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Chief Medical Officer's log, stardate 83141.91

The recent attack on the
Rafale resulted in seventeen injuries. Five crew members were admitted for smoke inhalation only and were released promptly. Of the remaining twelve, nine were treated for minor wounds and burns. Three arrived in critical condition. Of them, only the science officer on duty, Lieutenant St. Peter, remains in critical condition.

Upon arriving on the bridge, I found Lieutenant Wirstowx had already administered a pain reliever. When queried, it was discovered the helmsman had given her a large dose of hydrocortilene, per standard procedure. Due to St. Peter's alien physiology, the hydrocortilene caused her to go into anaphylactic shock. I quickly administered a dose of triox so that the woman would not be oxygen deprived, and then emergency transported her to sickbay immediately, where I began to flush the hydrocortilene from her system.

Because of further injuries sustained in the battle - a broken femur, three broken ribs, and a strained wrist - I was forced to put St. Peter in a coma so that I could perform surgery on her injuries and prevent further allergic reactions. She will be required to wear a leg brace for a few days upon her release, and will not be allowed crew duty for at least a week to let her body finish healing.

Doctor S'Tel, Chief Medical Officer, U.S.S.
Rafale

===


Chapter 5

The sun was warm on Jessica's face, and she smiled, leaning back in her lounge chair on the beach. After the events of the previous week, it was nice to soak it all in: the sound of waves crashing on the sand; the smell of the salt in the air; the gulls squawking high above her.

Thump! Whump!

Jessica smiled more, tilting her head up enough to see the other two people with her but not enough to cause the pain in her chest to flare. In the day and some hours since her release from sickbay, she had quickly learned how limited her movement was if she didn't want a sharp sting in her lungs or her leg.

Whump! Smack!

"Oh, come on Justine! You should know better than to do that with her right there!" Jessica playfully chided, then winced as a small pain jabbed at her. She leaned her head back more, still watching the two other girls play.

Justine giggled, shaking her head but not taking her eyes off the ball as Bridget set the ball to herself and then gave it a powerful hit across the net. Justine dove, kicking up a barrage of sand that managed to shower Jessica with a few stray grains.

"Point!" Bridget laughed, raising her hands in the air. Her body flickered for a moment, causing Jessica to sigh; just when she started to feel at home, the illusion had to be destroyed by a moment of lag in the communication system.

Justine laughed, standing back up and throwing the volleyball back at her blonde friend. "I'm still up by five, Joie." She blew the other girl a kiss, her own body turning an odd blue color and going transparent as it flickered as well, before returning to normal. Then she turned and smiled at Jessica. "Jessiy, you need anything?"

Jessica shook her head slowly, preventing more pain from ruining the fun with her friends. "Maybe a little bit cooler weather. And a margarita. And maybe a leg would be nice too."

Justine smiled guiltily at Jessica. "I'm sorry hon. We can stop playing if you're feeling left out."

"Bull crap, I'm about to beat you." Bridget served the ball while Justine wasn't watching, hitting the sand just behind the purple-haired girl. She laughed. "I'm on a streak now!"

Jessica laughed, clapping her hands lightly. "Keep playing, I'm enjoying watching."

"Watching or coaching?"

"They're not the same?" Jessica winked, then shooed Justine back to the game. "Play!" She spoke a bit more forcefully as she gave the command, "Computer. Lower temperature two degrees."

There was a beep, and then Jessica felt a slight breeze blow on the holodeck, lowering the temperature of the already beautiful Risan day that the girls had created. It was the same beach where they had won their championship two years ago when they played for the Academy. Jessica smiled, memories of the day flooding her mind. It was an incredible day for the three friends, made even more memorable when Justine and Bridget had finally kissed, starting their own relationship.

It had always struck Jessica as odd, that Justine and Bridget - who were both female - would try to form a romantic relationship with one another. It certainly wasn't unheard of, but as a biologist she couldn't get past the futility of the situation. They were breaking every rule imaginable as far as biology and procreation went. Why would they enter into a relationship that would produce nothing to show for the effort beyond their affection?

Of course she understood why; it was a silly reason, love, but she could understand it completely. Still, the sight of them often caused her to become even more confused. In the end, she decided, she was happy that they were happy. Sometimes things weren't as black and white as science liked to tell her.

"Heads up!"

Jessica snapped out of her thoughts in time to see the volleyball flying towards her. She brought up her hands to shield her face in time for the ball to hit her hand. Pain flew up her arm from her injured wrist, and she cried out.

Justine and Bridget's holographic avatars came running. Bridget knelt beside Jessica and gently took her injured hand in both of hers. "Sorry, Jess."

Jessica sighed, shrugging slightly. "Price we pay, I guess. I'm ok, really. It wasn't broken to begin with; I doubt that broke it just now."

Bridget stared at Jessica with her blue eyes, making sure the blue alien was telling the truth. She blinked, then smirked. "You just flickered there."

Jessica rolled her eyes, pulling her hand back as both of her friends flickered together. "Y'all keep flickering all the time. It kinda ruins the illusion."

Justine huffed, crossing her arms. "It really does. I think I forgot for a moment you're not actually with us here."

Justine and Bridget both perked up, looking behind them for a moment. Jessica waited, and then the two girls frowned in annoyance. Bridget nodded, then spoke aloud to no one. "Understood. We'll be done in here shortly. Kinsley out."

Justine stamped her foot. "It's only been an hour!"

"What's up you two?" Jessica asked, crossing her arms. "Trouble?"

Bridget gave Justine a sideways glance before shaking her head. "No trouble. Bridge is complaining about comm time usage." She looked at Jessica and frowned sadly. "I think our game is going to have to be cut short."

Jessica nodded. "The holopresence certainly does use a lot of comm bandwidth. Y'all are doubling it by using it together." She gave her friends a reassuring smile. "It'll be ok. We'll meet up together soon for the real thing."

Justine smiled, offering a hand to Jessica to help the injured woman to her feet. "We had better. Bridget is going to need all the help she can get to play me next time."

Bridget stuck her tongue out at Justine, helping get Jessica to her feet. Jessica winced as a throbbing pain ran through her body from her still-healing leg. Bridget noticed, turning her head to the side. "Computer, remove Risan beach."

Instantly the scene around the girls shimmered, then vanished, replaced by the silver web of struts that covered the walls of the holodeck. Jessica found her footing easier on the flat surface as opposed to the sand, but she was still somewhat frustrated by the sudden disappearance of her favorite beach in the galaxy.

Justine looked saddened too, while Bridget just stood there, holding onto Jessica's arm. "Are you going to be ok, or do I need to call someone to help walk you back to your room?"

Jessica laughed, shaking her head. "I'll make it. Thanks though." She pulled her friend in and gave her a tight hug. "I had fun, at least for a little while."

Bridget returned the squeeze with a small laugh. "It was good to see you again, Jess. I'll talk to you later."

Jessica let go of her friend and moved to Justine. Justine grinned, pulling Jessica in for a tighter hug that almost made her yell in pain from her sore ribs. Instead, Jessica just gritted her teeth. "I'll talk to you later," she said, letting Jessica go. "Love ya!"

"Yep. Love you guys too. Take care." Jessica gave a small wave and watched as her friends turned around. They both shimmered for a second before disappearing as the comm channel that linked their holodeck with the Rafale's was closed. Slowly, Jessica limped to the door, frowning sadly at the ending of an otherwise fun day.

===


"Lieutenant St. Peter. Are you experiencing an increase in pain?"

S'Tel regarded the blue woman with pity as she limped into her office, though the Vulcan would never show her compassion on her face or let it be found in her words. Instead, she barely looked above the top of her computer and raised an eyebrow to help accent her question.

Jessica shook her head, an embarrassed grin tugging at her lips. S'Tel sighed softly, an effective pause for her that helped to prevent an errant eye roll to show her frustration with her patients. "No, no pain, I mean, no more than usual. Well, 'usual' for what I've experienced so far."

The doctor lifted herself gracefully from her chair and walked around her desk. Jessica turned slowly to face her, cradling her injured hand. S'Tel reached and took the hand in her strong grip and lifted the appendage slowly so she could better examine it. It was darker blue than the rest of her skin, and slightly swollen. She gently squeezed the woman's wrist, and glanced up in time to see Jessica's eyes flutter from the pain.

S'Tel quickly put a hand on Jessica's back, feeling down her spine for a pressure point and then gently applied pressure as she had learned decades ago. Jessica quickly regained her balance, shaking her head as she fought off her dizziness. "You're wrist appears to be bruised, and I'd say you've injured it further. What happened, Lieutenant?" She picked up her tricorder from the corner of the desk and flipped it open, taking a quick scan of the injured hand. There was additional bruising, of course, but otherwise nothing serious that could require surgery. She closed the tricorder, satisfied, waiting for Jessica to explain her visit.

"I was..." The science officer sighed. "I was on the holodeck. With my friends, from the Merveille. They were playing volleyball..."

S'Tel made the tiniest groan in the back of her throat. She let go of the other woman's hand and started towards a shelf on the wall where she kept her hyposprays. "I believe I warned you not to take part in any physical activities for at least a week, if not two, Lieutenant. Will I need to confine you to your quarters?"

Jessica shook her head, struggling to limp after the doctor. "It's not that, I swear! I wasn't playing, I was just watching. They hit a ball and it accidentally came to me; I had to shield my face and..." She lifted her hand up, her face turning a deep indigo color as she blushed.

S'Tel tilted her head to the side. "Indeed." She motioned for Jessica to come closer and, when the girl was close enough, applied the hypospray to the woman's arm. "This should dull the pain in your wrist for a few hours, but I would advise against any more activities where you could injure it again."

St. Peter nodded, biting her lip. "I know...Thanks, Doc." She turned to hobble out, and S'Tel watched as the girl limped out of sickbay, a brace on one leg and cradling her hand.

Things could have been so much worse. It is well that only she was so seriously injured.

S'Tel turned back into her office. Satisfied that none of her nurses could see her anymore, she let out a long breath and relaxed, frowning. Sometimes she hated having to be so cold and detached from her patients, but it was a blessing as well; logic helped keep her focused on the task at hand. Too many times had she seen a combat triage in this new war with the Klingons. Disruptor burns; limbs lobbed clean off; stab wounds from the incredibly violent weapons of an incredibly violent people.

Strange, how close we came to being like them. How is it that, after all this time, they've managed to not simply destroy themselves?

She closed her eyes, regaining her composure before she sat back at her desk to update her medical logs with her most recent patient. She would leave the question for contemplation later, while she meditated.


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