852: Too Much, Too Soon

by Zander Blakeslee and Zanh Liis

Awhile after Balderdash Cup and Great Dane>/em>

-=The Adventurer's Club Program; Holodeck One=-

Zander was positively awestruck by the outpouring of support from his fellow shipmates. He always knew that he was well-liked but to have an event such as this put together to welcome him back was overwhelming. While he enjoyed the constant flow of praise and good wishes from all that were gathered he found himself growing weary.

He found himself leaning on his wife more and more as the evening drew on. He face showed a constant smile despite his weariness and he met each and every handshake and hug with a smile of his own. Only Samthia could tell that he was weakening.

She watched him as he chatted with two security officers who had made their way over to welcome him back. He was worn out, physically exhausted from the day's activity. Or was that really it? She continued to look at him, observe him with a keen eye and began to see things that only a wife would notice. His smile was not as wide, his eyes not as bright, his attention not fully on the conversation at hand.

More than once she felt his mind and emotions drift far away from the here and now. Something troubled him, something that he did not want to discuss, at least not with anyone here, and maybe not even with her.

Just then Dr. Hartcort strode up to Zander and smiled. “How are we doing today Mister Blakeslee?”

Zander smiled. “A bit overwhelmed I have to admit. I was not expecting this.”

“Well that is to be expected. You are just getting back on your feet.” Lance motioned towards a open chair. “Have a seat.”

Zander shook his head. “I’m alright.”

Lance eyed Zander suspiciously for a moment then smiled. “OK. Look, Zander. Your last tests show a marked improvement but your lung capacity is still not up to snuff.”

“So what can I do about it?”

“Get off of the ship for a few weeks.” Lance concluded. “Go home.”

“How will that help?” Zander asked.

“You will be amazed what a difference fresh air makes. You have a home in Alaska if I remember correctly.”

Zander nodded.

Lance smiled. “So go home, take long walks, breath in deep.” He looked at Samthia. “Spend quality time with your wife and kids. In short, get off of this ship.”

Zander looked back at his wife and smiled.

“This is doctors orders by the way. I’ll not return you to duty until I am satisfied you are ready and in my professional opinion this is the first step. Understood?”

Both Zander and Samthia nodded.

“Good. Now if you’ll excuse me I see a woman with a whip that I just have to meet.” Lance departed in a hurry to catch up to leather clad adventuress.

As Zander watched him go he spotted Zanh Liis chatting with her husband. He made his way over to the couple.

“Captain, I don’t mean to intrude, but I just wanted to say thank you for…” he motioned around the room with his arms. “…all of this.”

Zanh smiled warmly. "It's nothing, Zander, compared to what you do, what you have done, for this ship and crew. We just wanted you to know how glad we are that you're on the mend."

"Right that," Keiran said, smiling as well. "We couldn't do ;round here without'cha."

Zanh caught a look in Samthia's eye as she watched Zander. While Liis may not share a telepathic connection with anyone, it didn't take a mental link to see the concern written upon the Deltan's fine features. Not wanting to draw attention to this concern directly for the sake of Zander's pride, Zanh posed a question quietly, leaning forward and closer to Blakeslee.

"How are you really feeling, Zander?"

"Still a bit tired, Captain," Zander admitted.

"In fact," Samthia spoke up, sensing that Zander was reluctant to say what needed to be said next. "Doctor Hartcort has just temporarily relieved my husband of duty, Captain. He wants us to take a vacation on Earth so Zander can finish his recovery there."

"Whatever the doctor thinks is best, of course," Zanh said, trying to sound light-hearted about the idea but knowing that Zander's recovery must still have some ground to cover if Hartcort still wasn't ready to return him to duty. "Don't worry about a thing. We'll keep everything going here until you return."

"Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for a man." Keiran added. "You'll see."

Zander smiled. “Well the doctor sure thinks so.” He glanced over at Lance who was having what seemed to be a animated conversation with the woman with the whip. Zander suddenly realized that he had no clue who she was.

"Well, if you will excuse us now, Captain, Commander, " Samthia's troubled eyes did not hold the gaze of either officer for long. "We should make the rounds and say goodnight before I must take my husband home."

"By all means." Zanh extended her hand toward Zander, who grasped it. She wrapped her second hand around his, and with a gentle squeeze, conveyed all she could not find the words for. "Get some rest, Commander. I shall expect you back at your post before you know it, so be sure you enjoy every moment of your time in Alaska."

“Aye captain. I’ll make sure that I will do so.”

Zander and Samthia turned and made their way towards the exit.

Liis noticed how her Security Chief's shoulders slumped and he leaned heavily on Samthia when he thought he was out of sight of his captain.

Just as they were about to leave, a handful of crew members stopped them at the door, and seemed somehow to convince the pair to stay for one more show in the Library before heading on their way. Keiran and Liis watched closely as the couple disappeared into the other room, and the doors closed behind them.

"I'm no Betazoid," Keiran observed, thoughtfully stroking his beard, "But I do know when somethin's eatin' at a man's soul."

"So do I, Keiran." Zanh sighed with worry. "So do I."

A heavy silence settled between them, which was interrupted a moment later by the sound of Keiran's combadge. "O'Sullivan."

[Sorry to disturb you, Sir, but you're receiving a priority one message from Startleet Command."

"Forget to file your paperwork?" Liis asked as she slowly raised an eyebrow, wondering why he'd be receiving such a communiqué this late at night, while she was not.

"I'll take it in my office. Two minutes. O'Sullivan out." His eyes shifted uneasily. He wondered if this had something to do with Tucker Brody...

"Hey, O'Sullivan." Liis jostled him gently to bring him out of his fog. "An'a'thin' I need to know about?"

"Not sure. I'd best find out." Keiran replied. He walked in long, quick strides toward the far end of the room "Computer! Arch."


LT. Commander Zander Blakeslee
Chief of Security/Tactical
USS Serendipity NCC-2012


-=/\=-Zanh Liis O'Sullivan
Commanding Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012