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She's Got Issues - Part One

Posted on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 @ 3:08pm by Alden Loxley & Alison Bliss & Daiyu

Mission: Li Shen's Bazaar
Location: Li Shen's Bazaar - St Lucy's Medical Center
Timeline: November 3rd - Late Morning

Honestly, Alden hadn't been sure that Alison and Daiyu would be there, y'know, all in one piece and everything. But when he sauntered down the brightly lit, vehicle-wide corridor ever closer towards the very white frontage of the med-center with its blocky signage and clear, wide perspex doors, they were walking towards him. He half expected Daiyu to be restrained in some way, but if there was one, Ali had hidden that leash well.

"Hey, sorry I'm late," Alden said, brushing an invisible crumb from his very new dark purple shirt and handing each young woman a weighty paper bag. "Bought you ladies a little something," he noted, gifting them a hopefully optimistic smile, then shooting 'The Look' to Alison. "We ready to go in?"

Alison glanced at Daiyu then at Alden and waved invitingly in. "After you guys." She said. She had no idea what to expect inside but she hoped from the bottom of her heart that they would find some help there for the girl. She took the offered bag and curiously looked inside. "Awww... Alden. What a nice present..." She said with the perfect blend of genuine thanks and sarcasm that it would be impossible to weight one over the other.

Alden nodded at Ali's decision for him to go first, then rolled his eyes at her reaction to his gift. Classic Alison, but he'd always been a bit clumsy with apologies and this was nicer, right?

"Thank you," Daiyu said graciously. When she looked in the bag, though, her face turned crestfallen. A bonsai tree. It could be grown indoors, but not aeroponically. It would need soil. Fertilizer. Lots of water. Things one could find on a planet, but... "This cannot be grown on the ship," she said meekly, tears forming in her eyes.

"You're welcome," noted Alden, his tone even, but his expression breaking a little as Daiyu's face fell. "It can," he assured her. "We're headed back closer to the Core, well away from the Rim at least," he added conversationally. "More stops, planets closer together." He reached to take Daiyu's hand in his and gave those fingers a firm, supportive squeeze. "Now, c'mon, let's go get our check-ups, okay?"

He took sufficient steps towards St Lucy's door to make it open automatically and present the reception area - all white, pristine and clinical - with a dark-skinned middle-aged woman on the reception. Her jade green eyes regarded Alden as she offered up a perfunctional smile. "Welcome to St Lucy's, how may I help you?"

Alison went behind Alden and Daiyu and had a peek inside the box. Her lips curled in a smile more akin to a child and she poked her cheek with her tongue gleefully. Inside the box was a full-sized SIG 320 in the Nitron finish with attached reflex sight. Now that was a worthy replacement of her P220 she carried in the holster. Closing the box, she had to admit that it was a proper way to apologize among the border planets. However, she would accept flowers too. Ignoring the woman, she leaned in and kissed Alden on the cheek. "Thank you. Apologies accepted."

Turning to the woman Alison gave her disarming and warm smile. Bowing slightly with grace before speaking. "I believe we have an appointment."

"Under what name, please?" The receptionist asked, as Alden's face flushed with colour and a big dumb grin in response to the unexpected kiss.

"Loxley," stated Alden, keeping his visual attention on the older woman, but giving Alison a friendly light touch of a 'punch' in response to her chaste embrace. Having things back on an even keel between him and the pilot was important to him, and he visibly relaxed. His hand however reached for Daiyu now, wanting her to feel supported. "But that's me. The appointment is for Mei Mei here."

Daiyu waggled her fingers in lackluster greeting. "You are a woman," she said to the receptionist. "The last monastery was all men."

"I am indeed," returned the woman behind the counter. She shot a loaded look to Alden at the 'monastery' comment, but didn't jump in on that particular business. She indicated a double door off to her left. "Go right on through, Dr Fletcher's waiting for you."

Which, Alden considered, was a fancy way of saying they were late. He didn't say that out loud, however, merely offered up a perfunctional nod, a quick 'thanks' and then nudged Daiyu's hand with his own in case she wanted some physical support.

Alison remained in her place glancing at the receptionist for a while longer, but finally moved off, following the other two. She wondered if it wasn't a waste of time. "Let's hope that will work. Whatever it is." She murmured under her breath.

Going along as directed, Daiyu still let the soles of her feet drag in apprehension into the examination area. "Why do I have to see a doctor?" she asked for not the first time. "I'm not sick."

"Sometimes it is better to see the doctor before you get sick," Alison said with a shrug. "I am sure they won't be poking you with any needles."

Alden held Daiyu's hand and walked into the private room at the young woman's own speed. Dr Fletcher as it turned out was a dark-honey skinned lady in her forties with at least grandparent ancestry from Earth-That-Was' Far East. She frowned at the crowd of three, raised an eyebrow and spoke with a cutting confidence.

"I only see one person at a time," she stated for the record, giving each of the trio a stern looking over. "Who am I talking with this morning?"

"Daiyu," Alden noted, indicating the younger woman with a gentle gesture as his gaze panned around the L-shaped clinically tidy room. There was an examination bed to one side, the usual mix of health warnings, moral-boosting and medical posters on the walls and a box of surgical blue gloves to the side of the doctor's Codex terminal. "We're just the support team," he added.

"Well, Daiyu," Dr Fletcher stated, her focus on her intended patient now. It was difficult to tell how old Daiyu was, but the scarring on her face was overt and silently vocal enough to suggest a likely deep trauma. "Do you need someone to stay with you, or can we speak in private?"

With a light shrug and passive facial expression, Daiyu was the picture of indifference. No woman had tried to harm her physically or sexually, and so far Dr. Fletcher had not been verbally cruel like some of the girls on the Firefly ship.

"Perhaps you can both wait outside," suggested Fletcher, with the authoritative tone of someone who didn't really mean 'perhaps'. She raised an eyebrow and looked to Alden and Alison. "Let us talk for a few moments."

Alden's reluctance was obvious, his gaze scanned the room and noted the second door - a bathroom? Walk-in cupboard? - to the rear of the room. He frowned, unwilling to leave so easily, but wanting Daiyu to have the chance at rehabilitation. "You be okay, Mei Mei?" He asked the young woman.

"Will you wait for me?" Daiyu asked. The look on her face suspected they would not. And why would they?

"We will wait." Alison said softly. "Both of us. Give us a shout and we are coming in guns blazing." She said the last part with the straight face, so it would be hard for someone not knowing her that she is actually quite serious.

Despite the raised brows of the medical staff, Daiyu beamed at Ali's promise. "Hao..." Turning to Dr. Fletcher, she said, "What do I have to do?"

"Take a seat up on the bed," Fletcher instructed with the disarming serenity of someone well-used to dealing with patients of all shapes and sizes in both person and problem.

Alden lingered, expression concerned and unsure even in the face of the physician's cool glare. "We'll be right outside, Daiyu," he stated, in support of Alison's previous promise. "Right. Outside." He added, letting that stern stare linger on Dr Fletcher.

"Make yourself comfortable," the doctor told Daiyu matter of factly. "If you want to sit up or lie down, either is okay."

With a soft exhale, Alden started to back out of the room with Ali, his gaze caught suspiciously on that other, closed door. He stepped forward before anyone could prevent it, reached for the handle and opened it - to reveal... a store cupboard.

"We'll be right outside," the Echo's captain confirmed a second time, and made his exit.

to be continued...


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