Characters: Dr. Mira Trassano, Terry Hale
Mira was sitting at the central desk in Medlab, staring at her hands. The last few days had all caught up with her and she was suddenly exhausted. That was how Carter found her, head bowed over her clasped hands.
“Doctor, you need to go to bed. I’ve already chased off the other two and now it’s your turn. If you don’t leave now, I’ll be forced to sedate you.”
Mira just smiled at him. “Now, Mr. Carter… you wouldn’t do that to me. You might call Security and have me thrown out, but you wouldn’t waste precious medicines on my being obstinate.” She chuckled at his look of ready agreement. “But as it is… I was just leaving.” She got up and started for the door.
It was at that moment Hale stepped in through the doorway. Mira nearly collided with the Captain.
“Pardon me,” the doctor mumbled before she even looked up. “Captain?” She had absolutely no idea why the Captain would be here. Her tired mind simply wouldn’t give her one.
“Doctor…” Hale looked at Mira closely. “You were leaving. Perhaps one of your nurses could help me dispose of a few duties.”
Mira smiled up at the tall human. “I’m sure they could, if they were not all busy. I’d be happy to help you. What is it you wanted?”
Carter stomped off muttering loudly to himself about stubborn women who tried to run themselves into the ground. Mira hoped that the Captain didn’t notice.
“I came to identify your unknown. I was familiar with the crew.” Hale said simply, the stiffness of her manner was the only thing betraying the depth of emotions she hid.
Mira blinked, owlishly. “Of course.” She nodded to herself. “It had slipped my mind that you might have been. Come, we shall retire to the office.” The doctor waved for her to follow. Mira sat behind main desk and gestured Hale into a seat. “I’ll just pull up the files. I hope the nurses have finished organizing the data.”
“Understandable, if not,” Hale said as she sank into the chair across. An ironic smile cracked her mask as she relaxed back into the seat. “More comfortable than the Captain’s chair.”
Mira chuckled at the Captain and then it became a frown at the terminal. She was having trouble thinking straight enough to find her files. “You forget that this is the office of a Centauri. It would be worthless if not comfortable. Ahhh… here it is.” She smiled, again. “My staff does make me proud. It is finished.”
“Indeed.” Hale leaned forward. She was plainly not looking forward to this part.
Mira shifted the screen to make it easier for the Captain. “There were forty-three on board and only five unidentified.”
“Only forty-three?” Hale’s surprised gaze flickered from the screen to the doctor.
Mira nodded. “I brought two of the nameless with me and the other three had their images recorded by the nurse attending them. I had hoped that the ship was understaffed for some reason or another. But, also, there were many places we could not get into for lack of service hatches. There might even have been some lost out the docking bay doors.” She gave a soul-weary sigh. “In the end, we only found forty-three.”
“There were fifty-two. A full complement, plus Captain Narsh and Ranger Solo. I’ll have to go over the full list, to give you the names of all the missing,” Hale said without relish. Dutifully, she leaned over the terminal and began to work.
“Of course.” Mira nodded. “I shall leave you alone, if you like.” The doctor slipped out of the office, apparently forgotten.
Hale stood and stretched painfully. Closing her eyes proved no escape; her mind was filled with the faces of the dead. She knew too many of them, and as more than just names and files. She found Mira hovering outside the office. It was plain she couldn’t have made herself leave any more than the Hale could.
“Done. No one is left unnamed. We can give them that, at least.”
Mira nodded back. “Yes, that is good.”
A little desperation began welling up in Hale. “Was there anything you found unusual in your autopsies?”
“Unusual… other than an annoying lack in cause of death? No,” Mira grimaced in irritation. “There were, of course, high chemical levels in their brains. But that is most likely due to the excitement of being in Vorlon Space and not to the mode of death.”
Hale sighed. “And the images captured… there was no further record to be found?” She knew them to be useless questions, but couldn’t help asking them anyway.
“No, nothing else could be extracted… though I did send the mechanical eye to Science lab in hopes that they have better luck with it.” Mira shook her head. She was a doctor, and yet even she avoided the names of the dead. “They all just… stopped, Captain. For no reason. Like they were toys and had their energy pods removed.” Mira sighed, releasing her aggravation. “I wonder if you have given any thought to… disposal….”
“Some.” Hale looked down to meet Mira’s eyes. “You’ve a thought?”
“I cannot imagine having to haul the ship back to civilization, never mind through this whole mission.” Mira sighed again. “And I understand there is a nearby sun. Our three ‘guests’ can be returned to the ship and….” She simply stopped and suddenly couldn’t seem to go on with her thought.
“A Viking funeral, yes. I’d thought of–” Hale looked at Mira with concern.
Mira noticed and smiled wanly. “I am simply weary, Captain. Very, very weary.”
Hale smiled back, faintly, in understanding. “You and I both, Doctor.” Hale turned toward the exit. “I’ll leave you to the rest you’d intended.”
Mira nodded. “Thank you, Captain. I will look forward to meeting you again, soon. At your physical, perhaps?”
Hale glanced back, a short, unexpected laugh escaping her. “You don’t miss anything, do you, doctor?”
Mira’s eyes twinkled with her smile as she replied, “Very, very rarely.”
“Until you catch me, then.” The Captain gave a quick half-bow and left.
Copyright (c) 1998 Mona Hinds and Alida Saxon. All rights reserved.