SIM:Doctor Zhou: Late Night Reading
Author's Note: After several references were made about her in Zhou's biography and early SIMs, Zhou's wife Yasmin finally makes an appearance... as a recording. I was inspired to write this SIM after reading an excellent joint post by Alleran Tan and Sidney Riley entitled "The Seeds of Passion." In that post, Tan and Riley begin their romantic journey with a very sensual date on the holodeck, dancing in the rain on Trill. I'd been meaning to introduce Zhou's wife for a while, whom we learned back on 238706.29, was currently involved with Zhou in a lengthy divorce. With one romantic journey just beginning on the Independence, it seemed poetic to show another approaching a heartbreaking end at the same time.
While alluded to as a major reason for Zhou's decision to join Starfleet, his separation from his wife is only briefly mentioned in his bio, with the exact details being a mystery to the other SIMmers. What exactly happened? Is their marriage really over? I'm not even sure I know the answers yet...
Although posted on stardate 238709.14, the events in this SIM occurred on stardate 238709.09.
::Zhou sat at his desk looking over Pitik's medical file in preparation for the surgery that was to take place the next morning. He should have been in bed already to ensure that he'd get enough rest, but there was always another detail to commit to memory. Captain Riley herself had seemed a bit uncertain about her "retired" skills as a physician, but for some reason, Zhou's instinct told him she'd be fine. He chuckled as he wondered if she were doing some last minute "cramming" as well at this very moment.
An indicator light flashed on his monitor in the corner. A new message (or two) was waiting.::
Zhou: Computer, display unread messages.
::The computer chirped and displayed a bit more than two messages. A couple were from a woman named Yasmin Ibrahim. Even more, including the most recent one to arrive, were from Cogley and Associates. Zhou sighed. It wasn't right of him to keep ignoring the law firm, he thought. The "Starfleet excuse" would only stretch so far. However, tonight he decided instead to play one of the woman's messages.::
Zhou: Computer, display the most recent message from Yasmin Ibrahim.
::The computer chirped again, and the screen changed from a wall of text to a human woman in her early thirties, whose dark brown hair fell to her shoulders in tight curls. Her image was frozen in time, and for a moment, Zhou just stared at her face as wistful memories entered his mind. Such delicate thoughts were quickly whisked away once he played the message. As the woman's image stepped into motion, her previous tired, almost sad expression changed into that of anger and frustration.::
Ibrahim: Tenzin? Hello? WHAT THE HELL? I've been trying to reach you for the past few weeks now, and you can't take the time to even give me the simplest form of a reply? I just...ugh! Damn you, Tenzin!
::She sighed and looked away.::
Ibrahim: Well, whatever, if you want to run away as usual and not talk to me like an adult, fine. I guess I shouldn't have expected ENSIGN Zhou to be any different from DOCTOR Zhou or even MISTER Zhou. ::beat:: In the end, you're still the same Tenzin Zhou: inconsiderate bastard.
::Zhou winced a bit from his guilt. He knew she was right to be upset.::
Ibrahim: I've talked to Lamberts from Cogley, and she tells me they usually prefer both parties to be there for the final hearing, but in cases of extenuating circumstances like, oh say gallivanting across the galaxy, you can name a representative to show up on your behalf. I would hope even you would be ashamed to force one of your friends to do that for you, but if you're not going to step up, have the decency to get this over with. ::She sighed again.:: It's been five years; I'm ready to move on.
::She paused and looked down before staring right into the recorder, revealing her now watering eyes. Zhou bit his lip when he saw them.::
Ibrahim: You obviously already have.
::The doctor lowered his head in shame, unable to stare at his wife any longer as she continued, her words commanding in tone.::
Ibrahim: Hey, while I'm still your wife in these last few days— ::She rolled her eyes and let out a short laugh mixed in resignation and affection.:: or maybe weeks, if you still act like a bastard—at least do one final favor as my husband. ::She paused briefly again, and for a moment, both Zhou and the image of his wife were looking away from each other. When her voice returned, it was softer but just as passionate as before.:: Take care of yourself out there.
::The woman pressed a button off-screen, and the message was over. Zhou put his hand to his face, sweeping away the droplets of water forming in his own eyes with his fingers. If only the guilt went away so easily.::
Lieutenant JG Tenzin Zhou
Chief Medical Officer