Previous Next

Because I Could Not Stop For Death

Posted on Dec 15, 2017 @ 12:01am by Ambassador Xana Bonviva
Edited on on Dec 15, 2017 @ 12:01am

Mission: Aftermath

"Because I Could Not Stop For Death"


Location: VULCAN
Scene: Medical Center
TI: Day 1 - 1242

“You’re dying, Councilwoman. I hope you understand this.”

Xana Bonviva sat quietly in a chair looking across from the Vulcan doctor. It had taken some time to find a doctor who would understand the nuances of her condition, and one she would feel comfortable with given her own job. Just comfortable in general; this is where she missed Dr. Andersson. Comfort...well that took a backseat now. “I am well aware of what I am living with,” Xana replied softly, yet firmly.

Dr. Lhai sat behind the desk, perusing again the file in front of him, looking for something that he had not seen before. “I say this because nothing I give you will change this.”

“We’re looking at quality of life, I understand. But even that has been compromised quicker than I was expecting,” the azure woman pointed out. “I understood that.”

“Good,” the doctor nodded curtly.

The Councilwoman gave a look. “I also understood that I had *years*, if not a decade or more.”

“That was a best case scenario,” Dr. Lhai said, his tone never changing, always even. “Not everything is a best case scenario.”

There was a long silence in the office as the patient and doctor stared at each other. “Well I refuse to accept that,” Xana finally said.

“Your mind may refuse to accept this new reality but your body will kill you long before your mind may be able to adjust,” Dr. Lhai pointed out. Tapping the screen before him he said, “However, you have only begun your treatment options. If you insist on trying all treatment options--”

“I do insist,” Xana replied firmly.

The doctor exhaled softly before picking another option on screen. “You are currently on noncompetitive blockade of excitatory amino acid receptors which includes an inhibition of glutamate release and inactivation of voltage-dependent sodium channels and stipulations of a G-protein-dependent signal transductions. We could move you onto an inhibitor of glutaminergic tone in the molecular layer of the cerebellum, potentially modulating cerebellar circuitry involving the motor control.”

Individually she understood all those words, but Xana had to trust that the man across from her knew what he was doing. “Bottom line, will this stop with the tripping and swelling I’ve been experiencing? Leg and arm tremors?”

“Should help with the tripping and extremity tremors, to some degree, yes this will help; although I remind you that you are dying and nothing will remove them entirely. The swelling, I’m not sure it will help with. And as with any course of drugs, you may incur new side effects,” Dr. Lhai pointed out. “Also in switching therapies you’ll need to remove yourself entirely from the first one and then build yourself up on the next one. That will take time.” He paused and said, “It will not be easy.” Tilting his head to the side he said, “I understand your purpose in pursuing this course of therapy, from what you’ve told me, is your young family. You may want to prepare them that you will be quite ill.”

Xana thought of her children; she thought of how poorly they had taken the news that she was dying. To now have to go home to explain that she was switching therapies… “Thank you for the warning. I’ll prepare my family accordingly before switching therapies,” she said.


Scene: Bonviva Residence

TI: Day 3 - 0324


Somewhere in the universe there was a more sonorous tone, a more gentle reminder that there were people far away who wanted to talk to you. But if there such promptings, they were not gentle here and they were not subtle; because this was the Bonviva house and it was a Bonviva call in the early hours of the morning. Rather it was like being awoken to the red klaxons because that was like every family conversation. On a good day, that is.

As Xana rolled over in her bed and started smacking around blindly until her computer announced in an sympathetic tone, [[Call from BOLARUS IX. Bonviva, Gavrosh]]

Wonderful. Now the habits of calling at odd hours had been passed from her parents to her siblings and now onto her children. If people asked why she drank wine and ate chocolate with abandon she would have sent them her family, except every time she did that her family always found a way to come back.

As she got up, somewhere in the recesses of her mind she mentally said the silent prayer that she always did when her children were out of sight. **Dear gods, let them be ok. Let them be in one piece.** Slapping the console she saw the image change from the Federation symbol to that of her eldest son looking quite aggrieved from half the universe away, which then led to the second half of her silent prayer, **Thank you gods for allowing them to live so I may kill them.**

{{Mom, do you know what’s going on right now?}} her 21 year old son who at the moment was whininging in a way like his 7 year old brother

“I know that I was woken up out of a sound sleep to play 20 questions with my eldest child,” she replied. It would have been a snappy reply at any other time except it was punctured with a deep yawn.

Either way her 21 year old was not impressed by that answer or just ready to steamroll her. The young man raised his hands in frustration and said, {{My *grandmother* is here -- *your* mother. *She* woke me up and proceeded to kick out my friends saying it was not fit. Do you know how not cool this is?}}

From somewhere deep within the background of Gavi’s apartment, Xana saw her mother poking around her walking stick and heard her say, {{My dear grandson, we may have to set fire to BOLARUS IX again, as I think you’ve single-handedly contaminated it with your partying. Never fear, I alone I can take care of this.}}

Gavi gave his mother a look. {{Mom, you have to do something about her.}}

Xana sat up and gave a look at her son. “Gavi, I’m going to tell you something my grandmother used to tell me: to whom much is given, much is expected.”

{{Oh no, you can’t be serious,}} Gavi replied, fear and horror etching onto his face.

“Enjoy your time with your grandmother; give my mother my love,” Xana said with a smile. “And remember, you’re my son and I always believe in your ability to rise up to any occasion. Even this one.”


Scene: School

Day 4 - 1945

It was the end of the semester performance for the school; all grades and all children were to contribute. In earlier times, perhaps on other planets, this end of semester performance would have been tied to a holiday or a change of seasons. But the audience (thanks to the change of locale of the government) now had an influx of students from all over of the galaxy.

“Do I have enough time before they go on?” Horatio whispered as he got to his seat, trying to juggle the packages in his hands. “I may want to hit the concession stands again.”

Xana peered over at her brother in the dimmed lights, while a Betazed brother-sister sang and did a bell performance on stage. For a children’s concert, her brother had loaded up with popcorn, pretzels, a large fluffy pink cotton candy, hot dogs, and a large fizzy drink. “Are you for real? Is any of that for me?” she whispered back frantically, ignoring the dirty look from the other parents.

Her brother rolled his eyes, “I don’t share, you know this. You should have told me that you wanted some. Now I need to get more.”

The Bolian Councilwoman yanked her brother down to his seat. “We don’t have time,” she hissed. “Your nieces and nephew go up next.”

“Okay, but next time tell me that you want food,” he warned as he shoved a hot dog in his mouth.

As the audience gave their own interpretation of positive feedback (Xana and Horatio settled for clapping) the stage changed and suddenly there was a pale spotlight and suddenly a tall blonde, lithe teen girl of Human/Bajoran descent came up, dressed in a simple long white dress. Tossing her hair back she spoke clearly:

“Because I could not stop for Death--

He kindly stopped for me--

The Carriage held but just Ourselves --

And Immortality.”

Behind Erika, holograms appeared; and with every image that Erika acted out the image appeared in time. With Death, came the image of the stereotypical Terran image of a dark hooded figure with a scythe walking next to Erika; when Erika mentioned a carriage, a Terran carriage appeared on the stage. While the holograms would not have been impressive on a starship, Xana (as well as the other parents) knew that all the items in the show had to be developed by the students. Looking around, she saw Dahlia up on the rafters sitting cross-legged tapping away furiously keeping up with her sister’s reading of the old Terran poem.

“Oh my God, this is worse than I thought,” Horatio whispered when he saw the figure of Death. When Xana turned to her brother, and saw that there was a ring of pink cotton candy stuck around his lips and going all up his blue cheeks. “You didn’t tell me Erika and Dahlia were including Mom and Dad!”

Xana gave her brother a long look. “Dear gods, there’s something wrong with you, you know that right?” Looking around she whispered, “I don’t see Benito.”

“The girls said he was coming on at the end,” Horatio said as he slurped up his drink. When other parents gave him dirty looks, he waved back with a grin.

Finally Erika as wrapped up the poem’s reading with its powerful lines of eternity, and the crowd began to show its appreciation, the teenager held up her hands. “I’m sorry, we’re not done,” she said apologetically. Waving a hand towards off-stage she said, “My reading was a fictional interpretation but my brother wants to talk to everyone about a real-life situation.”

“He does?” Xana whispered.

Ben Bonviva-Crichton walked on stage and looked around. First he looked up at Erika, who nodded at him encouragingly, and then he looked up off-stage at Dahlia, who changed the holograms from images of Death to….


There were holograms of Tribbles everywhere on stage.

“HI!” Ben waved.

Every parent in the hall looked back at Xana with a dirty look; in response she smiled and waved back at the parents and made a motion to look back at the stage. Was she thrilled by the Tribbles? No, but she was going to be damned if she wasn’t going to support her son.

“I’m Ben Bonviva-Crichton, and I’m part of the Save the Tribble Society—“

“He is the Save the Tribble Society,” Horatio muttered.

Ben continued from on stage. “—and for my end of semester performance I’m here to talk about the real problem of saving Tribbles and how you can all help,” the young boy started out. Reading from a PADD he said, “Number 1 -- spay and neuter your Tribbles. Number 2 -- foster Tribbles in your home….”

“I really didn’t get enough snacks for this,” Horatio sighed as he began eating a pretzel.

They listened to Ben rattle off all the ways they could help the Tribbles, and from the back of the auditorium Xana was aware of rustling, as if a door was opened and closed and more souls had come in. Turning around slightly she peered back and saw a Human woman with faded blonde hair and although she couldn’t see that far back if she could she would have known she would have had the kindest blue eyes. Next to her was a Human man, sterner looking, his eyebrows raised as if he couldn’t believe he was really here (whether here was in a children’s school or on Vulcan or both) but he stood there with his arms folded.

The Human woman caught Xana’s eye and she nodded, and then she turned her attention back to Ben who was still in the middle of his recitation of how to save the Tribbles.

Xana turned back around and looked at her son, willing the moisture in her eyes to go away. Not looking at her brother she whispered, “When we’re done with the performance, you need to say goodbye to the kids.”

“Why? Cause the school finally figured out that they’re the ones who caused the teacher’s desks to be on the roof?” Horatio asked.

Xana closed her violet eyes at that. “I didn’t need to know that,” she muttered. Opening up her eyes she said, “No because the Crichtons are here and I promised them and the kids that when they got to Vulcan the kids could go with them on their annual trip.”

Horatio frowned, as if he realized something was going on but couldn’t quite put his finger on it.


Scene: Horatio Bonviva’s Home

TI: Day 5 - 0545

“You’re so obnoxious,” Horatio muttered from under a fluffy blanket.

Xana was currently opening up every window and was turning on every light. “So you’ve mentioned repeatedly.”

Rolling over and shoving a pillow over his face, the doctor muttered. “And yet you ignore me.”

“To be fair, I’ve ignored you longer than most people. I’ve developed a talent for it,” Xana replied agreeably. “Now, come on you need to get up. Shower, eat, and get on a shuttle.”

Rubbing his face, the tall, wide, blue man sat up in bed and bleary eyed glared at his sister. “I’m not going anywhere.” When his sister said nothing to that he pointed out, “A woman could have been here.”

“Please. You use my kids as your wingman and wingwomen, I know when you get a date.” Tossing a PADD his way she said, “I’ve got shuttle tickets to EARTH for you that say you’ll be leaving in a few hours.” When her brother glared at her she said tapping a finger to her lips, “You have no reason to stay here and you need to resolve your...okay I’m going to get this right. Ancient Greek king with Daddy issues. Achilles, no that’s not it, your feet are fine. Taras? Wait no you’re not a dolphin. I’m going to get this right.”

“Oedipus, you’re referring to oedipal issues, and buying me a ticket to Earth to talk to Dad after you shipped Mom off to Bolarus to straighten out Gavi is not solving anything,” Horatio said quietly. “You’re plotting something.”

“I’ve got an election to help someone win, get funds for Bolarus IX, clear myself of an ethics charge, and in the middle of this I’m trying to raise my children and make sure they stay connected to their father’s family post-divorce. Frankly, I’m swamped,” Xana said.

“’re plotting,” Horatio replied as he got up. “I’ll go along with this cause I’m kind of curious to see where this goes.”


Scene: Bonviva Home

TI: Day 7 - 1056

Xana was lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling. It was usually quiet in the house, but considering she had orchestrated it to be that way, she wasn’t surprised. She looked down at her feet and realized that the swollen blue phalanges looked less like the slim toes of her youth and more like hot dogs her brother had been shoving into his mouth at the kids’ performance.

“Computer,” she called out. After hearing the beeping she sighed and tried to heave herself up. “Put on FNN.”

Somewhere in her home she heard FNN come on, and in the distance she heard the anchor talk about the upcoming election. Kevak had decided to play up for votes during the Council break by visiting several planets including Bajor and Betazed. Karimi was doing the same thing but his tour included Denobula and Efros. As a Councilmember she should have gone back to her home planet; as an advisor to a campaign she could have gone campaigning.

Instead she did neither. She lay on a bed quietly on Vulcan, letting drugs slip out of her body, having shoved her family off-planet, finally doing what she had been dreading: letting a disease that would ultimately kill her take over her body. She tried to think of it as allowing the disease as winning the battle so she could win the war...except that in the back of her mind even that she realized was false. Looking at her arms and legs, appendages she saw shaking on her bed but could not fully feel, Xana conceded that she was losing the war.

All she was doing was keeping the war going for a bit more.

Wheezing, her lungs filling up with an infection that caused a syrup like fluid to build up in her lung sacs, causing her breaths to feel as if she was feel as if was coming in through a small straw, Xana struggled to get up. Blearily she rubbed her face, and realized her face was hot as if she had been standing outside unprotected in the desert.

Opening up the drawer next to her bed, she saw the small boxes that she saved for her children, the remnants of her failed marriages but reminders for them of their parents. The azure woman bypassed that and let her fingers go to a small rectangle that had always brought so much joy, even when it made her sad for so long.

Taking it out, she looked at her old wedding picture, even though logically she had no reason to. Running her fingers over it, and then put it away, wheezing as she did so, ignoring the tears that blurred her eyesight.

Suddenly Xana felt compelled to sit up, quickly, without thought and she knew what was coming next; normally she would have moved but her legs were still not cooperating. Opening up her mouth, a low, animalistic groan welled up from deep within her and before she could react a large pool of acidic creamy substance came up, the color of which was between clam chowder and oranges. The contents of her system were all over her, the bed, and the walls, up to and including her wedding photo.

On the plus side, the feeling returned to her legs just in time for her to clean herself up and the bedroom.


NRPG: Who said dying was glamorous? :)

The title of the post (and the poem that Erika reads) is from Emily Dickinson's poem of the same name:

In all seriousness what this post does is get the kids off Vulcan in setting up for the next Aftermath story :)

Su: Thanks for your help!

Shawn: Hope the reference to Jake's parents picking up the kids is ok!


Sarah Albertini-Bond
~writing for~
Councilwoman Xana Bonviva - Bolarus IX


Previous Next