Month 1, Day 9
Drake sat for some time, pensive about Smitty's parting comment. It's not what he thinks. But he's right in one respect. She may be Gaelund, but the fact she was passing out, unable to function, couldn't even stand without help - all indicates she was severely drunk. Drunk enough to deserve a lecture.
Thinking back to when she returned aboard, he remembered the readouts from his medical scanner. Gaelund or not, those were dangerous readings. And I didn't de-tox her as much as I did Smitty. She may have been headed for bed, but her body still has to clean out that alcohol. I should have slapped her into sick bay, so I could keep an eye on her.
He left his office, began collecting medicines and items that would be of use.
"What are you doing?" Beth asked quietly.
Nice demeanor. Not accusing, not demanding. I can almost hear her ask, how can I help? "I'm going to make a house call," he answered. "Mac still had alcohol in her system when she left the transport room. After seeing what Smitty was like, I think I'd better see how she's doing."
"Good idea." She handed him a medical scanner. "What else might we need?"
"We?" Doesn't she trust me? Alone with Mac. In her bedroom. When Mac sleeps in the nude.
"It's traditional for a female nurse to be present when a male doctor examines a female patient," she returned smoothly. She lowered her voice. "If for no other reason than to keep the gossip to a minimum."
Her perfume is intoxicating. Wonder if she's doing anything tonight? Space, if I spend too much time with her, we're going to get sloppy. I may not agree with Jane's ideas on fraternization, but I can't just blatantly oppose them. At the very least, I have to be discreet.
Put me with a naked Mac and Beth at my side, and my testosterone would skyrocket. I need someone to keep me sane, not aggravate my insanity. "It's not a chore for a head nurse," he stated, starting for the door. "Come on, Monroe."
The newest nurse on his team caught up with him by the time he reached the turbo-lift. "Sir, I've been meaning to speak to you about the other morning? That red-headed companion you had-"
"Nurse, there are some things you don't have the right to ask about," he returned briskly. "Who I date is one of them."
"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir. Actually, that isn't what I was going to ask. I mean, I assumed she was a paid companion, and I wondered if you truly thought it safe to use a... common prostitute. The health risks-"
"Paid companions are not common prostitutes. They undergo regular medical check-ups, and are guaranteed to be healthy. They couldn't be licensed, otherwise."
"Yes, but medical testing is expensive. Who's to say they actually follow that rule?"
Drake left the lift and started for Mac's quarters. "The governing body that licensed them. Look, Monroe, it's in everybody's interest to keep paid companions healthy. An agency with sick girls quickly finds itself shunned. A government that allows an agency to have ill companions soon sees tourism drop off, and their economy suffers. You should have gotten that in your Medical Ethics and Morals class."
"I just wondered about your opinion on the subject," she returned demurely.
It's not the kind of subject I would have picked for my first conversation with a new superior. He pressed his thumb against the scanpad outside Mac's bedroom. The door opened, and they walked in, let the door close behind them.
"Lights at half," he whispered, and the dark room became semi-dim. He could see her red curls spread on her pillow. Hope she's decently covered. He stepped forward, handing everything but the scanner to the nurse.
Mac was on her side, her blanket pushed down to her waist. She's not naked. Wonder when she got the blue pajamas? He noticed a paleness around her hand. Blast, I forgot about her hand. I'll check that, too. He reached out to her hand, trying to see the controls.
Suddenly, Mac was sitting up, her back against the wall, her hands balled into fists. Green eyes blinked in anger, which changed to confusion. "Mac?" She glanced around the dimness and began to relax. "This is my room."
"Yes, it is," he agreed.
"I told you I wasn't going to your room," she stated. "What are you doing here?"
"You were very drunk," he started.
She slid down to her pillow again. "Let me sleep. I'm still drunk."
"You were dangerously drunk," he tried again. "I want to make sure your body is dealing with that alcohol appropriately. I just gave some extra help to Smitty, and-"
"Blasted R&R," she growled, rolling to face the wall. "Let me sleep."
She regrets shore leave? She seemed happy enough to get it. "And I need to check that hand. Is it still set for cool?"
She sighed and rolled onto her back to study her hand. It took her a long time. "After you returned to the ship, I... got it reset for heat, like you said. Then it started to swell, so Bugsy set it back to cold. You didn't give any instructions past that, so that's where it's at. Anyway, I was too drunk to worry about it."
He frowned and gingerly lowered himself to the edge of her bed. Mac quickly scooted over to make plenty of room for him. "Let me see it," he instructed. When he got the bandage off, he was appalled at the deep blue color. "This is terrible," he muttered, using his scanner on it.
Mac peered at it with half-open eyes. "No, that's about right for the age. A couple days, it'll turn yellow, then fade. You should know that, Mac."
"I've never seen a bruise this bad that didn't need serious medical attention."
"I'm Gaelund," she stated, closing her eyes.
"You say that for everything," he pointed out.
"When it fits," she returned. "Look at me." Been trying not to. "My pale skin bruises easily. Being Gaelund, my muscles are dense, with plenty of blood vessels, which produces lots of bleeding when I'm hurt. My bones are dense, so they don't break easily. The result? Really bad bruises."
I suppose that makes sense. "Does it hurt?" he asked, probing it gently.
"Of course." She winced as he continued probing. "It's a bruise."
"You're lucky it's only a bruise," he stated, wondered if he'd already told her that, when he'd first seen it. He scanned her body in general. "Well, your Gaelund body doesn't seem any better at getting rid of alcohol than anybody else's."
"Takes time," she muttered, nearly asleep again.
MacGregor instructed Monroe what to load into the inoculation gun, continued scanning until the gun was handed to him. He placed the tool in position, glanced at the readout, then gave the machine back to the nurse. "Try again."
"The amounts of vitamin C and triptobrakyne are reversed."
"I'm sure that's what you asked for," she muttered, taking the gun back.
"It didn't occur to you that those levels could cause damage to the liver and kidneys? That's simple biochemistry."
"Well, yes, but you're the doctor," Monroe returned quietly, changing the settings. "And she is Gaelund. I just thought-"
"She's human," MacGregor broke in. "For that matter, so am I. So I'm not above making mistakes. Part of your job is to question my instructions, if they don't make sense. For instance, if the amounts of medication you think I've ordered could cause damage. I'd appreciate it if you remember that."
"Yes, Doctor." Monroe handed him the inoculator.
Once again he set the nozzle in place, glanced at the readout, then gave the shot to the redhead. With a couple twists of the controls, he gave her another dose of de-tox.
Mac's eyes flew open, then quickly closed. "That's very disori- disori- makes me dizzy."
"You should have an easier time now." Drake stood up. "Still don't like that hand. So before you report for duty, check in at Sick Bay."
"Okay." She stared at the clock and sighed. As Drake and Monroe turned for the door, Mac tossed her blanket aside and laboriously began to climb from bed.
"What are you doing?" Drake asked.
"Getting up. So I have time to go to sick bay."
Drake glanced at the clock in confusion. "You should set that for 24 hours. You can sleep another 12 hours."
"Good." She fell back onto her pillow. "Whatever you say," she muttered, and was asleep again. Grinning, Drake pulled the blanket over her. She immediately kicked it off. "Too hot, too many clothes," she breathed.
Drake feared Mac might start removing her pajamas, but she merely rolled over and fell deeper asleep. With a sign to Monroe, Drake left, reassured that Mac would be okay.