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Doctor Baptiste, I Presume? (Part 1) [CD]

Posted on Tue May 14th, 2019 @ 5:02pm by Commander Yumi Han & Lieutenant Jackson Smith
Edited on on Tue May 21st, 2019 @ 8:41pm

Mission: Interlude 3
Location: Aboard the Emmett Ryan
Timeline: 1 December, 2394 - 0900 Hours


A paramedic alarm announced Commander Joe Vance to the infirmary as he stepped through the doorway. His temper flared and he batted a nurse's suddenly outstretched tricorder away. He pointed at the scanner built into the entry and said, "shut that damned thing off."

The nurse ducked away with a tight smile of apology, and Dr. Turzi Sholo appeared behind her. The doctor peeled off sanitary gloves and dropped them in a reclaimer bin. Her forehead and ridged nose shone with sweat. Was it warm in the medbay? Vance could never tell when running on Impact.

"Captain Vance. You're only four years late for your physical, but I have time today. Just one patient. A frequent patient, I must say. Shall I prep a chart for you, sir?"

Vance's lips curved in grudging humor, and his shoulders loosened at her familiar greeting. "Not today, doctor." Vance looked over her shoulder to the figure sitting on an examination bed behind her.

Jackson had some lingering bruising, but otherwise looked good. He had grown out a well kept goatee and his hair was a darker color. Jillian had given him a nice scar running from the corner of his left eye down to his jawline. His ruggedness was enhanced with his grim determination and confidence.

Dr. Sholo side-eyed the commander as he looked past her and drew a hypospray from the breast pocket of her coat. She cocked an eyebrow and waggled it in her fingers. Vance looked back at her offer and then clenched his teeth. He nodded once and looked away as she shot him in the shoulder. Ice flooded his chest, eyes, and hands. He sighed as the thudding of his pulse slowed.

"150 beats is a bit high when coming down, even for you, Joe," she said quietly.

Vance took a deep breath as the Impact antidote took effect. "It's war, Turzi." She pinched her lips in silence as he walked past her to Petty Officer Jack Collins. Vance spared the young fighter an appreciative smile. "You keep surprising me, Jack."

Jackson gave his half-grin, "Just doing my job, sir. The shuttle took a beating, but we got away with the goods." The role Jackson had developed was almost too easy for him. A street smart, confident pilot with good instincts and a hatred for the Federation. Even that last part had come with ease. Jackson had grown up being told the Federation was evil and controlling. While circumstance had thrown him into starfleet, it turned out that his training in his youth was pretty accurate. The SFI had corned him into working for them and now he was on a mission for them. Away from his beloved Firebird, from his friends. He missed his friends very much. Gantt's good natured smile, Jillian's pestering him as he found himself injured and in sickbay, even Emily's insatiable thirst for adventure. He started to think about the things he had done recently, the secrets he would now have to keep from his friends, his mood started to darken, but Jackson quickly caught himself and sprang down from the biobed and stood before Vance.

"Ready for the next mission, got anything challenging in mind?"

Vance tried not to smile at Collins' enthusiasm. He was new to the New Maquis, but he was a seasoned fighter. The old hands on the crew had taken to him as if he had grown up in the Dakhur refugee slums with them. "We're going home. Been over a year since we took R&R." Turzi inhaled suddenly while typing on her PADD and listening in. Vance looked at her and smiled at her renewed cheer. Guiltily, he turned back to Collins. "Have you ever been to Bajor?"

Jackson inwardly flinched, memories of Nici flooded him. It seemed like forever since they had parted ways, it had been rough. Outwardly Jackson grinned, "Never been to Bajor, but as long as they have good place for drinks and entertainment, I'm in." Jackson buried the memories and emotions of Nici and was able to stay focused on his surroundings. Something felt a little off, he had almost missed it. He would have to make sure to not be so careless with his emotions. Was Vance up to something? It was hard to pinpoint anything, he would just have to be more alert. He turned to the doctor, "Am I good to go, doc?"

"Maybe by tomorrow, PO Collins, but I know I can't stop you today." Turzi turned her PADD face-down on her desk and returned to scan Jackson with a beleaguered smile. Her forehead creased at the mix of yellow and green bars that sprang to life on her tricorder. "Maybe the day after tomorrow..."

"Thank you, doctor. We'll keep an eye on him on the bridge," Vance said. She nodded in acknowledgement and returned to her desk as they left.

Her brow furrowed again as she looked down at a far more troubling screen. Questioning the legendary Dr. Baptiste wouldn't get her far in the New Maquis, but Turzi hadn't joined them out of ambition. The short-term effects of Baptiste's engineered drug, Impact, were manifold. Lightning reflexes. Pain resistance. Mental clarity and concentration. The long-term effects were only beginning to emerge. She could rewire a few hearts here and there with P-wave regulators, but the whole crew?

Turzi leaned back and rubbed her eyes. Shore leave on Bajor would give everyone a chance to detox. And give her time to dive into charts from around the militia fleet. Baptiste would run intellectual circles around her if Turzi started an argument without reams of evidence to back her up.

A faint smile stole across her face when the memory of a little cafe peeked into her thoughts. A breeze waving in through its open bay windows. The spark of humor in blue-green eyes as he tells a story from his childhood. Maybe there would be time. If Joe didn't get caught up planning their next mission while everyone else decompressed.

Vance was quiet as he and Collins walked the battle-torn halls of the Emmett Ryan. He squeezed past a pair of technicians bent like surgeons over the body of an EPS step-down tap in the middle of the corridor. The ship was originally a luxurious Ferengi smuggling vessel, but its hull bristled with more torpedo batteries than most Starfleet gunships after a New Maquis refit.

Collins accompanied him quietly, and Vance weighed how much to really tell the young pilot. Not trusting anyone had kept him and his brother alive in the cutthroat slums that Bajoran politicians called "transitional housing for dispossessed minors." Uneven shacks for the orphans of dead Maquis. The street gang Collins grew up in sounded eerily familiar to Vance. Same shaft, different planet. Same Federation rhetoric. He had to tell Collins something for the pilot to do his part of their detour right.

Halfway between the technicians and the bridge, Vance stopped and placed his hand on a security scanner. The door to his spartan office opened, and he grinned over his shoulder at Collins. "I left a PADD with our itinerary in my office. Might as well come in; it'll take me a minute or two to find it."

Vance walked straight to his desk. When the door closed behind Jackson, he looked up and spoke as if mentioning the weather. "Route our warp path through these coordinates." He held a PADD up for Jackson to read an astrometric coordinate from. "Just memorize them. I know you can." He looked sharply at Jackson but there was no accusation in his eyes. "Someone is feeding our movements to the Cardassians. Maybe a spy program deep in the nav system." Vance gritted his teeth and took a deep breath. "Maybe a mole. I want them far off course when we make this detour."

Jackson met the captain's eyes and then briefly glanced at the coordinates. He then studied the captain for just a moment, letting the captain know he was aware of the situation and trusted him.

Going with his gut, Vance tipped his chin up and said, "Our guest will ping us when we enter the rendezvous system. She'll match our course from there. We'll slow to a transporter capable warp just long enough to beam her over. No one aboard will feel the speed drop long enough to realize it is anything but warp space turbulence. Can you do that?"

He nodded and smiled, "It will be a walk in the park, sir."

Jackson walked through the messhall with his simple replicator food. He really missed Kalstri's cooking. He missed a lot about the Firebird, but he kept a smile on his face and nodded to each of his new comrades as he walked by. There were multiple waves and short greetings as he walked by. Jackson was well liked on the ship. He had done well on all the missions, proving himself to be an expert in piloting and fighting. His hand unconsciously felt the phaser at his side. SFI had given him a phaser module that turned his kill setting into more of a electric shock. It left behind the burn mark and was indistinguishable from a regular phaser shot. It just sent a shock to the target, rendering them unconscious and even momentarily stopping their heart. Jackson would never know if his targets truly survived. He could only hope that they did.

His thoughts were interrupted as he made eye contact with Laura. A slight smile spread across her face, which definitely brightened his mood. She had short dark hair and dark eyes that always seem to catch Jackson's attention. Despite her smile, though, Jackson could tell her mood was down. He meandered over to her table and raised one eyebrow, questioning, which she quickly motioned with her hand for him to sit.

"You know you are always welcome, Jackson." She smiled at him once again, but then looked down at her meal and began to pick at it.

"It is never a good idea to be presumptuous. Thanks for putting up with me." Jackson sat down across from her, he also casually picked at his meal. He was intent on her mood, he had begun to suspect she was quickly tiring of things. "It was a rough mission, a lot of fighting..." Jackson added a bit of compassion to his voice.

Laura, sighed heavily. She was nearing her breaking point and the compassion that Jackson showed towards her was almost too much for her. "It is almost too much Jackson." She hesitated slightly, "You know, those people...the guards, the starfleet personnel..." She looked up at him and only saw compassion from him, so she continued. "each of them are only doing what they are told...Just like us. They have family..." She lowered her head, "But now they are dead, and by my hands." She hung her head, "How do you do it? You are fierce in probably killed more than any of us." With that she glanced up at Jackson and she could see the truth in his eyes as the burden of his actions poised to crush him. She reached across the table and gently held his hand.

Jackson wasn't quite ready for her reaction. When she turned it back towards him, he couldn't help but feel the enormous guilt of his actions. He had know way of knowing if any of them he shot would still live. He had convinced himself at the time that he was giving them the best chance to live. He had convinced himself that he had to do these things, because more peoples lives were at stake. But was any of that true? For that brief moment, he almost let it all come crashing down upon him. Her touch on his hand seemed to send a shock of energy through him. Jackson gave her a gentle smile. He then casually looked around, "It is not easy, especially when it is difficult to know what is right. We follow orders, but..." He squeezed her hand slightly, "Maybe it is time to leave the ship?"

She returned his squeeze as she looked around slightly in alarm, "You know that's not possible. Even if the Maquis didn't come after me, starfleet would."

Jackson spoke softly to her, "You know, starfleet has pardoned many Maquis fighters. I am sure they would do the same..." Jackson placed his other hand over theirs, "I care for you, and if you need to leave. I will help. I know a smuggler, he tends to work both sides of this war. He will get you to where you need to go...." Jackson abruptly stopped and began to chuckle. A scrawny fellow obviously was headed their way. Joacksn stole a quick look at Laura, he could see she was seriously considering what he said. Good, he thought before waving to the approaching figure, "Hey Mason, come have a seat..."


Concluded in "Doctor Baptiste, I Presume (Part 2)"

Lieutenant Junior Grade Jackson Smith
Chief Flight Control Officer/Covert Operations Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Ensign Laura McCain
Tactical Officer
Evan Ryan
NPC (by Jackson Smith)

Commander Joseph Vance
Captain of the Evan Ryan
New Maquis
NPC (by Yumi Han)

Lieutenant Commander Turzi Sholo, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer of the Evan Ryan
New Maquis
NPC (by Yumi Han)


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