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Updated: Apr 21, 2023

Bujer District, Lenthara, Hobus Sector

Ayesha awoke suddenly, her hands clasped to her mouth to stop herself from screaming. Wearing short shorts and a white T-Shirt, she was covered in sweat, partially from the heat of the planet, but mostly through the strenuous mental toil her brain was going through. She was not used to the new climate and all she could hear in her sleep were the overlapping voices of millions of inhabitants. It caused her to have deep and dark nightmares. Her head pounded; a dull throb at the front of her brain, like a never-ending drumroll. Ayesha hugged her knees, lifting them up from the thin sheet and placed her head on them, letting her kneecaps drill into her forehead to try to stop her brain from hurting. Now that she was awake, her training and experience took over from her subconscious and the voices suddenly returned to the calming white noise in the background. The room was still, but for her laboured breathing and SinB's silent sleeping breaths on the other bed. Outside a low bustle was heard as the colony went about its nighttime business. Ayesha gently climbed out of bed and made her way to a bowl of water on a table, cupping the tepid liquid in her hands and gently splashing it on her face. She looked at the other room where the silhouetted shape of Five could be seen pouring over her reading. Quietly inching her way out, she stopped at her bag, fishing for something in the darkness before stepping out of the door and onto the balcony of the flat she was staying in. The corrugated iron frame of the door squeaked and rattled, but it was muffled by the squeaks and rattlings of the room; the mark of the craftsmanship of the block of flats. Outside, a light breeze brought some respite from the stifling warmth of the planet. Ayesha looked at the hypo she had bought and leaned on the frame of the balcony. Gently pressing it to her neck, she injected herself with the drug. It worked fast, and her veins coursed with the calming serum. She looked out over the colony and to the city in the near distance, enjoying the feeling of euphoria that came with the stimulant. The trio were situated in the Bujer District of Lenthara. The Tirama Flu had placed the predominantly Romulan population of the district on lockdown, and deaths were high. With poor sanitation and healthcare, Ayesha was working to find the cure to the new strain of the virus, whilst SinB and Five were both helping to repair various machines and mechanisms to introduce some semblance of sanitation in the area. Their presence as Starfleet Officers was tolerated through necessity, though the usual Romulan snobbery existed, exacerbated by the very fact that they needed help in the first place. But they were not going to turn the officers away, especially since the flu was on track to wipe the new district out and the Lentharan government had neither the ability nor the want to help the Romulans out. This wasn't due to anti-Romulan sentiment; Lenthara was founded by Romulans after all. These Romulans just had the unfortunate luck to have been residing in Lenthara for less than a year prior to the Squabbler Reforms which aimed to cut the growing and unstable population of the City District. The Bujer District then was nothing more than hastily constructed housing and a defence perimeter. Most of the residents had to travel to the City District to work anyway, but now that they were banned from doing so due to the District quarantine, they were all lounging about at home, with no work and more importantly no income. Crime had risen but as more and more people succumbed to the illness, even those who would steal were floored from the virus. It was a sorry state of affairs. Ayesha was glad that she had the easy job; find the vaccine and distribute it. Starfleet charity ended there; rebuilding the district was a job for the citizens of the district, for better or for worse. Ayesha wasn't going to complain about that. She was a doctor, not a governor. Ayesha gently massaged the tips of her forehead with her fingers, her mind clearing and ejecting endorphins into her bloodstream from the drug she had taken. She was aware of her heart pumping in her chest, and could feel the blood move along her veins and around her body. She quietly stepped back into the room, slipping the hypo back into her bag. She had to be careful to not use it all; she'd only brought a limited amount of the drug with her and she'd used it more extensively in the last few days due to her brain not acclimatising to the new surroundings. If she ran out, she faced a horrendous withdrawal period. She shook her head and decided to just enjoy the moment, climbing back into bed and staring at the corrugated ceiling. With her mind silent, she was suddenly more aware of the place she was in. SinB's breathing was louder, more visceral. Ayesha could hear Five's fingernails scrolling on the PADD in the next room. She could hear the chirping of the insects, and the bustle of the district become more aware. Surrounded by these heightened senses, Ayesha fell into a more comfortable sleep, no longer tormented by the nightmares of earlier. She'd be a mess tomorrow, be extra cranky and easily annoyed, but it was the price she had to pay for her mind to be still for a few hours.


Deep Space Sixteen

Ayesha and Jurudi stood outside Jurudi's quarters. "Well, here we are. Scans came up clear and your transport arrives in the morning, so you should be good to go," Ayesha said, looking up at the tall man. "Yes, thank you. Please pass on my utmost thanks to the Captain; I was well treated and looked after," "Apart from the incidental drugging, yes," Jurudi chuckles. "It was a very enlightening moment," he says, with a smile, before looking at Ayesha, his ears twitching. Ayesha looks back at Jurudi, brushing her hair behind her own ear. "I have spent a lot of time amongst humanoids, Doctor," Jurudi begins. "I have learnt that most races utilise facial reactions and body language to convey emotion. I note that there is a sort of unease in you; was it something I did, or said? If so, I beg your apology," Ayesha turns red and quickly shakes her head. "No, no," she says. "No," she adds, after a slight pause. "Then I assume it is about the disruption during the meeting? Please, do not deny it," Ayesha sighs, leaning on the bulkhead. "I am telepathic; I can detect what people are thinking. There is nothing in your mind that shows any sign of guilt or emotion about any ills against the other races," "But you are hesitant to accept it?" "People who are enraged enough to come onto a Starfleet station and protest don't do so without reason," Jurudi took a step forward, taking Ayesha's hands. "I can assure you, not as a diplomat but as a civilian, that I did no harm to my fellow planet-dwellers. The Driskivii abhor violence," Ayesha looked at Jurudi, and then smiled. "I believe you," she said. Jurudi smiled in response and took a step back, letting Ayesha's hands drop. "I am glad with your approval and belief. I would like to apologise for the distress caused," "It's okay, Jurudi," "No; it is not. To cause distress to a fair lady like you is criminal. You have been nothing but a patient and open host; I have caused nothing but discomfort and distress," "Jurudi, please, no," Ayesha smiled. "It's nothing like that. You have been a wonderful guest. You've caused no distress," she shook her head and blushed slightly. "It was kind of nice, actually," She looked up at him. The pair locked eyes, and then Jurudi leaned forward slowly, giving Ayesha a kiss. Ayesha let herself be kissed. Ayesha and Jurudi departed his quarters early the next morning, Ayesha bidding the ambassador farewell as he returned back home.

"Autopsy report, Doctor Mirazuni Ayesha recording. Subject name, Victor Emmanuel. Starfleet Rank, Captain. Age, 52. Reported time of death, 18:35. Initial cause of death deemed as cardiac arrest from multiple internal injuries. Autopsy ruling is that the cause of death is ruled to be a brain haemorrhage caused by a zero-point-five-inch piece of metal penetrating the frontal cortex, causing acute intracranial haemorrhaging," Ayesha's voice was flat and professional, her face stoic and emotionless. A casual observer would think her robotic; those who knew her could see that she was shoehorning her emotions away, the robotic and professional act forced. Her eyes skimmed over the lifeless face of her former captain. Ayesha had great respect for the man and he had taught her a lot about command and management, pushing her outside her comfort zone as a doctor to become a rounded officer. She had never once thought to say thank you to the man. She doubted that he ever knew what he had even done for her. "At the scene, this officer was caught in the blast, but was mostly unharmed. The initial chaos of the blast and the injury to this officer delayed diagnosis of the captain by at least thirty seconds, by which time much blood was lost, causing intense intracranial pressure. Internal blood pressure dropped rapidly, causing ventricular fibrillation. After the emergency transport, steps were taken to reduce bleeding and induce clotting to stabilise blood pressure. A craniotomy successfully relieved intracranial pressure, but autopsy reveals severe irreversible neurological damage was sustained. Tranexamic acid was injected at the recommended doses to induce blood clotting; autopsy reveals that blood had begun to clot due to the TXA. Transfusion began to replace lost blood. A cardiac massage was administered to restart the heart but due to multiple body lacerations and damages, combined with the intracranial pressure caused brain death at 18:35," Ayesha's report continued along a similar vein, detailing the damage that had occurred to Victor, which had included severe plasma burns and broken bones. She felt strangely distant from the entire affair. It was as if her pagh had left her body and was floating above her in the morgue, just watching her. She felt a strange shiver down the back of her spine, and took a cautionary glance up at the roof; it was empty. "This autopsy rules that all procedures were followed correctly. This autopsy reveals that the thirty-second delay between the blast and this officer's diagnosis potentially contributed to the death of Captain Emmanuel, as the haemorrhaging in the brain could have been offset by craniotomy earlier to reduce intracranial pressure. However, it is not clear whether or not the quicker administration of TXA would have caused faster clotting and if asystole could have been prevented, as shown by the initial cause of death listed by cardiac arrest. It is likely that an effort to oxygenate the brain would have failed due to the damage sustained by the projectile. An independent review is scheduled to verify these findings. End of report," Ayesha closed her eyes briefly as her professionalism melted away. She gently lifted the sheet over Victor's face, and then keyed in the code for the bed to slide back into the morgue cryostasis. As the hatch sealed, she heard the door open behind her. Bradley had walked in; he did not look like he had slept since the blast, a day previous. "Ayesha..." he said, hoarsely. His eyes looked puffy and swollen, a mixture of tiredness and crying in the safety of his office. "I'm sorry, Brad," Ayesha said, trying to be the cold-blooded doctor she was, but the iciness kept being melted by blazing emotion. "I should have been there, Ayesha," he said, his voice a low whisper. "I should have overseen the talks," "There is so much that we all should have done. We should have had shields up. We should have had the talks away from the station. Over subspace. I should have been faster to diagnose the captain and get him onto the operating table. I can go on... but... we didn't do that. And we can't change in anymore," she said, shaking her head. "That man... he was a second father to me. We'd been through the war together. He officiated my wedding. He would have been the godfather of our children," "I know... he just seemed... almost invincible," The two stood in silence, staring at the hatch containing Victor's body. Finally, Bradley turned around, moving to the door and then pausing. "I'm not ready to be acting Captain, Ayesha. I hope you're ready to be the acting First Officer. I will need the help," he says, before departing, leaving Ayesha in the realisation that she was indeed now the acting First Officer.

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