Tuesday, December 10, 2013

First Impression

First Impression
Month 1, Day 9
Dr Margaret Davis
2310 Hrs

     Peg was standing at the supply cabinet in the nurse's station, trying to figure out the organizational system, when a redhead in a red uniform bounced into Sick Bay. "Is the Doc in?"
Great. She assumes I'm a nurse. That's irritating when the men do it, but when another woman does it, it's ten times worse. "Yes," she answered, giving up on finding what she'd wanted. "And you are?"
     "Lt Colleen MacDowell," was the prompt reply. "Mac wanted me to get this looked at before I report for duty." she pulled her right hand from her pocket and gingerly placed it on the counter.
     Peg stared at the blue appendage for a moment, then turned to pull up her file on the computer. Bruised. Looks worse than a bruise to me, but MacGregor's scanned it twice. Drake's thorough; he's not likely to make a mistake about it, and especially not twice. "Has it been bothering you?"
     "It aches a little," MacDowell stated. "Seems kinda stiff this evening." She placed her other hand next to it. "I think it might be starting to swell again."
     "What have you been doing today?"
     "Sleeping. For almost fourteen hours. I was pretty drunk from shore leave."
     Pretty drunk? She should be dead, based on these readouts from when she returned. Three doses of de-tox, then three hours later, another double-dose, plus vitamins and organ supporters. Peg glanced at the redhead, who was still comparing her hands. She seems fine. "How do you feel?"
     The redhead grinned. "You mean, for being as drunk as I was after shore leave? Decent."
     "Only decent?"
     MacDowell shrugged one shoulder. "My head hurts. My stomach is queasy. I expected far worse, so this is decent."
     "You weren't going to mention those, were you?"
     "Should I? I expected--"
     "Far worse, yes," Peg stated. "Okay, then, your hand. You've been sleeping. Are you a tosser and turner, or do you tend to stay in one position?"
     "Restless," was the immediate answer. "Is that important?"
     "It means you don't rest as well as others. That's why it's called 'rest less'."
     "Ooo, that's sneaky, putting meaning into words like that," the redhead stated, her green eyes wide.
     Peg chuckled. "Hung over and still a sense of humor? How do you do it?"
     "It just feels so good to be here."
     Was that sarcasm? Sounded like she meant it. Peg picked up a med scanner and ran it over the discolored hand. "Well, it is swollen, but just a little. I suspect you've aggravated it in your restlessness. I'll put a supportive bandage on it. That could make it more difficult to do your work. A bandage won't let you bend the hand as much."
     "No problem; I still have this one." The redhead wriggled the fingers of her left hand.
     "You still have some alcohol in you," Peg stated, and reached for an inoculation gun.
     "I do?" MacDowell frowned. "Can't be much, between sleeping and Mac's de-tox..."
     "Not much," Peg admitted. "But now that shore leave's over, I can't knowingly let you report to work with any alcohol in your system." She set the controls for a quarter dose of de-tox and shot the girl. Eyes closed, MacDowell clung to the counter for a moment. "Make you dizzy?" Peg asked.
     "Does me, too," she admitted. "Now, let's see if I can find a bandage for that hand."
     "Why don't you ask a nurse?"
     Peg stared at her in surprise. "I thought I was a nurse."
     "Naw. You grimaced when I asked; said the doc was here, but made no move to get anyone, then treated me yourself. And you aren't sure where the bandages are. You must be the doc. The question you have to ask yourself is, 'If I were a bandage, where would the nurses hide me?' Well, that's what I'd be asking, anyway."
     Observant. Intelligent. Sense of humor. "You're going to be popular, MacDowell."
     "Maybe. I really don't care, as long as I've got Bugsy. And Mac."
     "Who are they?" Peg found the bandages in the last place she would have put them, and began putting one on the injured hand.
     "Bugsy is Lt Bugalu. He was my brother's roommate at the Academy, and has adopted me as his little sister. Mac is Dr MacGregor, who has also adopted me."
     Adopted? "As a little sister?"
     "That's... interesting." It's an ancient ruse. I didn't think Drake would stoop to it.
     "Hopefully, the two of them can keep me out of trouble."
     "Do you tend to wind up in trouble?"
     The redhead held up the now-bandaged hand. "Constantly."
     "I don't see any indication in your file of how this happened," Peg stated. No official explanation, just a note of hearsay.
     "I punched a pool table." MacDowell sighed.
     Peg blinked. "On purpose?"
     "I wanted to punch a space miner, but Bugsy wouldn't let me."
     "He was keeping you out of trouble."
     "Well, trying to." She frowned at her injured hand for a time. "Smit asked if I was going to be able to work. I told him it wasn't that bad."
     "The bandage won't keep you from using your hand, if you have to. It might make you pause and think first; maybe you'll opt to use the other hand, and let this one recuperate."
     The redhead sighed in relief. "Good. I didn't want to tell him I was wrong."
     "Who's Smit?"
     "Lt Cmdr Smythe."

     Oh, the head of her department. And a stickler for accuracy, from what I've heard. "No, I wouldn't want to have to tell him I'd been mistaken," Peg sympathized. "And I wouldn't suggest calling him that to his face. Or Dr MacGregor, either. Now, keep that bandage on tonight, maybe tomorrow night if you have similar difficulties. If it continues after that, I want another look at it."

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