Characters: Lynne Travis, John Carter
Lynne wriggled her toes on her left foot. She’d been doing that a lot since she recovered from that incident with the filing cabinet drawer. It was nice to have toes. She turned her mind back to the task at hand. Dr Trassano was finally letting her do real work again. Not just busy work and orderly duties. Of course, she thought, Trass doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter. It’s amazing how many Abbai need this, that, or the other from us now that we’re officially “welcomed.” I just can’t screw up any more or she’ll prolly have nailed to the wall beside her idol.
Lynne very carefully studied the cell culture she had in the microscope. This is almost ready. Another day, just like the others. She heard the Centauri opera music swell briefly before being muffled again as Mira’s office door opened and closed.
“Mr Carter,” Mira called.
Lynne heard Carter pipe up, “Yep, Doc?”
“Is this report on the Blisshoss Virus the latest information we have? Do you think we can trust the source? After all, they’ve been under a great deal of stress. They could be exaggerating. Surely, this isn’t an epidemic.”
“Well, Doc, I tell ya, that ….” The opera music swelled again and was quickly muffled as Carter and Mira stepped back into her office.
Lynne nodded to herself as she checked on the last culture. I hope it’s not an epidemic. These poor people have had enough to handle lately. But, it’s real easy to let sanitation and health care go to hell when you’re being bombed and terrorized by raiders on a regular basis. Deciding that this one was done, she began processing the chemical byproduct out of it. These little cells secreted a combination of chemicals that were crucial to the treatment of the Blisshoss Virus.
Ya know, it’s strange. Trass has been hanging out in her office way too much lately. I almost never see her at the Nurses Station anymore. Not since the party, in fact. Lynne paused for a moment and contemplated. I wonder why?
The opera music swelled again. The Doctor’s office spit out the Head Nurse.
Carter glanced around the MedLab. Everyone was occupied and productive. The smoothly running MedLab was a pleasant sight, but it seemed to have lost a little of it’s previous soul. Carter had noticed it for a while now. But, he hadn’t been able to put his finger on the change until just now. He glanced around again, this time looking for a likely accomplice.
“Travis, ya got a minute?”
Lynne looked up at Carter as he leaned casually against the counter in the research area. Then, she glanced down at her work. The other cultures wouldn’t be ready for processing until tomorrow and the one in the machine right now was going to take and hour. “Sure,” she said.
He waved her out the door of the Research Area and into the storage closet which was right next to it. Lynne felt a little strange standing in the middle of cabinets full of gauze and cots with her supervisor, shut away from prying eyes and dropping eaves. This could be super awkward, flitted through her mind.
“Do you still keep up with your physical training?” Carter asked. “I know that some of the Medical Rangers let it slide a bit.”
“Yeah, I visit the gym three times a week. Me and a couple of the orderlies spar when we get a chance.”
Carter grinned. “Great. You and me are gonna attack Trass tonight when the shift changes.”
Lynne stared at the Head Nurse. “What?” she said, brilliantly.
Carter’s eyes were sparkling now. “Have you noticed that Trass has got herself holed up in her office? She’s been all quiet and mopey, too. I was just in there with her discussing that Blisshoss Report and she never once cracked a smile. She didn’t wink or roll her eyes or even giggle when I told her my latest groaner. In fact, she’s in there listening to the most melodramatic depressing Centauri Opera I have ever heard. I can only thank my hardheadedness about languages that I don’t know what they were squealing about or I might have slit my wrists in there.” Carter paused in his tirade to shake his head and heave a melodramatic sigh. “So, I have decided to snap her out of her little funk by giving her a good hiding. All in the name of self-defense training, of course.”
Lynne’s forehead was furrowed with an intense frown. “But, I thought Commander Morgan was training Trass in self-defense.”
“Oh, she won’t mind. This is good for the good doctor. We’ll be careful not to hurt her.” Carter brushed over that topic. “But, I warn you. Trass ain’t so careful about not hurting us.” He winked. “Last time I jumped her she nearly neutered me by accident before she realized who I was. Then, she tried to neuter me on purpose.”
“So, the Commander said you could pounce on her student periodically?”
“I jumped Trass about three times during the Phoenix Overhaul when she came back early. Ya know, some people just don’t know what to do with themselves when they’ve got a vacation.” Carter shook his head. “So, are ya in?”
Lynne chewed on the corner of her lip. “If you’re sure about this. But, I’m saying you ordered me to it if Trass demotes me back to orderly again.” Having decided, Lynne fell into the spirit of the thing. “So, spill the gruesome details.”
Copyright © 2000 Mona Hinds. All rights reserved.