Part of Starbase Bravo: Q2 2400

A Day in the Life

Promenade Infirmary - Starbase Bravo
January 2400
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Dr. Simon Phillips glanced at the chronometer as he put the last touches on a patient’s report in the glassed-in office that belonged to him for the day. As one of several attending physicians, he’d taken shifts in all six of the station’s main infirmaries, but the one near to the promenade was his favorite. Partially because that’s where station visitors generally went, but mainly because it seemed to have the highest chance of something interesting happening. Today though, it was just physicals.

His actual appointments would be done in another twenty minutes, but he’d be on call for all twelve hours of the station’s “daytime.” While other divisions worked in four six-hour shifts, the medical staff had twelve-hour shifts for continuity of patient care, six hours actually on duty, and the rest on call to return at a moment’s notice. He’d have preferred to keep going with physicals, though, rather than face his performance review with the Chief Medical Officer after lunch. Before he could contemplate that thought any further, there was a knock on the open doorframe.

“Doctor, Ensign Bowens is ready for you in Exam 2,” a nurse reported.

“I’ll be there in a moment, Lieutenant,” Phillips replied, typing in the very last sentence of his report before adding it to his previous patient’s file.

After grabbing his favorite medical tricorder, Phillips left the office and made the short journey down the corridor to the exam room. Compared to a starship sickbay, even one of the satellite infirmaries like that one was huge, with a ward for a dozen patients, two exam rooms, a surgical suite, and three medical labs. The last thing Phillips expected was to find his last patient of the morning in a state of undress; he thought the young man was naked, but he was at least wearing his Starfleet issue drunks as he sat there on the biobed with his legs dangling.

Phillips cleared his throat. “Uh, did someone ask you to take your clothes off, Ensign?”

Ensign Bowens’s smile upon Phillips’s entry turned into a look of blank horror, reaching over to grab his red uniform jacket to hold over his chest. His cheeks quickly matched the scarlet of his division color. The doctor stifled a chuckle to spare him further embarrassment.

“I just assumed, since it was a physical, sir…,” Bowens offered. “You know, the whole turn and cough deal?”

“If you have a specific… issue that you’d like me to address, or a skin complaint, sure, otherwise we can get everything we need through your uniform, Mr. Bowens,” Phillips said, trying to sound neutral still. “Things must be different than I remember at the Academy,” he quipped.

“I guess I just thought that’s what the private room was for,” the young man replied, still blushing. “Should I get dressed?”

“Tell you what: I’ll just get my scans done, and we’ll have you clothed and out of here in five minutes,” Phillips offered. “It’s nothing I’ve never seen before.”

Bowens nodded emphatically. “Sounds good, Doc. Er. Sir.”

“Relax, Ensign,” Phillips said, opening his tricorder. “I think we skipped formal introductions, though. I’m Dr. Phillips. You are Ensign Scott Bowens, born on Stardate 54868.4, yes?”

“Yes, sir,” the ensign confirmed. “Just got here today.”

“Well, welcome aboard,” the doctor said as he began to take baseline readings. “How are you finding our corner of the galaxy so far?”

“Oh, the station’s great. I did run into the admiral earlier. That wasn’t so great. I really hope I’m not on his radar now,” Bowens replied.

“Really? I never even met the previous one,” Phillips marveled. He noticed the young man’s brown eyes following the handheld scanner with intense attention, not exactly with an aura of fear, but definitely seeming to distrust the device a little. “I assure you, it’s not going to hurt.”

“Nah, it’s not that. It just usually says that I’m too skinny or I’m too stressed or something like that,” Bowens replied, still eyeing the device.

Phillips chuckled. “Well, your weight is a little on the light side, and your stress hormones are higher than I’d like to see for someone of your age and in your physical shape,” he noted. “Nothing to be too concerned about, though. You’ll need to lie down for the next set of scans.”

Bowens nodded and then awkwardly repositioned himself swinging his legs over and just generally looking ungainly. Once he was situated, Phillips deployed the clamshell housing, which extended over his torso and chest and locked with a click. The ensign’s eyes got wide again when he heard the device lock around him.

“This’ll just take a few moments,” Phillips reassured him before starting the more intensive scans that only a biobed could provide.

While he wouldn’t say it to his face, Phillips noted that Ensign Bowens was exceptionally average. Average height, average build, and average health–for a member of Starfleet, anyway. For a member of the general public, he’d probably be considered above average at the least across the board. Once he was satisfied with the scans, Phillips released the scanner shell, and Bowens immediately sat back up.

“Are you claustrophobic?”

“No… I just don’t really like being trapped.”

Phillips chuckled. “That’s indicative of claustrophobia, Ensign,” he said gently.

“Tomato, tomato.”

“Apart from not liking being trapped, do you have anything else you’d like to talk about?” Phillips asked.

“I don’t think so. No aches or pains, or complaints. I’m really just happy to be on active duty,” Bowens replied.

“Enjoy that while it lasts,” Phillips said, looking at the young man one more time before clearing him for duty through his tricorder. “That’ll be all, then.”

“Thanks, Doc!” Bowens replied, hopping up and grabbing his clothes.

“I’ll let you change back into your clothes in here… Unless you’d really like to walk out the door in your skivvies, Mr. Bowens,” Phillips said, which earned a headshake from the ensign.

Once Phillips had left Bowens alone in the exam room to regain his dignity and the doors had closed safely behind him, Phillips couldn’t hold his laughter in any longer, earning some curious glances from a pair of passing nurses as he returned to the office. He typed up a quick report, minus that one detail, and logged it in the system. For once in his life, he was five minutes ahead of his schedule.

“I have a lunch date and then an appointment at Central, but I’m on call,” he noted to the receptionist before leaving the infirmary.

The promenade infirmary was actually between the two promenade rings. Phillips boarded one of the dedicated turbolifts, which brought him to the upper promenade in just a few seconds. He passed through the small aid station there and strode with purpose towards Vandorin’s Bistro. While early, he was still hoping to beat his husband to their table.

That was a pipe dream, however, as he found Armstrong already waiting for him in the expansive main dining room, looking very comfortable with half of a fire-red cocktail left in his glass. It had likely been chosen to go with his uniform more than anything else.

“Is it your mission in life to make me feel late to every date we have, Lex?” Phillips asked, leaning down to kiss him on the cheek before sitting down at the only other seat on the same corner as Armstrong’s.

Armstrong smirked. “I wouldn’t say it was my mission, no, but I do seem to be succeeding either way,” he replied, taking a sip from his drink and crossing his legs. “You’re earlier than I thought, though. I was hoping to finish this before you could lecture me.”

“It is a little early in the day,” Phillips replied. “But we only come here once a month, so why not?” he admitted, which earned an even wider grin from his husband.

“That’s refreshingly laissez-faire of you, Simon. You’re not a changeling, are you?”

“If I were, would I tell you?”

“Fair point,” Armstrong replied, laughing as he rearranged his medium-length blond hair.

Lex Armstrong changed his appearance about as frequently as he blinked, so it wasn’t unusual for Phillips to encounter something new without explanation, but he was having trouble placing it this time. Armstrong had done something different, but it was eluding Phillips. It wasn’t the barely-regulation eye shadow. Or his latest shade of vibrant blond hair, but Phillips knew he’d be in a little bit of trouble if he didn’t pick up on it. It came to him when Armstrong touched his hair again.

“There’s no way those nails are regulation, Lex,” Phillips noted, nodding to the ruby red nail polish Armstrong was sporting. “You weren’t wearing that this morning, were you?”

“Accessories or makeup must not interfere with one’s ability to perform one’s duties and should either be natural or color coordinated with one’s uniform,” Armstrong replied, looking very pleased with himself as he examined his new nails. “They match my uniform exactly, and they don’t interfere with my duties. I did it while reading a brief this morning.”

“I like them,” Phillips offered. “Silly of me to accuse a lawyer of breaking the uniform code, though, I suppose.”

Armstrong smirked again. “A little,” he agreed.

Moments later, Esterra Vandorin herself approached the table with two glasses of wine, placing one in front of each of them. Phillips knew better than to decline on account of being on-call; the proprietress of the station’s nicest restaurant was not used to taking ‘no’ for an answer. Besides, it would be easier to just inject himself with a neutralizer if he did end up getting summoned back to the infirmary if one glass of wine did manage to have an effect on him.

“Thank you,” Phillips said, smiling at her.

“My pleasure. I always enjoy seeing my most fashionable Starfleet visitor here. And his husband,” Vandorin replied, patting Phillips on the shoulder. “We have a three-course lunch experience today that I know you’ll both enjoy,” she added, smiling at them both again before walking off.

“It always takes me a moment that she has no intention of actually taking our orders,” Phillips noted before taking his first sip of the red wine, which was absolutely magnificent.

“If you want to get exactly what you order, go to a replicator,” Armstrong replied, clearly pleased that he’d been complimented by one of the other most fashionable people on the station. “So, how was your shift?”

“Back-to-back physicals all morning. I didn’t see a single one of my regular patients,” Phillips said. “Better than back-to-back births, though. How about you?”

“A half-dozen consultations. Nothing criminal, thank goodness, but we’re just as busy with all of these personnel exchanges,” Armstrong replied. “We’re quite the couple, not to really be able to talk about our work ever.”

“All the more impressive, we have so much to talk about then, without work,” Phillips said as their first course arrived.

Luckily, the first course also came with a card explaining that it was a collection of ethically sourced (i.e., lab-grown) tuna tartare with sea urchin toast, as Phillips was otherwise unable to identify it on sight. It was, however, delicious, as was everything he’d ever had at Vandorin’s Bistro. The second course was an artichoke panache (whatever that was) with vegetable risotto and black truffle emulsion, all apparently imported from Earth itself, and they ended with pan-roasted duck. It was truly decadent, and it was easy for Phillips to forget all about the rest of the universe for the thirty minutes they were there.

“An amazing meal, and I have the hottest date in the dining room,” Armstrong said, winking at him. “I’ve got to get back to the office in a little bit, though, for a deposition. Hopefully, you get some time off?”

Philips chuckled darkly. “No, I have to see Her Majesty in an hour. Annual performance evaluation.”

“What a perfect way to ruin an afternoon. At least you’re not up for promotion, so there’s not much to be nervous about.”

“If she senses you’re not nervous, she’ll find a way of making you nervous,” the doctor replied.

“Well, at least you had a good last meal, should the worst come to pass,” Armstrong teased.

Medical Command, a.k.a “Central,” was located on the top deck of Hospital A, with commanding views out over the middle levels of the starbase. From there, the Chief Medical Officer and a few other select senior medical officers, along with a cadre of yeomen and other staff, were able to coordinate the delicate dance that came with staffing six separate infirmaries, a hundred minor aid stations, and two full hospital modules. Phillips avoided it as much as possible, as he was pretty content to remain a senior but not crucial component of the station’s medical apparatus.

Being an attending physician meant that he didn’t get the worst shifts, reserved for staff physicians and residents, but he didn’t generally have to sit through many staff meetings. He had no genuine desire to advance (at least not yet), and he was in no danger of demotion, either. Still, Captain Delacour was well-deserved of her reputation as a petty tyrant.

“Dr. Delacour will see you now,” the yeoman said before leading Phillips into her office.

“Dr. Phillips,” Delacour said, gesturing to one of the two chairs in front of her impressive desk.

The Chief Medical Officer was petting a white cat, which matched the rest of the room’s stark decor. She reminded Phillips vaguely of any number of holo-novel villains, and he was thankful that she wasn’t a telepath.

“Thank you, Doctor,” Phillips said as he sat down. “Electra?” he asked, looking at the cat.

“Alecto, the goddess associated with ‘endless rage.’ Electra was the daughter and murderess of Agamemnon,” Delacour replied, already sounding bored with the conversation. “So, I suppose that’s no marks on the felid name recognition portion of the exam. How would you describe your progress this year, Doctor?”

Phillips blushed. “I think I’m very good at my job. My efficiency ratings are high, as are my technical aptitude scores. I don’t know what I’d say about my ‘progress,’ though, as I’m quite happy where I am,” he offered.

Delacour frowned. “You’ve been in your current role for nearly three years, have you not?”

“Yes, first on the old station and now–,” Phillips started, but Delacour held up her hand.

“The next time I see you, in a year, you will have passed the bridge officer’s examination and be a commander,” Delacour said.

“Was that a prediction or an order?”

Delacour pursed her lips. “Both. Dismissed,” she replied before turning to face the stars.