Chapter 6

All of Me

by Edward McArdle.

 

Aryon Glutis was the first to break the silence. She personally had never met any of these people except Vishat Sawlo, but she knew who they were from the others' memories. She first took in the looks of stunned horror, and then the prone figure of Commissioner Klett!

"Oh God! What happened?" she cried. In a reflex she retreated, not caring who replaced her. Blessic awoke, and watched in horror as events unfolded around her.

Glutis' cry broke the short paralysis, and Kes said in horror, "Oh Neelix! What have you done? I could have stopped him!"

Even in this moment of emotion and revulsion, a part of Janeway's mind took in her statement, as well as noting grimly that this was one of the few times she had seen Kes off-balance.

"He would have.." began Neelix, and as the blood drained from fis mind, he broke off. "I.. I.. what have I done?"

Vishat Drarn had the answer. "You have doomed the city! I'll bring back Bill."

Janeway had also recovered her equilibrium. There was always a priority.

"We've got to get him to a hospital. How do we do that?"

Vishat Bill answered quietly. "It doesn't matter. The deed is done." Then he paused, and seemed to mentally shake himself. "But you are right. We must save him. There is no need for him to die also. I'll summon an ambulance."

He pulled up his sleeve to show a communicator on his wrist, but Janeway forestalled him.

"We can cure him faster. We can cure him on our ship, then take him to your hospital."

"Do it then," said Vishat Bill. I will apprise the hospital to wait for you. Then you must go."

Tuvok looked as disturbed as a Vulcan can.

"But the fault is ours," he said. "We must remain and accept the blame."

"The fault is ours," said Bill firmly. "We knew we took a risk when we invited you. Besides, whether you admit blame or not will have no effect. The city will be destroyed."

"What can we do?" asked Janeway desperately.

"You can leave," he replied simply. "We must get as many away as we can, while you also escape. But first we must help this man. Then I will call for an evacuation. I will show you where the hospital is."

"We know," said Kes, who seemed to know everything.

"This is a very civilised attitude," said Tuvok in a disturbed tone. Vishat Bill Sawlo spoke into his communicator, while Janeway tapped her own communicator.

"Janeway to Chakotay. I need to have all of this group beamed to sickbay, including the man unconscious on the ground."

Chakotay was intrigued by the command, especially as he detected the stress in Janeway's voice, but he said nothing as he relayed the command. The entire group shimmered and disappeared. Fortunately Vishat Bill had concluded his message.

He and Blessic were startled at their translation, as the crew had not revealed their method of travel before, but there was no time to react before they were at the destination! They looked around in awe at the gleaming walls of the sickbay, and even more as the doctor appeared in answer to Janeway's command.

After his usual introduction, the doctor immediately identified the patient without further clues, and sprang to his side. He analysed quickly.

"He has a serious skull fracture and some internal bleeding around the brain. We'll have him right in a few minutes."

Vishat Bill was astonished. "You can cure that in a few minutes?" he gasped.

"Yes," answered Janeway for the doctor. "Doctor, can you leave the contusions on the scalp? That leaves the hospital something to treat, and it won't seem such a serious accident."

"Well, a new challenge every day!" said the doctor sarcastically. Cure the skull fracture and leave the scratch!"

"It won't help," said Vishat Bill gloomily. "They are totally merciless. Any infringement results in a city's destruction."

Paris broke in, "Doc, how's his memory? I know a blow sometimes induces short-term memory loss."

The doctor considered his data for a moment, then answered, "He may have a confused memory of the last few minutes of consciousness, but I don't think he has amnesia."

"He knows he was in a garden," said Vishat Bill, "and someone hit him. That's all he needs."

Paris thought for a moment, then said, "Well, let's go for a long shot. Kes, can you remember the garden well enough to reproduce it on the holodeck?"

"Yes, I'm sure I can," she said simply and confidently, causing Janeway to look at her once again in wonder.

"Near enough should be good enough, anyway," said Paris.

"You have an idea, Tom?" asked Janeway, intrigued.

"A long shot."

"Long shots sound good at this time. What do you want?"

Paris grinned, and spoke to his communicator. "Commander Chakotay, beam me and Kes to the holodeck, and send the others along as soon as the doctor has fixed up his patient. Doctor, keep the patient unconscious, but prepare to wake him, and put him to sleep again on the holodeck."

"Well, that sounds clear," muttered the doctor, in a stage mutter. "Just what I took the Hippocratic oath for. Putting seriously ill patients in and out of consciousness!"

Paris would have asked when he had ever taken the oath, but the situation was too desperate. He and Kes faded out in the shimmer of transporter beams.

The doctor worked for a while, and announced Klett cured of his major injuries. Janeway signaled Chakotay that they were ready for transport, and he gave the order.

When they materialised, they were in a reproduction of the garden. Tuvok held Klett in his arms, and Paris began organising everyone.

"Ok, all of you remember where you were standing? Are you all where you were when Neelix hit him?"

"Except it was Vishat Drarn, not Vishat Bill," pointed out Blessic.

Tom Paris cast his eyes silently to heaven, and replied politely, "I don't think he'll have time to notice that. And we don't want..." He sighed, and gave up that line of exposition. "Ok, is everybody ready? Tuvok, set him upright on his feet."

Tuvok gently set the Commissioner down. Janeway was mildly curious in some set-off part of her brain whether he would find such a task repellent. Vulcans did not like to be touched, but she supposed carrying an unconscious man might not come under that heading. But he was the strongestof them. The doctor stood behind Klett, waving his hypospray.

"Is it wakies time yet?" he asked

Paris nodded, and he applied the spray to the side of Klett's neck. The Commissioner stirred groggily, and everyone except Tuvok called out variations of "Look out! Falling branch! Above you!" Tuvok stepped back and away from him.

Klett glanced sleepily up, and saw a holographic branch falling straight toward him and Kes. As he raised his arm to ward it off, the doctor applied his other spray, and Klett collapsed unconscious on to the floor.

"Wasn't one of you supposed to catch him?" asked the doctor.

"Mister Paris supplied us with insufficient data about his plan," observed Tuvok, as he lifted the unconscious Paoli.

"Well, that's our best shot," said Janeway with a grimace. "Let's get him to your hospital."

Chakotay programmed the transporters to a hospital room nominated by Vishat Bill, who had arranged for the room to be emptied for their arrival. The group shimmered into existence, and Vishat Bill called in the local doctor. He looked tense and troubled, but was baffled by the arrival of the group.

"I'll tell you later," said Bill, without being asked anything.

"Looks like I was mistaken," said Paris lightly. "You do have beds. These are like the things we sleep on."

"We can have light conversation if your idea works," said Vishat Sawlo shortly, and they wondered whether Vishat Nord had returned, but nobody asked.

"When will we know?"

"When we wake him," said Paris, in a more subdued tone. "Everyone ready?"

"Wait," interrupted Kes, "I'll try something else."

Nobody stopped her, so she moved over and sat on the edge of Commissioner Klett's bed, and put her hand on his head. She said softly, "That was a brave thing to do, Commissioner. You saved my life when you pushed me out of the way of that branch, and took it yourself. You are a hero. Thank you."

As she stood up and moved back, Tom said quietly but angrily, "A hero? He was going to rape you!"

She looked him in the eye, and said, "Shush! He'll hear you. We don't know what sort of a childhood he had. A bit of encouragement, and he may turn out a good person."

"And if he eats his crusts he may turn out to be a genius!" Tom exclaimed bitterly.

"Perhaps they can show him feelgood films while he's recovering," said Torres sardonically.

"It's time to find out if this has worked," said Janeway, bringing them all to sobriety.

They had brought the hypospray, and gave it to the local doctor to administer. He looked askance at it, but its operation was simple, so he shrugged, and applied it where told. Klett immediately began to roll about and groan histrionically.

"What's he groaning about?" asked Tom suspiciously. "He's only got mild lacerations."

"Maybe he hurt himself when he fell," said B'Elanna. "But it was only a slide, really."

This thread of speculation was interrupted by the buzzing of Vishat Sawlo's wrist communicator. He listened to it and went pale.

"A Paoli ship has landed," he said grimly. "The captain asked after Klett, and they've directed him here."

Janeway thought that the bush telegraph must be very effective, but she just replied, "Chakotay said he was around. All non-human personnel better beam up to the ship. The makeup story won't fool him. Kes You'll have to stay, though. You're the star of the story. Hide your ears."

Kes obediently pulled down her hair. Janeway noticed that she was, for once, a little paler than usual. Neelix, Tuvok and Torres had themselves beamed back to the ship, to the astonishment of the local doctor. The others were busying themselves with the recovering Klett when the Paoli captain strode dramatically through the doors.

"I hear that one of my men has been attacked," he said theatrically. "Are you people tired of life? Who are all you people?"

"These are some of the people who have come to praise your heroic comrade, Captain," said Vishat Sawlo. Janeway was thankful they had not been wearing their Starfleet uniforms that day, since it would have greatly complicated matters, especially since the man had seen Chakotay in uniform. But of course they were not in uniform at all on the planet, as they were attempting to blend in.

The Paoli was astonished. He glanced at the Commissioner.

"Heroism? What is this nonsense?"

"It's true," said Janeway, hoping that Klett would verify all this. "He saved the life of this young girl."

She indicated Kes, who smiled shyly. The captain looked back at Klett, who was now awake.

"Is this true, Klett?" he demanded.

Klett looked bewildered. "I.. I believe it is, Captain."

"He pushed me aside when a branch was falling on me, and it hit him instead," said Kes, clasping her hands, and sighing. She can act, too! thought Janeway sardonically.

"It's lucky he wasn't killed!"

"It's very lucky," said the captain grimly. "If he was dead, so would all you be! Are you crazy, Klett?"

Klett looked baffled. "I don't know what came over me," he said, with a puzzled frown.

"You've been on the planet too long," said the captain. "We'll have to get you posted home."

"But he's a hero!" said Aryon Blessic, getting into the spirit of things. Paris hoped she wasn't actually believing all this. She had seen the holodeck... "He'll be admired by everyone!"

"That might be useful," mused the captain, "but not if you've had a nervous breakdown, Klett."

"I'm sure I'm all right, captain," said Klett, who was beginning to enjoy his situation. "A hero!" he said to himself.

"Thay might make a film about it!" said Blessic, and he grinned.

"Well, it seems in order after all," grunted the captain, not keen to have Klett steal fame that way, but it might not be helped. "A pity. An occasional lesson is good for morale. You citizens can get back to your work then."

He turned and strode out.

There was a general sigh of relief. Vishat Nord discovered his hand was shaking.

"It seems a pity that he gets to be a hero after what he was going to do," said Janeway, when they had left Klett with the local doctor.

"It may encourage him to be better," said Kes. "It may give him a more positive self-image."

"In any case, better the devil you know," said Vishat Nord drily. "It can't do harm, and it may do good. We'll spread word around of his good deed. If he becomes popular it may change him."

"And pigs may fly," said Paris cheerfully. "But who knows?" He turned to Janeway more soberly. "Captain, we really do have to have that meeting."

"All right," she agreed. "I think I can guess what you want, but I don't think you can have it. We'll convene in the meeting room at 1900 hours. Who do you want there?"


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