Different Agendas

Characters: Dr. Hellecat Brannon, Dunstan Kordieh

“Doctor Brannon?”

Helle turned to see a tall, thin man in the uniform of a Ranger trainee, looking at her with faint but perceptible nervousness.

She acknowledged him.

“I’ve been ordered to serve here, as an assistant to you and the other healers. I’ve already reported to Healer Daanike.”

Helle frowned, trying to recall a message informing her of the arrival of new medical staff. Picturing Mira’s desk with its towering piles of ‘urgent’ and ‘incredibly urgent’ missives, she decided to feign awareness. “Riiiiight. OK. Welcome. To Medlab. Then.”

Biting the inside of her lip, she berated herself with that sarcastic little voice that seemed to pop up quite regularly since Mira’s departure had left her in charge. Oh well done Helle, verrrrrry casual. I’m sure he didn’t see straight through THAT! He probably already knows you as the drunken doc and is wondering if you’ve indulged in a liquid lunch today.

Focusing on the trainee instead of her internal nag-ologue, she decided to try a different tack. “So, which of the new recruits are you?”

He hesitated for a fraction of a second. “My name is Dunstan Kordieh. Most of my background’s in engineering … but the Council wanted me to serve here. I do have some basic medical training, and I learn quickly.” He offered her a nervous smile.

Helle stared blankly at him, barely even catching his name. He’s obviously thrilled to be “ordered to serve here”.

An involuntary shiver ran up her back and she glared over Kordieh’s shoulder. You can’t even get the engineering department to alter the icebox temperature of the environmental controls in here. How can you possibly think you can run a medical department?

“Right!! That’s it! I’ve had it with those people!” Spinning on her heel, she stomped into Mira’s office, the engineers on her mind. Mira’s office? That’s right, not yours. Just a loaner till they can find someone qualified for the job. “Shut up you,” she muttered before she could stop herself. It was only a second until she realised that she had left her new staff member standing outside, probably in total confusion at the weird behaviour of his new boss. She thumped her fist on the desk and pile of data crystals obligingly slid in a clattering racket onto the floor.

Too embarrassed to face him at the moment she called out for him to report to Daanike for his current shift duties. She heard his hurried footsteps leaving Medlab One.

This time the sarcastic voice was her own and thoroughly audible as she sagged into her chair and dropped her head into her hands.

“Oh well done! Well done.”

Kordieh fled Medlab One in near panic, feeling as if all the hounds of Hell had been set loose on him. His first few hours back on the Phoenix had been disastrous.

First he’d been made to realize just how much he’d hurt the Phoenix herself, not just her crew; then he’d brought out all of his friend G’fen’s rage against the Centauri; and now, it was clear Doctor Brannon hated him. It wasn’t hard to understand why.

He stopped to lean against a bulkhead and nearly slammed his head into it before Darquin’s words from earlier in the day came back to him. “You can’t help anyone if you lose it now!”

Moving more slowly, he made his way to one of the observation decks. He settled himself into a meditative pose and closed his eyes, seeking to clear his mind and gather calm and strength for whatever was to come next.

A few minutes later, a young human Ranger entered the room, moving quietly as she saw the meditating man already there. She settled herself nearby, glancing briefly into her companion’s face. The eyes were closed, the features were still.

But two tears rested on his cheeks, glittering in the reflected light from the planet below.

Copyright (c) 2002 Denise Cox and Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.


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