STF

A day on Cestus

Posted Aug. 22, 2020, 12:22 p.m. by Ensign Chloe Harland (Nurse) (Kate O'Neill)

Posted by Ensign Chloe Harland (Nurse) in A day on Cestus

Posted by Lieutenant Nathan Harland (Counselor) in A day on Cestus

Posted by Ensign Chloe Harland (Nurse) in A day on Cestus
Posted by… suppressed (6) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Chloe dropped in the seat on the vehicle and closed her eyes. The day seemed to have no end. She tried to remember the course of events. It had started simple enough: an alarm, a quick kiss, no breakfast. That was how most days began. It was the moments after she left the apartment that tended to blur into chaotic memories. Most of her days working were nightmares sprinkled with a glimmer of light and hope. Today was a day that would only be remembered as a nightmare. The bumps and jostling bounced her head on the back of the seat as they soared through a patch of turbulence. Chloe did not react. Right now she needed to feel something. The vibrations and impact on the base of her skull forced the emptiness in her to be filled.

These vibrations, however, did not fill her but amplified everything she had pushed down into her unconsciousness over that past six hours. The longer she dwelt in the memories of the day, the more her emotions rose to her consciousness like bubbles in a drink. It was harder to retain a flat affect as her throat closed, her chest tightened and tears brimmed behind her thick, dark lashes. The vibrations from the turbulence reminded her of how it felt to feel the ground shake as explosions erupted inches from her. They reminded her of the walls shimming before collapsing and filling the air with dust and debris. The knot in her throat now she had experienced hours earlier as Chloe choked and coughed desperately to get a breath during the fight with the True Way.

The True Way was like a plague. It had descended upon Cestus III without warning one day. No one was prepared for it. No one ever thought it had such deadly consequences. There were things far worse than the True Way however and that was sentient nature.

The Southern region was less secure than the capital and had far fewer resources to protect itself. That was where the USS Hartford and USS Seawolf were always sent but not to protect or defend: The crews were sent to mop up the death and destruction left in the wake of every battle.

Chloe clenched her fist tightly digging her nails into the palms of her hand so hard if she drew blood, it would not be surprised. She had to hold it together until the vehicle landed. After that, Chloe Kendrick could find a hole and crawl into it letting the stress of the day leave her in privacy.

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Three hours earlier
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“You need to find him,” the woman’s voice was desperate with anguish and worry. Her eyes held a wild look like a caged animal ready to attack at the slightest provocation.

“Kendrick,” a deep baritone voice rumbled snapping his fingers pointed to the harried woman clutching his arm. The man did not even try to console her. There was no point. The only reason the woman’s story was unique was because it was hers.

“Tell me about your brother,” Chloe put an arm around the woman trying to remove her from the lieutenant. As a nurse many times, her job was to manage the loved ones of a patient. Chloe was good in this role. Leading the woman to a set of chairs, she sat down facing her, holding her hands and waited for the woman to speak.

“He is out there and alone. I should not have let him go,” the woman began to sob pulling her hands from Chloe’s. Slowly moving next to the woman, Chloe began to rub the woman’s back in small circles. This intimate gesture often soothed the receiver invoking the sensation of a hug without the intrusiveness of the embrace.

“It’s not your fault,” Chloe was careful not to make promises. The fighting in the streets was intense. Civilians and security officers were dying by the minute. The soft pings of projectile weapons could be heard. Projectile weapons were barbarick things but when people were desperate they resorted to ancient and desperate measures. A small vibration at Chloe’s side indicated her personal communicator was going off.

Coffee Doll Face was all the message read and Chloe longed to answer it yet it would have to wait. She wished she had told Nate about the Southern Colony mission. The area in the southern hemisphere was far worse than the capitol. It was filled with crime and poverty. The citizens fought not only the True Way but themselves at times. This was one of those times.

“Kendrick, we are moving out,” McNamara snapped, pulling his medical pack over his broad shoulders. He hated seeing this soft side of her. She had a light in her eyes but another month in this place would drive it from her. The subtle signs were there only Chloe Kendrick was a master of pushing it down and locking it up tight. Maybe she was what was needed in this place. They had enough doctors to slap on a bandage or wave a tricorder. What Cestus didn’t have was someone like her.

Squeezing the woman’s shoulder reassuringly Chloe moved to follow McNamara out the door and to their mobile location.

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Nathan’s Apartment
=================

Chloe entered Nathan’s apartment slowly, methodically letting the stillness of the room envelope her. The knot in her chest had only grown tighter and more constricting. She had gotten through the day with a single-minded determination to return here after her visit to the southern colony yet standing here, Chloe felt no relief. The deafening silence of the living room was broken as Nathan exited the bedroom hearing her arrive.

“There’s my dollface…” he said as he stopped to pause as he looked her over with a wry smile as he took her in. She was always beautiful to him, but right now with the exhaustion over her somehow he felt more in love. He still wasn’t sure if he wanted her on Cestus, but he couldn’t deny there was so much joy he felt when he saw her walk through the doors of his apartment.

At this time the place was being patched, it clearly had seen better days seeing as just a month ago he had a huge hole. Jarred had been by earlier to help mend what

“Hi,” she kept her conversation small and controlled. Her eyes did not meet his in response to his greeting. Chloe made sure they were slightly off focus. Looking Nathan Harland head-on would break her far more than anything she had experienced today. “I am starving,” she gave Nathan a weak smile. Moving to the kitchen, Chloe stared into the black reflective glass of the replicator under the pretense she was selecting something off the menu. Again her eyes were off focus but this time it was squarely on Nathan. She needed to know where he was.

“You know where the food is, while you are at it grab me something please, I just got off an 18-hour shift and I need food or I may pass out I think… what are you craving honey?” Nathan asked as he sat down with a plop onto the couch as he looked over as Chloe began to make her choices.

A way to tell you what I have to “I am not sure,” she replied rapidly barely listening to what Nathan really said. Her thoughts drifted to truth and lies. Not soul-crushing lies but the little white ones that all couples held between them. The white lies that bought you time until the truth came spilling out like water over the lip of a container. Closing her eyes, Chloe took a deep breath clenching her hands twice to work out her emotions seeing Nathan on the couch in the ebony reflection of the replicator. Marriage was about sharing love and joy but also the pain and pressure that the universe laid upon one. Opening her mouth Chloe searched for a way to tell him how her world was crumbling around her. “Nathan don’t hate me,” she spoke his name as slowly as she turned around. Looking at Nathan reclined on the couch, she could see exhaustion emanating off him in waves. The matting of his hair from wearing a surgical cap all day to the red rimming his eyes from lack of sleep. There was no way she could lay her problems on his shoulders, at least not this evening. “I…”

“I think,” she paused briefly eventually finding the words that had been escaping her, “the nickname you neurosurgeons have as the rockstars of surgery fits you. Except even you can’t play ten sets without some sleep. Dinner then bed. Nurses orders,” she winked at him forcing a smile as she turned back to the replicator. It had been a joke for the longest time that neurosurgery was Nathan’s calling. The meticulous nature of suturing nerve ends made neurological surgeries take hours to complete. This was why the medical world called them rockstars. Few had the ability or talent to make it in the field. The fact that Nathan also was a full-on musician only made the joke more appropriate.

Raising a finger she punched at the screen going through the motions of finding what she wanted to eat. Each activation of the console bought another thought to Chloe’s mind that she covered with a weak comment to fill the dead air between them. “Pasta is too heavy,” she spoke out loud depressing the display bringing up another choice.

“You need something light but filling,” she poked at each button not caring about what entre was suggested on the screen. The steady dull tap from the pad of her index finger felt deafening in her ears.

“Oh just pick what you always get, shrimp scampi and crab legs smothered in old bay sauce and a side of steamed veggies in cream sauce, you always get that when you are off your shift. It’s comfort food, ocean food.” Nathan said, and he knew he was right for her. The girl could eat the ocean, and he understood that from his time growing up near Boston himself. The comforts of home could always be found in a nice warm dish. “And two beers for each of us, I know we deserve it.”

Nathan Harland

Chloe froze hearing his suggestion. He was right. That was what she needed, yet both the comfort of the food and the choice of beverage was off-limits. Still she was a nurse and able to hide all her emotions behind a soft smile. “Comfort food it is,” she let out a deep breath as two plates appeared before her followed by one beer and one bottle of water. Tucking the drinks into the crook of her arm, Chloe picked up the plates and moved to the couch. “Dinner is served,” her voice mimicked the happy lithe most people fell for. As she set the plates down on the small coffee table with a gentle clink of glass meeting glass, Chloe leaned in front of Nathan grabbing the remote for the holo set off the table. Flipping it on, she settled back with her plate on the couch locking her eyes on the holo set. If there were eating they would not be talking. If they were not talking, she would not have to spin a set of lies.

Chloe

“This looks good, but water? When did you become a teetotaler?” Nathan said as he took the beer and eyed her carefully. “Or should I say coffeetotaler, you never drink water… not even when I hound you to please have some when working in the heat,” Nathan asked as he took the plated as he leaned over and kissed her cheek softly. Looking down at the food he felt a sigh of happiness come over him as he began to take a few bites. “God it might not be home but it came to make you forget for a bit can’t it?” he said as he looked over with a smirk at her as he saw smudges of butter sauce dripping down her face.

Closing her eyes, Chloe did let herself forget for a moment as she chewed a bite of her food. Sitting on the couch with the soft breeze billowing the curtains slightly from the hole in the wall did make it seem more like they were on her parent’s veranda, eating dinner, overlooking the Atlantic. Right now she forced her mind to believe there were back in New England and not on a hunk of rock millions of miles from home. Inhaling deeply she could not smell the salt of the ocean but she was able to smell Nate’s cologne. “Yes it can,” she half-whispered, “but as long as I am with you and we have seafood we will always be home.” Opening her eyes she slipped back into the moment and felt the butter clinging to her skin. Giving him a weak smile she wiped part of the butter off with the back of her hand. It was the first time she had smiled since she entered the room.

“Oh that’s sexy… you won me over with that” Nathan said with a smirk as he took some of the drippings from her and put his fingers in his mouth playfully. as he felt such a level of content happiness.”

Nathan Harland

“Did I? You like that?” Sticking her finger in her bowl, Chloe put a dab on her upper lip. “I…uh think I have a little more right here,” she tapped her bottom lip. “Think you can help me with this?”

Smiling like she had not all day, Chloe leaned in and let her lips touch his. Intimacy like this normally caused a plethora of emotions in Chloe but today she was overwhelmed by only one. It twisted inside her, threatening to break her the longer she allowed it to spread. Chloe had to stop before either of them took the kiss to other activities.

Jerking back abruptly she ended the kiss picking up her bottle of water replacing the lip of plastic where Nate had just been. Locking her eyes on the TV with a rabid intensity, Chloe shifted the mood with a single sentence as she watched the game currently being played by the Mars Meteroids against the Earth Cowboys. “Did you know that the shortest baseball player ever was Edward Card? He was an American dwarf. At 3 feet 7 inches he had a strike zone that measured one and a half inches. You think you could hit a strike zone that small,” Chloe asked setting the water down to shove a huge mouthful of pasta into her mouth. Chewing rapidly she stuffed another forkful of pasta into her mouth almost before she finished the last bite. Nathan’s love for her was only rivaled by the sport being played on the TV. He loved talking about baseball. Her small segway into random trivia would spark a tirade on the subject letting her zone out next to him without being conspicuous.

Chloe Kendrick.

“What are you doing?” he asked as he looked over at her with a puzzled expression. “You never play the baseball card unless you want to distract me. Next, you are gonna ask me what position Mookie Betts played in.” Nathan said softly as he wondered what was really going on. “Is everything okay baby? Did something happen at work today?” he asked her as he placed his plate down as he grabbed her hand as he placed it in his own as he lifted it to his lips to kiss it softly.

“No,” she answered abruptly to his last question before returning to the topic she started. “He was in centerfield and then the right field of the Boston Red Socks. He had a short stint in his rookie year as a second baseman but was a duck to water in the outfield,” she replied as if giving the routine vitals of a patient. “I was just trying to dazzle you with taking an interest in the only thing that could be considered your mistress,” Chloe chewed her food staring at the screen before casting her eyes in a side glance to Nathan winking.

While her gesture was playful, Chloe just wanted Nathan to glaze over as he often did when watching baseball and tune out the world. The moment was long and quiet between them as they ate or at least it seemed to feel that way. The small clock on the side of the holoset counted out the minutes of gameplay but for Chloe it felt like a countdown on her life. Forty-six. Forty-seven. Forty-eight. The average length of a baseball game was three hours and nine minutes. That meant she had only one hundred and forty-one minutes to decide what to say to Nathan.

Did she want him to talk her out of her decision? What if he didn’t want to talk her out of it? Either way the choice would irrevocably change their lives forever. Setting her bowl down on the table, Chloe settled back into the cushions watching the pitcher cast the second strike to the batter. Her stomach began to twist but it wasn’t due to nerves. Slowly sipping the water she realized her advice to patients about the clear liquid was worthless. Sipping water didn’t settle your stomach. It didn’t even give you something else to focus on. The only thing it did do was allow you to focus on whatever you were trying to ignore.

“You know you can talk to me about anything. Our lives may be odd but… you are my world, I want to have our big wedding with all our family and have everyone get to see me become the happiest man alive as you walk down the aisle,” he said as he brushed back a strand of her hair as he leaned in to kiss the top of her forehead. “So, what is it baby doll?”

~Nathan Harland

“Strike three and he’s out. Seems Randolf Breckinridge is not,” the sports announcer filled the dead space in the room. His voice droned on with more statistics about his batting average and the chances for the playoffs but Chloe heard none of it as she hyperfocused on the situation in her mind.

“Lord you would think someone they paid 20 million credits to could hit the damn ball, he hasn’t been worth any of his contract since he left the Lexington Harpies…” Nathan said with a slight growl as he raised his hand as he seemed to be arguing with the player on the screen. “You swing timing is worse than a Cardassians aim… can’t hit a ball if it was a beach ball!”

Strike one was not coming to him first, she began to study why it was so hard to talk to Nathan. They were going to be married before the end of the year which meant he should know everything going on instead of his sisters. Stike two was setting up the appointment without consulting him, she continued to baseball analogy in her head. Unfortunately being on Cestus allowed her course of action to remain clandestine. Everyone that had joint contact with Nathan from the hospital to the ship crews were giving him wide berth over the past two weeks. Luckily her ship was the SeaWolf and Nathan’s Hartford. This meant two separate CMO’s, medical staff, and crew loyalty. It was also the only reason Nathan was in the dark and able to remain in the dark.

The silence had grown stagnant as Nathan looked over at Chloe. Grabbing the remote he turned off the tv as he shifted his focus firmly on her. “Okay, this isn’t like you. Normally I have to tell you to pause the show a dozen times as you ask me questions about players, game mechanics, or just what you want for dinner tomorrow… something is off doll face, what is it?” he asked her as he looked into her eyes with a deep longing.

Chloe wasn’t sure how long had passed from when Nate asked the question yet it was long enough for his eyes to start to make her feel awkward from his steady stare. “Nate I…,” her chest felt heavy. Looking into his eyes, she felt nothing but gut-wrenching guilt. The knot forming in her throat was suffocating. The only way to stem off the rising bubble of panic and anxiety flooding her body was Nathan. Moving from her spot, Chloe crawled onto his lap with a knee on either side of his hips so that when she sat, she was straddling his body. Wrapping her arms around his neck, Chloe laid her head on his shoulder so that he could hold her but more importantly she didn’t have to look at him when she spoke.

“Things are not okay but I am going to make them better alright. I need you to trust me and tell me everything is going to be okay,” she closed her eyes taking in a deep breath. No matter what obstacle she was facing, as long as she had Nathan nothing was insurmountable. It was why she left Starfleet medical and traveled halfway across the galaxy. Chloe needed Nathan in her life physically, not on a comm call, not every three months for shore leave.

“Teddy bear, nothing can ever be that bad,” Nathan said softly as he pets her head slowly as his fingers ran down her hair. “Nothing is ever wrong if you are by my side, my love.”

“I am having a procedure done tomorrow and I don’t want to go alone but I don’t think you are going to come with me,” she said softly unable to stop the silent tears that were slowly spreading into a puddle on the shoulder of his shirt. Chloe tightened her grip on Nate. Every rational thought told her the way she was reacting was stupid. There was never anything to be scared of as long as Nathan was a part of her life only Chloe needed more than for him to be a part of her life. She needed him in her life.

“Wait… procedure?” Nathan said as he couldn’t help but pause as he had to loosen her death grip around his neck as to get a chance to look into her eyes. “What procedure? Are you okay? What’s wrong doll face?” Nathan asked as his tone shifted from concerned to worry to protective almost on a dime. He couldn’t help but feel worried with how she stated whatever was going on, fearing the worst as a doctor was always a frightening thing.

Nathan Harland

“Don’t be mad but I don’t know what to do,” Chloe looked at him with a panicked and slightly angry expression. “It is the only option. I am not leaving Cestus but the CMO told me they can’t handle…I hate this. It’s not fair,” Chloe pushed off Nate’s body and began to slowly pace the room. Running her fingers through her hair, Chloe switched her emotional state from crying to angry. “I am not going home you understand that Nathan,” she pointed a finger at him. “It’s my choice not the Captain’s, not yours, and definitely not Meredith’s,” she snapped staring daggers at her finances on the couch.

Nathan couldn’t but help but to begin to look her over with a curious state. He had said nothing to her about leaving the planet in a month. He wasn’t quite sure where this was coming from completely. As he looked her over he could see the panicked look in her eyes. “What exactly do you think is going on here? What do you think I am going to do to you, baby girl?”

“I don’t think you are going to do anything and that is probably the worst part. Not having a choice,” she let out a deep sigh. Placing her hands on her hips Chloe stared at Nathan wanting him to solve the situation.

“It’s just,” her tone dropped a few octaves from the shrill harpie tone all men associated with an irrational woman. “If I do this it’s going to change me. I know it will and I don’t know if I can handle it but what are my options,” she stopped pacing and took a seat in the chair ninety degrees to Nathan’s left. Wrapping her arms around her midsection, Chloe stared at Nate for an answer he could not give her. “I am happy here as a nurse. I don’t want more. I know it sounds bad but I am happy. My god can’t you see that I am happy,” her voice had a demanding quality to it. Chloe knew she wasn’t making a lot of sense however Nathan always understood her.

It was then the wave of nausea overwhelmed her. Chloe closed her lips as the gagging sound echoed through the room. She froze in her seat waiting to see it if she would pass as she judged the distance between the trashcan and the bathroom. “I need a second,” she put a hand over her mouth tentatively waiting to see what would come out: words or seafood pasta. Her eyes searched his until the moment was broken by the bile rising in her throat. Bolting from the couch she moved to the bathroom slamming the door behind her.

Chloe

Nathan stood up as he walked over to the door, pausing he looked over at the seafood and couldn’t help but show a small wry smile. Walking over to the replicator he began to request an item as it became materialized with a beautifully wrapped gift with a bright pink bow. Taking it Nathan came to the door as pressed the override to let it slide open as he placed the gift on the sink, ignoring the shrieks and shouts from Chloe. “Shut up and open it when you are ready to talk,” he said as he left, ominous and silent as he walked back to the sofa as he sat down with a large smile on his face.

The gift, as it lay on the sink seemed small and rectangle in shape, once Chloe opened she would see what looked like a picture on a small little infant onesie. When inspection of the picture it was simply a photo of Nathan holding up a PaDD that showed the sonogram that dated almost three weeks ago before Chloe had even gone to any doctor. The truth was obvious, but it had been obvious for weeks for Nathan. He knew how to spot the signs, he always had been able to solve things five steps ahead of anyone else.

Chloe’s fingers traced the image lightly. She didn’t care about who said what to who as she focused on Nathan’s expression in the photo. His blue eyes seemed to cut straight to her soul if she looked in them long enough. It was not a bad feeling, just intense. Nathan always seemed to be able to read her on a level few could. He could read past the smile. He could look past the tears. He could brush away the clouds of anger.

“You okay in there Chlo Bell?” Nathan asked softly, waiting for the sounds he knew he would be hearing at any moment. He knew Chloe better than anyone, and he knew always the right moment to play or hold his cards. He had held long enough, now was the time to lay it all out.

Nathan Harland

“No but I think I will be,” Chloe said looking at the door closing the lid to the box. She wasn’t ready to leave the bathroom yet. Exiting it meant no more lies or secrets. Closing her eyes, Chloe took in the stillness of the moment. Once she opened the door, her life would change forever.

One minute turned into five, then ten, as Chloe washed her face, brushed her teeth, and then exited the bathroom. Chloe’s hands moved subconsciously to the hem of her shirt as she slowly began to pull and twist her finger in it. The movement was small but showed her nervousness. “Sooo surprise,” Chloe gave Nathan a half-smile opening her hands and spreading them to the side. The hem of her shirt fell back into place with a large spiral wrinkle still trying to hold it’s shape. “Or maybe it is not a surprise. I don’t know,” she talked waving her hand a bit not sure what to do with them. Rarely did someone just stand there and let someone scrutinize you as she felt Nathan was doing as he looked at her.

Taking a step towards him, Chloe moistened her lips with her tongue. “We are having a baby,” a smile started to fill her face. All the rest would work itself out. Right now she just wanted to celebrate the moment with Nathan.

Ensign Chloe Kendricks nurse

“Yes… and water is wet doll face. What do you think the gift was for? Why did you try to hide all this?” Nathan asked, his astute observations but something still felt off as he didn’t feel the same kind of joy he thought he would have. He found out a week ago after piecing things together, thinking this would have been a more joyous day but he couldn’t help but notice there was a sense of apprehension in the way Chloe behaved. He didn’t think it had to do with them not being married yet, she never seemed the type to have to adhere to tradition. Still, she seemed to be different, not at all the behavior he expected.

“I needed to figure out some things,” Chloe replied weakly as she moved to the replicator for some coffee. Having something to hold in her hands would keep them busy. “McNamara gave me the standard spiel about being fine to work until I hit the twenty-week mark which is standard for anyone with a field job. Since I am only at eight weeks that leaves me twelve to figure things out and deal with my family. Thank god you have been able to avoid Meredith. I think she is more concerned about how this will affect the wedding than how it is going to impact anything else. Oh, and my mother said if we have until Tuesday to pick between the Chilean Sea Bass or the Grilled Swordfish for the reception. ” Chloe stopped talking trying to maintain her professional composure. The knot in her throat felt like it was choking her. Taking a long draw on her coffee, she closed her eyes and focused on the warmth of the liquid filling her mouth, throat, then body.

Chloe didn’t need to see Nathan right now. He would be taking in every twitch, tick, smile, and gesture trying to figure out her headspace. Opening her eyes Nathan was exactly where she expected him to be: leaning against the wall with his legs crossed at the ankle and his arms resting on his chest. Letting her eyes run up and down his body, Chloe turned and ordered him a drink. “You look like you need this,” she held out a Sam Adams.

Granted, Nathan had never gotten anyone else pregnant, perhaps all women acted this way for all he knew. A sampling pool of one was not indeed a big sampling pool. “So… we gotta make plans baby…” Nathan looked around feeling a sense of dread a bit, this apartment was not the place for a baby at all as he knew this wasn’t going to be easy. She couldn’t stay here, she wasn’t even supposed to be here and yet here she was.

Nathan Harland

“Agreed so maybe we go with the Chilean Sea Bah,” she attempted to avoid the topic completely he wanted but another round of nausea sent her bolting to the sink. Her body stiffened in reflex but the event did not proceed past the roiling sensation of dry heaving. Several long seconds later, Chloe took a step back and rested her head on her forearms. The lip of the sink was cool helping ease the turmoil in her belly. It was also her breaking point. The silence in the room became punctuated by heavy sobs that echoed in the room.

“Enough about the wedding… baby this is huge news… why aren’t you nearly as excited as I am?” Nathan asked her softly as he came up behind her, gently rubbing her back as he wanted to let her know his presence was right here, not leaving or going anywhere.

“Nate,” she said followed by around round of tears that prevented her from speaking. “Nay tah,” Chloe tried again struggling to regain her composure. She had held things together for so long today but was a fool to think seeing Nathan would fix anything. “I am so scared.” The comment was not of a woman worried about an impending pregnancy. It was more a profound, deeper worry of an impending future.

“Okay stop… what happened? Enough, talk to me doll face.” Nathan said, his tone still had a loving side to it, but it was no longer asking but demanding at the same time. “What is going on here? How is a day of total joy for most people ending up like some telenovela for us?”

“McNamara said I was going to be fine. They ran scans in sick bay on the USS SeaWolf but I was just slow with my mask,” Chloe looked up at him. “I was helping this woman and then the crowds started throwing arsenical diphenylaminechlorarsine.” Suddenly it felt like a weight was being lifted off Chloe the more she spoke. Adamsite was outlawed in the Federation but Cestus was not Betazed or a core world. Cestus was a borderland planet who would probably flip flop over the centuries between whoever was the most powerful in the sector at the time.

“Wait what… why were you out in those sectors?”

” I told them to keep you in the building, you are under my watch when you are on the surface! My hospital, my shifts… who the hell was giving you missions without my knowledge?” Nathan said, his temper high as he looked at her. This was unacceptable, he was the commanding Doctor for the field hospital, and no one should have ever been countering his orders when working there.

“I offered to cover for Julie Patterson,” Chloe looked at him not sure how to take the information being presented to her. “She had date and it was only for routine medical check-ups and immunizations. No one thought the gangs in the Southern Colony would decide to go at it in the streets outside the clinic.” Her voice was strained feeling the tension in the room rising. Shaking her head, Chloe closed her eyes and took a second to realize exactly what Nathan was talking about.

Moving away from the counter she looked at Nathan raising one eyebrow. “You know I am from the USS SeaWolf and not the Hartford. Why do you think my CMO is going to listen to you?” Nathan’s personality was a force of nature. A calm and gentle as he could be with his patients, he could also be a maelstrom when crossed. Chloe had no doubt he had issued such an order nor did she doubt that his rank and expertise as in the field but still part of her was shocked everything was run by him. “You know what don’t answer that. It doesn’t matter.”

“I should have been faster. Just tell me I am going to be okay,” she looked at Nathan pleadingly. Chloe was an amazing nurse but no matter how many jokes were swapped about nurses knowing more than doctors, doctors were the expert. She could recant the basics of Adamsite being a riot control agent inducing irritation of the mucous membranes of the body followed by headache, nausea and persistent vomiting. Chloe could tell a patient that the symptoms might last for up to twelve hours. What she needed to know was that she was going to be okay from Nathan. If he said she would be fine, Chloe could ride out anything.

Chloe

“Yeah, you are going to be okay… soon as we pack your bags to get you back to Earth, I am not going to let this stay for one second,” Nathan said as he began to pace as he thought. “We can get you a runabout tomorrow, I knew I should have never let you stay here… I knew this was the worst choice I ever made… I can’t be the good doctor and good soldier while protecting you, I can’t be the good fiance’ too…” Nathan said as he looked over at her as he took a deep breath, he could see the fear and apprehension in her face as he felt a part of himself melt for her in that moment.

“Yeah I am going to be okay,” Chloe shot him a stern look. “Nathan I have seen you convince a man that was dying he was going to be fine with more conviction than yeah you are going to be fine.” The stress of the day began to seep out again as Chloe felt her anger rising at Nathan, the Southern Colonists, Julia Patterson, and everything else she could blame for possibly hurting her baby instead of the one person she should blame: herself. Not saying another word, Chloe moved past Nathan as he paced the floor grabbing her jacket off the chair. She needed some space and room to think. Gathering up her things, Chloe roughly pulled on her coat. Yanking at the neckline to make it fit correctly helped even though the action was childish and immature.

“It’ll be fine… it’ll be fine…” he said softly as he walked over grabbing her in his arms as he pulled her right into his arms as he began to kiss the top of her head. “It’ll be alright doll face.”

Nathan Harland

“No, it won’t,” Chloe worked her hands up to Nathan’s chest attempting to push him back. Her movements were aggressive and forceful. “This is your fault,” she attempted to move but his arms held her firmly in place. “I told you not to come here. I told…you,” she started to calm down the longer Nathan held her. Chloe didn’t want Nathan to let her go but right now she wasn’t thinking straight. Nathan and every doctor could tell her that everything was going to be fine but she knew differently. So many things could go wrong without her putting the baby into situations she could not control.

“I didn’t have a choice… you did sugar… you had a choice,” Nathan said with a soft nearly deflated tone as he looked at her. It was true she pleaded, but the only other order he had was a station on some Outpost, and he didn’t like the idea of a stationary position. He wanted to see the stars. The irony of then the ship being stationed over a planet wasn’t quite lost on him.

The weight of his arms and the pressure Nathan used to keep her stationary reminded Chloe that Nathan was never going to let her go. It was both a metaphor and a physical thing. Bending her arms, Chloe let them fall to her side eventually circling around Nathan’s waist. Resting her head on his chest, she let Nate force her into a subtle swaying motion. “I’m sorry,” she apologized softly. “I just wanted this moment to be so special. Tomorrow we were supposed to be able to hear the heartbeat. I wanted to surprise you then with the news.” Pausing Chloe tilted her face up to look at Nathan. So much had been said between them leaving more questions than answers. Staring up at Nathan, Chloe briefly wondered if all women felt as safe and secure as she did when they looked at their lover. The look he was giving her now did more than a thousand promises that their future would be safe and happy.

“I will take care of everything, don’t worry…” Nathan said softly, he couldn’t help but feel nervous as they spoke. A kid was a big deal, but it was also something that he did want. This though wasn’t the conditions he wanted, far from it.

“So question....how did you know I was pregnant,” she scrunched up her nose showing her confusion at how he could have found out the news.

Chloe Kendricks nurse

Bump

“Hon, I run the hospital and I know everyone here… plus I am trained to deduct and deduce, you’re my life but I can still figure out when you vomit every time you smell strawberries, you stopped wearing your perfume, no more newyork straberry cheesecake, you even seemed angry at strawberry shortcake… that isn’t the Clo bell I knew. So I figured some things out, greased some palms… plus you left the ultrasound up on your PaDD too.” he said softly as he looked with a smile that seemed to beam at her.

“So when should we officially announce that we were pregnant? I am thinking at the wedding. I will only be five months in July so I wont too big but people might start noticing. Maybe we should see about moving the date up,” she dropped her arms from around his body as he took her hand leading her back to the couch where it all began. It was hard to hide the happiness she was feeling. Life tended to work itself out the way it was supposed to be. Her grandmother told her that when Chloe asked about every life decision she ever had to make. It had not been wrong advice. When Nathan left, her grandmother said that if they were meant to be, life would put them together again. When Chloe told her grandmother about the baby, she said babies didn’t come when you were ready for them. They came when they were supposed to. Chloe always figured the birth certificate would say Boston or Danbury instead of Cestus but as long as it said Mr. and Mrs. Harland, she was fine with any other detail.

“We have to work on plans at some point for this, but for now… we will worry about how to get you off the planet another time.” he said as he tried to pull her attention back to the couch.

~Nathan Harland

Chloe moved to the couch but did not sit next to him. Instead, she sat on his lap with her knees tucked up on either side of Nathan’s legs. Looking at his piercing blue eyes, Chloe felt a ripple run down her spine. He only had to look at her the way he did now to make her melt. Every question that ran through her mind, his gaze seemed to say he would take care of it. He would take care of everything. Leaning forward, she pressed her lips to his slow as if it were the first time. She felt drunk, light, giddy as they touched. Closing her eyes, she was vaguely aware of him speaking as his hands found her hair and his lips traced the delicate curve of her neck. Murmuring replies, her hands tugged at the hem of his t-shirt. His skin was hot, like the rush filling her body. “I love you, Nathan,” she whispered as his hands braced her back and neck. Never stopping the caresses, he stood carrying her into the bedroom.

The next two hours were a blur of losing themselves in each other. Soft and gentle, forceful and passionate, slow and steady, fast and heart pounding: the time spent in each other’s arm released all the tension in her mind and body. Being with him had a way of doing that, of centering her on what was important. Lying back on the soft sheets, Chloe looked up at the ceiling as if it were a masterpiece instead eggshell white plaster. Breathing deep she let the peace of the moment set in as her finger traced her still flat tummy. Life was about to drastically change and in Chloe’s mind, it was only for the good.

The soft trilling of her communicator pulled her attention off the interesting crack that ran across the top of the bedroom ceiling she had been studying so intently. Tucking the white sheet under her arms, she rolled To the bedside table activating it. She had been with Nathan long enough not to worry about who was on the other end as she answered it. He had already been exposed to her mothers and sisters. If it was them Nathan would roll out of his side of the bed and go into the next room to avoid being stuck in another conversation about shades of blue for the wedding or an amazing property in their neighborhood that had just opened up.

“Hello,” her voice had a happy sung song quality to it that was missing a few hours ago. The tension in her body and voice had been subsided the minute she spent some time with Nathan.

“Chlo,” McNamara’s craggy accent filled the air. “How are you feeling kiddo?” His manner with her was relaxed and casual much like Nathan’s was with his teams.

“Good and better.” Why she felt her cheeks reddened slightly was silly. Chad had no idea what had transpired in the past few hours nor did he have a visual of her lack of apparel in Nathan’s apartment.

“Good,” his response was swift and singular. “I am going with the idea you told him about the future Harland in the way because Nathan isn’t in the dark about much for long on anything going on in the hospital.” The creak of the chair as Chad leaned back told Chloe her immediate supervisor was in his office on the SeaWolf. “I spent the past few hours working on the logistics. While it’s up to you Starfleet medical does allow the provision for you to remain in the field for twenty weeks. That puts you at your requested leave for the wedding. When you return you will be at six months. You might not feel like it be able to keep up with field assignments requiring a three mile fun run so we will play it by ear when you get back.”

His voice paused for a second as if he was hesitant on continuing. “Knowing you I did however get permission from the Captain to beam you in when we needed you in the field. You’re one helluva nurse Chloe. Better than some of my doctors. No pressure but we are going to be lost without you if you take a desk job.”

Chloe couldn’t help but feel a swell of pride hearing McNamara talk. “Women have been having babies since the dawn of time. I’ll be fine. Besides if I have an issue at work it’s not like There will be a shortage of doctors,” she let out a half laugh.

“God help the man that marries you,” McNamara’s voice was punctuated by the soft tap of his stylus on the desk as he fiddled with it as he talked. “Harland is both the smartest man I have ever met and the biggest glutton for punishment.”

With that McNamara clicked off the connection. Setting the communicator back on the nightstand, Chloe rolled over to cuddle up with Nathan who was laying beside her. “So I am not on duty for the next 36 hours. “Okay hookey with me? Let’s go to that lake in the northern region and recreate our last shore leave in Italy,” she but his side playfully looking up at him with a smile .

Ensign Chloe Kendrick.


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