in the Where They Left Off series
He took the medical tricorder and passed it over her.
That‘s weird, he thought as the instrument did not register anything right away. He shook it and pushed a few buttons, no matter which ones, it was not working. He was about to put it aside and choose another one, when it finally came into life.
He passed the scanning device over her again. His eyes widened in surprise. He looked down at her. She was sitting on the edge of the biobed, she was swinging her legs back and forth, like Naomi would do. As he examined them carefully, he realized that they were shorter than he remembered.
"Is there a problem?" she asked him with a twisted expression.
"I‘m not sure, B‘Elanna," he replied, glancing back at the tricorder‘s readings. "Your EPS manifolds are overheating."
"Any reason, why?" demanded the engineer with a frown.
"There could be a misalignment of the navigational array," he theorized.
"You broke it, again?!" Her question was more of an angry statement. "Well, answer me, Tom."
He did not know what to say to her. The readings of his tricorder were barely making sense.
"Well answer her, Tom," he heard the Captain‘s voice coming from beside him. "What‘s taking you so long, Sailor? If you don‘t hurry up, we‘ll be late."
B‘Elanna suddenly jumped off the biobed, pushing him backward has she did. Tom felt himself lose his balance. In his overwhelming confusing, he saw the tricorder drop to floor.
"Tom!" both women called.
"What‘s taking you so long, Sailor?" Kathryn asked form the bedroom. "If you don‘t hurry up, we‘ll be late."
Tom‘s silence worried her, so she walked back into the living area. He was still sitting on the couch and his eyes were close. He had dropped the book that he had been reading.
Tom had fallen back to sleep, she realized. It did not surprise her, he had been so tired the last few weeks. His insomnia was still a concern despite the sleeping-aids the Doctor had prescribed. Tom was still waking up in the middle of the night, but he didn‘t have the energy to go to the holodeck, the Mess Hall, or the gym, as he used to do. Instead, he was staying in and passed his time reading, listening to some music, or playing games with the computer. Then, he went back to bed for the remaining two or three hours of the night.
The sleeping-aids were indeed helping Tom sleep, however they were not working without side-effects. It had became difficult to get him going in the morning. Tom would feel groggy and overly depressed for a while. Kathryn was afraid that they would have to put him on anti-depressant medication sooner than later.
The fact that he was falling asleep everywhere was also becoming a problem. Fortunately, his symptoms were alleviating themselves during the day. Still, it had forced Chakotay and herself to re- consider Tom‘s duty schedule so that he would work in Sickbay during the morning—under the discrete supervision of the doctor—and the afternoon on the Bridge. It had been a frequent arrangement over the last three years—since Tom had became the EMH‘s assistant—but being kept away from the helm more than usual did nothing to improve Tom‘s mood.
Kathryn walked over to the couch. Leaning over her lover, she touch his shoulder as she called his name. He woke up with a start. His blue eyes met hers with confusion. It took him a moment to get his bearing.
"Hey there, Sailor. You fell back asleep," she explained to him with a soft smile. "Are you all right?"
"Huh... I was dreaming," he replied with muffled voice, as if he had cotton in his mouth.
"Another of your waking-dreams?" she asked already knowing the answer. She had talked with him less than ten minutes before, he possibly could not have fallen asleep and enter in REM sleep so fast. She sat next to him. "What did you dream about?"
He chuckled. Resting his head on her shoulder, he narrated his dream.
"You told B‘Elanna that her EPS manafold were overheating?" she laughed. "Sailor, don‘t ever do that in real life."
"There wouldn‘t be much left of me, would there?" he agreed. "There was something wrong with her legs, too. They were shorter, about the length of Naomi‘s."
"Didn‘t Naomi came into sickbay, yesterday?" Kathryn asked.
"Yeah, and so did B‘Elanna," Tom recalled. "Then, I went to see her in engineering to discuss a problem with the helm."
"Sounds like you dreamed about yesterday‘s events," she said.
"Isn‘t that a characteristic of REM sleep?"
"It is," he simply confirmed.
"Did you talk about your dreams with the Doctor?" she inquired.
"Never occurred to me," Tom replied.
She sighed. "Did he mention anything about REM sleep disorders to you?"
"I don‘t know if he even tested me for that," Tom told her on a tone that let her wonder if he cared at all. "I‘ll have to bring it up to him," he said a after a short pause.
"Yes, you‘ll have to do that. Today", she emphasized. "But now, we have to go get some breakfast. So, hurry up, Sailor. We‘re already running late."
"Can we just stay in?" he asked with a sad-puppy expression. "You never take much more than a coffee anyway."
"Maybe so," she granted. "But, I enjoy having breakfast with you. And, going out will do you some good. You‘ve been in here too much."
It had been Chakotay‘s advice that they all push Tom into his normal daily activities to help him get started in the morning. Kathryn was determinated to do just that, even if it meant to have breakfast in the Mess Hall.
She stood up and helped him get on his feet.
"You‘re a cruel woman, Kathryn Janeway," he teased her.
"That‘s why you love me," she told him with a matching grin.
As Tom made
his way to the bathroom to freshen-up, Kathryn heard him sing the lyrics
of French song that they had adopted as their own.
(I love to
She put aside
what she was doing just to listen the last part of the song.
Elle a du faire toutes les guerres, (She must have done all the wars) De la vie, et l‘amour aussi ...
(Of life, and
love too ...)
"What ya thinkin‘? Tom asked as he lovingly put his arms around her shoulders.
She turned around to face him. "That... Je t‘aime a mourir," she whispered, before kissing him tenderly.
"I know you‘re excited about this, but you know the rules, Naomi," Kathryn and Tom heard Samantha Wildman remind her daughter in a corridor ahead of them. "Don‘t run."
The two senior officers smiled. They knew Naomi to be calm, even tempered, and very mature for her age, but she was still a child who could easily got excited and enthusiastic about new projects.
As they turned around the corner, Naomi collided at full speed with Tom. He momentarily tried to catch her before she fell to the floor, but he did not reach her in time. His leg gave out from under him and he felt himself sink onto the deck like a bag of potatoes.
"Tom?!" Kathryn asked worried by his sudden fall. "Are you all right?"
He did not answer her.
"Something‘s wrong..." Samantha quickly said, concerned by the fact that Tom was not moving.
While Samantha helped her daughter back to her feet, Kathryn knelt beside the fallen man. His eyes were half-closed and they were moving very rapidity.
"He‘s in REM sleep," she realized, looking up at Wildman for some sort of confirmation.
"I‘m sorry, Captain," the child said shakily. "Is Tom going to be all right?" she asked, afraid that she had hurt him baldly.
"I think so, Naomi," Kathryn replied reassuringly. She turned back her attention to Paris. Putting a hand on his shoulder, she asked: "Tom, can you hear me?"
said sleepily. "I just had the weirdest dream ..."
End of part
Note: Text mode don‘t like French accents on vowels, so I didn‘t put any. Je L‘Aime a Mourir belongs to French-singer Francis Cabrel .
reading this little piece.