ENT WIP: Finding Home 3/? R/S [R]

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Philippe de la Matraque

Jul 2, 2020, 3:20:38 PM7/2/20
Title: Finding Home
Author: Philippe de la Matraque
Part: 3/?
Series: ENT
Rating: R (for discussion of violence and torture)
Pairing: R/S light
Archive: Yes to Trekiverse.org, otherwise, please ask.
Contact: pdelam...@gmail.com
Web: http://gabrielle.sytes.net/Trek/stories/findinghome1.html
Summary: Sequel to Alien Us. Malcolm Reed barely survived to see to be
reunited with Hoshi Sato. But things have taken a downturn and now he
needs a new heart and a way to heal.
Author's note: I deliberately use italics like this *in text** just
because it makes conversion to HTML so much easier.

Star Trek: Enterprise

Finding Home
by Philippe de la Matraque
Sequel to *Alien Us**

Chapter Three

***Two months in the past****

*"It's just not fair," she told the camera--and her brother. "I know.
I don't have a monopoly on that. Fair was never part of the deal. But
there's so much I've never done and now I never will."

She wasn't hiding the tears anymore. "I've never seen the stars like
you have. I've never seen Prague in person. Oh Malcolm, that
architecture! Why did I never go? Why don't I have a pet? I've lived
on my own for years now. Father wasn't here to stop me. Why didn't I
get a kitten?"

"I've never been in love if you can believe it. Not once. Men have
told me they love me but I have never felt it back. I'm going to die
without ever having fallen in love. So not fair!" She dropped her head.

"I envy you, Malcolm." She raised her head. "Your life is an
adventure. There in the stars, seeing new worlds, facing dangers and
overcoming them. You saved the planet! I've never even saved one
single life. I can't even save my own."

She sighed. "My therapist says I'm depressed. Shocking, isn't it?"
She pointed to her head. "Incurable Xindi brain tumor here? What's
there not to be depressed about? I'm not even thirty and I have
absolutely **nothing* to look forward to. Just headaches and confusion
and loss of control of my body until I finally die."

She dropped her head again. "God, I'm depressing you now. As if
you'll ever actually see this. I'm sorry." She tilted her head up
slightly. "I just can't seem to muster any happier thoughts today. See
you tomorrow. Maybe."**

Three surgeons met with the Chief Medical Officer of Starfleet Medical
in San Francisco. Two were neurosurgeons, and the third was a cardiac
specialist. Captain Carla MacCormack handed each a PADD. "We have a
unique case coming in. One Lieutenant Malcolm Reed. In short, he could
have been put through a blender and come out in better shape. He's been
through hell and now, among other things, he need a new heart. That's
where you come in, Steven."

Steven Carver studied his PADD. "I'm surprised this one's still
beating at all."

"One inch diameter spikes?" Dr. Pavel Novak asked. "*Jezis Maria!**
What happened to this man?"

"What did they do to his ankles?" That was Dr. Georges Letourneau.

MacCormack studied her own PADD, which contained a terabyte of data
about just what this lieutenant had suffered over the span of a year.
She was allowed some discretion in divulging that information. But
these surgeons would have only limited interaction with the patient.
"Too much," she replied. "And most of it's classified. I'm handling
his case personally. He's on a Vulcan medical transport and should be
here in a week. Given the sensitivity of his case, I want you all to
work together on one surgery."

"That's going to be crowded," Novak pointed out.

MacCormack nodded. "Yes, it will and after I evaluate the patient, I
may insist on more crowding. That's why we're talking about this now."

"The teaching theatre," Carver suggested. "You've got wrists, right?"
he asked Novak.

Novak sighed. "What's left of them, yes. These can be moved away from
the chest if we spread his arms." He held his arms out to the side to

Carver raised one of them. "Higher. I'll need people on both sides of
that chest. I'll need as much room as you can give me."

"Not too high," MacCormack commented. "I'm concerned about his right
eye. His sternum is heavily damaged as well. Might give us an
opportunity for the new osteo-fusion procedure."

"What is that?" Letourneau asked. "I deal in nerves, not bones."

MacCormack held out one hand palm down, then held out her other hand
the same way but a few inches above the lower hand. "We fuse the donor
bone onto the patient's bone." She lowered her top hand onto the lower.
"The technology borrows from the transporter. End result is a fused
marriage of the two bones."

Letourneau nodded in appreciation. "*Tres bon. Merci."

"Do we have a donor or donors lined up?" Novak asked.

"Not yet," MacCormack replied. "I'll be meeting a potential donor
later today."

All three's eyebrows shot up, but Carver voiced their shock. "Alive?"

"Xindi brain cancer," MacCormack said. "Not long left. Wants to help."

"*Skoda,**" Novak remarked. "Seven million was not enough?"

"Apparently not," Carver said. "Well, the teaching theatre will give
us the space we'd need. Could even have the donor there. Quicker

"Good point," MacCormack made some notes on a separate PADD. There
would need to be a partition installed. That would allow the
neurosurgeons to return to the donor as necessary but still keep the
patient and donor separated. She also noted to enlist Dr. Meagan
Pallikkathayil for anesthesia. Something wasn't right in the patient's
notes. Dr. Phlox on the *Enterprise** had noticed it, too. The patient
had been conscious for nearly every procedure he was subjected to.
Pallikkathayil would make sure that wouldn't happen again.

"Thank you, Gentlemen," MacCormack said. "Start planning. Once he's
here and we have a donor, I want to move quickly. This man's been
through too much for too long. It's time he was healed."

Madeleine felt ridiculous in the wheelchair being pushed by Darlene.
She could walk perfectly well. Well, as long as her device remained
green. But the hospital had insisted on it, so she endured it. San
Francisco had some beautiful buildings. Starfleet Medical wasn't one of
them. She found it to antiseptic and lacking in character. It was
entirely modern, though, and she supposed that would serve her brother well.

The receptionist pointed them to the right corridor and then to a
waiting area. Madeleine was nervous but also excited. Malcolm would be
here in a week. And within a day of that, she would probably be dead.
It wasn't that it didn't scare her, but it was going to happen whether
or not she was scared. Malcolm had a chance where she did not. If she
could be his chance, she would save his life even if it meant her death
came a bit sooner.

Madeleine's phone rang. She pulled it from her bag. It was Mother.
Just then, an older woman in a white coat walked up to them. "Hello,
I'm Dr. MacCormack." She held out a hand toward Madeleine. "Miss Reed,

Madeleine declined the call and took the hand that was offered. "Thank
you for seeing me, Doctor."

MacCormack shook her hand briefly then ushered them both into her
office. Darlene placed Madeleine in front of the desk then sat beside
her. MacCormack sat in her chair behind the desk. "How much do you
know of your brother's condition?"

"I know he was vivisected," Madeleine told her, "and that he needs a
new heart. I spoke with Commander Tucker from his ship."

MacCormack started to speak, then stopped before finally starting
again. "Miss Reed, I understand your prognosis is grim, but donating a
heart is very final."

"So is my cancer," Madeleine held. She willed herself to answer the
doctor's questions calmly and with conviction. And the device on her
wrist to stay green throughout the interview. "I can help my brother."

"I admire your desire to donate, but you needn't rush," MacCormack
argued politely. "There's always a need."

"I will be happy to help others," Madeleine said, "but I want to help
my brother first. He can't wait."

"Miss Reed has not come to this decision lightly," Darlene added in her
defense. "Dr. Quill gave her a recommendation after finding her to be
of competent to make the decision."

"I see that," MacCormack replied, picking up a PADD. "You're of sound
mind at the moment?"

Madeleine held up her wrist. The green was starting to soften. She
lowered her wrist again. "For now. It will only get worse. I'd rather
my passing happened sooner and my brother's life was saved, then to know
he has to wait on life support and I just wither away."

She started to get worried. The display was definitely shifting toward

MacCormack sighed. "I don't like hastening death needlessly, Miss
Reed. But your brother is not needless. However, a sibling
relationship does not guarantee genetic compatibility. You'll need to
be tested."

*Then test me,** she wanted to say, but the words wouldn't come. She
nodded. "Now?" was all she could manage.

"Yes, we can do it now," MacCormack answered. "I'll send for someone
to take you to the phlebotomist. Then you may return home and get your
affairs in order." She stood and walked around her desk. She held out
her hand again, and Madeleine managed to take it without a hitch. "It's
quite a sacrifice, cancer or no. I'm glad to have met you." She
released her hand and left the office.

Madeleine moved her left arm so Darlene could see. She was glad now
for the wheelchair. "Tell," she said. "Do now. Ever color."

Darlene took her hands. "Alright."

A young man arrived. "Follow me, please."

Darlene got up and wheeled Madeleine after him. They went down a
corridor and turned left and down another corridor. Madeleine couldn't
keep track. The device was yellow. But she trusted Darlene would get
her there.

Finally, they stopped in a small room with tubes and little balls of
white. There was a chair with strange arms, almost like a desk. The
young man left and a woman in the office spoke. Madeleine didn't
understand what she said.

Darlene replied for her. She held out her arm beside Madeleine so
Madeleine held out her arm the same way. The woman wrapped something
around it tight, then pushed a sharp thing into it. Dark red filled a
tube in her hand. She put a white ball on the place where the sharp
thing was and pulled the sharp thing out. Then she removed the thing
that was squeezing her arm. She then pulled off the white ball and held
a small box where it had been. It buzzed and felt warm.

It was gone and the woman smiled. Darlene talked to her then they left
and were moving again. Madeleine just watched the walls and doors roll
by. On her wrist, the device had turned yellow-orange.

The movement stopped. Darlene moved in front of her. She said
something then looked sad. Madeleine started to cry. "No?" she asked.

Darlene touched her face. She shook her head and moved Madeleine's
wrist so she could see. Orange. Then Darlene just held her hands.

Madeleine had no concept of time and lost her ability to find meaning
in the color of the device until it started changing back from
red-orange to orange to yellow-orange. It seemed to her a long time
before it want all the way to green.

"How long until we know?" she asked.

"They'll probably know by the time we get you home," Darlene replied.
"If they say yes, I'm going to stay with you, all the way."

Madeleine squeezed her hand. "You've been so good to me."

Darlene smiled. "You make it easy. We could have been friends."

"I think maybe we are friends," Madeleine told her, smiling. "Take me
home, please. I have affairs to get in order."

Trip talked to Madeleine again. He didn't have anything new to tell
her about Malcolm so he just talked and tried to get to know her. She
was an architect. She was open and friendly, so unlike her brother, at
least before he and Malcolm became friends. Where Malcolm was
dark-haired, she was bright blonde and she kept it long but tied up. He
was a meticulous dresser, where she wore loose casual clothes. He
almost never slouched, but she seemed more relaxed. She smiled and
laughed. It seemed their accents were the only thing they had in common.

He tried to subtly probe her about Malcolm's childhood but she only
ever talked about when Malcolm was young. Not about when he would have
been a teenager. Nor that mysterious event that happened when he was
twelve. He learned that Malcolm used to swim competitively and even win
tournaments. That he excelled at school, especially in maths and
physics, and that he'd been unhappy with their family's move to
Malaysia. He'd missed England with its wet weather and long history.
The plants in Malaysia set off his allergies. She avoided talk of her
parents deftly so he learned nothing on that front.

She ended the call abruptly again, and Trip wondered if it had to do
with her illness. She didn't appear sick, so he had no idea what was
ailing her.

The lawyer smiled. "Well, that was short and sweet. I'll have the
documents drawn up for you by tomorrow morning. He handed Madeleine a
data chip. "Ask for Colin. He'll make sure you have a secure lock on
all entrances."

He stood and Madeleine stood with him. "Thank you. I'll contact him

"Would you like me to act as executor, or do you have someone else in

"I do," Madeleine said. "Thank you. My former employer, Sarah
Farmer." She handed him a data chip containing Sarah's business

"I'll contact her and guide her through the responsibilities." He
walked to the door and Madeleine went with him. He offered a hand and
she shook it. "Good day, Miss Reed."

"Good day." The door closed after him.

"What will your brother do with all your female belongings?" Darlene
asked from her seat on one of the stools at the kitchen counter.

"Whatever he wishes," Madeleine replied. She grabbed the other stool
for a seat. "He can donate them, give them to Mother, or to a lady
friend. My parents would leave him nothing, so I'm leaving him
everything. Simple as that."

"Also leaves you less to pack up."

Madeleine chuckled. "Less for my mother to get suspicious over." She
popped a grape in her mouth.

"You're really not going to tell them at all?"

"They'll be notified, I'm sure, once it's done. They'll want a funeral
and they can have one."

"They'll wonder why you're in San Francisco and not London."

"Can't really avoid that one," Madeleine replied. She took a few more
grapes. "I'll need to be close. Besides I want to see him first. Just

"I'm certain they'll let you," Darlene said. "I'll make sure of it if I
have to make a fuss." She took one of Madeleine's hands. "Are you
frightened at all?"

Madeleine nodded. "Just that point when I go from being here to gone,
you know. But I'm just going to keep thinking about Malcolm. Saving
him. That's how I'll manage."

Darlene squeezed her hand then let go. "I'll make dinner. Perhaps you
should go record another journal entry. It's going to be rough for him
once he finds out."

"Good plan! I need to let him know I wanted this." She slipped off
the stool and went to her room. Two days from now, they'd all be in San
Francisco and she would save his life.

Two hours out and Trip was with V'Ret as he talked with Starfleet
Medical's CMO, Dr. Carla MacCormack. She needed V'Ret to coordinate the
transfer of the patient from the ship to the hospital. She needed Trip
because he was a witness to at least Malcolm's last ordeal on Sharu and
because he knew Malcolm personally.

She filled him in on their plans once he was safely transferred. To
save Malcolm from the fear of another surgery, they planned to combine
the heart transplant with the nerve transplants and get him done all at
once. They had a donor who could supply everything. That both elated
and saddened Trip. It was great for Malcolm, but it meant someone had
just died.

One surgery. Malcolm would wake up whole when he woke up. And Trip
would still be on Earth to welcome him back to the land of the
conscious. Given the circumstances, it was the best they could hope for.

Trip answered her questions as honestly as he could. Yes, it had been
an entire year, and yes, time travel had been involved which meant there
had been no way to remove Malcolm from the situation any sooner than
they had. His family included Stuart and Mary Reed, and his sister,
Madeleine. And yes, he himself wanted to be kept up-to-date on
Malcolm's recovery. He planned to spend a lot of time at Starfleet
Medical when he was not conferring with Research and Development.

Once that was all over, Trip retired to his quarters to pack and call
his mother. Mom wasn't in though.

"How's Malcolm doin', son?" he dad asked.

"Same," Trip replied, "but they're gettin' ready for him at Starfleet
Medical. They've already got a donor and everything."

"Well, that's good. Your mother said you were worried about his parents."

"Yeah," Trip admitted. "But I've talked to his sister a couple times.
If it weren't for their last name, Pop, I wouldn't have pegged them as
related. They could hardly be more different. He's quiet and moody,
she's light and open, has no problem telling me about herself. Same
parents. So how'd they come out opposites?"

"Same parents doesn't mean same treatment," his father said, "or same
experiences. You said something happened when he was twelve that
changed things with his dad. That thing must not have involved his sister."

So nothing changed between her and her parents but they had for
Malcolm. Trip sighed. "Yeah, has to be it. She grows up in favor and
Malcolm doesn't. She cares a lot about him though, I could tell."

"Good," Dad replied, nodding. "Sounds like he had her in his corner at
least. You do know we kept your room here, right? If you think it's
not good with his parents, you bring him here."

Why hadn't he thought of that? "You sure? He's not the easier person
to get to know on a good day, and those aren't goin' to be good days."

"We've had our share of bad days, Trip."

Trip nodded. They, too, had suffered when Elizabeth had been killed.
They lost their daughter and their home. "I know," he said. "Thanks,
Pop. I'll keep that in my pocket. I'll let you know if comes to that."

"When are you due in?"

"Should be in San Francisco around eight," Trip told him. "I'll have
to meet with R&D tomorrow morning."

"Well, don't forget to swing by here once in a while. We miss you, son."

"I miss you, too." Trip quickly worked out the logistics to see if he
could swing by home after Malcolm got settled tonight or maybe when he
was in surgery. That probably wasn't going to happen the same night he
arrived. "Maybe I can stop in later tonight. Surgery is sure to take a
few hours, too."

"Either way," Dad assured him. "Beats mopin' in a waiting room."

Sarah Farmer placed the locking mechanism on the outside of Madeleine's
door, then synchronized it with the lock on her briefcase. She turned
to her former employer. "I'm going to miss you."

Madeleine touched her arm. "You could have fired me for all those
mistakes, but you told me to see a doctor. You were right, but you
didn't have to do that. I couldn't have asked for a better boss."

"I knew that something had to be wrong," Sarah told her. "You were too
good an architect to just be sloppy. Are you sure about this?"

Madeleine smiled. "I'm very sure. He's my brother."

"Alright then." Sarah nodded. "I'll find him, after the funeral. I
will tell your parents nothing until after I deliver this case."

Darlene arrived behind them. "Transport is all set."

Madeleine nodded. Then she turned back to Sarah. "Thank you for what
you did and for what you will do."

"It's my pleasure." She wiped a tear from her eye then pulled
Madeleine into a hug. "Go, save your brother's life." Then she handed
her off to Darlene.

Madeleine brushed her own tears away in the lift. "It's time."

Darlene walked with her out to the transport and they both got in.
"Starfleet Medical, San Francisco?" the pilot asked for confirmation.

"Yes," Madeleine replied.

"ETA is three hours forty-five minutes, around eight fifteen pm local
time. Seats recline if you feel like napping. Snacks and water are
available in the cubby on your right. Pillows and blankets on the left."

"Thank you," Darlene offered.

Madeleine checked the snacks and found a package of small chocolate
donuts. She laughed. "Don't have to worry about eating healthy now."

Darlene smiled. "Indulge, then maybe we'll have a sleep before we
arrive." She handed Madeleine a blanket and pillow and they both got
comfortable for the trip. Madeleine offered Darlene a donut, but she
grabbed an apple from the cubby instead. "I do need to eat healthy."

"Thank you again for sticking with me," Madeleine told her.

"It's my pleasure," Darlene offered. "I said I'd stay all the way. I
think this is a brave and noble thing you're doing. But nothing says
you have to be brave alone."

The transfer was a blur of activity. The Vulcans hooked Malcolm up to
a portable unit, and Trip climbed into the shuttle next to V'Ret who
monitored Malcolm all the way to the surface. Dr. MacCormack met them
on the landing pad. V'Ret escorted Malcolm inside with the CMO leading
the way. Nurses and technicians assisted in transferring Malcolm from
the Vulcans' gurney and equipment to their own with swift efficiency.
Trip stayed near the door, out of the way.

V'Ret checked Malcolm over once more, then made some remarks on a PADD,
which he held out for MacCormack to sign. "Transfer complete," he
announced. He met Trip at the door. He held up his right hand, with
his thumb out and his fingers split two and two. "Live long and
prosper, Commander Tucker."

Trip mirrored the gesture with his own hand. "Live long and prosper,
and thank you for takin' good care of my friend."

V'Ret nodded then left, presumably to head back to the shuttle. The
nurses and techs left and then it was just Trip, Malcolm, and Dr.
MacCormack. She wasn't a tall woman but she radiated confidence. He
could see she was a leader by the way she moved. Her shoulder-length
black hair was tucked behind her ears, and the few wrinkles in her face
put her in early sixties. "Your Dr. Phlox had some concern about the
lieutenant's eye. That was one of the earlier *'procedures**,' was it not?"

Trip stepped further into the room. "I think so, yes."

"Did he happen to mention having any trouble with his vision?"

Trip thought back to those moments when Malcolm was conscious back on
the ship. "Don't think it ever came up. He wasn't too talkative. It
wasn't easy on him."

MacCormack bent over Malcolm's head and opened his left eye. She held
a small scanner over it then moved to the other eye. "I'll get an
ophthalmologist to look these over. I'd rather we know now if that will
require surgery."

Finally, she turned and looked at Trip. "You found him, didn't you?"

"Me and Lt. Woods." Trip moved over and lifted one of Malcolm's
splinted hands.

"Couldn't have been easy." She put a hand on Trip's shoulder. "And I
know it's not easy seeing him like this either. Surgery is set for
tomorrow morning. We're going to take good care of him. I've my best
heart surgeon on it, my best neurosurgeons and anesthesiologist. He's
going to look a lot better when he wakes up."

Trip just nodded.

"He was in a research facility, sterile environment?"

"A laboratory," Trip told her. "No furniture but beds and medical

"So waking up in a room like this would not be conducive to his good
mental health."

"No, I guess it wouldn't." The sunburn was fading on Malcolm's face,
but patches of his skin were starting to peel.

"Some medical equipment will be necessary but I think we can make his
recovery room a bit homier. Paint the walls, bring in a sofa, some
plants, a soft lamp."

Trip turned to look at her. Her face was serious.

"We have good counselors, too, even a new guy, a Betazoid from Betazed,
came in on Interspecies Medical Exchange program. You might like to
talk to one of them, too."

Trip sighed. "I think I'm gonna go home for the night and talk to my
mom instead."

MacCormack smiled and inclined her head. "Phlox said to keep you
posted on his condition while you're on Earth. How long are you
planning on staying?"

"Until R&D's done with me," he replied. "A couple weeks would be my

She tilted her head slightly. "What is he to you?"

"My best friend," he said without hesitation. "Almost a brother."

"Then it will be good he has you for those couple weeks."

There was a soft knock at the door. Both he and the doctor turned.
"Madeleine!" Trip exclaimed, recognizing Malcolm's sister from their
conversations. She was with another woman. He went to the door and
offered Madeleine a hand.

Instead of taking it, she pulled him into a hug. "Trip, it's good to
finally meet you." She released him. "But I'd like to see my brother."

"Of course," Trip said. "I'll head down to the canteen. Maybe we can
have that tea there when you're done here."

"I'd like that," she replied with a smile. "I'll meet you there shortly."

Trip let her and her companion into the room then picked up his bag and
headed for the canteen.

"Miss Reed," Doctor MacCormack said. She took Madeleine's hand and
brought her to the bedside. When Madeleine started to cry, she put an
arm around her shoulders. "I know it looks bad now, but imagine him
after it's over. No splints on those wrists, no braces on his ankles.
He'll be able to walk, to run eventually. The tubes and wires will go
way, the sunburn will fade. You're going to help him be healthy again."

Madeleine lifted Malcolm's hand. It felt warm but lifeless in hers.
She touched his sunburned face. It was hot under her hand. His chest
rose and fell regularly. "When?" she asked.

"Ten in the morning."

There it was. The time of her death. "It won't hurt."

"Not at all," MacCormack replied.

"You'll take good care of him?"

"The best we can, I promise you."

Madeleine sniffed and held out her hand for Darlene. "I think I'll go
have that tea now."

Trip could tell she'd been crying, but she smiled as she and her
companion joined him at the table. "This is my friend, Darlene," she
said, introducing the woman with short brown hair. "Darlene, this is my
brother's friend, Commander Charles Tucker."

Trip offered Darlene a hand. "Call me Trip, please."

"Good to meet you, Trip," she said, shaking his hand briefly. "I'll go
get us some tea then."

Trip wanted so much to ask about their parents' relationship with
Malcolm, but Madeleine had said she was sick, and he didn't want to push
her. Besides, she asked him about Malcolm, and he ended up regaling her
with stories while they sipped their tea. He told her about the mishap
on Shuttlepod One that began his and Malcolm's friendship. About the
time Malcolm got stuck on the hull and impaled by a Romulan mine. He
even told some embarrassing stories to make her laugh. If it wasn't for
T'Pol, Trip might have wanted to get to know Madeleine better. He also
didn't know how Malcolm would feel about him seeing his sister.

Then Darlene tapped what looked like a wristwatch on Madeleine's wrist.
"I think it's time for your medicine, Madeleine."

Madeleine looked at the watch. "Ah, yes it is. Thank you for the tea,
Trip. I'm glad my brother has you here."

And then they were gone.

Dr. MacCormack was waiting in the corridor. She could see something
wasn't right with Madeleine Reed's gait. She quickly went to meet them.
"Shall I get a chair?" she asked the nurse, Darlene.

"Yes, I think it best," she answered. She was supporting Madeleine for
the most part.

MacCormack waved to an orderly who wheeled a chair over. Darlene
deposited Madeleine in it. MacCormack did a quick scan with her medical

"Her spells come and go," Darlene explained.

Madeleine looked with worry at the device on her wrist. Where it had
been green in her office a week ago, it was now a dark orange color.

"Would you rather stay here for tonight?" MacCormack asked her. "We
can put another bed in there with your brother."

Madeleine nodded in big movements. The device was almost red in color
now. Madeleine looked to Darlene in a panic. "No bl-bla--"

Darlene knelt in front of her. "It's okay. It's not black." But the
panic was gone and Madeleine nearly fell out of the chair. The device
on her dangling arm was deep red now.

MacCormack gave quick orders and a bed was wheeled into the room with
Lt. Reed. Darlene wheeled Madeleine in and the two of them got her onto
the bed. "Black is bad," the nurse commented.

"It seems to be staying deep red," MacCormack told her. "What's the
color system?"

"Green is full cognition. Goes downhill to yellow then orange, red and
finally black. Too long in black and she's dead. She was afraid she
might die too early."

"Good thing she's in a hospital then." MacCormack gave some more
orders and soon Madeleine was hooked up to monitors with an oxygen tube
set up in her nose. The device on her wrist slowly turned a brighter
shade of red.

Darlene brushed the hair from Madeleine's forehead. When the device
showed orange she spoke to her. "Still here," she told her charge.
"Would you like to turn so you can see him? Two for yes."

Madeleine blinked twice, so Darlene helped her turn onto her side.
"See, it was a short one."

MacCormack tucked a blanket around the young woman. "Get some rest,
dear," she said. "We'll all be here in the morning."

It took another twenty minutes for the device to go green. Madeleine
fell asleep waiting. Darlene found the one chair in the room. "You
don't need to stay," MacCormack quietly told the nurse.

Darlene sighed. "Palliative Care and Hospice are my specialties. I
told her I'd stay with her all the way."

MacCormack nodded. "We'll be sure to get you scrubbed in tomorrow. Can
I get you something? Coffee, something to eat?"

"Blanket and a couple pillows?" she asked, apparently with the plan of
sleeping in that chair.

"Of course," MacCormack replied. She left the room, dimming the lights
on her way out. She told the orderly at the desk to fetch three pillows
and a blanket. Chairs were not the most comfortable place to sleep.

Fortunately, it only took an hour to reach his parent's place. He
still missed their old place, where he'd grown up. But that was lost to
the Xindi attack along with seven million people. Elizabeth had been
one of them. He set the borrowed flitter down gently in the front yard.
Mom was out the door before Trip could get the flap opened. She
wrapped him in a hug as soon as both feet were finally planted in the
grass. His father added two more arms, and it became a group hug. Mom
kissed his cheek before she let go.

Trip reveled in the affection. He was used to it. This had been
standard procedure when he came home for decades now. But it was him
wondering if Malcolm got even a fraction of it when he came home that
made him appreciate it so much now.

Dad wrapped an arm over his shoulder and walked him into the house.
"You missed dinner," he said.

"But you're just in time for dessert," Mom added.

"Ooh, what're we havin'?" Trip asked, following them to the kitchen.
Mom pulled out a chair for him and then went to the counter while Dad
went to the freezer.

"Warm peach pie," Mom answered, placing a plate with a sizeable piece
in front of him. She got two more for her and Dad.

"A la mode," Dad tacked on, and he scooped a hefty portion of vanilla
ice cream on top of the pie.

Mom set down as Dad topped the other plates. He put the ice cream away
before sitting down to enjoy his dessert.

Trip couldn't speak if he wanted to. The ice cream was melting so he
tucked in. Soft, gently sweet peaches and creamy ice cream, one warm
and one cold. It was heaven. And it was gone too soon.

Mom placed a hand over his. "I'm glad you stopped by. How's Malcolm?"

"He's all set up in Starfleet Medical," Trip told her. "The CMO
herself is looking after him. They're gonna try and fix everything in
one surgery tomorrow morning. They have a donor already lined up."

"Good, he won't have to wait long," Dad commented. "What can you tell
us about what happened to him?"

Trip flashed back to Malcolm lying there in the sand. "Hell," he
replied. "He's been through hell and for a whole year at that."

"He was gone for a year?" Mom asked.

"Well, yes and no." Trip tried to explain without getting too
technical. "When the shuttle he was in crashed, it crashed in the past.
He was only gone a few days from our perspective. But for him and
Hoshi, it was a year. And not a good one. He was studied by the
scientists there. Invasively. They experimented on him, too. They
tortured and drugged him to make him talk. What they did in the end
topped even that. His heart just couldn't keep up anymore."

Mom rubbed his hand. "Well, that will change after tomorrow. He'll
have a new, healthy heart and can start on healin'. What about this Hoshi?"

"She's still on *Enterprise**," Trip groused. He frowned. "She
shouldn't be. She should be down here with him, with her family. She
wasn't as bad off, physically, but up here..." He pointed to his
forehead. "...she suffered a lot, too." He was tempted to tell them
about Malcolm's new ability and how the two of them fell in love, but
he'd promised Malcolm he wouldn't tell anyone but the captain. Malcolm
didn't deserve any broken promises.

"You learn anything new about his family?" Mom asked.

Trip nodded. "He's got a sister who cares about him a lot. She was
there at the hospital tonight. Came to see him."

"That's sweet," she replied. "But not his parents?"

Trip shrugged. Dad got up to put the dishes in the sink. "I'm not
even sure they know, to be honest. Medical may have to notify them.
Suppose it makes sense if they did."

"I would certainly want to know if it was you in there," Mom insisted.
"Maybe they'll visit after the surgery."

"Maybe," Trip said. He rubbed his eyes.

"You must be tired after that boring trip, Trip," Dad commented,
clapping him on the shoulders. "Your room's all made up. Just in case
you stopped by."

"Thanks, Pop." He stood and bent to kiss his mother on the cheek. "Pie
was divine!"

"Great Grandma's recipe never disappoints," she replied. She caught
his arm before he headed for the bedroom. "Did you ever figure out
Malcolm's favorite food?"

Trip smiled, remembering. "Pineapple. Took some doing to find out.
Phlox had to let Hoshi in on a bit of Malcolm's medical history to find
out. Something about him being allergic to it but taking stuff so he
wouldn't be affected."

"Suppose the ends did justify the means on that one," Dad quipped.

"He was very happily surprised," Trip told him. "Might have been the
first time I ever saw him smile."
Trip had to go back to the flitter for his bag, but he was ready for bed
within thirty minutes. He was tired. As he lay in bed he loved the
familiarity of it. New house, new walls, new mattress, but still, it
felt like home. And he could vaguely hear his parents still talking at
the kitchen table. He couldn't make out what they were saying, but
their voices made a comfortable white noise. He was asleep in minutes.

They woke her at eight thirty. She took care of her needs in the
bathroom then she and Darlene went to the canteen for a breakfast of
gelatin in three flavors. Madeleine would have rather gorged on her
breakfast favorites like French toast with peanut butter and syrup
washed down with a large glass of cold chocolate milk. Seemed more
fitting for her last breakfast. But surgery was this morning. She
couldn't eat solids before surgery.

Still, they were good flavors: strawberry, pina colada, and lime. Poor
Malcolm wasn't even getting that.

"Is there anything you'd like to do," Darlene asked her. "We've got
just over thirty minutes before we have to have you back."

"I'd say go for a walk in town but we wouldn't get far in that time,"
Madeleine replied. "Maybe a drive then. I'd like to see the old parts
of the city, look at the buildings."

Darlene smiled. "I think we could see a few."

They left the canteen and the hospital and got a cab. "Where to,
Ladies?" the pilot asked.

"I'm an architect," Madeleine replied. "Show me some of San
Francisco's iconic buildings."

"And have us back here by nine twenty-five," Darlene added.

"That I can do." The pilot lifted off, but not too high and in minutes
they were up into a steep residential area. "The Painted Ladies, from
the mid-twentieth century, but harkening back to Victorian and Edwardian
times." He few them by the old City Hall, Grace Cathedral, and the
Palace Hotel, taking time to highlight the architecture of each. Too
soon they were once again parked at the ultra-modern Starfleet Medical

Darlene walked with her back inside. Dr. MacCormack was waiting. "I
hope you had a lovely morning. I do wish we could have given you a
better breakfast."

"At least there were three flavors," Madeleine replied. "What's next?"

"We prep you and your brother for surgery," MacCormack said. She led
them to another room. "Once we're all ready, we'll wheel you in to the
OR. We'll hook you up to a device that will connect to that implant in
your head. It will trigger one of your spells--without the accompanying
headache. You'll be in control of that trigger."

Madeleine nodded and took a steadying breath.

"Would you like to speak to a counselor beforehand?" MacCormack offered.

"I've got Darlene," Madeleine replied.

"All the way," Darlene said, repeating her promise.

"There's a gown on the chair, lie on the bed." MacCormack pointed to
the chair. "Darlene, if you would open the door when she's ready."

Darlene nodded. MacCormack left and closed the door.

Suddenly Madeleine's knees felt weak. She sat down on the bed. "This
is it."

Darlene sat beside her and pulled her into a side hug. "It will be
quick and painless."

"Like going into black?" Madeleine asked. "I won't really know?"

"You'll lose consciousness before you pass. That moment of transition,
you won't even be aware of it."

Madeleine blew out a shaky breath. "Should make it easier. Do you
think there's anything after? I'd like to be able to look after Malcolm,
you know."

"I don't know," Darlene replied. "My great grandparents used to
believe there was. My parents, not so much. They used to think heaven
was a place in the sky, or above it. We've been beyond it, far beyond
it. Light years. And no one ever found heaven."

"Maybe it's more of a dimensional thing," Madeleine posited. "This
life is one dimension and the next is another."

Darlene squeezed her shoulder. "You'll be the one to find out. Maybe
you can find a way to let me know."

Madeleine sighed. "Malcolm needs me." She hopped off the bed and
began to remove her clothes.

At nine fifty-five, Madeleine Reed was brought into the OR. Darlene
came with her, scrubbed and robed. She held Madeleine's hand the entire
time. Dr. Carla MacCormack approached on the opposite side of
Madeleine's gurney. She placed a small controller in Madeleine's hand.
"They're going to let us know when Malcolm is ready. Then, when you're
ready, you just slide this forward with your thumb. It will be like
slipping into yellow, then orange, then red, then black. When your
brain registers no activity for five minutes, we'll call it. Then
you'll save your brother life and probably a few others."

Madeleine locked eyes with her. "Malcolm first. Anything I have that
he needs. Then the others. My brain goes to research. Maybe they'll
find a way to treat these damn tumors." She took a breath. "Don't tell
me parents what I've done. Darlene will inform them."

"As you wish," MacCormack said, "it will be done."

The partition was pulled back. "We're ready."

Madeleine turned to Darlene, met her eyes. "All the way?" she whispered.

Darlene blinked back her tears. "All the way." She squeezed
Madeleine's hand and nodded.

Madeleine didn't look back. She moved the lever forward, and slowly,
gently, the muscles in her face relaxed, the focus in her eyes released.
Darlene kept one hand on Madeleine's then closed Madeleine's eyes with
the other. MacCormack watched the monitor then started the countdown.
Madeleine was intubated and the ventilator kept her breathing. Her
pulse was steady. But there was no neural activity. Five minutes
later, MacCormack called it. "Time of death, ten eleven."

Darlene sniffed and left the room. MacCormack followed her out. "You
picked a difficult specialty."

Darlene nodded. "My father died alone. I couldn't get home in time.
My mum was away on business. He'd had an aneurism. I don't want that
to happen with anyone else. It hurts, but I want each one to know they
had someone with them."

"I said difficult," MacCormack replied, "not unworthy."

"I'll take her body back to England, minus one hand, to be cremated.
The ashes will need to be delivered to her executor to be added to her

"We can handle a cremation that small," MacCormack said. "Can you get
the ashes to the executor?"

Darlene nodded. "I think I'd like to speak with one of those counselors."

MacCormack nodded. She held out an arm to indicate the waiting area.
"I'll send one to you."

Darlene went to wait. MacCormack went to the desk to request the
counselor on duty, then she returned to the theatre to watch over her
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