"House Call"

Author: Lieutenant Commander Karissa Bentara
Date: August 1, 2384
Location: USS Ronin

Karissa had just walked through the doors to her quarters. She had received a report on an outburst on the bridge from earlier in the day. It concerned her since it was about Nige. She had known, from the moment that the Talosian's footage had been shown about the Kelvans he had been very upset by it. It had reached a part of him that he thought he had locked up and buried. She was sure of that. And though it was highly recommended she make an official appointment for him, she didn't want to do that. She was his friend. She was concerned already. She didn't want to go to him as the Ship's Counselor. She wanted to talk to him friend to friend. But she wasn't sure how to present this to him. She grabbed some cold water from the replicator and took a seat on the couch and started out the porthole. She absently caressed her growing abdomen as she drank. Concern was etched in her dark eyes.

Suddenly, the door to her quarters opened. Within moments, a black ball of fur jumped into her lap. Karissa laughed as her eyes met Torasu's yellow ones and she instantly started stroking his black fur. She was instantly rewarded by a loud purr.

She took a deep breath and felt more calm. There was always something about Torasu's presence that calmed her spirit and something very reassuring about his purr. She continued to stoke his fur as she felt the babies kick her. But her mind kept going back to Nige.

"Just what am I going to do about Nige, Torasu?"

The cat just gazed at her and meowed softly. Suddenly, an idea hit her. A perfect reason for her to stop by would be Torasu . . . At least it was an excuse, she reasoned. She held on to him tightly as she got up from the couch with a little extra effort.

"You, my dear friend, have just shown up at the right time . . . " she explained to the feline in her arms. "You and I are going to go see Nige."

Without further thought, she walked out of her quarters and towards Nige's. She knew Dinara was again working the night shift and wouldn't be around. Eventually, she wanted to speak with Dinara too. But Nige was who was on her mind.

Nige was just clearing the dishes from his evening meal. He was contemplating taking another shift to keep working on the defensives against the Kelvans or just work on ideas for modifications here. But before he could decide, the door sensor sounded.

"Enter," he said as he finished cleaning up.

He watched as Karissa came in holding Torasu. He took in her smiling appearance, but her eyes spoke of more.

"Hi, though I would bring Torasu home," she said, setting the black cat down. He rubbed lovingly against her legs and continued purring.

"You didn't have to do that," he said. "But that's not the real reason you're here, is it?" he asked.

Her cover was blown. She could read his thoughts. They were filled with images of shields and phasers and torpedoes and all sorts of modifications. And he had read in her eyes what she was really there for.

"I think you're getting to know me too well," she smirked. "May I sit down?" she asked.

"Of course," he replied, laying down on the couch as she sat in the chair beside it. "I bet I know why you're here," he said. "Dinara's been concerned too. But really . . . Neither of you have to worry. I'm fine."

Karissa nodded. "That's not what I've heard," she replied. "Nige, I've reviewed the footage over and over again and the horrors you all faced - though they weren't real . . . When we first saw the footage at that briefing, I picked up high emotions everywhere in that room, but the strongest were from Kira, Pike and you . . . You especially . . . I've been worried . . ."

"But I'm fine," he replied again, grabbing a PADD off the coffee table to review more notes. Trying to divert his mind.

"I'm not here as a counselor . . . I'm here as your friend . . . I'm concerned about what this might have brought up to the surface for you . . . " she said, trying to get him to talk and not avoid the subject. "It must have have been horrible to see your worst nightmare come back to life."

At that, Tyran stopped and looked at her.

"Your fear was that it would happen again, correct?" she asked.

"Well, its not going to happen again. I am going to do everything possible to make sure that this ship will be ready to meet the Kelvans and stop them. That's not going to happen ever, if I can help it." His words and tone had gotten strong.

Karissa nodded. "Though your efforts are admirable, if you run yourself down, you won't be able to do your job properly. Its already taking its toll," she said gazing at the darkened circles under his eyes. "You have to balance your work with rest, or you won't be able to do your job when the time comes . . ."

"Yes, I will," he said. "But right now I can't sleep. Not until everything is ready. Then I can rest."

She shook her head and reached over to touch his hand. "You're having nightmares, aren't you? The memories of the trauma are coming back . . . strongly . . ." As she spoke the words, she could feel his emotions rising.

"Karissa, please. I do appreciate your concern. I do . . . But all I can do right now is concentrate on destroying the Kelvans. I don't want to think about the past . . . A past that wasn't even real. The Kelvans here are real and they have to be stopped."

"I understand how you feel -"

"Do you?" he sat up and gazed at her. "I found out my world was destroyed with my family! And then I found out later, it had been nothing but some hallucination! And now, here the Kelvans are! Well, I won't let them destroy my world again!"

Karissa could feel his pain as if it were her own and her eyes misted. "I am so sorry . . ." she said. She'd read all the reports. She had seen the Talosian footage, and this is what she was afraid of. That the trauma of the previous event was driving him.

One look at her and he immediately calmed down. "What about you?" he asked. "How do you feel about the Kelvan invasion?" He was trying to divert the subject off of himself. He couldn't face his emotions.

She hadn't dealt with her own feelings on it yet herself. She had been dealing with everyone else's feelings. She was silent as she thought about it.

"I don't know . . . I guess I'm scared . . ." She said. "They are a formidable enemy, and now I have more to think about than just me . . ." She caressed her bulging belly. Instantly, she felt strong movement and smiled sadly. "I am more scared for them . . . I want them to have a chance at life."

"And I promise you that I will do what I can to give them that," Tyran replied.

"Nige, just promise me that you won't take any double shifts unless you really feel your needed. And I want you to get eight hours of sleep every 24 hour period . . . "

"Now you're sounding like a counselor," he said, gazing at her.

"I'm always your friend first," she replied, her dark eyes meeting his stare. "This is completely off the record. But if you have nightmares, I am going to talk to Dr. Hancock about having something ready for you to help . . . Just in case . . . Please, if you aren't rested, you won't be able to do what you want to do . . . You won't be able to help defeat the Kelvans . . ."

As their eyes locked, he nodded. "Well, I can't promise anything, Karissa, but I'll try to follow your advice."

"That's all I can ask," she said, as she stood. "I need to go . . . Ryan and I are having dinner together and I am already a bit late . . . But if you ever need to talk, please don't hesitate to contact me."

"You know I won't," replied Tyran.

They exchanged one final smile as Karissa walked out. As the door slid shut behind her, she was struck by a feeling. It was dark and ominous and did not come from anyone on the ship. Maybe it was her own subconscious at work. But she had a sick feeling the future was going to be a fight. It would be a fight for life.