"We do not negotiate with terrorists!" Hisham Basara shouted in the Captain's direction.
Captain Hunt said nothing in response but met the Council member's gaze for several seconds. "You don't, I do - or I will if it saves the lives of everyone on this ship."
"You are out of line Captain." Theresa Ice, another Council member, said more calmly than her counterpart.
Another chimed in quickly, "And you don't have the authority."
"I have no intention of making them any promises I can't keep - but the violence has to stop and the only way to do that is to get them to the table to talk." Captain Hunt said. "Unless you want them to target our chambers next? Or your quarters?" He looked at each of the silent Council members for a moment. "I don't think they aim to hurt people - but it doesn't mean they won't. They have eluded incredible security and even with names, we can't find them."
"It's a ship, there's only so many place they could be!" Tobias Bohm said exasperated.
"And yet....Commander Bonwick has nothing, no leads, no tangible suspects, no clues...surely you can see that it's time to take another approach." Captain Hunt said. "Unless you have another idea?" he looked at each of them again, meeting their critical gazes with an unreadable face. He nodded. "As I thought. Good day." he concluded and left the temple.
Rob Jamison was waiting for him and nodded in acknowledgment. "You've received an encrypted message Captain."
"From?" Hunt asked taking a data pad from him and glancing over it as they walked. "Ah, very good. Please have Commander Bonwick meet me in my office."
"She's already on the bridge sir. Her security team is....uh...crowding the engineers and the bridge crew as they attempt to investigate the explosion." Jamison said.
Hunt nodded knowing all too well how much Bonwick liked a show of force. "I'll meet her there then. How is Mr. Ice?"
"On his way to the medical ward now. Stable I think, but his injuries were extensive given his proximity to the explosion." Jamison reported sounding worried.
"Has Doctor Ryan been briefed?" Hunt asked, still skimming the data pad as they walked.
Jamison was silent for a moment; one moment too long since Hunt stopped walking and turned his full attention on him. "Um, well no sir."
"Why not? She is the acting chief medical officer and the only doctor we have available." Captain Hunt asked.
"From what I overheard - she's in custody." Jamison said reluctantly. "Commander Bonwick brought her in for questioning and then there was the bridge explosion....." he trailed off.
Captain Hunt narrowed his eyes at Jamison and the man wisely stepped back. Hunt, clutching the data pad, started for the bridge; walking so fast Jamison had to jog to keep up with him. As the doors to the bridge swept open, Hunt immediately summoned Bonwick to his office and led the way with no other address to the crew. Bonwick glanced at Jamison quickly before going into the office.
"Captain, the engineers aren't done yet so I have nothing to report regarding the bridge explosion." Bonwick said.
"Do you have evidence that suggests Doctor Ryan is involved with these explosions or the Sons of Liberty?" Hunt asked, giving Bonwick the same calm, poker face he'd used with the Council.
"Well Sir, she is dating Mr. Ice - an ancestral - as you know relations between ancestrals and embryotics are forbidden without permission from the Council." Bonwick gave the only thing she had to hold Freya.
"True, do you have a confession or evidence that they have had physical relations then?" Hunt asked.
"No, not yet. But Ms. Ryan..." Bonwick was cut off by the Captain holding his hand up.
"Doctor Ryan, if you please." Captain Hunt said and then motioned for her to continue.
Bonwick tried to suppress the scowl from her face. "She and Mr. Ice have had a falling out as I understand, I have no doubt that I will have testimony from Mr. Ice soon."
"Except Mr. Ice is in critical condition in the medical ward without a doctor. If he dies, you won't have anything; you're assuming of course you can get him to turn on her, which I find unlikely." Captain Hunt said. "Release her from custody."
"But Captain, if she is..." Bonwick started to protest but Captain Hunt narrowed his eyes at her and cut her off again.
"Release. Doctor Ryan. From. Custody. Now." Captain Hunt said. "Unless you have some other, real, evidence and intend to charge her with something."
"Yes Sir." Bonwick said with a great deal of resignation.
"In fact, I'll accompany you to the security office. Now. After you." Captain Hunt said with a barely perceptible smile.
One....two...thee....four....silent. Freya was laying on the bench in the cell, staring at the ceiling and listening to the thrum of the ship. It amazed her that she'd never really listened to it; but then usually there were other noises to make hearing the faint noise impossible. How long had she been here? She glanced over at the open door. No one had come back to the security office or surely they would have seen that it was wide open so it couldn't have been that long. The emergency red lights had turned back to the standard white some time ago - or it seemed some time ago at least. Was it an hour? A few hours? She glanced at her watch and realized it was pointless, she hadn't really paid attention to what time it was when she'd been escorted from the ward. Couldn't have been more than an hour or two though.
"Why is this door open?" Commander Bonwick asked. Without receiving a reply she turned to someone else with a look of triumph on her face. Freya craned her neck to see who it was and was pleased to see Captain Hunt and opted to sit up. "You see Captain, she attempted to escape. Surely..."
"And yet she's still here - waiting patiently it would seem. Surely if she were trying to escape she'd be gone." Captain Hunt said. "Come along Doctor. I think Commander Bonwick is finished with you." he said.
Freya got to her feet and ran her fingers through her hair quickly. She bit the inside of her lip to resist the impulse to say something to Bonwick or look too triumphant as she passed by her and followed the Captain. Bonwick was scowling; Freya bit down harder.
"You're needed in the medical ward." Captain Hunt explained as they walked. "The explosion on the bridge...." he placed his hand on her shoulder to stop her for a moment. "It's Julian Ice."
Freya felt as if ice cold water had been thrown on her. She stared at the Captain's face but didn't even see him. She could only see the painful and panicked look on Julian's face the last time she'd seen him that day in the rec room. Finally she felt herself nodding although she couldn't remember making the decision to do so. She turned from the Captain and practically ran to the medical ward. There was chaos everywhere as nurses hurried about. It was a full minute or more before someone saw her standing there. "Doctor! Thank goodness!" the medic exclaimed. He thrust a pair of scrubs into Freya's arms and grabbed her by the arm; dragging her further into the ward. Without thinking, Freya moved aside and put on the scrubs and then washed her hands. Meanwhile the medic was giving her the details about Julian's condition. "...plasma burns on his lower legs and possible spinal damage..." Freya had to force herself to focus on the medical details instead of the fact that it was Julian. "....he's currently stable but the internal...." A nurse put gloves on her hands and she kept her eyes locked on the medic as they walked toward the surgical bay.
There were several images displayed on the screens showing the damage the explosion had done to Julian's body; and then there was Julian, laying sedated on the table. Freya dragged her gaze from his face to the images to start making plans. Freya pointed to the the image of Julian's spine. "There." she turned back toward the surgical table and waited as a mask and cap were tied on. After several steadying breaths, she was able to push Julian's face from her mind. "Let's get to work."
Freya instructed a medic and a nurse in how to treat the wounds on Julian's legs. They were ghastly and deep but not life threatening. She could hear the metal clinks as they extracted pieces of console from his flesh and dropped them into the tin. The more pressing matter was his internal bleeding...and his spine. 'Can't think about the spine yet.' she reminded herself as she picked up the regenerator she would need to repair the internal damage.
Freya pulled off her mask and gloves after hours of surgery. "Lot of good it did" she muttered, blinking away the tears threatening to spill over. Tears of anger, tears of fear and tear of exhaustion.
"You should get some rest Doctor." Arabella said putting a hand on Freya's arm. "You did everything you could."
Freya shook her head and pushed herself away from the wall, walking into the main ward. She watched the rest of the medical staff transfer Julian to another bed and then shooed them all away and sat down on the empty bed next to him. She watched his chest rise and fall just to reassure herself.
One...two....three....four....her eyes fluttered and she laid down, never taking her eyes from Julian. And then she slept.
Andy shook her friend by the shoulder and then jumped back as Freya nearly smacked her jumping out of bed. "Woah! Sorry, was just trying to wake you..."
Freya blinked away the sleep and check the time, three hours; she'd slept for three hours. She looked over at Julian and took several steadying breaths in time with his own breathing.
"How is he?" Andy asked when Freya seemed to be awake and calm.
"Alive." Freya said trying to sound thankful for that much.
"Well that's a good thing. I saw how he was right after the explosion and it took the team so long to get him transported here...." Andy trailed off as Freya dissolved into tears. "What? Why are you crying? You said he was fine."
"No" Freya said as she tried to stop the flow of tears. "I said he was...." She hiccuped "Alive." She looked over at his still body and had to close her eyes tightly to collect herself. "He won't be able to walk." She saw Andy look over at him and watched the shock hit her face. When Andy looked back at Freya again, Freya swung her legs over the side of the bed and walked toward the front desk.
Andy followed her closely. "He won't be able to walk? Ever?"
"No, probably not." Freya said as she sat down at the computer.
"Probably - you mean there's a chance?" Andy pestered.
"I don't know!" Freya exclaimed making Andy jump back a bit in surprise. "I don't know Andy. Medically there is a 99% chance he will never walk again. Not under his own power anyway."
"His own power? What do you mean?" Andy said sitting on the edge of the desk.
Freya suppressed a yawn. "About twenty years ago, the ship encountered a species that used these sort of exo-skeletal devices due to the atmosphere..." Freya saw Andy's attention perk up at exo-skeleton but then her eyes wandered away as Freya got to the reasoning. "Anyway, it could be adapted but I'm not sure - I haven't had a chance to research it. I just remember reading about in the archives about five years ago."
Andy looked at her curiously. "How do you remember stuff like that?"
Freya just shrugged. "I have a good memory." From deeper inside the ward, she heard a groan and looked at Andy anxiously. "I'll talk to you later" she said quietly and took a few moments to calm her nerves. When she first saw him, she had to suppress a sob. "Don't try to get up." Freya said moving to his side and gently helping him sit up some.
"Freya!" he reached out and grabbed her hands. "Oh I feel horrible!"
"Physically or mentally?" Freya asked trying to smile a little.
Julian chuckled and then his face creased with pain. "Ow, that hurt...and both." he said. "I'm sorry about what I said...I was...I don't know, stupid I guess. I'm sorry."
Freya blinked back tears and squeezed his hand. "You just had surgery. I should examine you." she said but didn't move from his side. She didn't want to let go of his hand. "The explosion on the bridge....it was your console. Your legs took a lot of hits from debris and, from what I've been told, you were thrown pretty far and hard. You had some internal bleeding which I took care of."
"Pays to know the best doctor on the ship." Julian said with a grin. Freya nodded and gave him a small laugh. "What haven't you told me?" he asked. When she only looked away from him he squeezed her hand. "Freya, just...."
Freya pulled her hand from his and stepped to the end of the bed. She reached under the covers and ran her finger along the bottom of his foot. "Julian can you feel this?"
"Feel what?" Julian asked. She did it again, and again, each time hoping he'd feel something but he just looked at her confused.
"Okay." she said tucking the blanket back over his feet carefully. "When you were thrown....your spine...it was damaged and..." she struggled to stay some what calm. "You're paralyzed Julian. From the waist down." Julian's face was a mix of shock and concentration. Freya knew he was attempting to move his legs even now. "I'm so sorry." she said quietly.