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Part of Starbase Bravo: Sundered Wings and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Helping Hands

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Izi was casually leaning on the counter at Gren’s kiosk.  The two had been chatting, but were now watching the people as they went about their daily affairs.

“I’ve been here three years and it’s never been this busy,” said Izi.

“it’s been five for me and I agree with you,” said Gren.  “I don’t mind, because it’s good for business.”

Izi studied Gren’s face.  In the course of her duties, she had become adept at reading people, but she never could do that with Gren.

“Business,” chuckled Izi.  “It’s just you and your kiosk in the middle of the walkway.”

Gren shrugged.  “What can I say?  I’m good at what I do.”

“Mm hmm,” said Izi.  She noticed Gren looking at something.  “What is it?”  She followed his gaze.

Three men Izi recognized as shopkeepers, were chasing a woman.  Grabbing her, they were treating her roughly.  Hurrying away, Izi weaved through the crowd.

“What’s going on?”  The men looked at Izi.  “Well?”

“She stole this from my shop.”  The man showed Izi a package of food.  “It’s not the first time she’s been sneaking around.  She’s stolen from other places, too.”

Izi looked at the woman.  She was about twenty, short, with tussled brown hair, rumpled clothes, and a bruise on her cheek.  “Is this true?”

The woman looked away and didn’t answer.

“Did you need to smack her around?”

“She wouldn’t stop,” said the owner.

The day was going well enough for Henry.  The shift in the infirmary had been busy enough and he’d decided to wander the promenade during his lunch break and eat while he walked around, enjoying the mixing of people and officers.  He’d been worried that he might never venture out after his attack, but this time hadn’t given him anxiety and he was thankful to be at peace, at least for now.  There was a commotion ahead and Longfellow spotted a Starfleet security officer in the mix.  He stepped into view as someone said, “She wouldn’t stop.”

“Good afternoon.  Dr. Henry Longfellow, Lieutenant.  May I?”

“Lieutenant Iziraa.  Please.”  Izi motioned for the doctor to look at the young woman.

Henry slipped off his medical tricorder and handed his meal to the startled and staring owner.  He slowly leaned down to the woman, “Blue means medical… so you don’t have to worry much about me.”  She stared at him before relaxing slightly as he scanned the bruise, taking his time.  He slipped the tricorder back in his belt and retrieved his meal from the still staring owner, “I’ll need to see her in the infirmary just down the way…”, he pulled out his card and handed it to the man, “Charge the meal to me.”  He turned to face the security officer, “I could use your guidance when we get to the infirmary.”  He gestured to the men, “You need them for anything else?”

“Do you want to press charges?” said Izi.

The store owner looked at Izi, followed by the doctor, the woman, and back to Izi.  “No charges.  Just make sure you do something about her.  If she’s caught again, she’s going to jail.”

“We’re going with the doctor to the infirmary to make sure you’re all right,” said Izi addressing the woman.  “You’re not under arrest, but I’m detaining you in my custody.  Do you understand what that means?”

The woman nodded, still not talking.

“Okay.  Let’s go.  Lead on, Doctor,” said Izi

Longfellow gave the three men each a look and then led the security officer through the crowd, around a corner, and into the small medical facility.  He gestured to one of the two side areas with a bed and equipment.  He helped the young woman up on the table, “Welcome to our first-aid facility.”  He slipped the medical tricorder out and scanned her once more, “Those men seem to think you’ve got a track record.”  Henry examined the readings and went to the equipment shelf, “What’s your story… better yet… a name might be helpful.”  He pointed to himself, “Henry works just fine – or Doctor Longfellow if you’re feeling like throwing a title in front of it.”

The woman watched Izi as though she had never seen an Andorian.  “I’m Ashley,” she whispered.

“You can call me Izi.”

Longfellow chuckled as the young woman stared at the Andorian, “Andorians are pretty fantastic – never met one I didn’t like…well, there was the bartender in Bozeman…but I don’t think he liked anybody.”  He slipped a dermal regenerator into his hand and ran it over the bruise, “Ashley, you gotta watch out there – those guys will be looking for you from now on….”, he checked the device and gave a look at her face.  The skin was returning to normal and the injury was fading, “There are better places and better people who’d probably take you on for work.”  He glanced at Izi.

When Doctor Longfellow mentioned finding someone to take her on for work, Izi saw Ashley clearly shudder.  Her antennae wiggled, a bad feeling in her stomach.  “Ashley, tell me what’s happening.”

There was a long and tense silence.

“Ashley, you can trust me.”  Izi could see there was a huge internal struggle.

“It’s better if I leave.” Ashley bounded off the bed, pushing Izi….

Longfellow tapped the controls for the door to the clinic and secured it.  He had the security officer in his arms and gave her a smirk, “Funny running into you in a place like this.”

Izi growled a thank you, angry that she let Ashley get the jump on her.  She was eager to help, but she didn’t know anything about her.  Izi needed to be careful and alert.

He stepped a few steps out of the open exam room and leaned against the wall, watching Ashley, “I ain’t gonna chase you, Ashley.  I’m also not going to come after you right now.”  He pointed at the Andorian security officer, “I forgot to mention Andorians can sense things – not like mind readers…but those antennae are a thing to behold when they’re listening to the ground.  She picked something up…I was a little late to the party there.”  He lowered himself to a sitting position, “I’m pretty sure there’s stuff you’ve seen that set you off when I asked about you picking up some work,” he sighed, “We got a lotta folks from a lotta places on Bravo…and some of those people are running from something…my only job as a doctor is to keep them safe and protected from whatever had them running in the first place.”  He nodded towards Ashley, “So….what are you running from?”

Realizing she was locked in, Ashley slid down the wall, wrapping her arms around herself.  Her eyes were closed and she rocked back and forth.

“Doctor Longfellow,” said Izi in a hushed tone.  “She’s clearly been through something traumatic.  Medicine is your specialty.  What should we do?”

Henry sighed, “Let’s unlock the door.  See what she does.”  He tapped the controls and the door’s lock clicked off.

At the sound of the door sliding open, Ashley stopped rocking and became rigid.  She looked at the promenade outside.

“Ashley, we’re not going to force you to stay,” said Izi, “but if you want whatever is happening to end, we’re here for you.”

Seconds ticked by, one after another after another, until there was a silence so thick, it felt like something tangible, filled the room.  Izi held her breath, her antennae moving in slow circles.  When Ashley looked at her, Izi saw the saddest, most desperate eyes she had ever seen.

Ashley reached out with both hands.  “Help me.  Please.”