177: Walk On

By Lt. Commander Lair
During All That You Can't Leave Behind and All We Can Do

-=Sickbay, USS Serendipity=-

"There's only one thing we can do now," said Breaux softly with a moment of pause. "We can wait...and you and I...we aren't going to make that damned mistake of not getting to know each other...first opportunity...we have a long dinner and talk."

Rada nodded slowly. He reached out and patted Kellyn on the hand, thinking back to all the times they had spent working together, and how many more he hoped were ahead of them. "And first chance we get, we invite Lair Kellyn to join us for dinner, as well."

"Absolutely," Avery said with a smile, "I'll even buy her beer."

The two men shared a smile at the thought of Kellyn, at the celebration dinner the night of the ship's christening, during which she had nursed the same bottle of beer, carrying it around in her hand all night, gesturing with it, drinking from it just like one of the guys.

She was one of the guys, one of their guys, and they were both renewed in the hope that she would pull through this.

Dr. Terasha approached.

"I'm sorry, gentlemen, but visitation must be restricted. Besides, I am sure that you are needed at your posts," Her eyes gestured toward the door, as did her antennae.

"We're going, Doc," Avery replied. "We just had to take a second to come down here and wish Lair Kellyn well."

At the sound of her name being spoken, suddenly Kellyn's hand twitched. She moaned softly.

"Did- did you see that?" Rada's eyes flew open wide. "Did you hear that?"

"Move," Terasha ordered, and Rada stepped out of the way toward the foot of the bed. Terasha scanned Lair for brain activity. "Say her name again, Breaux."

"Kellyn, can you hear me? It's Avery. Open your eyes." Lair's eyes seemed to flutter beneath the still closed lids, almost as if she were lost in deep REM sleep. "What if you hyperstimulate the hippocampus," Avery blurted. "You might activate her episodic memory and,"

"We've been stimulating her entire brain," Terasha replied, "Perhaps it is overwhelming her. Perhaps if we focus on the one location," She nodded and set to work, removing several sets of neurostimulators from Kellyn's head, beneath her hair. "Thank you. I will let you know if she wakes up,"

"When she wakes up," Rada responded softly.

Avery nodded to the younger man. "Yes. When."

Terasha called out one last request as the two men reluctantly left.

"Tell Commander Salvek that the sooner he returns and resumes speaking to her as well, the more likely it is to stimulate memory recovery and brain activity." Terasha adjusted the focus of the remaining piece of equipment after she'd removed the others, and she nodded, antennae turning up curiously. "Now, Lair Kellyn, we will see what you remember."

-=Inside Lair's mind=-

"That seriously cannot be all my baggage." Kellyn was prepared to argue, but when she tried to protest, Avery shook his head.

"Has to be yours. Nobody else here with those initials. You can't keep it here, you know. They'll want us to charge you storage fees, or transport fees to take it on the train whether you go or not and we both know that you don't have any money."

"If it's mine, how did I bring it all here?" She pointed to the luggage and then back at him accusingly. "I don't have a vehicle and I certainly couldn't have crossed the desert with all of that on my back!"

"We sometimes don't realize how much the baggage we've accumulated is weighing us down," Avery replied, checking the time on his watch again. "It piles on piece by piece, over the years. Sometimes we think we've let it go, but truth is most times we just keep dragging on, with all of that stuff holding us back." He surveyed her compassionately. "Makes us tired."

"I am tired," Kellyn said in all honesty. "I'm exhausted."

"Well, if you can free yourself up from some of this, and you can find a way to trade it for train fare," Avery suggested again, "Then you'll definitely be headed in the right direction, won't you Lair Kellyn?"

Kellyn tilted her head to the side, straining to hear. As he said her name, she heard it echoed by another voice. A female voice this time. But in an instant the female voice faded, and she shook her head.

"Losing what is left of my tiny mind." Kellyn exclaimed. "Well, I am curious what could be in them. Let's have a look shall we?" She dropped to her knees beside a large trunk, and she frowned as she observed the lock. "Not this again."

"You have the key," Avery answered, sitting down to rest on top of the trunk beside her. "Even if you don't think you do, you do."

"What could the key be? I don't," Kellyn reached up to wipe the sweat-soaked bangs back from her forehead, and her fingers brushed against her skin. She pulled her fingers away and looked at them, and then rubbed her hand against her forehead again.

It was flawlessly smooth.

"My scar," Kellyn's voice rose. "Where is my scar?"

As she felt the intense emotions associated with how she'd gotten that scar, Kellyn felt as if a jolt of electricity was charging through her brain. Her mind flooded with memories of the unintended, accidental Away Mission she'd been trapped into, in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the man who had taken advantage of the situation, until finally he had no more reason to keep her around and sent her careening off into the depths of space in an escape pod. The trip so long back to their base ship, that she had barely survived the journey.

"You have many scars, Kellyn. That was just the only one you could see." Avery commented, patting her on the hand. As Kellyn relived the memory and realized that she had done all she could for the person involved and that it was time to let it all go, suddenly, the large trunk disappeared. In its place sat a handful of gold coins.

"You see? What did I tell you?" Avery chuckled, picking up the coins and tossing them into the air. They jingled as he snatched them out of the air and then tucked them into his vest pocket. "You're well on your way to raising that fare already. All you have to do is unlock the baggage, and let it go."

Kellyn began focusing, intently, on people and places that had caused her pain, especially over the past decade.

One by one, the trunks and cases surrounding her evaporated, along with the power of those dark memories to hold her suspended in their grasp any longer. She realized that she didn't have to carry the burdens put upon her by others anymore, least of all those put on her by people who had claimed that they loved her but proven themselves false to the sentiment.

The time had come to truly put the past where it belonged- behind her. One thought, one person, one memory at a time, that is exactly what Lair Kellyn did.
After she thought that she had weeded through all of the things she hadn't faced, she turned to Avery, puzzled. Between the two of them and resting on the train platform, was one small, square suitcase.

"I don't understand what could possibly be in that one." Kellyn insisted. "The past is over. What is left?"

"The things you want to take with you, and the people who really matter." Avery answered. He pulled a key from his pocket and handed it to Kellyn. "Open it, and see, Lair Kellyn, just how loved you are."

With tears in her eyes, Kellyn turned toward the suitcase, her hands shaking as she turned the key between her slender fingers.

As she opened the lid, her mind was overwhelmed with happy thoughts and memories, and the faces of people who had been there for her, just as they said they would. Those who had stood beside her through good times and bad, and who didn't understand why this surprised her, since she had always tried to do the same for them too, to the best of her ability.

She saw Avery and Rada, smiling at her as they did every morning when she walked into Engineering. She saw Jariel, and Reece, and Grace. She saw TC Blane and Zander Blakeslee and Micah Samson. She saw Zanh Liis.

She thought about all the new faces aboard the Sera and the life she was just starting to build there, and was determined that she didn't want anything from the past to interfere with the full realization of her future.

Finally, she saw Salvek.

He was holding Arie's hand with one hand, and the other he extended toward her.

"It is time for you to come home, Kellyn." He entreated her softly. "We are waiting for you."

The images grew transparent, and as they faded, Kellyn heard the sound of a train whistle blowing loudly in the distance.

Tears spilled and streamed down her face as she closed the suitcase again, and looked up at Avery. He was already standing, and he offered her his hand. He pulled her up, and she picked up the last suitcase with her free hand and gripped it tightly.

"This one I want to keep."

"That one, you must keep." He smiled, brushing a tear from her face.

"Miss, I have your ticket here, all ready for you." Rada reappeared behind Avery, and he smiled at her. "I'm sorry for the mix up, I didn't realize you had so much that you could give up to pay the fare. This is an express train, it'll take you all the way back."

"Back to-?" Lair dared not speak the name of her desired destination, for fear she wouldn't hear him say what she needed him to say.

"See for yourself," Rada grinned, handing her the ticket, which was now fully filled in with that one word destination.


Lt. Commander Lair
Coming home from Nowhere
In Sickbay aboard the Serendipity