Standing On the Bridge
Characters: Miina Awenata, Dr. Mira Trassano
Miina walked wordlessly down the corridors of the Phoenix heading for Medlab. The second time in less that twenty-four hours. The scene of the accident still fresh in her mind, still looping endlessly from the explosion to the doctor’s pronouncement of death. She was haunted by the face of Maenier, needlessly dying, yet another that she could not save. She didn’t even remember telling the turbolift what floor, and yet as it stopped, and the doors opened, she saw that she had arrived at her destination. She stopped before entering. Medlab always seemed to hold a fascination for her, mysterious, but fascinating. The way one might feel if in the midst of a wizard’s workshop. And in Medlab, despite her height, she felt very insignificant.
She hesitated at the doorway, not wanting to disturb the quiet. “Dr. Brannon?” But instead of Dr. Brannon, Miina saw the plump little Centauri doctor that had released her from her task of giving Maenier CPR.
Mira had just come out of the office with some data crystals and some more supplies that she wanted to have ready on hand, for emergencies. Mira looked up when she heard someone call for Helle. “She’s off-duty at the moment.” She smiled brightly at the human. “Can I help you?”
“Oh…yes,” Miina told her, feeling the need to explain this imposition. “Dr. Brannon requested that I return here today, so she can…monitor the progress of my healing.”
Trassano nodded and dumped the supplies down on a handy bed as she shoved the crystals into an already bulging pocket. “Come sit here on this bed and I’ll have a look.” She waved at another empty bed.
Miina sat on the bed compliantly and Mira started to cut the gauze away. She suddenly realized something and glanced up. “Oh, I’m Dr. Mira Trassano,” she said apologetically and smiled. “I don’t think we’ve met.”
Miina smiled back, tentatively. She was quite…soothed…by the woman’s smile and attention. “Miina,” she offered her name in return. “That is, Anla’shok Miina Awenata.”
Mira nodded encouragingly. “That is a lovely name. It reminds me of Homeworld.” She tapped the name into the handy terminal connected to the bed and quickly pulled up the file. Then she turned the engineer’s now bare hands gently to inspect the burns.
“Thank you,” Miina said, wishing that even a handful of those in her past could have been as supportive as this Centauri doctor. “Your kindness is…appreciated.”
Mira chuckled softly. “More homesickness than kindness, I’m afraid. How do these feel? Do they hurt much?” She dug around in her pockets for a scanner.
“Yes. A little.…” Miina answered Dr. Trassano honestly and without hesitation. She almost smiled for the doctor seemed to have an uncanny ability to encourage the truth. In fact, perched on the bed in front of the very competent Centauri doctor, she felt much less than her years and very much like a little child.
“Can you describe the hurt?” Mira scanned the hands and frowned at one in particular.
“Well, there is the burning sensation, but more cold than hot.… And they ache,” Miina nodded at her own statement, “very much. This one,” she indicated her right hand, “more so.”
“The skin aches? Or the broken bones?”
At the doctor’s words, Miina realized she must still be in somewhat of a state of shock, because the old injury to her hand had not even crossed her mind. She had just lumped everything together as a result of the accident. “Oh,” she said, just as she made the realization. “I suppose it is the bones….I had not thought of that. Then no, the burns do not hurt…that is…very much at all.”
Trassano shoved her scanner back into a pocket and nodded. “The bones were not set very well when they healed.”
Miina nodded and said, “I understand.”
Trassano continued, “This means that extremes of any sort will be painful…cold, especially will hurt, but putting your hands into a electrical current makes them hurt worse, I imagine.” The doctor wasn’t very clear on what exactly had happened. Mechanical things were not her forte.
“There was no time to think of oneself. I acted on instinct to save a life,” or to save hundreds, Miina thought sadly. “And I failed.”
Mira looked up sharply, hearing too much unhealthy guilt. Her eyes narrowed. “If that is so, than I failed also. All my training did not bring him back.”
“But you did all that could be done,” Miina insisted. “I watched you. The fault was not yours.”
“Nor is it yours. You did all you could have, also. These burns attest to that. I do not consider myself a failure. As you should not. The Gods will call whom they call and nobody can stop that. In fact if you try too hard, you will die as well.” She reached out and patted the engineer’s arm. “But that doesn’t make you feel much better does it?”
Miina shook her head, and thought of the carnage she had tried to prevent. And of the one Minbari she had tried desperately to save. “No…” she whispered. “And we had just met.…”
I don’t often meet people until they are hurt or dying. I see people die more often than I like to, Mira thought to herself as she said simply, “I understand.” She sorted through the supplies on the other bed. “It’s a hard thing.”
“He was Chief Engineer Santiago’s friend,” Miina told Dr. Trassano. “I am concerned for her. Do you know her well?”
Mira paused and stood frowning. “No, not well at all. She has suffered a great deal, this might be a hard blow.”
Miina nodded in agreement. “I sense that she has been deeply…wounded.”
Mira finally found what she had been looking for and began to administer the soothing salve to Miina’s hands. “Yes.” Miina closed her eyes at the touch of Mira’s hands. As have you, the doctor thought. “This will help to ease the pain somewhat. I can give some pills that will help more. If you like.”
The other woman shook her head. “That is kind of you, but I must learn to live with…the results of my…actions.”
Mira frowned but nodded. The doctor didn’t like to see people in pain, even if it was their own choice. “Also. I could fix your broken bones.”
Miina was surprised. “You could…repair the damage?”
“Likely. How were they broken?”
“Um…well.…” The usually eloquent, or at least wordy, Miina was tongue-tied.
Mira waited a while before prompting. “Yes?”
Miina looked down to the burned hands in her lap, and felt as if she were confessing a misdeed to a parent, but then again, she didn’t have the luxury to know how that felt. “I…I may have done some damage…when I struck my… commanding officer in the jaw. But the worst of it was done…in the brig. It was a makeshift place…the ship was falling apart, I had only tried to prevent it. I had just been informed that my court martial was certain. And I felt like punching my fist through a wall…so I did. And I found the only vestige of the bulkhead. It was like hitting concrete, or stone.” She explained, apologetically. “I used to have a very bad temper.”
Mira only smiled at her and said. “I’m sure everyone is different than they were before the Rangers. Some more so than others,” she added thoughtfully. I wonder if those rumors about Commander Shaver are true. Then she came back to herself and nodded firmly. “Well, the damage itself isn’t that bad. It’s the healing of the breaks that’s the problem. That can be fixed to a point. Honestly, anything I do would be improvement. But, it requires me to re-break the bones. Basically, I’d have to start the healing again from the beginning. You would be handless for a few weeks.”
“I thank you for your offer, but as I have little experience as a one-handed engineer, I think the process would be better left until we…are out of danger.”
Mira nodded and said with a chuckle, “Of course.” She re-wrapped the human’s hands in fresh gauze. “But, remember that the option is there. For later. After this is all over, you might like to be freed from that pain.”
Miina nodded back. “Thank you, doctor. I will.”