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Posted on Sat May 27th, 2023 @ 5:16pm by Lieutenant JG Gwenwyn Marwol & Lieutenant Xex Wang

Mission: On the Road Again
Timeline: Mission Day 3 at 0000

Entering sickbay for duty was the same as every day. For Gweywn, today felt different, like an end of an era. He was wearing the standard uniform but wore a uni-sex skirt instead of trousers, which he had never worn on duty. A PADD was in hand, swaying past his cleanly shaved legs.

He was on the hunt for his Commanding Officer. Lt Xex MD.

Fortunately for Gwenwyn, said MD was not difficult to find. As had been increasingly the case since they had returned from Shaddam IVa, Xex was at his desk, all of the chairs in the small room-- including his own-- pushed round to the other side of the desk so he could pace and fidget in front of the display. It appeared to be scans and data from crewmembers which he was sorting manually by flicking the pertinent pieces from place to place around the display.

"Doctor Xex," Gwenwyn stated to grab his attention. "May I have a moment of your time?" He asked. His duty was to begin in mere minutes and he hadn't sighed in yet, Gwenwyn was assigned to be in consultation room 3 and not on-call until tomorrow evening.

Xex jerked, surprised to be addressed by anyone-- much less Gwenwyn-- at this hour. It took his eyes a moment to focus through the display on the young lieutenant, and when he did, he immediately collapsed the holographic data and his face melted into a smile. He made no obvious note or comment on his second's changed appearance. "Of course!" Gesturing to the seats on the other side of the desk, he said, "Please, make yourself comfortable. I wasn't expecting you tonight," he added, perhaps hoping to invite Gwenwyn to speak.

Fear ruled over Gwenwyn. He handed the PADD that he brought with him to Xex. "I inform you of my resignation from the USS Sojourner and Starfleet," Gwenwyn said, stopping for a brief pause. "I can't do this anymore Xex... Whenever the ship docks with a Federation outpost I'll take my leave."

Although Xex took the device, his eyes remained glued to Gwenwyn, scanning his features as he made his statements, the young man's fear patent in the wrought lines of his face. His words seemed to affect Xex deeply, almost like physical blows, an ashy tone washing out his silvery features. He had known Gwenwyn was struggling, but perhaps he hadn't let himself really consider how that struggle might culminate. Now, with the young man before him and a PADD in his hand, a series of memories flashed before his mind's eye.

Gwenwyn, stepping off the Waverider at the foot of Kestrel's gravstretcher, his face haggard from the travails moonside.


Gwenwyn alongside him in the decontamination chamber, staring down at his hands, bathed fuchsia in decon light, the planes of his scar picked out in stark detail.


Gwenwyn, reciting the gory details of Booth's death to his crewmates, like an automaton.
Like someone who needed distance and time, and I didn't see it,
Xex thought vaguely as the memories continued to strobe.


Gwenwyn, working feverishly alongside to take the archaebacteria's sequence and turn it into meaningful treatment. The excited gesture that would bring his hand into view all that it took to kill the spark of interest and satisfaction in his eyes, turning them inward again with an almost visible wince, like a kicked puppy.


Gwenwyn, on the sofa in Xex's own quarters, tears sparkling on his cheeks. Asking for help, flailing as a drowning man and receiving scant rescue.


Gwenwyn, helping Kestrel out of the biobed after her reconstruction, his face a professional mask, but his eyes continually flicking to her foot and away, to her foot, and away, a muscle jumping in his jaw.


Gwenwyn, turning away from a patient, his pleasant expression slipping when he thought no one could see it, to one of frustration and sadness.

Taken together, and with the man in question before him, Xex couldn't help but kick himself metaphorically. Gwenwyn had been struggling more than even Xex knew, and now his only solution was to leave entirely.

Without looking at the PADD, Xex said casually, "It is likely to be some time before we are back at Pathfinder, and all the suns know we can all use your help until that time." Although he made no blatant effort to protest Gwenwyn's decision, his quiet words and an expression bordering on reluctant communicated his regret clearly enough. He leaned forward on the desk's surface and said, "Before I accept this," he lifted the PADD, still without activating the screen, "tell me you will continue to practice with us until that time?"

Slumping down into the office chair, "Oh um... All my trousers are in the wash," Gwenwyn said motioning to the uni-sex skirt he had equipped. "I'm gonna head back to Earth, hang out with my mum who'll no doubt will be married to her job then join my Uncle's travelling space circus."

The evasive statements, when taken together, surprised a bark of laughter out of Xex, a frustrated, rather than amused, sound. "You are proposing to leave your entire career at Starfleet altogether, man. Do you think I give a toss what you're wearing? Gwenwyn," he said, leaning forward to catch the young lieutenant's eyes, "I'm sure your mum is lovely and your uncle has a very fun circus, but you did not train for most of your adult life to what-- showboat on a trapeze? You trained to help people. Do you know what you're doing here? You are helping people."

Gweywen slammed his hands onto the desk. "I have spent my adult life as a surgeon. I cannot help what I can no longer do." He roared, leaning back into the chair. "...Puppet shows." He rambled on. "Before I started college, I knitted puppets and put on shows during the breaks... I need a break."

Xex flinched as the desk shuddered, closing his eyes against the onslaught of Gwenwyn's shout. Moving smoothly, he shifted his position to the seat next to Gwenwyn, lowering his voice to his best, soothing tone. "You can't help it, no," Xex agreed, "but you can help what you can still do, and that is to practice medicine. You are a gifted doctor, or you would not have been stationed out here. Puppets--" he broke off, scrubbing a hand over his face as he took a deep breath. Gwenwyn's leap from one subject to the next was hardly helping Xex's equilibrium, much less Gwenwyn's own. He spared a moment's thought for whomever Gwenwyn's care team had been post-Adelphi, most specifically: who had cleared the troubled young lieutenant back to active duty? Another thought trailed on the end of this and though he suspected he knew the answer, it spurred him to ask, "Have you spoken with Doctor Bracco?"

"No," He straightly said it, head tilted towards Xex who had joined his side from behind the desk. "Spending 6 months with doctors of every speciality puts you off Doctors... Months of talking with psychiatrists about the same accident over and over again combined with the group and breathing therapy felt degrading like I was stripped of my humanity." You could tell that he was being to become upset again, reliving months of pain both physical and emotional wasn't something he wanted... But the pain he felt on Sojo, is far greater than the pain he had at Starfleet Medical.

Xex’s brows arched with surprise not that he hadn’t spoken to Bracco, but at his reaction to the treatment he had received after his trauma.

Well, Xex thought, That’s fucked. He made no effort to keep the thought from painting his features, easily read. “Alright,” he said aloud, “alright. Message received. I’ll stop pushing.” After a pause while he considered Gwenwyn again, he asked, “Is there anything I can say to ease you toward changing your mind?”

"Let me go," He bluntly said. Gwenwn knew this assignment wouldn't be good for him. And it was starting to show.

With obvious reluctance, Xex brought the PADD's display to life. He leaned forward in his chair while he read, arms braced on his thighs, his gaze flicking periodically from from the PADD up to Gwenwyn and back.

The PADD read:
"Lt Xex, Chief Medical Officer

I write to inform you that I have been accepted aboard the Starship Adelphi as a General Surgeon. As you know, Cosmos is planned to become mothballed in the new year much to the protest of our Captain.

The Sojourner is not due for a supplier run for some time. Until that time is upon us, I will take my leave. But I will remain in my post as a Medical Officer but most importantly, your loyal friend.

Yours Faithfully.

Xex looked up from the PADD to consider his second. He looked perplexed, more than anything else. "I... wasn't aware you received clearance to conduct surgery again," he said, carefully, watching Gwenwyn's face closely, perhaps looking for clues as to the cryptic note. He had thought the whole issue was that Gwenwyn couldn't engage in surgery. Now he was being transferred... to do surgery?

Gwenwyn was puzzled "Neither have I." He replied, there was very little he could do about his old job, it would take many weeks even to get an acknowledgement from back home and he'd only been onboard for a couple of months. "I'd like to perform surgery again but. I'm a risk." He remarked.

Xex spun the PADD around to face Gwenwyn, gesturing to the top. "This says you've been accepted aboard the Adelphi again as a general surgeon," he explained his confusion.

Just a look at Gwenwyn's eyes you could tell his brain was working like a machine to make an understanding, it some a few seconds for words to formulate "N-No that um... impossible, I didn't write that." He muttered, "Adelphi is decommissioned." Looking up at Xex, he was looking for answers "I know that. W-Why did I write that?" He asked

Brows arched, Xex spared no more attention for the PADD, instead focusing his gaze on Gwenwyn. "So I had thought," he agreed, of Adelphi's fate. "Could you have added on to an old draft without realizing it?" The question was phrased gently, but Xex's regard was sharp, watching for small tics and telltales off his second. Although it was midnight, he fervently wished Dr. Bracco was here; he suspected she would have some insight he was missing. Nevertheless, she wasn't here and he was; he'd help as best he could.

Confusion still gained heavy on Gwenwyn's face, it was clear he was becoming more distraught. "No," He replied honestly "I haven't written since I returned to the Delta Quadrant... Yeah, you're probably right, I must have kept a copy and written over it when I was tired."

Gwenwyn's continued confusion did nothing to allay Xex's own worry, and he looked down at the PADD to hide that anxiety from his second. Gwenwyn hardly needed more negative emotion. He grunted, neither agreement nor disagreement with the probable sequence of events; moreso acknowledgement that the other man had spoken. "I hope this second paragraph is your true intention? I would hate to lose such capable assistance until we reach Pathfinder again," he said not looking up in an attempt to give Gwenwyn the space to answer honestly.

"Yeah," Gwenwyn said softly, he was incredibly anxious when he became aware of who served on Sojo, he thought about challenging the assignment but gave in although the story is now ending, he was thankful for meeting Xex.

"Excellent," Xex replied with satisfaction, a genuine smile lighting his face. "In that case, I am still your CO, and it is," he glanced at the glaringly large chrono on the wall, "the middle of the night. Give me some time to consider this," he waved the PADD, then set it on the desk, "And in the meantime, get some sleep-- that is an order," he added, although his 'serious' face was hampered somewhat by his pleasure at Gwenwyn's agreement to continue on in sickbay for the time being. "It helps me process; I can only help it will do the same for you."


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