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The Wrong Foot [CD]

Posted on Mon Jun 29th, 2020 @ 11:40am by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Jamia Kaar & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis & Lieutenant JG Milo Weber

Mission: Interlude 4
Location: Deck 5, Sickbay, CMOs Office
Timeline: March 18, 2395 - 1400 Hours


"I need you to take a deep breath for me, Milo," Jamia instructed. "In through the nose, out through the mouth. Slowly. Good, now again. And... there we go, very good. Keep going, just like that."

"What? Why?" the young lieutenant asked, suddenly panicked. He struggled to sit up on the biobed and his wide, dark brown eyes pleaded with the doctor for a thorough explanation. The quick movement caused his injured right foot to slide from it's elevated position.

The CMO shook her head and tried not to smile. "Because of this, Milo," quickly gesturing towards his tense body before gently returning the foot to the proper position with one hand while giving a reassuring pat on the shoulder with her other. "You're getting to excited, my friend. You're forgetting to breathe. Now lie still, and remember, in through the..." but before she could finish, her patient was composed and complicit. Satisfied, Jamia returned her full attention the foot in question, or rather the swollen and bruised ankle just above it. Her fingers gently maneuvered around the inflamed area, checking range of motion, and she knew the diagnosis without the need of a tricorder scan.

"Grade two sprain from the looks of things, Mr. Weber," she pronounced. "I'm thinking possibly due to one arabesque too many, am I right?"

Milo slowly nodded, focused on his breathing.

"That's what I thought," Jamia sighed, moving to fill a hypospray with an analgesic. "We're going to start with a small dose of asinolyathin, just to take the edge off. Then once that's set in, we'll see about repairing that ligament."

Lieutenant Commander t'Aegis was walking along the corridor that would eventually lead her to sickbay and had to force herself not to let her steps slow down. She had been... relieved when Dr Shel had left, thinking that she would now not need to have that 'talk' the doctor had threatened her with. After all, from the five or however many chief medical officers that had been assigned to the Firebird since she herself had arrived here, none had been interested in her medical history and she had counted on this not being an issue now either, with Shel gone. But apparently, this new doctor had a different way of doing things and Rhiana was less than motivated to answer intrusive questions about her medical history. After all, she had herself under control and she performed her duty perfectly. Nothing else should matter.

The door to sickbay opened upon her approach and, after a deep breath, she walked through, expecting the worst.

The CMO paused the sub-dermal tissue regenerator, lifting her head while keeping the tool in position. "Welcome, Commander," she greeted as her eyes fell upon the stern Romulan in the doorway. She had sensed someone approaching of course, and had deduced it was likely the chief of security as they had planned to meet, but years of living among others who were not telepathic or empathic had conditioned her to respond to cues given by senses that were shared. Not that Jamia used her hereditary talents invasively; she maintained a strict mediation regimen that allowed her to effectively screen out the thoughts and feelings of others. It was simply that, even if focused, her talents were another way her body relayed her surroundings to her brain, and some things one couldn't help but notice.

"Forgive the delay, but as you can see, something has come up," the doctor continued. "You are welcome to wait out here, or in my office if you'd like. In fact, I'd just brewed a pot of Jestral tea. Feel free to help yourself." With that, she returned her attention to her patient.

After a look in direction of the 'something' that had come up, t'Aegis gave a nod of her head. Injured crewmembers certainly had a higher priority than her meeting with the new chief medical officer. "I prefer to wait here and watch if possible. I will not get in your way." Even watching the procedure from a distance would allow her to get a first impression of the doctor which might be helpful later.

Jamia leaned in closer to Weber, her voice voice dropping to a whisper. "Are you okay if she watches the rest of the procedure?" Milo's eyes darted from the doctor to t'Aegis and back twice before he silently nodded an affirmation. "Suit yourself, Commander," she called out in a louder voice, resuming use of the regenerator. "We won't be too long."

Ten minutes later, Dr. Kaar sighed as she led her guest into her office, gently massaging the base of her hand beneath the right thumb as she moved to the seat behind her desk. The muscle in that exact spot tended to get stiff if she had to hold a regenerator in position for any period of time. "Thanks for your patience," she began as she poured herself a cup of the now lukewarm tea, which regardless tasted refreshing as she took a deep drink. She had stopped short of pouring a cup for t'Aegis; having made the offer earlier, the teapot was positioned where the Romulan could help herself if she so desired. "Thanks for making time to meet, as well. As I'd mentioned earlier, I had a couple of medical questions for you regarding the mission to Tevok 2."

While t'Aegis's gaze followed Kaar pouring herself a cup of tea, she made no move to fill her own cup. Instead, her gaze returned to meet the doctor's eyes. Her expression betrayed nothing of her thoughts regarding those 'medical questions' even while she tried to keep her mind as closed to probing by the Betazoid as she possibly could. Of course, she knew that Starfleet officers were not supposed to violate their colleagues' minds, but... "Of course, doctor." Rhiana's tone was professionally polite. "What do you wish to know?"

Jamia brought up a file on the interface on her desk. "Just prior to boarding the station, you stopped by sickbay to request a stimulant from my predecessor. You were provided two hyposprays of cortropine, which were later returned unused after the mission." She settled back in her chair, a subtle move to appear less threatening while discussing a delicate matter. In fact, there was no threat at all in the doctor's concerns, merely a desire for better understanding. "This caught my attention as I see that in the past, you have twice confronted stimulant addiction. I was hoping you might be able clarify the situation a bit... for example, what was it about this particular mission that would lead to such a request in the first place, given your medical history?"

The question did not come as a surprise which made it relatively easy for Rhiana to keep her politely neutral facial expression. At least, she had expected to be questioned about the stimulants she had begged off of Dr Shel. She had not quite expected that particular question. "Given my medical history," the Romulan replied, "the reason for my requesting the stimulants should be obvious."

"That's not an answer," Jamia replied evenly, not surprised by the other woman's evasiveness. "If my concerns had been satisfied by reading your records, there would have been no reason to meet in person. Perhaps I should clarify the question: What precisely were the circumstances surrounding this mission that would lead you to risk a relapse?"

"I understood the question perfectly," Rhiana replied just as evenly. "Had you read the mission reports, you would have noticed that the star was going nova." She paused briefly, her eyes never leaving the new chief medical officer. "I thought it prudent to be prepared, just in case that fact would prove too distracting."

Oooh... Feisty! Jamia thought, keeping her expression neutral. She respected that the sensitivity of the issue was provoking a confrontational reaction, but she wasn't about to take the bait. Instead, perhaps, a shift.

"Fair enough," the doctor allowed. "I can certainly see how you'd want to be sure you could maintain peak efficiency in a high pressure situation like that..." she let her words trail off for a moment before she continued, thinking the situation over. "But, correct me if I'm wrong, yours is a very high pressure position to begin with, right? Even for a Starfleet officer?" She paused just long enough for that question to register before pressing on with her next. "So what makes the pending nova more high pressure than a pending engagement with an enemy vessel, or high risk diplomatic mission, or... well, all of the other duties you are responsible for on a regular basis?"

Rhiana blinked. Twice. And then once more. Mostly to keep herself from staring dumbfoundedly at Kaar. "I am willing to answer your questions, doctor," she said finally and slowly rose from her chair. "But only if they are not a waste of my time. I suggest you familiarise yourself better with both, my medical history and the more recent history of my people, before we decide on another meeting."

Jamia paled as she suddenly connected the dots and realized she'd overlooked the obvious. "Hobus..." she said, almost under her breath, before looking up with a sincere expression. "Rhiana, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be so insensitive, I just..." she shook her head and stopped trying to justify the mistake. "Would you please stay?"

"You may address me as Commander t'Aegis," the Romulan replied coolly. "Ask your next question." She did not sit down, but she also did not turn to leave. And the only reason for that was that Kaar could, if she so chose, declare Rhiana unfit for duty due to some unfounded reason like 'risk of substance abuse'. And Rhiana really wanted to avoid that.

The doctor sighed, dismayed at how mangled the conversation had become but still hopeful they could salvage something helpful from the interaction. "All right, Commander, I noted in your record that your treatments in the past included therapy and small doses of clonidine, to help ease the symptoms of stimulant withdrawal. The therapy appeared to be, frankly, ineffective, and the clonidine was only a short term remedy, yet you've demonstrated remarkable success in your ongoing recovery. Would you share with me some of the ways you've managed your triggers?"

Rhiana finally sat back down. "Regular exercise helps. Overall, a relatively easy way to manage triggers is to avoid them entirely." She made it sound easy. She almost smiled even. As if anyone could deal with any kind of trauma by merely avoiding their triggers.

"Exercise is great," Jamia nodded. "And recognizing triggers and being mindful of when and where they may be encountered is a good precaution, though as you know, they can't always be avoided." She finished her last sip of tea and set the cup aside. "Have you been able to set aside regular time to pursue any hobbies, or even simply to relax?" The doctor knew such time was important, but had struggled with it herself when she'd first become a department head.

"Of course. I schedule at least one hour per day for personal exercise," Rhiana seemed almost at ease now, her hands loosely folded in her lap, her back as straight as usual. She did not mention that she also regularly updated her diary and that the time spent doing so was at least equally important to her as her daily exercise. She also did not mention that she regularly went above and beyond normal exercise, pushing herself almost until breaking point. Sometimes even further than that.

"That's good," the doctor acknowledged, typing a quick note into the file. The answers had been brief, but they were honest, and although she had the sense they could have been elaborated on, Jamia appreciated that this was probably as open as Rhiana was with anyone. "I'm going to recommend that you keep doing what you're doing, then. My only request is that you check in with me every couple of months to keep an outside line of support open, in case you do need anything... For my part, I'm going to look into some non-addictive substitutes or alternatives to traditional stimulants so we can have something on hand in the future, just in case. What do you think?"

Rhiana hesitated. On the one hand, she knew that she should be... appreciative of the doctor offering her help. On the other, she felt that she had things under control and did not need any help. Besides, she did not want anyone meddling in her private affairs. "Thank you, doctor," she replied eventually. "I do not expect to be requiring stimulants again. But I will report in regularly." She rose from her chair, not in a hostile way but merely indicating that the conversation was over. "Now, if you have nothing more for me, I will return to my duties."

"By all means," Jamia said, standing as well. "I have a patient to discharge." She led the pair from her office, then gave the Romulan a curt nod. "Good day, Commander," she managed, polite and professional, but honestly relieved the conversation had come to a close. The doctor then made her way over to the biobed where Milo had been laying patiently, doing his best to not move his ankle at all.


Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Jamia Kaar
Chief Medical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant JG Milo Weber (NPC by Kaar)
Assistant Chief Science Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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Comments (3)

By Lieutenant JG Brittany Carver on Mon Jun 29th, 2020 @ 2:42pm

>While t'Aegis's gaze followed Kaar pouring herself a cup of tea, she made no move to fill her own cup. Instead, her gaze returned to meet the doctor's eyes.

I'm dead lol. Your former CO would be proud.

By Lieutenant JG Owen Woodhouse on Wed Jul 1st, 2020 @ 6:11am

This little tête-à-tête was certainly fun to read as it unfolded like a sparring match and I wasn't sure who was going to come out on top there for a moment. Well done. -Liam

By Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan on Mon Jul 6th, 2020 @ 9:57am

I love the tension that played out in this one. Portraying potential substance abuse and how tricky the conversation can be can't be easy, but this one did a very good job making it part of the conversation.