Lieutenant Hook reached the lowest point of his life. It was time to cross the Rubicon. He'd ask for the sleeping pills. And if that wasn't successful, he was ready to volunteer himself for the mind-swipe.
As he made his way across the lawn, he ignored the sudden yet harsh whispers as he passed groups of troopers. There was no denying who he was. Even the federal employees recognized him.
Inside medical, the pharmacist didn't even raise an eyebrow when she saw who approached her.
"Sleeping pills?" She asked.
He wasn't sure if her tone was condescending. Or simply neutral.
He only nodded.
"You'll have to get a presciption order. Upstairs, last office on the left."
As he made his way upstairs to the last office on the left, he frowned to see two troopers from the Security division standing outside the door. They ignored him as he moved past them. Inside the office, there were two more Security standing alongside another door.
Hook's eyes widened as he gazed into the brightly lit glass-partitioned room. The two sleeping female troopers were being monitored by the three people on this side of the glass.
Hook shivered. That room closely resembled a science poject, and the last thing *he'd* want to be is a test-subject for a doctor's kicks.
Slowly, he approached the trio of one man and two women, who were quietly conversing at the window.
It had been seven days, and Kai Roland had not yet regained consciousness. After her ordeal in the tank, Doctor McCormick and Private Jenkins managed to plead for Roland's removal to the regular ward.
With great reluctance, Roland was authorized to fill a bed. Under lock and key.
To say the room was small would be a generous description. Five beds - three of which remained unoccupied, under the harsh lights in a glass-enclosed area. Outside the single door, Security was always on duty.
The other occupant, a recuperating trooper, ignored the scrutinizing eyes under which she and the other female were monitored.
A flimsy curtain separated Chiquita from the quiet form of Kai Roland, but the older trooper already knew the girl's name. Pretending to be asleep, she'd heard Doctors Sharaabi and McCormick argue over the best method of treatment for Roland.
They'd walk by Chiquita's bed, and scan her charts before leaving the room.
Chiquita didn't care. She was still hooked up to the IV because she refused to eat. For the most part - she never moved, either. Always curled up, her head on the pillow, she wanted to wither away and die.
Only, there was no way the Mobile Infantry would allow it. They'd invested too much time in her. And did she not prove herself? Up until the past week?
She knew the only reason she hadn't been under the laser for a mind-swipe, was because McCormick and some guy named Jenkins were adamant on practical treatment. As opposed to Sharaabi's cutting-edge methods.
Chiquita wished Sharaabi would win the argument. Get the pain done and over with. Get the nightmares out of her head.
Chiquita shuddered, and began to dry-heave. She couldn't stand being awake. Certainly, she couldn't stand being asleep. There was no middle ground. Tears slid down her cheeks, and for the umpteenth time, she buried her face in her pillow, and wept.
On the other side of the curtain, Kai Roland moved.
She took a deep breath, and opened her eyes. It took several seconds before her eyes focused on the ceiling and those bright lights.
And in those few seconds, everything came back in a rush.
A scream that completely alarmed everyone.
Security at both doors. Jenkins, McCormick, and Sharaabi. Hook, obscurely behind them. And Chiquita, in the bed next to her.
Kai hadn't opened her eyes, yet managed to yank out her own IVs, and scurry to the corner. She was still screaming.
Through the glass, Jenkins tried several different alternatives to soothe her, calm her down. He was rebuffed every time.
Sharaabi jerked her chin, and all four members of security followed her into the room.
McCormick saw the syringe in her hand. "Sharaabi - NO!"
Chiquita, her heart pounding wildly from Kai's screams, had disconnected her IVs, and threw the curtain back. She grimaced at the sharp pain in her hands, from where the IVs had been placed - but the sight of a terrified Kai made Chiquita forget the pain.
Behind her, she heard that lone door being thrown open, and the pounding of heavy boots on the tile.
Sharaabi rushed past her, followed by Security.
Kai desperately tried to melt into the corner, still screaming.
"Jenkins!" Sharaabi yelled.
Carl slammed his palm on the comm-unit. "Nothing. She's not letting me in."
Sharaabi cursed. "That's never stopped you before," she whispered savagely.
Carl clenched his jaw as McCormick threw him a warning look.
"Hold her hands," Sharaabi ordered the men around her.
Chiquita's eyes flashed. "Hell, no!"
Forgetting she was only in a tee-shirt and shorts, Chiquita grabbed one of the Security personnel, and pulled him backwards. As he fell to the floor, his partner looked up, in time to have her fist meet his face.
Kai continued to scream.
Chiquita threw herself on Kai.
"She just woke up, and you're going to give her drugs?"
"None of your concern, private. Get out of my way."
Chiquita defiantly shook her head. "You put her in here with me. I'd consider that my concern."
Sharaabi blinked. Then laughed, mockingly. "Do you know who you're talking to?"
Sharaabi's tone alone gave Chiquita pause. Had she... just put her foot in her mouth? She looked down. Momentarily.
And that's when they both noticed that Kai had stopped screaming, and was now clinging to Chiquita.
"Don't leave me. Don't leave me!"
Chiquita shook her head, keeping an eye on Sharaabi. "I won't leave you."
Kai threw Sharaabi a suspicious look. "Promise?"
Chiquita was startled by the question, but nodded anyway. "I ... promise."
Kai buried her head in Chiquita's neck, and sobbed. Chiquita looked around, now a tad embarrassed. Subconsciously, she reached up and caressed Kai's hair, softly whispering.
Kai became subdued, but hadn't removed her arms from around Chiquita.
Sharaabi frowned, tapping her foot.
"Sharaabi, Carl needs to speak with you."
Sharaabi stared down Chiquita, before she turned and faced the window.
Carl hadn't seen her, and was wiping the tear of blood from his nose. Sharaabi frowned. It had been a long time since Carl was exposed like that.
She motioned for Security to follow her. With a single glare at Chiquita, they followed her back to the office, sealing the door shut.
Kai looked over at the window. "Is that your lieutenant?" She asked weakly.
Chiquita started, then followed her gaze.
Hook was staring back at them.
Chiquita shook her head. "No," she whispered, "my - my lieutenant's dead."
"Mine, too." Kai sobbed again.
Chiquita leaned her head back against the corner, and waited for Kai to calm down again.
Sharaabi spotted Hook, even as Carl and McCormick approached her.
"What are you doing here, Hook?"
He flinched. He didn't remember meeting her. Of course, his reputation possibly preceeded him.
"Prescription of sleeping pills."
Carl's eyes widened.
McCormick jumped in. "Are you sure, Lieutenant? I don't think that's a wise cho-"
Sharaabi cut her off. "What next? The mind-swipe?"
Hook stood his ground. "If it comes to that."
For once, Sharaabi's expression softened. "Lieutenant, you've been through an ordeal that none of us can identify with. Rest assured, learning to live again will take time."
Hook motioned at the window, where they could see Chiquita urging Kai to get back in bed.
"What happened to them?"
Sharaabi sighed. "What do you think?"
Hook paled. "Same as ... me."
Sharaabi handed him the prescription copy. "Don't ask me for another favor, Lieutenant."
Hook took a step back, and shook his head. "I'm sorry to have... bothered you, Doctor. I...won't be back again."
McCormick and Carl exchanged looks.
Sharaabi seemed satisfied as the door closed behind Hook's back. She turned to focus on Carl.
"What is it, Jenkins?"
"I know why she had that mental barrier."
McCormick suddenly seemed anxious, and Sharaabi glanced over at Security. "Give us a moment."
When they left, she looked back over at Carl.
"What did you see?"