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About DrDMatthews

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    Keep your hands off my Tootsie Pops!

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    CMO - USS Reaent
  1. Deb was in a foul mood.....had been for hours....days even. Now that she was back on the ship, she was still in a foul mood. This mission had launched her into an emotional whirlwind. The ten plus hours spent shifting through debris on that scorching sand pile masquerading as a planet had done absolutely nothing but exacerbate her already lousy mood. She had never been overly fond of forensic analysis gathering. The meticulousness of that particular task was better left to the experts. But when the specialists were unavailable, the job usually fell to the medical staff and in Deb's experience, the experts were always unavailable. She glanced at the "evidence" she and Merina had managed to collect. There were nearly a hundred specimens all neatly packed away in air tight bags. They were clearly labeled as to the date and time they were found as well as where they were located. Some were as large as a forearm and an ankle. Most were much smaller, tiny remnants of bone and skin or the slight remains of various internal organs. There were also several teeth. Some evidence was so miniscule as to be unrecognizable to anything other than the tricorder. They had taken the machine's word for it when the tricorder insisted the microscopic dot they were looking at was indeed biologic evidence that had once belonged to a living being. Deb watched as Dr. Studly laboriously logged each item and carefully placed it on the gurney he'd brought with him into her office. From here, Rocco would personally escort them to the labs then round up a team to begin a thorough study of each piece of the evidence. Some would be easier than other but, before all was said and done, they would know the species of each being represented in those little bags, their gender and age and hopefully, their names. The last was nothing but a wish. Not all of those lost on that ship were in Starfleet's DNA data base. Millions of beings were registered there but many millions more were not. Merina came to the door and knocked. Deb waved her in. The Caitian leaned against the door jamb and quietly watched Studly as he worked. She'd survived an attack on that godforsaken planet as well as a ship crashing practically on top of her. Other than the dirt and grime clinging to her usually lustrous fur, Merina looked none the worse for what she'd gone through. It took a bit under thirty minutes for Studly to finish his log, check it against the one on Deb's tricorder and then take himself and the evidence off to the lab. "Good riddance," she thought. In her current frame of mind, Deb hoped to never again see the contents of those little bags. She leaned back in chair and looked at Merina. "Why don't you go take a shower and get some rest?" It was phrased as a question but her tone left no room for discussion. "And later, we're going to discuss whether or not anyone from this department should be allowed to accompany Jon Shamor on any future away teams." Merina didn't argue. Instead, she turned and slowly walked toward the main entrance. But a strange sound came rambling from deep in her chest as she left. Deb wasn't sure if it was a groan, a growl or a laugh. She didn't bother asking either. The CMO shook her head and forced herself to stand. As much as she hated to admit it, she was sore in places she'd forgotten she had. She followed Merina's trail to the exit glancing around Sickbay as she went. Rocco was still there, standing by the gurney loaded with the precious evidence. He as talking to someone on his comm. She assumed he was gathering the team needed to examine the samples. He happened to look up and Deb waved to him letting him know she was leaving and he would be in charge for awhile. How long before she returned as anyone's guess. She knew it would be at least a couple of hours. It would probably take that long to clean the dirt and stink off her body. A few minutes later, she entered her quarters and found it....dark. For a nanosecond, Deb was concerned. Aidan said he was going directly to their quarters for a shower. But it appeared nobody was here. That's when she noticed the dim light coming from the bedroom. He was here after all. She slowly made her way through the living area, not bothering to order the lights on. When she arrived at the door to the bedroom, she found Aidan standing beside the bed, studying something on his padd that must have been extremely important because he didn't hear her approach. She leaned against the door and stared at him appreciatively. He'd already taken his shower and now stood in the dim light with nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist. For the first time in quite awhile, Deb couldn't resist smiling.
  2. The days were rough......the nights were even worse. While on duty, Deb usually had enough to do to keep her mind preoccupied. There should always be something going on in Sickbay. Although, truth be told, the ship's state of the art medical facility was rather empty these days. So, instead of treating patients, Deb was catching up on reports and a trying desperately to concentrate on various journal articles that she should have read months ago. Reading was something of a problem. Aidan's condition was never far from the center of her thoughts but, after a while, she was able to discipline herself to worry about him only once or twice every couple of minutes. But the nights....oh the nights were a different story altogether. Once she was back in their quarters, there was no getting away from the problem. Aidan was right there.... in living color...trying desperately to remember the last nine years of his life. And included in those nine years was his marriage to Deb. He'd had a few flashbacks. Apparently they involved his wife...in a rather intimate manner. So, although he confessed to the flashbacks, he stubbornly refused to divulge the details. Deb opted not to force the issue. She could only hope his flashbacks would start expanding into other areas of his life as well. In the meantime..... She'd returned the hideous nightgown to Gracie....laundered and neatly folded. She'd even managed to keep to herself any snide remarks about how ugly it was. After all, it had been an emergency and she had roused Gracie from a dead sleep. It was quite likely the poor woman wasn't fully awake when she snatched that awful thing out of a drawer and shoved it into Deb's hands. Also, she had a feeling she might need Gracie's assistance in the future. Now she had a couple of cute yet modest pairs of pajamas to sleep in....something she wasn't embarrassed to be seen in. But the pajamas had no effect on her inability to sleep. She had tossed and turned every night since Aidan's injury. There had been nights in the past when she'd suffered from insomnia but those occasions were few and far between. But now, she had to be so exhausted she could barely hold up her head before she could even consider sleeping. Even after she nodded off, she'd wake up an hour or so later, tossing and turning. This night was no different from the rest. She finally fallen asleep and now she was again awake. She rolled onto her side, her back to Aidan. A minute or so later, she was on her stomach and then back on her side. She was still moving around trying to get comfortable when she felt something on the small of her back. It was a hand.....his hand....lightly patting her much as a parent would a child. Deb couldn't even breathe. This was her husband's hand. This was what her husband used to do to comfort her on those nights when she tossed and turned until the wee hours of the morning. She forced herself to remain perfectly still anxiously waiting to what, if anything, would happen next. A couple of minutes later, he removed his hand. Deb waited a full five minutes before slowly and quietly rolling onto her back. Aidan didn't stir so she risked turning onto her side, facing him. His hand was palm down on the bed between them. She watched him for another few minutes. His breathing was slow and even. He appeared to be asleep. She assumed his actions had been governed by his subconscious. But that was a good thing, wasn't it. The memories were there....not so far away...hiding just below the surface....waiting patiently to escape from their prison and flow freely once again into his consciousness.. She had no idea why, but she reached out and rested her hand on top of his. He immediately pulled it away. Her disappointment was palpable. Then, much to her surprise, he covered her hand with his and wrapped his fingers around hers. She was stunned and far more pleased than she had a right to be. She stole a glance at his face. He was still sleeping. She watched him fro a few seconds and then again turned her attention to their hands. That's what she was looking at when sleep finally came and there was no more tossing and turning that night.
  3. By Aidan Ridire & Deb Matthews Aidan stifles a yawn as he looks out at the stars. He turns to glance at Deb "I assume the bedroom is that door there behind you. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find some clothes to change into and then take a shower before turning in." He walks past her and enters the bedroom. He doesn’t advance more then a few feet into the room before he stops. He frowns as he stares at the bed for a few seconds. Turning his attention away from the bed he walks over to the drawers that should hold his clothes. He’s just about to open one of the drawers when he pauses again. He murmurs "This could be her clothes..." He glances at the door he came through and adds "Well, this will be awkward...." Deb didn't quite know what to say. It had been a long day....a very long day. Of course he was tired. So was she. But the fact of the matter was, she hadn't given much thought to "bedtime." She followed him as she stepped into the bedroom but paused at the doorway, her heart nearly breaking as he looked around, obviously confused about where his clothes were kept. She caught herself holding her breath, hoping he would remember but he didn't. He started toward a set of drawers on the left side of the door, her drawers. She was just about to speak up when he suddenly stopped and looked in her direction. He mumbled something but she was unable to hear what he said. "Your things are in these drawers," she said, her voice as calm as she could manage. She pointed to the drawers on the other side of the door. "And you have clothes hanging on the right side of the closet as well." And then it hit her like a phaser on full. She wasn't sure Aidan had any proper pajamas. She thought he did but he so rarely used them, it was quite possible he'd gotten rid of them. She certainly hadn't seen them in... she couldn't remember when she'd last seen them. And if that wasn't bad enough, Deb was absolutely positive she didn't have anything "modest" enough to wear to bed with a man who was, for all intents and purposes, a stranger. She felt her face grow from warm to downright hot and knew she must be as red as a tomato. Quickly turning around, her mind desperately searched for a solution....and it had to be quick. He watches the emotions flit across her expression. Sighing to himself, he says "For what it’s worth, I’m sorry you’re going through this." He steps towards the indicated drawers and opens them to rifle through them. Finally he finds a t-shirt and a knee length pair of shorts after not finding any sort of pajamas. He glances at her again to find that she turned away. Misinterpreting her action he says "I’ll go change in the bathroom." He closes the drawer and turns towards the bathroom door. As he does so his gaze falls on the bed again and he freezes in mid-motion as a very brief and vivid image floats before his eyes. Finally he snaps out of it and he shakes his head twice as he feels a blush crawl up the back of his neck. His apology struck her as ironic. He couldn't remember anything from the last nine plus years yet he was sorry she was having to go through this. Well, truth be told, he wasn't any sorrier than she was! He may have lost his memory but, for all intents and purposes, she'd lost her husband. Still, she couldn't imagine how alone he must feel, especially on a ship where he didn't know a soul yet they all knew him. And if the situation was reversed....well....she couldn't even begin to imagine how awful it would be. Although he couldn't remember her, it was kind of him to express concern for her feelings. It was also a reminder that she wasn't controlling her own emotions very well....not if this total stranger could pick up on every expression. But Aidan had always been a gentleman so she shouldn't have been surprised. She turned around to speak to him but he was almost to the bathroom. He'd paused for a moment and seemed lost in thought. She held her breath hoping he was remembering something but then he moved on to bathroom with a slight shake of his head. "Is everything okay?" asked Deb hesitantly. She didn't want to make him feel any worse but she couldn't help thinking he might have had a flash back of some kind. If so, it could indicate his memory was on the verge of returning. He pauses slightly, trying to figure out how to answer the question. He knows she has the right to know...but he didn’t exactly know how to answer the question without it making even more awkward between them. The image..if that’s what it was..was an intensely personal one. So in the end he just steps into the bathroom and closes the door behind him. She just stood there silently, watching him enter the bathroom and close the door. He frowns darkly as he enters the bathroom. If that was something from his lost memory he’s surprised that Deb didn’t notice his embarrassment. That was an intensely personal image that flashed before his eyes as he look
  4. "Oh god.....something's wrong," thought Deb. Truth be told, it was just another problem to add to the list. At the top of that list was the fact her injured husband lay unconscious on a biobed while Deb stood twenty feet away trying to maintain her composure. "Official Starfleet protocol" forbade her from offering medical assistance to Aidan because of their close, personal relationship, unless of course, there was no alternative. Even if there wasn't an "official Starfleet protocol," Deb wouldn't allow herself to go near the man. She was sure to do him more harm than good. Her heart pounding against her chest like it was trying to escape from her body. She even had to remind herself to keep breathing. There was a good possibility Aidan was in better condition than she was. Deb kept her distance even though it was nearly killing her. She didn't want to get in the way of Studly and his team who were quickly and efficiently evaluating Aidan's condition. She kept a close eye on her unconscious husband but she kept an even closer eye on the physician. Rocco had run a hyperencephalogram....twice. The test was routine for head trauma. Nor was it unusual to duplicate the test in order to insure accurate data. The current data was then compared to results from a previously conducted test, usually the hyperencephalogram taken during the patient's annual physical. The data should match perfectly. Aidan's didn't. Deb could tell by the way Studly reacted as she scrutinized the information. Rocco's eyes rarely reflected emotion. But his jaw certainly did. After working with him for so many years, Deb was able to discern the subtle nuances of her colleague's facial movements. He'd just clinched his jaw so tightly, Deb was surprised his teeth weren't clattering to the floor. The handsome physician quickly regained control by taking two or three deep breaths. Then he looked at Deb. Studly nodded toward a console nearly on the other side of the room. He strode over to it and activated it. The data he required came on screen just as the CMO joined him. Deb's heart was now firmly in her throat, threatening to fly out of her mouth if she dared open it. She ordered herself to take deep breaths as she kept her eyes on Rocco. She was genuinely terrified to look at the data clearly displayed on the console. There was only one reason Studly would bring her to this relatively quiet spot to show her this information. Obviously, there was brain damage. Rocco lightly placed a hand on Deb's shoulder and gently turned her toward the small screen. The CMO forced herself to look at it. Neither of them had to say a word. The difference in the two scans was as plain as the nose on Deb's face. The discrepancy was relatively minor but it was definitely present and they both knew exactly what this particular anomaly indicated. The patient would awaken with amnesia. The human brain still carefully guarded some of its secrets. The hyperencephalogram might be able to indicate the presence of amnesia but it wasn't able to discern how severe it might be. For that, they would have to wait until the patient awakened. In some case, patients with relatively petty discrepancies suffered major memory loss whereas others, with extreme discrepancies, had very little memory deficiencies. "This could have been worse....a lot worse," said Rocco in a quiet yet encouraging voice. Deb nodded but said nothing. There were too many variables running through her head. Aidan's amnesia was definitely post traumatic. But would it be anterograde amnesia or retrograde or a combination of both? Would he be able to form and retain new memories? "No, it won't be that bad," she thought knowing all the while that yes, it could very well be just that bad. She closed her eyes and leaned against the small desk. After beating so wildly, Deb felt like her heart would surely stop at any moment. "Why don't you get some rest," suggested Rocco as he turned off the console. "We'll call you when he wakes up." Again, Deb nodded and opened her eyes. "Thanks," she replied in a hoarse whisper. She remained where she was as Dr. Studly walked back to his patient, his patient who happened to be Deb's husband. "Will he remember me?" she mused silently, staring at the unconscious man on the biobed across the room. "And what will I do if he doesn't?" She watched the medical team work on Aidan for several minutes, her emotions swinging wildly from terror to furious with every possible stop in between. Closing her eyes, she made a conscious decision to focus on the anger. "What was he doing in that shuttle? Weren't there other pilots available to fly the mission? Of course there were! So who's brilliant idea was it for Aidan to fly? She would find out and wring their neck! And when Aidan recovered, she would wring his too! That's the least he deserved for scaring her like this!" Through out her silent tirade, there was one key word was the focal point....."recover." Aidan simply had to recover. She would find a way to help Aidan recover his memory, no matter how much of it he'd lost. With her fists clenched tightly, Deb mustered her composure and headed across Sickbay. She allowed herself one quick glance toward her husband before stepping inside in her office. She leaned heavily against the door after it closed behind her. After a moment or two, she purposefully walked to her desk and activated her console. She was calm now. Still concerned for her husband but no longer scared to death. Now she was steeled for battle. Whatever it took, she would find a way to resolve this problem. She was determined to fix Aidan no matter what. She would win this war if it killed her.
  5. Debbie hoped no one on the bridge noticed the steam billowing from her ears as she left the Ready Room. She made a conscious effort to walk normally, not gallop, across the bridge to the turbo lift. And above all else, she made certain to avoid eye contact with anyone and everyone there. The CMO was borderline livid and she wasn't entirely sure why. She'd known Jon Shamor was in the Ready Room along with the Captain and Aidan. The CO's feeble attempt to insinuate he wasn't..."I haven't seen him"....did little to relieve her concerns about Jon's safety and well being. The Zemun was invisible! Of course McQueen hadn't seen him. But he had spoken to him. Deb was as sure of that as she was her own name. If she had stayed in that room for another moment, she would probably have thrown something at the Captain.. The lift doors opened with their customary swish and she stepped inside immediately ordering it to Sickbay. A moment later, she remembered the look on Aidan's face when she told him she didn't trust him...at least not now....not in this particular situation. Those dashing green eyes of his revealed a mixture of hurt, disappointment and anger. Deb quickly ordered the lift to Deck 4. She needed a few minutes of privacy to consider what had just happened in the Ready Room and the possible consequences. Sickbay could wait. A few seconds later, she exited the lift and made the short trek to her quarters. The sensor recognized her and opened the door immediately. She hurried inside angrily tossing her tricorder on the sofa as she marched through the living area and into the bedroom. Deb sat down heavily on the edge of the bed. She was no longer thinking about Jon Shamor. Now, all she could worry about was Aidan and the damage her words may have done to their relationship. She was only vaguely aware of Nephyts jumping onto the bed. Deb ignored her, lost in thought about what she'd said to her husband. Had he ever lied to her? Had he ever said or done anything to create doubt her mind? The answer was a resounding no. So why couldn't she trust him now? He assured her Jon wouldn't leave the ship until his current problem was rectified. Why did she doubt what he said? Had Aidan decided Jon would remain aboard ship? Was she afraid the Captain would override that decision? The ever persistent Nephyts maneuvered herself onto Debbie's lap and sat down facing her mistress. Deb looked down into the feline's lovely blue eyes and sighed. "I've messed up," she groaned softly. "He wouldn't have said it unless he knew for certain Jon wasn't going anywhere." Nephyts meowed softly in agreement then promptly curled herself into a tight little ball on Deb's lap. It was now as plain as the nose on her face. She'd been so annoyed, she let her tongue take control of her brain. Aidan was trying to let her know that he and the Captain not only understood her concerns regarding Jon Shamor, they agreed with her that he shouldn't leave the ship. In short, she was getting her way on this one. In return, she behaved like an idiot. She opened her mouth and inserted her foot all the way to her knee. Now she owed both the Captain and the XO an apology as well as a thank you for doing the right thing. Deb could only hope the CO would shrug it off. The XO was another matter. "Next time," she mumbled to Nephyts as she stroked the Siamese's silky coat. "Remind me not to marry the executive officer of the ship I'm working on." The cat looked up at her like she was nuts. "I know," continued Debbie softly. "There isn't going to be a next time. He's the only husband I have or will ever have. At least I hope so. After that debacle in the Ready Room, he probably wishes I was as invisible as Shamor." Shamor! Holy smokes.....Shamor!! Deb abruptly dumped Nephyts onto the bed and jumped to her feet. "Sorry baby but I've got to go," she said to the cat who now looked at her with an obviously condescending glare. "If they play this by the book, and I think they just might, Jon could be on his way to Sickbay." She stood in front of the antique cheval mirror near the door, a wedding gift from one of Aidan's relatives and hurriedly brushed off her uniform trying to remove as much cat hair as possible. "I've got to get there before he does. Nobody down there knows about his little problem," she continued as she rushed out of the room. "I don't even want to think about how much mischief he could cause."
  6. Aidan, sitting on the couch, is playing a game of chess by himself when the door opens and Deb walks in. He finishes making a move and spins the turntable he had set the chess board around before he looks up. Smiling, he stands and moves to hug her and kiss her gently. "I trust chili will do for supper? How was your day?" Deb eagerly stepped into her husband's arms and rested her cheek against his broad chest. "Chili is fine," she mumbled. "As far as how my day was, I'd rather wait until I've eaten before I go into that." She pulled away slightly and looked up at him frowning slightly. "Suffice to say it was....a little strange. I'll tell you about it at dinner." He nods and leads her to the dining table. He brings the steaming bowl of chili over to the table where the dishes and the drinks are waiting. Then he pulls out her chair and waits for her to sit. He smiles "You don’t have to tell me at all if you wish." "I don't mind telling you about it," said Deb breathing in the aromatic smell of the chili. "I hope you didn't make this too hot," she added quickly with a smile. "And I'm not talking about heat....I'm talking about flavor." He smiles "No, I did not go overboard on making it spicy. I made it exactly the same as I did last time and I don’t remember you drinking copious amounts of water then." His smile turns mischievous and he purrs "It would be mildly entertaining to do that sometime...but the price I’d pay for it would be too high. I don’t need an annoyed wife on my hands. Things work out better for me if I keep her content." She watched quietly as Aidan put a couple of healthy ladles full of chili into her waiting bowl. "Did you know Kat thought you hated her?" He stops ladling the chili and stares at Deb for a few seconds. "Kat thinks....I hate her?" He closes his eyes and shakes his head twice as he digests that. Opening his eyes he remarks "If I hated her she’d be off this ship in a heartbeat." He frowns as he dishes the rest of the food and sits down in his chair. Debbie blew softly on the chili piled high on her spoon. "I know that," she said never taking her eye off her spoon. She gingerly tested the chili. Finding it adequately cooled, she cleaned off the spoon and looked at her husband. She was about to compliment him on the chili but was taken aback by the distressed expression on his face. "Kat isn't thinking straight, Aidan. She agreed to talk to Carolyn. I'm hoping that will help." He frowns and shakes his head. Sighing quietly he says "Sorry, I guess I never exactly dealt with the situation emotionally. And I guess it didn't occur to me how she'd view my actions." He sits down and dishes his own supper. "Hopefully Carolyn will be able to help, yes." After a few seconds of pensive thought he starts eating his supper. "I may be wrong," said Deb while stirring her chili. "But I believe Kat was thinking more about her behavior than your reaction to it." She again filled her spoon and carefully lifted it to her mouth. After swallowing the chili gently placed the spoon in the bowl and reached for Aidan's hand. "Maybe you should talk to her." He considers that suggestion for a minute, remembering the last several "talks" he had with Ms. Schawnsee. Finally he nods "Yeah, that’s probably best. Though let me know when would be a good time or have Carol let me know. I don’t want to make the problem worse for Kat." He squeezes Deb’s hand, drawing some comfort from it. Debbie returned the squeeze and smiled warmly at her husband. She wondered what this crew would think if they knew how much Aidan worried about them....how he considered them his family....his responsibility. He would never let down his guard and display such emotions publicly but here....with her....he was free to express his concerns. "I propose we focus on each other tonight," she finally said. "Let's finish your delicious chili and enjoy the rest of the evening together." He smiles and leans over to kiss her on the cheek. Softly he murmurs, "I would like that idea very much." He returns his attention to his supper, feeling better then he did a few minutes ago, thanks to Deb. She saw him relax as he started stirring his chili. She again turned her attention to the bowl in front of her."If he was upset about Kat," she thought to herself. "What would he think about Anna and her bracelet." She quickly decided that was a conversation for another day....perhaps a day in the very distant future. After all, things always worked out better with a contented husband.
  7. The CMO hovered over her long time friend who was stretched out on the floor, one arm draped over her eyes. "Kat," whispered Debbie. "You heard what the Commander said. We're no longer searching for the changling. Our one and only priority is to get off this planet." She waited for a response from the security officer but received only a determined glare. "It's a direct order, Kat," continued the CMO. "Everyone is watching to see if you can follow a direct order. Your career depends on it." The occupants huddled in the cave had grown totally silent. They had all gathered around to hear Commander Ridire's update on the situation which included a rudimentary escape plan. Needless to say, most of them heard Deb's remarks to Kat Schawnsee. There was no doubt Aidan heard them because he followed them up with one of his own demanding that Kat acknowledge the order. She finally did so but reluctantly and with great obstinance claiming she would only cease her final quest for the changling if Captain McQueen ordered her to do so. At the moment, Kat had no choice but to do as she was told. The lingering effects of the anesthetic Deb had given her had left her weak and hung over. She was in no condition to stand up much less continue hunting for the elusive changling. But that didn't lessen Deb's concern and from the look Aidan gave her after Kat's defiant display, he wasn't convinced either. He'd let her know without speaking a word that Ms. Schawnsee was now Deb's responsibility. The CMO would have to see it that Kat followed orders whether or not she agreed with them. Deb maneuvered into a spot near Kat's head where she could not only keep an eye on her friend but stretch out her injured leg. Merina had taken care of the wound but the leg still ached. And there was no way to replace the blood Deb had lost until they got back to the ship. So, for now, she would have to deal with the lethargy and light headedness. Leaning back against the cave's chilly wall, she closed her eyes and wondered what would happen to the woman lying next to her. It was quite obvious Kat wasn't herself. After all that time at Fleet Medical, she was still very fragile yet they sent her back to the Reaent with permission to self medicate with two hightly potent drugs. "They must have known she wasn't up to this," thought Debbie. "To have such blatant disregard for a patient's well being...." She opened her eyes for a moment and glanced down at Kat. The other woman had returned to her previous position with one arm draped over her eyes. But her breathing was more rapid now, an indication she was agitated. Deb reached for her tricorder and briefly scanned the woman. Her blood pressure was slightly elevated but it was nothing to worry about. Once they were back on the Reaent, she would give Kat a thorough physical. Then she would have to decide what would happen next. It was quite possible Commander Ridire would insist on Kat returning to Fleet Medical. Her behavior during this mission had been less than stellar. Also, she had lied about having her medical records with her when she returned to the ship. Deb had been obligated to share that information with Aidan. He'd taken it as badly as she'd expected. They hadn't had time to discuss it but she had a strong feeling he would want Kat off the ship. Deb, on the other hand, had no intention of returning Schawnsee to those idiots at Fleet who obviously couldn't care less about her. The CMO sighed deeply. The thought of an all out battle with Aidan over Kat Schawnsee made her stomach churn. She looked forward to it about as much as she looked forward to going up against that monster wandering around outside. But it had to be done. Deb was sure Schawnsee had a future in Starfleet....a future on Reaent. The CMO was determined to give her friend the opportunity to become whole once more. Kat wasn't some disposable commodity. She had been a fine officer and could be once again. There were only two questions that remained unanswered. The first....would Kat be willing to cooperate and the second...would they ever make it back to Reaent so Deb could try to help her friend.
  8. By: Commander Ridire & Dr. Matthews If there had been time, the CMO would have stormed into the Captain's office and demanded to know if he'd lost his ever loving mind. It was his right to authorize another away team to visit the planet. But whatever possessed him to allow Schawnsee to go along. She already knew the answer. She'd discussed her concerns to McQueen regarding Kat shortly after the security chief rejoined the ship. He's practically dismissed her apprehension with a wave of his hand. It was obvious to Deb that the Captain wanted Schawnsee on the Reaent....wanted her to be an integral part of this mission. He seemed oblivious to Kat's medical condition. And that was another thing! Just as she was leaving Sickbay, Deb overheard part of the conversation Merina was having with Starfleet Medical regarding Schawnsee's missing medical file. According to them, Kat had possession of her records. Protocol dictated she present those records to the CMO once she arrived on the ship. Schawnsee had not done so. She'd even denied having the file! Debbie groaned quietly as she entered the lift and ordered it to the shuttle bay. Kat was a friend and she was terribly concerned. Not only about Schawnsee's welfare but for that of everyone she came into contact with. The CMO had heard the rumors of Kat's erratic behavior. She'd even witnessed it to a lesser degree when Schawnsee came into Sickbay for her medication. Deb had the uneasy feeling the situation was about to spiral out of control. By the time she returned from this excursion to the planet, a copy of Schawnsee's medical records would be waiting on her desk. Heaven only knew what they contained. One way or the other, she would have to confront her friend about why she withheld the file. And....she would have to mention it to the XO. The thought made her stomach churn. The lift would deposit her down the corridor from the shuttle bay at any moment. Taking a deep breath, she tapped her comm badge and requested Commander Ridire. There was no point delaying the inevitible. She might as well get this part of it over right now. Aidan responded just as the lift door swished open. She stepped out and headed toward the shuttle bay just a few meters away. "I only have a minut," she began, not mincing words. "I'm entering the shuttle bay. The Captain authorized an away team for some type of survey of the planet. Schawnsee said she was ordered to take a medic along so I decided to accompany her. Just before I left Sickbay, I found out she's had her medical records all along. For one reason or another, she hasn't supplied them to us. A copy is on it's way but I thought you should know." For roughly ten seconds there is dead silence on Aidan's end of the conversation as he wrestles with the urge to try and convince her to turn the away team duty over to someone else from medical. That she didn't need to go on every away mission...that she didn't need to risk herself like that. Because of his latent anger at Will and Tabor's stunt, it takes a bit more effort and a bit more time for him to shut that urge out...to remember that he had married a Starfleet Officer and that such things were not only part of her job but that it was also part of his job. That, however, doesn't stop Aidan from once again wishing that they would retire soon and get away from such things as him having to let his wife walk into harm's way. In that ten seconds Aidan steps over to the Observation Lounge. This he wanted some privacy on. He sighs and shakes his head slightly in resignation. "You be extra careful down there, love. Do not put yourself at risk and stick with Shamor at all times. That's all I ask, okay?" He pauses slightly then adds "And as for Schawnsee, we'll deal with that when you get back." She was a little surprised by his response, especially after giving him such a hard time earlier in the day. She was also quite pleased. She knew if the shoe was on the other foot, she would have reacted the same way. They may have disagreed but they still loved one another and were concerned about each others well being. "I'll stick to Jon like glue," she replied quietly as a tinge of guilt about her earlier behavior settled over her. She was going to say something about him talking to the Captain regarding Schawnsee but decided not to. "Don't worry," she finally added. "I'll see you shortly." "I'm going to hold you to that." He pauses slightly then says quietly, not wanting anyone near her on the other end of the line to hear the next words. "And when this mission is over I'm keeping you in my arms for a couple days...whether the outside world wants you for something or not." Right now, she'd like nothing more than a couple of days of isolation with her husband. If only that was possible she mused silently. "Sounds like a plan," she said softly. "And I'll hold you to that." "Then stay safe and I'll see you when you get back." He pauses slightly and a little dry bemusement finds it's way into his voice. "And of course I'll worry. Don't tell me you wouldn't do the same. I'd very much like my better half to be safe and sound tonight." "Count on it," whispered Deb as she approached the other memebers of the away assembled by the shuttle. "As I said, see you shortly." With that, she closed the comm channel and joined the away team all the while trying to curb her annoyance and focus on the task at hand. When the comm channel closes, Aidan sighs and shakes his head in resignation. After a few seconds of letting the day's frustrations rush through him he returns to his chair on the bridge and quietly resumes monitoring the bridge
  9. For Deb, the entire scenario was very peculiar. But she wasn't about to admit that to Kat Schawnsee. The former Security Chief had suddenly reappeared without any prior notice. Then again, that wasn't exactly accurate. The Captain seemed to have known although nobody else had a clue. Considering the circumstances surrounding Kat's departure from the Reaent that was....peculiar. It would seem Kat was the "expert" the CO had mentioned earlier in the day during the senior staff briefing. There were a lot of things Deb didn't know about Schawnsee, apparently more than she ever realized. Still, this particular "expert" was on two major medications. That alone was enough to cause concern. Add to it the secrecy surrounding Kat's arrival and you had the perfect recipe for a major headache. A couple of knowing glances between the CMO and Dr. Curtis led Deb to believe Caroline shared her apprehension. The three physicians and Kat continued their casual chat until TKar arrived to escort their guest to the VIP quarters. As soon as they cleared the Sickbay doors, Deb turned to Caro. "I had no idea she was coming, no idea at all." "Neither did I," Caroline said grimly, the relaxed air which she had kept up while Kat had been in the room dropping away. "And to be honest I'm very surprised that Starfleet Medical would provide no notice to her attending physician or psychiatrist -- not to mention the records of her recent treatment -- given the reasons for which she left initially. Those are not walk-in-the-park pills." She crossed back to the medical cart which held the two bottles -- Noropholopholine and Trilinate. "Not something I'd personally have given a patient the option of self-medication with. I may have to have words with Kevin Macready," she said dryly, referencing the Earth-based psychologist who had attended Kat during her leave. "Though I have no idea if any of this was his idea." Deb's thoughts tumbled about in her head like a pair of dice tossed on craps table. She was hard pressed to focus on a single issue because there were so many to worry about. "I can't believe Macready would have authorized this," she replied, planting her hands on her hips. "If he'd known about it, he'd have made sure to notify us." She paused and looked directly at Caro, her expression a mixture of disbelief and concern. "But the Captain knew! Kat's the changeling expert he was talking about. Why didn't he give us advance notice?" She didn't bother voicing the next question which dealt with whether or not Aidan had known. She suspected he did but that was a subject for a latter discussion. "We need to speak to McQueen and find out exactly how deeply involved Schawnsee is going to be. You were right on about those drugs. They're definitely major league. An changeling expert on Noropholopholine and Trilinate......good heavens....this could be a disaster." "It won't be," Caroline said, almost automatically soothing, though her expression clearly showed she too was also working through the potential ramifications at work here for their particular jobs. "We're paying attention now, at least, and no matter what we'll be able to ensure that her condition, whatever it may be, is dealt with properly. I would like to hear the Captain's explanation for the level of secrecy, however, and I would like those medical records as soon as possible -- do inform me if they arrive." She folded her arms, glancing over her shoulder towards the door of sickbay pensively. "Gives new meaning to the old saw about Medical being the last to know, doesn't it?" she said, shaking her head slightly. "Yeah, chuckled Debbie. "But there's another old saying....the squeaky wheel gets the oil. The Captain and his XO are going to hear a lot of squeaking about this." She reached out and lightly tapped Caro on the shoulder. "You'll be the first to know when the medical records arrive. But we're so far out that might not happen for awhile. In the meantime, you'll have to excuse me." She grinned at the Counselor as she turned toward the main Sickbay doors. "It's time for the squeaking to beginLo."
  10. Deb was relieved to finally get home. She was still second guessing her decision to allow Anna O'Halloran to keep the strange bracelet now securely attached to the scientist's arm. She understood Anna's desire to investigate the intricate piece of jewelry. But she was a little concerned that this particular bracelet was a bit more than....jewelry. On her way to her quarters, Deb kept reminding herself that the Chief Science Officer was still in good health. Her complaint was relative minor. Chances were, Anna would report in tomorrow that the medication worked perfectly. She had wonderful night's sleep and felt just fine. If the results were anything less than that there were still alternatives that didn't include forcibly removing the bracelet. So why was she so concerned about Anna's apparently mundane complaint? It was that darn bracelet! There was something magnetizing about it. Deb felt it and she wasn't even wearing it! As she stepped into her quarters, she made a mental note to contact Anna first thing in the morning. The drug should have worked. If it hadn't, Deb would totally reevaluate the case. As much as she wanted to grant Anna the opportunity to investigate the origin of the bracelet, she couldn't allow that thing to put at risk one of the ship's most valuable crew members. Debbie entered her quarters and forced all thoughts of Anna and her bracelet into the deep recesses of her consciousness. She was looking forward to a quiet evening with Aidan before the start of their next mission. The briefing was in the morning. After that, who knew when there would be time for a "quiet evening." Her husband was already there. Sitting at the desk on the other side of the room, his back to her, pouring over documents of one kind or another. Deb wasn't surprised. She was sure Aidan was preparing for the upcoming mission. She walked over to him and draped her arm of his shoulder. Leaning down, she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. He chose that moment to look up at her. The expression in his eyes caused her to go quiet. There was no doubt something was terribly wrong.
  11. Wade stepped out of the shuttle tentatively, coming out onto the shuttle pad. The routine security detachment had been deployed, standing in front of a retinue from sickbay. He nearly knelt down and kissed the flight deck, happy as he was to be back on the Reaent. The experiences of the past few hours had been trying to say the least. When he had been transported off of the Ithica, he had found himself on the shuttle, yet it could be said that he had arrived on an entirely different shuttle than the other members of the away team. To him everything had appeared to be moving much slower than it should. The conversation from the others on the shuttle was slow and low pitched, as if it had been recorded and then replayed in slow motion. Interacting with the objects around him had proven difficult, and he had feared that if he had gone anymore out of phase with the shuttle that he’d end up floating in space. Some careful tinkering with his arm band had finally allowed him to communicate with the away team, and interact with his environment, albeit with some difficulty. Once Wim had gotten the message, however, he felt confident enough to take his ease while the others worked to retrieve him. He owed a great debt of gratitude to those who had accompanied him on the mission, though he never had a doubt in his mind that they would bring him back to where he belonged. The medical team arrived a few minutes before the shuttle finally settled on the pad. There were ten of them, two for each member of the away team and two more for good measure. Debbie anxiously peered through the observation window as the shuttle bay doors slowly closed and the massive hanger pressurized. “Holy cow!” muttered someone behind her. “Look at that thing.” The CMO made no comment. Her thoughts raced as she scrutinized the belegured craft now safely ensconced inside the shuttle bay. It looked like a relic from another century. One could only hope the living beings inside fared better than the shuttle. Pressurization completed, the bay’s portals automatically unlocked. The medical teams tore themselves away from the windows and rushed inside. The away team began their exit from the small craft just as the medical teams approached. Everyone breathed a quiet sigh of relief. The four members of the away team didn’t appear to have aged all that much, if at all. Apparently, the arm bands functioned properly. Deb gave them all a rudimentary inspection as she approached. Her gaze settled on Lieutenant Wade Knight. The man was a little shaky and his complexion had an unusual greenish tinge. Her assistant followed her as she walked toward him. “Welcome back, Mr. Knight,” she said calmly as she stepped up to him. “You look a bit pale,” she continued opening her tricorder for a cursory scan. “What happened over there?” “Well, the short story is we got the Ithica’s computer core and got the heck out of there,” Wade explained with a shaky grin. He still wasn’t sure how much time had passed for the others while he had been trapped in his state of temporal phase. For him he had spent days on the shuttle, watching the others move at a snails pace while he attempted to repair his arm band. “I’m quite alright doctor, I’m just a few days older than I was.” Debbie listened intently, glancing between Wade and her tricorder. His vitals appeared normal but he was obviously stressed....and there was something else. She wasn’t sure exactly what. The tricorder hinted at a change in metabolic rate and there were definitely anomalous readings from the Lieutenant’s cerebellum. She’d known that might occur but it was still disturbing to actually see it. They would determine the full extent of his injuries once they got him back to Sickbay. The CMO glanced around at the other members of the away team. They were all undergoing similar exams. She took an extra few seconds to compare their physical appearances to Mr. Knight’s. Of them all, he seemed to have suffered the worst. “Looks like the other fared a little better than you did,” remarked Debbie. “They don’t appear as green as you are. Be honest with me, did something unforeseen happen to you?” Wade’s smirk turned to a frown as he watched Deb work. It was apparent that she was concerned about something. He hadn’t had much interaction with the good doctor up to now, but she hadn’t seemed to him to be the sort of person to interact. Wade nodded slowly, “Aye. I was trapped in the time bubble for an hour or so, in your time. From my perspective I spent thirteen days and five hours trapped.” His statement took her aback. Debbie stared at him for a long moment as his words filtered through her brain. “Get a gurney,” she said flatly to Gracie, her assistant. She was still fixed on Wade Knight as the nurse hurried away. “How did that happen?” she asked in the same flat tone she’d just used on Gracie. The chief nurse reappeared before Wade had a chance to answer. “Hop on,” invited Gracie while adjusting the height of the gurney. Lieutenant Knight opened his mouth to speak but the CMO beat him to it. “That’s not a request,” she stated gently nudging the engineer toward the gurney. “I know you think you can walk out of here but I insist you ride instead.” He must have realized it was resistance was futile or was too weak to try to argue. Wade Knight grudgingly laid down on the awaiting gurney. Gracie secured the restraints just enough to keep the patient from falling off during the short trip to Sickbay. Debbie glanced about one more time to insure the other members of the away team were being cared for. Satisfied that everything was under control, she silently followed the gurney out of the shuttle bay, her thoughts now totally focused on Mr. Knight....his symptoms and what, if anything, could be done to counteract them.
  12. "Have you lost your mind?" She was alone in the turbolift....nobody else was there to respond to her question and that was just fine. She already knew the answer. Debbie had a legitimate concern for the welfare of the away team. That's why she'd gone to the bridge in the first place....to find out what was going on aboard the Ithaca. She hadn't heard anything about how the away team was doing and didn't want to be taken by surprise if an emergency was immanent. As it turned out, the bridge hadn't heard much from the AT either. She might as well have stayed in Sickbay. That was especially true after she opened her mouth and stuck her foot in it. Deb had serious reservations about sending an away team to the Ithaca. What was the point? They knew for a fact the crew was long gone. She could understand the powers that be wanting to know what happened to them but at what cost? Another fact....the Ithaca's crew had aged at least twenty-five years. Even if they were located, what could be done? Yanking them back from the future would most likely cause serious physical damage...primarily to their brains. And even if it was possible, would they want to return? They might be better off remaining where they were....wherever that was. She doubted a team would have been sent to the Ithaca if it hadn't been for those arm bands. She had to admit they were a brilliant innovation. They were also relatively untested. If they failed while the away team was inside that bubble.....the thought sent shivers down her spine. It was risky....very risky and Deb was having a difficult time justifying the risk. If the away team succeeded, they would return with Ithaca's ship's log. They might provide insight into the nature of this anomaly. They might indicate how the crew left and where they were planning to go...all very important information. But what if they failed? Deb wasn't usually so pessimistic. Nor was she so cautious. She cross examined herself several times on why the sudden hesitancy to embrace the obvious risk of this particular mission. After all, they were in the business of taking risks....that's what they did....what they were expected to do.....what she'd been doing for years. So why was she so bothered about all of this? These were private thought....private concerns until a few minutes ago when she unwittingly voiced them aloud to, of all people, the counselor! "What were you thinking?" she muttered again, leaning against the rear wall of the lift. She wasn't thinking....that was the problem. If she'd been thinking, she wouldn't have dropped her guard. She would have maintained her professional demeanor, gathered the information she needed and kept her mouth shut. But the words were out and there was no taking them back. Curtis had picked up on it so now, Deb could only hope she'd covered up her gaff sufficiently. She would know soon enough. The lift arrived at her deck and the door swished opened to an empty corridor. Deb stepped out and slowly made her way back to Sickbay. She would stay off the bridge until they'd completed this mission. But that wouldn't stop her from wondering.....why had she become so cautious? So reluctant to accept risks that a short time ago were perfectly acceptable. The answer prowled about her thoughts, demanding recognition. But she wasn't ready to acknowledge it...much less accept it.
  13. Happy Birthday Admiral! Stop by your local Sickbay today and you'll get a free face lift. It only takes a few minutes and will make you fell sooooo much better. :D
  14. It wasn't unexpected but it still amazed her. It always did and she supposed it always would. Aidan Ridire's emerald green eyes were one of his most distinguishing characteristics...that and his gorgeous red hair. But today, it was those eyes that caught her attention. There was no way to avoid them. Where Debbie was concerned, her husband's eyes reflected his feelings for her....warm, loving and inviting. Not that she hadn't seen them reflect other, more negative, emotions. But rarely were those directed at her. This, however, was one of those rare occasions. The XO had assembled an away team to board a damaged ship somewhere in the Benecia system. Deb didn't know all the details. In truth, she was certain of only three things. First of all, the crew complement of the ship in distress was approximately 25 souls. But she had no idea what type of ship it was much less its name. Secondly, their problem might have something to do with triceron explosives the ship was carrying. How exactly the triceron was involved remained a mystery. And thirdly, Aidan Ridire did not expect the representative from the medical department requested to accompany his away team to be none other than the CMO herself.....and he wasn't happy about it. Somehow, Deb had managed to arrive in the transporter room before anyone else on the away team. She wasn't there long when Aidan came in with Anna, TKar and Murray. "De....Dr. Matthews....what are you doing here?" The words weren't out of his mouth before he figured it out and those beautiful emerald eyes of his turned from warm and loving to stunned and then angry....no....not angry....concerned.....yes, definitely concerned and very, very unhappy. He frowns, knowing they didn't have much time for this particular conversation. For the three years they had been married, Aidan had managed to not let his innate desire to protect her interfere with letting her do her job. Of course most of the situations that were dangerous were dangerous after he had let her do her job. This situation is entirely different. It was known to be dangerous from the start. Ignoring the others for now he steps towards Deb and gently guides her off to the side. Keeping his voice low he murmurs "Deb, we are about to beam over to a freighter that has a very unstable engine core and its carrying triceron explosives that were going to be disposed of by the technicians on Starbase Two. The explosives themselves might be unstable as well. This situation is highly dangerous and I don't want you...." Even as he says the words he knows he’s not likely to get anywhere in this conversation. The rational part of him is telling him he can hardly tell her that its too dangerous for her but expect her to let him do his job as well. Of course, when it comes to love and marriage, rationality didn't always play a part. This wasn't a surprise either. She fully expected Aidan's little lecture. And she was pretty sure he knew how she would respond. On the way to the transporter room, Deb had pondered how she would deal with it. She didn't make her final decision on that until after he started talking about unstable engine cores and triceron explosives that might be just as unstable. She chose to take the high road. Holding up a hand to stop him, she smiled warmly at her husband. "I appreciate your concern," she said quietly. "I take great comfort in the fact you love me as much as you do. But you don't have a leg to stand on here and you know it." She nodded slightly at the other members of the away team, huddled together discreetly trying to ignore their commanding officer and his wife. "The situation isn't too dangerous for them," she continued keeping her voice low. "Or for you." She shrugged slightly. "So why don't we get this over with. If we're lucky, we might make it back in time for a late night dinner." Aidan spends a good twenty seconds or so trying to come up with an argument that she would agree with and choose to stay on Reaent, safe and sound. And as quickly as he comes up with them he also comes up with what she is likely to say in response. Finally he closes his eyes, sighs to himself, and shakes his head briefly. He knows she is right, as much as he wishes she wasn't so he could order her to remain on the ship, safe and sound. Opening his eyes he focuses on her and finally murmurs "Very well, Doctor, as you wish. But you are not to do anything reckless." His voice drops to a whisper and a fleeting smirk appears on his lips. "And after dinner you and I are going to have a....talk about the part in the wedding ceremony that mentions "wives, love and obey your husbands," your failure to abide by that and exactly how you're going to make it up to me for doing so and making me worry." "Obey?" she questioned with a whimsical grin. "I don't remember anything in our vows about obeying a husband. And I'm never reckless either." She took a small step toward the rest of the away team pausing just long enough to wink at Aidan. "Now come on, let's do this and then we'll discuss who is going to make up for what." He whispers "It was right there next to 'a husbands should love and protect his wife'. And as for who owes what to who...that's still going to be you owing me. But feel free to try and convince me otherwise later." He smirks as he says the last. He steps past her and onto the transporter dais. When everyone is assembled and has made sure they all have the appropriate equipment, he turns his attention to the transporter chief and gives the order to energize.
  15. Deb glanced at her watch as she stepped out of the lift. She'd just a new record. It had taken a full ten minutes for her to get to the bridge. She shrugged off the thought. After all, there was no emergency. This wasn't even an official visit. She'd been bored silly in Sickbay and came up here for a little break....and to confront a thief. Whenever she visited the bridge, the mood was habitually tense. Of course, the ship was usually in some kind of trouble varying from mild to extreme. Not this time. The crew was amazingly relaxed. And why not. There was absolutely nothing going on in this section of the galaxy. This mundane assignment offered a perfect opportunity to unwind a little. She nonchalantly strolled toward the command center of the bridge. The Captain was absent but the XO was in his chair studying a report of some kind....or at least he was pretending to study it. He'd turned around and glanced at her when she first got off the lift and didn't seem at all surprised to see her. She casually wondered why. "Guess who I caught in the lift?" whispered Deb as she came to a stop beside him. He arches an eyebrow in some confusion then it dawns on him what she’s asking. He glances up at her and whispers "A certain department chief and pilot?" Not wanting this to become bridge fodder, Aidan stands and guides Deb towards the observation lounge. Privately Aidan is glad for the distraction. Except for lunch, he had been stuck reading through reports all day and dealing with various other paperwork. And granted he is a fast reader...but reading that much routine and rather boring stuff had started to give him a headache. He had long ago privately decided that the main reason that the Executive Officer position existed within Starfleet was so Captain’s had someone to foist all the paperwork onto. The wheels were turning as they headed for the observation lounge. She was a little disappointed Aidan knew who she'd caught in the lift. Then again, she reasoned, something must have happened involving him and the loving duo who'd held up the lift for a good six minutes. Now, she was more curious than ever. "Yep," she affirmed as the lounge door swished to a close. "Didn't catch them in the act or anything but I'm pretty sure they took the lift offline for a few minutes." She smiled knowingly. "And they had guilty looks on their faces." She stepped up to him and slipped her arms around his waist. "So, how did you know who I was talking about?" He settles his arms around her waist and leans in to kiss her on the cheek. Pulling away slightly he says "Because the reason they were in the turbolift together is that I just had them up here, in this room, so I could tend to a certain...request of theirs. Which I'm not entirely sure was a necessarily good thing for me to grant." He catches her momentary look of confusion so he goes on. "They made a request for certain...living arrangements that we didn't get to ourselves until we were married. Well..except for a couple of instances." He pauses and then adds "And lets hope they have the sense to not, as you said, get caught in the act in the turbolift." "They're too smart to let that happen," quipped Deb, standing on her toes to return Aidan's kiss. She gazed into his deep green eyes and frowned slightly. "Poor love, I really put you through it before we got married. I hope I've made it up to you since we took our vows." He smiles, "I have what I wanted, that’s all that matters." His smile softens, "And it was important that things progress how they did for you, I didn't want you getting scared off. So you have nothing to "make up to me" and you know that." He leans back against the edge of the table. "All I want out of life is to be in your arms. I'm a simple man that way and am easy to please, I guess." He shrugs as he says the last. Deb leaned against the table beside Aidan. "A simple man?" she asked, a mischievous grin pulling on her lips. "Easy to please? Tell me, would you consider something as inconsequential as a lollipop one of those simple pleasures?" He smiles wryly, "I doubt my wife thinks that a lollipop is inconsequential. Sometimes I think my wife loves her sweets more then she does me. At any rate, I was planning a quiet supper in the holodeck with my wife tonight and a long walk along the moonlit beach there. If she thinks I need to make it up for..eating one of her lollipops I trust that suffices?" "I'll take that as an admission of guilt," replied Deb easily. "Those Tootsie Pops are hard to come by. You must have known I was hot on your trail. That's why you came up with the idea of a quiet supper in the holodeck....on the beach no less." She pushed away from the table and stood in front of him. "I suppose that will make up for your thievery," she added with a grin. She reached up and patted his cheek lightly. "But I've moved my stash and nothing you do will make me tell you where the new hiding place is." He smirks and rolls his eyes. "I already had the idea before I took the tootsie pop, yeesh. And its not like I couldn't take a tricorder and search for them." He slips his arms around her waist and draws her closer as he purrs "Besides, I think I can claim partial ownership. What is yours is mine and vice versa and all. Or should I hide the chocolate peanut butter cookies next time my mom sends some? Or those chocolate mints she sent me as a birthday present last time?" "It doesn't matter where you hide those goodies," laughed Deb. "I'll find them.....and I won't need a tricorder either." She tapped the end of her nose. "I can smell chocolate a light year away." She leaned against him, resting her head on his chest. "And I hope you find my new hiding place. If you stop raiding the lollipop box, I won't have an excuse to come up here and bother you." "Hmm..if this is you bothering me I could do with a lot more bothering then. And since your hiding spot has to be in your office, that should make it relatively easy to find. After all, I don't think you're going to trust your fellow doctors, nurses and orderlies in Sickbay by hiding them there." He tightens his arms around her, enjoying the feel and warmth of her against him. Softly he murmurs "Would give anything to remain here like this...but I guess..." His voice trails off as an earlier idea comes back to him, one that should let them extend this moment a while longer. "Speaking of such things and assuming we do get leave this Christmas, I think at least part of the time should be spent in Hawaii. It is our anniversary as well and I'd just as soon not have family around then. Besides, it would let us begin shopping for a certain idea we have for the future." "Sounds like a great idea," murmured Debbie, not bothering to move. She was far too comfortable where she was. But all good things come to an end. She knew they couldn't stay in the lounge much longer or the bridge crew would think they'd caught the XO and CMO in the act. "Let's hope we get the leave," she added, pulling away from him. They slowly walked toward the door, hand in hand. "What time is dinner?" "I'm pretty sure we'll get that leave. At least I hope so. And dinner will be at 7:00. Will give us time to get home and change out of these uniforms. If I may suggest, one of your light summer dresses would be...pleasing." He smiles and squeezes her hand gently. "I intend to do my very best to forget that I'm on a starship. Just want to concentrate on having a quiet and romantic night with my wife. And there will be a chaise lounge on the beach in case she gets tired of walking along the beach after supper." "Can't have a romantic evening on the beach without the chaise," purred Deb as they reached the observation lounge door. Beyond was the bridge and Sickbay and all the responsibilities those places implied. But for the last several minutes, she'd been temporarily transported to another frame of mind....one far more pleasant than shipboard duties allowed. And now she had the evening to look forward to as well. Stopping just far enough away from the door to keep it from opening, Deb paused and smiled at her husband. "If Anna and Will get along half as well as we do, then I dare say they have a bright future together." He shrugs and smiles faintly. "Perhaps that will turn out to be the case. But to be honest, I'm not so interested in their future. I'm much more interested in ours." He leans in for a gentle kiss. Breaking it off after a few seconds he purrs "Speaking of, I'd like to collect more on this later tonight." "You can count on it," whispered Deb. The doors swished open and they strolled onto the bridge doing their best not to look anything more than professional. It was a testament to the crew that nobody stared at them although she had no doubt what some were thinking. "See you tonight," murmured Deb as she casually walked to the lift. "And please, don't be late." He nods slightly in reply to her as his eyes follow her until she disappears into the turbolift. Sighing quietly to himself he turns towards his chair, his mind focusing on his duties. There would be time enough to focus on more pleasant things later tonight, right now it was best to get the job done and out of the way. Though, Aidan doubts anyone would blame him if his mind wandered a bit from time to time to briefly focus on tonight. "All bridge stations report please. Anything of interest seemingly about to happen?" Privately he fervently wishes nothing does. If the rest of his days turned out to be as boring, work wise, as the last few days he would be eternally grateful.