Gold Coast: Chapter 3-B

Jan 16th, 2011 | By | Category: Gold Coast, Kymria

A Day and a Life

Part B

“Being a little presumptive with your assumption of power, aren’t you, Dr. Saba?”

The tall Hrazelle looked up from behind his desk to see the chief medical officer standing in the doorway. He glanced briefly at the clock in the corner of his terminal screen. It was almost 4:00; well past the 50 minutes of ‘rest’ he had prescribed for his superior officer. The smile on her face, and relaxed stance told him all that he needed to know. The fact that she was wearing black denim pants and a faded grey T-shirt rather than her uniform only confirmed his observations.

“Well, with the boss off doing who knows what…or would that be ‘who knows who’?…”

“You know exactly what and who.”

“Well, not exactly what, but I could make a few guesses.”

“You just keep your speculations to yourself, mister.”

They both tried hard to keep a straight face, but neither had any success. Laughing easily, Aerowyn walked fully into her second’s office and plopped casually into an empty chair, slouching low into it in order to place her feet on the dark wood of the desk top. “Thank you. I owe you. I hadn’t realized just how much yesterday took out of me. The thought of Raven on that ship, maybe injured, maybe dead… It was a little bit of stress.”

“I can imagine. I do remember what it’s like to be in love. It may have been a while, but I still know the feeling.”

“I hope you don’t mind my asking, but what happened to your wife? You’ve never said anything about her.”

“Life happened to her. We were young and in love. That was enough. It lasted almost 5 years. Which is probably about 4 more than any intelligent person should have expected. After the birth of Kalla, she started to get second thoughts. I graduated shortly after that. I guess neither of us had thought that far ahead. I was all set to head out where ever Fleet wanted me to go. She wasn’t. The separation was friendly, at least. We both decided that Kalla would be better off with me; Fleet family care being what it is.

“Since then, it’s been Kalla and I. That’s one thing I’m not sorry about. She’s one amazing young woman. Ach. Young woman. It was just yesterday that she was a little girl.”

“I guess you’re just getting old, Damon.”

“You, little girl, are not too old to spank, you know.”

“Oooo.” With a familiar gesture, the young doctor swept her long hair back from her face, refocusing her train of thought. “So. Back to business.”

“Ah, yes. Business. Did you read the report I filed?”

“No. Not yet. I thought I’d just come down and get it first-hand.” The lightness visibly fell from her face as she let out a breath. The young girl was again replaced by the chief medical officer, despite the casual clothing and relaxed posture. “How many dead?”

“Including the ten members of Mr. Kennon’s team? 143. There are another 14 in the ICU. I’ve no guesses yet as to how many of them will make it.”

“They all will, Dr. Saba. We’re here to make sure of that.”

“If the gods be willing, Snow. If the gods be willing. Most of those who came through here last night have been sent to their quarters or barracks. They’ve been instructed to report back for regular check-ups. I’ve asked Brys to make up a schedule based on type and severity of injuries. I’m hoping to keep the traffic through here manageable.”

“Good. With the staff being unused to the facilities and each other, that should help to minimize mistakes.”

“That was my intention. I also wish to keep from placing too much of the burden on one shift. Luckily for us, most of personnel are on a variety of planetary times. Coming in during night shifts will be easier for many of them.”

“Damon. How did the surgery teams work out last night? I tried to stay out of their way as much as possible.”

“Considering the newness of the staff, and the unusual circumstances? They worked quite well. On the recommendation of some of the more senior members, I have made notes on some areas that may need some work, however.”

“Good. I’ll look at them later.”

Damon pushed himself up from his desk, walking the few steps to the teapot he kept running at all times. Pulling two cups off the shelf, he poured a cup for himself, and a smaller one for his guest. Without having to ask, he added a spoonful of honey to the smaller cup, stirring it in with a gentle clinking of metal against ceramic. Aerowyn pulled her feet off the desk and sat up as he handed it to her. Rather than returning to his chair, Damon sat on the corner of the large desk and sipped of the steaming tea before speaking.

“Dr. baan Mariko gives her compliments on your work last night. She said that if it wasn’t for your aptitude at triage and the preparatory work you did, many of those that came through surgery wouldn’t have lived. I watched you out there. She’s right. You did good.”

“There’s 143 people that might disagree with that.”

“There’s over 2000 that will side with Dr. baan Mariko.”

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, Damon, it’s that death isn’t a democracy.” With a small effort, she pulled herself out of the chair. Again her hand absently swept her long white hair back, taking with it her previous mood. It was a gesture that her chief second had already learned the meaning of. He knew that that thread of discussion had been terminated, and the young lady doctor would not return to it. “So, Damon. I guess I should go see the patients. Would you come along?”

“Most certainly.”

Aerowyn looked very little like a doctor as she walked among the rooms of the hospital wing. Her behavior, as well, was not what most of the patients expected from the chief medical officer. Rather than a detached medical perspective, the young woman who walked among them was friendly and personable. She’d sit on the beds as she glance at the charts of each patient. Dr. Saba would stand behind her quietly, answering questions when she asked, or adding a bit of information here or there, but otherwise staying quiet while this amazing young woman worked her magic.

While technology, science, and procedure were invaluable tools, Aerowyn believed adamantly that the single most important tool available to a doctor was a personable presence. A smile, a friendly word; these could do what no tool of technology could. No amount of medicine could make a person want to heal. Despite all the advances in medicine, there was still so much about the process of healing that was beyond the capacity of science to explain. The emotional and mental well-being of the patient was essential to the physical well-being. The Singers had know this for centuries. It was central to their religion and philosophy. Many of the primitive beliefs of the Hrazelle were based on this premise. And yet so many of the Kymrians refused to see it. Aerowyn was never sure where she learned this. Perhaps nowhere. Perhaps everywhere. It was simply the way she was.

With Damon in tow, Aerowyn took her time walking through the wing. It’s rooms were all occupied. Most of them full. The patients in them all suffered from severe injuries. Those who didn’t need constant care, or who weren’t in immediate danger had been sent to their homes. Brys devoted a significant portion of his available resources to watching over them.

For the next three hours–over a quarter of the day–Aerowyn walked among her patients–for that’s how she saw them. Though she might not be the one directly overseeing their care, they were all her patients. She never left a room until she felt she should. She listened to each person that wanted to talk. She never avoided looking at a person, regardless of the brutality of their wounds. And she was honest. Many of these people would carry the memories of this day openly on their bodies for the rest of their lives. Others would be spending several moons, if not years learning to reuse their bodies, to train from scratch muscles and limbs which were not even being prepared for regeneration yet.

Whatever it was that this beautiful young doctor did during that tour, its effects were evident. The nurses and staff saw the almost tangible release of tension follow her. More than anything she may have done the night before, more than any demonstration of her medical skills, that tour gained her the respect of both her patients and her peers.

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