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  Lieutenant Zachary Zuniga & Commander Stacey Harris, SD
One Mother of a Meeting JDL: Commander Stacey "Bones" Harris and Counselor Zachary Zuniga
One Mother of a Meeting
JDL: Commander Stacey "Bones" Harris and Counselor Zachary Zuniga

Bones took her sweet time getting to Zuniga's office. When she arrived and rang, she almost left when the door didn't open immediately- but then it did. She sighed, “Hello counselor. I'm here.”

"Come in, have a seat." Zach said from behind his desk. He stood and slid a large bucket across his desk in Bones …€Â˜direction.

Bones raised her eyebrow, “What's the bucket for?”

"Heard you were having a bit of morning sickness." He said matter-of-factly. "Or if I annoy you with too much psychobabble, you can put it over my head." He chuckled.

Bones smiled, a little more at ease now, and sat down. “Fair enough,” she said. “Mornings are awful but since it's 1500, you should be ok.”

"Thanks." He smiled. "So, I understand you have some concerns about being pregnant....beyond the normal ones that every mother to be has that is. How can I help?"

Bones looked at him evenly. “You can't,” she said matter of factly. “Listen, you're a nice guy and I get that this is mandatory, but I'll get used to this or I won't. That's that. Not to be rude, but- are we done then?”

"Not so fast." He made solid eye contact. "This doesn't HAVE to be unpleasant, doctor, but if that's the way you want to handle this, it can become quite unpleasant. For starters, I can refuse to provide a fitrep for you and insist that you report here twice a week for counseling. IF that's what you want." He paused and gestured toward the door. Zach had apparently come a long way from being a somewhat reticent and reluctant part-time counselor. "Go ahead and leave...and consider yourself relieved of duty until further notice. "

Bones grimaced and sat back in her chair wondering when exactly he grew a pair. She'd have to talk to Mara about snatching them back. “I'll stay,” she said.

"Good choice. We both know that sitting here talking about your feelings is the last thing either one of us want. But we don't have the luxury of pretending everything is fine. You"re more worried about the possibility of your children being involved in a dark future than you are about the effect of that stress on your babies and on you."

Bones raised her hands, "Well, you hit the nail on the head. So, that's it in a nutshell. Now what?"

"If only it were that easy. Or that simple. I'm pretty sure we could meet daily for a year and still not reach an agreement on a plan. But we have to try. You children need a mother who's as calm as possible, a mother who's nurturing and loving before they're born as well as after."

Bones sat further back in her chair and sighed, looking up at the ceiling. "I'm open to suggestions. I'm not calm about this, and pretending that I am is an insult to both of us. Talking doesn't make me calmer either- so I sure as hell am not coming in here every day to waste either of our times. Pharmaceutical help, is most unfortunately, out of the questions...so?" she shrugged her shoulders looking for suggestions.

Zuniga nodded, "I'm sure you'll be pleased that I agree with you on coming here and wasting time. I'm not suggesting that. But you need to do whatever it takes to push aside your worries about the possible future that you fear your children may be a part of. There is only one sure thing about the future, yours or theirs, and that is we have no idea whatsoever what will happen in it. You're a physician, a woman of science, you use your mind to solve complex medical problems and come up with ways to heal and cure. Yet you're using all of your brainpower to put stock in the idea that your twins with Captain Trellis are consigned to a terrible fate. Since when do you believe in fate? You who only halfway accepts psychology as valid. Your basing your fears and stressing out over a future that might as well have been seen in a crystal ball by Madame Morgana!"

Zach stood up and came around the desk. He perched on the edge of it near her.

"Or, are you?"

Bones looked at him, “You know what? You're right. I don't believe the future is set. They have just as much chance to a normal life as anyone else.” She nodded. “This doesn't need to end up as a giant Armageddon fireball.” She took a deep breath, seemingly believing that the future she saw was not written. She seemed calmer, and then all of a sudden her eyes widened and she looked at him again, “My God Zach, I'm going to have twins! I'm 43 years old! I'm the chief medical officer of a starship. I don't have time for this. I don't want this!"

Now we're getting somewhere. Zach thought.

"I can only imagine how I'd feel if Mara came to me and said that she and I were having twins! And I wouldn't even be the one having them! The idea of having twins is a lot to take in for anyone but if anyone on the ship is in a position to deal with it, it's you. Heck, 43 isn't old, I have it on good authority that you've got the insides of a woman half your age would envy. You know exactly what to do to take care of yourself and keep yourself healthy. Because you are a doctor, you're aware of what to expect at each stage of your pregnancy plus you can monitor your babies progress as thoroughly and as often as you like. As far as you being CMO, you can make that work for you instead of against you. You have a reputation for doing more in a day than most CMO's do in a week, except when it comes to writing reports that is." He winked at her. "It's not going to have any negative impact on the ship if you work a few less hours here and there."

Bones pouted, "Everyone seems to have this all worked out...except me, that is. Even if the work part works itself out, what about the rest? You just said that 43 isn't old- well if I'm to believe you- then that means I'm not done having fun yet." She stood up and raised her voice, " and I'm irritated to all get out that Joshua is happy about this. Sure, he will be able to gallivant around the galaxy on special missions while I'm home barefoot and nursing? Well, no thank you!" The doctor, who seemed to be getting more worked up by the minute, took off her lab coat and unzipped her uniform- leaving only the little black undershirt showing. She pointed to her chest, "and these? Look at them, go ahead, look. They're perfect! Josh is lucky I shared them with him. I'm not sticking them in anyone else's mouth!" She kicked her chair for emphasis.

Zach gulped and his olive skin reddened noticeably. He might have grown into his role as part-time Chief Counselor on the Excelsior, but handling a pregnant Dr. Harris felt like it was going to be a full-time kind of undertaking.

"Really doctor!" He managed with a bit of indigence. "I'm not the expert but I hardly think there are
many professional women, many STARFLEET officers, who are consigned to a life devoid of joy and stuck shoe-less in their quarters with hopelessly sagging bust-lines!" He shot back, hoping to jolt her at least a little.

"Look doc, I know this is hardly a planned pregnancy or the ideal circumstances under which to have a baby, or two. But there are many fabulous and exciting aspects to being a parent. Here's my prescription. It might be helpful to speak with Taz and even Commander Carishai. They seem to have gotten the hang of being a mother while serving aboard a starship. Your medical staff now includes a pediatric nursing specialist AND Mara, as irascible as she can be with adults, is a wonder with the little ones. She spent lots of time helping Taz with Malinda and Rose when they were younger and Malinda still shows up to visit now and then. Plus, don't forget Kalendra. She's trained as a Doula and as a nanny. You're not going to be alone but you will need to crack open that hard shell of yours just a little." He got up off the desk. "Now go, get out of here before Mara calls you with some phony emergency."

Bones redressed and nodded. “Fine. But I'm not talking to Taz because she wanted to be a mother so bad she could taste it. I don't. And I'm not talking to the commander because I hardly know her and she has a thousand kids...two would seem a silly thing to be worried about to her....but I will take your advice. And look into nannies.” She turned to go, and then turned back, “So when do you want to see me again?”

"We'll play it by ear. Now that you have considered some of your options, I'm confident you'll ttake care of yourself and your unborn children." He paused. "Funny, Taz puts on a good show, but you're her best friend and all, I was sure you knew. She wasn't planning to get pregnant again after losing Rose. She was worried about how it would affect Malinda and she thinks it's her fault that Malinda acted out and put herself in harms way."


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