Hurt & Comfort

Book 4: The Well of Hurt

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Chapter 13: Picking Up Pieces

Naomi came out of the Doctor's office and said, "Andrew fell asleep."

"Good. Two, would you take Andrew to the cargo bay next door and put him to bed... beside Mr. Summers if possible." the Doctor asked while working on one of many minor injuries.

Two left the room as Naomi asked, "How's my mama?"

"Your mother was hurt but will be just fine. She is resting now and you should be able to talk to her in the morning. How would you like to stay with Mr. Neelix tonight?" the Doctor asked as he moved from one patient to the next.

"Neelix is fun. I'll play with Puppy until Neelix comes." Naomi said and left the room.

* * * * *

"Andrew, the Doctor said you are to lay down in the cargo bay. Come with me." Two said gently, trying not to alarm Andrew.

"Thanks Two. I didn't know how tired I was till I sat down for a minute." Andrew said sleepily as he got up.

"I have prepared a bed for you next to Alan." Two said as he walked near to Andrew, in case he fell.

Andrew stopped in the hallway and looked at Two for a second. "Two, you just called Alan by his name. I think you are adapting to life on Voyager pretty well." Andrew said with a smile.

"Earlier, while I was attending to the children in the Cargo bay, I remembered my name before I was assimilated and... I understand how personal it is. When I was called by my name, I was another person. When I became Two of Seven I became this." Two said with a note of disgust.

"You have shown me respect by calling me by my name. If you would let me, I would like to show you the same respect by calling you by yours." Andrew said seriously.

"I am not that person anymore... I will never be him again." Two said with pain.

"Two, you don't have to answer this question now, just think about it and let me know when you decide. Who do you want to be? The name you choose isn't as important as the man the name represents. If you like the name you had as a boy, then honor that memory by using that name for the man you will become. You won't ever be that boy again, but you can be the man that he grew into." Andrew said and started walking again.

"His name was Icheb." Two said quietly.

"A fine name. Tell me when you've decided if you're going to use it. When you are ready, I will be honored to call you by whatever name you choose." Andrew said and walked into the cargo bay.

The room had been hurriedly made into a hospital ward. There were beds placed in nearly even rows and they were beginning to fill with wounded as the Doctor treated more patients.

"Thank you for reserving the bed for Andrew, Seven." Two said to the little girl standing by an empty bed.

"I will go and help Naomi Wildman in the Doctor's office." she said and left the room.

"She helps Naomi by playing with her." Two said in a conspiratorial whisper.

Andrew smiled and said, "Two, you have made so much progress in the past two days. I can't wait to see what you're like a month from now."

Two looked confused at the statement so Andrew continued.

"Yesterday you didn't understand what I meant when I asked you your name. Today you can recognize that Seven is a little girl who wants to play with her friend, but doesn't want to admit that a former drone could want to play."

"I have learned much in the past day, much of it thanks to you. I have a request to make of you but I do not know if it is appropriate." Two asked unsurely.

"Go ahead and ask. If it is inappropriate I promise not to be offended, I will just tell you." Andrew said and sat on his bed.

"I would like to attend your commitment ceremony. As I understand the custom, one attends such an occasion only by invitation." Two said timidly.

"Two, when I invited the guests, I didn't know you. If I had, you would have been invited. So to correct that problem... Two of Seven, would you do me the great honor of attending my commitment ceremony tomorrow?" Andrew asked happily.

"Yes. Thank you Andrew." Two said and moved to leave.

"Two, please stay for a minute. I have to ask you to do me a favor." Andrew said in a low tone.

"What can I do for you?" Two asked and moved back to the side of the bed.

"Two, my life can be complicated. I've learned to live in the moment and not put things off till later because none of us are guaranteed to have a later. Alan and I are going to have the commitment ceremony tomorrow, even if it's just us and the Captain. But... Alan wants to be able to walk on his own two feet at the ceremony, and for him I will postpone it. I don't want you to interrupt the Doctor while he's busy, but please try to find out if he will be able to complete Alan's surgery and implant the womb before the ceremony tomorrow. I really need to know." Andrew said tiredly.

"I will find out for you. Do not worry Andrew. I believe the Doctor will complete the surgery before the night is over." Two said with reassurance.

"Thank you Two. You are a good friend." Andrew said with a sleepy voice.

There was a long moment of silence before Two finally said, "You can call me Icheb." then walked out of the cargo bay.

* * * * *

Andrew laid down on the bed and was nearly asleep when he heard a whisper.

"Andy love? You awake?"

Andrew looked up to see Alan watching him.

Andrew got out of the bed so quickly he nearly fell, then he stumbled over to Alan.

"What happened? Did you piss someone off and get us thrown out of our cabin?" Alan asked in confusion.

"No love, I'm not sure what happened. We were going through the wormhole and I guess it collapsed while we were still inside. The Doctor went offline and wasn't able to finish your surgery." Andrew said and pulled Alan into a heartfelt hug.

"I have a leg down there, what does he still need to do?" Alan ased as he tried to look at his leg.

"I think he has to attach muscles and tendons. I was there when he connected the nerves and veins so everything is hooked up to keep it alive, you just won't be able to walk on it." Andrew said seriously.

"Okay... why are we in a cargo bay?" Alan asked, looking around at the other people in the room.

"Because this is the overflow for the sickbay. The Doctor is getting people stabilized and sending them in here. After he's sure that everyone will survive, he will do the more in depth healing." Andrew said .

"So what else did I miss?" Alan asked and laid back on his bed.

"Quite a bit. Five got shocked. Naomi's mother was hurt pretty bad... just the usual chaos that follows us around." Andrew said with a shrug.

"And if I know you, you found some good things in all of this." Alan said with a fond smile.

"I met some people... Geron and Greg. Geron works in Airponics and Greg works on the bridge. I'd like to invite them to the ceremony if you wouldn't mind. They're right over there on the other side of Harry." Andrew said pointing a few beds away.

"Invite anyone you want love. The only reason I wanted to keep it small was because we didn't know anyone and I didn't want to feel like we were putting on a theatrical production for the crew." Alan said honestly.

"Thanks love, I just want to invite Greg and Geron... oh and Icheb." Andrew finished with a smile.


"Two of Seven, he remembered his name from before he was assimilated. He asked me to call him by his name." Andrew said with a twinkle in his eye.

"I guess that means you two have gone beyond the teacher/student relationship that you had going on." Alan said reflectively.

"Yeah, he's a good guy. When I first met him I thought we would never find common ground to form lines of communication but... we did. If he were back at the mansion, I'd invite him to move into the boathouse." Andrew said honestly.

"I do not understand." Icheb said from behind Andrew.

"Icheb! I didn't notice you come back in..." Andrew began.

"I wish to understand about the boathouse." Icheb said with desperation.

"Back where we are from, we moved from the main house to a boathouse at the far side of the property. When we moved, we invited our family and closest friends to come with us. Xander, Remy, Alex and Scott. I was just saying that if I knew you back then, you would have been invited to share our house because I think of you as a friend." Andrew said, watching Icheb's eyes, hoping to find understanding.

Icheb stood quietly for a moment, then said, "Thank you Andrew. If I had known you and Alan back then, I would have accepted."

"You called me Alan."

"Yes. It is your name." Icheb said with a small smile that might be teasing.

"What would you like for me to call you?" Alan asked hesitantly.

"You may call me Icheb. I believe Two of Seven has ceased to be." Icheb said with a bigger smile.

"Just don't talk bad about Two of Seven, he was my friend." Andrew said with warning.

"His beginning was unfortunate, but he ended well. I came to tell you that the Doctor will be sending someone for Alan in just a few minutes. He has finished treating new patients and is now working on healing those that he can most quickly so he can send them on their way." Icheb said with an air of happiness.

"Has he released Five yet?" Andrew asked with concern.

"I will be assisting Four to relocate Five to his alcove, so he can receive an unscheduled regeneration cycle. the Doctor believes that it will benefit him." Two said calmly.

"If you would like, I can create a portal for you so you don't have to walk that far." Andrew offered sincerely.

"Thank you Andrew. That would be helpful. I will go to Five now." Icheb said with a smile and left.

"He hardly resembles Two of Seven. He's grown up so much in just one day." Alan said in wonder.

"Yeah, he's really special." Andrew said fondly.

Alan turned when he heard a moan.

"Andrew, it looks like Harry is awake." Alan said, twisting himself to see Harry.

"Harry? How are you doing?" Andrew asked with concern.

"My head hurts... why am I sleeping in a cargo bay? Did Tom do this?" Harry asked in confusion.

Andrew laughed and said, "No, Tom didn't move you into the cargo bay while you were sleeping, but it does sound like something that he would do. This is the overflow from Sickbay, it's a long story and all you really need to know at the moment is you bumped your head and have been asleep for about a day."

Harry nodded, then winced in pain.

"I'll let the Doctor know you're awake, maybe he can do something about the pain." Andrew said and got up from beside Harry.

The Doctor walked into the room pushing a floating cart.

"Doctor, Harry is awake!" Andrew called.

"Very good." the Doctor said, making his way across the room.

After a moment of scanning the Doctor said, "Mr. Kim, you appear to be in acceptable health. As I had hoped, your extended rest gave you adequate time to heal."

"Can you give me something for my headache... and my shoulder is sore." Harry said in confusion.

"Mr. Wells, if you will help Mr. Summers onto the grav-unit, I will take him to Sickbay to complete his surgery now, Mr. Kim, you may follow and I will give you an analgesic for your pain." The Doctor said and moved the grav-unit into place, then lowered it.

"Come on love." Andrew said and helped scoot Alan from the bed to the grav-unit.

As the group walked away, Andrew stopped and said, "Give me a second, I have to port Icheb, Four and Five."

A moment later Andrew was walking again and trying to catch up to the Doctor and Alan.

* * * * *

"I can perform the remainder of the surgery with a local anesthetic." The Doctor said as he prepared for surgery.

"Good, I had a question about the womb implant." Alan said as he watched the Doctor.

"Continue." the Doctor said as he pressed a hypospray into Alan's thigh.

"Tom said it was possible to add a birth canal, and after the past few days, I'm thinking it might be a good idea." Alan said with a note of concern in his voice.

"For what reason?" the Doctor asked, intrigued.

"You remember how we told you about our lives moving so quickly at the dinner party? What if the next place we move doesn't have adequate medical care to deliver a baby?" Alan asked with concern.

"So this has nothing to do with the desire to experience the wonder of natural childbirth?" the Doctor asked without a hint as to if he was joking.

"Oh God no. My desire is to go to sleep and wake up with my new babies born." Alan said seriously.

"Then there is another option. In some rare cases there has been a need for an alternative to surgical birth and the more natural style birth. I can install... not so much of a birth canal as an escape hatch for the baby, or in this case babies." the Doctor said in a considering tone.

"Okay Doctor, this is the first we've heard about this. Give us the whole story." Andrew said cautiously.

"It is simply an opening formed in the navel. It will stretch open to facilitate the birthing of your babies, then retract to a barely noticeable opening in your stomach. It is for someone who is planning on multiple births though I'm sure a doctor from your century should be able to remove the womb and close the opening with no difficulty." the Doctor said.

"So you *don't* have to shift around my internal organs? And no pain?" Alan asked in confirmation.

"As I understand the process, there is a stretching sensation during the birth, but it is not overly painful. And no internal organs will be shifted. The womb will be connected to the bloodstream to have access to nutrients and building materials for the babies, but will not impact your bodily systems except for the need for increased food intake and proper nutrition." the Doctor said as he worked on the leg.

"Thank you for taking care of Alan so quickly. I really appreciate it." Andrew said honestly.

"You're very welcome but I must admit to having ulterior motives." the Doctor said with a hint of hesitance.

"Because of your part in the commitment ceremony?" Alan asked.

"That was a factor, but the two of you were pawns in my hostage negotiation with the Captain." the Doctor said in a teasing tone.

"What did you get in exchange for us?" Andrew asked with a smile.

"Commander Chakotay and Ensign Charles will be sent down as soon as possible so I may check their conditions." the Doctor said smugly.

"Why did the Captain ask for us to be healed?" Alan asked, not having a clue as to why she should care.

"She wants the two of you to be able to attend a staff meeting in... half an hour." the Doctor said, then turned to Harry sitting nearby and said, "Mr. Kim, you are also expected to be in the staff meeting since you have regained consciousness."

"But I just woke up." Harry said with a bit of a whine.

"We all have our duty." the Doctor said and began to close the incision.

"Mr. Wells, I may need your assistance so I may also attend the meeting." Seven of Nine said from a nearby chair.

"Seven? I didn't see you there. How's your foot?" Andrew asked with concern.

"Quite broken. The Doctor informs me that until the swelling subsides, there is little he can do." Seven said with a note of disgust.

"Can't you give her something for the swelling?" Andrew asked the Doctor who was beginning an incision on Alan's stomach.

"No. Her Borg anatomy will counteract my anti-inflammatory agents. And I cannot knit the bone until the swelling has subsided by at least twenty percent." the Doctor said and began to insert a plastic appliance into Alan's abdomen.

"How about an ice pack?" Andrew asked.

The Doctor stopped and gave a considering look. "I suppose the ice would cause constriction of the blood vessels in the area, having the effect of reducing the swelling." he finally said.

"Do you have an ice pack here?" Andrew asked.

"Why would I... you can get one from the replicator." the Doctor said and went back to work.

Andrew went to the replicator and got an ice pack.

"Hold this to your injury and the swelling should go down. Then the Doctor will be able to treat you before the meeting." Andrew said, holding out the ice pack.

Seven held the pack for a moment before placing it against her swollen foot.

"Done. It was a simple procedure, as promised." The Doctor said with a smile.

"And the escape hatch?" Alan asked, looking down at his stomach.

"Your navel now serves a purpose. Tomorrow I will insert your children through that opening." the Doctor said with a smile and looked up as the doors to sickbay opened.

"Commander, Ensign, come right over here." the Doctor said to Chakotay and Ensign Charles.

* * * * *

"Gentlemen, please take a seat, I know it's been a long day for all of us." Captain Janeway said to Alan and Andrew who were standing timidly just inside the ready room door.

They hesitantly took seats as the Captain pressed some buttons and the viewscreen came on to show the Doctor.

"Let's begin. First, Commander Chakotay, what can you tell me about our current status?" Janeway asked, turning her attention to the Commander.

"We have sustained ship-wide power loss and damage. Thanks to the efforts of Engineering, we are currently eighty-three percent operational. All life support and vital services are fully operational." Chakotay said efficiently.

"Good, Lieutenant Paris, what is the status of the helm?" Janeway asked.

"I will need another half an hour to have it working again. If we needed to, we could use it now, but we would have no precision in our movements." Tom said professionally.

"Commander Tuvok, what can you tell me about the area of space that we're in?"

"As far as I can determine, we are in an area of space one point nine years distant from our previous position if we had traveled at warp six. Scanners are not functioning well enough to determine the status of the surrounding planetary systems." Tuvok said without emotion.

"Captain, I may be able to help with that." Neelix said quickly. "Some months ago I was talking with some Tarkalian traders about our projected course and they mentioned this area of space. I believe that we are near the Barga system. It isn't visited much because it is so remote, but it is said to have an abundance of M-class planets filled to bursting with resources."

"That sounds encouraging, thank you Mr. Neelix. Chief Engineer Torres, report."

"Thanks to Seven of Nine's quick action, we avoided what could have been a major problem with the environmental systems. The repair crews have completed work on vital systems, and are now working to restore non-vital operations which I expect to be complete within two hours. Then we will move on to non-operations repairs." B'Elana said in a Starfleet tone.

"Good, better than I expected. Doctor, status of the crew?" Janeway asked and looked to the viewscreen.

"There were four life threatening injuries, those patients are now stable and expected to make a full recovery. The remaining injuries were broken bones and bumps for the most part and are in the process of being healed. Icheb is regenerating wounds while I am in this meeting." the Doctor said with an air of calm.

"Icheb?" the Captain asked.

"Two of Seven has remembered his name from before he was assimilated and chosen to use it." Andrew said timidly.

Janeway nodded and said, "Continue Doctor."

"There were no deaths, the three most serious injured will remain in sickbay, six crewmen will be off duty pending further examination, and eleven more will be ordered to light duty." the Doctor said to the group, then turned his attention to Janeway.

"Thank you Doctor, from what I have just heard, we're a little bumped and bruised, but still functioning for the most part, anyone have anything to add?" the Captain asked the group.

A moment of silence filled the room, then the Captain continued. "Mr. Wells and Mr. Summers. It has come to my attention that you have been making significant contributions to this ship beyond that of the two year jump. I've asked you here to invite you to officially join the crew of Voyager."

Alan and Andrew were both surprised. Finally Alan was able to ask, "What would we do?"

"Commander Chakotay?" Janeway asked and turned her attention to him.

"Andrew has been so good about helping the Doctor in Sickbay, I thought I would assign him as the Doctor's assistant. When he has received enough training, he will replace Lieutenant Paris as the backup medic." Chakotay said with a glance at Tom.

"In recognition of Mr. Summers gift for organizing and delegation, I am going to assign him as my assistant. I have been so overwhelmed by reports and schedules that I have had to delay certain operations for lack of time." Chakotay said seriously.

"So gentlemen, what do you say?" Captain Janeway asked.

"Will this effect our marriage plans?" Andrew asked carefully.

"No, if you decide to take the positions, you will be logged as crewmen immediately, but will not be asked to report to duty for one week, that way you can have a honeymoon." Captain Janeway said with a smile.

Andrew looked at Alan who nodded. "We would be happy to accept your offer Captain." Andrew said proudly.

"Good, then Crewman Summers, Crewman Wells, you are dismissed." Captain Janeway said with a smile.

Both men got up from the table and left the room.

To Be Continued...