There is a Doctor in the House
Meet me at the Crossroads
Location: Rigel X, one of the residential areas
"Her story checks out, Captain Tann," said Stohn from Tann Corp Security. The Vulcan was a former counterintelligence officer with Starfleet and he was very thorough. Stohn had helped to cover Braedyn's tracks when Braedyn was with the Maquis. "Almost too well."
Braedyn sighed. Nothing was ever easy.
"What's wrong with it?" he said.
"Nothing at all," Stohn replied. "I encountered no trouble confirming her identity and background...on a planet recovering from near destruction, with government in disarray."
"You think it shouldn't have been so easy?" Braedyn asked.
"Correct," Stohn said. "She may be hiding something. However, I have no proof that she is not exactly who she says she is, no concrete facts to support such an hypothesis."
"A suspicion from you is usually more reliable than facts provided by others, Stohn," Braedyn said. "What's your recommendation?"
Stohn looked like he was thinking. Either that or he was having a stroke. Braedyn wasn't entirely sure until Stohn finally spoke.
"She could be telling the truth and you need to hire a physician," Stohn said. "Hire her. I will continue to look into her background and keep you informed as to my progress."
"Alright," he said. "I'll go track her down now."
"Perhaps you should take the Nausicaan,," Stohn said. "The good doctor does not reside in the safest of neighborhoods."
"I left the Nausicaan back on Rigel IV," Braedyn said. "I can handle myself. Thanks Stohn. Let me know if you find anything new."
"I believe that I just informed you that I would do just that," Stohn replied with a raised eyebrow. The snark was for effect. Stohn had been working around non-Vulcans long enough to understand Human niceties.
"Yes, you did," Braedyn said. "Thanks again, Tann out."
He cut the transmission. Reaching for his field jacket, Braedyn walked to the door. He pulled the jacket on and left his quarters in search of the 'good' doctor. Stohn wasn't kidding. The girl was staying in a lousy area of the base, not that you couldn't get stabbed, shot, or just plain beaten to death almost anywhere here. Eventually he found her quarters. He hit the chime. Hopefully, she was home.
Haneri was in the middle of throwing a full-blown pity party for herself, cursing at how poorly she had handled the encounter with the human. His question about experimenting on prisoners had struck a nerve and she had lashed out at him without thinking.
While she may have not experimented on prisoners, she expected a war crimes tribunal would not accept such a minor technicality. She had only provided enough care to get them back on their feet so they could go right back out to the hard labor they performed from sunrise to sunset, with minimal food and rest.
At the refugee camp she had seen more than one former soldier whose identity had been discovered and taken away by security personnel, and she had wondered what happened to them. She figured the only reason she hadn’t been discovered was that before being picked up by the Federation she had the foresight to hack into the hospital mainframe and swap her identity with another doctor who had the same first name—and she wondered how long it would last.
The other thing whose duration she wondered about was what little money she had left over from her trip to stock the sickbay on the freighter she had managed to join. She may have been new to the space beyond Cardassian borders, but she knew a bad place when she saw one; however it was the only place she could afford. She knew she would have to find a job soon, and she expected it would be something way outside her skill set.
If he had just asked how I learned about xenobiology instead of making that remark about experimentation…and if I had just let it go instead of blowing up at him…
The door chime abruptly ended the party, and her first reaction was one of fear. She had received several looks as she made her way through the neighborhood, and she wondered if it was because of her race or her gender.
Was this it? Was this the end of her journey among the stars? Would her name go down in history as the fool who had defied the traditional thinking of her people, only to prove what her government had been saying along?
She pulled a phaser out of her pack, something she had purchased shortly after her ill-fated encounter with the human, and suddenly it felt inconsequential in her hands. How could she possibly defend herself with it? She had trained with one as part of military background, and she did well enough on the practice range, but could she really defend herself if there was a group of hostiles outside her door?
She looked around for something that could provide her with some sort of cover. She immediately dismissed the bed she had been lying on. It was more of a cot than a proper bed; it would give her no protection.
There was a small dresser against a wall which was on line with the door. The protection was barely more than that given by the bed, but it was a bit more substantial.
She sighed with resignation as she crouched down behind the dresser.
“So much for my grand adventure,” she muttered as she aimed the phaser at the door. “Who is it?”
"It's Captain Tann," Braedyn replied. "Your story checks out so here I am. If you want to talk to me about a job, you're going to have to let me in."
Her first reaction was one of doubt. He had come here just to recruit her? He couldn’t find another doctor?
Then another thought enter her head, the possibility he was an undercover Federation officer who had discovered her true identity and had come with a team to arrest her.
“Just a minute!” she called out as she went over to her pack. “I was asleep and I need to get dressed!”
Braedyn waited patiently in the corridor. He was a gentleman after all.
She pulled the tricorder out of her pack and activated it. It showed only one life sign in the hall, a human life sign.
She sighed with relief as she put the tricorder away. She went to put the phaser away as well but something told her to keep it and so she put it in a pants pocket with the handle sticking out—just in case.
"Come in!" she said.
Braedyn entered. The room was pretty much what he expected and was probably the best Haneri could afford given her circumstances. He might be able to change that if she'd let him. He glanced at the handle of the phaser sticking out of her pants pocket.
"I hope you aren't going to shoot me," he said. "That would definitely make a bad impression on your potential employer...me. Mind if I sit down?"
"Go ahead," she said. "As for the phaser, this may be my first time outside of Cardassian space, but even I know a bad part of town when I see it. But enough about me, tell me about you and your ship. What sort of work are you in?"
"Problem solving," Braedyn said. "We offer our services to people who need problems solved and then we solve their problems for them. Usually for a fee, but we'll do some charity work, too. I have access to enough resources to make sure that the crew is paid for every mission, regardless of whether I charge for our services. Sometimes we'll just haul cargo, simple, straight forward. Other times we'll haul special cargo, cargo that has a high value, either because of the need for it or for financial reasons. Sometimes we'll perform other services. We'll be in harm's way more often than not. On the plus side we are going to travel to many different planets and star systems. Lots to see and learn. Still interested?"
"What size ship?" she asked. "And how big is the crew?"
"Small on both counts," Braedyn said. "Though the crew may get larger as we go. We've got a small Sickbay and I've acquired a Mark One Emergency Medical Hologram. You and our photonic friend will be the only medical personnel on board. Quarters will be cramped if we're carrying a lot of passengers, but we'll have a little more room when we're not. The pay is good, better than you're going to get trying to stay off the grid in a place like this."
Haneri bit back the impulse to respond to his last statement. She wanted to say it was all she could afford, but then that would make her appear desperate and give him an advantage in negotiating her salary. And she certainly wasn't going to admit she was hiding either, so she side-stepped it completely.
"You're very open-minded, Captain, trying to hire a Cardassian so soon after the war," she said. "Can you say the same for your crew? What if they don't want to be treated by one of my race?"
"They may not," Braedyn said. "But that's a challenge you'd have to face anywhere you went. You're going to have to win them over somehow."
"I suppose I will, won't I?" she asked. "And if I can't the EMH can always take care of them...assuming we can get them to sickbay in time. Of course, if we can't then they have to decide what is more important them, won't they?"
She smiled at him.
"Those were rhetorical questions," she said. "You said the pay is good, exactly how good?"
Braedyn pulled out a PaDD and called up the contract he'd written for her. He handed Haneri the PaDD.
A slight widening of her eyes ruined the cool reaction she tried to display.
"I suppose that is adequate," she said. "When would I start?"
"Tomorrow morning," Braedyn replied. "So, do you want the job?"
"It seems like a fair trade: you get a skilled doctor, I get to show the galaxy another side of my people," she said and extended her hand. " Very well, I shall join you, Captain Braedyn Tann."
Braedyn shook the offered hand.
"Welcome to the crew of the SS Juan Cortina," he said. "Now, if you'll accept an offer I've made to everyone so far, I can put you up at the Spacers House. It's a place that space service personnel stay between jobs. I have an arrangement with them. They'll give you a room, shower, laundry, and food, on my tab, until we leave. Also, I can give you a ride back to Rigel IV if you'd like. What do you say? You ready to get out of this place?"
"Just give me a few minutes to pack and I'll be ready," she said. "I'll need to stop along the way and pick up some medical supplies I purchased for my previous employer...until he got himself arrested."
"That happens a lot around here," he said. "Whenever you're ready, we'll go."