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Mission of Mercy - Part 1

Posted on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 @ 9:59am by Commander Martin Sorenson & Lieutenant JG Ildri Lanik & Chief Petty Officer Calley Loreth & Petty Officer 2nd Class Tarel Rilem

Mission: Wrong Place, Right Time
Location: Paenope VI

Dust swirled along the main street and between the crevices between the warren of ramshackle buildings that had grown up along it. A few decades ago it might have been the start of a prosperous colony, but fate had not been kind and even the well-constructed buildings from that era showed their age. What had probably once been tidy shopfronts with apartments above were worn and patched with whatever was available to the colonists who remained. Still, there had obviously been some efforts at expansion - additions built on, sometimes with prefab, sometimes with bricks that looked to have been made from the native mud, and sometimes with the remnants of old ships. A few of the latter might be pleasant enough inside, having been adapted from quarters extracted from a shuttle or wrecked cargo ship, but others seemed to be little more than lean-tos constructed with half-rusted salvage.

He'd seen worse. After all, there wasn't much that could be worse - at least among worlds still capable of carrying life - than some of the worlds caught on the edge of the Hobus supernova. Still, Martin's frown had deepened as he read the long range scans, augmented by Asahi's intel sources and predictions from the science department. Heavy water and other pollutants from poorly controlled deuterium processing would have crippled local hopes of agricultural self-sufficiency. From what they'd pieced together from other old records, there had been initial attempts to compensate with cheap chemical fertilizers - a Devil's bargain that might have given a temporary increase in yield, but at the cost of further environmental degradation. Add in reliance on a 'dirty' reactor they had barely been able to maintain and... Well, the situation was not promising.

Now, looking around at it with his own eyes, those predictions seemed entirely on the mark. Worse, the only thing that appeared to be a medical clinic was half dark - a fact that didn't bode well for the EMH listed on the colony's original manifest being even marginally functional.

"All right," he said, nodding toward the door marked with a faded red cross. "Let's see what shape that's in. If we can clean it up enough to be useful, we will. People will probably be more comfortable being seen in some place familiar. Or at least less obviously run by Starfleet." It was the reason he was dressed in scrubs - his DWOB uniform rather than his Starfleet one. "If we can't, we'll find an empty spot to set up in ...there seem to be enough of those."

Ildri was completely fascinated by everything she saw around her. The old brick buildings, the former old fashioned ancient earthen style to the buildings that now looked more industrial as things had changed and been adapted as needed. Everything about the place felt unclean to her and she wanted to just pluck everyone off the planet and offer them a lollipop while they relocated them, but she knew that wasn't possible. It was a childish response. "Good idea," Ildri answered Martin. She wasn't looking at him but she'd heard every word he'd said. "These poor people," she whispered softly and then shook her head. This was no time to start feeling sorry for anyone and besides, they were here to help, that was the entire point of them coming.

Having adopted a similarly neutral-toned uniform devoid of Starfleet insignia, Tarel trotted behind. Strapped to her side was the emergency medical kit she had restocked before they left. Somehow, she did not seem phased by the state of the planet. She had no clue what she was walking into, but if there was one thing her limited Starfleet experience covered, it was that she had to expect just about everything. She maintained a neutral expression as she looked about for signs of annoyed colonists.

Calley hiked the two duffel bags of supplies she had brought higher up her shoulders before following Sorenson. Clad in a pair of scrubs her hair in a tightly tied braid, she was ready for whatever came next and from the looks of the area they had beamed down to, it was going to be busy. "Doctor, maybe we could get an engineer or two sent down, they might be more useful getting things set up sooner so we can start dealing with people faster." She said surveying the building.

"That is an excellent suggestion," Martin replied and tapped his comm. "Sorenson to Vesta."

"Vesta. Is there an issue, Commander?" came the reply.

"The clinic looks to be in need of some technical doctoring. Can you send us an engineer or two, preferably with some knowledge of med tech?"

There was a brief pause. "Telik is available. He'll will be arriving shortly."

"Understood. Sorenson out." He tapped off the comm. "That's handled. Now let's go in and start doing triage on the place so we can tell him what to work on first."

"Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon."

Ildri looked over at the others when she realizes she'd said all this out loud. "Oh, sorry. Just a poem I found in the academy that I like to repeat whenever I'm in a strange place. I just pretend it's a little road in front of me and then I start rhyming words and obviously being weird and annoying . . ."

Martin chuckled and then smiled at her reassuringly. "Not at all. Something to break the tension is just what we need, I think."

"Unfortunately I don't know any song and dance numbers and you don't want to listen to me sing anyway." Ildri took a deep breath. Why was she nervous? Was it the mission or Martin?

Calley let out a whooping cough as the dust she had just disturbed floated up and into her face. Struggling to talk through her coughs, "I don't think this place has been used in a long time." She said waving her had before her to try and dissipate the dust before she started setting some of the equipment up.

"Yeah, I'd say we can put off any song and dance routines in here," Martin said, puffing away a whirl of dust and heading toward the back where there seemed to be at least a few lights indicating functional equipment. Upon closer inspection, someone had apparently made some effort to maintain both an incubator and the climate controls in the supply cabinets. "Maybe it hasn't been quite that long since this part was used," he called back, bending down to examine scuff marks and tracks in the dust. "It's possible they distributed whatever medical supplies come in from -"

The back door slid open and Martin looked over to see a woman dressed in layers that might once have been colorful, but were now as worn and washed out as she was herself - he didn't have to be a doctor to recognize ill health in sunked cheeks and coarse, dull hair and skin.

She gasped and stepped back, eyes wide. For instant it appeared as though she might bolt, but she halted, hands twisting in the loose scarf that hung around her neck. "Where's Jorel? Did he send the medicine with you?" It was not so much as a question as a plea, her voice torn between fear and hope.

"His ship had engine trouble," Martin explained gently, guessing that Jorel was someone from the freighter. "But we're here in his place, and we did bring medicine. What do you need?"

"Thanks the gods - I was afraid Starfleet had caught him." The words were expelled as though part of a breath that been held too long. "Antibiotics - whatever you have. We stretched the last of it as much as we could, but my boy's so weak, now the fever's come back and his cough just keeps getting worse."

"Where is he? If the last round of antibiotics didn't help, he might need something else. I'm a doctor, maybe I can prescribe something better."

"A doctor? Jorel got us a doctor!" The woman stared as though he'd transformed into solid latinum. "But how? We could barely give him enough to pay for the drugs."

"Doctors Without Borders responds to need - no payment required." It was a true statement, even if the natural assumption from it wasn't, and it wasn't as though he'd never varnished the truth to get a patient to let him help even when he had been part of DWOB. Which didn't necessarily make Martin feel less guilty for lying, epecially when the woman responded with an effusive 'Bless you!' and hugged him.

"Why don't you take me to your son?" Martin suggested, gently disentangling her. "I'm going to make a house call," he told the rest of the away team. "See if you can get this place cleaned up and working. I have a feeling we'll have a lot more patients once word gets out."

 

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