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Breaking the News

Posted on 29 Apr 2016 @ 12:07am by Ensign Elisha Cherno & Ensign Xavier Hernandez

Mission: Outbreak
Location: Sick Bay
Timeline: MD 7 1630 Hours

Xavier sat at his comm and requested a channel to New Risa and a patch through to Joel Cherno at the hotel Elisha's brother was staying at. While he waited, he pulled up a picture of Elisha and blew a kiss at it. "You will be okay, mi Querida," he said softly.

Joel was getting antsy. He'd been tested for the virus every day since the outbreak started, but so far, they'd found nothing. He'd left a message for his sister but hadn't heard back from her. He hoped everything was okay. So, he was sitting in his hotel room, actually reading for a change, when the console beeped. He crossed the room and saw that the transmission was coming from the Black Hawk. He sat down, relieved and pressed the accept button. But, he saw Xavier there instead of his sister. "Oh, no," he said with a sinking feeling.

"Joel," Xavier said with a catch in his voice that he quickly covered as Elisha's brother came on the screen. "I don't know how to tell you this, but your sister is sick. I knew you'd want to know. I already have you cleared to come aboard if you want to visit her."

Joel sighed heavily and flopped back in his chair. "Thank you," he said. "I believe I will. I'll be there as soon as I can. Is she... has she been hallucinating, yet?"

"No," Xavier said. "She's just unable to sleep and I think a visit from you would do her good. The Chief Medical Officer is doing everything she can to make her comfortable."

"All right," said Joel. "I'm on my way. I'll be there as soon as I can." With that, he disconnected and went in search of a transporter.

~~~~~~~~~~

Ten minutes later, Joel was on the Black Hawk, following the lights to Sick Bay. He stopped as soon as he entered, though. Every bio bed was occupied and people were on cots on the floor. He sighed gravely as he looked around for his sister.

Xavier met Joel at the door to Sickbay. "She's over here," he said as he went over to a biobed near the corner of the room. "Elisha?" he asked softly. "There's someone here to see you, mi Querida."

"Hey, Lish," said Joel, grinning down at his sister even though her eyes were closed.

Elisha's eyes opened and a single tear slipped out. "Joel?" she said.

"Yeah, its me," he said, taking her hand. "How are you feeling?"

"Exhausted," she replied weakly. "And my throat hurts."

Xavier moved to give her brother some room and went to the other side of the biobed to hold her hand. "I had to let him know, Elisha and made sure it was okay for him to be here. Isn't it great having a big brother who drops everything to come and see you?"

"Yeah," she said. "He's great."

"Aw, shucks," said Joel, pretending to be embarrassed.

Elisha laughed weakly. "Please don't tell mom and dad unless..." she trailed off.

"Don't even think about that," said Joel. "It's not going to happen."

"It might," she replied. "If the doctors can't figure this out..."

"They will," insisted Joel. "You're not allowed to die. I forbid it."

Xavier frowned. "No one is going to die," he said firmly. "I hereby forbid speaking of such things. We are going to pull through this and everyone is going to be happy. If anyone else even hints at it, I will make sure they're in the brig faster than they can say taco on Taco Tuesday."

"There, see?" said Joel. "Xavier's forbidden it, too. So just stop it."

"O-okay," said Elisha. "So, when I get out of here and have slept for five days straight, let's all go cliff diving, okay?"

"We can do whatever you want," Xavier said as he gave her hand a squeeze. "I'm going to make some quesadillas to bring down for you the next time I come. I would have brought some with me this time, but I wasn't thinking. Can you forgive me?"

"There's nothing to forgive," said Elisha with another weak smile. "I've eaten. It's not your job to feed me."

"Of course it is!" teased Joel. "What were you thinking, Xavier?"

"I was thinking that I could not wait until they were done before I came to see her," Xavier told Joel before he looked at Elisha again. "And homemade food is always better than anything they serve in Sickbay. I would only use that to torture someone."

"Sickbay food isn't bad," Elisha insisted. "I probably eat better here than I do normally."

"That will change when you get out of here," Xavier assured her. "My Abuela has sent me a full list of her recipes and I plan on cooking every last one of them for you when you are out of here. Not on the same day, of course. That would make both of us gain fifty pounds each and probably end up back in Sickbay with an extreme stomachache."

Elisha laughed, which dissolved in a coughing fit, but she didn't mind. It felt good to find something funny for a change.

"None of that," said Joel. "You're supposed to be getting better, not coughing."

Xavier looked around for a nurse. "Excuse me, do you have any numbing agents for a cough?" he asked politely when one came by. "It may not be a cure, but surely it would help."

"Oh, is she coughing again?" fretted the nurse, fumbling in the pocket of her jacket and checking Elisha's chart quickly. "Here we go," she said, taking out a hypo spray and pressing it to Elisha's neck. "That helps, but not for long. The doctor is limiting it to every four hours," she added, making a note on her chart and then hurrying off again.

"This is why I wouldn't want to work in health care," said Joel. "She looked way overworked."

"Thank you," Xavier called after the nurse before he looked at Joel. "If it weren't for people like her, your sister would be in a lot worse shape. You should thank her for being so prompt and having something which can help Elisha."

"Oh, believe me, I'm grateful," Joel clarified. "I just mean that I couldn't do it. I'd go insane."

Elisha squeezed her brother's hand. "I understand," she said. "I couldn't either."

"I know, and I apologize for snapping," Xavier said. "Honestly, I couldn't do it, either. It's a very hard job, especially when you're overworked. The stress is getting to all of us."

"It's all right, man," said Joel. "I understand." He looked at his sister. "Do you need anything? Are you hungry?"

"No, I'm fine," she said. "I really want to sleep, but no luck there."

"I wish I could think of something that would help you sleep," Xavier said. "Do you want some chamomile tea?"

"I've tried that," said Elisha. "We tried warm milk, the doctors gave us all every medication under the sun. Nothing seems to work."

Joel shrugged. "I could hit you over the head with a frying pan," he suggested.

His joke had the desired effect. Elisha laughed, but stopped herself when she started coughing again. "Thanks," she said.

"It'll be over soon," Xavier said. "I'll see if they have replicator codes for some of the herbs my Abuela used to use."

"Thanks," said Elisha again. "My two men, taking care of me."

"It's nothing you wouldn't do for us, Elisha," Xavier said. He looked at Joel. "Would you like me to see if I can make arrangements for you to stay on the ship until she's better?"

"That would be great," answered Joel. He wanted to be as close to his sister as possible during this whole thing. And if she pulled through, he would make sure that their parents never found out about this.

"Then I'll get that started," Xavier said with a smile before he looked at Elisha. "Is that okay with you, mi Querida?"

"Yes," she said. "Thank you."

Xavier leaned down to give her a kiss. "I shall return." He looked at Joel. "I'll let you know when I get quarters for you." With that, he headed out.

Joel nodded and turned back to his sister as Xavier left Sick Bay. She was crying. "Ah, Lish, don't do that," he said. "The doctor's gonna figure this out and you'll be fine."

"I'm not so sure," she said.

"Don't be afraid," he told her. "You've got one of the best doctors in the galaxy here."

"I'm not afraid for me," she said. "I don't mind dying. Everyone has to some time. I'm afraid for mom and dad. It's gonna kill them." And she dissolved into tears again.

Joel couldn't say anything to that. Silently, he thought that she was right. It was unlikely that she would be cured in time. And she was also right that it was going to kill their parents.

Sighing, he squeezed her hand. "I'll take care of them," he promised in a whisper.

 

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