Log Entry 270513.103

Al and I were sitting on the balcony partaking in a simple breakfast of marmalade and toast—although the marmalade was pink grapefruit and cranberry, especially imported from England, Earth, and the toast, traditional sour dough bread, so not quite so simple.
We had positioned our chairs in such a manner that we faced into the room and could watch Luke as he came to ... when he came to ... if he came to.
He had remained dormant on the floor throughout the night and into the morning. Even when Al and I stepped casually over him on our way back and forth to the bathroom, he remained undisturbed.
We had both agreed that it would be best to forget Luke's declaration of undying love for me. That's assuming he remembered it of course, but if he did, we would just play dumb. After all, he had been oblivious to the fact that he was speaking sense last night, otherwise he would have been filled with joy, not melancholy.
In fact, there was nothing to say that he would be talking sense again this morning. The copious quantities of alcohol he had consumed last night may have addled his brains enough to unravel whatever knot the bleaching had tied, but whether that was permanent or not remained to be seen. I hoped it was, even if it meant a little humiliation for Luke. Any embarrassment from last night, no matter how gross, would be short-lived whereas this affliction had gone on far too long already.
A low, pained moan from the floor alerted us to Luke's rise into consciousness.
"Ooo! That doesn't look good," winced Al as Luke waved a hand limply in the air. A feeble gasp escaped his lips and his fingers twitched, then he fell motionless again.
"D'yer think that's it?" asked Al, and for a while, it was.
"You know," she continued, sipping her raktajino. "When they talk about someone being so ill they go green, I didn't realise they actually went green."
"Yeah. It's 'cause the blood drains from the face—usually to the stomach, so you lose the red pigmentation. All you're left with is the yellow tint of skin and the veins beneath, which are blue. Blue and yellow make green."
Al tutted.
"Clever clogs," she mumbled.
The sound of fresh movement caught our attention and we looked up to see Luke fumbling, slowly pushing himself up onto all fours. He momentarily glanced at us with bloodshot eyes that looked like two cherries in a bowl of pistachio yoghurt. Another pained sigh before he continued to fight his way to his feet. Eventually, he got there and stood clumsily, teetering precariously while he focused his attention upon his next objective, which was getting into the bathroom. He aimed his body towards its door, staring hard at it. Then, as he began to freefall forward, some instinct of self preservation kicked in and his feet propelled him through the doorway at uncontrollable speed. We heard a crash as he hit the sink and various toiletries were cast asunder.
Al and I glanced at each other, but soon our gazes returned to the bathroom where we could see Luke's face reflected in the mirror above the sink. He really did look bad!
He filled the sink with water and doused his face in handfuls of the revitalising liquid. A faint smile passed his lips as it began to clear his head, but it was short-lived. His face strained as the memories of the night before slowly began to return. His features twisted as he laboured to pull them forward, his eyes narrowing and lips pursing. I realised I was holding my breath.
You could almost see the cogs turning as he recalled how drunk he had been, how he'd burst into the room and then as his face contorted into an embarrassed grimace, I knew he remembered.
He heaved a pained groan and looked up into the mirror. He saw us watching him. A flush of colour from his embarrassment gave him a healthier hue for a moment, but then vanished as he began to wretch. He lurched urgently towards the toilet bowl, slamming the bathroom door shut on the way.
The noises that exuded from that small room over the next ten minutes or so are not the sort of thing to serenade breakfast with. It quite put me off my toast so I pushed my plate aside and poured myself a fresh cup of tea. Al, meanwhile, giggled and carried on munching.
Eventually, Luke emerged. He wobbled unsteadily across the living room to join us, pulling a chair out from under the table. It scraped noisily across the tiled floor, and he cringed as he plonked himself down sighing heavily, and dropped his head onto the table.
"Don't s'pose there's any coffee," he mumbled.
"Raktajino?" offered Al.
Luke's cheeks puffed out as a possible prelude to vomiting.
"I'll get you some," I said piteously and went to the replicator. As I ordered the coffee, I realised what I had done and my face screwed in anger at myself. How could I have been so stupid! After all that fiasco getting Al to agree not to admit Luke was talking sense, I'd gone and blown it in the first sentence!
"Oh ... bugger," gasped an exasperated Luke.
I decided to bluff it.
"What do you mean, oh, bugger, Luke! It's brilliant. You aren't talking gibberish anymore!" I said chirpily.
He rolled his eyes at Al and she roared with laughter.
"I'm gonna see if Rutter's up yet," she giggled, grabbing another slice of toast and her mug of raktajino.
Now it was just Luke and I.
"Look," I began, "You were very drunk."
"Jen, I don't have the strength to argue with you. I don't regret saying it ... well, actually I do, but it's out there now. What you do with it is another thing. Just give me that flippin' coffee for cryin' out loud."
"Do you have the strength to drink it?" I asked, looking at him slumped in the chair, his head resting on the table and his arms dangling between his knees like an orang-utan.
"What do you think the chances are of a hangover cure from Rosie?" he asked weakly.
It was doubtful. While remedies were readily available, Rosie's protocol was to let people suffer when they overindulged. Generally, I agreed with that principle, but on Luke's first day of coherence, it didn't seem fair somehow.
I slapped the coffee down on the table so hard the liquid lapped over the sides.
"I'll contact Rosie and see what I can do."
"Good luck with that," he mumbled.
"On the basis that you're cured, I may be able to persuade him. After all, he'll want to examine you and I expect he'd like your full attention for that. If not, then I'll ask the Risans. They're bound to oblige."
"Rosie won't like that."
"Technically, you're off-duty so you don't have to ask him at all."
"Then why ask him at all?"
Luke snorted.
"Shut up and drink your coffee," I snapped.

Log Entry 140504.102

Risa is amazing! Al, Rutter, Luke and I were among the first of our crew to arrive on the surface, and it truly is as beautiful as everybody claims.
The weather is one perfect summer's day after another—never too hot or humid and never too dry either. It only ever rains at night, but never at a time that would spoil an evening stroll on the beach or a midnight picnic. The beaches are swathed in warm, white sand and the sea magically blue. The grounds of the hotel and the surrounding city are bedazzled with gardens filled with beautiful blooms and foliage so green, lush and verdant, they threaten to compare to those on Hell.
The Risans are genuinely welcoming too and as for the accommodation...
We have two suites between us: Al and I are sharing one while Luke and Rutter are just down the corridor. Al and I have a huge lounge area with patio balcony, a bedroom each and a large bathroom. It's very comfortable with sofas and lots of comfy chairs so we are tending to spend our evenings between the lounge and the balcony, chatting and playing cards. It's very therapeutic and I'm loving it, as is Al and Rutter.
Luke, though, remains unhappy. He's still talking gibberish and it's really getting him down. During the day, he has to attend various medical assessments and speech therapy, but nothing seems to be working.
In the evenings, he sits listening to us chatting and laughing, looking on enviously. Every now and then he'll try to join in and say something, but it's incomprehensible. He soon gives up and an expression of deep melancholy will cloud his eyes once more. The mind bleaching really has taken its toll on him.
To try and take his mind off it today, we wangled an afternoon off for him and all four of us went out exploring the tropical forests. We took a picnic with us and sat on the edge of a crystal clear lake to eat it. It was a beautiful spot with the sound of water trickling gently down a small gulley nearby to sooth us, and water fowl gracing its surface. It did seem to cheer him up, for a while at least, but by the time we returned to the hotel, his malaise had returned. By the time we had finished dinner, he was well and truly miserable again.
Suddenly, he stood up and declared, "Rufus trees breed ruby fish in black tanks for being in red walnuts," and then he left us. I was going to follow him, but Rutter caught my arm and shook his head.
For me, the evening was spoiled. I shouldn't have listened to Rutter; I should have gone with Luke. I spent the next few hours worrying about him, my stomach churning with angst and my mind unable to settle on anything.
Around eleven, I went for a walk alone, leaving Al and Rutter chatting on the balcony. If I'm honest with myself, I was looking for Luke, not actively, but I found my eyes searching for him wherever I went.
It was gone two o'clock before I got back to the apartment and Rutter had left. Al was in the bathroom cleaning her teeth. She came out to greet me, a mouth full of foam and a toothbrush. Her eyes said it all. She knew the pain I was feeling.
"He'll be okay," she assured me. "He's made of strong stuff," but I wasn't so sure. I just hoped he hadn't done anything stupid.
I changed into my pyjamas and was just scrubbing my teeth, taking out my anger on my gums, when there was a loud, clumsy bash on the door. Was it someone knocking or just someone larking about?
I came out of the bathroom to see, toothbrush hanging from my lips and looked at Al, searching her for an explanation. She shrugged as the banging was repeated, a little more orderly this time. Al went to the door and opened it a crack. I saw her face crease in concerned surprise.
"Who is it?" I asked to which she opened the door fully.
Standing in the doorway, hanging onto the doorframe as though his life depended on it, was a very drunk Luke. My heart leapt. He was alive!
He looked awful, though, and glared at me in that stupid drunken way that drunkards do, with their eyes not quite synchronised. He leaned forward, waggling a finger and began to slur some words, but was cut short as he fell through the doorway and spilled onto the floor. He laughed weakly and then dissolved into a strange mixture of tittering and crying. It was a truly pathetic sight.
"Oh joy!" exclaimed Al. "I'll get Rutter."
"No!" I shouted a little too harshly.
She frowned at me.
"Please, let's not," I pleaded. "He's going to feel crap enough in the morning without Rutter to face as well."
She heaved a sigh, but her face melted as she stared into my eyes.
"Okay," she relented. "So what do you wanna do?"
Luke had managed to roll over and was heaving himself up onto his hands and knees.
"I dunno," I replied as I threw my toothbrush through the bathroom door and into the sink where it rattled around noisily.
"Let's... let's get him onto the couch," I suggested.
Taking an arm each, we hauled him up and began manoeuvring his body over to the sofa. His feet didn't seem to work which didn't help. Suddenly, he yanked his arm free from Al and shouted rudely, "No! I ... don't ... love ... YOU!" he bellowed, unintentionally spitting in her face.
Al's face screwed up in disgust, but even she had registered the important fact.
They were proper words! Real words and meaningful ones! Well ... as meaningful as you can get out of someone who's so piddled they can't even walk. But we had no time to comment as Luke threw himself fully into my arms and wrapped himself around me like a limpet.
"It's YOU I love," he screamed and buried his face into my neck like a baby, but I could feel his grip weakening as consciousness was abandoning him. His legs buckled beneath him and, unable to hold his dead weight, I let him slip to the ground in a pile of limbs and dishevelled clothing. We stood and stared at his pathetic body for a few moments, not quite sure what to say or do. It was Al that broke the silence.
"Well, at least he's talking sense now."
"Humph," I snorted.
"Although, I bet he wishes he wasn't when he remembers this in the morning."
"IF he remembers this," I added.
Her face shrugged.
We stared at him a little longer.
"I don't envy him that hangover either," said Al. "So what now?"
I sighed.
"You get a bucket. I'll get a blanket."