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Part of USS Resolute: Chasing Shadows

7 – An apple a day

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Sickbay in a red alert situation was like schrodinger’s cat. Given the nature of combat aboard a starship they either had patients with horrendous injuries, or none at all. It all depended whether or not areas of the ship ended up vented to space. 

The red alert had been silenced in the main sickbay due to Norman, their near permanent resident. Accident prone and paranoid did not describe Norman. Aida had never met anyone that could injure themselves on such a regular basis. Today he had managed to turn his ankle after dropping a paperclip. Now for most people, they would have just stepped on the damn thing and gone on their way. But not Norman… oh no. 

Norman had slipped on the paperclip, skidding across the ops office to collide with another member of staff, and ended up wearing a mug of hot coffee. And that hot coffee, drinkable for anyone else? Yeah, it had given Norman third degree burns due to an undiagnosed skin condition. It was a skill, it had to be. Although, what use it would be, Aida had no idea. 

“Are we safe in here?” Norman asked from the corner bed, watching the main doors nervously. “There’s pirates, right? They’re on the ship.”

She nodded. “Yes, there’s a boarding party, but I’m sure we’re perfectly safe.”

“Are you sure?” 

She bit back her sigh of irritation. Fuck’s sake, her job had been so much easier when the patients didn’t talk back and all she had to think about was getting them out under enemy fire. 

Bedside manner, she reminded herself, grabbing an apple from the bowl kept on one of the trolleys and taking a bite. Eating, or chewing at least, kept her mouth full and ensured she didn’t rip Norman’s head off. Because her losing it, even because he was the most irritating pain in the ass she’d ever met, wouldn’t help the morale of her two junior nurses. They were wide eyed and she was sure the younger one, James, was about to be sick. 

“Absolutely,” she said after a few seconds. “Sickbay won’t be a priority for them.”

Norman clutched his thin blanket like an octogenarian clutching her pearls. “Are you sure?”

Oh, she was so going to knock him out the instant she had the chance. Only the fact she was in a sickbay rather than on the battlefield made her head for medication rather than just cold-clocking him. Just a little something to calm his nerves, that’s all. 

“They’ll head for either the bridge or engineering,” she said, reaching the side of his bed and checking over his vitals. Yeah, he was as stressed as hell. She’d hate to think what he’d be like on a battlefield. He’d be catatonic for sure. 

Norman’s eyes narrowed. “How do you know?”

She smiled as she looked down at him. “I didn’t always work in Starfleet.”

He nodded, opened his mouth—

A clunk behind them made her whirl around. Behind them one of the access hatches was slowly opening. 

Putting her fingers to her lips, she motioned to the two nurses to take cover behind biobeds and grabbed the first weapon she had to hand—the fruit bowl. Dumping the apples into Norman’s lap, she held it up over her head, creeping behind the opening hatch. 

The instant a head appeared, she swung. Only for the metal bowl to thunk against a heavily-muscled arm as the captain ducked.

“What the hell, Micheals!?” 

“Shit, sorry sir,” she gasped, backing away from the hatch as the captain unfolded himself from the tiny space with less grace than brute force. 

He was followed by his yeoman… Rennick or something… she couldn’t remember the kids name at the moment, just that he followed the captain around like a little puppy dog and looked vaguely terrified half the time. 

“Not to be funny sir, but what the fuck are you doing in there?” she asked, glancing in the open hatch to see if there were more in there. “Why aren’t you on the bridge?”

Like, defending it?

She didn’t say the last part. In her personal opinion Mason was a sandwich short of a picnic at times. He was effective, but didn’t follow any rulebook anyone else understood. It was no wonder he was still a commander even with how long he’d been in the fleet. He must drive Burton, their very by the book XO, up the freaking wall.

“Our guests split up,” he replied, hard gaze already scanning sickbay. “Is there just the four of you in here?” 

She nodded. Sickbay was small, there was no need to have more than three of them on duty until there was an emergency. If there was, then the lounge was converted into an emergency medical center. 

“Orders, sir?” she asked, knowing that if Mason was here, then they were likely in the path of their guests. She didn’t say it outloud, Norman was likely to faint. 

Mason didn’t get time to answer. At that moment the main doors slid opened and a small, round object was thrown in. It bounced across the floor three times, coming to rest against the pillar in the center of the room. 

TAKE COVER!” Mason bellowed, and bodies scattered for any nook or cranny that would provide shelter. 

Aida made to grab Norman to pull him down with her behind the biobed, but he was already moving the other way. 

Apples spilled over the floor as he threw himself across sickbay and over the grenade…