily frowned, then her eyes widened as she realized what it was probably about. She doubled her pace, power-walking into her office and scrambling to her chair as the door swished shut behind her.
She pulled up her console immediately and was met with a feed of an empty hospital bed. She stared at it, trying not to imagine the worst, but there were nurses changing sheets that looked like they had blood on them…
A few people passed by the console before anyone noticed Emily. Finally a nurse called for the elder doctor, and a smiling Doctor Shiplan appeared on screen shortly after. Emily couldn’t help her visible concern, though his smile did start to put her at ease.
“Tell me it’s good news,” Emily shamefully pleaded, the lifeless faces of the unlucky Marines still burned into her vision.
Doctor Shiplan wordlessly typed into the console on his end, and Emily’s feed split in two. On one side the Commander still watched for her reaction and on the other, a new feed appeared of a blue-skinned baby in a NICU box with wires and tubes sticking out of him. There was a beep from the monitors and Emily watched his chest rise as he took a breath. She gasped, covering her mouth before allowing herself to tearfully smile.
“It began about five hours ago, wrapped up about one hour ago. I understand you've been engaged,” Doctor Shiplan began, “We were unable to stop premature labor and had to terminate the pregnancy via emergency cesarean,” Emily’s eyes were fixed on the little blue baby, studying every detail of the white and blue markings on his skin, the antenna on his face, his silver-blonde tuft of hair…
“But it’s only…” Emily mumbled.
“Yes, a little over a month premature by our calculations, maybe two given the different species’ gestation times, but he’s doing very well thus far. Mom made it too,” the older Human doctor mused, tapping at his console again. This time a feed appeared of the more Human-looking mother, sleeping in surgical recovery. Monitors next to her showed reasonable vitals and Emily slowly sank back into her chair, sighing with relief.
“We did it,” Emily breathed, almost not believing her eyes after the day she’d had.
“You know I told Doctor Mars, our genetic specialist, she could learn a thing or two from you. Her report didn’t have a birth plan near as thorough as yours. When we found you were busy I was stood there flipping through it, I went--Wait, nevermind! We had a plan for emergency surgery!.. and everything else!” Doctor Shiplan laughed, “But I joke, Doctor Mars was on call so she actually assisted in the birth. It wasn't the smoothest, but I don't anticipate long-term complications.”
“Well, I was hopeful,” Emily nodded thoughtfully, thinking back to her report--she remembered in medical school when they’d gone over baking ‘contingency plans’ into incomplete case studies, and she remembered the words of one of her favorite teachers, ‘Plan for a pregnancy to end the moment it starts. The mother will be much more eager for it than you.'
“Ah, yes. I won’t hold you up, I’m sure you’ve got plenty going on up there, but everyone on the team will be getting the good news sometime today,” Doctor Shiplan tapped his console again, removing the splitscreen on Emily’s end.
“Thank you, Doctor,” Emily nodded.
Doctor Shiplan offered one last smile, reminding her, “Get your part of the completed case study to me by the end of the month. If you have anything else for the family get that to me as well. You have until our patients are discharged to request additional sample analysis or test results.”
As the screen went dark Emily sank so far into her chair that she began to slide out of it. She hovered there for a moment, letting her neck stretch out as far as it could. A beep at the door signaled someone requesting entry.
“Come in,” Emily called, sitting back up.
“Doctor, your presence is requested in sick--” one of the lab techs spoke through the speaker, and Emily was already on her feet.
“Alright,” she replied as the door’s opening swish cut off the end of the young man’s sentence.
“Good news?” Lilly chimed up to ask hopefully from her station where she stood processing samples through a machine.
Emily paused her walk towards the door and looked around at all of the people in the room. Per Lilly’s prompting they had all paused to look at her, and she felt somewhat on the spot. She could feel it in her bones, though, these people needed some good news.
“Oh, a, uh… a baby boy was born in San Francisco today,” she began. She felt a gentle wash of emotions as her lab techs began to feel wonder and hope and she was emboldened to grandstand just a bit, “With genes from five different Federation species. Which was.. a challenge, there were over fifteen Doctors working on this case. He was premature, but he’s doing well.”
Everyone smiled to themselves, and Emily tilted her head thoughtfully, “Lilly, do you remember when I had you analyze all those blood samples from the cargo drop for me?”
“Oh, like… six months ago? I do, actually,” Lilly tapped her chin.
“And Ethan,” Emily mused, “You double-checked my math on my second immune factor report, you remember that?”
“Of course,” Ethan grinned.
“Well… I know our work is hard sometimes, especially on days like today,” Emily swallowed, feeling every inch of the emotional rollercoaster she was taking her subordinates on rattle down her spine, “But we are both the first and last lines of defence for life. We invent new ways to save lives, and the people we have to bury fight so that we can keep that up.”
“What’s his name?” Lilly wondered aloud, breaking a brief but heavy silence.
“You know, I didn’t check what they picked, but I heard they were planning on Xin,” Emily chuckled. She couldn’t help but smile, feeling the renewed vigor of the techs as they drank in the sweet hope that new life brings. She bobbed her head, turning to head out the door towards sickbay, “Good work, everyone.”
Re: MED Lieutenant JG Emily Acacia
Posted: Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:55 am
From the dark imagery of the opening paragraph to Emily's summation at the end of why they do what they do, this log is a rollercoaster much like she took the techs on. Fantastic!
Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:09 pm
Doctor Acacia found herself scrutinizing her every movement far more than she normally would. She’d never had much cause in her life for lying or hiding anything, so it definitely wasn’t one of her strengths. Despite not actually doing anything wrong, she felt like everyone she passed in the hallway on the way to the holodeck was looking right through her, a heavy and perhaps mildly suspicious burlap bag slung over her shoulder.
She was relieved the moment the doors swished shut. She quickly locked the door behind herself, then paused a moment as she forgot what the program was named, this one not being one of her own. Something with the same letter...
“Acacia.. fake farm,” she decided, and computer bleeped in reply. The ground and sky of Iowa materialized around her, her childhood home just ahead. She made her way around to the back of the house, unzipping her uniform jacket as she walked, and found herself once again glad that her sister had included the workshop in her simulated recreation.
Between the house and the nearest patch of woods was a concrete slab on which the open-air workshop sat, complete with a hefty furnace that took up a quarter of the slab.
The doctor stepped up onto the concrete, letting her bag of supplies fall onto the scuffed-up wooden table with a metallic thud. She slid off her jacket and discarded it next, quickly double-checked with the computer that the door was locked, then put on some country music and put up her hair.
She described a template to the computer, two types of beads. One would hold half-pearls and both would be carved to look like waves. The computer produced holographic beads made from wood and the Doctor sat with a dremel perfecting the angles of the metal waves, smoothing out the sides and getting it to the right thickness.
“Computer…” Emily wondered aloud, wanting to curse herself for not having thought to ask Wright, but also suspecting it might be in the database, “Do you know the Captain’s wrist measurement?” Of course, it did. She measured her wooden beads, did a bit of math, then shortened the non-pearl-holding one a bit.
With the beads done she set up a wooden frame and began tamping loose clay into it with a piece of 1x4. She set the beads in the middle, then used a thin rod to poke pour holes through the mold. She put the top half of the frame on, and repeated the process by tamping more clay down over the beads.
She flipped the apparatus over and told the computer to teleport out the wooden beads, gleefully retrieving the chunk of pure silver from her bag and tossing it in the firing bucket.
Fortunately the holo-furnace was always going so she didn’t have to wait for it to heat up like the real thing. She stuck the silver right into the furnace rack, wielding long metal tongs and industrial oven mitts.
While waiting on that the Doctor took a seat at the table to retrieve the other real item from the bag she’d brought with her, a satin pouch full of precious nacre pearls from a ‘particular’ Risan beach, or so she was told. She carefully laid them out, thinking aloud, “I’m gonna have to cut these in half..”
As she was trying to think of what to use, she wondered, “Computer, can you do that?” It replied with a beep, and the pearls flickered before reappearing in halves. How... unsettling. Humbling, maybe. Definitely convenient. It was hard not to imagine what it would look like if the computer bisected a person that cleanly, but the Doctor managed to distract herself by switching to the next song.
She slipped back on her oversized oven-mitts, this time also donning a pair of protective dark glasses. She retrieved the bucket of molten silver with her long tongs, carefully pouring it into the clay mold with a cheerful whistle. Feeling alone, she found herself talking to her tools, and told the bucket it was doing a nice job.
After enough time had passed Emily cracked open the wooden frame of the mold, dusting away chunks of clay until she could pull out the silver beads. She examined them thoughtfully before setting them aside, then began the process again by tamping down more clay over the wooden beads. While one set of beads would cool she worked on the one before, shaving off the pour hole lines while also individualizing the choppiness of the waves on each bead.
When she had enough of the beads she sat at the work table with a note of finality, everything gathered in front of her. She took one of the beads meant to hold the pearls and carefully shaved away at the inside of the setting with the dremel until she could pop the pearl in. She pinched the wave-shaped prongs down around the pearl, careful not to mar the metal while also ensuring the pearl would never escape.
When the beads were done the Doctor pulled another item from her bag of tricks, a spool of flat silver wire. Using a wire cutter and some pliers, she made small loops to connect the beads of the bracelet together. All said and done it laid flat and was about ⅛ to ¼ inch thick, with the finished product looking a choppy silver glimpse of the ocean offering up its pearls. It clasped with a magnet, and Emily was pretty proud of it.
“Computer, create a piece of paper and a pen,” she flipped the bracelet so it sat back-up, and tapped the pen thoughtfully to her chin. She carefully wrote out, in her best calligraphy, Love ~ Alexis + Kate ~ Forever, with the date that made the pearls so ‘particular’ in a heart-symbol in the center. She had the computer project the engraving onto the metal, then carved it out by hand across the 5 center beads with a diamond-tipped pen so she could touch up her own handwriting.
Finally, she carefully set her creation in the last real item in her bag of tricks--a white satin-bottomed jewelry box. She then set the box in the bottom of her burlap craft bag which she tucked under her arm. The program faded out and metal walls reappeared. The Doctor unlocked the door, heading out to find Alexis.
Re: MED Lieutenant JG Emily Acacia
Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:21 am
Oooooooo! With replicators, gifts like this take on more significance, and the descriptions of its hand-crafting was detailed and interesting; I especially liked her telling the bucket it did a nice job. Kate's quite lucky and I have it on good authority that she'll love the bracelet!
Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:05 pm
Betazed - Past
Ten-year-old Emilaina stood up straight, her chest puffed out and her expression serious. She stared straight ahead into the jungle as her Kreshai, Marhein, took wet clay from the ceremonial silver bowl. The older Betazoid gestured widely with the mud before slicking the hair on the sides of the child’s head back, then carefully drawing a series of lines and misshapen dots down the right side of her face. It had two less dots, then.
Marhein wore a similar traditional dress to Emilaina, though hers was adorned with beads, tassels, coins, and swirling gold embroidery. Emilaina’s dress was plain by comparison, a basic green with leather belt, arm bands, and strapped sandals. Marhein, along with almost all of the women gathered, had their clay marking on the left side of their face. The men wore it on the right, as did Emily and her older sister.
Each person’s marking was different, except for her sister of course, because the symbols represented a family lineage with one’s own generation under the cheekbone. The sisters had a swirl shape to represent their human mother, but it otherwise resembled the top half of their father’s mark. Though they seldom wore them anymore except for ceremonies, it made it easy to tell at a glance how everyone was related. Averianna watched Emilaina closely, trying to suppress her worry for her sister because she knew that everyone around them could feel it too.
Every child that went through this had the benefit of having been in the jungle many times before, but Emilaina had always been a bit different. She’d been through a lot as a child, only starting to walk at six, speaking at eight, enduring countless medical procedures. However, in the two years preceding her trials, she had made a huge turnaround both physically and mentally. The elders might not have allowed the trials if she hadn’t been so insistent, but when the time came, they agreed that she was ready.
She could feel the way everyone looked at her. Worry… pity. Her jaw was set, eyes still fixed on the treeline as Marhein spoke to the gathering in their specific dialect of Betazese. Emilaina knew the prayer by heart, so she didn’t feel the need to listen. She was too focused on blocking out the feeling of the eyes on her back.
As soon as Marhein was done, Emilaina marched forwards past the treeline without ever looking back.
??? - Present
A violent rustle followed by a fearful squeal awoke the Doctor, who immediately rolled right off the branch she was on as she couldn’t feel her legs. She managed to catch another branch on the way down, at least slowing herself enough that she didn’t break anything when she hit the ground. She rolled onto her back to allow her momentum to dissipate, blinking rapidly until her head stopped spinning.
“Fuck,” she breathed out, brow furrowing as she saw the word tumble from her mouth in a cloud of vapor. She felt a tired, prickling fog poke menacingly at her consciousness and groaned, forcing herself to get up and move and flex her slightly greyed hands and feet. She peeled off the two leaves of her camouflage that weren’t dispatched in the fall and retrieved the spear before making quick work of the poor animal caught in her trap. She decided to leave the trap where it was for now and rushed back to the fire, finding Grey peacefully asleep and smiling to herself. She added more wood, curling as close to the fire as she could manage.
She hugged her knees to her chest, closing her eyes and soaking in the warmth.
Betazed - Past
Emilaina quickly filled the small leather pouch hung from her belt with alo nuts and drakberries, already knowing where all the best spots were from years of pie-making. She also knew to visit a nearby cave with a prominent vein of flint to grab a firestarter and of course to find the rock that would be her knife.
She settled near the mouth of the cave at the base of the upper cliffs, somewhere she’d camped with her family before. She picked through piles of chips of deep black volcanic glass, collecting about a dozen arrowhead sized chunks, and a few knife sized chunks. As she sat by her fire on the first night carefully carving a slit into the small stick she’d selected as a knife handle, she was stopped by the sudden sensation of a familiar presence.
“What are you doing here?” Emilaina sounded a bit more accusatory than she’d meant to. The shadow stopped at the tree line, hesitant.
“Still awake?” Averianna asked meekly.
“You shouldn’t be here,” Emilaina pressed, examining her.
“Until you fall asleep, yes,” Averianna admitted. A long silence followed before Emilaina gave in and waved her sister over to sit by the fire.
“Don’t help me,” Emilaina mumbled gravely, continuing work on her rudimentary tools.
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” her sister smirked.
Emilaina offered her sister a handful of drakberries but the older girl shook her head, having collected some of her own on the way. Averianna wanted to make small talk, but she also knew she shouldn’t. She watched her sister shift and begin shaping the obsidian arrowheads by carefully chipping them with a harder stone, unable to help a small smile. Emilaina had come a long way--it was nice enough to see her walking, feeling the fire of her childish defiance and determination was really refreshing.
Emilaina wanted to talk just as much. She wondered how many arrows her sister had made, but that would be the last question she could to ask. The night drew on and Emilaina finished her knife, admiring it in the flickering firelight. When she finally dozed off, her elder sister left behind a few ceremonial trinkets before spiriting away in the night.
??? - Present
The Doctor finally stopped shivering, occasionally prodding the fire with a long stick to get the flames to lap in her general direction. She slowly uncurled herself, shifting to sit on her knees. She gathered up the pile of bones from the fish they’d had for lunch and found another, longer rock she could sharpen a bit by chipping it. Once it was sharp enough to work she sighed, setting the bones and the more freshly killed animal in front of herself.
The prayer normally began in the old tongue, “We who live of this land,” but that wasn’t quite right now, was it? This certainly wasn’t her summer home, but that did nothing to negate the need to hunt. She thought it over, amending the prayer and substituting Betazoid words for the ones she didn’t know in the tribal dialect.
“We who live, though pained as we are to take life, thank you for the sacrifice of your energy. We live on in your memory, to continue the role of life in this great universe,” she mumbled reverently to the backdrop of crackling fire.
She turned, scooting a couple feet to the base of one of the trees holding up her leaf-tarp (somewhat disappointing compared to one made of delkai leaves, but keeping the fire going nevertheless) and dug a shallow hole with her hand, sliding in the pile of fish bones before covering them back over with dirt. She drew a symbol in the dirt, a double swirl with a line through it somewhat like a treble clef.
The Doctor then turned the sharpened rock on the rabbit-like creature, cutting it first from chin to tail before sitting by the fire and taking her time removing the creature’s pelt. She carefully cut skin from muscle, finding herself uncomfortably reminiscing on doing something similar to her crewmates.
She held up what came off in one piece, about the size of a bandanna. She smiled, shaking her head and doing a bit of math--she’d probably have to kill at least ten to get something big enough to use as a blanket, and that would take some time. Time, of course, a part of her was hoping she didn’t have. She hung the pelt from a branch close enough to the fire to dry as she set about butchering the rest of the animal.
Meat she hung over the fire to cook, and the bones and inedible guts she buried.
Betazed - Past
Emilaina felt the strain as her fingers trembled, nearly losing their grip on the steep final incline of Malhari. She could feel her heart pounding with nerves and excitement, her breath ragged. It had taken almost a week to get here alone, but there had been no one to discourage her. No one to pity her. She’d only seen the Meeting Place in pictures, and they were little more than abstracted murals decorating the homes of her neighbors. Now, here it was… inches away.
With a groan and heave the girl pulled herself up onto the lip of the crater, her breath taken by what she saw. Totems of every colored gem the island could produce snaked up the golden steps to the Meeting Place, a tiered temple with a round, ancient wooden table seating seven at the center. It sat in the middle of the crater of the long-dormant volcano, just as it had for thousands of years. The gold was so plentiful and so old that the steps almost resembled greyed stone in places, though the swirling lines of marks and writing snaking all the way up had been more recently polished.
As the girl slid down and disappeared into the crater Marhein stepped out of the treeline, crossing her arms, smirking, and waiting. Emilaina landed at the bottom of the slope, panting with excitement. She ran up to the totem of the Mortani. gently running her hands along the side to find the seam. She pulled the pins, carefully opening the face of the crystal totem to remove the ceremonial bow held inside.
She knelt before the Akosai altar, running a hand over the writing and stones circling her feet. Some of it she could read, some was too obscured or too thick in the old dialect. The phrase, ‘craftsmen of glass and metal’ elicited a small smirk from her. She set down her bundle of arrows and the wad of miki wax she’d collected, carefully rolling the arrowheads in the wax to coat them. She took her flint to the brasier in front of her, sparking to light it.
Emilaina took a deep breath, nocking an arrow and slowly, deliberately letting it light in the flame of the brazier. She sharply angled upward, shooting at the canopy over the Meeting Place, aiming for the spot facing her. Of course, shooting a real flaming arrow for the first time is a great way to make yourself miss. The first one sailed clean over the canopy, landing on the far side of the altar to putter out. She yelped, shaking her hand where it had gotten too close to the flame.
On the fourth shot she hit the canopy, but it bounced right off. Then, as she loosed her fifth arrow, she felt a strange pang hit her. A light haze washed over the sky following her arrow as it embedded itself in the canopy. Emilaina looked right, and saw a hazy figure holding a bow stood at the altar to her right. To her left, another, then all the way around until all seven places were occupied. The altar flickered, each shadowy figure shooting off an arrow as well, each hitting the canopy in quick succession.
As soon as it had come the vision faded, interrupted by the fwoosh of fire snaking first up to light the beacon atop the canopy, then snaking back down to light up the tops of the crystal totems. There was a second brief flicker, and Emilaina could swear she saw people sitting at the Meeting Place, lit by the flames from around the altar.
This time she was brought out of her vision by a raucous cheer. She spun on her feet, looking up to see the women who had trained her, Marhein, Altorra.. then others of the tribe and, of course, her father and sister climbing up to stand on the peak of Malhari’s crater. They began sliding down to meet her one by one, pulling Emilaina into a huge group hug. Marhein had a handful of mud, and she added another dot to Emilaina’s face marking, then did the same to Averianna. Emilaina felt her heart glowing, ready to burst.
??? - Present
Emilaina awoke suddenly as a chill ran up her body, happy tears still in her eyes from her dream. Even so many years later, that memory was quite vivid. She looked around, took a deep breath, and reminded herself… it’s just the woods. She quickly glanced at Grey--yup, she was still there. Emilaina added more wood to the dwindling fire, hoping she could chalk up her reminiscing up to stress, but also finding some comfort in it.