Chapter 1 - Reflection

Chance sat against the wall of Sickbay, his knees pulled up in front of him, an arm on each one.  His colleagues were presumably in stasis somewhere behind him, with his guards in front of him. Thank the Prophets, things had calmed down.  He didn’t feel quite so threatened anymore, but he knew that could change in an instant if the two thugs in front of him got the call.  He was grateful, since it had gotten touch and go for a few moments.  Seeing his mother’s life threatened had not been in his plans for the day.  He’d wondered if he could do anything, but before he could determine what that was, he could read the look on her face that told him not to.  


Apparently the gang’s leader had caught that too, and suddenly he was wondering if he’d see the end of the day.  He did not like feeling helpless at all, but one couldn’t immediately go from trying to save a life, to contemplating hurting another–even in self defense–in a split second.  To make matters worse, the whole debacle likely meant that his patient had died on the table from lack of care.  He’d even tried to get his guards to let him check the person out, but they’d refused.  He assumed the knew his tools could also be used as weapons, but it didn’t make the loss of life sit any better with him.


However, he couldn’t deny that now he just wanted to make it out of this.  He had more important things to think about: his present and possible family.  He and Trisha were trying for the baby they wanted so much and he didn’t want those dreams dashed because he did something stupid.  It was all even possible because of the procedure she had, even when he wasn’t sure how safe it would be.  He still wasn’t sure, but she had wanted to go through it.  So four months ago, they’d found themselves at the small, off-world practice…


Patricia paced in the empty doctor’s waiting room.  She and Chance had been here at 0800 hours as requested and it was now 1015…make that 1016. Her anxiety over the appointment was second to her growing frustration of being kept waiting. As she passed the registration nurse’s desk for what seemed to be the three hundredth time, she cast a side glance at the woman, whose head was down doing her work.  She’d stopped returning Patricia’s glances around number forty-two.


Chance had been sitting in one of the handful of chairs scattered about the room in pairs or small groups.  He’d let her roam, knowing it was a futile effort to get her to relax.  Though, looking at his watch, he had to admit, they had been here far longer than expected, even for the nature of this not-completely-above-board procedure.  He put down the PADD he’d been reading and waited to catch her eye on her return pacing.  When she looked his way, he gestured for her to come to him.  “Take a seat,” he said softly, “and I’ll see what I can find out.”


She did as he asked, and he rose and approached the front desk, the carpeted floor muffling his footsteps.  “Excuse me.  I know appointment times can be more of a suggestion, but is there any idea when we’ll be seen?  We’re more than 2 hours past our appointment.  Is everything okay?”


The registration nurse looked up from her work, then to the chronometer on the wall, then back to him. “I’ll check.” She stood and walked into another room. About two minutes later she returned. “He’ll see you now. Through those doors, the first office on the right.”


Chance was actually surprised to get such a turnaround like that, but Patricia almost jumped out of the chair and walked over to him.  She took his hand, and headed through the doors. Taking a deep breath, she entered the office with him, laying her eyes on a man in his early sixties. 


“Ah, Mr. and Mrs. Crow. I am happy you decided to move forward with this. I have great hopes for your..recovery.”


Chance looked at her to see her reaction, but she was completely enthralled.  He wasn’t, and hadn’t been completely sure about this doctor or what he was promising.  However, they had had the conversation many times, and he’d told her his misgivings.  Yet, even though the procedure was unconventional, his results were consistently positive.  They’d already asked questions on a consult appointment, all of which had been answered.  Trisha had already jumped in with both feet though.  The best he could do at this point was try to manage expectations.   At the end of the day, though, he hoped this worked as much as she did.  


The Doctor went on to explain, with the aid of a monitor, exactly what would be happening today. Patricia would be sedated and then he would open her abdomen, implanting the newly grown organs which had been created with her own stem cells. Once they were in place and everything was connected as it should be, she would be given several injections to stimulate her endocrine system and hormone levels. The Doctor attempted a bad joke about it being like jump starting an old shuttlecraft but he quickly moved on. All in all he expected it to take eight hours from prep to recovery. A week of bedrest and avoiding heavy lifting for a month. Within two to four months her body should begin regulating itself normally.


Chance paid attention to the details, and, except for the ill-placed attempt at humor, the information seemed legitimate.  He thought he was beginning to feel a little better about this, but as they began the prep, he knew he wouldn’t breathe normally until she was out of surgery.  And even then, he’d be keeping a close eye on her.


Ten hours later, the Doctor walked into the waiting room and Chance was immediately on his feet. “I apologize for the wait. We had some issues connecting the blood vessels to the new organs, but it’s all working now. She came through it just fine, and she’s in recovery.” He walked over to Chance. “She seems the type to push the envelope. It is crucial that she listen to orders and rest.”


“You picked up on that quickly,” he remarked dryly.  “I’ll make sure she does.  When can I see her?”


“Right now, but she’s going to be hazy for a bit.” The doctor motioned for a nurse to take Chance to the recovery room.


The red-headed man followed the nurse, knowing full well what surgical recovery looked like.  When he got to her bed, curtained off from the rest of the room, he grinned, able to see just how loopy she was.  “Hey there,” he said softly.


She opened her eyes, giving a lazy grin. “Did it work?” She tried lifting her head but gave that up after two seconds, letting it rest on the pillow. “Whatever they gave me, it’s like trying to think through mud.”


He grinned, finding her hand.  “That’s normal.  It means you were asleep for the surgery, and you don’t want to wake up in the middle of that.  The doctor said everything is in place.  But now comes the hard part, b/c you have to take it easy.”  


She squeezed his hand as best she could. “Whatever you say,” she replied quietly, obviously still under the influence.

Four months later, he sat here in Sickbay, hoping he’d get to live out the next leg of their journey.