Chapter 5 - Worth the Risk

Patricia tapped her ash in the tray as she read morning reports.  Keiran was already dropped off for school and the quarters were quiet.  She’d let Chance sleep coming off an overnight shift.  


Another tap, another report of unrest or brewing trouble if you knew how to read between the lines.  She glanced to her coffee, contemplating adding a flavoring, preferably from Kentucky or Tennessee.


Chance stepped out of the bedroom, absently scratching at some stubble on his cheek.  He’d woken up to an otherwise empty bed, and decided to get up.  “‘Morning,” he croaked out around a yawn.  He recognized her daily practice and asked  “Anything new?”  As he listened to her answer, he ordered a raktajino from the replicator.


“A coup….a military buildup….an emergency lockdown of a lab…..and a top Admiral retiring with honors after a junior officer filed a complaint against her for less than honorable behavior.” She held up the PADDs in order before turning to him.  “How was work?”


“No big emergencies, thank The Prophets.  But the paperwork almost did me in.  The next outpost we hit is gonna be a much-needed supply opportunity.”  He sat down next to her and sipped from the mug the replicator had formed.  “What are your plans for the day?”


“Maybe some holodeck target practice.  There’s a 22nd Century grenade launcher I’ve wanted to check out for awhile.  Keiran’s class is over in about six hours so after that is dinner.  Why?  Do you have some ideas?”


“I got a message back from Dr. Abs’kol about the procedure he’s been performing.  He’d like to meet with us.”  The tone of his voice was guarded.  He wasn’t sure of the potential of the surgery, or its risks, but he was fairly certain what her answer would be, no matter the former outcomes.


She stopped cold and looked at him.  “When?”  She didn’t exactly hop out of her chair but her tone wasn’t far off.


“Yesterday,” he answered.  “We need to find a time to get away.  He wants to do some tests.”  Chance reached across the table to a PADD that sat there.  “You can see what he wrote,” he finished as he handed the device over to her.


She quickly took it and read.  “This is fantastic.  I’ll arrange leave for us both this afternoon.”


He was hesitant and not as excited as she was about it.  He worried that she was willing to jump into anything.  Risks were an everyday occurrence for her, and she wouldn’t blink twice.  “You may be able to leave at the drop of a hat,” he reminded her, “but I need to get permission.”


The subtle tone of his voice struck her.  He didn’t approve or at the least was wary and her own eagerness were at odds.  She set the PADD down.  “We’ll get your schedule sorted and then make the appointment.  I know—I know you don’t want to rush into things, but if this is the path we’re going I need to know you’re really onboard.”


He reached out for her hand and took it in his.  “I am…really.  But I won’t stop being worried until we’re through it all.”


She smiled, feeling relieved. “So, in your medical opinion, what is our reasonable success rate?”


He contemplated the question, trying to be reasonable.  “Well, coming down from my instinctual answer, I’m thinking 75%.”  He left it open for her to counter, knowing that even his loose number may still be unrealistic.  And that fact was a significant part of his reason for worry.


“Okay, let’s say it doesn’t work.  What’s the risk?”


“That all depends on when it doesn’t work.  If we’re talking the procedure that this guy does, the main risk is your body rejects the organ.  If that fact is found in time, removal probably isn’t too hard, but if the symptoms don’t make themselves known, septicemia is a major concern.  If this procedure goes as planned, the question becomes what risks over the normal is there in a full-term pregnancy?”


“That seems like a fair assessment.  But I’m willing to roll the dice if it means we have a shot.”  She glanced at the table before her with her cig pouch.  “I guess I’ll have to finally stop smoking.”


He nodded emphatically.  “Yes.”  For a moment he was going to leave it at that, but realized he could be more sympathetic. “Whatever help you need for that, we can do it.  And, the sooner the better.  In fact, it it probably better that you be off them before the tests.  It’ll only increase your chances of being viable.”


Nothing he said was wrong and she knew smoking had been a long time peeve of his.  “Okay, then I’m done.  I don’t want to sabotage this.”  She slid the pouch to him.  


He gave her an encouraging smile, leaving said pouch where it was.  I know you can set your mind to anything, but if the withdrawal gets to bad, it’s okay to say something.”  Even though he expected her deny that she needed it, he made the offer anyways.


“Okay, I’ll keep that in mind though you’ll probably be able to tell if I’m crazier than usual.”  She stood, wrapping her arms around him.  “Thank you, and I mean that as all-encompassing as possible.”


He nodded as she moved toward him, but her second comment made him truly smile.  These conversations had been extremely serious, and even just getting one or two aspects settled seemed like some weight lifted.  It wouldn’t all be gone until something made them change their minds, or she was holding their very own child, both safe and healthy.  “You are most welcome.  And I apologize now if I get too mother hennish as we go forward.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop myself.”  He ended with his usual grin.


“I think we both should be as optimistic as possible that the procedure will work.  So, do you wanna go practice for step two?”  She flashed a flirty look.


“I thought you’d never ask,” he answered, standing up and keeping her in his arms as he did so.  His feet carried them both to the other room.