Mallora Vossti/You Get Burned
((Main sickbay, Deck 7, USS Gorkon))
Mallora Vossti had set up a little desk for herself on the side of the main sickbay so she could work on the paper she was trying to write for the Federation Medical Journal. It was a slow process, but she was certain that the process would have been even more hindered if she were confined in her own quarters down on deck eight.
The doors opened, and Mallora looked up to see who it might be. A tall, Andorian walked in cradling an injured arm. She narrowed her eyes, trying to remember her rushed research and guessed that this was a chan. She met his gaze and smiled at chan politely. Cha approached her with a perfectly neutral expression even though she could feel the throbs of pain rippling around chan.
Vossti: ::Quickly pulling out her medical tricorder for an initial triage:: Hello, sir. It looks like you may have had an accident of some kind. ::She smiled in a friendly, open way.::
ch'Ranni: ::wincing:: Glacier-climbing accident planet-side.
Mallora guided chan over to a nearby biobed and nodded.
Vossti: Well, what's shore leave for if not going on grand adventures, right?
He tilted his head to the side a bit in an effort to give a kind of shrug without moving his arm and shoulder too much. The biobed's readouts confirmed her initial tricorder scan: The Andorian had a hairline fracture of chan's left ulna.
ch'Ranni: Well, I would have been fine if I'd thought to bring an antigrav harness. Lieutenant Commander Jona ch'Ranni, by the way. Operations Chief.
Vossti: Doctor Mallora Vossti, Ensign. Pleased to make your acquaintance, sir. I'm brand new on the Gorkon and only a few weeks out of Starfleet Medical. We can get that fracture fixed up in a few minutes, I think.
ch'Ranni: Ah, a new graduate from the Academy. Welcome aboard. How are you finding the Gorkon so far?
Vossti: ::Pulling out an osteogenic stimulator from a nearby drawer:: Try to hold your arm very still. The Gorkon itself is a wonder; it kind of feels like a floating starbase, but I guess that's just because it's the biggest starship I've ever been on. It's just a bit shy of three times the size of the Crystal Star.
ch'Ranni: ::nodding in agreement:: She's a beast alright. With the heart of a warrior.
Mallora began passing the osteogenic stimulator slowly over the Andorian's ulna while trying to remember if there were any significant skeletal peculiarities in Andorian's which would alter a standard bone fracture treatment.
Vossti: You're the Gorkon's Operations Chief? That … ::she stopped herself. She was going to say something generic about huge responsibilities, but she realized that she didn't really know what an Operations Chief's responsibilities really were.:: What does that entail, exactly, if you don't mind me asking, sir?
ch'Ranni: ::smirking:: You'd be surprised how many people ask that. If something on the ship is broken, you call Engineering. If it's not, you call Operations. My team is responsible for the day-to-day running of the ship. That includes everything from assigning quarters to staff, inventories of supplies, allocating power to ship's resources, safety checks, navigation and helm control.
She frowned in disappointment when saw on the biobed readings that the bone was healing at a slower rate than she expected. She touched a few buttons for further information and saw that the Andorian's bones were significantly more dense than any Betazoid. Her frown melted away into a relieved grin.
Vossti: This will just take another few minutes for the bone to heal properly. My best friend from the Academy went on to become a communications officer. I think that falls under operations too, right?
ch'Ranni: Exactly. In fact, many in the fleet call us HCOs. Helm, Comms, Ops. It's all one massive department.
He looked down at his arm which was now tingling and beginning to itch furiously as the bone was knit back together at an accelerated pace. He wanted to scratch at it, but resisted with the application of a fair amount of willpower.
Vossti: How does someone come to run something so massive? Surely you didn't start off your career with 'Operations Chief' in mind, right? ::She realized that she had another question that she was itching to ask, but thought it might be impolite without a bit of small-talk first.::
ch'Ranni: Well, it's kind of funny. I started out with a direct posting to helm on my first assignment. That's what I majored in. A helmsman was what I always wanted to be. I even spent a year on an Andorian freighter before attending the Academy so I could get a little experience. But there's something so fascinating about how a ship operates each and every day. When the opportunity came, I jumped at being able to sidestep into the broader Operations department. I haven't looked back since.
Vossti: I guess the responsibilities of your current position don't allow you to do much piloting any longer, do they sir? oO He does seem very at ease; perhaps I can ask my real question soon. Oo
ch'Ranni: ::with a sly grin:: Well, I do miss piloting. I still take every chance I can get to get behind the controls. The faster, the better. You know, ::nodding down to his arm:: when I'm not falling off ice cliffs.
Vossti: ::Smiling shyly:: I'm not very adventurous myself, sir. I tend to let other people take the risks, and then I and the rest of the medical department can fix them up so they can go out and do it all again.
ch'Ranni: How about you? Have you always wanted to be a doctor?
Vossti: Well, not exactly, no. But I did always want to help make people's lives better. My family are all entertainers. My mother sings; my father is a stage magician; my grandmother was a writer before she retired. When I joined Starfleet Academy, medical just seemed like the most direct way to help people who needed help.
ch'Ranni: It's a noble profession. ::smiling:: Plus, in the fleet it'll take you places. Places you probably never expected to go.
Vossti: I don't really have any definite plans for the future. I'm not even sure I'd be comfortable being promoted into a Chief Medical Officer role. That seems like it would be too much management and not enough being an actual doctor to people who are in need. ::She shrugged, realizing that her patient might not understand::
ch'Ranni: ::nodding in sympathy:: I think I understand what you're saying. The higher you're promoted, the less actual work you get to do. I struggle with that sometimes. That's why I tell my people that I'll never ask them to do something I'm not willing to do. I always try to work myself into the schedule rotation so I'm right there with them doing the safety and inventory checks. Meanwhile, I try to train them on the oversight duties. It'll benefit them to get the experience before they're actually responsible for it.
Vossti: oO Now seems like as good a time to ask as any. Here goes. Oo So if part of your job is maintaining inventories that different departments need, would that include keeping the medical department supplied as well?
ch'Ranni: Oh, yeah, definitely.
Vossti: I just finished an inventory here yesterday, and I noted that we only have one SDSH device in the sickbay. A ship of this size with its enormous crew should have at least two for the main sickbay, and maybe a third for the secondary bay down on deck eighteen, don't you think? ::She wondered if cha could detect her anxiousness as she awaited his answer.::
ch'Ranni: ::He subtly became more alert:: SDSH?
Vossti: Oh, sorry. That's a Subdural Sonic Hematostasis device; SDSH for short. They're intended to control internal bleeding in limbs, but can also be used to treat concussions.
ch'Ranni: Sounds fairly important.
Vossti: It's very new technology, sir; I think it was invented only something like fifteen years ago, and they can't be replicated. As far as I know, only Starfleet and their allies have any of them at all.
The Andorian stared at her patiently, waiting for her to explain herself further. Mallora swiftly surmised that he wanted more details, so she provided them.
Vossti: Yeah, so when the crew first woke up from the Skarbek thing ::she had heard the word enough to use it even if she didn't fully understand what it meant:: one of the critical patients that came into sickbay had a fairly severe concussion. It took me several minutes and the help of a lovely nurse ::she inclined her head in the direction of Ensign Rakujia:: before I found the one we have. If there were more patients with such concussions, Ensign T-- I mean, the patient might have suffered long term brain damage. ::She realized too late that her tone had become pleading and desperate.::
The Andorian finally broke his silence and spoke up with a kind glint in his eye.
ch'Ranni: I see. ::cautiously:: Under normal circumstances that request would go through the CMO. ::gesturing with his hands to indicate the spinning of varied and unnecessarily complex cogs in a giant machine:: Some of that sticky bureaucratic red-tape we mentioned before. What prevents that in this case?
Vossti: ::She took a deep breath to try to regain her calm demeanor:: The department doesn't exactly have a CMO at the moment, sir. On the record, the CMO is Lieutenant Loxley, but he is on some kind of medical leave down on Deluvia IV.
ch'Ranni: Ah! I see the problem. Some of the cogs slipped in the bureaucratic machine.
Vossti: The only other medical personnel above the rank of Ensign are Lieutenant Fortune who is in charge of her own department, and Lieutenant Namura who is in charge of gamma shift already.
ch'Ranni: ::nodding:: We've yet to appoint an official CMO since Doctor Adea left the ship. The department runs itself for the most part, though hiccups like this do crop up. It's a tough job and I'm sure the Admiral wants to make sure the right person for the job is selected.
Vossti: Um, not me please ::she half-joked:: I'm just trying to get the Gorkon one or two more SDSH devices that we could definitely use, sir.
He carefully weighed the options before him. On the one hand, he could wave his hand and get the device ordered immediately. It was a bit heavy-handed and meddlesome in another department. On the flip side, he could deny it and force the woman to find a solution herself. Weaving his head from side-to-side, he settled on a third option.
ch'Ranni: Tell you what I'd like to do. Submit an official report to me on the value of the SDSH to your department. You can find the report template you need on the computer network. Ask the computer for form MED-1281-B. Send it to me when you're done and if everything checks out I'll get Namura and Loxley to co-sign it. That should give it enough clout to push its way to approval.
Vossti: I don't think I'm familiar with that form. Depending on how much detail is called for, I'm guessing I can get it to you within forty-eight hours, sir.
ch'Ranni: While you're working on that I'll make some inquiries to the other ships in the taskforce and see if any of them have a spare one onboard. That would cut down shipping time considerably.
Vossti: Honestly, sir, I can't imagine anyone giving up an SDSH that they already have without someone leaning on them pretty hard. While I was attending Starfleet Medical School, I seem to recall that Starbase 118 only had two of them. If you or Admiral Quinn could use your own rank and influence, that might possibly shake one loose, but ultimately the task force probably just needs several more to be built and shipped to us.
ch'Ranni: Happy to help, Doctor! So, tell me what does a recent graduate such as yourself do to get into a little trouble? ::holding up his arm:: After all, you have me at a bit of a disadvantage. You already know my vice.
Mallora froze for a moment, wondering if the commander was about to refer to the formal reprimand she'd gotten from Starfleet Medical. When she realized that he was only joking about extracurricular shenanigans, she let out the breath she'd been holding.
Vossti: I think that arm should be just about healed. ::She turned off the osteogenic stimulator and stepped away to return it to its drawer.:: I'm not a particularly daring person, not physically anyway. oO I guess it would be okay to mention something minor I did that was against the rules; after all, he's not part of the security team. Oo I, uh, I once stowed away on a Federation transport ship.
ch'Ranni: ::antenna whipping back in surprise:: Really?
Vossti: I doubt I'll have to do that much in the future, though since I'm an officer now. ::She looked at him, trying to gauge his reaction.:: And when I was just a teenager, I got caught sneaking into a crew-only area of Starbase Twelve. That was a long time ago; please don't arrest me. ::She was smiling at her own attempt at a joke, but also desperately hoping that her patient understood that it was a joke.::
ch'Ranni: ::cracking a grin:: That is not part of Ops. Not my job.
Vossti: oO Oh good, he got it. Oo But recently? I've only just graduated, and transfered here to the Gorkon just in time to help identify that Psychic Parasite. I haven't had time to get into any trouble yet.
ch'Ranni: "Yet" being the most important word in that sentence.
Vossti: I never actually intend to get into trouble …
ch'Ranni: So, what you're telling me is that you are generally a well-behaved, good-natured soul that just happens to find themselves in situations with their head under water from time to time and with no idea how it all happened?
Vossti: Maybe? Sort of? I mean, the sneaking into the crew-only area of Starbase Twelve was absolutely on purpose, but the security crewman who caught me was very kind and understanding. That incident indirectly led me to signing up for Starfleet Academy some years later.
ch'Ranni: ::deadpanning:: You're gonna love it here.
After a short chuckle, he looked back at the healer with a questioning look.
ch'Ranni: If you don't mind my asking a question, I remember reviewing your personnel file when we received word you were assigned to the ship. It had a note about a formal reprimand at Starfleet Medical. If it's not too forward of me, what was that about?
The Andorian flushed with embarrassment, and he quickly raised his palms in a universal sign of placation and surrender.
ch'Ranni: Oh ... don't feel you have to answer that if you don't want to.
Mallora remained silent for a moment to try to figure out what to say. Jona was clearly not being confrontational about it, just curious. So after closing her eyes and drawing a deep breath, she decided to answer.
Vossti: Starfleet Medical School was hard. Really hard. In the Academy, there is this pervading sense of comraderie that helps keep you going. But the Medical School was just cutthroat, every student for themselves. I came very close to flunking out. ::Her tone was as somber as her thoughts::
ch'Ranni: ::canting his head to the side with his antenna dropping a few inches:: Must have been stressful.
Vossti: One of the things that I did to try to keep myself on track to graduate was to spend nearly all of my free time in the school library. I was there a lot, both day and night. And I got caught sleeping there. It was against the rules; I broke them. I got a reprimand for my trouble.
ch'Ranni: So, that's it?
Vossti: If it makes you feel any better sir, I already have an appointment to see Lieutenant Fortune as a follow up relating to this matter.
ch'Ranni: ::nodding his head once:: I'm sure you've got it under control. I think Corliss will be the first to tell you that burnout is a real thing. So, don't forget to take time for yourself and try not to beat yourself up too much about it.
Vossti: I'm assuming that the CO and XO already know about this and wouldn't have allowed me to join the crew if it were too big a deal.
ch'Ranni: Oh, I guarantee the Admiral and Commander Marshall are already aware of the situation. ::wiggling his fingers in the air with a big grin:: They have ears everywhere. ::with a smaller, more serious smile:: Starfleet employs the cream of the crop, but no one's perfect. Own up to your mistakes and move forward and you'll do great.
Mallora relaxed and allowed a small, easy smile to creep back onto her lips.
Vossti: I am trying to do better, sir. Lieutenant Fortune was one of the first people I made a point to see after … well, after the crew woke up from their shared nightmares.
ch'Ranni: Besides, falling asleep in the library is small potatoes. It's not like you punched a dinosaur. Or attacked a crewmate while on the ocean floor. ::with a look of chagrin:: Or locked yourself in the brig.
Vossti: Thank you for saying so, sir. There were people at Starfleet Medical who were quite angry about my infraction. I think the reprimand even found its way to the desk of Lieutenant Commander DeVeau, the XO of the Starbase.
ch'Ranni: Let's just say that not only is your mistake not at the top of the ship's leaderboard, it isn't even on the leaderboard.
Vossti: I think I'm going to spend some time trying not to cause any trouble for the Gorkon or its crew. I would hate to find myself locked in the brig or worse. And that reminds me that I need to meet with the chief of security and then the Admiral herself.
Hopping off the biobed, Jona extended a short bow from the waist.
ch'Ranni: Thank you for your services, Doctor. Pleased to meet you. Looking forward to the next adventure.
Vossti: With all due respect, sir, I hope our next meeting is nothing more exciting than a routine physical. ::she grinned brightly:: Farewell, sir.
She turned back to the little desk at the side of the sickbay and the PADD that she had left there.
Vossti: oO Do I have the time to do more writing before I go meet with Commander Neathler? Eh, probably not. Oo
Mallora picked the PADD up, sighed heavily, and walked out of the quiet sickbay toward the security office.