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Posted on Jul 10, 2020 @ 7:01am by Lieutenant Eve Dalziel & Lieutenant Tulla Keiku
Edited on on Jul 10, 2020 @ 7:02am

Mission: Dog Days Of Summer


(Continued from “A Debt Repaid”)


LOCATION: USS PHOENIX, docked at Starbase 56
SCENE: Sickbay
STARDATE: [2.20] 0709.2022


[Time Index: Before the post “A Debt Repaid”]

Dahlia dug the toe of her combat boots into the unkempt surface of the sickbay floor. With the update to HCARS, there was quite a bit of disarray. She cast a hard look of disapproval over to the medical staff who was just getting started with the evaluation. In addition to one of the Doctors and the Counselor, there was a Science officer working with some electrodes. “Why is he doing this?” she muttered quietly.

Jake was sitting next to her. “What do you mean?”

“I told him last night to stop pretending to be someone else,” she continued. “He’s just causing trouble.”

Jake looked alarmed. He didn’t think Billy was faking, and had told that to anyone who would listen. “Why would you do that?”

Dee’s eye roll was reminiscent of her mother. “Hello?” She gestured to the medical and counseling team. “They are *investigating* us. They want to take him away.”

“They want him to get help,” Jake countered. He looked at her; he had been a part of Dahlia’s life since she was 2. They had always been close and even though her teenage years, coupled with the life of a Starfleet kid, stress of the divorce, and her mother’s illness (and subsequent recovery which she hadn’t been there for)...well it was all erupting for Dahlia. Still, he and Dahlia had always been like couplets in a circuit. Looking at the 14 year old he asked quietly, “What are you thinking, Dee? What reason would a kid have to make up a new name? Refuse to answer their old name? Act like a new person overnight?”

Dahlia’s light blue cheeks turned a darker shade of blue, as she flopped down in a chair and down. Folding her arms stubbornly she glared at Jake.

“I really feel like I’m missing something,” Jake muttered. Rubbing his face he asked, “Want to clue me in?”

Dahlia glared. “You should know.”

He was not going to have a fight with his daughter, not in Sickbay with everyone watching them. “Tell me, Dahlia,” he said. Giving a look he asked, “Where do you think your brother would have gotten the idea of doing all this? From me? Your mother?”

Dahlia rolled a tongue around her mouth. “Me,” she said. When Jake looked at her she said, “I did this when you and mom got divorced. I told everyone my name wasn’t Dahlia. I shaved my head one day. Made the fuzz that was left black. Did some other stuff too.” Shrugging as she looked away, “At least mom didn’t drag me to the doctor and counselor.”

Jake just looked at Dahlia. He knew that the divorce had been hard on the kids; he knew they took the news of their mother’s illness hard. Somehow he didn’t know it was this hard. Yes, he knew Ben adopted Tribbles to cope, yes, he knew that Dahlia became more rebellious but there were levels that he was just not aware of. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe the idea that children were resilient was just a story that adults told themselves so they could sleep at night.

“What was your mom’s reaction?”

The teenager frowned as she tried to remember. “She didn’t care about the hair, except I made a mess. The name thing just annoyed her. She got her revenge by being extra happy, even as she was sick. Every morning she stood there and would ask all nice, “And what should we call you this morning?”.” Dahlia shook her head, making her natural blonde curls bounce. “It pissed me off.” Looking over she said, “Ben used to follow me around and encourage it.”

As hard of a time as it was picturing his blonde, curly haired daughter with a buzzcut and the buzz dyed black; Jake had no problem picturing his ex-wife doing her best “we’re all fine here” impression. Dahlia’s explanation of the situation made complete sense to him in that regard. Still as Jake rubbed his face, he had so many questions. He wanted to ask Dahlia why she did that; he wanted to know what Ben encouraged. He wanted to know what else Dahlia had done, because he knew that Ben had seen that. Had followed her around bugging her--

And then it hit him. Ben followed Dahlia around. Ben denied it; it drove Dahlia crazy but still it happened. How did Ben get to the Starbase? Jake finally opened up his mouth as he looked at Dahlia to say something when he heard--

“Commander Crichton, we’re ready to begin.”


[Time Index: After the post “A Debt Repaid”]

Billy's anguished screams (not to mention the adults yelling) brought Aerdan out from his office. "What's going on?" he asked, his brow furrowed and his left antennae cocked slightly forward. It was a good thing he had let Bartlett have the main responsibility for the Cargo Bay which had been turned into a makeshift Sickbay, otherwise he wouldn’t have found himself here for the appointment he didn’t know was happening.

“That was *my* question,” Eve said to everyone and no one in particular, her focus still primarily on Jake.

“It was supposed to be a routine follow-up to the examination Billy received on the Starbase after they found him,” Doctor Crow explained, still consoling the doppelganger of Ben Crichton.

“It was not routine,” Tulla admitted, still examining the equipment for some kind of malfunction.

“That is obvious,” the Neurosurgeon said in his usual understated way, turning to the odd woman out. “Why are you here?” he asked Kari.

He hadn’t asked the question with anything other than curiosity, but Crow began to respond defensively. “I wanted to make sure the sensors were calibrated to the highest level of accuracy. That’s what Scientists do.”

“I invited her,” Jake cut in sharply. “I want answers for Billy, more than anyone else here. She is a valued member of the crew.”

Doctor Keiku grumbled. This incident just confirmed her misgivings. “Can we just agree that *we’re* the Medical Department?” When Eve cleared her throat the hybrid woman clarified, “And Counseling.” Doctor Crow shifted on her feet, the intent to make her feel uncomfortable coming across loud and clear.

Looking around the room, Tulla continued, “Answers should not come at the expense of the child’s safety. I know I’ve been told I need to work on my “bedside manner”. But *never* have I inflicted physical pain on a patient like some archaic voodoo medicine woman.” Kari seemed to crumble a little inside at the last remark, but instead of leaving, she stood frozen at Billy’s side.

“You’re exaggerating,” Aerdan sighed softly. It could never be said that Tulla Keiku lacked passion. Leaning in he said, “But there are easier ways to do this.”

“The best thing to do would be to run the test again,” Eve asserted.

“No! Not again!” Billy cried.

As much as his pleas tore at everyone, Eve pursued her thoughts. “Doctor Keiku, if there were no malfunctions in the equipment that caused the discomfort to Billy, what medical conditions or physical ailments would cause an exploratory radiation pulse to deteriorate cellular material?”

Keiku bared her teeth slightly. She liked a challenge. “There could be several things that would contribute to that outcome.”

Kari Crow snapped out of her passive behavior as the rest of the group plowed ahead. “The results we have need to be reviewed. They may hold the answers we need!”

“Absolutely,” the Andorian murmured. “I think it would be best if you left to go do that now, Lieutenant,” he prodded the Science officer. Aerdan looked to Jake for some kind of challenge, but other than a look of concern and dissatisfaction on his face he did not argue the point. Doctor Crow grabbed her tricorder and PADD and left without further comment.

“Can you design a test that would *not* use radiation, and possibly lead us down the path of what it either is, or isn’t?”

“Wait a minute,” Tulla said, thinking out loud as she pulled up records on Benito Bonviva-Crichton. She hoped that Jake was a better follower of medical protocol than the Captain. Her hunch paid off. “His hyperencepholagram.”

“Hyperencephalogram,” Aerdan agreed. Nodding as he began typing fast he said, “That’s it; we’ll do a full medical analysis of the brain-wave activity, baselined as brain circuitry pattern. We’ll compare that to Ben’s last BCP. Since BCPs are as unique as a person’s fingerprints, and no two people not even twins share the same BCP, I think that would be it.”

Tulla nodded as she got ready for Aerdan to do the procedure. “Even if Billy, or Ben, or whatever that kid is calling himself got himself possessed or infected, it will show up.”

Aerdan looked over at his colleague. “You will need to leave the perimeter,” he said softly. Passing her a PADD he said, “You can do the exam of the eldest child, Dahlia Bonviva-McInnis. She requested a female doctor.”

The Klingon/Betazoid woman nodded, clearly expecting both things. Any kind of telepathic or empathic waves could interfere with a BCP reading, which is why Aerdan was the best to do this test. Additionally, it was common for teenagers to request exams with the gender they identified with. “Maybe I’ll go to the Astrometrics lab since we’re all on one staff,” she said saucily.

Aerdan was going to warn her not to do it, but figured he could either stop Tulla or help his patient, he could not do both. “I’ll send in the Marines after you,” he warned.

“To help? Why not,” Tulla said as she walked out. “Their Captain seemed like she was up for this.”

“Just go to our temporary Sickbay,” Aerdan said. As Tulla groaned/grunted he figured there was a good chance she might just listen.

“Bonviva-McInnis, Dahlia,” Tulla called out from the door. Seeing the teenage girl bounce off the biobed the Klingon/Betazoid doctor said, “Come with me, we’ll do your exam….somewhere on this ship.”


The Andorian doctor mentally debated adding to his specialties “dealing with difficult colleagues” as he finished setting up. “Where did the other doctor go?” Billy asked.

“She went with your sister for her exam,” Aerdan explained softly, bypassing “where” the exam was taking place. Pulling up the right consoles for the exam he asked Billy, “So just lay down for this.” As Billy cautiously laid down he asked conversationally almost as if he didn’t care about the whirling consoles, “I know you’ve been busy lately but what’s been your favorite thing to eat? My daughter used to love frozen milk until it was like a slushie.”

The boy perked up at that. “You have a daughter? Is she here? Can I play with her? Is she my age? I had strawberry ice cream, and that was so good.”

Aerdan smiled slightly at that. “Ishe, my daughter, is older than you and so she’s not here with me,” he explained as the boy visibly became sad at not having a playmate. Looking at Billy he asked, “What about school? What do you like about school?”

“Recess,” he answered automatically.

The Andorian smiled at that. “I think that is everyone’s answer,” he nodded. He continued on in this gentle probing way, asking gentle questions that parents of friends did. Questions that were both nonsensical (“What would you put on your ice cream if you could only put on one topping?”) but at the same time were totally important to a child of 10. There was both no pressure and tons of pressure. Billy poured over every word of the questions, and his answers (“rainbow sprinkles” was his answer to the ice cream topping), carefully thinking through to the best answers. Additionally, Aerdan found the boy thoughtful both in his answers and how he would then turn the question back to Aerdan, (“Do you like ice cream? What would you put on it?”).

Jake listened to each word that came out of Billy’s mouth, analyzing, comparing it to how he thought Ben would answer; the cadence of Billy’s speech. Sometimes he was sure it was another kid here; other times the words and tone were so like Ben that even he was confused.

Finally, during a break of questions Aerdan smiled and said, “Ok, we’re done.” Making a “come here” move with his hands he said, “You can sit up now, Billy.”

Billy sat up slowly and said cautiously. “That’s it? But it didn’t hurt.”

“It’s not supposed to,” Aerdan replied softly. “Do you want a book or a game?”

Billy looked at Aerdan with a quizzical glance. “Why? Can’t I just go home?”

Aerdan thought about that. “Well I figured you’d stay here while your sister gets her exam with Dr. Keiku and your dad gets his with me.”

Billy looked over at Jake, who looked a little surprised at Aerdan’s firm “Jake was getting an exam” tone. “I’ll stay here with my Dad, just in case he needs me,” he smiled. As Aerdan set up for Jake’s exam he caught Eve’s eye. Both of them noticed how Billy was trying to endear himself to Jake, and Jake was trying to return it...but just couldn’t.


Scene: Cargo Bay/Temporary Sickbay

Dahlia Bonviva-McInnis had requested a private exam with her. Tulla went over to Dahlia and began the exam. “I don’t need an exam,” Dahlia announced.

“You requested me just to say that? Everyone on the ship is to have a yearly exam,” she explained to the teenager. Still Tulla reviewed the notes in Dahlia’s file, noting that yes her mother had taken her to a doctor within the last year for certain things.

“tlhIngan pejatlh,” Dahlia announced.

Tulla stood there as she kept reading. I speak Klingon, Dahlia said. She didn’t say it perfectly but well enough to be understood.

“vaj jIH HIja',” Tulla replied. Yeah so do I, she replied. Pausing for a moment she added, “vo' 'oH Dub Hugh.” It comes from the back of your throat, hoping that bit of direction would help the teenager with her diction.

Looking around Dahlia said, “Suq QaD yebDu'wIj SoSwI'.”

My mother took me to get protected, Dahlia told her. Tulla could see that from the records. It was true that whoever this young woman’s mother was she had taken her to a doctor to get protection.

Putting down the PADD with the medical records, the Klingon/Betazoid could tell that the Bolian/Bajoran/Human girl was both honest and nervous. “vISov HoSqu'mo' 'e' neH ta. vaj qatlh DajatlhDI' maH ghu'vam? nuq So' 'e' nID SoH?”

I know because that's in your records. So why are we speaking like this? What are you trying to hide? Tulla asked.

Dahlia bit her lower lip for a moment. “QaD wej Sumqu'. yep ruch SoS 'ach naDev wa' pagh latlh vIHtaHbogh 'oH 'ach SoH,” she said quietly.

I do not need to be protected. Mom did it to be careful but no one else here knows about it but you, she said quietly.

Tulla tapped her foot as she thought about that. It was clear her father didn’t know about this; and it was clear she didn’t want her father to know about it. Picking up the PADD, the notes were that both parents had custody. One parent had signed off on this event; additionally it had been done on BOLARUS IX which was more open on what the age of majority was for a woman's right to determine what she wanted for her body.

“You still need a physical,” Tulla decided. “rachwI' 'ej ghaH neH nuv'e' vISov,” she finally said.

The nurse and I will be the only ones who know, she told Dahlia. Looking over, Dr. Keiku called for Crewman Horgall to assist with the physical. Reviewing the case with the nurse and the need for privacy, the Bolian nurse nodded and they went to work.

As they were wrapping up the exam, Tulla’s commbadge beeped. [[Jos to Keiku. We’re ready for you when you’re ready.]]


Scene: Sickbay

At the end of Dahlia’s physical, Tulla again met up with Dr. Jos, who raised his eyebrows at her. “She’s a healthy teenage young woman who dislikes prying eyes and ears,” Tulla said with a haughty tone.

Aerdan gave her a look. “And you know this because of your extensive years of pediatrics?”

“No because I was one,” Tulla said. “But she’s fine.”

“DID YOU JUST ASSIGN ME HOMEWORK?” came the shriek from across the Sickbay.

When Aerdan looked at Tulla, the Klingon/Betazoid gave a deceptively bland look and shrugged. “Her Klingon is not as good as she thinks it is,” she pointed out with a shrug. “Someone had to tell her.”

Aerdan walked to his office, indicating the others should follow. Once inside he said, “The BCP indicates this is not the same boy we’ve seen before,” he said softly. “I don’t know who Billy is, but he’s not Benito Bonviva-Crichton.” He turned to Dr. Keiku and asked, “Thoughts on Ms. Bonviva-McInnis?”

“She is not telling her father her full medical activity, which ties into her adult social life. But her mother knows and signed off on everything,” Tulla said, which was the most diplomatic thing Eve ever heard the Klingon/Betazoid woman say. “No signs of trauma or abuse though. Otherwise all I will say is that she is a healthy 14 year old young woman.”

Eve paused for a moment, a myriad of thoughts flashing before her. She had to listen to kids she knew now being talked about as adults possibly engaging in “adult social life” which was the counseling/medical term for...well the Counselor knew what that was the euphemism for; she just hadn’t associated that with Dahlia. She also had to listen to colleagues say that the girl wasn’t abused; which was good, but it was one thing to put it clinically and another to associate it to a colleague and his family.

Eve sighed. She had known it wasn’t going to be easy. Jake had been right about the boy not being Ben, but the truth wasn’t particularly helpful at this juncture. Ben was still missing. “Until we can uncover more information about Billy’s home, I feel his best interests would be served by a guardian ad litem, preferably someone aboard the ship. Billy is very drawn to Jake, and while I don’t think either of them are in the best frame of mind to support one another, I want to keep visitation on the table. I don’t want Billy to feel that he’s being punished by being “taken away” from his ‘father’.”

Aerdan chose his words carefully. “There’s no indication of abuse or neglect on Jake’s side of things.”

“No, but I am concerned wherever the boy came from, he hasn’t had an easy life. He may be holding back repressed memories of that time. Not only has Jake failed to bond with Billy, I’m not sure he’d be able to handle an emotional outburst from him, especially not knowing what has happened to Ben.”

“Who would take care of him?” Tulla asked.

Dalziel had been thinking about this. “There are a few candidates, not many, but a few. I will need to ask them first. This is a delicate matter, and isn’t exactly the type of favor I want to ask someone without any warning.”

“Not it,” Doctor Keiku said.

Eve shook her head. “No offense meant, but I wouldn’t consider a busy Doctor a good candidate for taking care of a ten year old.”

“Not that,” the Klingon/Betazoid female answered. “I mean I’m not going to be the one to tell Crichton.”


NRPG: Su here. Shawn, whatever reaction you want to having Billy go to alternate custody, have at it. It’s going to take at least one post to find a guardian for the boy. It should be someone aboard ship and yes he will have visitation, although I think it’s going to be Billy that wants to see Jake and not necessarily the other way around due to how much he has on his plate with Ben’s disappearance. I do have a plan for who will be taking care of Billy but it will need to unfold in my next post.

Alix: I haven't forgotten about your offer to jp. I’ll try to get with you because I have an idea.

Sarah here: Dahlia’s reference to shaving her head was reference to some posts I wrote years ago when Xana was in FRPG doing the political stuff and I thought it would be fun to reference as to why she’s not taking it seriously (oops, maybe she should have) :)

For Dahlia and Tulla’s conversation I used the Klingon dictionary at which was super fun. Qapla’!

Jamie: Hope this works for you.


A Joint Post by:

Sarah Albertini-Bond
Dr. Tulla Keiku, LT


Ambassador Xana Bonviva


Susan Ledbetter
Lieutenant Eve Dalziel


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