Part of Starbase Bravo: Sundered Wings and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

To the Line

Central Hospital 1
May 10, 2400
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Longfellow’s Quarters – 0500

“It’s heartbreaking, Hen.”  Thea Longfellow filled the screen in his living room as he went about the process of getting ready for the day.  Both of them stood in the breach of the galactic disaster.  He was scheduled for the Central Hospital and she was assigned to a medical mission to offer aid to ships fleeing the situation in Romulan space.

“I know, T.  It’s hard to think about the difference in our worlds just a year ago, you know?”  He left the viewscreen and slipped on his uniform top, slipping the duty belt on as he stepped back into view, “They’re hurting…and so many of them are running from so much.  There are days being a doctor is the hardest thing.”

Thea leaned into her console, “It’s no easier out here.  We’re worried about being able to properly care for everyone we run into…they’re still organizing the fleets into a cohesive operation.  So much happened so quickly…as much as we thought we knew about this…this was a hard surprise.”  She leaned back, “There’s talk of us coming to Bravo at some point during all this.”

He looked up from tying his shoes, “That would be the greatest, T.  I mean, this situation is horrifying…but we’d be able to see each other.”  He shrugged through the guilt of being excited to see his wife in the backdrop of the darkness that was roiling the galaxy.

Thea chuckled softly, “My captain thinks I should apply to be transferred to Bravo down the road.”

Henry stood and gathered his PADDs in his messenger bag, “He’s not happy with you?”

Shaking her head she spoke, “No, he’s thrilled with me given how bad the guy was before me.  His wife serves on the other side of the sector and he told me he didn’t want anyone else to have to deal with it.”  She paused, “They’ve been doing it for two years…and he’s thinking of retiring.  Lots happened in the last few years in this galaxy.”

Longfellow sat back on the couch and sipped at his freshly brewed coffee, “He sounds tired.  I feel for him.”

His wife nodded at the screen, “He’s 65.  He says he’s been in space too long…needs to feel the earth beneath him.”  She thought for a moment, “You still think what we did was a good idea?”

A shrug from Longfellow, “I’ve found a purpose here…and good people to work with.  In the end, it’s about helping those that need the help and giving your best every day.”  Another shrug, “My hands are for healing…and there’s been plenty of that to go around…and more to come.  I miss you, mind you.”

She blushed and he did too.  A moment of quiet passed between them before she spoke, “I love you, H.  I miss you.”  Suddenly a klaxon rang out on her end and she groaned, “That sounds like a triage alert.  Another ship probably limping through space.  I’ll see you tomorrow.  Love you.”  

“Love you too, T.”  She blew him a kiss and the screen went blank.  He sat in the silence, the echo of the klaxon ringing in his ears.  He looked down at his hands.  “Time to get to these things to work, I think,” he whispered to himself.

Central Hospital 1- 0545

“Good morning, everyone.”  Longfellow stood in the main area of the Central Hospital.  He’d recently been promoted to Staff Physician and his rank polished up to a full lieutenant.  He had been keeping Infirmary 4 running smoothly with his nurse Asato, but that had all changed in the last 48 hours.  News had spread quickly after departments were briefed and the news reports began to be shared and read across the station.  The Romulan Star Empire was no longer and the chaos that follows the fall of a galactic government had not taken long to be felt from one end of the galaxy to the other.  

He’d been informed his new shift started at 0515 in the Central Hospital as the waves of refugees, survivors, and everyone seeking safety were coming to Starbase Bravo.  This was why he stood, surrounded by the medical staff on the day’s first shift.  They needed to be ready.  He pulled up his PADD, “Thank you for getting here a little early.  We’ve activated all of six infirmary units in anticipation of the incoming traffic.”  He gave a nod to the departing engineering and operations crew in the corridor, “We’ve also opened and staffed the Central Hospital 2 as we don’t have a good idea on numbers of folks coming to us, but it is approximated to be a great number and we want to be ready to help them get aboard, get triaged and have as smooth a transition as possible.”  He gestured to the check-in desk and then beyond, “The communications and operations department has been helpful in working with us – they’ll be handling, in tandem with our folks, any kind of dispatch, calls for care, transfer orders, codes – the whole lot.”  He turned to Asato.

Hiro had taken on the charge nurse role temporarily and had several PADDs in her hands, “Nursing staff will be supporting, reporting, triaging, and working to make sure everyone’s got either a tag or identification information.  Our goal is to make them feel welcome and warmly embraced given the various situations that are fleeing.  You’ve been through several of these training exercises this month, so it’s just a matter of kicking in that muscle memory.  Your assignments, nursing staffing, orderly information, and other assorted support staff can be found on your PADDs.  We’ve already got a number of ships lining up for offload at the docking ports.  We’re going active and receiving at 0600.”  She returned her attention to Longfellow.

Henry gave a nod as he spoke, “We have a unique job ahead of us, folks.  Let’s treat them well, and help them find strength and comfort in the midst of all this.  You have your assignments…let’s get to it.”  The gathered group quickly broke apart and moved with haste to their stations.  Longfellow followed Hiro to their section assignment.  She quickly activated the console at the charge nurse station as he checked in with the various officers and crewmembers who were assisting them.  He returned to Asato with a quiet look, “We’re as ready as we’re going to be, Hiro-san.”

She returned the look, “We work with incredible medical professionals, Sensai.  I have rarely seen the kind of coming together as I have seen in the last two days.  We accept the things we can change, and the lives we can impact…the rest is for the gods, fate, or whoever is in control.”

Her former teacher chuckled quietly, “You’re very philosophical very early in the morning.”  He shook his head, still smiling, “Coffee is what gets me functional and moving.”

A roll of her eyes was her response, “Sensai, you have your ways of keeping your practices, I have mine.”

“Fair enough, Hiro-san.”  They returned to preparing for the arrivals in silence.

Comments

  • I'm really enjoying the push-and-pull of competing forces that haunt Longfellow's days and nights. Your prose described it so succinctly with Longfellow's guilt over hoping his wife would have a reason to visit him on Starbase Bravo, even though that reason would be carnage and tragedy. Similarly, I loved that little snapshot of the 65 year old captain yearning for earth. It acts like a mirror, causing Longfellow to continue to question if joining Starfleet was the right decision. Further, the ramping up of the hospital was exciting to read about. I appreciate the emphasis on patient care, just as greatly as the technical act of patching patients up. A great read!

    June 1, 2022
  • I loved the exchange between Thea and Henry so much. I felt that simple longing to be together, that quiet resolve to keep doing life underpinned by mutual love and respect. The sentence structure really worked there. The screen going blank. His hands. The klaxxons. It created that moment of intense isolation that I think so many people have now felt after years of living half on Zoom - that slight hum in the air when the screen goes black at the end of a call with a loved one. That all bled perfectly into the staff briefing, where we can see how Henry's business is a mixture of professionalism, passion for his work, and yet also perhaps a bit of sheer need to be doing something to keep himself busy. Again, his relationship with Hiro shines here, but even more, I feel like there's a larger stability built in this scene. The way the briefing is handled, the professionalism, the tried-and-true banter about coffee, it all establishes this as a real place in my mind. Love it!

    June 4, 2022