He fell asleep holding on to her, until an alarm went off. Once he realized where the noise was coming from he gently climbed off the bunk and covered Aria up with a blanket before crossing the cabin to see what the alarm was about. It was a signal that let them know that they were in communication range with a Federation ship. He was relieved to find out that it was the Enterprise.
“Enterprise, this is Captain Picard.”
“Captain, we are glad to hear from you,” Picard recognized the familiar and relieved voice of Commander Riker.
“Number One, I am glad to hear your voice.”
“Captain, are you and Lieutenant Swenson okay? We’ve been looking for both of you.”
“We’re fine now. How far are you from us?”
“We will be there in two hours, Captain. And sir, we are all relieved that both of you are okay.”
“Thank you Number One. We are looking forward to coming home. Picard out.” He felt relieved that they were finally on their way home.
Jean Luc let Aria sleep for another hour and a half before he woke her up. Jean Luc knew she needed it. “Aria, wake up,” he said as he gently rubbed her arm.
“Oh, hi. How long have I been asleep?”
“A few hours. I didn’t want to wake you but we will be on the Enterprise in half an hour.”
“That’s great,” she said as she tried to sit up. As she rose, she grabbed her stomach and ribs.
“Aria, you’re hurt. Why didn’t you tell me,” he said as he reached for the tricorder.
“Jean Luc, it’s just a broken rib or two. I didn’t want to worry you. There was nothing you could of done.”
He ran the tricorder up and down over her bruised and battered but very delicate body. “When did you get your ribs broken?”
“Three days ago. Is it bad?”
“It is good that we will be back on the Enterprise so we can get you to Dr. Crusher. You’ve lost a lot of blood for some reason so there is some sort of internal bleeding. I’m amazed you were able to participate so much in our escape,” he said looking at her with admiration.
“I did what I had to do…to…get…” Aria drifted off and fell unconscious.
“Aria, Aria. Come on, wake up. Wake Up,” he pleaded with her as he gently shook her and ran the tricorder over her. She was loosing blood and he had to stabilize her and quickly. He took a hypo spray to her neck to try to stop the bleeding, at least until he could get her to sickbay. After a few intense minutes, her vitals seemed to improve though she did not regain consciousness.
“Enterprise, this is Picard.”
“Yes, Captain?” Riker responded.
“Ar… Swenson is unconscious. I think she is bleeding internally. She is stable for the moment, but I do not know how long she will stay that way.”
“We’re on our way, Captain. ETA five minutes.”
“And have Dr. Crusher and a med team in the cargo bay when we arrive. Picard out,” he turned off his communicator. “Aria, hold on. You will be in sickbay in just a few minutes. Hold on, with all we have been through I am not going to loose you now,” he told her as he held onto her hand.