chapel sexy

Fic: Nobody to Help Me (But Myself) - Chapel, gen

Title: Nobody to Help Me (But Myself)
Author: igrockspock
Summary: She's the only one who can handle this mission. She's not a nurse anymore; she's a soldier.
Characters: Chapel, Kirk
Rating: R
Warnings: Violence, attempted rape
Notes: for the best damn drabble fest in the verse at where_no_woman, except it's not exactly a drabble - 4800 words.



"Why me?" Christine asks, staring dumbly at Kirk.

"Because they don't know you're secretly a bad ass," he answers with a glint in his eye like this is all some goddamned joke. But it's not, not when he is asking the impossible and her life is on the line.

His expression goes instantly serious even though she could swear she had shown none of her fear or anger.

"Look, I would never send you on this mission if I didn't think you could do it. You have my word on that. Do you believe me?"

She's seen him do this a hundred times before when he's dragging wounded men out of sickbay too soon and cajoling terrified ensigns into surviving away missions. But it's the first time this power has been directed at her, and she'd never known how, well, powerful it was.

"I believe it's necessary for me to do this if you're asking it of me," she says, which is not quite the same thing as believing she'll live through it.

"Well, that's a start."

A map appears on the surface of his desk, and she is temporarily startled out of her fear. She hadn't realized the whole desk top was a computer screen, and she has to admit the glowing green schematics look cool. Kirk -- damn him -- sees her reaction instantly and flashes her a wicked grin.

"You think this is going to be awesome. Admit it."

"It will be awesome if I don't die."

"And you won't. So it will be awesome."

He doesn't wait for her answer, just accepts that he's piqued her interest and jabs his finger at one of the cargo bays on the map.

"This is the drop off point. We're going to place you there as a medium-distance cargo hauler. You sell medical supplies, so it's nothing unfamiliar. If anyone tries to start up a conversation about the specs of your ship, just divert the conversation to what you sell. Got it?"

She nods dumbly.

He trails a finger along the central walkway, magnifying it instantly.

"This the promenade. It runs the whole length of the station, and it's crowded, so you'll do the pick-up there. Whatever you do, when you see your contact, don't be tempted to drag him off somewhere isolated. It's not a Starfleet station, and the empty parts are dangerous. Anyway, nothing screams secret business like two people hiding in a dark corner. Got all that?"

She nods again, still trying to process that undercover missions with secret pick up points are part of her life now.

"Your contact is a Nausican. You'll know him by the double-bladed dagger in his belt. If the tassel's on the right, that means the mission is safe, and he's going to tackle you and dangle you over the edge of the walkway."

"What?"

He ignores her confused and terrified expression, just keeps talking to her like attempted murder is normal part of the day.

"Listen, it's very important that you look scared. Scream, shake, cry. It's a cover. While he's attacking you, you're going to grab a small data disk taped to the inside of his right wrist. Shove it up your sleeve. It will stick automatically to your skin. When the police come, say you don't want to press charges and you just want to be taken back to your ship. That way you'll be escorted back to the cargo bay by armed guards. Sulu will be waiting for you inside the ship to take you back to the Enterprise. Still with me?"

She shakes her head.

"I still don't understand why it's me. Any one of the senior staff would be more capable, I'm sure."

The captain -- she can't think of him as Jim when he's talking to her so seriously about contacts and drop off points and classified data -- steps out of his chair and leans on the edge of his desk close to her. She can't take her eyes off his, and she thinks she knows now why so many women slept with him at the Academy when he was so clearly going to leave them in the morning.

"Christine, I need you. This mission can't work without someone from medical, and there is no one else I trust."

"Dr. McCoy..."

"Is very obviously associated with me. It's too dangerous. It has to be you."

Realization is dawning on her slowly.

"You need someone from medical. Because of the Altair Convention. Because Starfleet promised its medical personnel would never be involved in espionage. So if someone recognizes me, they still won't guess what I'm doing."

"Yes."

"But you want me to break that whole treaty so you can get...I don't even know what. You won't even tell me what it is."

"And I can't tell you."

"But it's so important that people would kill me if they knew I had it."

"No, they'd keep you alive to torture as much information from you as they could."

"But I don't have any information."

The captain looks at her meaningfully, letting her piece it together herself.

"That's the point," she says slowly. "You want to send someone who doesn't know anything. Who isn't valuable. Which is why you want medical personnel."

He locks his eyes on her again.

"Believe me, you're valuable. Just not to them. And if we can send someone from medical, there's a chance they'll believe you don't know anything, and they'll let you go after they get the disk."

"And after that, they'll pick up medical relief workers and torture them because they'll know Starfleet uses us for espionage."

"And that's why it has to be you. Because you're the only one I trust to do this right and not get captured."

"They warned us about this in the Academy. That our captains might ask us to break the convention. They made us role play it... how to say no." She feels dizzy and weak. She'd blown off those role plays, never believing how hard it would be to refuse. She scrabbles for all canned lines they'd taught her about the sanctity of medicine and her right to dissent, but she can't remember them when her captain is standing over her, begging her to do this.

"I know. You're supposed to tell me no and call the brass. But Christine, if you do that, people will die. Thousands. You joined Starfleet to save lives. I'm asking you to do it differently than you usually do. But the end goal is the same. Please. Trust me."

She hates that she can't say no to him. She hates that she doesn't know if she's being manipulated or if he really is just that damn earnest. She hates that her morals cave just because he is asking her to let go of them. But this is James Kirk. The man who saved the earth. Her whole family and most everyone she's ever loved owe their lives to him. She can't say no. She can't.

"Okay," she says. "When do we go?"

"Tonight."

***


You are under cover from the moment you leave this room. Jim's last words bounce in her head, a counterpoint to her quaking stomach. She knows she is walking to Lieutenant Richardson's quarters, the ship's unofficial salon, but her body feels like it's not hers, like her brain isn't directing it. She suppresses a hysterical laugh. Her body isn't hers anymore; she is a useful resource, doing what the captain had commanded: get your hair cut and dyed, say you want a new look if anyone asks.

She smiles at friends in the corridor but doesn't stop to chat.

"Hair appointment," she says, tapping her watch. Some of them ask her if something is wrong. She says no and sounds like a robot.

"You have this beautiful blond hair? And you want to change it?" Richardson asks, fingering one of the cornsilk locks she'd so carefully grown and tended.

"I want a new look," she says, repeating the words the captain had given her. "Chin length and brunette."

Non-descript, she adds mentally. So if someone spots the drop off, they won't be able to find me and torture me to death. She cries when she watches the hair go. The captain had made it sound so easy in his ready room, but this is bigger than walking down a corridor and taking a data disk. It's changing who she is.

"You want me to stop? We could do layer it real cute, and it would grow out in no time," Richardson says, handing her a tissue. "You don't want to change too much all at once."

"Too late for that," she answers with a bitter laugh and swallows her tears when the rest of her hair hits the floor. Now that she looks like a new person, it's easier to believe she can do this.

This time, no one stops her in the corridors, and she feels a little like she's vanishing. But she keeps walking forward, following the captain's orders. Don't stop at her quarters, don't say good-bye to anyone, go straight to the shuttle bay where her ship is waiting. She's not a nurse anymore; she's a soldier.

Jim is waiting for her in the bay.

"Cute hair," he says with a wink, and she can't decide if she wants to punch him in the face or hug him because his lechery is so blessedly familiar. But he is already moving outside her field of vision, tapping away at a control panel by the door. The indicator lights in the bay turn yellow, and she hears the door lock behind her. Grade 1 chemical spill, the control panel now reads. Clean-up in progress. Do not enter. She knows it must say the same outside the door. So no one will know she's leaving, she thinks, not even by chance.

Kirk hands her a pair of olive drab coveralls.

"Change behind the shuttle and throw your uniform in the waste bin," he orders. If she dies tonight, there will be no evidence she ever left. She wonders what he will tell her friends and family if she doesn't come back.

"There's make-up for you on the ship," he continues. "The women on the station look tough. Lots of black eye liner and red lipstick. You know the type. You need to look like them."

For a minute, she is reassured. So many orders to keep her busy, everything thought through for her so that she doesn't need to think at all. It's a relief. But her stomach clenches as she slips on the plain clothes he'd given her. If the captain is thinking about her eyeliner, if something that small could matter to him...god, this is dangerous. One tiny detail wrong and she dies.

She throws her uniform in the incinerator, and when she turns around, the captain his behind her. He puts one hand on each of her shoulders and squeezes.

"Come back," he says. "It's an order."

He tosses her one last cocky grin as she steps into the retrofitted shuttle. She thinks that's what makes him so good: he does all the captainly things the brass taught him to, but he does it because he means it. That's why she still can't find the strength to say no.

Sulu's waiting for her in the pilot's seat, nearly unrecognizable with dyed blond hair and a thick layer of eyeliner. Any other day, his disguise would be hilarious. Today, she just takes the make-up bag and data padd he gives her and listens to his terse mission briefing.

"Thirty minutes there and forty-five back. The Enterprise is hiding behind the third moon doing a cartographic survey. There's a cover story on the padd in case you get caught. Memorize it now because it's going to automatically delete itself in fifteen minutes."

The padd in her hands isn't Starfleet issue; it's thick, clunky, and at least 10 years old -- just like the ship they're flying, which she recognizes as the shuttle they crashed on Arcos IV a few weeks ago. While she waits for the padd to load her story, she takes a moment to appreciate the intricacy of the plan -- the old fashioned carpets they'd laid on the floor, complete with cigarette burns, the shelves full of medical supplies in battered cargo containers. She wonders if McCoy had signed them over knowingly, if he or anyone else on the ship knew she was gone.

A light on the padd flashes green, and she reads the last of her instructions. If she is picked up by authorities for any reason, she should give her own name and serial number. Claim that you have deserted your post following the death of Lieutenant Stephanie Rogers in a failed emergency surgery on Enterprise Away Mission 6A37, it says. The police will call Starfleet authorities to report her AWOL so that she can be picked up and returned to the Enterprise. It's a smart plan, but she's stuck on Stephanie's name. Her friend, the first she'd lost to Starfleet. She wonders who gave them that name. The captain? Dr. McCoy? Or did they watch everyone so closely they knew the names of all their friends? She realizes that this must be what the captain will tell people if she dies -- that she'd deserted her post and gotten herself killed. She'll die doing the bravest thing of her life, and everyone she loves will think she was a coward.

Well, she thinks, better not die. She can't find out who did this to her if she's dead. There's no use being angry now; she needs all her energy for protecting herself. She snaps the make-up mirror open and sets to work transforming her face.

The space station is looming in the viewscreen by the time she's finished the last swipe of mascara. She really looks like a new person now, and she's managed to memorize the specs of the ship and the contents of her inventory in case anyone asks. It's easy, Christine, she says to herself. All you have to do is walk and pick up a data disk. Way easier than being elbow deep in someone's intestines while the ship is rocking and a hundred wounded are screaming for help.

The shuttle doors open. She turns and gives Sulu an order to solidify her new role.

"I'll return to collect inventory at 1400. Don't leave the ship and no downloading porn vids on my account." She feels quite pleased with herself for restraining her hysterical giggle.

"Aye aye, sir," he says with a grin, and she tugs down the top of her coveralls, feeling plausibly captainly. A customs inspector is waiting for her, and she hands him her fake identicard.

"Mariel O'Halloran of the--"

"Cleared," he says boredly, handing back the card. She scans the docking bay, braced for conversations about her ship and its cargo, but no one speaks to her. She's almost disappointed that she didn't get to use any of her carefully prepared lines, but she supposes she should be happy to blend in so well.

"Which way to the promenade?" she asks the uniformed deck attendant, and then she's on the way to her mission. Her spy mission. Jim was right: it's easy and kind of awesome, even if she thinks Starfleet might be a little evil.

The station is seediest place she's ever been. The guardrails along the promenade are chipped and scuffed, the floor encrusted with mysterious stains. A damp rotting smell hangs in the air, faint but omnipresent. A trio of veiled women clad in black glide past her, emitting small sucking sounds and leaving a trail of slime on the floor. She is so preoccupied with them that she barely registers the Nausican in the corner of her eye, forgets to check whether the red tassel is on the right or the left...

He crashes into her with roar, the weight of his body forcing the air out of her lungs before she can even scream. Her arms pinwheel as her back bends over the guardrail, which quivers and groans beneath her. Her feet scrabble against the floor, but they cannot find secure purchase on the slick metal surface. He leans in close, his fetid breath washing over her face. In the distance, she registers rhythmic thuds like the sound of running feet.

"Take it," he hisses in her ear. "Take it, they're coming."

Only then does she remember her mission. Her fingernails scrape against the leathery flesh of his wrist, pulling free a plastic diskette only two or three centimeters wide. He twists her arm back, and she cries out, but she knows it's a cover for her to slide the disk into her sleeve. For a nightmare instant, she imagines it sliding off of her sweaty palm and falling through the air, but then she feels the hard plastic against her wrist and knows she's succeeded. The adhesive locks down just as she feels hands -- strong but definitely human -- gripping her own. They pull her away from the rails and she collapses on the floor, shaking uncontrollably. Through her tears, she sees blue uniforms and combat boots: the police, coming to take her back to her shuttle so she can finish her mission.

"You all right ma'am?" one of the officers asks. He passes her a handkerchief, and she looks up into a doughy face that doesn't match his severe regulation haircut.

"Just shaken up," she manages, wiping away a few of her tears. The white cloth is black with all her mascara, and she must look a fright.

"Do you know him?" the other officer asks. His voice is deep and authoritative; she can tell he's used to command.

"No, no I don't. I only just arrived here an hour ago."

"Damned Nausicans," the doughy one mutters. "Get a drink in them and lord knows what they won't do...ought to have them banned from the station..."

"Would you like the press charges?" the tougher one cuts in.

"Thank you, but no," she answers, and she thinks she sees them exchange a relieved look over her head. "If you would escort me back to my ship, I'd be grateful."

He helps her to her feet, muttering a gruff "of course ma'am." Standing, both the officers are half a head taller than her, and she feels grateful for the protection. She walks between them, following them automatically, lost in her thoughts and happy that she need no longer think about the mission. She feels a little stupid about all her anxiety now, so much worry and rage for an operation that took less than a minute to execute and went off without a hitch. An hour from now, she'll be back on the Enterprise, where she can curl into bed with a good book and a nice bottle of wine...

She barely notices when the sound of the promenade fades behind her, and when she looks up into an deserted corridor, she has just a split second to remember Jim's warning that the empty parts of the station are dangerous. The hair on the back of her neck prickles, and her muscles tense. She turns, ready to run, but thick fingers close around her throat. She tries to kick and discovers a second set of hands pinning her ankles. In seconds, they are completely hidden inside a dark alcove. She watches, helpless, as people surge down the brightly lit promenade in the distance. "Help!" she screams, but her voice is a pathetic rasp. The police officers chuckle, their laughter echoing in the small space.

"Ain't nobody here to help you, precious," one of them laughs, squeezing her throat tighter.

Nobody here to help me, nobody here to help me, she chants in her head. She wonders when the torture will start, how long she'll last, whether it would be better to go quickly or stretch out the remaining hours (days? weeks?) of her life as long as she can. Hanging between the two men, she begins to shake, one long shudder that starts at her shoulders and radiates all the way down her legs. Then she feels it: something hot and hard pressing into the side of her face. God, she thinks. They don't even know about the disk. They just want to rape her.

"Help," she whispers again because it's the only thing she can think to do even though she knows her voice is useless with the hands around her throat. Hot tears leak down her cheeks.

Their laughter is louder this time.

"Already told you, sweetheart. There's nobody here can help you."

Nobody here to help me, nobody here to help me, she repeats again, but this time she stops herself and adds to it: Nobody here to help me but myself. She waits for the sudden surge of bravery that all her holovids have promised will accompany such a powerful resolution. It never arrives. All she feels is terror, the deepest she has ever known. Her neck aches where his fingers dig in, and suddenly she can think of nothing more logical than to punch this man in his neck. Her clenched fist strikes soft flesh and rough stubble, but her attacker does not even make a sound. Again and again, she hits. He grunts, but does not let go. All her strength is not good enough; she is a fly fighting a dinosaur.

A hand fumbles at the waistband of her pants. Her legs flail, but even with a single hand gripping her ankles, the officer's hold is too strong to resist.

"Too dark. Can't find the zipper," he grunts. His fingers stumble over the button at her waist.

She tries to order herself to do something, but she cannot think and does not know what to do.

The button gives, and she shudders under the touch of his meaty fingers. She hears the faint buzz of her zipper sliding down, and her mind goes blank for an instant until she sees Captain Pike's face at the Academy.

"Rule number one to survive in space: someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill them right back."

He is tugging her pants down now; she can feel goose bumps prickling along the exposed flesh. She urges her memory forward. Think, Christine, think. You can do it. The terror does not fade, but she can feel her determination through it now.

"But no matter how small you are, you can fight back," Pike had said. "Not one creature in the galaxy likes getting kicked in the nads or stabbed in the eye."

The eye. That was it. She curves her index finger into a hook, and jabs behind her. Her fingernail strikes something soft, and the man behind her howls. Then her head hits the floor, sparks exploding behind her eyes, and in the dim light from the corridor, she can see her attacker clutching his face.

Fight, fight, fight, she urges herself, and she punches the man hard in the groin. He doubles over in pain, giving her a chance to snatch his phaser from its holster. She aims it at her second assailant, fires...and nothing happens. It's thumbprint-locked, and he is coming toward her, hissing, "Bitch, you'll pay for this."

He bends down, lunging for her throat, and she smashes the phaser into his head over and over again till she feels sticky blood on her fingers. Then she turns her attention back to her first attacker, brings the phaser down hard on his knee, and he trips, striking his head hard on the metal wall. She hears the thud and his grunt, and he collapses on his companion, unconscious.

She lies on the floor beside them for a moment, dumbfounded and shaking, before she pulls herself to her feet. Then she is running down the corridor toward the light, clutching her pants to keep them from falling down around her ankles. People yell at her, police try to stop her, but she does not slow down until she reaches the ship and is promise of safety.

***


Back on the Enterprise, she examines her wounds in the bathroom mirror: a swollen lump on her forehead where her attacker had dropped her on the floor. Five bruises on his neck, one for each of her fingers. A sprained wrist Jim had wrapped for her, deep tissue bruises on her ribs and back where the Nausican had bent her over the guardrail. She's spent enough time in medicine to know that battle wounds are not as sexy as the holovids make them, but she wasn't prepared for how battered and defeated she'd look in her moment of victory.

The rumors start the very next day. When she goes back to the salon to have her hair dyed blond, Lieutenant Richardson asks if she "needs to discuss anything personal." Two people anonymously send domestic violence intervention brochures to her padd. McCoy corners her in a supply closet, wielding a hypospray menacingly.

"Who did this to you, Chris?" he asks. "Tell me. I got drugs that'll make a man impotent for twenty years."

"I can get my own revenge, Doctor," she says coolly. She's figured out by now that denials only make people even more convinced she's being abused.

He presses the hypo into her hand.

"Xylosian penis rot," he says. "Get him, Chris."

It's not fair, really. She doesn't care to think about the attack, not when all her memories are of overwhelming terror, but she had gone on a spy mission, and now she's been reduced to a pathetic battered girlfriend. Of course, she'd known that she couldn't speak about her adventures after she'd returned; whatever her successes, they would have to be private ones. But she hadn't imagined what it would be like to return inexplicably bruised, how other people's explanations for what had happened to her would leave her feeling diminished. Worse, even though she had not and never would tolerate a man who hurt her, she felt as if the crew's suppositions held a grain of truth. She had never in her life known such terror, and her escape felt more like a fluke than an act of strength.

Two days later, a Klingon prisoner, supposedly still sedated after surgery, rises off the bed and seizes McCoy with a mighty growl. Christine doesn't even blink, just elbows him in the solar plexus before smashing her fist straight into his crotch. Her heart is beating wildly after she's done, and her hands are trembling a bit too, but not nearly so badly as Dr. McCoy's, and she can't help but feel she's regained a little pride.

"Did anyone ever figure out who did that to Chapel?" she hears Scotty ask in the lounge.

"No, but I heard she has his balls in a jar by her bed now," Chekov answers, and she smiles into her drink.

The next day, she hears that an ensign with Enolian brain fever held her hostage in a cargo bay and she fought him off with her bare hands. The day after that, a patient asks if it's true that she's the one who killed the escaped Romulan prisoner who tried to take over the ship a few days ago.

"So, I hear you're kind of a bad ass," Jim says one night in sick bay when she's the only one on duty. She rolls her eyes.

"No, seriously, Chris, you oughta claim one of those rumors. I started them just for you."

"You're the one who told Chekov I have someone's testicles in a jar by my bed?"

"Absolutely. I can't have my best secret operative mistaken for some asshole's punching bag."

"And the one about the Romulan?"

"Well, yeah. I mean, guys would dig a girl with a story like that." He flashes her a lascivious grin. "Other women too, if you're into that sort of thing."

He looks at her hopefully, and she snorts derisively, just like she's supposed to, but then she looks down at her desk. Her wrist is healed now, and most of the bruises have faded. The memories are still fresh though. Very fresh. Jim goes quiet and slides into the chair across from her. She appreciates that he never comes straight out and asks what's wrong, just lets her sit till she's ready to speak.

"I didn't feel very bad ass," she finally confesses. "I was terrified the whole time."

"Everyone's scared, Chris. What makes you different is that you thought through it."

She fixes him with an incredulous stare.

"Does that mean you get scared?"

"Well, no, but I'm a psychotic adrenaline junkie with an irrational belief in my own immortality."

He waits for her to smile, and she obliges him, feeling a bit like a mother watching her son's latest performance. He always has to stop for her reaction.

"But seriously, Chris, think about it," he continues. "It's not what you felt that matters. It's what you did."

And she does think about it, even though she wants to blow it off. He's her captain; he's obliged to encourage his crew. But then, she thinks, that's what makes him such a good captain: he always looks like he believes what he's saying, and that makes her believe it too.

The next time, when someone in the lounge asks if she really killed that Romulan, she smiles mysteriously and lets him egg her on. Soon she's perched on a table, surrounded by a small crowd of ensigns and yeomen who hang onto her every word. Even though she has to change the details, the story is hers, and she feels more whole now that she can finally claim it. And maybe, she has to admit, she is a bit of a bad ass after all.
Wow, that was about 17 different kinds of awesome. I love love love this Christine, and this story, too. It's impressive how Kirk comes through so clearly from Chapel's POV. I could see all of his smug little smirks and suggestive winks. I love the way she reacts to him, too.

So yeah, I'm just going to roll around in how fantastic this is for a while. <3 <3 <3

Badass Christine ftw.
Thank you so much! This story is deeply personal to me in a lot of ways, and I'm so glad it came through for you.
I started reading this instead of getting ready for work, but I am going to type a response because it was just that good.

There are many things to love, including Christine's renewed confidence, Kirk's so in-character dialogue, and protective!McCoy. I love how she really was scared, but still did what she needed to do and did it well.

Oh, and she is definitely a badass. Thanks for showing us just how much of one she is. :)
Thank you so much! This story is based on something that happened to me, and I really wanted to convey that experience of being scared but coping anyway. It really means a lot to me that it worked well for you.
Wow, that was great. Loved Christine gaining confidence, your Kirk (esp. the line about thinking through fear) and McCoy protecting his own in his customary gruff manner. :D
Awesome! Badass Chritstine is great, even when she is scared and I adore the interaction between her and Jim. Great stuff.
4800 words of awesomeness and I don't think I breathed while reading a one of them.

"I didn't feel very bad ass," she finally confesses. "I was terrified the whole time."

"Everyone's scared, Chris. What makes you different is that you thought through it."


Yes, this. This story deserves so much praise -- Christine is so AWESOME, and Kirk too -- but I'm kind of shaking too hard to compliment it properly. So that depth of emotional response you achieved will have to be its own compliment.

Edited at 2009-09-25 04:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! You know the experience this was based on, so you know how much it means to hear that this fic communicated it in an emotionally resonant way. Thank you for your previous comment also!
Oh man, so good. I felt like I stopped breathing when Christine was attacked -- I was feeling her fear too -- and her reaction despite the fear was amazing.

Also amazing: your Kirk. You've got him spot on.
Thank you! This is based on something that happened to me (the attack, not the spy mission, although it would be cooler if it were the other way around), so it means a lot to know that you could feel what she felt.
this is incredible. Chapel is so awesome and real. her reactions feel so true to life, from her reaction to her hair being cut (and all it was representing) to her continued shakiness after the mission is over. and then the end when she just decided to own it. the details may not be the truth, but the sentiment is.

"Well, no, but I'm a psychotic adrenaline junkie with an irrational belief in my own immortality."

HA!
Oh this was great. I'm not exactly up for being entirely descriptive on why *snort*, but I really enjoyed it. I love when Christine, and any minor character, gets their chance to shine - and shine realistically no less. Even Kirk was characterized so well. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you! Hearing that a story is real is a huge compliment. And I'm glad you enjoyed Kirk too :)
Thank you for posting this. It was terrifying, and to be honest, I was afraid to click the link precisely because of the subject matter, and I was still really terrified when I read - but I'm incredibly glad that I did.

Thanks again. Putting this into my memories.
I don't think I've been so intensely absorbed by a story in a long time. I was breathless and hunched over and so so amazed by what you achieved with this. Excellent characterization, excellent plotting -- FABULOUS work. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much! This is the first really plotty story I've attempted, so I'm really glad it worked.
I loved it!! So great to read about badass women on the enterprise.
Coincidence : while I was reading this my "playlist" was playing the song "fragile, but strong enough" by McCauley.
This is a fantastic story. I love the way we see Chris' fear and her strength, and how she recovers her self-belief.

And I love your Jim, too - the terrific captain under the brattishness.
That was a brilliant story. The psychology of it, the setup... awesome job. And the knowledge Christine has that suddenly she's no longer a nurse - she's a soldier - that's poignant. The parts about fear and stuff, and the rumors Kirk started on her behalf... yeah, I liked this story a lot. :)
I love your Christine, and your Jim--they are fully-fleshed people and very compelling. And I think this is very realistic--the thinking through the fear, and the aftermath that is nowhere near as glamorous as she'd like it to be.

At the same time, I'm still stuck on the fact that Jim asked her--and that she chose--to break the treaty. That seems like an incredibly difficult balance--Christine could be saving thousands, millions of lives, but if anyone ever finds out, all medical personnel lose immunity, which comes out to a world where they are restricted from doing their jobs and a staggering loss of life that has repercussions for hundreds or thousands of years. And of course Chapel has to make a decision with very little information and with the full force of charismatic Jim Kirk swaying her in one direction, but...yeah. I just can't help thinking she made the wrong choice, and for all her strength, she has lost integrity and...yeah. This is a very thought-provoking story, and it will stay with me for a long time, and I always think your writing is explosive and tight and incredible, but I can't say I enjoyed the story at all. *goes to read more of your Gaila stuff, which makes my brain hurt less, hee*
Uh, I don't know if the last Gaila story I posted is going to make your brain hurt any less. I did not portray her in a flattering light...

In my head, the creepiness/moral ambiguity was meant to reflect more on Jim than Chapel. It would be very, very hard to figure out when to say no to someone who breaks the rules all the time, usually with the outcome of saving people's lives. Sorry it didn't work for you!