Part of USS Corax: Caduceus Pt. 1

Chapter 6 – Taking a Fortifying Sip

Starbase 93
Jan 2401
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Emma, Damien and T’Keterk were seated at a table in the Crew Lounge looking out at the internal workings of the station’s docking bay. Each nursing a drink of choice. Not many words were being shared as each thought about the monumental task ahead. The Captain was counting on them and after their shared adventure in the Delta Quadrant, they were eager to get back into the action and start making a difference again. But it wasn’t just the Captain counting on them, the population of Proto II was too. They had significantly more to lose and if left unchecked, there was a risk of the outbreak spreading to both Romulan Republic and Federation worlds.

Obviously the Admiralty and the Captain were impressed with how they had conducted themselves if the first debrief was anything to go by. Some positions were made permanent, some promotions were handed out, and others found themselves with commendations or provisional commissions. There had been little to time relax and decompress before they were thrown back into the action. They knew this. The Captain knew this and no doubt their new doctor knew this. They couldn’t fault anyone for this situation. They knew what they were signing up for and even the Captain would only have limited influence if any on the decisions handed down.

Their quiet murmuring and musings were soon interrupted when the door to the lounge slid open revealing the new Doctor. They watched as she ordered a drink at the replicator and approached the table. “Do you mind if I join you?” Nora asked politely. She had yet to properly meet Lieutenant T’Keterk and Ensign Swain, only seeing them briefly on her arrival and again in the briefing room.

“Not at all, Doctor.” T’Keterk spoke for the group. “Make yourself comfortable.” T’Keterk motioned to an empty seat. Once she was comfortable, T’Keterk spoke again. “I am Lieutenant T’Keterk, provisional Chief Engineer, and next to me is Ensign Emma Swain, Flight Control.” he indicated Emma sitting to his left.

Emma gave Nora a small wave before speaking up. “Although on a ship this size, I think Pilot is possibly a more apt description.” She smiled at T’Keterks raised eyebrow and offered a hand for Nora to shake. “Welcome aboard.”

Nora shook the offered hand and before she could reply, Emma carried on. “But we are off duty and among friends so please call me Emma.” Laughing she gestured to her fellow crew. “Can’t speak for this bunch though.”

Around the table everyone else echoed similar sentiments once the final introductions had been made.

Before too long conversation sparked back up again for the small group of officers. Some conversing with the group as a whole and others talking amongst themselves. Emma and T’Keterk were going over efficiencies that could be made to the warp core and subsystems while Damien engaged Nora in a discussion around some dedicated facilities in the science labs that could be fabricated to map the genome of the disease outbreak and test treatment options.

Everyone was feeling a bit split. Both anxious to get the mission started but also dreading what might be greeting them.

“Does anyone have the time?” Damien suddenly broke the comfortable atmosphere. “We must be almost ready to depart.”

Checking the chronometer on one of the consoles against the wall, they saw their time on base was quickly drawing to a close. 

Just as everyone were downing their last sips and getting ready to stand up, Nora spoke up.

“Before we all go and get ourselves duty ready, I just want to let you all know my office is always open. I know you have all barely had the chance to debrief after your mission to the Delra Quadrant so if you do want to talk, please let me know. I was required to participate in a basic psychology course as part of my training and will offer whatever services I can.”

There was a rousing chorus of everyone thanking her as they got to their feet and filed out. Once Emma and T’Keterk left, Damien turned to face Nora. “If I may, Doctor?”

Nora waited for the crew lounge to empty before she spoke to the young officer. “What can I help you with?”

“I’d like to take you up on that offer after we depart if possible.” Damien enquired looking down slightly.

“Not a problem at all.” Nora replied with a small smile keeping her voice soft and steady. “Come and see me when you have a moment.”

“Thank you, Doctor.” Damien offered a salute before scampering out the door and making his way back to the labs.