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2374; "The Regal 'Accident'"

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Apr. 2nd, 2006 | 08:19 pm
posted by: theodonnells in en_fanfic

This is a fanfic about the shuttle accident that Colleen's parents were involved in, told from their perspective.

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(no subject)

from: theodonnells
date: Apr. 2nd, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC)
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Erin and Patrick O’Donnell had just finished a new nacelle design for Starfleet, and were both fairly tired. After exclaiming that her brain was ‘fried,’ Erin popped a holovid in the projector and they sat down on their couch in the living room of their Station 10 quarters, watching the comedic scene of a 1940’s movie.

Before they got halfway through it, their console beeped, and announced,
“Message from Starfleet.”

Patrick gave Erin a ‘what now,’ look, and they paused the holovid, and walked over to their console. They sat down at the table, and accepted the transmission. It was secure under level 9…this wasn’t just any Starfleet request.

“Mr. and Mrs. O’Donnell, I’m sorry to disturb you. I know you just got home,” an Admiral said.

“It’s fine, Admiral…what’s wrong?” Patrick asked softly. It wasn’t every day that an admiral contacted them on a secure level 9 transmission.

“We need a shuttle design. We need it by tomorrow afternoon. I’m sending you the specs now…”

“We’re receiving them,” Erin said, looking at her screen. “*Tomorrow?*” she asked. Since when does Starfleet give them a *day* to finish an entire design? It was usually a month, at least. She knew they’d be up all night. And so soon after their last assignment…they were going to get a lot of credits for this one, no doubt.

“I’m sorry for the short notice, but it really couldn’t be helped. You two are the best we’ve got, and this is extremely important. I can’t say anything else. The specs I sent you will tell you everything you need to know. Come to San Francisco tomorrow as soon as you’ve finished.” He gave them both a significant look. This was extremely important. It was life-or-death.

“We understand,” Patrick said. “We’ll be there tomorrow.”

“Thank you both. Out,” he said, and his picture was replaced by the Starfleet insignia.

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from: theodonnells
date: Apr. 2nd, 2006 11:22 pm (UTC)
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“Wonder what that’s all about,” Erin mused, clicking the specs onto the screen. “Tomorrow…what a ridiculous deadline.”

“Something’s up,” Patrick said. “Let’s have a look at those specs.” They went over the specs. It really wasn’t that much different than a normal shuttle. They would be able to take their latest design and modify it. The shields had to withstand an enormous amount of gamma radiation, and the nacelles had to retract in record timing. They had to be as free to adjust movement as the yoke on the directional controls. And then the modifications to the directional controls made the shuttle more like an amusement park ride…Erin commented, “The passengers would be jerked around quite a lot.”

“Probably doesn’t matter,” Patrick said. “It could be remotely controlled, if nothing else. Seems like they’ve got to use the shuttle to get through something…could be an anomaly.”

“It would help if we *knew*,” Erin responded. “Usually they tell us.”

“Classified under level 9 security…hefty clearance,” Patrick looked at the specifications for communicating about the project at the bottom of the screen. “We can’t tell anyone except the Admirals, and a few individuals listed here.”

“Well, let’s get started,” Erin said with a sigh. Yes, they would be up all night.

***

The following afternoon, the two of them finished the design after quite a lot of caffeine, one very quick meal, and a two-hour nap. “I’ll prep the Regal,” Patrick said after yawning. Erin nodded, and downloaded the design to the Regal’s database. She encrypted it, as was instructed in the communication from Starfleet. Just in case the Regal malfunctioned, she kept a memory chip in one of the compartments, and she downloaded the designs into it as Patrick was prepping the shuttle.

The Regal was their newest shuttle, one they had gotten from Starfleet after they designed some of its aspects. It was a wonderful gift. They had taken it for a few joyrides before docking at Station 10, orbiting Mars close to Utopia Planetia shipyards. They had been planning to take it down to their Lunae Planum home on Mars soon, and try it out in a gravitational field. Had this new assignment not come in, they probably would have been flying it around Mars right now.


“That’s funny…” Patrick said quietly to himself as he studied the directional controls. He had finished inspecting almost everything else.

“What, honey?” Erin asked him.

“Oh, it’s probably nothing. I just thought I had already modified the emergency control system. I could have sworn I re-routed power through the auxiliary control unit tied into the replicators in the event of a major power failure.”

“I thought you did too…that’s sort of important,” she said. “Wouldn’t want to lose control of the shuttle.”

“No…” he agreed, chin still in his hand as he thought. “Hm,” he concluded, and joked, “must be signs of age. I’ll fix it now.”

“Do we have time? We’re supposed to meet them in a half hour.”

“Barely have time. We can’t put off something like that,” he said, and started routing power. He didn’t bother looking at the verifications that his power modifications were working—he had run a diagnostic on the panel two days ago and no one but them had been in the shuttle since then, so it couldn’t have changed. He finished in a matter of minutes, and said, “I’ll check the nacelles and then we’ll be off.”

“I checked the nacelles yesterday, dear. When we got back from San Francisco,” Erin said. They had both seen the logs on the shuttle that no one had entered it, and no one had serviced it or modified it, since it docked. Patrick smiled at her, trusting her completely. He still pulled up the specs, which showed that the nacelles were in working order.

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from: theodonnells
date: Apr. 2nd, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC)
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“They look okay. Let’s take off. Will you notify the control center?” Patrick asked her, and she nodded. They got clearance to undock, and as soon as the clamps were released, Patrick said, “I’ll fly,” and took the directional controls. They looked at their side viewscreens, a new feature they fell in love with the moment they saw that Starfleet had included them. They could see the planet Mars *and* the stars in front of them as they pulled away from Station 10, and it was a beautiful sight to see.

Patrick smiled at his wife from the left seat of the shuttle.
“How many times have we seen Lunae Planum from up here?” he asked lightheartedly.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Erin answered with a cheerful smile. They were exhausted, but Patrick always knew how to make her happy. “All the times we left for conferences, teaching Matt and Colleen how to fly in orbit, vacations, presentations,” she sighed, content just to look at the beautiful, scenic side of Mars instead of go to the presentation in San Francisco. “Quite a lot.”

He nodded in agreement, and said, “I’m going to take us out of orbit.” He pressed the key for impulse engines to engage, and suddenly they felt a huge impact, and flew sideways. Patrick was knocked right into Erin, and he quickly scrambled up and keyed in the manual control code so the yoke would pop out. It slid out at an all-too-slow rate as they both clung to the panels, trying to stay up as the Regal flew in what seemed to be an uncontrolled circular path. Erin buckled her safety restraint, but Patrick didn’t have the opportunity—he was reaching for the sensor readouts and trying to control the yoke and at the same time attempting to stay on his feet.

“We’ve lost the port nacelle!” he shouted to her over the roar of some malfunctioning system exploding.

“Attempting to override the engines and bring us to a halt!” Erin shouted back, not sure what they were going to do about Mars’ gravitational field.

Neither one of them panicked. They were much too experienced for that, and had both been in shuttle accidents before. And neither one of them thought about why it was happening—their only concern was touching down safely on Mars.


“Oh no,” Patrick said suddenly and with an unforgettable look on his face. “I’ve lost yoke control!”

“I can’t override or we’ll power down completely!” Erin answered him. If they lost all power, they’d come crashing down in free fall, and incinerate in the atmosphere without shielding. “We’re going to go down,” she said, the fear coming into her voice. “We have to reroute all power to shielding, *now*!”

Patrick nodded in agreement, and left the yoke to make his way back to the emergency access panel. He had to get all power into the shielding, or they’d either burn up in Mars’ atmosphere, or they’d be blown to bits as soon as they impacted on the red dirt. He yanked the panel open and started rerouting the power, crouching down so he could see what he was doing a bit better. The emergency lights faithfully came on, lighting his panel and making the conduit infinitely easier to see. “Done!” he said when he determined he had done all he could, and attempted to make his way back to the front of the shuttle to take a seat and put his safety restraint on. The ones in the back, he had noted quickly, were destroyed from a panel explosion.

“Sit down!” she yelled to him, turning around to check his progress, and make sure he was safe when they hit. She didn’t have much more time…they were in the atmosphere. She turned back around, tightened her safety restraint, and covered her head with her arms in the position they both had been well-trained to assume in the event of a shuttle crash.

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from: theodonnells
date: Apr. 2nd, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC)
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Patrick couldn’t make it to the front of the shuttle in time to buckle up. The shuttle came in hot, crashing into the red Martian dirt at an enormous velocity and crumpling in the front as the shielding gave way under the impact. Patrick tried to jump on top of Erin to protect her, but the impact sent him soaring, airborne, into the back of the shuttle. When the impact was over and the acceleration of the shuttle was no longer supporting his already severely damaged body, he flew forward and hit his seat in the front. He was unconscious before he even impacted into the bow of the shuttle.

Erin had stayed in her seat thanks to the safety restraint, and had successfully protected her head with her hands. But the impact had shaken her too violently for her to remain conscious. Neither one of them could alert the authorities as to what had happened, but as soon as Station 10 tracked their shuttle’s position, they sent a rescue team.

The team arrived within minutes of the impact, and approached the shuttle carefully, wary of a plasma explosion that could result from such a violent impact. They weren’t sure whether they would find survivors or not…they pulled out their tricorders from a distance and made sure no explosives were there. They were detecting one very faint life sign, and another that was quite strong.


“Station 10, this is Commander Patei. We’ve located two life signs; beam them both directly to a medical transport ship,” the commander of the rescue team said, knowing that there was a medical transport ship docked at Station 10 and ready to leave at any time.

Erin and Patrick were transported directly to the ship’s sickbay, and then taken at impulse 10 to StarMed in San Francisco, Earth. Erin awoke along the way, and frantically demanded to see Patrick.


“Mrs. O’Donnell, he’s in another wing, receiving emergency treatment. The doctors are working very hard right now, and we can’t allow you to see him,” the doctor responded.

The doctor’s answer wasn’t good enough for Erin.
“I want to see him, *now*!” she screamed at the doctor. “He wasn’t wearing a safety restraint when we impacted!”

“We know,” the doctor responded calmly. “You can see him as soon as they’re finished.” It was normal for a patient to be frantic about her lover so soon after a crash such as this. “Please, the best way you can help your husband now is to *calm down*.”

Erin nodded, attempting to calm herself. She breathed deeply, and let out the breath slowly. Once she had collected herself, she asked, “How bad are his injuries?”

“I don’t know at this point what his status is. When we found you both he was definitely the more injured of the two of you.” The doctor sat on the side of the bed, and said, sympathetically, “Mrs. O’Donnell…when he was beamed here he was barely alive. My colleagues are doing everything we can. But you have to be prepared for the possibility that—”

“Oh, my God,” Erin whispered, interrupting her. Her eyes were brimming with tears. She couldn’t lose him, she would just die if she lost him…

The doctor took her hand, and gave her a kind smile, attempting to reassure her.
“We have seen, and cured, cases worse than this,” she told her, even though she could probably count those cases on her fingers, they numbered so few.

Erin nodded, trying very hard not to break down.
“Do you…do you know what his injuries were, specifically?” she asked. She knew something about Starfleet medicine, and she wanted to know exactly what she should be prepared to see.

“I don’t, not specifically. I’ll find out for you as soon as they’re done working,” the doctor told her softly. “You, on the other hand, sustained a compound fracture to your wrist, and a few lacerations.” They had healed those completely, and it was doubtful that Erin would even notice, given how upset she was about Patrick.

“How did I escape without anything more serious?” she asked, trying not to think about Patrick in the emergency treatment wing of the transport ship.

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from: theodonnells
date: Apr. 2nd, 2006 11:34 pm (UTC)
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“We aren’t sure…the crash analysts will give you that information when they’re finished inspecting the site. I suspect part of it is because you were wearing your safety restraint. Though it’s a miracle, at that speed, that it didn’t do more damage to you than it did. We’ve healed the brush burns it gave you, and your other injuries. You should be up and around by the end of today.”

“Thank God, I’ll be able to see him,” Erin said. She had been worried they wouldn’t let her, even after they were transferred to StarMed. “When will we get to the hospital?”

“Soon, hopefully. In a few minutes. After they’ve got him stable, they’re going to beam him down. I’ll go check on his status for you.”

“Thank you, Doctor,” Erin said emphatically. When the doctor came back, she said nothing, but looked fairly confused. “Doctor?” Erin asked, concerned. “How is he?”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. O’Donnell, but I’m not authorized to tell you.”

“*What*?” What BS was this? Erin thought. “What the hell do you mean?”

“It’s classified, I’m sorry. I was going to offer to contact a relative for you…but I’ve just been ordered not to. You don’t know anything about this?”

Erin stared at the doctor, who was genuinely confused. “No, and I don’t care if it’s ‘classified’,” she said angrily. “I want to know what’s going on with my husband!”

“I don’t know, Mrs. O’Donnell. I’m sorry—they won’t tell me either. I don’t have Starfleet clearance on level 9.”

“Level 9?” Erin asked, her voice betraying the significance of that number.

“Yes, that’s what they told me. I’m very sorry. You’ll have to wait until you get to StarMed. Admirals are generally the ones with clearance that high. They did tell me that as soon as we’re in orbit, and he’s stable, they’re beaming him down for emergency surgery. But they won’t tell me anything else.”

The color started to drain from Erin’s face. There was one thing she knew could warrant such secrecy at a time like this. One reason why they had to design a shuttle in one day, why they lost their nacelle, and why they couldn’t contact Colleen. Section 31.

“Mrs. O’Donnell? Do you need a vomit tray?” She looked like she was going to be sick, the doctor noted.

“I’ll be fine, thank you,” Erin managed to say. She wasn’t sure that she meant it.

***

When they got in orbit around Earth, they beamed directly down to StarMed. Erin was told to stay in her room for a few more hours so they could keep her under observation. She waited anxiously, staring at the walls and trying not to go insane from suspense and worry. Finally, a Starfleet Admiral walked into her room. “Mrs. O’Donnell, my name is Admiral Solon, and I suspect you have some questions,” he said.

“It’s about time, Admiral,” Erin said, the anger in her voice very apparent. Whenever she was angry, one could hear her Irish accent getting thicker. But even if Solon didn’t know she didn’t normally speak with a thick Irish accent, he definitely could tell she was angry.

“I’m sorry…there were certain things I needed to take care of before coming to you. Computer, level 9 security lock,” the computer complied, and he turned to Erin. “First of all, how are you?”

“I’m fine. I want to know what’s going on,” she said, still angry. “Start with Patrick.”

The admiral sighed. “They’re still working. He’s been in surgery for a while now. I’m sorry that we couldn’t give you his status. We couldn’t risk anything leaving the room he was in. The crash was not because of pilot error, and it wasn’t because of a shuttle malfunction.”

Erin’s expression changed slightly, from pure anger to anger with a bit of fear as well. “Someone rigged the shuttle?” she asked, knowing that was the only option left. Her fears were confirmed.

“Yes. We’ll talk a bit about that in a moment. First…Patrick.”

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from: theodonnells
date: Apr. 2nd, 2006 11:37 pm (UTC)
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Erin was slightly afraid to hear what the admiral had to say about him. But she was silent, and let him continue.

“The doctor has told me everything he knows so far. Your husband sustained severe head injuries, as well as quite a few broken bones. His leg, I’m afraid, was completely shattered beyond repair. They’re going to replace it with a bionic one as soon as he’s out of surgery. Right now, they’re trying to repair the skull and brain damage. Mrs. O’Donnell, the doctors aren’t sure whether the damage is completely repairable. Even if they are able to repair it, there’s a good chance that he won’t remember you, or anyone else he’s close to, for a few months.”

Erin was unable to speak for a moment. She held her face in her hands, trying to compose herself, before she whispered, “Who did this?”

“You must understand, everything I tell you is confidential under level 9 Starfleet security clearance. Meaning you cannot tell *anyone*, except Patrick. The only reason why I told you Patrick’s status instead of a doctor was because not many doctors are available right now who have high enough clearance.”

Erin nodded, pretty much knowing what was coming next, but still not wanting to hear it. She thought they were done with these bastards twelve years ago.

“There is a covert organization that takes it upon themselves to solve problems, and try to protect the Federation. They have no laws, no boundaries, and they are very wide-spread. This group didn’t want you to deliver the shuttle design. They rigged the shuttle, knowing the design and any exterior drive holding the design would be destroyed when the shuttle was destroyed. Losing an entire nacelle is not something most people walk away from, especially on something as small as a shuttle.”

Erin nodded slowly. “It was spinning so fast, and we would have died on impact if Patrick hadn’t re-routed all the power to the shields. That’s why he wasn’t wearing his safety-restraint…” she said softly.

Admiral Solon looked at her with sympathetic eyes. She seemed to already know about Section 31. He had looked into the O’Donnell family history briefly when he had heard about this crash. Their son had perished in a very strange shuttle accident when he was only fifteen, and their daughter had nearly died as well, but had pulled through. She was now an ensign serving on the space station Empok Nor as the runabout pilot. He wondered if Section 31 was connected to that crash as well.

“What are Patrick’s chances?” Erin asked almost inaudibly.

“The doctors told me that right now, he has about a 60% chance of waking up after the surgery,” the admiral replied.

How could they do this? How could they do this to their family? Lives meant nothing to these people—no, these *monsters*; it was all about information and secrecy and statistics. They had taken one child from her, nearly took her other child, and now wanted to take her husband too? Erin wasn’t able to restrain herself any longer. She simply broke down, letting herself sob. She didn’t care what the admiral thought. She just wanted to hold Patrick in her arms and know he was safe. She wanted to hold Colleen, and she wanted to hold Matthew.

Solon waited silently until she was done, grabbing her a few tissues, and patting her on the back. He understood how completely nerve-wracking this was for her. He thought that, in her position, he might break down as she did if none of his subordinates were around.

After a few moments, she was able to collect herself, and she blew her nose before she asked Solon,
“What can we do to stop this organization?”

“Right now, we’re doing all we can to stop them. You don’t need to do anything. You can stay here with Patrick, and we’ll do all we can to protect the two of you. The doctor said you’d be discharged soon, and as soon as he’s out of surgery, and they’re done working on him, you can see him.”

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from: theodonnells
date: Apr. 2nd, 2006 11:41 pm (UTC)
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Erin nodded, grateful for that, at least. She suspected, though, that it would be a while until he was out of surgery, and a while after that until she could see him. From what the admiral said, his injuries were extensive and replacing someone’s leg would require even more surgery. Plus the broken bones and other things…she couldn’t bear to even think of him in this condition.

“Mrs. O’Donnell, I know you want to contact Colleen, but you can’t yet. And when you do you’ll have a limited time. If they know I’ve spoken to you about them, you’ll be in even more danger, and so will Colleen. When you connect on subspace, I’ll have to encrypt it for you, and you have to tell her not to come here. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Erin said, nodding. “I’ll make sure she doesn’t leave, and checks her shuttle if she’s going anywhere else. As much as I’d love to have us together right now…”

“It wouldn’t be safe. I’m sorry, Mrs. O’Donnell.”

“I understand,” Erin told him. She really did understand this. She didn’t understand why Section 31 had done what they did—she never thought she would. But she understood the necessity of keeping Colleen away from here. Section 31 would have a field day if the three of them were together, and Erin was *not* going to let that happen.

Solon nodded.
“Okay,” he said softly. “I’ll go see if I can find a doctor who would be willing to discharge you. Would you like me to ask if you could wait outside the operating room?”

Erin thought about that for a moment. Did she want to see them operate on Patrick? Would that make it worse? What if he didn’t survive? “I…don’t know.”

“Okay,” Solon said. “I’ll ask if it would be all right, and then you can decide. Computer, deactivate security lock.” The computer complied, and Solon left.

***

What seemed like an eternity later, Patrick was transferred from the operating room to a regular room, new leg attached, internal injuries healed, and brain damage repaired. His skull was currently being reinforced with a metal plate, but it was internal and something they would remove when the skull was fully healed again. Nurses began to heal his broken bones and non-serious lacerations with regenerators, and Erin waited impatiently outside the door to his room.

When they were finished, they let her go inside, and prepared her for the fact that she could be waiting for him to wake up for a while. She didn’t care how long she was waiting—she was going to be here when he woke up.

It broke her heart to see him like this, electronic bandages covering his hands and various other limbs while they healed from burns, and an optical aid already strapped over his eye so he could see her when he woke up. They had told her that he probably wouldn’t need to use the optical aid longer than a month, and that he would learn to walk with the new leg in about one to two months. Modern medicine allowed for one of the newest, fastest chips to be placed in his brain so that he could control the leg with more ease than previous amputees ever could.

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from: theodonnells
date: Apr. 2nd, 2006 11:44 pm (UTC)
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After a few hours, Admiral Solon came in and told her that she could make the transmission to Colleen now. She knew Patrick wouldn’t mind if she wasn’t there when he woke up because she was on subspace with Colleen. And the nurse had told her that Patrick might not wake up for a few more days.

When she told her daughter what had happened, Colleen was shocked.
“Why do I have to stay here? I should be with you and Dad. Are you okay?” she had asked.

“I’m fine. Stay there. I only get a certain amount of time, that’s what they told us. We have to stay at HQ just until…I don’t know. I don’t even know what’s going on. We lost the design, obviously. The design was in the Regal.” She couldn’t tell Colleen about Section 31. Not over subspace. She hadn’t told Colleen the true nature of her brother’s death, and now was not the time.

Colleen looked like she was withholding some information too.
“Mom, everything will be okay,” her daughter said finally. “I’ll contact you soon. Or you contact me, whatever comes first. And everything will be okay. Call me when Dad wakes up. You can do the design over again. You remember it, I know you do.”

She was trying her hardest to make her mother feel better, Erin realized. “I do, but honey they…” Admiral Solon motioned for her to cut the transmission as he looked at his chronometer. “I think my time’s up. Yes, it is. I love you, Colleen. Don’t come here. Stay there.”

“I love you too, Mom. Night.”

She cut off the transmission, and returned to Patrick’s side.

***

Four days later, while Erin sat faithfully by his side, holding his still bandaged hand and talking to him, his eyes slid open and he saw her, and smiled. “Oh thank God you’re all right,” he said weakly.

She couldn’t have been more thrilled. He remembered her, and obviously the crash as well. Which indicated that he might just remember *everything*. She took care not to squeeze his hand too hard, and she kissed him on the forehead.
“I was so worried,” she said, starting to cry tears of relief.

“Come on now,” he said with a smile, “I’m not that much fun to have around.”

He was always one to joke at times when they both knew everything was going to be okay. Seeing her here, by his side, had convinced him that everything must be okay now.

They took a few moments to hug, and just look at each other, both very glad to have the other alive. Finally, Patrick looked at his electronic bandages, and down at his leg that seemed to him to still be intact but felt…very strange.

Before Erin could tell him the extent of his injuries, a doctor came in and began to examine him. The doctor asked him cognitive questions, testing his mental capabilities, and exclaimed that it was miraculous that he remembered everything to such detail. He told him the news about his leg, and that he would need to see a physical therapist probably for a few months, but should be able to walk without crutches in one to two months.

He was stunned, and didn’t know what to say. All he could get out was,
“Will I be able to skate?”

“Ice skate? As in hockey?” The doctor asked.

“Yes,” Patrick responded, smiling a bit lop-sided.

“Definitely. In a few months. *If* you work with the physical therapist.” The doctor smiled at Erin, and said, “I’ll leave you two alone. We’ll be able to take the electronic bandages off by tonight. Your burns should be healed completely. But no subspace, and only Mrs. O’Donnell as a visitor. May I say you’re very lucky, Mr. O’Donnell.”

Patrick nodded solemnly. “I know,” he said.

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from: theodonnells
date: Apr. 2nd, 2006 11:47 pm (UTC)
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The doctor left, and Erin practically jumped into the chair beside him. He chuckled at her enthusiasm, and then noticed the guards outside the door for the first time. “You’ve been arrested again, haven’t you?” he asked her jokingly.

Erin smiled a bit, and said, “Honey, there’s something I have to tell you. About the crash.” She placed the proper security lock in place, thanks to Solon’s authorization code he gave her for use as soon as Patrick woke up. Then she began to tell him exactly what had happened, and why.

He was angrier than she had been.
“Not again,” was all he could manage to say, and all he could manage to think. “When will this end?” he asked quietly, though the anger definitely showed through his voice.

“I don’t know,” Erin said, suddenly sounding very tired.

“Come here,” he said, his voice getting softer. He held out his arms, and embraced her. “We’re not going to let them win,” he said very softly, knowing how tired she must be. The doctor had just told him that he had been out for *four days*. She had been waiting by his side for the entirety of those four days, and probably gotten minimal sleep. He would be on his last nerve, if he were her.

She didn’t say anything. Right now, she didn’t want to ‘win’ anything. She just wanted to sleep in peace, not having to worry whether her husband would live, whether her children would be killed, whether Section 31 had a sniper shot at her head.

A single tear rolled down her cheek as she hugged him. He felt the tear touch his own skin, and released her from his embrace, raising a bandaged hand to wipe the moisture off her face.
“Hey,” he reassured, almost in a whisper. “I’m okay. We’re okay. We’ll be fine, honey. We’ll all be fine.”

“I don’t know, Patrick,” she said, equally as softly. Having him here gave her the one chance she’d had since this entire thing happened to actually not have to be the strong one, to be able to depend on someone else for comfort for a few moments.

“We will,” he said confidently, and took her hand in both of his. “We have something they don’t. Love.”

She smiled at him. She loved him so much…and he was right. The one thing that they had in their arsenal that Section 31 did not, the one thing that would allow them to win in the end, was love.

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