Part of Starbase Bravo: Q3 2400

Longfellow, M.D. … & More

Sick Bay
2400
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Heriah had to speak to someone. Yeah, she was opening up more and get more friendly with her boss but her boss was still a shrink. There was Cynndle whom she had gotten to know and found herself growing more fond of, but, and for obvious reasons, she could not speak about this to him. And since this involved another matter…”I need to speak with Dr. Longfellow,” Heriah said to the medical receptionist.

“I’m sorry ma’am but he is with…”

“Please tell him I will be in that examination room…please.” Heriah turned and started toward the examination room when she stopped and leaned back, “and thank you.”

Heriah had her hypospray in hand, looking at it and fiddling with it nervously as she made her way to the examination room. Entering, she immediately sat and started bouncing a foot. She stood and paced about the small space for a moment before seating herself again, this time on the biobed. Placing the hypospray beside her, she ran her hands up and down her thighs and hummed something.

There she waited. It did not matter how long it took. Heriah felt there was no one else other than Dr. Longfellow she could share this with.

Longfellow looked up from the patient history he was taking. The receptionist stepped in and advised him that a patient had been looking for him and had taken up residence in an exam room.  When he heard the name he quietly smiled, “I’ll go check on her.”  He turned to the patient, “I’m going to have my nurse finish your history.  We’ll take some blood, run some tests – pretty normal stuff.  I’ll be back shortly.”  He wasn’t sure if that was even true.  He snagged a PADD, a medical tricorder and walked to and then into the exam room.  Heriah sat on the bio bed, clearly nervous.  He sat on a stool and rolled closer to her, “Been a bit, Heriah.”  He did a cursory scan with his medical tricorder as he spoke.  He pulled up his PADD and gave her a look of curiosity, “What can I do for you?”

“Thank you for seeing me, doctor. I have…um…” Heriah looked to the floor briefly, then reconnected with the doctor’s eyes, “…an urgent situation.” She really did not know how to say it, so decided to out with it. Taking a breath, “Cynndle asked me out. No…not out. Not out, out. I mean, not on a date. Of course, you know the crisis summit is over and all that went along with it. Well, someone in the command staff is planning a get-together to celebrate. Cynndle asked me to go along with him. ‘As friends,’ he said. As friends. There is nothing wrong with that, I don’t think. I already said I would go.” Out of breath, she took another draw of air and finished off with, “So, what do I do?”

‘Easy, go out with him, lead him on, make him dream of greater things, kick him to the curb.’

“You have to help me doc.”

Longfellow didn’t laugh.  He had learned early in his career not to laugh at his patients.  And if he would have laughed at this moment, it wouldn’t have been at Heriah Rex – it would have been in commiseration with her.  He nodded, “I’m guessing Rex has his own solution to this problem?”

“We’re at both ends of the spectrum, me and he. Rex’s solution,” she crossed her arms gently across her torso, “is one of drama, violence and heartbreak.”

‘Hehe. You ain’t lying.’

Henry nodded, “That would be pretty normal for Rex, I’d say.”  He looked up and thought for a moment, “Well, the question you have to ask yourself and Rex as well is where is this nervousness about going with him coming from?  Is there suspicion that he has designs on you besides friendship…,” and he paused before asking the next part of the question, “…or is that you’re worried…or Rex is worried you may find more feelings in yourself beyond just…friendship?”

“Um…” she was trying to comprehend Henry’s words. She heard his words but, through her nervousness, had to think on the definitions of each word, to include ‘the’, in an attempt to formulate what he meant as well as an answer. “I guess I don’t know. Yeah. Well, not really. It’s not really that. Not that at all. OK, it is, exactly that. Somewhat really. Not really.” She hammered her fists down upon the biobed, nearly knocking her hypospray to the floor. “OK, here it is.” She cleared her throat and took a breath.

‘Here it is. Let him have it.’

“I’ve never been on a date; not as Heriah; not before joining and not since. I’ve never gone to an event with just one other person that I liked, somewhat liked, could like; somone that I am fond of. I’ve always found myself socially awkward, laughing when nervous, unable to find the words, breaking out in a sweat.”

“Rex, however…” previous hosts before Refkin were somewhat subdued, most likely from the trauma Rex endured while joined with him. “…due to his…”

‘Mania?’

“…due to his temperament and when he was joined with Davmorda, she proved domineering. She had relationships, but when she had gotten what she wanted, she would kick,” Heriah actually kicked out with her foot, “him, sometimes her, to the curb. When joined with Luftine, he proved also domineering but in a violent way. He would beat…” Heriah was about to mimic a punch in the air but cut herself off and decided against further narrative of the history of Rex’s hosts. “You see what I mean. Both ends of the spectrum. Heriah,” she held out her left hand, “nervous and awkward, and Rex,” she held out her right hand, “domineering and violent.” Heriah bounced both hands in the air before her. “How do I reconcile the two?” Before allowing Henry to get in a word, Heriah pointed at him. “Just be yourself. That is what you are thinking of saying. I know that I tell my patients that all the time. But me? You want me to just be myself?” Heriah put her face in her hands, sighed, and pulled her fingers down her face, cheeks, and chin. “I honestly do not know who that is.”

Longfellow listened carefully.  It wasn’t a surprise about Rex’s manner of relationships given the darker edge of the sun that he’d flown so close to in his life as a symbiont.  Heriah was on the opposite side of the relationship canyon they were exploring, and he felt for her struggle in trying to know herself.  There was Heriah, and there was Rex in her mind and body.  “Then I think that’s your first step in this.”  He shifted the stool closer to her, “There’s an old earth adage about having two wolves inside competing for our persona…who we are.  I think the more accurate metaphor for you is two siblings inside you – Heriah and Rex.  It’s like any sibling relationship – fraught with conflict, arguments, disagreements.”  He thought for a moment longer,  “In the original story, it was always about what wolf we let win…but that’s not the case with Trills…and specifically you.”  Henry continued, “You and Rex will have to find some things to agree on to help you forge your own identity as Heriah.  As your work to discover who you are, the balance between you and Rex will equalize.  Trills are stronger when they’re together and going towards the same goal.  This will be a challenge for you both…and Rex, I’m talking to you now…it’ll be new territory for you as well.”

‘This one’s beating heart in the territory of the palm of your hand sounds good.’

With that thought forced forth and flashing through her mind, Heriah took a second to find the words. “Rex…understands. He is a bit resistant…”

‘Understatement.’

“…but I am sure he will…” and Heriah wanted to be honest with both Henry and herself. Saying that Rex would fall into line was certainly a lie. That he would give it his best? Well, his best in making a disaster of everything. That he would give it his all? Again, giving it his all in sabotaging any relationship.

“…Rex will give it a go,” she finally finished.

‘eh…’

“He is oftentimes that proverbial little devil…”

‘Little?’

“…on my shoulder and in my ear, but I always have the final say. His voice and will sometimes…they can be a bit overwhelming.”

Longfellow understood.  “It is a unique and challenging position.  It is the problem of having two minds inside your head and heart.”  He tapped his own head, “You remember T’shalaith?  She was only with me a short time…but the power she held over my own mind and body?  If she had been inclined, she could have taken over and done some terrible things in my name.”  He shook his head, “She knew I was scared of her power…and I think she was a little scared of it too.  Kept us honest.”  He looked at her, “You’ve talked a lot about Rex and his influence over you.”  He thought for a moment, “The question for you…and Rex as well…is when will Rex allow you…to have your share of the influence…over yourself and even of him?”

She let out a nasal laugh. “He’s quiet. Not entirely sure what that means.” But Heriah did have a realization. “I suppose it is a two-way street. Again, my joining was not the norm and we continue to be something of an anomaly. Perhaps the idea of us joining to form a new individual Trill is a taller order than previously thought. Rex sometimes refers to my body as a prison. Without losing myself to Rex’s will, maybe I need to indulge in some of his desires more often. We have a slew of holodecks after all. I indulge in his desires,” she looked intently at the doctor, “no mass murders or the like, and he will assist me in mine.”

Henry studied Heriah’s eyes for a moment, “I’ll compromise – supervised indulging.”  He held up his hands, “And yes, I probably just volunteered for the job…but I would never suggest anyone go through anything challenging similar to what you’re experiencing alone.”

‘What’s this? Papa Longfellow going to supervise the kiddies in the playground?’

“I cannot guarantee what you may witness, but do be prepared for anything,” Heriah said. “I think some of my nervousness from earlier stemmed from Rex being cross after I…oh,” a light went off as she remembered. Heriah snatched up her hypospray and held it up. “I ran out of the benzocyatizine. I…” and she slouched to a great degree in both guilt and shame as she admitted, “I started…taking double doses.” Heriah immediately spoke up in her own defense. “But that was only a week ago and during the crisis summit. You know, all the refugees? Lead to many long days and late shifts. I needed that second hit. And,” she thought about the refugee influx, “…OK maybe it was two weeks since I started that. No…three.” Heriah thought for a long second about the actual time of the refugee influx. “Six weeks,” she admitted as she fully realized. She looked at the hypospray like a recovering addict would have looked at their vehicle of injection; a tool of pain. And if she could have slouched further, she would have with, “And, just yesterday, I accidentally took a triple dose. I miscounted. Accidentally oversaturated myself with isoboramine. By accident,” she added. “That…is when I ran out.”

Longellow gave her a nod, “I appreciate you being honest about it, Heriah.”  He held the silence for a moment, “Six weeks is a long time to double dose.”  Henry pointed to his PADD, “There’s a lot of things I can ignore or not take note of as a doctor, but that…that’s going to have to be filed in the refill request, which I will grant.”  He thought for a moment, “Who is in control when you make the decision to double dose?”

Heriah thought a short second. “I am. I mean,” and she smiled awkwardly, “why would Rex want me to double-dose? It’s just that…he gets so negative sometimes. Helpful many times, yes, but also negative and usually when I need negativity the least. As I mentioned before, low isoboramine levels causes a separation of the minds. I can sometimes feel Rex becoming distant…mentally. I will also have this strange, out-of-sorts, feeling about myself. The monocorder will verify that I need a dose of the benzocyatizine. I guess…” and she looked down shamefully rolling the spent hypospray around between her hands, “I guess sometimes I did not feel that one dose doing the trick.”

Henry did gently furrow his brows at this point and thought about what Heriah was saying.  There was something more there…but they had worked through so much in this conversation he wasn’t sure it could handle the weight of one more question.  “I think if you feel that way in the future…reach out to me and let’s investigate together – myself, you, and Rex to see what we can find out.”  He looked at Heriah, “That work for you?”

“It does, sir,” she nodded. “And thank you. The next time a single dose does not appear to work, I will come straight here.” She was a bit worried about Elegy finding out about all this and what that would lead to. “I will strive to do better. After all, Bravo needs its counselor.”

Longfellow agreed with her there, “The more ears there are to listen to those who need to speak the better.”

Heriah hopped off the biobed and stood. Stopping herself after taking only half a step. “Sir,” she did not want to pry but also did not want to seem insensitive, “how is your wife doing? The ship and crew?”

“We are cautiously hopeful.”  He let a sigh out as he spoke, “Hope is sometimes all we get in these moments, Heriah.”  He made a note on his PADD and handed her the refill cartridges from his supply, “Let’s hold each other accountable through these things.”  After she had left, Henry contemplated making an appointment with her about his emotional status and his wife’s situation.  He resolved to address it as soon as possible. 

Comments

  • Well that was an intriguing story. Very interested to see how Heriah and Longfellows relationship develops.

    July 26, 2022