7: Woman Story
Iliya sat in one of the relatively uncomfortable chairs in the office of the Enterprise’s new family psychologist. Chekov sat in the chair next to her, alternating looks between his girlfriend and the doctor. Iliya was halfway hysterical, which had become her default mode since she learned that she was pregnant and that her child’s father didn’t want to make their relationship official. Chekov tried to be patient with her, as he could understand her frustrations, but there was only so much he could take. As soon as Dr. Moton was hired, Kirk ordered them to counseling.
Iliya’s face was red and she was shredding tissue as she all but screamed at the tranquil psychologist. “Dr. Moton, it is only right that Pavel and I get married. I am pregnant. Any other decision is unacceptable!”
“Miss Vadasconovich, please remain calm. Getting upset resolves nothing.”
Chekov chimed in. “Please Iliya. We are here to resolve our conflict. It does not benefit the baby for you to be so upset.” He tried to touch her arm and she yanked it out of his reach, glaring at him with angry dark eyes.
“Pavel, it will resolve itself once we marry and our child is legitimate!”
“Is that the problem?” Dr. Moton asked. “You’re worried that your child will be considered illegitimate if you are not married?”
“It is not the way of my family to produce children without fathers.”
Chekov’s eyes widened. “But Iliya, that is not true in this case. I am the father. I would not deny my child. I do not think it is right for us to get married just because you are pregnant.” He reached for her arm again.
Iliya turned away from Chekov. “It is not right for us to have this baby without our relationship being official.”
Dr. Moton stared at the teenagers in front of her. “Iliya, would you have wanted to marry Pavel had you not gotten pregnant?”
The girl looked at Chekov and then at the psychologist. There was a long pause before she responded. “Yes.”
Dr. Moton cocked her head. “Iliya, may I ask another question?”
The girl nodded. “Yes, Doctor.”
Dr. Moton waited a very long moment and then quietly asked, “Do you love Pavel?”
Iliya stared at Dr. Moton, her eyes wide with surprise. “What?”
“Do you love Pavel? Do you love him?”
Chekov turned to look at Iliya. Iliya looked at him and then back at Dr. Moton. The psychologist smiled at the girl with warm brown eyes and folded her hands together on top of her desk. “Are you in love with the father of your child?”
Iliya blinked and found the question difficult to answer.
Tina stood in the middle of Dr. McCoy’s quarters, sipping on fruit juice. Her face was flushed and McCoy kept insisting that she sit down. She kept refusing, but it was because she was in a bitchy mood and it wasn’t going to outlast her fatigue. Her feet were swollen and she was exhausted. Personnel had been extra busy hiring additional staff.
“Tina, please. Please. I know you’re still irritated with me, but I also know you’re tired. Please sit down. Get off your feet.”
Rolling her eyes, Tina sat across from him. “Do you have anything to eat, Len?”
“What do you want?”
“Salt & vinegar potato chips. Or dill pickle chips if you have them. And one of those FrostEE things.”
“I can’t let you eat that, Tina. It’ll play hell with your blood pre—”
Tina vehemently cut him off. “Len, I will say this one time. If I have to carry this baby, I will do exactly as I please. I will eat what I want. I will do what I want. Last I checked, I’m the one whose body is distorted and the only one of us suffering from morning sickness. Don’t you DARE try and regulate what I eat! Don’t you even think of doing it! Get me my motherfucking potato chips or I will go and get them myself! You just asked me to sit down, so don’t make me get back up! Because if I have to get up, I’m walking out of that door after I go pee. Are we clear?”
“Tina,” McCoy said, his face red. She was an absolute spitfire, but that was one of the reasons why he liked her. However, he had the good sense not to argue with the mother of his child and got up to replicate a bowl of potato chips and a whipped FrostEE.
Tina bit into a chip. “These are REGULAR potato chips, you shithead!” But she gobbled them like she was starving and sucked down the FrostEE as if she were dying of thirst.
McCoy watched her carefully, keeping the smile off his face. Tina was starting to show, and it showed in her face. He thought that she would be even lovelier when the baby started getting big. He sat next to her on the couch and waited. He knew Tina well enough to know that she needed a few minutes to calm down whenever they spoke. She was a very passionate woman to begin with; the pregnancy had altered her innate heat exponentially. They were unable to speak without arguing, but it seemed that was ebbing, for their arguments began to cease or at least become one-sided. McCoy stopped quarrelling with Tina because it did nothing but upset her. She continued to bait him to get him to fight with her, but he refused. It didn’t stop her from having an attitude, but McCoy sensed he was wearing her down.
After a few minutes, Tina covered her face with her hands. “Leonard, I’m tired. I’m so tired.”
“Tina, do you want to lie down? You can stay here, you know.”
“No, I mean I’m tired of this. I’m tired of fighting with you. I’m tired of being angry; tired of carrying this child…I’m scared.”
“Scared of what, Tina?”
“I don’t want to be a mother.”
“Tina, I know that. This kid wasn’t planned. I would have never deliberately gotten you pregnant. I was content with our relationship as it was. I never intended for everything that transpired to occur.”
“I know that,” she said, grabbing her lower back and groaning. “I know I’ve blamed you for everything and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’ve been such a bitch and sorry I’ve been so poisoned. It’s just that I had my life planned out and kids never figured into it. I haven’t a clue as to how to be a mother…and it’s too late for me to have an abortion.” She swallowed. “Honestly, Len, I don’t think I could have aborted this child to begin with.”
“Could have fooled me, Tina,” McCoy said, trying to hide his shock. “I was convinced that you’d do it without my consent.” He had been waiting for one of the starbase nurses to inform him that she had indeed gone through with the procedure.
“I wanted to, but it was just thoughts. And we may as well try to figure out how we’re going to do this, because I’m going to have this baby and I’m not just going to hand it over to you to raise.”
“Tina, that’s all I want, you know.” It wasn’t all, but McCoy had the sense not to push the volatile personnel officer. “I just want the chance to be a father again. I know we can do this if we try.”
Tina nodded and then got up. “I need to go pee. Can you get me something else to eat?”
“What do you want now?” He would get her whatever she wanted, salty or not.
“Food,” she said, finally giving him a small smile. “I trust you to get me something that I’ll want.”
McCoy got up from the couch, smiling to himself as he headed back to the replicator.
Koko knocked on Dana Hannity’s door. Parker answered, smiling.
“Koko! Come in.”
She did. “Where’s Dana?”
“I’ll get her. What’s going on, Koko?”
“Great news,” the scientist said. “But it’s girl talk, so I’ll wait for Dana. I’m sure she’ll tell you the moment I leave.”
Parker laughed and went to get his wife. A few minutes later, Dana emerged from the restroom and greeted Koko.
“So how is it being married?”
Dana shrugged. “Parker’s and my relationship has always been good. There’s no change, except he’s living with me now.”
“You still having sex?”
“Of course. My hormones are crazy.”
“Good,” Koko said, smiling. “Have as much as you want now. It isn’t like you have to worry about getting knocked up. I really need for these damned computers to get right so that I can get laid. I’m a bit paranoid right now, but there’s this absolutely handsome guy on the base who I can hardly wait to fuck. It won’t be long until I get over my paranoia; he’s too fine for me not to.”
“Same old Koko. But you know you can go down to the base and get your injection.”
Koko hugged herself and took a deep breath. “I haven’t been able to gather the nerve to do it. This whole business has freaked me out and fucked up my sex life, if you want me to keep it real with you.”
“Always. And if you’re not freaked out, then something’s wrong with you. How long has it been since you had the abortion?”
“How long have we been grounded? Six, seven weeks? The first week we got here, Marcy and I took care of that.” Koko looked relieved.
Dana eyeballed her crazy card-playing partner and friend. “Koko, do you regret having the abortion?”
Koko’s eyes widened. “What? Hell no! I don’t want any fucking kids. I hate those little bastards.”
Dana patted her thickening middle. “They’re not so bad, Koko.”
“Not when they’re wanted, Dana. Don’t try any of that foolishness on me, either. Kids are messy, disruptive and expensive and I’m too damn selfish to share my life with one. You see I don’t keep a man around very long. Get what you want and keep it moving, that’s what I go by. Kids keep you from keeping it moving. What the fuck would I do with a whiny little bastard brat? Sorry. I have no regrets. Not one.”
Dana nodded her head. Koko never made it a secret that she hated children. Nor was she secretive about her selfishness. It was a running joke among the card sharks.
After a few moments, Dana nodded. “So, what’s up?”
“Good news. Barbara Jean’s a big fat liar. Sulu isn’t her baby’s daddy.”
Dana grinned. “I knew it.”
“Diane in Medical Bay analyzed the results of her paternity test. Sulu’s not the father, nor is Timmons. That stank-ass bitch got knocked up by some no-name dick on shore leave just like the rest of us.”
“How did you find out?”
“Shit, I asked. Diane didn’t want to tell me, but she, just like all of us, hates Barbara Jean’s guts and has been trying to get back at her for months for that incident in the ship’s library. I promised her I’d wait for Sulu to say something first. You’re the only one I’m telling, so let’s not get Diane in trouble.”
“Koko, you’re insane.”
“Dana, tell me something new. But it’s good gossip, right? Sure it is. You know my part of the grapevine is always grounded in truth. Some aspect of it anyway. We all knew Babs was lying; this just confirms it. She was in Madir having sex with a bunch of guys just like the rest of us. Or at least us, not you or Charlene, or…” A pause. “Janice will be happy. Sulu will too, I expect.”
“Of course he will be. I don’t think he minds Janice having his kid, but Barbara Jean? Please. I give Sulu some credit. He saw an opportunity and took it, the sexy player. Don’t tell Parker I said that.” Dana blushed and covered her cheeks like a teenage girl with a crush.
“Parker knows you don’t want anyone else but him, Dana. And he knows that most of the people on board this ship think Sulu is a hottie. I’d fuck him if I felt like fucking.” Koko sighed. “I need to get over my paranoia. Maybe I’ll do it once we get back in space.”
“Yeah. So you can get laid. We’re tired of hearing you bitch about it.” Dana laughed.
“You’re tired of hearing me bitch? You have no idea how tired I am of needing it and not having it. Speaking of things we’re having, how’s your kid?”
“Fine.” Dana patted her pooch. “Just fine.”
“That’s good to hear. I really am happy for you, Dana. You are definitely the mothering type and Parker’s a doll. Charlene’s doing well; Scotty is spoiling the shit out of her. Glynis is gonna give hers up for adoption. Nobody knows what Barbara Jean is going to do. Iliya won’t talk about it, but I happen to have it on good authority that she and cutie-pie Chekov are in counseling.”
“Have you heard if it was helping?”
“Not yet. I hardly see Iliya now. She’s hiding out, I swear. But if I hear anything, you know I’ll keep you posted.” Koko smiled wickedly.
Dana smiled back. Of course she would. Koko was better than the Starfleet Herald.
Irish and Gaila stood at the door of Nyota’s quarters and Irish sounded the chime. A moment later, the door opened and they were greeted by Dez. Irish’s face lit up when she saw her.
Gaila smiled to herself as they shared a hug. Clearly, her best friend liked the lovely Bajoran, and when they beamed down to base housing for the night, she was going to grill Irish on everything that happened between them.
Irish’s eyes were bright and her face expressed a question that Dez was able to answer.
“We can talk later. Nyota’s in bed. Come on in.”
“How is she doing?” Gaila asked.
“Today’s been pretty good, but she really isn’t doing so well. I mean, who would be? She’s trying to cope, but she needs time. She wanted that baby in the worst way. They all did.” Dez didn’t need to elaborate, for it was obvious to Gaila and Irish who they were.
“Come with me,” she said, and they followed.
Irish asked, “Has she heard from her parents?”
Dez clucked her teeth. “Not her mother, and thank goodness for small favors. I do know that the captain received a message from her father, but Nyota doesn’t know about it yet. He mentioned it to me because he asked me to stay with her when he and the commander had to report to the starbase.”
“Have they been away for long?” Gaila asked.
“No. As a matter of fact, Pike called them away early this morning. The captain knows that Nyota’s my friend, and he sought me out to ask me to stay with her. Neither of them wanted to leave her, but when duty calls, we all have to answer. We’re in her quarters because she doesn’t want to be in theirs when they are not there.”
Irish and Gaila nodded. Irish asked, “Is her father coming to see her?”
Dez shrugged. “I think so, but I don’t know for sure. The captain didn’t go into details. I think he mentioned it only because it could happen. I really don’t know.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter,” Irish said. “We’re here. We’re her family too.”
“Good. She needs that more than anything.”
Gaila and Irish followed Dez to Nyota’s room. She was sitting up in bed, arms wrapped around her legs. Dez knocked on Nyota’s doorframe. Her friends could tell immediately that she’d been crying.
She looked up. When she saw her best friends, her face glowed with happiness and sadness. Immediately, Gaila and Irish went to Nyota and they embraced. Dez smiled and left the room.
“How are you doing, honey? I mean, I feel dumb asking that considering, but I don’t know what else to ask.” Gaila said. “I feel like I need to say something.”
“I’m trying to deal with it,” Nyota said. “I’m trying, but…” She struggled to keep her tears in check, but a few of them escaped anyway. She felt as if she’d cried an ocean of tears, and she wasn’t alone in her grief. Nyota was aware that Kirk also shed tears, but he, being the adorable man he was, wanted to be strong for her. She knew that he cried in front of Spock, but Kirk could never hide the evidence of his grief from her. She knew him too well. Spock was strong enough for both of them, but she could feel Spock’s grief through their link and knew that Kirk could as well, which made it all the sadder.
She swiped at the tears that dribbled down her cheeks with a wayward hand. “Jim and Spock and I have been together since it happened; we have been afforded a measure of privacy, but you know how Starfleet is…”
“Indeed, babe,” Irish said. “Suckers.”
Gaila nodded. “Assholes is more like it.”
Nyota held their hands and continued. “It’s not easy. I’ve been crying almost nonstop. I lost my baby. We lost our baby.”
It was as if uttering the words in front of her best friends caused the dam to break…again. Nowadays, any tiny reminder set her off. She had not been able to accept the company of Charlene, Dana, Tina or Koko, even though they had offered their support.
Irish and Gaila wrapped their arms around Nyota and cried with her. Irish, not one for tears, choked out, “Nyota, I’m so sorry, honey. I should have never encouraged you to talk to your mother.”
After some time and a torrent of wet snotty tissues, Nyota sighed. “It’s okay, Irish. You were right to do so.”
“Do you think that you’ll ever speak to her again?”
“No. And I don’t want to. She made her position perfectly clear.”
“What about your father?” Gaila asked.
“I don’t know,” Nyota said. “I don’t know if he knows what happened. I haven’t spoken to anyone in my family.”
Irish and Gaila embraced Nyota again. “Honey, you’ve got us. Family doesn’t always have to be blood. It can be whoever you choose it to be. You’ve got us, Dez, and two fabulous men in your life and I know we’ll help you get through this,” Gaila said. “We’ll help all three of you if you want.”
There was a very long pause. Nyota pulled out of their embrace and looked at Irish. “As bad as this sounds, I was waiting for you to say something raunchy, Irish. Your timing is always perfect in that respect. Especially when it comes to Jim and Spock.”
“Aw, lachia,” Irish said, wiping her face and giggling. “For once in my life, I didn’t want to be inappropriate.”
Gaila rolled her tear-filled eyes. “Nyo, it takes a tragedy for that skanch to be inappropriate. But laughter through tears is the best emotion, I think.”
“Well, if that’s our goal, I can get a raunchy comment in here somewhere,” Irish said, smiling at her friends.
Nyota smiled back. And then, just like they used to do back in the Academy, all three lay down together and Gaila and Irish comforted their best friend just by being there.
Later, they were sitting at Nyota’s small table and Irish and Gaila were trying to convince her to eat. Dez sent word to Irish through a text message that she wasn’t eating and it was something that worried Kirk and Spock. Gaila had replicated some sort of weird-looking native broth that she swore had superb healing properties. Irish looked horrified at the bowl of bright green soup with large orange things floating in it and made a face at Gaila, but did her part to help her friend.
“Nyota, I will spoon-feed this stuff to you if you don’t do it yourself,” Irish said. “We gotta get you up and about, honey. You’ve got to heal.”
“I’m not hungry, Irish,” she said.
“Meklat, we didn’t ask you if you were hungry. In fact, we’re not going to ask you anything in regards to your overall health. Irish and I owe it to Jim and to Spock to take care of you when they’re not here.” Gaila said.
“To be perfectly honest, you owe it to us, Nyo,” Irish said. “Had it not been for Gaila and me encouraging you that night at the bar, you wouldn’t be with them now.”
Nyota looked at her friend and smiled weakly. Irish had a point.
Irish stirred the soup as Gaila brought Nyota something to drink in a large mug. “So eat, honey. Will you try at least a bite?” Then she frowned. “Gaila, what in the hell is this shit?”
“Oyumos-nakti,” Gaila said. “My grandmother used to make it for me when I was sick. It always made me feel better, inside and out. It’ll work for you, Nyo. Please?”
Nyota took the spoon and took a large sip of the green and orange soup. Her face brightened and she took another sip. Irish eyed her. “Well I’ll be a whore in church! It works.”
“You already are,” Gaila said as she started brushing Nyota’s hair. “Never doubt the power of an Orion, honey.”
Nyota couldn’t help but chuckle. Irish beamed at her. “What have we here? Is that a smile, lachia?”
“I guess,” she said. She stared at her friends, as if really seeing them for the first time. “You came to see me,” she said. “How did you even know?”
Irish held her hand and examined her fingernails. “Jim told us. He sent word not too long after it happened.”
Nyota closed her eyes, feeling her heart swell with love for Kirk. Seeing Irish and Gaila enter her room had lifted her spirits in a way she had not thought possible. It did not take away the pain of losing her baby, but it was good having her best friends there with her.
“How long can you stay?”
“How long do you need us to stay, Nyota?” Irish asked. “I’ve got a ton of leave saved up.”
“As do I,” Gaila said. “I get what I need on board my starship; I don’t need to use my leave for it.”
“I don’t want you to use all your leave on me.”
Gaila made a tsking sound. “Nyota, please. Irish and I are here for you. For whatever you need, meklat. Anything. We’re staying in temporary housing on the starbase.”
“I love you guys,” Nyota said, wiping her eyes again. “I wish I could stop crying.”
“Why?” Irish asked, smearing a tear on her own cheek. “Nyota, you had a miscarriage a week ago. You cry as much as you have to. And you don’t have to cry alone.”
“I haven’t been,” she said. Spock didn’t cry, but Kirk did. The night she miscarried, they held on to each other and she and Kirk had openly sobbed over the loss of their baby. Since then, he had not cried in her presence. Spock secured them both. She knew that Kirk was practically inconsolable, but was able to compartmentalize in order to do his duty and that Spock would be by his side at every moment. She was grateful for that. “I wasn’t the only one to lose my child.”
“Just take things one day at a time,” Gaila advised. “I’d advise that of the three of you.”
Nyota nodded. “I don’t know what else to do.”
Irish looked at her hands. “I do. Your hands are a mess. Let me give you a manicure.”
Later, they were sitting on Nyota’s small couch in her sitting room in companionable silence. Gaila continued to brush her hair until it shone like polished obsidian and Irish was filing her ragged fingernails when Dez came in.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Dez said, flicking a brief glance at Irish. “Nyota, your father is here.”
A/N: And this is where I lost the muse. I apologize. If I'm ever able to regain it for this story, I'll finish it. But it has been 3 years, and I don't think that's going to happen.