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A bruised and battered 14 year-old boy lies on his sterile hospital bed. He has been lying on this bed for seventeen days. He becomes sleepy, and soon enters the world of nightmares that have haunted him since his arrival.
He sees blood...
Too much blood...
But where is it from? He can see no body. Then he realises.
The blood comes from him.
He is slowly dying. And no one is there to help him.
His eyelids become heavy. He feels his body taking one last shuddering breath, before...
The boy wakes up screaming, covered in sweat and shaking uncontrollably. The nurses rush into his room, while he sees a doctor prepare a syringe. He is used to this treatment. The doctor injects the sedative into his IV, while the nurses hold the boy down to his bed. Soon, the sedative causes him to fall back into unconsciousness, and he sleeps, undisturbed any further by the nightmares.
The boy wakes up slowly, remembering the nightmare from the night before. He feels scared and alone in the world. This child cannot remember who he is or why he is here. No parents brought him into the hospital. Instead a passing family found him at the side of the highway. No identification was with him.
The boy's chart reads that the boy has suffered a major concussion and is amnesiac due to the many sharp blows to the head that he has received. Bruises and deep cuts cover 80% of his beaten and battered body. The doctors have him on painkillers to ease the pain, but no amount of painkillers could ease the pain he feels in his weakened heart. This pain is that of loss. 'Why has no-one come to see me?' the boy wonders.
A long day follows, and the boy has little energy to do much at all. He plays his Xbox console all day and hopes and prays that someone will come to see him today. Someone who can tell him who he is and why he's in the hospital.
At the end of his long day, the boys prays:
Oh Heavenly Father,
Please help me to find who I am. Please guide me to the life I belong to, to those who I love and who love me. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and have the Holy Spirit. Amen.
With that, the boy climbs into his bed and falls asleep. Once again, he dreams in the middle of the night. In this dream, he once again finds himself bleeding. This time however, as he looks around, he finds a young looking man, with what he could swear were wings, standing there smiling at him.
"Who are you? Did you hurt me like this?" the boy asks this young stranger.
"No, little one." The stranger replies. "On the contrary, I'm here to tell you that help is on its way."
"What do you mean? Do you know me? Can you tell me who I am? What happened to me?" the boy asks, perplexed at the purpose for this stranger's appearance.
"Patience, little one. It is true, I do know who you are. But, I do not know you. And I cannot tell you why you are in hospital or who you are. It would be too damaging for you to know. Just know that your life will soon become better than before."
"How do you know this? Who are you?" the boy asks.
"I am known as Saint Mikey. I am an angel who helps young ones like you. When you asked Our Father to help you regain your life, I was sent to help."
"You're an angel?" the boy asks in awe. "But you can't help me. I don't know who I am, or why I'm here."
"You are here because you have suffered great pain. I am here to tell you that your prayers will soon be answered. Our Father tells me that you are too important to ignore. For now, know that I am here for you. You will not remember this dream, but rest assured that we will meet again, sooner than you think."
And with that, the stranger slowly faded away before the boy's eyes. After this, the boy suffered no more dreams or nightmares for the rest of the night. For once in the short span of his memories, he had a good night's sleep.
The boy woke up feeling refreshed and with an improved outlook on life. He couldn't remember the dream that he had last night, but he had a feeling that today was going to be a special day for him.
The nurse who came in to check on him made a comment on that fact that he had not awoken screaming the night before, which was a good thing for all concerned. The fact was that this nurse had taken a real liking to this mysterious boy. Her heart went out to the brave little man; stuck in the hospital due to a bad assault.
The nurse, whose name was Luisa, decided that she had to do something. She asked the head nurse if she could take her meal break. When the head nurse asked why, Luisa said that she wanted to go and talk to the boy's doctor about an idea she had.
The head nurse allowed her to go on her break and decided that she would accompany Luisa to the doctor's office. When the women knocked on the door marked "Dr. Alfred Campbell, M.D. Pediatry", an elderly man, about 45 with greying hair, answered.
"Sarah. Luisa. What brings you here? Is something wrong with the lad in room 319?" the doctor asked.
"No, Dr. Campbell, the boy is fine. In fact, he slept through the whole night last night, seemingly without any nightmares." Luisa replied.
"Well then, ladies, to what purpose do I owe this visit?" the doctor asked the women.
Luisa looked to Sarah, who, not knowing what Luisa had planned, gave a small nod, indicating that she should speak for both of them.
"Well, doctor. I have become quite fond of that young boy. It breaks my heart to see such a brave little man suffering the way he is. I mean, no family have come to visit him, and the only other contact he has had is that with the nurses. I feel we should do something to help him, but I don't know what we can do."
The doctor sat down and his desk and motioned for the women to take a seat. When they were seated, the doctor took on a thoughtful look and replied, "You're correct, Luisa. The boy needs to feel some sort of love and hope. As his treatment staff, we can't let ourselves get involved in this matter personally, it is against the policies of the hospital."
The three people sat and tried to think of a solution to their mutual problem. After about 5 minutes, Sarah suddenly exclaimed, "I have an idea!"
The doctor looked at her for an explaination, and she said, "Well, have you heard of the Federation's new Youth Services Bureau in the US?"
Both Luisa and Dr. Campbell nod in the affirmative, and Sarah continued, "Well, maybe there is an Australian branch of the Bureau. From the stories I've heard, Youth Services is aimed at providing assistance on a local scale for different child-care agencies to help the children through many rough spots."
"Ah, yes. You're absolutely correct, Sarah. I'll make the call now and place some enquiries." Dr. Campbell replied.
"Would you like us to leave the office as you do so, Dr. Campbell?" asks Luisa.
"No, that won't be necessary, ladies. After all, this has been the brainchild of the two of you so far. I'm just the access to resources that you need. I think it would be best if you help me with all aspects, since you are both fond of the child."
"Very well, Doctor." The women replied in unison.
Dr. Campbell then picked up the phone and dialed Directory Assistance.
"Directory Assistance, how may I help you?" a male voice answered.
"Yes this is Dr. Alfred Campbell of the Sydney Royal Children's Hospital. I was wondering if you could provide me with the contact details for Starfleet Australia Headquarters." Dr. Campbell said over the phone.
"I can patch you through now if you wish, Dr. Campbell. Would that be acceptable?"
"Yes, that would be perfect."
"Please hold the line, Doctor. This may take a while, as protocol states that the call be traced, then the conversation must be monitored."
"Very well. I'll hold."
While the doctor was waiting for the call to go through, he patched it to his viewscreen.
Shortly, a female Starfleet officer could be seen on the screen.
"Starfleet Oceania Regional Headquarters, Ensign King speaking. How may I assist you Dr. Campbell?" the female asked.
"Thank you, Ensign King. I'm calling to enquire if there is an Australian Youth Services Bureau. We have a child here who we feel needs some help." Dr. Campbell says.
"Yes sir. There is an Oceania Regional Division of Youth Services. I can patch you through now if you wish."
"Very well. Thank you for your assistance, Ensign King."
"It is nothing, sir. Youth Services will be with you momentarily."
The viewscreen then switched to show a young man in civilian clothing.
"Youth Services Oceania. May I help you, sir?"
"Yes, my name is Dr. Alfred Campbell, Paediatric specialist at Sydney Royal Children's Hospital. I would like to speak to the Regional Director if possible, regarding a young child who we believe has been abused and abandoned."
"Very well, sir. I'll patch you through."
The screen then switched to show a woman, in her mid-30s with long, brown hair.
"Starfleet Youth Services, Oceania; Regional Director Thomas. How can I help you today, Doctor?" the woman said.
"Thank you Director Thomas. My name is Dr. Alfred Campbell of the Children's Hospital in Sydney. I'm calling regarding a young boy we have in the hospital who has suffered a beating and appears to have been abandoned." Dr. Campbell told the woman.
"OK, Doctor. Would it be acceptable to you if I were to come to the hospital and see this boy myself?" Director Thomas replied.
"That would be perfect, Director."
"Please, call me Linda." Director Thomas said.
"Very well, Linda. When can we expect your arrival?"
"I can beam over in about 30 minutes. Is that acceptable?" Linda asked.
"That is fine. We'll see you then. Simply ask for room 319."
"Very well. I'll see you in 30 minutes. Thomas out." The viewscreen then switched to the stand-by screen with the Children's Hospital logo.
Dr. Campbell then turned to the two ladies, who were smiling thanks to the results of their efforts. "Well, ladies. What say we go prepare our young man for a visitor?" The three left the office and proceeded to the boy's room, to tell the boy of the visitor and to get him ready.
Outside the Children's Hospital, a shimmering column appeared near the front door. 20 seconds later, Linda Thomas entered through the main door and approached the main reception desk.
"My name is Director Linda Thomas, Starfleet Youth Services Oceania. Dr. Campbell called me in. Could you please direct me to room 319?" she asked the nurse at the desk as she presented her Starfleet ID.
After receiving the directions, Linda took the elevator to the 3rd floor and found room 319. When she walked through the door, she found three adults sitting around the room; surrounding a young boy lying in the hospital bed with a hopeful expression on his face.
Dr. Campbell stood up and shook hands with Linda. "Welcome, Linda. I'm Dr. Campbell, but please call me Alfred. These two lovely ladies with me are Sarah Muller, head nurse for this floor, and Luisa Gutierrez, this young boy's nurse. And this fine, young man is our mysterious patient. Luisa has taken to calling him Sky, because of his lovely sky-blue eyes.
This was the first that the boy had heard of this name, and it triggered a memory of his life before the assault. He somehow got the feeling that his name WAS Sky, at least in the short form. He pondered this and then he remembered from deep in his brain that his name ... his name was ... Skylan ... Lampis. This realisation elicited a gasp from the boy.
All four adults looked at the boy to see what was wrong. When Skylan noticed the adults looking at him, he announced to the group, "I just remembered somehow that ... my name is ... Skylan Lampis." Sky broke down into tears as he finished his statement.
Dr. Campbell, Luisa and Sarah were shocked. Seeing this, Linda asked to speak with Skylan alone for a little while. The group agreed, each stating that they had to get back to work.
After the doctor and nurses had left the room, Linda pulled a chair up to Skylan's bed and began to run her fingers through the boy's dirty-blond hair, while trying to soothe him enough so that she could talk to him.
After about 10 minutes, the boy calmed down to just an occasional sob or sharp intake of breath. Linda then started to speak to him.
"Well, Skylan. That's a lovely name, I believe it means 'treasured gift' in another language, but I can't be sure. How are you feeling, honey?"
Skylan looked at Linda with red eyes and answered in a subdued voice, "I'm very sore, ma'am. I just feel so alone. No one except for you and the nurses and doctor have come to see me. And you're probably only here because you have to be. No-one loves me." Skylan suddenly broke down again.
"Oh... shhh... honey." Linda said as she comforted the boy once again. "Let me tell you something, OK?"
Skylan nodded against her chest and she continued. "I have a son about your age and a younger son who is almost six. I didn't come here to see you because I HAD to, I came because I WANTED to. I don't know why, but I feel some sort of connection with you. Now, I'm just gonna sit here and talk to you for a little while, nothing too bad, I won't try and force you to remember anything, that'd be painful for you, OK?"
Again, Skylan nodded against her chest. Linda continued, "Now after we've had our chat, I'm gonna go back to my work and find a way to help you have the life you deserve, how does that sound?"
Skylan broke away from Linda and looked into her eyes with a soul-piercing gaze and asked, "Do you really mean that?"
"Of course, honey. Such a sweet angel as yourself shouldn't be in hospital." Linda replied.
Skylan's eyes lit up as he gave Linda a small smile and said, "Okay. I like you, Linda. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you are near me, and when you hug me."
"I like you too, Skylan." Linda said. "And I think I know someone else who you would like and who would like you. What do you say I bring my oldest son to the hospital tomorrow before I go to work, and you and he can spend the day having fun? Does that sound good to you?"
Skylan's whole face lit up at the idea of someone spending a whole day with him. 'Oh God, finally my prayers have been answered. I'll have a friend who will like me for me.' He hugged Linda has tightly as he could and sobbed into her chest "Thank you." he said repeatedly.
After Skylan had settled down from his high emotions, he and Linda spent the rest of her time at the hospital talking, discussing what sort of things he could remember that he liked.
When it was time for Linda to return to her office, Skylan hugged her and said "Thank you for coming to visit me. I really like you a lot."
"Oh honey, I was happy to come and see you. I'll see you tomorrow morning when I drop my son off, OK?"
"OK. I'll see you then. Thank you for visiting me."
"Not a problem. Sleep well now."
As Linda walked back outside the hospital, she began to ponder what she could do to help the sweet boy she had just spent time with. As she walked past the main reception desk, she thanked Dr. Campbell for calling her in.
"Rest assured, Doctor, that sweet little boy will be protected when he gets out of here. Thank you for bringing this to my attention."
With that, Linda walked outside into the open and opened up her communicator. "Director Thomas to Oceania Central. One to transport to Youth Services."
"Confirmed, Director Thomas. You are first in line for transport to Youth Services. Awaiting your order to proceed." A female voice said through Linda's communicator.
"Energise." Then, Linda slowly faded from the area in a shimmering column.
After Linda had returned to her office, she began to do some research into ways to protect Skylan when he was discharged from the hospital. She decided to take a break and take care of another matter regarding the boy.
She pressed a button concealed on her desk, and spoke into the communicator.
"Director Thomas to Security Central."
"Security Central, Ensign Forma speaking. How may I help you, Director?"
"I would like to have a security officer visit my office by the end of the day, regarding an investigation into abuse of a minor child."
"Certainly, Director. Our top investigator will be with you shortly." The voice said.
"Thank you, Ensign Forma. Thomas out."
10 minutes later, Linda's desk communicator chimed.
"Yes?" Linda said into her communicator.
"A Commander Troy to see you, Director." her secretary said.
"Very well. Send them in and hold all my calls please, Ben."
A young woman, in her mid-20s entered Linda's office. She approached Linda and extended her hand in greeting. "Commander Elena Troy of Security, reporting as requested, Director."
"Thank you, Commander. Please, call me Linda." Linda said as she shook Elena's hand.
"Only if you call me Elena. I've never been one for formalities." Elena said.
"Just like me." Linda said, with a small smirk on her face. "Please, have a seat. Would you like a drink?"
"Just a diet cola would be nice, thank you." Elena said as she took her seat.
"Of course." Linda said, before pressing her desk communicator. " Ben, could you please bring a glass of diet cola and an iced tea to my office?"
"Of course, Director." Ben said.
"Thank you, Ben." Linda then faced Elena and spoke to her. "I suppose you are wondering why I requested assistance. Truth be told, this is a very serious matter in the eyes of Youth Services. Please, forgive me if this is too personal a question, but I need to know your opinion to know if you would be suitable for this particular task."
"Not at all, Linda. If it will help, I'll do anything I can." Elena stated in a very professional manner.
"Very well. How are you with children? As this Bureau deals in affairs regarding minor children, I believe a person should have the right attitude towards children if they are to be of most assistance to this Bureau."
"I agree, Linda. Just so you know, I have no problems with children. I have a much younger brother, who is just turning 12, and my older sister has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl. When my time permits, I love to baby-sit for my sister and her husband to give them time alone. I also hope to have a few children of my own in the future, when I find the special person for me."
"Very good. That was just the answer I wanted to hear. I think this will be a rewarding department for you to work with. Now, to business at hand. I have been told that you are the best investigating officer that Security has. Is this correct?" Linda asked in a friendly, yet formal tone.
"Well, I wouldn't say I'm the BEST, but I rank high in successful case closing in my office." Elena answered, blushing slightly.
"Very well. Here's how it is. There is a young boy laying in hospital right now, bruised and battered, I'm presuming from his parents, as no family have visited him in the week that he has been in there. Until today, the only people he would see were those who were treating him."
"Oh my God. That's horrible. How could parents inflict pain on their own children?" Elena asked with a shocked tone on her face.
"That's not the worst of it. Unfortunately, due to massive blows to the boy's head, he is suffering from amnesia. Only today did he remember his name, and that was only by sheer luck, as one of the nurses had referred to him in a nickname that closely resembled his real name." Linda then composed herself and began to brief Elena on what she wanted.
"What I would like you to do is to investigate the boy's parents. I am of the impression, from what I've seen so far, that they are unfit for parenthood, and that the child will be in danger if he is returned to that environment." After finishing this, Linda's face, which had taken on a pained look, relaxed as she continued. "As for the boy himself, I have already set in motion plans to ensure he is well-protected and loved."
"That's good to know, Linda. I think this boy is very lucky to have you on his side. What is the boy's name, and what can you tell me about his parents?" Elena asked with in a casual tone.
"The boy's name is Skylan Lampis, so we can only assume that his parents' surnames are Lampis. I want you to check all Centrelink* records for any and all details regarding his parents. He is very badly malnourished, so I'm hoping that that means his parents are on benefits. If not, then we have more charges against them. I want these two inhumane animals brought to justice for EVER abusing this sweet angel." Linda's face had now darkened once again.
"I agree with you here, Linda. No parent should ever abuse their child. The purpose of parenthood is to teach children to show love and caring, by showing them the same. I hope it's OK to ask this, but would you have a photo of Skylan?" Elena asked.
"Yes, it's right here, in his file." And Linda slid Skylan's case file over her desk to Elena, who opened up the file and looked at the photo of a sweet young boy, with dirty-blond hair. Tears came to Elena's eyes, however, when she saw the cuts and bruises all over the boy's face, as well as the black eyes and split lip.
"How could someone harm this innocent angel? This is the worst case of child abuse I have ever encountered. Why would the parents do this to their child? What could possibly provoke such a rage-driven attack?"
Linda handed Elena a few tissues, and took back the case file while she blew her nose and dried her eyes. Then she answered Elena's questions. "I have no idea why this has happened to the boy. I have some suspicions, but until he has regained some of his previous life, I'm afraid all I have is speculation. I do know, however, That NOTHING could ever be bad enough to provoke this kind of attack, especially on one so young." Then she wiped her own eyes and composed herself. "I trust this assignment will not prove too hard for you to complete." she said to Elena in an authoritative tone.
"Not at all. In fact, it will be my pleasure to ensure the boy's future is protected." Elena said, a determined look on her face.
"Very good. I'll keep you informed with any information that my department finds on these monsters. Have a nice evening, Elena."
"You too, Linda. You'll be hearing from me soon, I think." Elena said over her shoulder as she walked out of Linda's office.
Once Elena had left, Linda began another search of the Starfleet Database for anything that could help Skylan escape a life of abuse. After about 10 minutes, she decided to allow the computer to do an auto-search, and she left the office to go home for the night.
Meanwhile, in Skylan's hospital room, Skylan was preparing for bed, a smile on his face at the thought of having a friend come to visit him the next day.
Skylan's dreams tonight were undisturbed and peaceful, filled with images of angels and love...
* Centrelink is the Australian offices of Social Security. Unemployment benefits are paid out by this Government agency.