Is There A Doctor In The House?
Meet me at the Crossroads
Location: Rigel X
Haneri stepped into the bar, trying hard not to gawk at all the races mingling inside and failing miserably. She could not understand why her people were so afraid of going out into the galaxy instead of staying where they were. Other races brought in new ideas, a new way of seeing things, but her people for the most part wanted none of it. She had often wondered how her people had managed to make it as far as they had with such an attitude.
A Klingon shouldered his way past her, snarling at her in annoyance.
“Sorry,” she said, but he was already past her and making his way to the bar proper.
She had arrived on Rigel X by way of a freighter that she had joined as the medical officer. Once the ship stopped at the ice planet, she had gone in search of medical supplies. When she returned several hours later, she found it guarded by several of the local police force who told her that the captain had been arrested and the ship impounded on suspicion of smuggling.
After an interrogation of several hours and a thorough search of her belongings, she had been released. She was out of Cardassian space, and given this was a major spaceport in the system, she could have just settled down here, content to see all the different people that came through, but she knew herself far too well to know she would do that.
She wanted to go out into the galaxy and see everything that had been denied to her until now. This was just a small taste of it, and she wanted more. She wanted to gorge herself on it to the point of bursting and then take in some more.
She didn’t have to be a Vulcan to deduce that she would find starship captains and their crew in a bar near the docks, and so she made her way there after making a quick stop to store the medical supplies in a temporary storage facility.
Looking around, she saw all the tables were occupied, so she made her way to the bar itself, several seats down from the Klingon who had shoved past her.
The bartender, a Bolian, made his way over to her, frowning.
“I don’t allow children in here, miss,” he said. “You’ll have to leave.”
She sighed. For all of her life, her slim build and delicate features had made people think she was ten years younger or more. She supposed this was something she was going to have to deal with the rest of her years.
“I’m twenty-eight,” she said, showing the Federation-issued ID given to her at the refugee camp.
The Bolian took it and examined it—some of the longest seconds in her life—then handed it back.
“If it’s a fake, it’s a good one,” he said. “What’ll it be?”
She thought for several seconds. She wanted to try something, but she had no idea the sort of effect an alien drink might have on her, and this was neither the time nor the place to find out.
“Just water, please,” she said.
The Bolian frowned at her some more but said nothing as he filled a glass and gave it to her, then made his way down to the other end of the bar.
Sipping her drink, she turned and surveyed the room, looking over the occupants. A multitude of species filled the bar, all united in their common desire for drinking and socializing.
Of course, there was no way of telling anything about them, what sort of people they were or what sort of business had brought them here or if they would be willing to hire one of her race—assuming they were even looking for a doctor.
“Klakeq!” roared a voice.
She turned to see several Andorians approaching the Klingon, who was turning to face them. Before the Klingon could do anything, the lead Andorian pulled a knife and stabbed him several times.
“That’s the last time you undercut me,” he said and then left.
She looked around at the patrons. No one came to the Klingon’s aid as he thrashed feebly on the floor; they seemed content to stand around him and watch him die.
“Out of my way, I’m a doctor,” she snarled with surprising ferocity as she shouldered her way through the crowd.
Kneeling before the Klingon, she could see all of the wounds were on his torso. Suddenly quite glad she had taken one of the medkits with her, she reached in and pulled out a tricorder. Making sure it was calibrated for Klingon physiology, she waved it over him.
“Does anyone know him, if he has any preexisting conditions, allergies, anything like that?” she asked the crowd.
There was no response, and she caught sight of money discreetly changing hands; they were betting on whether she could save him.
Shaking her head in disgust, she returned her attention back to the tricorder. While the blows may have appeared random to an outsider, they had in fact pierced his spleen, one of his livers and one of his lungs; the Andorian had either been very lucky or had known exactly what he was doing.
She reached for the sonic scalpel to cut away his clothing and her hand grasped air. She looked back to see a Ferengi scurrying away, clutching her pack.
“Stop him!” she yelled.
Braedyn had been drinking at the bar when commotion started. He'd seen the Andorians enter the bar. They looked like they might be smugglers, maybe even Andorian Mafia. They frequently operated in the Rigel System, usually paying the Orion Syndicate a cut of their profits for the privilege. However, it took serious balls to do a retaliation hit on the Syndicate's turf. When he'd seen them approach, he'd reached for the phaser he had under his jacket but the hit happened too quick and besides, getting involved in this wouldn't be good for his health. Braedyn was surprised when he saw the cute Cardassian girl step forward and heard her announce she was a doctor. He saw the Ferengi snatch her medkit before she noticed it. He spun off of his bar stool and, planting himself, clothes lined the Ferengi as he passed. The Ferengi lost his grip on the kit and Braedyn deftly snatched it out of the air. The Ferengi must have hit his head because he just lay on the floor moaning. Braedyn brought the medkit back to the doctor.
"I believe this is your, Doctor," he said, handing her the kit.
Haneri looked up at the human.
"Thank you," she said, taking it back and rummaging for the scalpel.
The Klingon started to get up, but she pushed him down and resumed her search. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him start to rise again, and she looked over at the human.
"Could you hold him down please?" she said.
Braedyn looked dubious at the idea of restraining an angry Klingon. He sighed and knelt down next to the patient and held him down as best he could.
"Don't be such a big baby," he said. "The doc here will have you patched up in minutes...I hope."
Obviously the punctured lung would have to be treated first; there was the danger of not only him drowning in his own blood but also the possibility of the lung collapsing. She began pulling out what she needed when suddenly the Klingon began spasming and foaming at the mouth.
She waved her tricorder over him again and frowned at the results.
“The blade must have had been dabbed in poison, no wonder the Andorian just left,” she said.
She dug into the pack for a hypospray, inserted an ampule of antivenom in it and then jabbed it into his neck. The spasms and foaming stopped a few seconds later.
The poison dealt with, she returned her attention back to the lung. She ripped open a pack of sterile dressing and placed it over the liver and spleen wounds, then taped down the packet itself on three sides over the wound; that would allow the air to get out but keep it from going in.
She inserted a small vacuum hose into the wound and activated it; it would keep the blood from filling the lung. She then activated a cellular regenerator and pressed it against the wound, sealing it within seconds, quickly removing the vacuum and fully sealing it.
She then did the same thing with the liver wound, followed by the spleen, and within minutes it was as if the Klingon had never been wounded.
He moaned and slowly sat up.
“How are you feeling?” she asked.
He punched her in the face, sending her flying a couple of meters.
“QI’yaH!” he yelled at her as he stood up.
Her universal translator did not tell her what he said, but she guessed he was not expressing his gratitude.
“You stupid piece of petaQ, I was ready to join Kahless!” he roared.
He glared at her for a few more seconds, then grabbed his torn clothing and stalked out.
She looked after him for a few seconds, bewildered, then looked back at the human questioningly.
Braedyn chuckled and offered the young woman a hand up.
"There's a saying that originated on Earth," he said. "No good deed goes unpunished. You just learned the truth of that statement. Here, let me borrow this."
Braedyn picked up the doctor's medical tricorder, pulled out the handheld sensor, and ran it over the woman's face. Then he replaced the sensor and handed the tricorder to the woman so she could diagnose herself from the results of the scan.
"So," he said. "Will you live?"
"Minor contusion, no signs of concussion," she said, barely looking at the readout. "I think I will survive. Thank you for your help, Mister...?"
"Captain," Braedyn replied. "Captain Braedyn Tann, Master of the SS Juan Cortina."
Haneri's eyes widened in surprise.
"You wouldn't happen to be in need of a medical officer, would you?" she said. "As you can see, I'm certainly qualified for the job."
"I would happen to be in need of a medical officer," Braedyn replied. "And one that can handle herself in a crisis AND take a punch from a pissed off Klingon would be highly qualified. What's your name, kid?"
"Haneri," she said. "Haneri Tohrne. And I'm twenty-eight years old."
"Nice to meet you Haneri Tohrne," Braedyn replied. "Come on, let's find a table. I'll buy you a drink and we can talk about who you are and what your qualifications are. I believe they have some Kanar if you're looking for Cardassian booze."
"Thank you, but I'll stick with water," she said. "I prefer to discuss business with a clear head."
She spotted a recently vacated table and made her way towards it.
Braedyn ordered a Rigelian Lager and followed the young Cardassian to the empty table. He took a seat and a sip of his beer. Setting down his mug, he regarded Doctor 'Tohrne' if that was actually her name.
"So," he said. "Most Cardassian trained physicians wouldn't know what to do with any species other than Cardassians, unless they'd had the opportunity to experiment on prisoners. Is that how you learned? Are you a stereotypical 'mad scientist'? Or did you learn xenobiology some other way?"
"Oh yes, it's a requirement in order to graduate from medical school," she said with a straight face. "I know some of my people are scared about being defeated by you lesser races, but for me it's a great opportunity to get out and practice on some new victims...I mean, 'patients'."
She leaned forward.
"Not all Cardassians look beyond our borders and feel fear," she said, her voice tight with anger. "Some of us look out and feel a sense of wonder, a desire to go out there and see it for ourselves. Some of us didn't believe what our government said about our neighbors. Yes, it's a terrible thing my chance to explore the galaxy had to happen like this, but I'm not going to waste it. And if I can start showing that not all Cardassians desire to keep everyone under their thumb, even better. But if stereotypes are all you're ready to accept about my people, then we have nothing to talk about."
She got up and started to leave, but then turned back.
"As for where I learned about xenobiology, I worked at a hospital in the Diplomatic Quarter of Cardassia Prime, treating the staff of alien embassies," she said. "My name is spelled H-A-N-E-R-I T-O-H-R-N-E, look it up. If you're still willing to hire me, come find me. And whatever you were considering paying me, double it. See you around, Captain Braedyn Tann."
She stalked off.
Braedyn frowned. He'd have Tann Corporation's security division check the girl out. TC already had contractors on the ground on several Cardassian planets. It wouldn't be too hard to get some background on the girl. Maybe she was worth a second look, maybe she wasn't. She'd have to curb that attitude, though. The Cortina was too damn small for anyone to behave like an adolescent. That was puzzling, her attitude. Cardassians were known to respect their elders. Braedyn shrugged and took another sip of his beer. He rarely turned down a good Rigelian lager and as seedy as the bar was, this was damn good lager.
After he finished his drink, he left the bar. He'd spend the night on Rigel X and, if her story checked out, he'd go find the girl tomorrow. No reason to haul all the way back to Rigel IV just to turn back around again. Besides, the Cortina was just about ready for launch.