No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Characters: Dr. Mira Trassano, Terry Hale

Mira sat down on an amazingly empty bed in MedLab… finally. It’s nice to sit, she thought. Maybe I need better shoes…. The last few patients on this particular Whitestar had been tended to and sent back to their quarters, or sent to facilities on Earth for long-term care. The Whitestar 21 wouldn’t be carrying any seriously wounded back to Babylon 5. The rescue teams were still out, though. They could bring one in at any time and, either a doctor would have to bag and tag the body, or patch it up. So, a doctor had to be on duty, just in case someone WAS brought into MedLab.

Lost in the contemplation of her shoes, Mira missed seeing none other than Captain Hale slipping past a nurse into Medlab; a woman who had managed to make no more than one appearance in the medical areas since taking command.

It was when she heard the rattle of equipment that Mira looked up and behind her. In front of a stack of emergency medkits she saw nothing but the dark uniform and red hair — no green coat and an absence of any medical paraphernalia like what bulged from Mira’s pockets.

“And just What are you doing?!” She hopped off the bed, consequentially losing a foot of height. Mira descended upon the figure like a mother on a recalcitrant child. The response was immediate as the ranger turned, offending medkit in hand, and Mira recognized Hale. “Captain?” she said frowning fiercely at the taller woman. The doctor’s hands went to her hips (above her bulging pockets). “Well? What do you want with that kit?”

“Doctor,” Hale greeted. The calm, slightly amused appearance was spoiled by a certain wariness in her glance. “Replacing the empty one up on the bridge. I expected everyone would still be busy down here.” It was plainly what she had hoped, anyway.

The Centauri’s eyes scraped over Hale’s figure, suspiciously. Mira picked out the tears and singe marks in the Captain’s uniform. “Mmm-hhhmmm… yes, of course… out of the goodness of your heart to spare someone the trouble. Sit down, Captain… Right there.” She pointed to the bed she had just vacated.

Hale straightened up defensively. “I’m just fine, Doctor.”

“I’ll be the judge of that!” Mira snapped more sharply than she had intended. “Sit.”

Hale’s eyebrows lifted, she seemed to consider her diminished options, and then gave in. Putting the kit down, she took a seat on the bed.

Pulling a wad of tubing and a pair of scissors out of her pocket, Mira began to construct a pile of miscellanea on the bed beside Hale. She found a scanner. “Take off your jacket, please. So, you were going to sneak off to a corner and self-doctor, were you?”

“Would there be any use to denying it?” Hale asked, taking off her jacket carefully. Her eyes watched the odd things being produced from the doctor’s pockets with amazement.

“All minor injuries should have come in for treatment three hours ago.” Mira glared at an offending burn. Digging around further produced some alcohol swabs and burn ointment. “So, just because you happen to be a Captain, you think you’re undestroyable? Infection and lock-jaw won’t happen to you?”

“Duty wouldn’t allow it. I came down when I could, didn’t I?” She didn’t mention the fact that it had been only for a kit, not proper medical attention that she’d come. She winced at Mira’s sometimes less than gentle treatment. “You know you’ve got the bedside manner of a pitbull.”

Mira snorted and continued to swab out the burns and minor cuts. “I save my sweetness for appreciative patients. Not hard-headed officers! You and Morgan both! Would rather wait until you are gangrenous and bleeding from the eyes before coming in for treatment.”

Hale winced again, wondering just what she did to be so damned in her luck.

“Bah! I wonder sometimes, why I bother. You could have contracted any type of serious virus through open wounds, no matter how small.” She transferred her glares to Hale. “Particularly since I have no record of a physical or Vaccination Chart for you.”

“I had one last year,” she protested. “It’ll be on record at Minbar.”

Mira simply snorted. “There are some that need updating yearly. That’s what yearly physicals are for.”

“Very well, once we’re past this you’ll get it—”

“Don’t give me any gifts, Captain. I can just as easily shoot you with a traq dart.” She frowned at a particularly nasty cut on the arm. “This one will need a spot of glue or two.”

Hale glared at Trassano, thinking this has got to be one of the most foul tempered Centauri she’s ever come across… and a doctor no less.

Mira started digging in her pockets again. She found a small wooden toy space ship and a sterilized sealed packet of Fleshseal glue. She opened the packet with scissors from the ‘discovered’ items piled on bed.

Hale leaned back on her hands. “What don’t you have in there?”

“This will sting a bit at first.” She looked up surprised and confused by the Captain’s question. “In where?”

“Your pockets,” she said through gritted teeth, expecting worse.

Mira gently dabbed a few spots of glue into cut and pressed the sides together, holding them in place. “Well, I don’t happen to have a PPG at the moment.”

Hale sniffed. “That’s reassuring.”

Mira chuckled, recovering her good humor. “Morgan took it away when I missed the target and almost shot her.”

Hale was surprised into laughter. Looking at the doctor, she asked, “Target practice?” She was curious, not expecting it of the doctor. A little plump, and not often in standard uniforms — for Rangers anyway — the Centauri didn’t seem to be a part of the sort that got tangled in the battles or conspiracies.

Mira shrugged. “I was recruited directly from the Medical Halls on Minbar and never received formal Anla’shok training.” Slowly releasing pressure on the cut, she was relieved to see it remain sealed.

“The recruiting did get a little desperate,” Hale commented. She looked down at the sealed gash. Got it from a flying piece of debris, no doubt, but didn’t notice it until later. She was grateful as the pain faded, but not enough to shift her ground by saying so.

Mira nodded. “Oh yes, it certainly did. But, Morgan is good enough to give me some combat training, just in luggage, as you would say. At least, she was… before she broke her arm.”

Luggage? Hale thought, baffled. It wouldn’t be until later that she’d untangle another of the doctor’s confused human expressions. “So you’re out of a trainer for a bit. Rather unfortunate.”

Mira looked sideways at the Captain. “Yes… unfortunate….”

Hale caught the tone of voice, then suddenly realized. Smiling, a little too toothily, she offered, “I’m sure I could fix that for you.”

Mira’s lips twitched. “Um… no… thank you… Morgan might feel… slighted.” She coughed, delicately.

“Nonsense. She could work with whoever takes over. I’m sure she wouldn’t find any problem with it.” Hale was forcibly holding back an all out grin.

The slightly pudgy doctor gave Hale a final once over to make sure she didn’t miss anything. Then, her eyes widened at Hale’s comments. Thinking quickly, she said, “Besides, I’ve been so busy lately, that if I had to make time to receive training… I might make mistakes… lose files.” The look of innocence on Mira’s face was beautiful.

“Well, you have time to give me that Physical, don’t you? And I have every trust in your memory. Besides, the war’s over. We’ll have some time off now.”

Mira tried desperately to think of a way out of the mess. She had been enjoying her reprieve. Glaring at Hale, she realized that the Captain was enjoying this too much. “Morgan’s arm won’t be prepared for use for at least another two weeks.” The doctor thought, she’s just trying to get some revenge for that well-deserved lecture.

“I’m sure one of your fellow Rangers would be quite happy to help out for a couple weeks then.” Hale was not giving in. If she was going to be poked and prodded for an hour… she wouldn’t be the only one.

Mira pasted on a Court smile. “Well, then, I thank you in advance for going to all the trouble of finding me an alternate instructor. And while you’re here, Captain. I just happen to have my appointment book with me. Why don’t we find a time for your physical?”

It’ll be worth it. Hale smiled back, putting her jacket back on. “Whenever is the best time for you.”

Finding her book in her breast pocket along with an old-fashioned pencil, Mira penciled Hale in with a tiny stub of pencil. “Well, then how about this time?” She handed the Captain an appointment slip.

Hale looked at it, then tucked it in a pocket. “Just fine. Until then?”

“I’ll be expecting you.” Mira found a tube of antibiotic cream to go with the jar of burn ointment. She handed both to Hale. “These should keep you comfortable while the abrasions heal.”

“Thank you,” she said, sincerely, but still amused with her own plans. “And I’m sure I’ll be getting back to you very soon as well. Morgan is very prompt about some things.” Hale slipped down off the bed, medical supplies in one hand.

Mira sighed, aggrieved. “She is indeed. I believe she actually takes an unholy joy in being so.” She sat back down, thinking, Yes, I definitely need new shoes. If only to reward myself for the thrashing I’m about to get.

Hale chuckled, taking her leave from Medlab.