It was a blur.
Doug was well-trained for emergencies, but this was the first time he'd ever been so truly emotionally invested. Not even the first time Susan had had a blackout had he felt this.
So he had no idea how he'd had the presence of mind to pull boxers on, wrap Lili in the top sheet, throw the blanket over her and even open her communicator and scream for Phlox. He barely remembered picking her up, holding her limp body and running in the hallway to Sick Bay.
He was somehow sitting on one of Phlox's stools, next to some experiment or another, while a bat squealed occasionally in a nearby cage and Phlox was behind a sheet with Lili and all Doug could do was sit there and stare at the floor and repeat to himself, over and over again, "That's never happened before. That's never happened before. That's never happened before
." And on and on and on and on, again and again, the same four-word mantra.
Phlox finally came out from behind the sheet. "Doc?" Doug asked weakly, looking up.
"She is stable for the moment. But I will have to perform microsurgery, and I will have to do it soon. All of her inferior and superior vessicles are shredded. There's no other way to describe what I'm seeing. These are, these are the blood vessels in the pelvis, just past the uterus."
"But you can, you can, she's, uh ...?"
"There are no guarantees, Phlox said, Her chance of survival is not good. She is in shock."
Doug stared into space, starting the mantra all over again.
Phlox ignored him and opened his communicator. "Phlox to the Captain. Yes, Captain. Major, uh, Lieutenant Commander Hayes is here at Sick Bay. He should be confined to quarters, at the very least."
"What's going on?" Jonathan asked.
"He has critically injured Ensign O'Day. She may not survive. It is, it is my understanding that, if she were not to survive, that you would need to get him to the nearest Starbase to face charges."
"I'm on my way with a security team. Archer out."
Doug kept repeating the mantra.
"Look, Hayes," Phlox said, I don't give a damn whether it was intended." This got Doug to stop, and he looked up and listened. "And it doesn't matter anyway, not so much, not with second or third degree homicide."
"Yes. If she dies, you will be thrown into the Brig and we will detour in order to bring you to justice, Zoph."
"Uh, Hayes. Do you do you know what I found? I mean really, really
found?" Phlox's voice was rising and a vein was standing out on his neck.
Doug shook his head silently, feeling sick.
"It's not just the vessicles, Phlox explained. "There is blood on both sides of her mouth. Her throat is rubbed raw."
"Throat? We didn't, uh, oh, never mind, Doug interjected.
"Yes, her throat. And I found fluid where it's not supposed to go, farther back in the abdominal cavity than a human woman's body can allow. There's blood on your shorts, there's blood under your fingernails, Doug looked in both places. It was true. "I don't know what, what you do, although I can guess, how you, you get your pleasure. But you have wrung her out like a rag."
"No. You will listen. Human women aren't shaped that way. Neither are Denobulan women, or Andorian women, or Vulcan women. Klingon women are. You could, you should just take up with a Klingon woman. She would be better shaped to, to accommodate you. This is assuming that you ever get out of custody."
"Gawd. That never happened on, on the other side of the pond."
?! That's all quaint and cute but it was no pond that you crossed! It wasn't just some hop, skip and jump to a new playground. You crossed a barrier. It was supposed to be a significant barrier. There was a reason it existed, and breaching it wasn't easy for a reason. You and her are barely the same species. It is all out of proportion. These, the species, they should not be mixing this way. I don't, I don't see it as being possible or being at all worth it."
"You're Denobulan, doc!" Doug said, It's the planet where everyone's on the make. Where there's love and sex everywhere. It's one huge party."
"Yes. But we don't go around harming the ones we love. I mean, is it a thrill for you? Does a snapping bone get you excited? Do screams of pain make you climax?"
"Doctor," Doug said, rising and finding his voice a little, "I know that many years ago, humans didn't see it as being worth it to mix races. I mean, it was about twenty years ago, I would walk around the streets of Titania with Susan, my girl at the time. And people still stared. But most of them didn't. Most of them were okay with seeing a couple where the races were mixed. And, and I think it's going to be that way with species, too. Maybe not right now, but some time. This is going to come up again. We're not the first, and we won't be the last."
"Then if this procedure works, I will name it after you."
"Me? I don't need that kind of glory."
"I'm not speaking of glory, Zoph. Uh, Hayes. It is to serve as a warning to all human females, and Denobulans, and Andorians and Vulcans and Xindi sloth women and Orion women and any others who might benefit, to, to warn them away. From you."
Doug balled his fists and then closed his eyes. Bad idea. Bad idea, he thought to himself. "Mark of Cain?"
Dr. Phlox didn't get a chance to answer as Captain Archer came in with Deb Haddon and Chip Masterson.
"What's the news?" Jonathan asked.
"I will have to perform extensive microsurgery, Phlox explained. "And survival is far from guaranteed. I cannot have this man in here. I need to concentrate."
"Understood. Doctor, go do what you need to. We will get Hayes back to his, uh, her quarters, Jonathan said. Dr. Phlox left.
Jonathan sat down on a stool. "Hayes, sit."
"Yes, sir, Doug said softly, sitting.
"We'll probably have to explain your rights to you, if, if, well, I hope it doesn't come to that, Jonathan said, Let's, uh, let's try to think positively."
"Yes. Think about what will happen if when she recovers. When
"Sir, I've made up my mind. If she recovers, I'd like permission to, to leave Starfleet. And just, just get on one of these ships and leave."
"With the Ensign?"
"No. Just me, Doug said.
"I hate the fact that he'll have a cast on his arm." The Empress complained.
"Well, I agree that it doesn't look good, but the child does have a broken wrist. It was a lot easier for you to take MacKenzie falling on you than for Jun to take it, said Dr. Morgan.
"Still. Well, and these cuts I've got. There won't be any permanent scarring?" she asked, looking at her cut face in a small hand mirror.
"I don't believe so, Empress."
Masterson came in, holding something small. "Empress, we have some more findings from the investigation."
"Oh?" Hoshi asked.
He presented the item to her. "D. Hayes." she read off a piece of cloth. "So he's our bomber. Did you find his DNA at the site?"
"On what was left of the uni, yes. Still no sign of Tucker and Cutler, but we have evidence that the transporter was run at least once."
"Keep checking. I don't think we'll head to the surface to look for them. This ship needs repairs, not a wild goose chase, not even for a competent Engineer, Hoshi said.
"Yes, Empress, said Masterson.
"Oh, and Masterson?"
"You're promoted to run Tactical."
"Uh, thank you, Empress, but won't MacKenzie hate that? He's in line before me."
"I have other things in mind for him, she said, Dismissed."
"I came as soon as I heard." It was Jenny. "How is she?"
"Not so good, Doug said.
She put her hand on his. "It's, Phlox will do whatever he can."
"Look, can you stay with her?" he asked. "I, uh, I'm being confined to quarters."
She nodded. "Captain, Commander Tucker knows I'm here."
"Okay, Jonathan said, Come along, Hayes."
"Why should I listen to anything you say?" Treve asked the ruddy Baden.
"I don't suppose I have much credibility with you or anyone else on this side. Still, it's time, I think. On the other side, the system is weak and, and, well, your mother's counterpart is dead. I gave the injection of tricoulamine. I should be held accountable. And, and Polloria. It was, it was her idea. She is here. Your authorities need to find her."
"So you're turning yourself in?" asked Treve.
"Yes. I can no longer live with this. That is why, that is why I am here, on this side. But she, she's here because she doesn't want anyone to hold her, ever. If she can't be in control on our side, she'll try to be on yours, and become the High Priestess here."
"We don't well, the government is still debating it. We might scrap the whole idea of a High Priestess altogether." Treve explained.
"Still, your mother remains the High Priestess for now?" Baden asked. Treve nodded. Baden continued. "I don't imagine your mother is safe."
"My mother is still comatose."
"Doesn't matter, said Baden. "Polloria will make sure that your Yipran, on this side, is dead, too."
Doug was back in Lili's quarters. He grabbed the stained bottom sheet and threw it into the laundry. And then got into the shower, bloodied boxers and all, and started sobbing.
Lili saw a familiar face. "Treve?"
"Yes, he said, coming closer, coppery arms exposed. "It is agreeable to see you again."
"I don't know if I'm asleep. I guess I am."
"You must be."
"I spoke with your counterpart."
"And he said," Lili stated, "that your, er, his, mother is improving. He also said he knew that your criminals had escaped over here."
"Well, I wouldn't exactly call it an escape, Treve said, My sister is in charge of things now. You remember her, yes? She's just not strong enough, so nothing was really done and there were no real consequences for Polloria and Baden."
"So why would they come here?"
"For Polloria, since she's not the High Priestess here, I imagine she will try to fulfill that role there. As for Baden, he's a weasel and probably followed her to be a part of all that."
"Treve, er, the other Treve, he said their counterparts were in custody on his side. I don't think they're going to be able to do what they're planning."
"I don't know, said the ruddy Treve. "Our people are filing back and forth every night, it seems, and I don't believe that kind of exchange will end soon, if ever. Anyone can move freely, or somewhat freely. It's not exactly chaotic but it is throwing our society into a bit of a tizzy. Details are going to be forgotten or glossed over, and a little matter of confining a criminal just might not happen. I am thinking that that is a part of Polloria's strategy to continue to sow this kind of discomfort until it morphs into out and out chaos."
"I hope it's not too chaotic, Lili said, I'm thinking of retiring from Starfleet and settling here."
"Oh, Treve said, How very interesting. And it does," he smiled, "make this idea I've had kicking about a bit, it's making that idea all the more plausible."
"Oh, yes. Would you consent to be my nighttime lover?"
Doug got dressed again, sat in Lili's quarters and pulled out her PADD. There was a file he hadn't noticed before. He opened it. It read:
I'd like for you to know exactly what you're getting yourself into. These are links and passwords to every financial account I've got.
He peeked at her finances. She had had a modest salary but had saved most of it. There were few big trips and no extravagances or expensive luxuries. And no gifts for anyone for years. "I think you need to be more aggressive with your investments, he said softly. "Assuming you'll be able to actually enjoy them."
The door chimed.
"Uh, come in."
It was Malcolm. "Hayes, I don't know very much about what happened as that is to protect the Ensign's privacy. But I want you to know that, if it ends badly, you won't be around long enough to get to the Brig. I'll do it myself."
"Reed, look, you don't wanna do that."
"No?" Malcolm's voice was rising.
"No. You don't want to become a killer of men. Not for this, Doug was surprisingly calm.
"Don't be so sure. And don't try to get out of it."'
"Reed, man, I gotta tell ya."
"Tell me what?" Malcolm was livid.
"Tell you that I won't stay with her. That this is enough, it's, it's more than enough. I can't do this to her again."
"So you would abandon her if she could no longer give you what you, what you wanted? You're despicable."
"No, no. It's that, she's a very passionate woman. I wouldn't want her to be obligated, if we could, could no longer, you know. I would, I would set her free. I mean, you're sweet on her."
"I ? Hayes, it's not that."
"No. It is. She said she thought you were hitting on her."
"It was," Malcolm was considerably calmer, "it was that I finally noticed her."
"Noticed? How could you not notice her?"
"It's that," Malcolm sat down in Jennifer's desk chair, "it's that women in love are just, they're so much more beautiful."
"They're even more beautiful when it's you they're in love with."
"I, I wouldn't know."
"Oh, c'mon, Malcolm."
"No. I don't." Reed admitted. "But you did not see what we did, at luncheon today. The way she looked at you. And, I have to admit, the way you look at her. I, I know that, that whatever this all is, that you, at least I don't think, that it all went very pear-shaped but that you didn't mean to harm her."
"I didn't. Gawd, there's nothing I wanted less than that, Doug ran his fingers through his hair and looked down.
"I can, I think I can see that. But leaving her? Surely that would be another horrible blow to her."
"How can I stay?" Doug asked. "I don't want that part of her life to suddenly be switched off. And to not be able to really touch her. My God, that would be torture."
"You'll see what, what the doctor says, Malcolm said.
"He's about as angry with me as you are."
Lili laughed. "Treve! I am a lot older than you probably think. And you have Jennifer. And I'm, I can tell I'm badly hurt."
"Well, being hurt does not matter. This is a dream. You can fly and sing and make love all you like. And, huh, your age. Jennifer is older than I am and that part's all right."
"You're being ridiculous. I'm just not wired that way. And I don't think she is, either." she inadvertently touched his hand, and there was a small spark. "Huh, that's odd. I wonder what it means."
"That happens all the time with contact from one side to the other. No real meaning."
"Even so," she said, "I am not looking for anyone. We humans just aren't wired this way. And how can you be thinking of betraying Jennifer like this?"
"Betraying? Oh, dear, is that what you humans think our nighttime relations are?"
"Well, no. We all know about it, and we all do it. And we do it in order to keep our daylight relationships together. You see, the nighttime one that person is subordinate. And they know they are. They aren't jealous; it's simply the nature of things. So they act as supporters, helpers, champions, if you will, of the main daylight relationship. You would, I would come to you if I had problems with Jennifer, get your advice and the like. You'd come to me with your issues with your man, whatever they were. Of course, there would be times when we would be doing far more than simply talking. But I think that, since I am with a human woman, it would be most beneficial for me to get this, this advice," he looked her up and down, "from a human woman such as yourself. And, I have to admit, I enjoy her attentions so I do wonder about whether other human woman are similarly, uh, gifted."
"Treve. I, I'm flattered. But my conscience, it just doesn't bend that way. I would consider it to be disloyalty. And I think, I heard the doctor say I may be, I may be dying. Or I may not recover much. Or not able to, to be with Doug again. Not that way."
"Not have physical relations?" Treve asked. Lili nodded. "Well," he said, "surely there must be some way for things to be repaired and improved."
"But nothing. Your doctor exists to serve you. If there's anything I know of Baden, it's that he lived to serve, although not for the best of motives from the best of masters. Still, cannot you speak with your doctor about somehow, I don't know, altering you? Making it possible?"
"I don't know. I think right now the plan is to make sure I live at all."
"Very well, Treve said, You may find the idea of a lover in the night to be very attractive yet."
"You're still trying. Please, uh, stop trying. I can't think of that right now."
"My apologies. I do, ah, yes. I believe you may be pulling toward wakefulness now. Let me know if you change your mind."
"Come with me, Malcolm said.
"I'm supposed to be confined to quarters."
"I know. I can override that so long as I escort you." he opened the door. "Haddon, Masterson, you come with us."
He took Doug back to Sick Bay, where Jennifer was still waiting.
"Doctor," Malcolm said, "we will stay out of your way. And if things go very wrong, we will of course escort Lieutenant Hayes to the Brig. But right now, his place is here."
"Your timing is impeccable, Phlox said, I finished up about an hour ago. She should be coming out of the anesthesia soon."