Bedside Manners

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Bedside Manners[edit]

Although she felt like absolute and complete crap with the massive migraine left over from the attack -- whatever it was -- at the hospital, Nika left sickbay long enough the first day to get the ship off the ground and get on a heading for Persephone. At which point, she returned to her quarters to do nothing but sleep. She doesn't lock the door (though she'd perhaps like to) so that Arden can come in and check on her as necessary (both she and Christian took some pretty significant damage, but at least it doesn't seem to be anything right now that rest won't cure). She doesn't even come out for meals that first day, too drained to really be bothered. When Arden comes in, though, she does comment very softly (like her own voice is too loud for her head), "I hope you brought the economy-sized bottle of painkillers."

Arden, moving like he is also in a lot of pain, says, "Better. I have orange juice spiked with some my own cocktail of anticonvulsants, antihistamine, chemotherapeutic agents, diuretics, and sulfonamides. It will help your body recover from the sudden blood loss we experienced. Also, I should warn you, anything that speeds up the blood rate will probably make that headache worse and slow your recovery. So take it easy and don't do more than you have to."

Arden places a tray down on the bedside table and then moves back and slowly eases himself into a chair. On the tray is a large "sports" canister filled with a yellowish-orange liquid and a small paper cup of pills, red, off-white, and blue. Arden sighs as his weight settles into the chair. He leans his head back and rests it against the back of the chair, his eyes closed. "Mind if I rest a moment before proceeding on my rounds?"

Prying open her eyes to look toward the canister he's got in his hands, Nika smirks faintly. "That sounds disgusting and far too high-tech for me.... and it looks positively nasty."

"It’s good for you --- drink it. Consider it doctor's orders."

She doesn't get up or any of the other polite things people do when someone comes in a room, remaining lying exactly where she is on her bunk and just closing her eyes. But she's still awake. "Not a bit," she tells him quietly. "How's everyone else doing? How're you feeling?"

Arden chuckles, "Oh, I've been definitely better. Whatever that ... effect was, it was nasty. If we had been out of shape it might of killed one of us.

"Rina's in her quarters but Mike seems to be tip toeing around -- you know, wants to make her feel good, afraid to say anything, but needs to fix it -- somehow. Typical man stuff. Christian's doing okay -- he offered way to improve the flavor of my concoction," Arden softly laughs.

"How about you? I know that whatever hit you hardest, and you had some bullet grazes to deal with too. And..." Arden pauses, "And you killed Dr. Nosferatu. Pretty suddenly and unexpectedly. You okay about that?"

Nika listens with her eyes still closed, grinning at the descriptions of how everyone's doing. When he asks about her, though, she opens her eyes and looks for her blanket, pulling it up around her shoulders and snuggling back down into the bed again. "I'll be fine, Arden. Couple of days of rest and this headache gone, and I'll be good as new." She risks a glance at him. He deserves more than a one-line 'I'm fine', but...

"I'm not happy about what I did, it was just... necessary," she finally offers.

Arden nods, stopping as he does so, and then continuing more slowly, "Oh, I agree with you. I know it was necessary, but still. The event has a psychic weight that you will have to adjust to. If you want to talk about it, I'll listen."

The silence is long--long enough that maybe she's even fallen asleep. But just when it seems like the silence might drag on forever, she finally speaks quietly. "I stepped over the line today. He was a threat, certainly. He'd seen us and was making a point of looking at all of us closely. But he wasn't armed, he was cooperating, and I shot him, Arden. There's a line between justifiable deaths and cold-blooded murder. What I did today falls into the latter category. It was both necessary and wrong. It's not sitting well. I'll work it out."

"You're not alone." Arden lets the silence grow, not at all uncomfortable. "And I, I mean, we, are your friends. We're here for you if you need us. Don't do what I have seen so many people do, even with my limited experience, try to shoulder the burden all by yourself."

Nika scoots on the bunk, getting more comfortable, laying on her side to face the chair Arden's sitting in. She opens her eyes to look toward him and says quietly, "No one else can shoulder it for me, Arden. And even if the lot of you agree with me, that it was necessary -- and I'm pretty sure Christian, at least, is going to be mighty perturbed about the whole thing and I'm going to get a good number of words from him -- I don't know that there's much you or anyone else can say that will make me stop seeing that guy's face when I close my eyes."

She flops to her back, tossing one arm beneath her pounding head as she does it. "You know, it's kind of funny. Not funny ha-ha, just ... funny absurd. I've done a lot of things, killed people... but I didn't go into intel work in the war because I just didn't think I could stomach the idea of cold-bloodedly killing someone, even if it was necessary. And today I went and made that choice. Because the bottom line was... he saw us. He could ID us, and we can't afford that." She looks back at him, her expression shuttered. "So in the end, I executed a guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"But you executed the right guy in the wrong place and wrong time. And added to that, killing someone is always the wrong time and the wrong place, if that makes sense." Arden shift in his chair, struggling with thought and emotion that are uncomfortable. "That.... person," Arden continues, "set off mental alarms in me that I never knew were there. He looked at Mike like a laboratory specimen, simply there so he could satisfy his own curiosity, be damned who it hurt."

"Look, all I am saying that killing someone, no matter it be for the worst of reasons or the best of reasons, is hard. It shouldn't be easy. If it ever is easy, well then it’s time to lock me up....." Arden shakes his head, mentally putting himself back on track. "And you are my friend and I hate to see you suffering, especially when I don't think that you should be. It may seem not to be the wrong thing to do, but then isn't now and that doesn't change anything. It happened, you had to do it. So don't torture yourself over it."

Arden chuckles, "My mind is all over the map. I hope that was coherent."

"It was," Nika replies quietly. "I'll work through it, Arden. Just.... it brings back some memories I'd rather not remember." She pauses and struggles with the words. "I worked with Mike once before," she says softly. "It's one of the reasons I was willing to help him, willing to do what he said when he ordered us to finish the job on Beaumonde. It was years and years ago.... Harbinger was tasked to extract a contact and a resource." She gets silent, her mind going over that long-ago mission.

A whole host of memories run through her head--what she did to Li, the medic's anger at her (Jason was angry for weeks over that). She's never talked about this, not really. She told Harry, the night after it happened, but today has shaken her. "I took part in an interrogation, played 'bad cop', I guess you'd say. I was good at it... and what was worse, some part of me liked it. The other parts of me were so disgusted; I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror. Mike was... a good friend at a moment when I needed one. But I never thought helping him now, after the war, would end in me executing someone."

There's a long moment, and she sighs and just says softly, "I'll work through it. There were other options, but ultimately... I chose to protect this crew, Arden. And I'm okay with that choice itself, I just need a little time to be okay with the actions required to follow through."

"I understand, Arden says. "I wasn't attempting to pry -- just let you know that if you need friends, I'm here." "You should probably get some rest and I will stop bothering you," Arden starts to stand up, loses his balance and falls back into the chair. "Or maybe I'll just stay here," he finishes with a grin.

Her eyes fly open and she starts to scramble upward when she hears him stumble backward into the chair again, alarmed. When he's okay, she eases back down with a wince. Ow, heart rate up. "That might be a good plan," she offers with a small smile. "I'd offer space on the bunk, but I'm not sure you can actually get here in that shape. Geez, Arden. Go get some sleep of your own," she tells him mildly.

"Yah," Arden agrees standing up slowly. "And if i did take that offer of the bunk, I doubt my heart rate (or your) would stay steady." He waggles his eyebrows comically, grinning. Arden slowly makes his way towards the door. "Remember to drink your OJ -- really. It’s important."

"Heh. Not tonight, dear, I got a headache," Nika laughed softly. In spite of the headache, which actually makes her chuckle a little more -- the age-old excuse is too true for words. She waves at him, closing her eyes even as he leaves.

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