Characters: Dr. Hellecat Brannon, Dr. Robert Evers, Dr. Mira Trassano
Mira checked the time. It had been five minutes since the red alert had first blared to life. Another ten minutes and we shall be ready for the end of the Universe…Arms-getting, don’t the Humans call it, Mira thought. She glanced around at the madly scurrying personnel. That is, if my doctors ever arrive. The main doors swooshed open, Brannon and Evers came in at a dead run. Mira smiled brightly. “My, but I do love a punctual staff!”
Helle reddened at Mira’s words. Rebuke or not she knew her response to the red alert klaxons hadn’t been as quick as it could have been. One sip of the glass too many or ten too many, the result was the same. Shrugging into her lab coat, Helle started to comfort herself with the fact that she wasn’t actually even due back on shift for another eight hours, so it wasn’t as if she’d deliberately … a buttonhole on her coat snagged on something on her shirt and Helle jerked at it impatiently.
A flash of silver and small skittering sound of something sliding under the nearby cupboard had Helle on her hands and knees scrabbling around, searching with fumbling, non-cooperative fingers. Pushing her arm under as far as she could she accidentally knocked the object and felt it slide from her reach completely. “Damnit!” she hissed, clenching her teeth in frustration.
“Need a hand, Helle?” Bobby smiled at the undignified picture she presented – head on the floor, tail in the air, she could have been an advertisement for worship at the altar of healing … but for the distinctly unholy curses and look of impotent rage brewing on her face. “Several,” she snapped, “and all with longer fingers, attached to even longer arms.”
Trying unsuccessfully to suppress his grin, Bobby leaned down and handed her a pair of longhandled clamps. “Here, dig it out with these.” Resting her forehead on the cold floor for an extra beat, Helle mentally kicked herself for taking her frustrations out on anybody but herself. Smiling sheepishly she took the proffered clamps. “Thanks. I would have thought of that … eventually … I hope.”
Sweeping the clamps underneath the cupboard, she swung her arm in an arc and saw the object shoot out in front of her eyes and slide across the floor, coming to rest against Mira’s foot. With a small grunt of surprise, Mira bent down and picked up the small silver item, smiling at it in recognition before polishing it lovingly with the bottom of her coat. Helle scrambled hastily to her feet at Mira’s approach, tensing slightly as she bent in closely, hoping fervently that Mira couldn’t smell any alcohol on her. Mira’s fingers fastened on Helle’s coat and she replaced what Helle now realised was her Rangers’ pin.
Mira wondered if perhaps she was stepping over the line. It is so hard to tell with Humans, sometimes. “A little caution, Dr Brannon,” she said softly. “Some things are much too precious to risk losing.”
Mira wasn’t just talking about the pin and Helle knew it as clearly as if the words had been spoken. It was easily the most subtle warning she’d ever heard … and it scared the hell out of her.
A few moments later, Mira stood scowling at the man. The rest of MedLab was in the process of getting prepared for an unknown future and this man was being obstinate. “Mr. Daley, I really do insist that you cooperate. This room is needed for emergency surgeries and I cannot use it for such if you are still here.”
“Well, I don’t see anybody out there needing any limbs cut off, so, you can just leave me here until they do.” He crossed his arms and scowled back at the doctor. “I have never met a balder more uppity woman,” he thought out loud to himself with every intention of being over heard.
The woman in question pursed her lips and glared at him. Then, moving with a quickness that belied her plump Centauri body, Mira had him pinned and strapped down before he could finish shouting his protest.
“There!” She nodded sharply. “Nurse! Take our guest and put him next to Evers’ woman…Morgan, her name is. If she ever wakes up, the two of them can amuse each other.” The nurse suppressed a smile as he wheeled the cursing Englishman out of the Isolab.
Dr Trassano stood at the door to the isolab for a moment. She just looked at all the preparations, they became complete as she watched. Smiling, she allowed herself to feel a brief burst of pride in her staff, before she squelched it. I have never been vain, now is not the moment to begin. Noticing her doctors, she remembered that the Wake wasn’t long over, certainly not long enough over.
She cleared her throat. “I remember, now, that I made it painfully clear that all of you had to attend the Wake.” Mira smiled to see some shiftiness in the eyes of her staff. “There are oxy-pills in the top drawer of the central desk. Those who need them should have some, though to be honest,” she shrugged. “I am Centuari, sobriety is rather a foreign concept.” She left it at that and went to check on the supplies of medications. In the storeroom, counting vials, she thought about her doctors.
Copyright (c) 1998 Denise Cox and Mona Hinds. All rights reserved.