Black Diamond Dogs and the Army of Light
Joanna stepped out of a hot shower and dried herself off. She glanced in the mirror and noticed how dark the circles under her eyes were. Sighing heavily she put on her uniform and pulled her hair back into a tight bun. She still had to wear the illusion generator when she wanted to roam the ship. Although Salen, Razor, and Toby knew who she was as far as the rest of the crew was concerned she was 'John' not Joanna.
Securing the belt with the small illusion generator on it around her waist Joanna walked out into quarters that she was sharing with Salen. Despite the fact that it was mid morning Salen was still in bed. As the Vuladin took a heavier toll on his health and emotions he was sleeping more than he was awake. When he was awake his lack of emotion also translated into a lack of desire to do anything beyond basic physiological needs. Coming up to the side of the bed Joanna leaned down and gently kissed Salen's temple.
"Do not touch me." Salen said simply as he rolled over to put his back to her.
"I still love you." Joanna whispered trying to hide how hurt she was.
Salen didn't respond, he had already fallen back asleep. With a heavy heart Joanna turned on the illusion generator that masked her gender and left. Joanna only came across a few crewmen as she made her way down the halls of the Black Diamond. There was always a small crew on the Diamond, but since Razor's rescue it seemed like the usually rowdy all male crew was walking around on eggshells.
Arriving on the bridge Joanna found the lights oddly dimmed as though it was supposed to be night aboard the ship. The pilot, Flash, was navigating the ship through space at impulse power through empty space. As far as Joanna knew they had no destination in mind at the moment. Flash looked over at Joanna and offered her a nod of greeting that she returned. The pilot then looked nervously to his Commander and back at Joanna. She assured him that she was here to help Razor with a sympathetic smile that put Flash at ease.
Standing by the forward view window Razor looked as immovable as a granite statue. With his arms crossed over his chest he stared out into the inky darkness of space. The fine bead of sweat that tainted his temple told Joanna that he was not as well healed from his ordeal as he wanted the crew to think. Joanna cleared her throat to get Razor's attention. Razor narrowed his eyes and looked over his shoulder. When he saw who is guest was his expression softened somewhat.
"Doc, how is your patient?" Razor asked hopefully.
"Salen is very sick, both physically and emotionally." Joanna reported sadly. "I don't know if he's too weak to get out of bed or if he simply lacks the motivation to try. Either way he is running out of time."
"I see." Razor sighed before turning to his pilot. "Flash go...go find something to do."
"Aye, Sir." Flash replied and hurried off the bridge.
With Flash gone Razor gave up on the pretense that nothing was wrong. It looked as though someone had suddenly strapped a hundred pounds to his shoulders. He bowed his head and rubbed at his eyes. Joanna walked up to him with a look of medical concern.
"My newly restored vision is still sensitive." Razor explained.
"That will pass." Joanna assured. "Razor, it's only been two days since you were brought off that planet, you should getting more rest."
"I can't have the Captain and the First Officer lounging in bed all day." Razor replied with a forced smile.
"Have you spoken with Starfleet?"
"We don't talk to Starfleet, Starfleet talks to us."
"If they don't have a mission for us they expect us to handle our own problems. If I told them Salen was ill they'd ask me why I hadn't chosen a new First Officer yet. This is a dog eat dog ship, weakness isn't tolerated."
"Well if something isn't done in the next twenty-four hours you'll be forced into finding a new First Officer."
"I know. I told Salen before that it was worth the risk to trust Sybok, at the time I meant it. But at the time I was only thinking about myself and what I wanted. If Sybok takes over this ship..."
"The Dogs won't let that happen."
Razor gave Joanna a more genuine smile. Pulling his shoulders back he nodded with conviction.
"If you didn't look like a man I'd hug you." Razor chuckled. "Take the bridge until Flash comes back."
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to go talk to Sybok."
"Can he really help Salen?"
"He'd better or I'm going to kill him."
"Um...you mean that figuratively right?"
"Not at all."