Part 4

Harry Kim gripped tighter to the crewman holding him upright, which probably wasn't the best way to counteract the wobbling, because the arm around his shoulder loosened and nearly dropped while his supporter grunted and struggled to hold him up. Given a choice, he wouldn't have chosen someone so slight in stature to half-carry him, Harry thought, and then decidedly agreed with when the arm did slip off, sending him lurching to the floor.

His leg jolted agony up his spine as he landed, his vision blackening. When it came back, Samantha Wildman's face was above his. She was pale, with deep dark circles under her eyes, concern being expressed in a ragged, exhausted voice. She slipped her hands under him; somehow managing to draw him up while the man he'd fallen half on top of pushed from below. Somehow they managed to lift him on to the nearest bio-bed. Sam whipped out a hypospray, pressing it into his neck. It hissed, and the pain began to subside.

Now she was scanning his leg, a focused expression creeping over her face. Finally, she snapped the medical tricorder shut, setting it aside.

"What'd you do, Harry?" She asked, tiredly, turning and walking towards some medical equipment.

"He fell," supplied the former human-crutch, lingering at the door.

"Yeah," Harry confirmed to Sam. To the crewman by the entrance, "Thanks for helping me here. Can you finish the repairs without me?"

"We're almost done, so yeah."

"Good. Watch your step," he called to the crewman's back as the door slid shut.

"Right," the half-amused voice trickled back.

Sam walked back holding what looked like a leg brace. She grasped his leg and drew it straight, sending a muted signal of pain up Harry's body. He hissed, teeth clenched.

"Where'd you fall?"

"The Jefferies Tubes. We were repairing some of the blown circuits. I fell down one of the ladders."

"You broke three bones," Sam said, setting the instrument over his leg from his ankle to upper thigh, not noticing his grimace as he began to feel the uncomfortable sensation of bones knitting.

She seemed almost distracted, hardly interested in his injury, simply performing the necessary treatment automatically and she was definitely exhausted.

"I was lucky the hatch to the next deck was closed. I would have fallen further," he said, trying to drown out the slight buzz of the instrument clamped onto his leg with his voice.

"Why'd you fall?"

"I missed the next rung with my foot and then just fell."

"Oh." She stared at the contraption around his leg for a moment, then looked up as if his response had triggered a delayed reaction.

"How long has it been since you slept, Harry?" She asked, her face still listless but her tone sharp.

"Why?" Harry replied, perfectly aware that he was thwarting the question.

"Because," she began, a quality to her voice somewhere between sarcasm and exasperation that still managed to communicate her total understanding of the situation. "I was wondering if you're another one of the many people who are ignoring their health and physical needs-such as *sleep*, endangering themselves and Voyager."

Sam stared at him blankly, clearly awaiting a response.

"Many?" he asked.



"Tuvok, for starters. I tried to explain to him that victims of close range phaser blasts do not leave Sickbay within thirty-two hours, if that," Sam let out an irritated breath. "He was able to justify it, logically, of course, somehow. Which is something considering how many people with injuries like his left without even bothering to act like that were listening to me."

She checked the progress of the procedure, adjusting one of the clamps around his calf.

"Joe Carey, too. He's risking permanent side effects for leaving with a half-treated head injury. And you can tell him that the Medkit he swiped when I wasn't looking is only going to reduce the pain in his head, and only coming back here is going to get rid of it. And then there's you," Sam finished matter-of-factly.

"Joe's really needed in Engineering," Harry told her earnestly. "It's a mess. And Tuvok's coordinating everything that's involved in getting the ship back on its feet and ready to go after the Maquis. *I* was fixing some of the damage done to the Jefferies Tubes. The Maquis wrecked a lot of systems by having fire-fights up there."

Sam deactivated and began swiftly undoing the clasps of the device on his leg.

"Repairing Voyager won't do any good if the entire crew is ready to collapse from exhaustion and untreated injuries," Sam snapped.

She tugged the brace off his leg and set it aside. She ran a scanner up and down, not meeting his eyes. Harry stared at the top of her head, trying to understand that Sam was simply stressed from having dealt with the injured, and trying to deny that a small part of him was thinking the she had other reasons for wanting to delay repairs by reducing the workforce. Reasons having to do with protecting the escaped Maquis, among whom, he thought, was Ken Dalby.

"How does it feel?" Her voice interrupted his thoughts.

"A little stiff."

"That's normal." She set the scanning instrument aside. "Though I wouldn't go climbing any ladders for the next, say, six hours."

Sam crossed her arms, stepping to the side of the bio-bed.

"Got it?" She asked in much the same tone that she probably used to tell Naomi to go to bed.

"Yes," he replied. "Perfectly."


Harry started to scoot off the bio-bed when Sam stopped him, pressing a hand lightly against his shoulder.

"Harry, please don't think that I don't want you to help speed up repairs, I just..."

Sam sighed deeply, closing her eyes momentarily, then meeting his eyes again.

"I'm just not enjoying being the only doctor on Voyager, and having to try treat patients who need the EMH or at least someone better trained than I."

"There's no one else," Harry began, feeling his suspicions soften as he stared into her drawn face and shiny eyes.

"No, Harry, I know that. I know you don't have time to try to find the EMH, or even if his program still exists. But the crew is over-extending themselves and having accidents like yours because they're too tired or in too much pain to concentrate, and I'm getting a little stressed. And you were here to yell at." She squeezed his shoulder. "Don't take it personally. I still want you to go get some sleep, though."

"I will," Harry agreed. Almost as an afterthought, he asked, "When was the last time *you* slept, Sam?"

Sam almost smirked. "That's not important, Harry. As acting CMO, I have access to every single stimulant in the medical database."

She nearly cracked a smile.

"But, it was at the EMH's, er, my desk. Right before you walked in here."

"Neelix to Sickbay," the Talaxian's voice cut through almost before Sam stopped speaking.

Sam's hand left Harry's shoulder, darting to her comm badge.

"I'm here, Neelix. Is Naomi-"

"Naomi's fine," Neelix interjected before she'd finished the question. "The Captain just informed me that the power supply to the Mess Hall has been repaired. I want to get down there so the crew has something better to eat than those awful rations. Do you need me to take Naomi with me, or can you or someone else come and watch her? She's taking a nap, but I suppose she can sleep in the Mess Hall."

Sam's hand dropped from her communicator, rising to rub the bridge of her nose in an utterly defeated motion.

"Neelix, I can't leave Sickbay. I guess you'll have to take her with you. She's going to have a fit when you wake her, though."

Sam's drawn face resurfaced as her arm lowered and her hand slid down her face. Her dreary expression changed as her eyes alighted on Harry.

"Hey.... Hold on, Neelix."

Sam closed the line, grasping Harry's shoulders with both hands.

"Harry, would you please? Naomi hates having her schedule disrupted, and I don't want her any more upset than she already is. She's napping, so you can sleep on my bed. Would you mind?" Sam asked hopefully, withdrawing one hand and fidgeting with the single pip on her collar.

"Sure," Harry said, relieved to see a look of gratitude sweep over Sam's face, replacing the despair.

"*Thank you!*"

She opened the comm line, confirming to Neelix that he was free to leave and that Harry was on his way. Harry rose from the bio-bed, feeling the slight awkwardness in his repaired leg. He took a few tentative steps toward the door, testing his balance.

"Thank you so much," Sam repeated.

"It's no problem," he assured her. "Have you told Naomi what happened?"

Before Harry's eyes, Sam's entire demeanor changed, her posture stiffening.

"No. Not really. I haven't seen her since we got back, been too busy here," Sam drew out, her gaze focused somewhere behind him.

She wrapped her arms tightly, nervously, around her waist, still not making eye contact.

"Naomi's pretty intuitive, so she knows something bad happened. Neelix told her that the Maquis left, but not much more. I was waiting to explain it to her in person, not over the comm line, so that she could ask me questions," Sam finished, her distant gaze finally flickering to Harry's face. "Not that I can answer them."

Sam's eyes dropped then, moving to follow her hand, which was tracing the edge of the nearest bio-bed, while the other stayed pressed tightly against her stomach.

"I tried really hard to explain the Maquis and Starfleet situation to her, that merging into one crew wasn't that easy but that Voyager made it work. After this," Sam shook her head, tilting it to glance at Harry again. "I'm not really sure what I'm going to say. I think, maybe, that this kind of betrayal from the Maquis might be more traumatizing than being on Voyager when they were trying to take the ship would have been."

Harry could feel the sympathy well up in his chest, as Sam tried to tug the edge of off the bio-bed with the hand that wasn't still clutching herself.

"It's going to be tough," he agreed, searching for words that might provide some sort of encouragement. "But, you're a good mother, Sam. I think you can help Naomi understand it and deal with in a healthy way. You'll know how she feels, considering your relationship with Ken Dalby."

That was probably the wrong thing to say.

Sam's eyes darted to some distant spot on the far wall, her face drawing even tauter than before.

"Yeah," she said quickly, her fidgeting hand freezing in place on the bio-bed rim. "Goodbye, Harry." Forcibly, she looked back at him. "When you get to my quarters, Harry, I really want you to sleep. Naomi naps for a very long time, and you'll hear her if she has a nightmare. Just sleep and you'll build up some more energy." A tentative, lighter tone tried to come into her voice, "My bed's really soft, Harry. Probably because Naomi likes jumping on it."

Her gaze was already travelling away from him before she finished speaking. The last comment, meant with levity, came out heavy and dead.

"I promise I'll get some sleep, Sam," Harry said softly.

He turned to go, but before he got near the door, it was already open. A whirling flash of gold security uniforms surrounding a single blue science uniform tumbled into Sickbay.

Part 5 | Index page