Characters: Roland DeVries, Dr. Mira Trassano

Mira heaved a sigh of relief when the shuttle finally settled down inside the Phoenix’s bay. “Finally,” she muttered. She glanced at the three bodies strapped onto the benches nearby. She frowns and activates her link. “Tressano to MedLab. I need three gurneys in the shuttlebay.”

Across the Bay, DeVries’ ‘Fury locked into its overhead cradle. He and his WSO ran through the shut down checklists and popped the hatches. Climbing down the boarding ladder with stiff legs, Roland counted down as the air refilled the Bay.

Mira heard something muttered nearby as she left the shuttle but, she couldn’t quite make it out. She waited outside of the shuttles “Lock for the nurses to arrive with the gurneys. She started struggling with the helmet of her EVA suit. Mira starting cursing in various languages, scattering the Bay tech who could now hear since the atmosphere had been restored. She had the helmet skewed and it blocked her face. She wished, repeatedly, that she had paid better attention to that nice human who had been giving her instructions before the mission. Somehow, she didn’t think he had gotten to the getting out of the suit part before she’d departed.

DeVries and his taller companion were coming across the Bay now, communicating in some kind of sign language. Ducking under one of the shuttles stabilizers, Roland, noticed the Doctor struggling to open her suit. At that moment, the green “All Clear” light came on, indicating that the Bay’s internal atmosphere had been restored. Amateurs, he thought.

Mira had finally settled on Standard for her curses. “Blasted, thrice-cursed EVA suit!” She was still struggling.

“Need a hand,” DeVries said, setting his own helmet on the deck. The first response was unintelligible. “Excuse me,” he tried again.

“Yes,” Mira let out, still muffled but louder.

Roland reached over and slapped the red lever on the neck-ring. “There you go.”

Mire finally emerged from her own helmet. “Thank you! You have saved me from a very embarrassing situation.” She beamed at Roland, turned to the taller figure behind him and beamed at his darkened visor.

“No problem. One thing for future reference. Wait ’til the status lights go green next time. Pop your suit in a vacuum and they’ll be wiping you off the bulkheads.” Turning to his companion, he muttered, “Be nice.”

Mira simply blinked and smiled at him. She was in entirely too good a mood to be disturbed by anything. “Oh. That was what the pilot said…I didn’t quite hear.” She shook her head. “I’m afraid I”ll never be good at the space-faring part of my duties.”

“I’m Roland DeVries. You’re the Doc, right?”

“Yes, I’m Dr. Trassano. I haven’t met you yet, have I?” Her tired mind didn’t really want to cooperate right then. I hope I don’t sound like some empty-headed court fluff.

DeVries elbowed his companion to get him to remove his helmet. With a his, the helemt came off to reveal a scarred, but distinctly Narn, face. Seeing the Doctor’s eyes go wide, Roland tried to sound as nonchalant as he could. “This laconic fella’s my partner, T’rar.”

Mira smiled up at one of the biggest Narn’s she’d ever seen. Cheerful fellow, she thought. “Greetings,” she said in Narn, but with a bad accent. The 6 foot, 8 inch Narn just stared at her like a statue. His red eyes flicked to watch the nurses approach with the gurneys. Seeing her out, Mira turned to her staff. “Ah! Good! They are inside, strapped to the benches.”

Eyeing the stretchers, Roland asked, “Rough work over there, Doc?”

Mira’s mood dampened, noticeably. “Yes, you might say that. It’s a relief to be back,” she sighed.

“At least you got to walked around,” Roland said, a smirked crossing his face. “We were stuck in that tin can.” He pointed to his “Fury.

Mira simply smiled. “If you can call it walking, Mr DeVries.” Her shrug barely hid a shudder. She really didn’t want to get into it. “I really ought to help my staff.”

“Need a hand?”

She measured him with a glance and said, “Yes, thank you.” Heading for the shuttle, she motioned for him to follow.

Roland said to T’rar. “Come on, make yourself useful.” The Narn simply replied with an obscene hand gesture. “I know I taught you sign language but where’d you learn THAT one?”

Not seeing the Narn’s gesture, Mira asked, “Learn what, Mr. DeVries?”

“Nothing, Doc. Better you didn’t see.”

Moving to one of the benches, Mira grab the handles on one of the body bags. “As you say. If you’ll take the head.” Behind her, T’rar effortlessly lifted the third bag and stared at Roland as if to say…I’m doing my part, what about you?

Roland grabbed his end, “Ready?” Mira nodded. Together they were able to maneuver the bodybag out of the shuttle and onto the nearest gurney. “Wiping his brow, Roland looked to Mira. “Doc…what happened over there?”

“I don’t know, Mr. DeVries. I hope to find that out from our ‘guest’ here.” Nearby, the Narn had set his load onto a gurney and waited for Roland.

“Roland. My first name’s Roland, not Mister,” said DeVries.

Mira sighed and wearily rubbed her face and scalp. She was getting stubbly. “I’m sorry, I mean no offense. Thanks you for the help.”

“None taken. Can I offer a little advice?”

“Certainly.” The nurses proceeded to raise the gurney’s and wheel then away.

“If I’m not being too presumptive, take a break, Doc. You look like you need one. Ten minutes won’t make a difference to these poor souls,” he said indicating the bodybags.

Mira smiled, a little sadly. “Thank you. I shall, as soon as I get a chance.” She chuckled. “No, I suppose a few more minutes wait won’t matter.” She chuckled some more. For some reason, it was immensely amusing. I must be tired, she thought. Behind her, T’rar’s brow furrowed.

“I’d take that chance now, Doc. I figure, if you’re getting ready for an autopsy, go into it with a clear head,” DeVries said, catching T’rar’s expression.

Mira nodded. “Sound advice. Thank you again. Thank you both. Oh, one thing, before you leave. Could you tell me how to get out of this horrible device?” She gestured to her EVA suit. “And where shall I put it…other than in the incinerator where it doubtlessly belongs?”

Smiling, Roland pointed to her suit. “The red tabs here and here release your seals. Unzip here,” he gestured his hand diagonally across her chest. “Then, all you have to do is bend yourself in half a squeeze out. If you survive that part, one of the Bay techs’ll take the suit off your hands.”

Mira simply sighed and groan, as she tried to follow his instructions.

Roland and T’rar head across the Bay to the Pilot’s ready Room for debriefing. Feeling the Narn’s hand touch his arm, Ro turn to follow his gestures. “Yeah, I don’t think she’s seen much death either. Just remember, not all Centauri are like the ones that ran the internment camp I busted you out of. She’s the ship’s doctor and one of us. She’s not one of those ‘pain specialist’ you’re familiar with. Okay?”

T’rar’s hands wove gestures through the air. “Good. Now let’s go.”

Copyright (c) 1998 Mona Hinds and Smith Self. All rights reserved.

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