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Thread: Familiar Taste of Poison - Holding on to Smoke

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    Rebel - Closed Familiar Taste of Poison - Holding on to Smoke

    It was merely the second time that Lorna DeLaTour traveled to Bothawui, although this time she would stay a few more days than a mere pit stop following a mission with Van-Derveld. Following the impromptu getaway to Tatooine for one of the best meals of her life, both women had returned to their respective occupation: the doctor holed up on Jovan addressing medical concerns from various locals and visitors, and the Director doing whatever her job required. With her medical work, the half Lorrdian understood confidentiality well, and took her sometimes-partner's occupation in stride. Van-Derveld picking her up for that very first mission had moved her life into a new direction though, one in which she felt she made more of a difference. While she had wanted to enter official service for the Alliance, she had never expected it would take such form. After having left the Empire, she had kept a rather low profile, just wanting to help. Thing was she was damn good under pressure and while every medical job could serve people, which was the basis of such a field, she got a freaking kick out of the high-stakes missions with the Director, including the emergency problem solving. It was taking her skills to new levels, for many of her humanitarian work had required thinking outside of the box and making do with whatever resources she had available.

    When the Director had required her assistance again for what had ended being a week-long mission in the Outer Rim to deal with an off-shoot of a known terrorist group that had hired former imperial scientists, second class ones really in Lorna's views, but definitely skilled enough with a level of cruelty that had taken them away from their original faction. That was always a bad thing when they had any amount of knowledge, which had been the case of the ones they had been up against. While Van-Derveld and most of the team had been set on dealing with catching them - one of them now in custody along with some of the terrorist cell, Lorna had been focusing on doing damage-control with what they had found in their labs and figure out what products had been disseminated prior to that and what they would be up to if it showed up in future locations. The scale wasn't too large; but it was not uncommon for products to emerge through black market in one form or another once something efficient was added to the vast catalog available.

    The mission had been more taxing than the previous ones they had done; and Lorna was keenly aware it was because of what she had first thought was merely some pinched nerve that she could correct within a few days. The pain in her lower back had only got worse, even threatening to get her off her feet a few times when she had been working in labs. She had soldiered through it all; but it had made her decide to stay on Bothawui for a few days following the debrief of the mission. It had been troubling and she hated not being at one hundred percent. She didn't think it would be that bad; but she hated the thought of not being able to provide her very best work. She had hidden her discomfort to the best of her ability and she knew her work had remained top notch no matter what. She wasn't one to complain in the first place, and she knew how important the mission was.

    And truth be told, she disliked the idea of having to be removed from work with the Director. They made a very good team and she liked the job in between her time on Jovan. And even their short off-duty time together had been refreshing. There was no awkwardness in silent moment, Van-Derveld's biting humor brought Lorna to tears on a few occasions. They had good banter and both had strong morals and values, didn't hesitate to do what needed to be done. Lorna knew she would trust the other woman with her life, something she didn't do lightly, especially given her history and being a wandered for multiple reasons until she landed on Jovan about a year ago. And even there, she had been building some social and professional ties but nothing too close.

    For now she was brought back to reality as their ship had just landed on Bothawui and it was time for her to get her painful self back up, which had become worse in the last couple of days. Lorrdian were resistant by nature even though their nervous system could be more sensitive than other humanoids, given their history of dire slavery until they were able to break free and reclaim agency. It had been generations before Lorna's time but she understood how these difficult events had shaped half of her physiology, especially as she had picked up on most Lorrdian markers despite being only a half-breed. And that was why she had thought that a pinched nerve would just resolve by itself given how bad it could be; but now she worried it could be something else. Hopefully getting an appointment with some of the local specialists would clear the situation up.

    She knew how observant Van-Derveld was and Lorna bet that she had picked on some of her discomfort and tiredness in the past few days; but was grateful that so far no word had been shared about it. Lorna hadn't complained once and kept pushing through. The job had been done and well done. She wasn't naive and knew that the brunette knew something was up but that was one of the many things she appreciated about the Director: she didn't pry unless there was a direct need to discuss something, which Lorna liked. The doctor brought things up and didn't shy away from difficult discussions if it had an impact on a mission or work; but she had pulled through and now she had a few days to go through examinations and maybe a quick procedure to alleviate her issues. She missed her jaxes Poky and Kronos, especially as she had got used to have them around for a few weeks in a row and they had been delighted as well; but thankfully they were well taken care of back on Jovan Station. It just would have been nice to have them for comfort with her current problems for their were always very good and affectionate nurses.

    She winced as she put her backpack on, though not before having popped another pill into her mouth to keep the pain at bay but not at the risk of sacrificing her mental sharpness. The debrief was likely going to take a solid hour given the potential ramifications of what was being uncovered; but she had faith she could go through it.
    Last edited by Lorna DeLaTour; Feb 11th, 2021 at 11:56:18 AM.


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    Dr. DeLaTour was correct with the assumption that Director Van-Derveld was acutely aware of her partner's condition. The slight limp that was quickly recovered, sitting far more often than Grace recalled, and Lorna's quick wit was lacking. There were several times during transit that Grace had to get her attention by clearing her throat or calling out her name an octave higher than was necessary. The doctor was presentable but clearly exhausted. A touch of normal fatigue was accentuated by dark circles and red tinges streaking closer to iris'. The time between pain medication was decreasing as well.

    She had gotten to know the doctor quite well over the months - whether it were missions or downtime - Grace had grown fond of her company. She would deny if out right asked, but she deeply missed a consistent camaraderie and Lorna had become to fill that void after Dasquian was called for a mission then went missing soon after. She was strictly forbidden by Alliance Command to be part of the search team and they busied her with other important missions. They inundated Grace with work so she wouldn't go AWOL again. It worked and Dasquian was eventually found safe. Bryna and Grace were overjoyed with his return but as usual - the three of them were immediately separated, barely having a day reunion. Bryna was back with Jedi Master Tarkin to continue her training and Dasquian was off on another top secret mission. For Grace, she was fine with that. Both of them were safe and that was good enough for her.

    Not once did she compare Lorna to her relationship with Dasquian, or thought of the doctor as a replacement. She highly respected Lorna, thought her brilliant, compassionate, a fierce worker with a strong heart that did everything in her power to complete mission objectives. Grace was hesitant in having a consistent partner again but after Lorna's abilities during the Cona terrorist attack, she wanted no one else by her side. Or ear at times when Lorna had to take a non public assist.

    Now she had to combat the stubborn doctor for not taking care of her injury sooner. Two could play this game of pulling rank. Oh - she had not forgotten that neck massage in the least! Lorna was going to learn first hand what it meant having the Director as an ally ... or a friend. Though the last would not be admitted out loud by Grace just yet even if that's how she felt.

    As the two of them disembarked, Grace tapped information into her datapad. "Hm. Looks like the debriefing got move to a different conference room."

    The lie easily rolled off her well trained tongue.

    "We're this way now. C'mon."

    Grace kept a pace that the doctor could keep up with without compromising Lorna's act. What also worked in Grace's favor was Lorna lacked the familiarity of Alliance HQ and had no idea what their true destination was. So by the time Lorna realize that they were outside the entrance to the med unit, it was too late.

    "Alright, Doc." Grace stepped forward, allowing the translucent doors adorned with the Alliance medical symbol to open. "Time to get checked out."

    She looked expectantly, eyes daring Lorna to argue.
    Last edited by Grace Van-Derveld; Feb 18th, 2021 at 09:04:17 AM.

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    Lorna hoped that the debrief would not take too long but she knew she was still lucid enough to go through it as professionally as needed. Her work ethics had always been impeccable, too impeccable in a compassionate way by imperial standards, given how she had ended leaving her whole youth behind, including a family she did love for the most part, especially her grandmother. She briefly scolded herself for letting her mind weirdly wander to such a thought. She blamed it on the meds and the overall fatigue. She shrugged nostalgia off, for besides her family she had never had any regret in putting the Empire behind, given how her values clashed with them.

    She was aware that her steps were not as quick as usual and given that she didn't have to struggle to keep up with the Director, she realized that the brunette knew something was up, to what extent, neither of them knew, but Lorna didn't know what to think of the Director adjusting to her physical limitation even though there was now no immediate danger and the mission had been as much of a success as possible. At least she knew it wasn't pity coming from her partner, and that meant a lot to the doctor. It still was surprising to a degree. Sure, Lorna had enjoyed a sense of camaraderie in the past in some teams she had worked with but it had been a few years since that, more than a few at this point with all her wandering.

    She nodded when the other woman said that the debriefing had been moved to a different location. She thought nothing of that for administrative matters could take such routes, and frankly the headquarters of Alliance Intelligence were still mostly a mystery to her given her limited experience with them. She was good at learning her way around new places but between very little time in the past and her current state, the Director could have led her to a cafeteria or some backwater conference room and she wouldn't know better.

    Then it suddenly hit her that they were standing at the entrance of a medical unit. Maybe it was the painkillers, maybe it was the payback for pulling rank on Van-Derveld during their first mission, or just the shock of someone else playing mother hen and caring beyond what was required in the job description. After all she had seen first hand how the Director tolerated no bullshit from her people but took care of them.

    Regardless of the reasons, she laughed out loud. It hurt her poor body to do so but it was also a nice surprise.

    She caught her breath and saw the look in the brunette's eyes.

    "I'm not going to argue," she replied in earnest.

    She was too tired for such pettiness and she appreciated Van-Derveld's decision.

    "Do you want me to meet you for the debrief afterwards?"

    Even now she didn't want to get in the way of what needed to be done to tie up last loose ends of their mission. And while she appreciated her partner's gesture more than she would admit, she also didn't expect her to hold her hand for what should be a minor examination.

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    The laugh was not expected and elicited a brow curving upwards with confusion before hardening her features again, now waiting for a proper acknowledgment. Then Lorna relented in serious tone, her eyes looking almost appreciative. That won Grace over and her features smoothed.

    "Good," she nodded, relieved they were on the same page and this wouldn't escalate into an argument.

    She stepped aside, allowing Lorna to go first. "The debrief has been postponed until we know your status."

    Grace made it clear to her superiors that a face to face could wait until the doctor was examined. She sent a preliminary report to command for review that can be easily amended with more details later.

    "You're the priority, doc. So... let's get to it, hm?"

    She meant every word and would be with Lorna every step of the way.
    Last edited by Miranda Tarkin; Feb 18th, 2021 at 01:53:11 PM.

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    Lorna stepped inside the medical bay when her partner invited her to do so. She was surprised that the debrief had been postponed until she had been checked. She hated delaying any sort of work due to a condition she was in. That was the moment when she really wanted to argue; but her lower back pain sharply worsened at once, as if to tell her that Van-Derveld was right.

    "I feel like arguing about me over the debrief but it seems my body thinks you're the smarter one so I'm outmatched."


    She was surprised that Van-Derveld wanted to stay with her. She wasn't used to go to medical appointment with someone else. Hell she wasn't really used to have anyone go through small and big things with her in such personal matters, unless she was being checked by colleagues. She appreciated it though. She reminded herself not to read anything into it beyond friendship though despite what a tiny voice she had been trying to squash in the past few months tried to hint at. She valued her work with the Director and appreciated their friendship and companionship but she knew that anything more than that would just be an outright mess.

    She introduced herself to the nurse who welcomed them and began explaining what was up as the nurse led them to the examination room. It didn't take for a middle-aged Twi-lek doctor to join them, introducing himself as Dr. Berat. Dressing down to her undergarments, Lorna went through the first round of physical exams, her body aching as she told the doc what her symptoms had been and how they had been worsening. He had definitely read what medical file had been provided by the Director when she had arranged for this appointment, which Lorna appreciated.

    When the doctor told her they needed imagery of her back, she wasn't surprised though she picked on his tone and she wondered how bad it might be. She had already ran possible options in her mind but she didn't think anything could be that bad. It wasn't the first or the last time she had overworked herself, the assignment always coming first.

    She put on a hospital gown and followed the nurse to another room where a medical droid was prepping the various machines. It was all routine and precaution but she was starting to have a bad feeling about this.

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    "I already sent a prelim on the mission and command agreed with my recommendation on postponement," she explained. "No ones in the dark on the ops. I'll fill the details in later along with your status."

    Grace remained quiet and observant while Lorna and Dr. Berat went back and forth with questions and answers as the Twi-lek checked her head to toe with numerous neurological and muscular tests. His lekku twitch and curled in ways that sent a shiver down the director's spine. She was well versed in the unspoken language of Twi-leks and the doctor had picked up something during the examination that had him worried. The doctor's tone didn't help either.

    Next was imaging and Grace was getting a bad feeling about this as the nurse led Lorna onto the table. The nurse helped keep the doctor comfortable with pillows to lessen the chance of her moving during the scan. Grace remained behind the glass window as the technician aligned the lenses to scan the doctor's body, analyzed the data and sorted it by a holographic image of Lorna's nervous system. Grace frowned immediately.

    She was no doctor but there was a sizable mass at the base of Lorna's lumbar region along with two smaller ones. The computer immediately honed in on the foreign objects and began to focus the scans there, collecting as much data as it could so the Dr. Berat could make a diagnosis.

    Her face was passive but inside she wanted to kick something. Putting off a sore neck was one thing but this was unacceptable. She set her jaw as fingernails dug into the palm of her hand without anyone the wiser.

    If Lorna survived this, Grace was going to kill her.

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    While she wasn't able to pick on every nuance from the doctor's lekku, Lorna could tell he was concerned more than his words hinted at, given that she had spent a few years on Ryloth. She had had back pains in the past but nothing that bad, and her last general checkup was only a few months ago and nothing abnormal had been detected. Sure she had overextended herself multiple times in her career, whether when growing up in imperial territory, or since leaving, as she always felt she had to prove herself over and over again in non-imperial settings, even when her background didn't necessarily show up. Granted in medical institutions, one's credentials were common currency and more than once she had had to explain she had deserted so to speak.

    And while her worry increased, she didn't know what to make of Grace's presence. What terrified the doctor most right now was the possibility of her health degrading and preventing her from working with the Director, which had become the most formidable opportunity in her career. And she cherished the friendship they had been forging as well. She just knew in her guts that if they had to go separate ways because of health issues, it would just be the end of it, and Lorna would always feel like a failure. She didn't expect nor wanted Grace to offer pity anyway.

    Her eyes eventually fell to the images of the masses at the base of her lumbar region and she froze. The doc and another medical tech were now looking at them. She readjusted the gown around her, not daring to look at the Director.

    "I take it we can't tell if they're malignant until you cut me open?"

    She had steeled her voice but she was terrified.

    The doctor looked at her and it seemed to dawn on him again that he was speaking with a fellow medical professional.

    "Correct. And based on other tests we ran and your file, your nervous system can be extra sensitive and reactive due to your Lorrdian DNA, which means that it might make the task and potential recovery a bigger challenge, and that is..."

    Lorna interrupted, her voice still strong but beginning to display the smallest crack.

    "If I don't end in a fucking hover chair, I get it."

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    After the scan was over, a medical technician came in to fine tune the images and that allowed Grace to lean against the side of the door. It was a non-committal gesture - being halfway in and out. She didn't want to crowd the room since it probably felt so small to Lorna. This was a lot to take in and despite her own anger at the doctor for letting this go too long, the last thing she needed was a lecture. That was for later when Lorna beat this.

    Or so Grace hoped.

    Dr. Berat's lekku twitched at being addressed, seemingly perplexed for a moment before he went into confirming what every intelligent being could deduced from the scans. The imperative question was when the kriffing operation was going to take place! Her mind refocused, needing to hear the exchange better and not getting lost in her own head. Which was strange to Grace because that never happened.

    Well, rarely happened. A select few would could unravel her thoughts like a tooka with ball of yawn and it disturbed her that Lorna somehow got onto that list. When did that happen?

    "Wait. What?" Grace steeled her jaw for a moment, eyes briefly closing as she digested what was revealed. Lightly she pushed off the door frame as her hands rose. "So what you're saying is that regardless if these tumors are benign or malignant, she might not walk again? Because of some DNA bullshit?"

    Grace lightly shook her head. "Well doctor, that's unacceptable"

    Only Lorna was doc to her as of late. A fact that also shifted in previous months since all doctors were doc to her as far back as Grace could remember.

    "The only end result is Lorna walking. Regardless of how long it takes. She's not all Lorrdian so this isn't all doom and gloom." Eyes narrowed. "Right?"
    Last edited by Miranda Tarkin; Feb 25th, 2021 at 09:37:22 PM.

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    Grace was likely the only reason why Lorna wasn't crumbling down as the diagnosis hit her in the face. It was a mix of pride and that she didn't want to disappoint the Director more than she might already be. The fear that their partnership was coming to an end from her own damn doing was gripping and the doctor couldn't afford to come apart now, especially when all she should focus on was to get to the other side of that mess.

    Many people, including brilliant scientists, had very fulfilling careers away from intense field work; but Lorna happened to love doing this type of things now, and especially with the brunette who eventually broke the silence after her snappy words about the risk of ending in a hover chair.

    Lorna looked over her shoulder, at the woman who had become a huge part of her life, more than she had meant or even wanted to. Many thoughts briefly flashed before her mind's eye; but she stilled herself to stare at the Twi'lek again.

    Dr. Berat sighed, his lekky twitching so slightly but Lorna knew that it was a challenge he'd have to face and that he also had to deal with the Doctor of Alliance Intelligence to put pressure on it. Lorna knew that without Grace's backing, her procedure might be delayed, and she didn't take that for granted. She didn't take the Director for granted and that was terrifying for what it mean hidden under all the professional and friendly layers. She wished it had just been some dreams following her first undercover operation. It would make everything easier; but as she faced the possible end of her current life as it was, the truth punched her in the face as well, and she hated it.

    "Doctors Zerafia is one of the few Lorrdian experts outside of imperial territory but they are close to retirement. I can contact them. I worked with one of their students back in the day."

    The doctor stayed silent for a moment, looking between both women. "One of our neuro-surgeons is currently on his way back to Botthawui and should be here tomorrow evening. This gives me time to put a team together. I doubt that we have more than a few days before the hover chair is your best option, Dr. DeLaTour."

    Lorna groaned and took a step forward to look at the imagery of her messed up back.

    "You should be able to do the neurological exam today anyway for what you can figure out before the actual surgery. I will communicate you the formula that will be your backup plan for anesthetics. As my file showed I have bad response to some of those that work best on humanoids."


    Her nervous system was annoying as hell for sure when it came to surgeries and some medications. And it also could act up and make her think that something was no big deal when it actually was a dire threat as her current predicament proved it.

    Dr. Berat nodded. "I want to get the team together for a surgery at 0600 the day after tomorrow. If we are lucky and can get everyone here earlier, I will keep you informed." He gave a quizzical look at Grace. "Given your involvement in this situation, I guess we can expect some help in freeing a couple of specialists' time, Director?"

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    Grace briefly caught Lorna's gaze. It was a transient connection and for brief moment, she felt the impact of emotions coming from the doctor. She easily covered that slip with an exasperated look between both doctors, waiting for someone to give her an answer while internally collecting her thoughts.

    She consciously controlled her Force abilities to never manifest overtly in high stressed situations, practically making them dormant. Her natural sensitivity came through physical reflexes, focus, intuition. As much as she despised the potential within her and stuffed it away in the farthest recesses of her mind, Grace could only deny what flowed freely through her so far. It was why feeling Lorna's emotions so vividly was concerning. Where was the control the director was so famous for?

    Her thoughts regrouped on the discussion at the mention of a team being put together. A thumb twitched as the doc revealed even more obstacles that could hinder the surgery. Lorna's body was just as stubborn as she was. Not a surprise but this information wasn't helpful to the doc's recovery.

    When Dr. Berat insinuated Grace could pull strings, she pulled out her datapad. "Consider it done. Just need names, doctor."

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    That split moment their gazes met and Lorna couldn't figure out what she saw in the Director's eyes was why she hadn't allowed herself to hope for something more. She was confident as hell professionally or when it came to casual sex; but she whatever it was with Grace, she had no idea. And she was terrified she would just fuck things up. She wasn't "relationship" material. Letting people in was terrifying and she had already given way more territory to Grace than to most people in her history, especially since her imperial youth. They respected each other and they had learned to trust each other with their lives.

    That brief moment was only a glimpse as she needed to work with the doctor, her cooperation and assistance with some extra things she had researched by herself over the years, for her own medical situation. While it made complete sense that the Director was willing to help with the team and resources for the emergency surgery, Lorna was still shocked.

    "Thank you, Director," Dr. Berat replied with a nod.

    Sadly, the painkillers were wearing off and Lorna needed to sit down again, hating her weakness. She had always been able to push as far as her body could handle and for once it was biting her in the ass. She hated it, and she hated herself for letting it happen.

    "I guess now is a good time to run the extra neurological tests before I can numb this mess with some painkillers, doctor."

    The Twi'lek stared at her but nodded. He looked at the Director again.

    "We will still need a couple of hours to run tests and then trade notes so my team is as prepared as possible. I can send you the names once the list is compiled, Director."

    Lorna bit her lip, and knew that Van-Derveld had better things to do than just hang out at a medbay, so it would make sense if she needed to leave.

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    Grace made a light hum of acknowledgement putting the emergency medical team on standby, which ironically paged both Dr. Berat and Lorna's links since they were part of the group. She also made it a priority for the returning neurosurgeon to be notified of the upcoming surgery in two days.

    Then she fired off a message to Admiral Vane to change the debrief over a secured link, explaining the doc needed extensive testing and wanted to be physically present. It was important for Grace to be here as much as possible, with Lorna's permission. Vane agreed and would meet at the previously scheduled time.

    "If the doc's alright with it, I'd rather stay," she said. It would have made more sense to ask Berat's permission but Grace really didn't care what he thought.

    She looked up from her pad. "I'll just need a private room for a meeting later."

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    Even tired and in the middle of testing for an emergency surgery, Lorna checked her comlink when she heard it beep, and she smiled faintly regardless when she saw the notification from Grace. She hadn't forgotten about the debriefing either. While her brain felt way too disorganized for her taste, she was still trying to juggle stuff to the best of her ability, out of stubborn habits.

    She hadn't realized she had been staring at the Director until their eyes met and the other woman sought her approval to stay. She nodded, not noticing Dr. Berat's quiet observation of the exchange.

    "I don't mind though I'm fine meeting later if you were busy," she answered.

    The Twi'lek cleared his throat. "Of course, Director. We will get started on the first round and then while we process the first batch of results we can give you some privacy for the meeting. We won't be keeping Dr. DeLaTour here tonight if she promises to behave and take it easy."

    Lorna muttered something under her breath. "Besides the meeting with Director Van-Derveld, I only need to tidy up some notes, so I can do that without running around."

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    "The DoI's always busy, doc," she said playfully with a coy smile. "Still ... you can make a cameo if the meds aren't troubling you. And I suppose if Berat's fine with it too. I guess he can get a say," she said the last part as an afterthought.

    Berat's lekku twitched as he sighed. "I am right here you know?"

    Grace ignored him and got to work on reserving Lorna a semi-permanent dwelling, knowing she would appreciate a more comfortable space along with deciding if she could attend the debrief. Lorna was a proud, stubborn, woman, and it would mean a lot if she could still attend.

    She next cued up a list of needed items with the doc to furnish and supply her quarters on Bothawui. If Lorna checked there was a rotating hoverchair on the lower left corner with a cannok bouncing up and down trying to chomp at it. Then she opened a new communication to Jovan Station to begin the process of shipping out two special creatures - Lorna's pet jax. Grace never understood the allure of pets but there was no doubt that having them here would lift Lorna's spirits. Research backed that up.

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    Lorna appreciated Grace's playfulness as it helped mitigate all the fear threatening to crush her. "I am planning on making a cameo and I am still going to put in my finalized report before that darn surgery."

    Dr. Berat then shook his head at both women. "With all due respect, I feel like a medical higher up will have to make sure Dr. DeLaTour recovers unless you can make sure she rests, Director."

    The blonde gave a look at the Twi'lek and then at Grace, and shrugged, which caused more pain in her back even with such a little gesture. She really needed more painkillers.

    "Well, just get these tests running so I can be operational again with more meds in my system, please. I can be cooperative."


    As she began undergoing the rest of the testing, feeling her body hating her at this point, she distracted herself when she looked at what Grace sent her and she couldn't help smiling at the cannok behaving in a "screw you, hoverchair" way, which warmed her heart. She sent back a few notes and then closed her device for the time being.

    An hour later, the docs gave her more painkillers, and she got some stronger ones. She was allowed to get back into her normal clothing, which made her feel a bit more in control, despite all the thoughts swirling in her head. She knew the whole mess would hit her even harder later on; but she hoped she would keep it together until after the meeting; and the last thing she wanted was to crumble in front of the Director. She was terrified enough she was going to jeopardize their partnership because of her health issues; there was no need to turn into a traumatized whiny mess before her.

    She offered a tired smile to her partner as she reached the private room. "You should have all the names for the team at this point. They're still working on the results but they were able to get all tests done prior to surgery. So I'm good to go through the debrief."

    That was the moment her stomach decided to growl loudly, as if she couldn't catch a freaking break.

  16. #16
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    "I'd listen to her Berat. Doc know's this is serious and she'll behave. But if needed, you've got my word." Grace said that with finality before taking her leave.

    She focused on the notes Lorna made on what she would needed for the her unexpected extended stay. Orders were fired off as soon as she sat down in the private room the medical staff reserved for her - approvals for Lorna's supplies, some requested from Lorna's private bunk on Jovan to be packed along with the critters. Then she reconfigured the security settings in the computer system for privacy in preparation for the debrief. After that it was catching up on memos, messages and reports. The hour passed quickly and her mind barely strayed to too many what ifs in case the doc's surgery went sideways.

    Relieved to see Lorna joining her, Grace masked her concern observing how tired and doped up on pain killers she was. Her partner was a trooper and she gave her a small smile. "Already working on clearances," she confirmed about the surgical team.

    Grace's lips tugged low to stifle a laugh but did end up sighing. "Course you forgot to eat," she playfully scolded and kicked out the chair next to her. Her lupine heritage heard that low stomach rumble as a roar.

    "Here," she cued up the cafeteria's menu on her pad and set it down, "get an order in."
    Last edited by Miranda Tarkin; Mar 6th, 2021 at 06:44:57 PM.

  17. #17
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    She didn't fully feel like a functional individual but it was better with the meds. And thankfully they didn't make her all loopy. She hated that. She wasn't against recreational drugs if it worked for others; but she didn't care about them herself, and she liked knowing what was going on, even when it meant her brain worked her to the ground with thoughts she shouldn't entertain.

    "Thank you," she replied when Grace mentioned already working on clearance for the medical team. She just wanted this to be over and done with even though she was freaking terrified. She forced herself to focus on the present once more, keenly aware of all she should unpack from her fears before the surgery; but truthfully she didn't think that crumbling before the Director, and even less ending confessing unrequited feelings, would be smart.

    The tired blonde quirked a brow at her partner's reaction to the loud stomach growl that had interrupted the conversation, and she couldn't help chuckling softly. Without hesitation, she took the chair by the brunette's side.

    "I could eat a Rancor right now," she admitted.

    Perusing the menu, she ordered an assortment of appetizers, as well as a meaty sandwich. She was tempted with some sweets; but she behaved for now. "I imagine how great the note "keeps forgetting to eat" must look in between redacted parts of my file. Is there a cannock smacking me on the head somewhere in it?"

    No matter how she looked at it, her relationship with Grace and their easy banter and even well-earned scolding, kept her in the moment and helped her cast worry aside for now.
    Last edited by Lorna DeLaTour; Mar 6th, 2021 at 06:48:30 PM.

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    The air was saturated with Lorna's nerves and not merely from the distinct physical cues that Grace had picked up during their time working together. The Force kept nagging at her that the doctor was scared shitless, but Grace wasn't going to push a subject that Lorna wanted to avoid and it was pissing her off that she felt this so keenly.

    Thus she ignored it with humor.

    "Rancor's too gamey," she said offhandedly because yes, Grace had eaten it once.

    Looking up, Grace smirked so widely that it showed off her teeth. "Now now, doc. Keeps forgetting to eat requires top secret clearance. So I'm afraid to say, that's redacted too."

  19. #19
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    Lorna smirked and made a face at Grace's remark about the rancor.

    "I won't contest that. I've never eaten any but I've had my share of exotic meat in the past."

    She tried to review her notes as the debriefing was going to happen in about ten minutes. She hoped she'd get to scarf some food down first. The meds were kicking in and work helped her stay the course.

    She realized that the Director had teased about her forgetfulness about eating even though she hadn't been paying complete attention.

    "I hope there will be more redacted entries in that file,"
    she blurted out before pulling herself together.

    She shrugged, always a bad idea lately, and winced slightly.

    "Don't mind me."

    She cleared her throat. "I hope my notes were enough to get started for the debrief. Everything will be in order before the surgery, I promise you."

    After all, she could finish up reports even bedridden.

  20. #20
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    Grace attributed Lorna's sluggish response time to medications. She was doing a fabulous job pulling out doctor mode to busy herself but Lorna was distracted. With upcoming surgery with no certainty to the outcome, Grace figured it was that. Truth of the matter, she was too. She found a partner for Cona out of necessity. Now she had a semi-permanent partner and friend that she cared for. It made her so anxious Lorna might as well have gone missing with how her guts with churning.

    "Even the DoI can only redact so much, doc. But it depends on what favors you're calling in," she quipped, queuing up the notes and outline for the debrief.

    "I'm sure the debrief will be fine. It's just formality at this point. Also here ..." She tapped a few commands on the arm of the chair that redistributed weight in the lumbar area of Lorna's seat. She purposefully kicked that one out for the doc.

    It was no forced massage but it got the point across - stop moving so much and fucking chill.

    Admiral Vane's communication came through just in time to squash any rebuttal on Lorna's part and force the doctor to relax for the next hour ...

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