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Last Minute Medical Arrival

Posted on 05 Apr 2023 @ 5:23am by Lieutenant Commander Kennedy Monroe M.D. & Captain Harvey Geisler

2,170 words; about a 11 minute read

Mission: Milk Run
Location: Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 0900

Kennedy greeted those who met her eye with a smile and a nod as she moved down the corridor to her new quarters. She didn't have much to organize or to place to make the space feel like home, and frankly, she would have preferred to head straight to Sickbay to get the lay of the land, but she had been in Starfleet long enough to know there were protocols she could bend and those she couldn't.

Taking the time to report in properly definitely fit in the latter category... not that she minded meeting members of the command team. She respected anyone who was willing to lead an entire crew in the service of others. Such dedication allowed her to do what she loved. The least she could do was take the time to say hello before she walked into her office and got to work.

It didn't take long for her to get things squared away for the time being, which left her plenty of time to write a polite but unassuming note to Captain Geisler and Commander Reynolds indicating she was free to meet just one or both of them at their earliest convenience.

* * *

The note arrived on the Captain's terminal while Harvey was once again reviewing the mission outline. Not a single bit of this mission was favorable to Harvey, and the more he looked at it the more disgusted he grew. His disgust bled over into additional frustration when he saw the notice from Doctor Monroe. Normally, he'd be overjoyed to see a new member of the senior staff, especially a doctor, but he could only see red at this point.

All of this bled over into his tone as he tapped his combadge and simply stated, "Doctor Monroe, report to the Ready Room."

* * *

Kennedy was taking time to review the crew roster and the deck listing when the verbal reply came much sooner than she expected. To boot, it was Geisler himself answering when she expected to be meeting with Reynolds. He was her immediate superior after all, but then, she always felt weird about only contacting the XO in these circumstances even though it was often protocol. Was she about to be dressed down for that?

Geisler's tone certainly suggested something was off. Everything she had read indicated he was tough but fair and kind. Monroe was tempted to test her knowledge of the layout from memory as she made her way to the Ready Room, but she decided against it and had the computer help her to get there quicker.

She rang the chime and waited.

The doors parted almost immediately, revealing the Captain behind his desk and holographic terminal screen. "Come in, Doctor," he greeted, but only after glancing up to confirm who it was that arrived at the ready room. "I'm glad to see that you made it aboard in time."

So far so good, Kennedy thought, entering the Ready Room, but not sitting. His tone did not sound as stern as it did over the comm, but she was still treading carefully. Monroe understood COs had lots on their plates, and if what she understood about the ship's history with CMOs was anything to go by, she could understand his grumpiness. "I was glad also. Still, from what little I know about this crew and this ship's storied history, I have no doubt any medical issues could be handled without me. Admittedly, however, as soon as I received this assignment, or any assignment, really, I arty start to think of the crew as mine to care for."

Harvey chuckled, practically scoffed at the mention of storied history. "Well, you are certainly going to have a lot of crew to care for, not to mention checking up to do. The Black Hawk's crew compliment is supposed to be 530. We're currently sitting just over 470. 57 of those came from the last ship, and the assignment was taxing. Your medical staff is short, most of them arrived in the last 24 hours. I can't tell you how many physicals they've been able to complete, but I can't imagine it's much."

The Captain sighed and leaned back in his chair. "Forgive me, Doctor. Normally, I launch into some small talk to try and get to know you a little bit. I enjoy meeting fellow physicians, but today you've caught me literally just a few minutes from sending this ship out on its maiden assignment."

With something as simple as a sigh and a lean back in his chair, Kennedy could see the terseness she thought she had detected in her new captain's voice when he had first summoned her here was either in her imagination or perhaps more accurately, an aberration. She appreciated a man who wasn't afraid to reveal his ups and downs, especially if that man once served as a doctor like herself. Kennedy learned to expect to work with all types, but it was hardly surprising she would prefer to work with someone who was real and not cliché. "No need to apologize, sir. To be honest, I hate to trouble any of the command staff just to let them know I'm here. I'm happy to get out of your hair for now, unless there something I can do for you first, like an aspirin, or a prescription for a vacation on a tropical island?" She asked with a smile.

Harvey chuckled. "I think Joey would tell you that I don't vacation well, and any such vacation for me requires weeks at a time. Short furloughs seem to only add to my frustration and cares rather than remove them. Which, when there's a new crew, a new ship, and a mission that is clearly punishment for something that I am not responsible for... Not to mention the fact that I seem to be churning through personnel at record rates... it's a wonder that Starfleet hasn't shoved me out of this uniform or behind a desk."

He sighed once more and continued, "Again, Doctor, I apologize. I know we're due to launch soon and play guard to a convoy of unknown size and stature on a trip to the far reaches of Federation-monitored territory. And, having just come on board at the literal tail end of our preparations, I can only imagine the mess that awaits you down in sickbay. Hopefully our mission will give you time to sort all of that out and make sure this crew is in prime physical condition."

Kennedy continued to be surprised at the difference between the man she expected to encounter when she'd first been summoned and the man who was confiding in her now. She didn't want to overstep, but his candor and his vulnerability triggered the caretaker in her, particularly because he was taking responsibility for things that were not his fault. Monroe wanted to inquire further about the circumstances he believed he was being punished for, but she didn't want to add to his distress. What she could tell in this relatively short exchange was that Harvey cared about his people and he wanted them to do well. She hoped Starfleet Medical in its wisdom would keep her here. Such a leader inspired a crew to be their best selves, and that's exactly where Monroe needed to be.

"You're not responsible for my last-minute assignment, my limited time or lack of resources. Unless you're about to reveal we've known each other in an alternate universe and you have a secret reason to hold a grudge or something, none of this is your fault. If a vacation is out of the question, besides getting out of your hair and taking care of your people, maybe there's something else you'd like to get off your chest? I'm a relative stranger right now to you, and I know sometimes that makes talking about things a bit easier."

The Captain shook his head, answering, "I can promise you that in all my trips to alternate universes and timelines that I've never met a version of you. Of course, with that said, over the last few years, I've experienced a lot of turnover in my senior staff. You figure out a way to stay for a while, longer than a mission or two, and then perhaps you can hear me get a couple things off my chest."

He leaned forward in his chair, took a beat, and then continued, "As for now, since we are getting close to launch, I'd like to ask if you have any questions for me regarding the assignment. I mentioned that our assignment is to guard a convoy between the wormhole and the Gavara colony. This trip won't be routine, and it will be monitored by pirates or anyone looking to pick up some good cargo. You may have your hands full. Or, you may not. The next few days will tell."

Kennedy appreciated Harvey's response. He wasn't rude, but he made it clear he wasn't about to confide in a stranger. She could respect such judiciousness. He had also made it clear without being rude that he would appreciate having a CMO stick around for a while to prove her worth before he would consider sharing any more of himself. Monroe could appreciate that as a relatively private person herself. "I'm sure I will have many questions in the coming days, but I promise not to bug you for the answers unless you are the only person I can possibly get them from. As for having my hands full or not, I can promise I know how to keep busy, sir. I'll hope for our sake the only thing I will be focused on is getting the medical team working like a cohesive unit and making sure I'm up-to-date on the crew's needs. If that turns out not to be the case, however, we'll still be ready, sir."

The Captain provided a weak smile and nodded at the Doctor. He looked her up and down for a second longer, performing a final mental assessment of the woman. She seemed quick to catch on, and ready to get started. He appreciated dedication to duty, but he still didn't know this woman. As a doctor, he had to trust her. But only time would tell if she'd be worthy of the trust he had to default to her. "First rule of the Gamma Quadrant is to be ready for anything. Personally, I hope this mission is quiet and quick. If you need anything, be sure to check in with the XO, Commander Reynolds. He's experienced, but also new to the Black Hawk. Aside from getting settled, the only order I'll give is make sure crew physicals are up to date. Any questions for me at this time?"

Kennedy shook her head. "No, sir," making a mental note to meet with Reynolds as soon as possible. It would be helpful to connect with someone relatively new to the crew like herself, particularly the man charged with tending to personnel needs on a wider scale. "I know words of reassurance won't mean much to you, as only time and action will prove me worthy of your trust given the number of medical chiefs you've gone through, but I do thank you for taking the time to connect with me. You have every reason to farm me out to someone else or feel resigned at meeting another CMO, but you didn't do that."

Harvey considered telling her that he didn't have much choice in the matter of her assignment, especially since qualified medical personnel were of short supply in the Gamma Quadrant. It was a semantic ultimately not worth mentioning at this point. "Indeed I didn't," he confirmed. "Regardless, don't mince your words with me. Keep the crew healthy and treated, and you and I will get along great."

He then rose from the chair and pointed at a pile of padds that littered the small table on the other side of the room. "If you'll excuse me, I need to finish some paddwork before we launch. Sickbay should be stocked, but if you're missing anything, run it through Commander Marsh, our Ops officer, and he'll work on getting it for you. I can't promise we can get supplies anytime soon, but he can work on it."

"Will do," Kennedy replied, making a mental note to prioritize checking the supply lists. It was going to feel like she was handling several things at once, but fortunately, that wasn't unfamiliar to her as a physician. After completing her mental list, she considered the command not to mince her words. She had never had a commanding officer direct her in such a way, but she also knew she would have no problem honoring the request. He, better than anyone, would understand that in medicine, mincing words could mean the difference between saving a life and losing one. "My door is always open to you or any of the crew," Kennedy replied respectfully before taking her leave.



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