SIM:JP: Ensigns Addison MacKenzie and Ghant Xerix: The Hazards of Dating

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Author's Note: These events coincide with the Paris bombing of 2396.

(( Sickbay, USS Veritas ))

::As the Veritas was limping back to Utopia Planitia and the heat of battle had subsided, the medical staff were still incredibly busy. In the heat of the moment, they managed to patch up as many officers as they could and get them back to their posts as soon as possible, but there were a significant number of officers with severe injuries. Between the crew of the Veritas and the Solaris, there were quite a few people who wouldn’t be getting back to work any time soon, and their care required constant monitoring.::

::Addison stood in the middle of Main Sickbay - a spot which gave her the best oversight of the most critical patients currently occupying the medical bay. Consulting a PADD in her hand, she turned to face each patient one at a time, reviewing their most recent statistics and exam results, making it a point to stay up to speed on each of their guests. She was in the middle of her review when she was interrupted by a young officer with dark hair. So wrapped up in her thoughts, Addison wasn’t aware of his arrival.::

MacKenzie: What can I do for you, Ensign?

::Ghant gave the woman a glance. His height, with red hair and stunning blue eyes. Quite beautiful.::

Xerix: I’m looking for Dr. ...Vedova. Is he available?

MacKenzie: No, I’m afraid Dr. del Vedova is currently occupied. Is there something I can help you with?

Xerix: I’m Ghant Xerix, the new Helmsman. I need an exam to be cleared for duty

MacKenzie: Well, if it’s just a simple exam, it shouldn’t take too long. We’re a little packed at the moment, but I think there’s a free bed at the other end of the bay. Would you follow me?

::A doctor, then. Only a doctor could clear him for duty.::

Xerix: Please lead the way, Doctor.

::Addison led them to the other end of the medical bay, picking up a tricorder along the way. She gestured for the young officer to sit on the biobed.::

MacKenzie: ::opening her tricorder:: Alright. It’s Ensign… Xerix, right? I had heard you were coming aboard and briefly had a chance to look at your file, but I have to admit, we’ve had a lot of other things going on lately so I don’t remember the details. Let’s start from square one. How are you feeling today?

Xerix: I feel fine, no health issues to speak of.

MacKenzie: Good. I’m not picking up anything out of the ordinary, aside from a slightly elevated heart rate. I’d say you’re definitely cleared for duty.

::Ghant was drawn to the woman. She was attractive, obviously intelligent, and had a slight accent he couldn’t quite place::

Xerix: With all this going on, are you going to get any free time at all?

MacKenzie: ::gesturing to the biobeds behind her:: We’re a little swamped, but I’m hoping we should be able to release several of these patients soon.

Xerix: ::striking up all his courage:: Then perhaps you’d consider joining me tomorrow evening. My cousin is having an event in Paris and I promised her I’d help. We could get dinner afterwards?

MacKenzie: ::fixed on her tricorder:: Fascinating. Your genetic makeup is a combination I’ve never quite seen before… ::It was a lie, but she looked up from her tricorder with just her eyes, and a smirk:: And, yes. I love French food.

Xerix: Half Betazoid And Risian. Great. We’ll be taking my ship, the Celestial. Meet me in the shuttlebay at 18:00?

MacKenzie: I’ll be there.

Xerix: I look forward to it. And doctor ? It’s a formal event.

(( The next evening, in the shuttlebay))

::Ghant’s jaw nearly dropped when he seen her. She looked stunning. The sleeveless satin dress was cobalt blue with a hem that fell mid-way down her thighs, with heels to match. Her hair was down - an apparently rarity for the doctor, and she was wearing just the right amount of makeup. He was still in his uniform, but freshly showered.::

Xerix: ::slightly overwhelmed:: You...look incredible.

MacKenzie: Oh, this old thing? ::she winked and then gestured toward him:: and here, I come to find out I could have just worn my work clothes!

Xerix: Oh, my apologies. My cousin, Choupette has the clothing I’m supposed to wear.

MacKenzie: Don’t worry about it - I’m just giving you a hard time.

Xerix: ::With a huge grin:: Right this way, Doctor.

::Ghant showed her aboard the Celestial, which was already prepped for launch. He gestured for her to take a seat next to his, and waiting on her seat was a small wrist-corsage with orchids and baby’s breath.::

MacKenzie: ::no wiki>::</no wiki>Surprisingly, seeing the flowers:: Are we going to a wedding?

Xerix: ::laughing with nerves:: No, no. We aren’t going to a wedding. I can see why you would imagine that. Perhaps the corsage was a bit much.

::Addison turned her head and smirked slightly, not wanting to let the young officer catch her. She composed herself and slid the corsage on her wrist, then sat next to him.::

MacKenzie: The flowers are lovely, and thoughtful. Thank you.

::Ghant maneuvered the Celestial away from the shipyards and began heading to earth. The trip would be pretty short.::

Xerix: Do you know anything about fashion, Doctor?

MacKenzie: I’m no expert, that’s for sure, but I know enough to be able to throw myself together if I need to.

Xerix: My cousin Choupette Marchionne runs an atelier in Paris, and ::with embarrassment:: she’s asked me to walk in her latest show. This isn’t something I’d ever do, but Choupette is like my sister. You’ll also get to meet her daughter, Victoire.

MacKenzie: An atelier, eh? Sounds like fun.

Xerix: She’s done very well for herself. I enjoy supporting her. Preferably from the safety of obscurity.

MacKenzie: ::nodding slowly:: Obscurity is always preferable.

Xerix: So tell me about yourself, Doc.

MacKenzie: Oh, I can’t imagine there’s a whole lot to tell - lots of time studying and saving lives and the whole bit. There’s plenty of time to get to the rest. Besides, I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun on our first outing together.

((Later, at Les Jardins de Versailles))

::Ghant and Addison beamed into the transporter area behind the backstage. Ghant had hardly got his bearings when he heard the shriek.::

Choupette: GHANT!

Xerix: Bon Jour, mon coeur. ::greeting her with the traditional kiss on each cheek:: you look wonderful, I’ve missed you. And this ::gesturing to the redhead right of him::> is Doctor Addison MacKenzie. She is also assigned to the Veritas, my new ship.

Choupette: ::quietly:: How convenient. ::and then in normal tones:: Enchanté, Doctor. Choupette, please call me Choupette.

MacKenzie: ::smiling and reaching for her arms:: Pleased, I’m sure. Call me Addison.

Choupette: ::interlacing her arm with Addison’s:: Come my dear, I have a few seats reserved in the front row. We can gossip while I show you the way. ::and then, to Ghant:: Get yourself dressed, I’m not showing uniforms to the galaxy’s elite, cousin.

::Ghant found the bag with his face on it and then went to one of the changing rooms. He had already undressed when he realized there wasn’t a shirt in his bag. There must have been a mix up. He put on the skin-tight black pants and a sort of black shoulder jacket which cinched around his neck but left his entire torso exposed. When he emerged, he beckoned one of the stage hands.::

Xerix: I’m Ghant Xerix, my bag was missing a shirt.

Stage hand: ::in broken English:: sorry, no shirt for this.

::Ghant felt even more uncomfortable now. It was one thing to be naked on Betazed, where it was socially acceptable. It was another on earth, in front of a rather attractive human female he wished to court. The stage hands pushed him into queue behind a similarly undressed andorian. The jacket was pulled and straightened and his hair was tousled into place. Finally, he accepted his fate, straightened his back and waited for his mark.::

::A bolian with a headset gave him the nod, and he marched barefoot along the hedgerows of the gardens. Chairs lined up in rows behind the hedges, with the glitterati filling them. He matched his pace to the music, with a slightly exaggerated strut and keeping his eyes in front of him. By the time he reached the end of the runway, he spotted Addison sitting in the aisle. He gave her a smile and then headed back to where he had started.::

::Ghant found Choupette standing with Addison once he had changed. Everyone seemed to be euphoric after a successful show.::

Xerix: Well I imagine you’re quite pleased, Choupette.

Choupette: Yes I think that went rather well. Excuse me, I think a courier is waving at me

MacKenzie: ::amused, with a gentle hint of sarcasm:: Quite the outfit, Mr. Xerix.

Xerix: Yeah, it wasn’t exactly something I’d choose. But it’s over now thank the Fo-

::Just then, an explosion rocked the area near where Ghant had seen Choupette standing. His hearing blew out and he felt sick to his stomach::

::Addison had been knocked to the ground, but was unharmed.::

Xerix: Addison, are you alright ?!

MacKenzie: ::springing to her feet, disoriented:: I think I’m fine - what the hell was that?!

Xerix: Stay close to me, we have to find Choupette.

::He began feeling ill. People were in panic around him. Thinking quickly, he hit the communicator in his pocket that linked him to the Celestial.::

Xerix: Computer, lock on to my location and beam down emergency kits 2 and 3 nearby.

Computer: Transporting now. Please stand clear until transport is complete.

Xerix: Doctor, the yellow kit is a med case. It isn’t Starfleet issue, but it should have most of the things you need. ::handing her a phaser pistol:: These aren’t Starfleet either. And they don’t have a stun setting.

::Addison shot him a quick, unsure look before taking the equipment.::

MacKenzie: You sure throw a hell of an event...

::Xerix began looking for his cousin. People continued to rush around him, screaming. When they neared the explosion site, he saw Choupette. Her body lay crumpled on the ground with smoke and soot darkening her entire body. Xerix took off his uniform’s shirt and placed it underneath her head, with just his undershirt remaining.::

Xerix: Doctor, over here!

::Addison moved to Xerix’s side, set the kit down and removed the tricorder. She knew immediately what the readings were indicating, and a moment later, the tricorder’s normal sounds changed to a soft, high-pitched steady tone.::

Xerix: Is she ok, Doctor? What can I do to help?

MacKenzie: ::looking up to face him:: ...She’s dead, Ghant.

::Ghant felt like a second explosion had just occurred. Dead. Choupette was dead. Tears blinded him. He leaned over her body and sobbed, rational thought completely eluding him. Then it dawned on him. Victoire. The little girl was in the audience during the show. Choupette always brought her to every show. Ghant ran frantically searching for the child. It was hard to see anything through the tears.::

::He finally found the child, hardly more than a toddler. She was standing in the middle of an open patch of grass away from the show. Whoever Choupette had hired to watch her had abandoned her, and she was crying with a hand in her mouth. The sight of her unharmed brought the tears back again to Ghant’s eyes. He grabbed the child and scooped her up in his arms, grasping her probably tighter than he ought to.::

Xerix: Its ok little one. I’m your moms family. I’m your family.

Victoire: Maman::sob::, where is Maman?

Xerix: She’s with the Doctor, mon petit. Let’s get you to safety.

::Addison finally caught up to them, looking much more like the first time he had seen her. Feeling overwhelmed, he embraced this near stranger with Victoire between them::

Xerix: I … I’m so sorry...I didn’t…

MacKenzie: ::quickly shaking her head:: How could you have known?

::Ghant felt something on the little girl’s back. A bright red envelope. He fumbled opening it with the child in his hands until the Doctor took her from him. She began to examine her while he opened it.::

::For Betazoid to live, the relationship with the Federation must die.::

Xerix: We’re not safe here. Can you take Victoire back to the Celestial? I’ll stay and talk to the rescue teams.

MacKenzie: ::nodding, gently taking the girl by the arm:: I’ll see if I can start coordinating with local hospitals...


Ensign Addison MacKenzie

Medical Officer, USS Veritas


Ensign Ghant Xerix

Helm/Navigation Officer, USS Veritas