Infirmary 4 – 0900
“Dr. Longfellow.” The tone of the nurse’s voice caught him first as he glanced up. Her eyes told a story. “Patient is on the way from a transport ship. They’ve sent the file over.” She stepped forward and gingerly placed the PADD on the desk. Henry stared at her and then tapped the inlaid LCARS to access the PADD data.
As he skimmed the file, he read aloud, “Patient is a Vulcan Scientist, age…200?” The nurse gave a quiet nod, and he read on, “She’s suffering from a rare blood disease and is requesting…good god, hospice care.” He leaned back in his chair, “I’m sorry you had to take that call.” The young nurse gave another nod, wiping her eyes. This was her first assignment.
“We were warned and trained at the academy about these kinds of cases. It’s a little different when it’s real.” She sighed and did her best to clear her emotions, “She’ll be arriving in ten minutes.”
Longfellow felt a frown, “Wait…why isn’t she being put into a hospital unit?”
The nurse gave him another curious look, “You were specifically requested, Doctor. You don’t know her?”
A wistful feeling passed over his face, “I don’t. I’m sure she has her reasons. Maybe she thinks a country doctor has better bedside manner than others.” He shrugged, “Let’s finish the prep for her room.”
Infirmary 4 – Hospital Beds – 0915
The transport technicians carefully shifted the aging Vulcan onto the bed as they attached the life-preserving equipment to the power couplings. They did a final vitals check before handing over a PADD which Longfellow signed. They gave a nod and were gone. Henry looked at the nurse and waved her off. The patient was stable. He snagged a rolling stool and slid up next to the woman, her eyes half-open. “I’m Doctor…”
“Henry Longfellow, lieutenant in Starfleet.” Her eyes opened fully as she rotated her head to match his gaze. “I know who you are, sir. My name is T’shalaith.” She let the words hang before she smiled thinly, “You have questions.”
He felt his eyes go a little wide. Vulcans traditionally didn’t smile, he knew that much. He sat back and pulled up her file on his PADD, “You’re 200 years old, Ms. T’shalaith. You’ve lived most of your life on civilian various transport ships. Says here you made it to Captain of one hundred years back and eventually Commodore. Five years ago…”
“It came for me.” She let out a quiet cough, “I ignored it at first. The ship doctor was smarter. He figured it out. Got me care. Lived four years longer than they expected.” She shifted her eyes to stare at the ceiling, “I know there’s no way out this time around. I made it this far. I can take solace in that.” She returned her eyes to him, “You going to ask me about why I requested you, Doctor Longfellow?”
He shifted on his stool and leaned forward, “I’ve never been outside Montana. This is my first time in space. I was going to guess you just took a stab at the list of doctors on board and picked me blind.”
T’shalaith allowed a thin smile once more and she noticed him frown, “It unnerves you to see emotion in a Vulcan, Doctor.” She thought for a moment longer, “Emotions are a power. So is logic. When I was given my expected time, I decided to explore the emotions within.” She chuckled and then coughed, grimacing. “I learned much about myself and our people in those four years.” She squinted at him, “But that’s not what you’re wanting to hear.”
The doctor gave a shrug, “You’ve become the single most fascinating patient in my career, Ms. T’shalaith.” He leaned back, “But it would help for me to understand why you chose me.”
The Vulcan nodded from her bed, “200 years is a lot of time to live, Doctor Longfellow. Long enough to travel the galaxy a few times over. My daughter, Palisa Jacobson. She was half Vulcan…”
Longfellow finished, “Half human. She was a resident in Bozeman in my emergency department. She never mentioned you.” He frowned, “I’m sorry…I…”
She waved him off, “Palisa and I have had our struggles. We reconciled two years ago. I spent last weekend with her and her family. I sought her wisdom on where and with who to spend my final days. Yours was the only name she suggested. I don’t think she knew you’d moved into Starfleet. I suspect she wanted me to live out my last days in Montana.” She looked around the hospital bed area, “I do not mind this place. It is a rather nice place to fade away in.”
Henry shook his head, “We could move you…I can pull what little favor I have…”
Another wave off, “No. My daughter said you were the one I should spend my last days in the care of – and she is rarely wrong.”
Longfellow leaned in, “Palisa is one of the best. I’ll do my best to make this right for you.”
T’shalaith smiled once more, “You are a good human, Doctor Longfellow. I expect to learn much from your care. May I rest?” He gave her a nod and turned the lights above her down and rechecked her vitals. He left the hospital room and began tapping his notes on the PADD. The arrival of T’shalaith and the memories of her daughter were interesting developments. He wondered what he would learn from her.