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DL | CMO, CIO | CDR Valeese, LCDR Stacker | "Take Me Home ... (Redux)"

Posted on Sat Jan 5th, 2019 @ 8:43pm by Lieutenant Commander James Stacker & Commander Valeese

Mission: Lacuna
Location: USS Campbeltown, In Orbit of NGC-517G
Timeline: SD 241901.05

James found it outside the hangar bay. At first he didn't know what "it" was: only that he'd kicked something with an armored boot that went flying across the carpet and lodged itself under the bottom lip of the hatch of a Jefferies tube. He made a sound; one of those 'what-did-I-just-see?' types of mystified noises as he proceeded to stand there, looking around to see what else was scuttling around underfoot. The gunnery sergeant joined him.

"Sir?"

"I just kicked something, gunny. Not sure what. We didn't bring anything up, did we?" Farther up the corridor two of the MACOs exchanged looks and unholstered their weapons. They started to cautiously retrace their steps with mirror looks of wary alertness on their faces. Lips compressed into flat lines. Eyes constantly on the move. Fingers covering triggers of weapons.

"Don't think so sir. What did it look like?"

The lieutenant commander toggled a handlight and headed into the alcove which contained the Jefferies tube entrance. He spoke over his shoulder as the intense light swept the carpet. "Small, reflective, long and cylindrical I think. Ahh." He knelt on one knee, armored plate pressing into the floor, as something twinkled back at him. The broad index finger started to work its way between lip and carpet. A moment later he had it and held it up for examination. There were sighs all around and the sounds of weapons powering down.

"I don't think that's something from the surface sir."

The pen light looked positively dainty in the grip of his armored gloves. His eyes narrowed and squinted, seeing the Starfleet medical insignia. "No, I don't think so either gunny."

=/\=

Now why was she in medical? James asked himself - and not for the first time, either - as he walked through the door. Shipboard medical was far smaller than aboard larger vessels, but still adequate. Its staff was unused to seeing fully-armored - he had left his weapon in the armory - personnel though. He addressed a passing nurse. "I'm looking for Commander Valeese." He was pointed into the back area.

A skinned knee and scuffed hand had been enough to pluck her from the line of duty and be sent, no collecting $200 for passing go, straight to decontamination. Soap, in her modest opinion, should have been a luxury - but this stuff was downright awful. Dry. If soap could be dry, decontamination soap was dry and held no hope of replenishing oils that it stripped bare from the skin it touched.

And then there was the scent, if one could call it that.

It was a horrible smell, something super sweet and not unlike burning plastic, but it was sterile and it did its job in combination with a set of lights designed to destroy foreign microbes and chemical matter that would otherwise injure the person within the chamber.

That hadn't been the worst of it.

Once out, she'd been bombarded by a team of nurses wanting to pull every measure of reading known to man - and alien - kind and she, likely looking downright feral in a loose set of scrubs and her hair wildly wavey and untamed in it's dampened and hardly coiffed state, had snapped back in a desperate bid to regain control... Namely to keep secrets secret. They'd relented. She'd won her privacy. Life was still at least a wee bit charmed.

That brought it all down to where she currently sat in a back room, going over results from blood work and eyeballing what was left of of her very modest injuries. Checking on her daughter was damn near impossible given that the ship was a ship run by fucking spooks, but she did what she could when she could and could only pray that suspicion wasn't elevated. Full diagnostics would have to wait until she was solidly back on her own turf and could get away with it. Until then? She'd learn to breathe and repeat the mantra; 'Women have been having babies for millennia, running and scraping your knee isn't life threatening, everything will be just fine.' - it was a go to for other patients, but somehow it seemed hollow when she tried to enforce the same treatment on herself, even with being a walking medical encyclopedia.

And then the door opened and her ears instinctively flattened to her skull, her nose wrinkling and lips tightening as she prepared to do battle again.

James' reaction suggested that he had been exposed to the chemical and decontamination agents before; something not terribly implausible given his current line of work, and what he'd done before that. Mere moments after walking into the room his eyes narrowed and tightened and he sniffed the air. Then he blinked and his eyes widened in that unspoken 'oh-my-god-who-the-hell-got-dunked-in-chemicals-again' way. They swung to her and narrowed again.

"Decon -" He bit off the words, and tone, as he noted her appearance. Eyes moved to survey her look, assessing her wild and frazzled state. Hair askew, ears flattened, wrinkled nose and tightened lips. Given that she was the only one present it was not wrong to surmise that he came to the correct conclusion in record time. Lips opened, then closed, then reopened again. There was a more normal tone in his voice. Somewhat forced for what were likely personal reasons.

"Please tell me why the nurses out there -" he asked, jerking an armored thumb back over his shoulder. "Aren't happy with you. Because even I know an upset nurse when I see one. Does it have something to do with the injury I heard you sustained?" The good word on that had not been particularly clear. Just a fragmentary transmission indicating one casualty during the evacuation, rushed to medical for further evaluation. When he'd heard it was her it had taken master-level training to keep his voice normal and a stricken look from appearing on his face.

"I got a bandaid worthy boo boo and didn't let them kiss it." Valeese snorted in a most undignified manner, but her expression softened when she realized who it was that had come to crash her little party, "I can run the diagnostics myself and really had no desire to be poked, prodded, and otherwise bothered by people who can't do anything more for me than I can do for myself in a situation where we may have had casualties." Logic. It worked fantastically. Most of the time. Either way, she gestured to her knee, scrubs rolled up to expose the offending rawness to the healing world of open air and lifted her hand to show him her palm. Toddlers sustained worse while learning to ride bicycles, but they generally didn't learn to ride on contaminated alien planets that hosted more anthrax and fungal pathogens than she could shake a stick at.

"Right." It was telling that he chose not to press her on the fact that the chief nurse herself wore a look suggesting significant exasperation. Whatever had happened in here had obviously not been a bare-knuckled brawl, but it had clearly come close. Val was in here and fit to bite warp coils. The chief nurse was outside and obviously fit to file some level of complaint over the 'incident.' The one furrowed eyebrow suggested he was in thought for a brief moment. A hand was held up to forestall any words on her part. "Okay. Run the diagnostics yourself. And I'm going to make sure someone out there decides not to reenact the landing at Omaha Beach in here." His brow smoothed and hand lowered as he rendered his executive decision. The look on his face spoke of "well?"

The Vorta blinked at him for a second, deciding whether or not his decision fit her master plan for the day, before ultimately releasing a small sigh and delivering a stiff nod, "I'm pretty much done here anyway. There's no sign of anything in my system what so ever and to be frank, if there was, we'd all know about it. Last I checked, though, I'm the one with the medical degree and the title 'doctor', the rank Commander and this is a sick bay on a Federation vessel which means what I say goes." The level of irritation that crept back into her voice was almost other wordly. It promised of more than just a small share of vexation, it promised that she wasn't about to yield, that buttons had been pushed, and she was more than willing to be downright scrappy over her convictions. She had to be. Just looking at him told her that he was suspicious and worried, but there was a degree of understanding and knowledge that she really was perfectly alright aside from smelling more like bleach than she'd care to.

And then she sighed - heavily - and dropped her chin, "And for what it's worth, I'm sorry for just taking off like that." Her fingers drummed across the desk as she spoke, "I was more of a liability to you if I hadn't. I didn't want that." Nor did she want to lose her life or compromise the one she was set on bringing into the universe. Of course explaining all of that wasn't something she was prepared to do no matter how many 'issues' it would have solved right then - especially since while she'd be able to run the medical reports she wanted she'd be suddenly subject to a whole host of other problems. This wasn't the time. Wasn't the place. Even if she was willing to talk to him about it, to tell him, and she wasn't. She very much wasn't.

The sound he made was somewhere between amusement and acceptance. "I know ... Val," he added after a brief look back to the closed doorway. There was no sign of any lingering medical staff outside the door. Hence why he was willing to risk breaking the red line of professionalism, here, just this once. An index finger slid under her chin and gently applied pressure. Lifting it so that he could regard her eyes with his. "You're not a soldier. Not like me. You're a different type of one. And the body is your battlefield. Soldiering, heavy weapons, and reanimated tissue of a hostile nature. That's not who you are." The finger and hand to which it was attached were withdrawn; the look on his face was one of downright fondness. A far cry from just minutes before. He patted her on the shoulder, then flicked his wrist and held something upright between two fingers. The pen light.

"I believe you said I should get this back to you?"

Her eyes closed in response to his touch. The gloves left the gesture feeling a touch more alien than truly warm and welcoming - but the feeling was there and the emotions behind it made all the difference. It was warming, endearing, and enough to erase the worse of her residual saltiness. "I know..." she whispered, nodding and offering him the briefest of smiles, "I know. It doesn't make me feel less guilty, but I know." The gloved hand on her shoulder and the sound of movement caught her attention and Valeese re-opened her eyes just in time to see the him reveal her pen light. Slowly she shook her head, her lips quirking into a broader smile and she found herself getting to her feet. Her fingers plucked the light back from him and set it on the console she'd been sat at. Decorum didn't matter, the idiot head nurse didn't matter. Doors were closed with no reason to be opened and she found herself lifting on tip toe to bring her lips to his in a brief kiss. "Thank you for finding it."

Weeks of not being able to see her in anything outside a professional capacity, and now this. It was a wonder that his composure remained as intact as it was: the brief kiss was akin to how a man dying of thirst might feel about a river of fresh water. "Anytime," he murmured back to her, unconsciously stroking her back with one gloved hand. "Although two MACOs almost blew it away. They might have thought it was something from the planet." There was the briefest of pauses in conversation as he inhaled. That would have normally brought fond recollection of her to him, as he inhaled that delightful scent that he'd long since come to associate with her. Now, though, he paid an immediate price for the unconscious act, as his nasal passages burned with the scent of the bleach-like decontaminating agents. He suppressed a cough. The second one got past him.

"Come on. Let's get you out of here, and to a proper shower."

"A pen light scaring MACOs... Amusing." Valeese huffed a gentle chuckle and shook her head, reaching to retrieve the light from it's new perch. It disappeared into a front pocket for safe keeping as he coughed in response to the brash scent of sterile soap and the anti-microbial residue it left clinging to her skin. "I'd actually appreciate that. I'm not exactly fond of this particular scent."

He chuckled and guided her towards the door, taking care to remove his hand before the automatic sensor noted their movement and triggered the release mechanism. "You don't say."

=/\= End Log =/\=

Commander Valeese
Chief Medical Officer
Cold Station Theta (SB 1170)

Lieutenant Commander James Stacker
2XO/Chief Intelligence Officer
Cold Station Theta (SB 1170)

 

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