A spark from the console woke Joshua up. He blinked and surveyed the damage: the entire cabin was pitch black. He attempted to stand, but dizziness quickly changed his mind.
The runabout’s doors groaned and hissed as if they were being forced open. “Got it!” a voice triumphantly exclaimed. Joshua looked over and saw Dawa slumped over the console. His mind reeled, what weapons were within reach? He couldn’t fight off raiders in his condition. Joshua quickly looked around, his head spinning. And everything went black.
Joshua woke with a start and sat bolt upright. “Easy young man,” a voice said, placing a hand on his chest. He turned to see an older woman at his bedside. She eased him back on the bed.
“Where am I?” Then his mind began processing his environment. An infirmary? “The woman I was with, where is she?!” Joshua looked at the woman.
There was a tugging at a curtain two beds over, followed by a sigh as said curtain was pulled back by a young woman in medical scrubs. Dawa lay there, still in uniform sans the outer jacket, which was laid at the foot of her bed. There appeared to be a few patches of dried blood on her arms and face, but the original wounds had long since been closed by a dermal regenerator.
A wave of relief washed over Joshua at the sight of Dawa.
The nurse returned to the stool on the other side of Dawa’s bed and placed one hand gently on the top of her head while she waved the hand-held bone-knitter back and forth above her forehead; the colony was not large or developed enough to warrant a full osteo-regenerator bed, but at least they had some way to treat the hairline fractures in her skull.
Still looking at the ceiling as the nurse worked, she waved a hand in Josh’s direction. “I’m so glad you’re awake! Sorry about the rocky landing.”
“Shh!” The nurse muttered, “This will go faster if you don’t talk or move.”
“Sorry,” she whispered.
Joshua gave a thumbs up, “Back at you! You know what they say: Any landing you can walk away from,” he chuckled and winced at the pain in his ribs. “I guess we technically didn’t walk away from this one.”
He turned to the woman, “I need to speak with your colony administrator,” and began to sit up. The young nurse stopped him with a firm hand and laid him back down. “I won’t tell you again,” the woman said in a voice used to scold a child. “Stay. Down. Your ribs are still healing. I’ll send for the colony leader if you stay in bed.”
The young nurse hesitated to leave and Joshua put up his hands in defeat. “I’m not going anywhere.” The older woman nodded to the nurse. He returned her nod and left the ward.
When the man had left, Joshua turned to the woman working on Dawa. “What happened? I mean, besides the obvious of our runabout crashing.”
Continuing to work, the woman responded, “Our security patrols received your distress signal. They found both of you unconscious. She,” the woman grabbed Dawa’s head. “Stop squirming! She had a skull fracture which is mostly healed.” She set down the device on a side table to look at her handy work. “Or will in time. You, on the other hand, broke three of your ribs. We had to replace a fair amount of blood. You’ll need to keep the osteo wrap on for two more days. Then we’ll check your healing.”
Three men entered the ward. “Dr. Bryant,” one of the men said. “I’m Liam Cabrera, administrator for the Ignaus Colony. This is our chief scientist Varin Ber,” the Trill man next to him nodded.
Joshua nodded and shook Varin’s hand. “You’ll forgive me if I don’t get up. I’ve been told not to by my betters.” He chuckled and looked at the nurse. No response from any of the colony representatives. “Tough room…” Joshua mused.
“Anyway, I look forward to working with you on your agriculture problem.”
“Wait, there are only two of you?!” Liam said indignantly. “Starfleet only saw fit to send two scientists to help us?”
“Well, she’s technically not-”
“And how are you going to conduct surveys while in bed?!”
“We planned on releasing them later today,” the woman piped up.
“You see, I can get started later today.”
“On light duty.” the woman shot back.
Joshua put up his hands in defeat, “Light duty, right.”
“Well Dr. Bryant, I hope you break the trend of Starfleet’s helpfulness,” Cabrera said, with sarcasm at the end.
“You listen here!” Joshua said, his voice rising as he sat up in bed. A wave of pain came over him. Joshua winched, grabbed his side, and cursed. “Your colony is three years away from starvation!” Joshua instantly regretted his words as the entire ward went silent. “And I’m here to save you.”
“Well, Dr. Bryant,” Liam said, taken back by Joshua’s outburst. “I certainly hope you can.” Without another word, he turned and the three men walked out.
“Yeesh.” Dawa glanced at the nurse. “What an asshole.”
The nurse lifted her hands and shook her head in a don’t get me started motion, then snatched up a hypospray and reached for Dawa’s arm as the other woman tried to get up off the bed. “Careful! You have a concussion. Obviously.”
She allowed Dawa to sit up at the edge of the bed before pressing the hypospray against her neck with a hiss. “Twenty cc’s of vertazine will help it heal faster, but no exertion for you either. And if you start to feel dizzy, nauseous, or otherwise unwell you need to come back here and lie down immediately.
Dawa clutched her head with one hand and gave the nurse a grin and a thumbs up with the other before slowly getting to her feet. She took two careful steps, and those felt steady enough, so she made her way over to Josh’s bedside.
“Old habits die hard, so I’m itching to take a look at the runabout, but realistically I think the locals can handle it for now. What about you? Need any help running those surveys? Between the two of us, we’ve got about one functioning body!”
Her enthusiasm brought a smile to Joshua’s face. “I can’t do any reaching, so I’ll need some help collecting and processing soil samples. It’s not a glamorous life, but it’ll keep you busy.”