((Pool – Officer’s Lounge, Astrofori One))
::Raj sat back down at the edge of the pool, dangling his legs once again into the frigid water. Then he dropped his face into his hands and wept. He barely noticed Kelrod coming to sit next to him.::
Kelrod: First, we’re not human, not me, not Marcus. ::sighing:: I think I told before, but I guess that you need something more than a public display. The fact is that, besides the voice inflection and my attitude, there’s no way you could say if I’m Marcus or Kelrod. Well, maybe with an brain wave analysis as I speak, but that could require explanation to the staff or something alike.
::Raj wiped his face and looked at the.. humanoid.::
Kelrod: I guess that all this time you’ve make a leap of faith, to say it in some way. You believed in me, in Marcus, because you needed to. Perhaps this time off as doctor, far from me, has made you see things differently. Otherwise, the words of Raissa wouldn’t have reached that far.
::He looked away. He felt embarrassed because Kelrod spoke the truth. The man saw right through his heart. The man might actually know him better than he knew himself.::
Kelrod: You sounded pretty much like Raissa. seems that her concerns dug deep within you.
Blueheart: ::staring out at the still surface of the water:: I guess.. a part of me wanted to know for sure too.. wanted affirmation..
Kelrod: I guess the problem is that you see me as an … invader, someone who replaced him. I only can make you the same offer I did to her. You might come to our mind, see that we’re two, that he’s ok and that he willingly allowed me to be in front. But not being a telepath, you could think that everything is created by me as a facade to lure you into an elaborated plan to keep this body only for me.
Blueheart: ::turning to face him again:: It’s okay. I think I believe you. I believe you when you say Marcus is okay. But why does Marcus want to take a back seat?
Kelrod: Like Marcus told you, he’ll be here whenever you want to speak with him,… and I guess this catalogues like an occasion.
::He inhaled deeply and seemed to slip into a trance-like state. At the same time, he thought about possible reasons why Marcus would be okay taking a back seat. Suddenly his eyes widened as his heart skipped a beat. What if Marcus did that out of guilt? Remorse from not informing him that he had seen Emerson hours, perhaps minutes, before he was killed! Raj grew more conflicted with emotions. He didn’t know whether to feel sorry for Marcus for feeling guilty or whether to rekindle the long-forgotten anger.
He had no time to decide because when Kelrod spoke again, the familiar inflections and rhythm of speech told him it was really Marcus speaking.::
Dickens: Raj… I’m sorry.
Blueheart: ::staring back into those dark eyes:: Marcus?
Dickens: Yes, it’s me :: he said smiling to his friend, putting his hand over his shoulder :: I’m sorry, for everything.
Blueheart: What do you mean? oO Oh gods.. I’m right.. he feels guilty about Em.. Oo
Dickens: I know I’ve let you down,… with Em, with the Atlantis, here… I like that you consider me a soldier, but I’m not. I’ve been and always will be… a scientist. When he said he’s a soldier, he meant it literally.
Blueheart: No, you didn’t.. I mean..
::Was he really still angry at him? Certainly not because of the Atlantis, but Em.. ? If only he had informed him sooner, perhaps.. ::
Dickens: I understand that you have your doubts, and you’re right in one thing. He’s not me, but the fact is that he’s not trying to be me, he’s being himself and his loyalty and sense of friendship is real. It might come from my feelings, but a good part of them are his own.
::Raj merely nodded in silence, the words bearing heavily on his soul. There was just too much information to process in such a short amount of time. And Dickens seemed to understand that.::
Dickens: If we only had time… you know I’m a telepath and with a bit of effort I could help you get into my mindscape, but I believe that for it to be a prove that what we’re saying is true, it’ll need another telepath to come with you to verify that everything is true. If we only had time…
Blueheart: ::shrugging his shoulders in frustration:: We have travelled back in time and we have fought the Breen in the distant future and yet, in our present time, we lack it. Oh the irony.
Dickens: I’d like time, time for him to show you personally that you can trust him, not only as Starfleet officer, but as a friend, as you trusted me. If we’re to remain together, you could do that with Raissa and maybe use the medical equipment to monitor us as we do. That should be prove enough that I’m still here, that I’m still me and that me moving behind was really voluntary.
Blueheart: But why? ::voice turning hoarse with emotion:: Why would you do that?
Dickens: Why? … Because it was the right thing to do.
Blueheart: The right thing for what? Punishment for not telling me about Em sooner? Besides, who gets to decide what is the right thing to do?
::Raj listened attentively to his every word, nodding every now and again. He was beginning to understand Dickens’ rationale for stepping back. He began to understand what he meant by doing the right thing. Finally, after hearing what Dickens had to say, he proposed a plan.::
Blueheart: I tell you what. How about we finally get to the bottom of this? ::sighing:: Let’s find out what really happened. Let’s find out who killed Emerson and why. It’ll give us both a chance to vanquish our demons once and for all.
Blueheart: Well, there’s no time like the present. We are officially on shore leave anyway, and who knows how long before we get reassigned?
Blueheart: ::patting the man’s shoulder:: It’s okay Marcus. I’ll see you soon. Know that I miss you.
::Raj managed a smile when Kelrod once again returned.::
Blueheart: Welcome back, Kelrod. ::standing up:: And, thank you.
Blueheart: So.. we have a plan for shore leave.
Blueheart: But first, ::draping a hand around Kelrod’s shoulders:: let me buy you a coffee and a donut.
Captain Raj Blueheart
Chief Medical Officer