SFR Flash Fiction / Command Decision

Writing Prompt: “Command Decision”

*****

“Sit Rep?”

Captain Kataria Arpad glanced up from the screen of the Data Port she was using and rolled her eyes at her Chief Medical Officer. “Dour.” She answered only half-joking as she reached to accept the tea the other woman proffered. With her other hand she thumped the panel that declared the Data Station property of Argus Space Station, Docking Bay 7: FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY. “These systems weren’t designed for this.”

It was Dr. Thea Santoclair’s turn to shrug. “It’s not like they could have predicted this.”

“What? That an Imperial Space Fleet delegation would be waiting on station to return to their ship just when all seven circles of hell breaks loose, war is declared and said delegation is stuck cooling their heels on station with a bunch of slagging civilians and unable to reach their duty stations because their ship is otherwise occupied defending the sector’s jump-gate from attack?” Kate asked dryly. “That indicates a serious lack of imagination on the part of the engineers who designed this station.” She offered the other woman a small smirk and took a sip of her own tea.

“Troglodytes.”  Thea agreed eyes sparkling in amusement.

Kate stood and leaned one hip against the console as she began to rotate her shoulders this way and that in an attempt to loosen muscles that had stiffened during the hours she’d been hunched over the computer. “Seriously though, we’re stuck cooling our heels for awhile yet.” With her free hand Kate checked to see that her hair was still relatively tidy, one half of her brain noting absently that it was time for a cut when she felt how close it was to brushing her shoulders. “The Tide will have dispatched a shuttle but they’ll be running dark so that means no interstellar jumps which means that we’ve got at most another 48 hours here… 36 at best.” She sent Thea a speculative look. “Unless something better turns up and we choose to divest these kind people of their ride.”

The CMO shrugged. “Command Decision.” She said airily and raised her cup in a mock salute to the authority of the Captain. “I’m strictly bones and colds remember?”

Kate raised her eyebrow at that. “Being Medical hasn’t stopped you from sticking your nose in on any number of previous—“

Thea cut her off with a raised hand. ” Perhaps not.” she agreed and then gave an ironic little half bow. “However, on this occasion, I shall willingly cede to your superior judgement, years of experience, your innate gravitas, your supreme authority—“

“My ability to know when someone is blowing air up my proverbial skirt.” It was Kate’s turn to interrupt and she did so with a grin. “What exactly is all this in honour of Doctor?” Kate swirled the tea in her cup with a smile.

“Nothing.” Thea replied promptly; all innocence.

Kate raised her eyebrows at her friend.

“Well, I suppose…” The woman began.

“Suppose what?”

“I suppose I was just wondering what you’re going to do about that?” Thea asked jerking her head slightly to the right.

*****

Kate glanced over to the spot where her executive officer sat on the floor; knees drawn up, head tilted back against the wall, eyes closed, empty space all around. No one wanted to sit near a half Recessive on a good day on this gods-be-damned hole of a space port, never mind next to a suspiciously ill looking half Rec like her second in command. Still the issue was hardly high on her list at the moment. Just so long as the natives weren’t getting restless…   

That is Commander Junnet.” Kate said deliberately. 

“I realize that this breaks all sorts of protocol.” Thea said just as deliberately, indicating with a significant look, that she had received Kate’s message. She looked down at her tea for a moment before looking back up at the other woman blue eyes intent. “And that this is a subject that is not, even at the best of times, up for discussion but…” Another quick glance down into her tea and a wry smile. “These are certainly not the best of times are they?”

When Thea glanced up again she held Kate’s by now forbidding gaze until the other woman sighed and rolled her shoulders. “No, they are not.” She relented reluctantly. She glanced at her XO briefly. “What’s—“ She scowled as she searched for the appropriate words. “What’s wrong with him?” She glanced back at Thea expectantly.

“Nothing.” The CMO replied softly and when Kate looked askance at that she gave her a chiding look. “This is a natural part of his physiology Captain.”

Kate watched Thea’s face as she considered that. “Message received. What’s going on with him?” She rephrased her question and then wrinkled her nose and added. “Exactly.” In deference to Thea’s frown. The frown that indicated that she knew the Captain knew about her XO’s medical issues at least as far as they were recorded in his personnel jacket.

“As you know we were delayed several days on planet.” Thea began.

“I am aware.” Kate replied dryly.

“Well as a result, the Commander’s gone off his meds.” The CMO narrowed her eyes at the Captain.

“And?” Kate frowned confused. “Can’t you just give him something?” She waved a hand to indicate her lack of knowledge of the technical details and continued. “Manually?” She elaborated, full aware from his personnel file that Junnet had a spinal pump implanted that kept the drugs he needed to keep his hormones leveled out and, circulating at a constant level throughout his body.

Thea shook her head. “It’s not that simple.” She explained. “As long as he’s been on these meds, he’s started to develop resistance. Without careful analysis and appropriate cautionary procedures, adjustments,” She elaborated for the Captain’s benefit. “He is at high risk for adverse reactions both from the med cocktail as well as from fluctuations in med levels because without the pump there’s no way to keep his levels constant.”

“How serious are these adverse reactions?” Kate asked wanting to see the whole picture so that she could make an appropriate decision for her crew. She suspected, by her CMO’s presence and involvement of her in a strictly medical situation, that she already knew the answer to that.

“Potentially deadly.” The doc confirmed quietly. “If we were on board…”

“You’d have the appropriate medical facilities to treat complications?” It was only half question.

Thea nodded. “I can’t do anything for him here.” She looked disgusted. “The station isn’t equipped for someone like him and I wasn’t expecting–” Her spread hands encompassed their present situation. “This so I only have a basic med-kit on me.” The woman looked faintly embarrassed to be caught with her proverbial pants down. 

Kate shrugged. “You’re not the only one.” She assured her friend. “In future though we’ll have to—“

“Do better.” Thea finished for her solemnly although her eyes twinkled slightly at the use of what was by now a very well known aphorism of the Captain’s.

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