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If you have not read the log "Under the Surface" please do so first before reading this log. That log has information and story important to this log.
Joint Log - Higgs/Vaeros
The Concern of Friends
She was a woman on a mission, a friend concerned. A doctor worried. The late night hours made her doubt that he was still awake but she had to try. Footsteps echoed down the hallway with so few people awake during Gamma shift. One foot was a little heavier sounding than the other, though by visual appearances alone, the woman had no odd movement to her gait. She stood outside of the door, and checked the time one more time. Likely he was in his quarters, but she would try anyway, pressing the doorbell. No, no response. It was late after all. She frowned, and turned away from the office door, and went down the corridor still searching.
Finally, after a trip along the turbolift, and a few more hallways, she stood in front of the private quarters, looking behind her and to the side at the door she hoped would not open. She took a breath and rang the chime to the room of Erik Vaeros. No answer. Once more, she rang it again. Still nothing. Growing a little impatient, she tried one final time. She was just about to turn away.
The door opened with a soft hiss, but his demeanor was anything but calm. The Draconian stood just beyond the threshold, thick fingers gripping at the thin sheet around his waist. His bare chest glistened with sweat, nail marks coloured his skin. His hair was a mess and a mixture of two lipstick colours were peppered over his flesh. There seemed to be no part of him that didn't have a shade of red or pink, the trail moving lower and lower to disappear beyond the sheet that kept him modest. "What?!" he barked impatiently. Giggles and teasings called out to him and that only served to anger him further that someone dared to interrupt him at the late evening.
Regardless of the obvious nature of what she'd interrupted, she stepped inside the door and hurriedly all but punched the panel to shut the door. "I'm sorry to interrupt you here, but I'm seriously worried for Ellie," she said hurriedly, almost too fast to be understood. She looked at him and his state of “disheveled” appearance, and glanced down the hallway of his quarters, recognizing the voices, but saying nothing, only to turn back to Erik with a genuinely concerned look on her face.
His lips formed a thin line and he used his free hand to grab Riley's arm, his grip firm as his fingers curled into her flesh. "Wait," he hissed. His irritation for the scientist was ignored. The mention of the research chief caught his attention. "Not here." His baritone rumbled with a growl. His eye twitched as he forced the Amazonian-like woman out into the hallway. “Not here. Across the way,” he muttered.
"No, no, no I don't want her knowing that I've com-," she attempted to get out
"Relax. She doesn't live there anymore. She moved in with Fabio a few months ago," he growled as they stepped out into the hallway. There was no way to hide the derision from his voice as he thought of the half-Bajoran. The door to his quarters shut with a soft hiss and he crossed the short distance to the entry directly in front of him. He released Riley's arm and punched his code into the panel to force the doors open. Erik entered the dark living space without another word, the young scientist following at his heels. "Computer. Lights." His eyes adjusted and he took in a deep breath. The space still smelt of the diminutive woman. Keeping his grip on the sheet around his waist, he turned to study the biorobotics officer. "Talk. You said this was about Bright Eyes?"
She rubbed at her own arm briefly where he'd grabbed. "Y-yeah." She looked around. Ellie didn't live here anymore, huh? That was news to her, but then again, she didn't go out of her way to learn the living locations of crewmembers, or keep up to date if they changed.
"Yeah. She lives with Salieri now." He placed his free hand on his hips.
Right. He was something like a telepath. She had forgotten that, considering she very, very rarely interacted with the man. "She came to see me tonight. Her arm... Her shoulder, it was dislocated, she had a number of bruis-"
Erik frowned. "Wait." The counselor shook his head. "Take a deep breath and slow down. Why did Bright Eyes see you and not someone in Sickbay?"
"I don't know. Something about not wanting Cana to worry. Didn't want her to get Gideon up in arms. But, that's not what bothers me." She did as she was told though and took a breath to slow down. She brought up her padd, displaying the data that she'd received from the tricorder in the robotics lab she'd come from. "She said she clumsily harmed herself on accident. Dancing. She'd a very good dancer. You know this as well as I do. But, a shoulder dislocation, bruising in that pattern and shape and spacing, microfractures in her ribs, and bruising to the back of her head... That kind of injury is very unlikely from dancing. She's tired and restless too. Higher blood pressure than normal, certain chemicals in the blood that are at levels more than what one gets when rested, rings under her eyes... Erik... You can see things others can not by looking at people... Have you seen anything unusual about her?"
One hand kept a firm hold of the bedsheet around his waist and he held the PADD with his other hand as he read through the information. His thumb moved in shallow motions to swipe through the data that Riley had brought to him. There was no way to hide the anger from his expression. The hiss was menacing as he silently cursed the universe. His instincts had him immediately thinking the worst. The scientist's concerns were more than valid, but there was no way for the Amazonian-like woman could know that Marielle Deniaud had become a Starfleet Intelligence agent. The injuries could have easily been a result of her training, though he had to wonder why she wouldn't approach him or the other doctors cleared to treat her. Erik would have to speak to Yari Nazir. While he'd definitely noticed a change in her character, he had taken an oath to just let the woman lead her own life. She'd made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with him beyond friendship and that she was choosing the moronic security grunt. "Did you report this?" Amethyst hues remained on the tablet in his grip.
"...Not yet. I suspect foul play here, but with her leeriness on who to talk to, I can't be sure who to go to just yet. You, however, I know for a fact wouldn't be involved, and your reactions tell me I was right."
The counselor could only nod. "Look, I don't like that poor excuse of a jackass she calls a fiancÃ©," Erik grunted. "But, he's a Starfleet officer. He wouldn't touch her." He wasn't sure he believed it. He'd noticed a change in him too. All the same, he couldn't go about making accusations. There was more involved now. "Unless we get a formal complaint or get more data, you can't go jumping to conclusions like that. All those elevated hormones and biochemical responses- That could be a result of her recovery after Askyira V."
She shook her head. "No, I know. But the injury isn't an accident. That's a handprint on her shoulder. If it was an accident, she'd have gone to sickbay, I'm sure, and there'd be no need to pretend she was being clumsy in something she's not. Not like that. Her shoulder was out of it's socket Erik. And, she didn't go to sickbay. Doesn't that strike you as a little strange?"
He could only shake his head in response. It was strange, but he couldn't reveal to the Amazonian-like scientist that there were possible reasons beyond Higgs' unspoken suggestion for a handprint on Marielle Deniaud's dislocated shoulder. As much as he hated Gideon Salieri, he had to believe that half-Bajoran wouldn't physically harm the diminutive woman. "Lieutenant Higgs," he said with a sigh. When he used someone's name, it was rare and spoke of the seriousness of the matter. "Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I've got it from here."
She looked at him with a sort of disbelief. Maybe it was intuition. Maybe it was a hunch. But, whatever the reason, she had a feeling he either didn't believe her or wasn't going to do anything right yet. But then again, she couldn't do anything either. She could listen though. Watch. So that's what she'd do. An observer. Part of being a scientist, right? "Right. Thank you sir. I understand." A bullshit line, but she was being told in different words to let it go. She probably wouldn't completely, being a concerned friend, and a trained medical practitioner, but she'd do so enough. "I... Will just... Keep an eye out?" She'd asked pleadingly before taking her leave.
The Draconian could only nod as he watched her carefully. "Yes, and report whatever you're thinking to me directly," his voice was firm. His tone softened uncharacteristically. "I will look into this," he assured her and he forced himself to give her a warm smile. "Thank you- Higgs. Bright Eyes is fortunate to call you a friend." Erik watched as Riley hesitated before finally exiting the empty living space. His fingers curled into the bundled fabric within his hand and he growled menacingly. "If this ends up being true," he promised darkly to the half-Bajoran, "I will end you."