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Fic: Observations, Ch 215
Star Trek
anon_j_anon

Jim, along with several members of the Security Department, organized a game of wheelchair basketball.  The game became something of an Enterprise event, as several crewmembers watched the match in the gymnasium, picking the winner between Sulu’s and Lt. Condor’s teams.  Sulu and some of the officers in security had a clear advantage over others, as they had practice using the manual wheelchairs.  The game was far from professional—crewmembers fell out of their chairs, could not properly control the speed, tired easily, and dropped the ball on several occasions.  The game was also rather violent.  They crashed into each other, elbowed each other—Leonard later complained that he had more injuries from the game than from any single away mission.  Pavel named himself the referee and he handed out penalties left and right to crewmembers who mistakenly used their legs to propel themselves or stood to their feet in the chair.  It was rather amusing to see him blow the whistle so often and get into heated arguments, half in Standard and half in Russian, with the players.

By the end of the game, everyone was tired but in high spirits, particularly Sulu.  I watched as Jim wheeled himself over to Sulu and they exchanged a series of high-fives.  The security officers followed suit and gathered around the two of them, proceeding to cheer and chant “Sulu, Sulu, Sulu.”  From behind, the crowd parted, allowing Lt. Condor and Pavel to dump a cooler of ice cold water on them both.

Leonard and Christine report that Sulu is making great progress in physical therapy, though he still must undergo several follow up surgeries.  It takes an immense toll on him—there are times when Sulu is constantly in pain.  Regaining sensation and control of his limbs is by no means a straightforward endeavor.  When I visit to read with him, Sulu is sometimes silent, emotionally and physically drained.  Christine assures us that such extremes of emotional highs and lows are normal.  He is often frustrated with the slow rate at which he is recovering and angry at the lack of control he has over some of his most basic bodily functions.  The constant need to monitor himself and pay attention to his condition is something new.  Sulu is much more used to pushing his body to the limit than holding back and making fine adjustments.

“He needed that,” Jim said, emerging from the fresher and drying his hair with a towel.  His hair stuck up every which way.  “You should play with us next time.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“You might like it.”

“I have been preoccupied modifying certain parts of the Enterprise to more easily accommodate Sulu’s hoverchair.”

“Have you heard from Areel or Number One about the legal issues with that?”

“Given that half of Engineer Scott’s modifications to the ship’s engines are explicitly prohibited by Federation and Starfleet regulation, I am not particularly worried about the legality of these changes we are introducing now.”

Jim laughed.

“How’s the crew feeling?  Did you talk to Scotty and Nyota?”

“The additional engineering projects have kept Scotty preoccupied.  He has been very enthusiastic to help Sulu in every way possible and I believe that actively participating in Sulu’s recovery, contributing his unique skill set has accelerated his own recovery.  Nyota has told me that he is now able to sleep five to six hours, though the nightmares have not decreased in frequency.”

Jim nodded.

“And Nyota?”

“She is tired.”

“Yeah, I noticed that too.  We should give her some time on light duty.”

“I am not certain if she will comply with our orders, Jim.  Now that Sulu has been injured, she feels she must do more to make up for the loss.”

“What?  She doesn’t need to do that.”

“It is her emotional reaction.  We did make them our second officers.”

“Okay.  I’ll keep that in mind.  Tell me if you think she’s overworking herself.  Must be hell with Scotty still having nightmares.”

“I have asked Leonard to monitor her condition also.”

“Good idea.  I think Bones is the happiest of all of us right now.  No idea why.”

“He is practicing his craft.  Sulu may be frustrated with what he believes to be an extremely slow rate of progress, but Leonard is, I have on good authority, elated by the ‘leaps and bounds’ Sulu is making.  I cannot go to Sickbay without being subjected to one of his odes to the marvels of the body.”

“Figures,” Jim smiled.  “Which reminds me, I need to tell him to give Chris a break.  She’s been working round the clock with all of us—me, Nyota, Scotty, now Sulu.”

“I would not worry, Jim.  Christine has always been able to balance the stresses of the job fairly well.”

“I guess so.  You know I asked her once, how she’s always so cool?”

“What did she answer?”

“Yoga.  She does yoga with a group in the gym.  When things get really bad, she said she does it on the Observation Deck.”

“Fascinating.”

“We all figure out ways to deal,” Jim nodded, then paused.  “I have no idea what to do with Chekov.”

“I am not certain that he knows what to do with himself either.”

“Every time he’s on the bridge, he’s got so much energy it makes me twitch.”

“Perhaps it would help to expand his responsibilities.”

“Maybe.  But it’s weird.  He’s usually so chill about everything.”

“I believe something broke during the Redjac situation.”

“Because of Scotty?”

“Because of you.  You almost died, Jim.”

A pause.

“But I’ve almost died before.”

“Jim.”

He looked at me.  I do not know what expression was on my face, but he immediately raised two fingers.  I met them.

“Sorry.  Wasn’t thinking.”

“I am not sure that we will discover a specific reason as to why Pavel has reacted in this manner.  There is rarely ever one reason why a person changes at a particular time, and I have no doubt that if he had a choice, he would choose not to act this way at all.”

“Basically, play it by ear.  I can do that,” he grinned.  “Shit, I almost forgot.  Areel said that HQ’s finally done looking over the files about Argelius.”

“And?”

“It took her a lot of arguing and wrangling, but they’re not going to do a formal retrial.  It’s going to go down on Scotty’s file, but you need pretty high clearance to look at it.  And he owes the Academy a few years teaching engineering.”

Considering the circumstances, that is a remarkable outcome.

“She says we owe her a huge favor,” Jim gave me a significant look.

“You are going to tell me that you’ve agreed to do something ridiculous.”

“Hey, I was cornered into this.  Areel and Number One both pulled me into this.  We owe her a ton of favors too, letting us keep Sulu on the ship.”

“Your prevarication indicates that you have volunteered me for this ridiculous endeavor also.”

A pause.

“You know that recruiting ad for Starfleet the Admiralty wanted to make?”

--

“Goddamnit, I’m a doctor, not a clown!  Get that brush away from me,” Leonard fumed at the makeup artist.  “Jim, I don’t understand why the hell I’m getting involved in this!”

“The polls are clear, Bones,” Jim winked.  “The ladies love you.”

“When did I become the ‘sexiest man in medicine’?”

“It’s the scowl, Len,” Christine laughed.  She took the brush from the harried makeup artist.  “Now stand still and let me do this or you’ll look washed out under the lights.”

“All right people, any questions?  Everyone clear on what we’re doing?”

“No,” Leonard grumbled, pulling at his dress uniform.

“Just to repeat, we’re going to film you saying these lines—you don’t need to memorize them, they’ll be prompted to you.  And we’ve set up a few photoshoot locations for afterwards.”

“Question,” Nyota said.

“Yes, Lt. Uhura?”

“You never told us what kind of look you’re going for.”

“Standard patriotic stuff, obviously.  With an edge.”

“An edge?”

--

“Commander, could you step closer to the captain—yeah.  That’s good.  Perfect.  Look like you’re in the middle of a crisis.”

We were on the bridge, personnel surrounding us.  The photographer’s camera began clicking.

“Commander, could you try and look more serious?  You’re coming off as kind of skeptical right now.  Think thoughts about the Doomsday Machine.  Or Nero.”

Jim glanced at me.

“No—you’ve totally closed off your face now.  I need intensity.”

“Hold on a sec,” Jim told the photographer.  “Let me talk to him.”

I looked at him.

“I know you think this is illogical, but it’s not for a bad cause,” he said, voice quiet.  “We need more recruits, and you know that.”

“These recruitment videos misrepresent the reality of service aboard a starship.  They manipulate the emotions and perceptions of the viewer to induce them to volunteer.”

“And they can leave any time they want at the Academy.  It’s not like they’re signing their life away, Spock.  Recruitment videos up the number of applicants to Starfleet so that we get the best possible cadets.”

I looked at him.

“There was a time when I found your use of logic attractive.”

“What, it’s not anymore?”

“Not when I find myself losing arguments with increasing frequency.”  I pitched my voice low.  “You could convince me to do anything.”

Jim exerted visible effort not to react to my words.

“Photographers, Spock.”

“They have already been recording our interaction.  I believe you succeeded in making me look sufficiently ‘intense’ and ‘serious’.”

“Yeah?”

And radiating off him is desire.

“Yes.”

“Well, it’s a two way street.”  I can do anything, as long as you’re with me.  You know that.

I nodded.

We stepped away from each other.

“Was that good enough?”

 “Great!  Wonderful shots!  Now let’s head to the transporter room for some more filming there.”

--

“Areel’s got a nephew who’s got leukemia.  She wondered if we could all record a message and send it to him.  His name’s Trayin.  She said he wants to be a pilot on the Enterprise.”

“Of course!” Christine replied.

“Okay.  I guess I’ll go first.”

Jim pressed the record button.

“Hey Trayin—this is Captain Kirk on the USS Enterprise.  I’ve got my whole crew here and we wanted to say we hope you get well soon, buddy.  I’m saving a seat right here on the Enterprise for you.”

Jim motioned for me to come to the forefront.  I held up the ta’al.

“Trayin, this is Commander Spock speaking.  I wish you a speedy recovery and as Captain Kirk said, I look forward to the day when you will be able to join us on the Enterprise.  Live long and prosper.”

“Hey kiddo!  I’m Sulu, helmsman for Captain Kirk and Commander Spock.  Hang in there—I know it’s not easy being sick all the time.  But you can do anything you want, Trayin.  Just ask my pal Chekov here—”

Privyet, Trayin.  I hope you get well soon and become a pilot soon.  The Enterprise is a wery good ship—we will take care of you.”

“So hang in there!  Sulu out.”

“Chekov out.”

“Trayin, I’m Montgomery Scott, but everyone here calls me Scotty.  I hope you feel better soon, lad.”

“Hi Trayin.  This is Lt. Nyota Uhura, communications officer for the Enterprise speaking.  Areel told us you want to be a pilot—you should go into communications instead—it’s better”

“Hey!  Yota!  Stop trying to convert him!”

“Don’t listen to anything she says, Trayin.  Engineering’s the best department.”

She laughed.

“I hope you get well soon, Trayin.  We’d love to have you on board.”

“Hey sweetie, I’m Nurse Christine Chapel.”

“And I’m Dr. Leonard McCoy.”

“Leukemia’s not an easy thing to go through—you must be a very brave person, Trayin.  Get well soon, take care of yourself, and I hope someday you can be a pilot on the Enterprise.”

“But make sure you stop and smell the roses along the way.  You’ve got plenty of time and lots of potential, Trayin.  More than anything, we want you to live life to the fullest.  You’re strong—I’ve got no doubt about that.  Get well soon, kiddo.”

Jim stepped to the forefront again.

“Get well soon, Trayin, and good luck from all of us.  You’ll be an awesome pilot.  And if you change your mind about wanting to be a pilot, that’s cool too.  Just do what you love, and love what you do.”

 



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My thoughts and reactions are all over the place.

Overall, an interesting examination of what helps to heal --

Also, I enjoyed the slight diversion about the recruitment ads. I am very interested in such ads, so liked this particularly.


You need to stop making me cry. That last set of messages got me all choked up and completely undid the amusement factor of Jim making Spock look "intense."

*sniff*

“You know that recruiting ad for Starfleet the Admiralty wanted to make?”

Oh noooo! *gleeful*

You know I've often thought this while reading Observations, but I don't think I've mentioned it before, but a lot of this slice of life stuff, the more real side of things, reminds me an awful lot of Babylon 5 and why I loved that show so much. I've never seen it in ST fic before, though, and it works so well here. I'm wondering if you (or anyone) could have written a story of this length without that side of things, making them more human.

Wow, that last part was too sweet. I really, really love your fic. And ut's true you really manage to put in it stuff from real life. It's an imoressive work!!

I love the way this chapter ends. My husband was diagnosed with AML a year ago, and I know he'd love a "leukemia is tough, but you can do it" message from the crew of the Enterprise. :)

Enjoying the fic. I was waiting to reach the end before commenting, but you surprised me with this.

Perfect way to end this arc. And what a great job you did of including physical disabilities in a meaningful way. I'm trying not to spam your inbox too much more, but I wanted to send a thanks for this arc in particular. Great job.

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