Freya rushed to Julian and knelt beside him. Placing her fingers to his neck, she felt a steady pulse and sighed in relief. She did a quick check over his body for obvious injuries and was happy to see that he seemed to mostly be unscathed. She glanced around the room quickly to see what may have happened and saw his chair a short distance away. On the table was a deep purple bottle with several poured glasses of liquid.
She didn't have to smell it to know it was alcohol of some sort. What happened became clear in her head; Julian had been drinking, probably disoriented and had reached for something and fell. She felt Julian stirred beside her and looked down at him sadly. She put a hand behind his head and smiled down at him as he came around.
"Am I dreaming?" Julian asked, his voice slightly slurred. "Oh ow - no, if I was dreaming my head wouldn't hurt this bad."
Freya smirked. "I think you fell." she said.
"Well if this is what I get when I fall, I think I'll do it more." he said putting his arms around her.
Freya laughed. "I'd prefer you didn't. One second." she said lowering him back to the floor gently. She walked over to the door panel and lowered the room's gravity so that she could help him up. Back at his side, she put an arm around him and put his other arm around her other shoulder. "Now hold on tight, cause I don't feel like floating to the ceiling." she said with a wink.
It took a bit of effort, even with the gravity decreased, to get Julian over to the couch. By the time they'd gotten there, the reality of his situation had returned Julian to his previously irritable self.
"Can I get you anything?" Freya asked as Julian looked away from her.
"No," Julian said quietly. Freya shuffled awkwardly for a moment, her movement caught Julian's attention and he finally looked at her. "What are you doing here Freya?" he asked.
Freya felt stung by his tone but said nothing. She turned away from him and got him some cool water - even though he hadn't asked for it. "Here, it'll help." she said holding the glass out to him.
"Thanks" he said, taking the glass from her and putting it on the table without drinking any. "What are you doing here?" he asked again.
"We figured out to make it work." Freya said. "The exo-skeleton that is. There are risks of course...." she paused a moment and looked at the table. Looking up again, she smiled. "But we can make you walk again Julian." Freya felt like she was about to spill over with happy tears as Julian finally gave her his full attention.
His face transformed before her from misery and pain to the hope she was so used to seeing. "Really?"
Freya nodded. "Yes, really. And it can be done soon."
Freya, Andy and Captain Hunt met in the Holo-Imaging Center the next day. Andy had programmed a holographic display of Julian with the exo-skeleton suit on to help explain the mechanics of it.
"The exo-skeleton is a lot like body armor in it's size and bulk" Andy explained. "It's been designed as a suit that Mr. Ice can wear just like a uniform." she said as the hologram flickered into existence.
"It looks good." Captain Hunt said. "How does it work exactly?"
Andy handed the control unit to Freya so that she could adjust the hologram as needed. She turned Holo-Julian around and pointed to an area at the base of his back. "Through an extensive surgery, we will use electricity basically to connect the nerves on either side of the injury into this point here..." there was a white box in the area she was pointing.
"And it will make the connection." Andy said. "Also there are several leads from that area which connect to various active nerves and even into the brain."
"This will allow the exo-skeleton to work the areas of the body that he can no longer operate on his own. All areas below the waist. Those areas may experience a slight delay in response time but we can't really be sure."
"Why not?" Hunt asked.
"Because this has never been done in this sense. It's experimental." Freya explained.
"But you feel confident?" he inquired.
Andy and Freya nodded at the same time. "And Mr. Ice understands the risks and possibilities." Andy added.
Hunt nodded. "Understood. How soon after the procedure do you expect to see results?"
Freya considered for a few minutes. "It could take some time but he hasn't been injured so long that his muscles have weakened considerably. Up to a month I suspect but likely sooner."
"Very good." Hunt nodded. "Good luck with the surgery doctor." he said. He lingered, looking over the holographic representation of Julian and then left. Freya smiled at Andy as they shut down the Imager.
"I need you there Andy!" Freya explained the next day, following the near frantic engineering around the almost deserted bay.
"Does it look like I have time to come watch you do surgery? Besides...the blood and the cutting...no no, I'm much better with machines." she said.
"Hey what's with this place?" Freya called down to the lower deck. "Where is everyone?"
"On strike apparently." Andy called back, never stopping from her work.
"Strike?!" Freya asked in surprise. She went down the stairs instead of taking Andy's method.
"Apparently..." Andy said, half inside a bulkhead. "Your Sons have organized a strike..."
"Hold on, they aren't MY Sons." Freya said, crouching beside the opening.
"Whatever. Anyway, about seventy percent of the engineering staff is now on strike and I hear it's spread - just about every embryotic on the ship is involved." she said grumpily. "So you'll understand why I can't come to your surgery."
Freya couldn't hold back a smile at Meng's new tactics. No violence. "Well I need you there, so find a way." she said and walked out before Andy could come out of the bulkhead.
"Andy? What are you doing here?" Julian asked. He had two nurses hovering anxiously beside him because he was being stubborn and attempting to hold himself up with a walker and a strong back brace. They were quickly putting a gown on him so he could be ready for surgery.
He was up for less than a minute before the fact that he had only dead weight below the waist brought him down into the arms of a couple people. They put him back in the wheelchair and released breaths they didn't even know they'd been holding.
Freya smiled at them. "Apparently Freya needs me here to help with your new mechanical parts." Andy said, looking slightly green at the thought.
"Try not to bleed on her too much Julian." Freya said with a wink.
"Try not to bleed too much period." Andy said as she swayed a bit.
Julian chuckled as Freya nodded to the nurses to take him to the surgery bay and prep him. "Come on Andy, let's scrub." Freya said guiding Freya to the sinks.
"Are you sure you need me here?" Andy asked anxiously, scrubbing her hands vigorously.
"Yes." Freya said simply.
"He's ready Doctor." Nurse White said.
"Good." she said. Two nurses helped them put their gloves on and they walked into the sterile surgical bay where Julian was laying on his stomach, he was still awake but fading quickly.
"I love you Freya." he slurred.
Freya leaned forward so her eyes met his. "I love you too." she whispered. She couldn't help but smile as she righted herself. Once they confirmed he was out, Freya made the first cut.
"Oh man..." Andy said, turning even more green and swaying behind Freya.