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JL - Higgs/Deniaud - Under the Surface

USS Aldrin Personnel Recordings


by Lieutenant Riley Higgs & Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud
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Joint Log - Higgs/Deniaud

Stardate 201803.26

Under the Surface


Science laboratories were generally partially quiet and partially noisy, depending on what part you tend to find yourself in.  In the case of one Lieutenant Higgs, it was something of both. While the project had found itself coming along beautifully ever since she accidentally had the computer run an automatic save state function via observation and replication (wonderful when the project catastrophically failed), the almost overly tall woman found herself sitting at something of a stalemate with herself.  Wearing something akin to safety glasses, she was bent over the prosthetic again, wielding a sort of laser scalpel for cutting, as well as a small handheld nanowave particle combiner for melding components together. All in all, the woman was deep in her work, trying to figure out the latest problem.


It was late in the evening and the ship was silent after the transition to Gamma shift.  Her steps were quiet as she walked the hallway and Marielle was especially careful to appear tired instead of pained as she made her way into the biorobotics lab.  Gideon had just left for his shift - the half-Bajoran scheduled for the late night shift that evening - and she had made the mistake of causing an argument before it began.  She nursed her shoulder, careful to appear tired and not pained. A stop at sickbay would have meant dealing with Cana Graves. While she adored the nurse and thought of her as a close friend, the diminutive woman couldn't risk the questions that would undoubtedly come.  She paused as she crossed the threshold and took a moment to look around the space.


"-over prioritizing the circulation via the ventral thermal compensator, but that shouldn't be...  Dammit." A bit of light emanated from the artificial limb, particle combiner once again at work, making something of a gentle hum, with the occasional harsher and more crisp sound of the machine at work.  "Rerouting the main supply line sensors via the nerve array... I wonder." She picked her head up and scooted the chair from it's position towards a spot nearby to grab another tool, only to finally notice the diminutive woman standing very close by.  Heels dug into the ground with a slightly grating noise as the overtly tall woman made a sound that was perhaps an octave higher than her normal speaking tone.


"Puta merda!  Porra... Ellie!  How long have you been standing there?"  She took a moment to actually look at Deniaud.  "Are you... okay?"


A small apologetic smile graced her features and she was sure there was no way she could push past the haggard expression that dulled her once vibrant hues.  "Just fine." The answer was well-practiced - the lie she'd learnt to give since returning from Askyira V after her harrowing experience with Jane Annesley. The brightness remaining in her tone despite the rasp in her breath.  "I had a bit of an accident and thought I could ask a friend for some help?" Marielle made her way towards the doctor turned scientist.


Riley glanced back to the prosthetic that was nearing completion.  "Computer, save state and terminate auto-save function."


"Acknowledged," came the familiar disembodied voice.


Sliding the glasses from her face, Riley placed them gently on the tabletop, and turned once again to her friend.  "Sure. What happened?"


"I was a klutz," Marielle answered quickly as she moved towards a tall stool.  She slid onto the seat and she worked the buttons to her light pink sweater. "I think I dislocated my shoulder?  I can't set it myself." Shrugging it off her good shoulder was not problematic, but it took all of her strength not to cry out as she pulled at the cuff of her sleeve to ease the sweater from over her injured shoulder.  


Riley made a face that was contorted a little in almost horror.  Not from the idea, but from her friend being hurt. She stood and came over quickly to help remove the sweater - carefully - from Ellie.  The swelling was apparent. No scanners were needed to tell that. "A klutz, huh? That doesn't sound like you at all," she muttered, more focused now on the shoulder than conversation, though she would still be interested in just how she hurt herself.


The diminutive researcher made the mistake of shrugging and her good arm rested on the table in front of her, her fingers curling into a fist as her teeth clenched together to silence the sob.  Her mind worked quickly for a response. "I miscalculated the distance of a grand pas de chat. Fell off the stage since I wasn't looking." The lie tumbled easily from her lips and offered with a sheepish laugh to punctuate the hint of embarrassment.  In truth, she couldn't remember the last time she'd dance or had enjoyed the bright lights of a stage.


Whether Riley took it to heart or dismissed it, it was hard to tell.  She'd step away to grab one of the scanners used more for the science research, but given the nature of her own work, a medical tricorder add-on was equipped with it.  "Hang on. Let's see..." She'd point the device at the shoulder, noting a number of issues with the joint, and the surrounding areas. "...Hell of a miscalculation. You've got definitely a dislocation - which why you're here and not in sickbay is a wonder - as well as five somewhat minor contusions surrounding the joint...  Funny, looks like a handprint really... and a microfracture in the third and fourth ribs? Good god, were you dancing on a cliffside?" She raised her brow and gave the woman a look that spoke confusion and slight disbelief.


The comment was ignored.  "Ah- Cana's on Gamma tonight," she explained with a disjointed laugh, her words flowing quickly as a slight panic had her heart pumping furiously against her chest.  "I don't need her worrying and calling Gideon, you know? He's already got so much on his plate. So, maybe just- patch me up and keep this between friends?"


Riley looked at Marielle for a moment before looking away to a nearby first aid station for a painkiller.  Ellie was going to need it. Coming back, the injector was loaded, and pressed to her neck, the gentle hiss audibly making it known it had worked itself into her bloodstream.  "So, while I'm tempted to ask why you wouldn't want Gideon to know, I won't. Besides, you're likely not to be much for talking in a second. I need to pop your shoulder back into joint.  It's not going to be pleasant, even with the Rexalin." Riley gently grasped at the less swollen part of the shoulder, and her bicep. "On the count of five. One, two-" POP. Riley didn't wait until five.


The scream that ripped from her throat was shrill and ear-piercing.  Her back bowed as her head fell onto her forearm, deep gasping breaths barely filling her lungs.  Her eyes squeezed shut and her chin furiously shook from left to right as her nerves attempted to process the sudden rush of sensation.  As she sat up, the room spun from the sudden rush. Her good arm immediately slid along the table and her fingers gripped at the edge. "Wow-  I'm pretty sure you skipped a few numbers there," she murmured in a weak jest. Her chin turned and she stared at her shoulder as she gingerly rotated her arm slowly.  The sudden paleness that took hold of her normally glowing olive complexion was slow to return.


No stranger to the initial reaction, Riley was ready for the scream, any profanity, sudden breathing.  The adrenaline rushing through the other woman's body would be apparent. "I did. If I had waited to five to do it, you'd have tensed up to brace for it, and that could make it harder, or more damaging.  I'm sorry I lied to you."


A pang of guilt struck her, but it was easily pushed aside.  "No- It's fine. Sometimes it's necessary," she murmured softly as she gave the young scientist a small smile.  Dull jewel green irises darted away the moment they caught Riley's gaze and Marielle slid off the tall stool.  "Thanks Boson, I knew I could count on you." Marielle wiggled her fingers slowly to test the feeling in her hand.  The ache remained but it was not painful. She took a step in preparation to leave.


"I'm glad to help.  So... What's between you and Gid that you don't want him to know you're here?" she asked, looking at the data on the tricorder again and the bruising formation.


"Ah-  He just worries, and he's got too much on his plate."


Ever the vigilant woman, Riley reached over to Marielle's good arm to pat it gently.  "Look, Ellie... if you ever need to talk about things, you know I'm here for you, right?"


The physicist nodded and forced a small smile to her features.  She was beyond tired and all she wanted to do was return home. There was some sense of dread at the thought and she lingered a bit in place.  "Uh- What are you working on here?" Marielle turned her chin to stare at the work table.


The conversation redirected her to the foot on the table.  A much more improved version of what she was working on weeks before.  "Well, simply put, a prosthetic that can be worn like mine, but with tie ins via the infusion base to include a more tactile sense beyond mere pressure sense for walking.  A virtual limb that will act and perceive like a real limb." She turned to replace the tricorder back in it's proper roost. On coming back, with Marielle still leaning over the foot, Riley would glance at a discoloration at the base of her skull.  "Did you recently take a hit to the back of your head, too?"


Marielle straightened and placed a hand over the side of her neck, just behind her ear.  "It was a bad fall," she muttered as she tensed. "Well- This sounds real interesting Boson."  It was easy to inject joy into her tone. The laugh she offered was clipped and empty. "Thanks again for the help-  And for keeping it quiet. Don't need anyone else knowing how klutzy I am." Her steps were quick as she made her way to the exit.


"Right...  Take care of yourself, Ellie," she said gently, smiling softly until Marielle left and the door shut.  She immediately turned toward the middle of the empty room. Something was amiss. "Computer. Analyze the injury data just uploaded, and prognosis of most likely cause."



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