Finally back inside her own quarters, Freya slumped against the wall as hours of bottled emotion rolled through her. She heard shuffling from within and swallowed back the urge to yelp as she realized it was just her roommate. After several steadying breaths, she made her way to the bathroom and leaned heavily against the sink. Everything she'd been suppressing during her time with the Sons of Liberty was cascading over her now; all the fear, anger and sadness in quick succession. She finally turned on the water and splashed it over her face a few times in an attempt to wash it all away.
The bathroom door slid open and her bleary eyed roommate looked her over. "'ere 'ave 'ou been?" she asked followed by a large yawn.
"Out." Freya said. She turned off the sink water and looking over Jana's sleepy state, she wondered what time it was.
"Ah." Jana managed a knowing grin, suspecting Freya had been holed up with Julian or something. Freya almost rolled her eyes but figured Jana could believe whatever she wanted. "Lt. Kawolski came lookin' for you a few times, the last time she waited for over an 'our." she yawned again. "I had to leave cause I couldn't take her looking at me all frantic like anymore." Freya just nodded, she had no reasonable excuse prepared to explain anything away. "'ou done here?" Jana asked.
"Yeah. I'm gonna go try to get some sleep..." Freya said; each of Jana's yawns had made her hyper aware of the exhaustion she was feeling. On her way to her own room, she sent a quick message to Captain Hunt to indicate she was back. Then she collapsed on her bed and fell asleep faster than she had in what felt like months. She still didn't know what time it was.
A shrill beep rang once through the room, pulling Freya from her happy dreamless sleep. Her eyes opened a fraction in order to find the source of the noise. Unwilling to move in order to make the search, she gave up quickly and closed her eyes again.
"Oh what the hell?!" Freya shouted sitting up quickly. She glared as she scanned the room for the culprit until she found her comm unit blinking. She muttered a series of curses before pushing the button. "Ryan." she said, shielding her eyes as the lights in the room blared to life.
"Freya?!" Andy practically shouted through the comm link. "Where the hell have you been?! Where are you now?!"
"I'm in my bed, trying to sleep - which is where I plan to go back to. I'm fine, bye now." Freya said and cut the link just as Andy was starting to reply. She would hear about that later but she had neither the energy nor the inclination to care right now. She buried the comm unit under some pillows intent on ignoring it.
A few hours later, Freya walked into the medical ward feeling refreshed. Jana woke her up in time for her duty shift thankfully. "Ah Dr. Ryan, good to see you feeling better." Dr. Hapsberg said; Freya furrowed her brow in confusion and was about to question when she noticed the ward was unusually full.
"What's going on?" she asked looking around. No one looked particularly injured or sick but there were at least a half dozen crew people waiting.
"Physicals." Dr. Hapsberg said as she motioned for some one to follow her back. "Pick a chart, pick a patient."
Freya suppressed a groan and picked up a chart. She turned back to find her victim and found herself face to face with Captain Hunt. "Captain."
"Ah Captain Hunt! I'm glad you came in so soon, usually you are so very busy" Dr. Hapsberg said cheerfully. She was quickly making up a chart for Captain Hunt. "I'm in the middle of a physical but I'll get to you next."
"Oh I think Dr. Ryan can handle it." Hunt said. "I AM busy and need to get back to the bridge after all." Hapsberg just nodded and handed the finished chart to Freya before returning to her patient. Freya started gathering the instruments she'd need for his physical as he took a seat on the bed. "How did it go?"
"Well, I think. Their leader, Meng Asada, agreed to stop any other attacks or violence. I think he's evaluating their current position." Freya said, turning on the scanner.
"Really? Quick work Doctor." Hunt said.
"It's not over Captain, just considering new tactics." Freya explained.
"Of course." Hunt nodded. "Any idea what sort of tactics we ought to expect?"
Freya shook her head. "At that point my presence became less than welcome." she said with a small smile. "But he's a man of his word I think; if he says no violence then there won't be."
"I hope you're right Doctor." Captain Hunt said. He was silent for a time and all that passed between them was the beeps of the scanners. "I'm afraid you might have a bit of clean up to do Doctor; I made sure Dr. Hapsberg was alerted about you missing yesterday's shift but I assume word didn't get around. Nurse White reported you missing - about the same time Lt. Kawolski and Ice were reporting you missing." Freya cringed. "As far as Dr. Hapsberg knows, you were sick - I suggest you keep to that if Commander Bonwick questions you."
"Right." Freya said letting out a sigh. She tapped in a few notes from the physical. "You're done Captain." she said.
"Thank you Doctor." Hunt said standing up. "I'd like a full report if you don't mind." he said; she knew he wasn't talking about the physical.
"I'll be sure to get it to you Captain." she said walking along side him to the front of the ward. Julian and Andy were amongst the group of crew waiting for their physicals and Freya cringed again. She filed the Captain's chart and picked up the next chart from the stack. She hoped that if she stayed really busy Julian and Andy would get bored of waiting for her.
She didn't have such luck. Between patients, Hapsberg stopped her from selecting another chart and handed her one. "Lt. Kawolski requested you."
Freya nodded slowly. "Okay." she looked over Hapsberg's shoulder to where Andy and Julian were waiting and saw a triumphant grin on Andy's face. Freya took the chart and motioned for Andy to follow her.
"Okay where have you been?" Andy asked after several minutes of silence between them.
"Sick." Freya lied, focusing entirely on the scanner.
"Yeah right!" Andy scoffed. "I went by your quarters, you weren't there."
"Four times I think Jana said." Freya corrected. "I was busy Andy."
"With the Sons?" Andy asked, just above a whisper. Freya merely nodded. She closed up the scanner and made a few notes in the chart. "Well?" Andy hissed.
"Well nothing. I'm back, you can call off the hunt." Freya said motioning for Andy to get off the bed. "And if anyone else asks, I was sick."
"Julian won't buy that..." Andy shuffled her feet awkwardly. "I didn't know you didn't tell him..." she explained even though Freya hadn't asked anything.
Freya grimaced. "You didn't did you?"
"You said you were going to talk to him about it...." Andy protested.
Freya walked Andy back to the front and didn't look at Julian while she filed the chart. He didn't need a new physical due to his situation. She wasn't sure why he was here aside from to ascertain that she was, in fact, back and fine. When Freya turned back around to face her next patient, Julian and Andy were gone.
The rest of the physicals kept Freya busy in the medical ward for several days. She and Julian barely saw each other although it could only partially be blamed on work - mostly they weren't talking to each other. Julian came in for his appointments and left again without saying more than a couple words.
Weeks passed without much excitement. The Sons of Liberty had gone silent and as a result, most people seemed to forget they'd ever existed. One look at Commander Bonwick though and it was obvious she remembered them. She walked around with an almost permanent scowl on her face as she continually failed to find them. Freya couldn't help but smirk when she passed Bonwick in such a state.
One such moment happened as Freya saw Bonwick pass by the doors of the Ward, scowl firmly in place. "What are you smiling about?" Hapsberg asked.
Freya shook her head. "Nothing important." she said.
"Julian Ice has an appointment this afternoon right?" the other doctor asked. Freya nodded in confirmation. "He'll be here right?"
"I suppose." Freya said without conviction.
"Aren't you two...." Hapsberg trailed off.
"Yes...and no." she replied with a sigh. "I don't know." she said, waving her hand as if brushing the matter aside.
"Alright." Hapsberg said, she looked like she wanted to push a bit but opted not to. "Well I've had a few ideas about his condition and the exo-skeleton. I called Lt. Kawolski to discuss it." They went over the case while they waited on Andy and for the first time in weeks, Freya felt excited and hopeful.
Andy, who had never given up hope that the exo-skeleton would work, simply grew more animated. She could tell from the doctors' moods that they were optimistic. After the meeting of the minds, Hapsberg left the two of them together. "You have to go tell him!" Andy said.
"I'm not sure he'd like hearing from me honestly Andy. You go tell him." she said.
"Oh no! I've done enough on the telling front thank you very much. You're his doctor...and his girlfriend." Andy replied.
"I'm not sure I'm either actually." Freya replied. "Dr. Hapsberg is his doctor and as for the girlfriend part...I think that requires talking."
"So go talk!" Andy said shoving her gently toward the door. "Just go Freya..."
Andy smiled the whole way back to Engineering. She just knew that things were finally starting to turn around. Julian would be able to walk, which would make him happy again, which would make Freya happy again. For the first time in months, everything seemed to be going right.
So when she walked into the engineering bay, it took her several moments to process the scene. Normally a dozen or more engineers would be working around the two decks of the bay, along with several others scattered about the ship doing repairs and maintance. But there were only two very frazzled looking engineers and Dex - who was several shades of red and cursing violently. "What the bloomin' hell is goin' on here?!" he shouted at the two young engineers.
"Um..." one said looking at the other in panic.
"Um doesn't tell me a gorram thing you little nutter!" Dex shouted.
Andy approached slowly and steeled herself as Dex whirled around on her. "Dex." she said calmly. She turned to the engineers, "Well?" she asked, just as calmly.
"A strike...they said there was a strike?" the other muttered. He sounded confused as he said it, clearly not sure what a "strike" was in this particular situation.
Freya chewed on her lower lip as she rang the door chime again. No answer...still. She checked the computer again to be sure Julian was, in fact, inside. He was, according to the computer anyway. She entered in her medical override and forced her way inside.