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Walking and Talking [CD]

Posted on Tue Mar 24th, 2020 @ 10:22pm by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Jamia Kaar

Mission: Interlude 4
Location: DS9, various locations
Timeline: 1 March, 2395 - 0945 Hours


Brushing her hair back over her shoulder, Jamia made her way from the bustling noise of the promenade into the corridor that led to the docking ring. It was going to be an unusual way to report to her new assignment, essentially welcoming her commanding officer into his own mission, but she had already ‘been on the ground’ so to speak, and there wasn’t time for the usual formalities. In fact, she had only been assigned to Firebird two days before and had been surprised to learn that the ship would be coming directly to her. Well, to DS9 more specifically, on its way down to the surface of Bajor to deal with a new outbreak of Huerin Pox. Her first task as Chief Medical Officer was to meet the captain and escort him to a meeting with Bajoran health officials in order to coordinate their portion of the response efforts.

As she strode through the hallway that still felt inescapably Cardassian, the doctor began a brief walking meditation to center herself. Despite a lengthy leave from Starfleet, Jamia wasn’t nervous about returning to her career – simply excited. After years of putting the needs of others before her own, she was ready to see what was next for her. Not that she regretted her time with Casey and Sarah; she wouldn’t trade that for anything in the galaxy. It hadn’t ended as she would have hoped, but it did end, and there was nothing left but to move forward. Arriving at the airlock, she nodded to the security officer and stood at attention, waiting to greet her captain.

Malcom had grown accustomed to welcoming new CMOs to the Firebird. At first he'd struggled with it, as he always felt like he was losing a member of his family. But he'd come to grips with the fact that people changed, had life events etc. This time, however, he was also balancing the fact that the ship was headed to Bajor to help with an epidemic. He rounded the corner of the corridor and saw a fit and trim looking Betazoid woman, waiting near the security officer.

Malcom smiled as he approached his new CMO. "Dr. Kaar, I'm Captain Malcom Llwyedd," Malcom said. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I hate to do this but let's talk as we head down to sickbay. There's a lot going on and we need to be on Bajor as soon as possible."

Jamia nodded. "No worries, sir, It's nice to meet you, too, and I completely agree. If you'll follow me?" She took the lead and began retracing her steps, prioritizing what she needed brief him on before the meeting began. "I'm not sure how familiar you are with Huerin Pox, beyond what was in your briefing. As far as diseases go, it's not a walk in the park, but the treatment is fairly straightforward and I don't anticipate too much difficulty on that front. Where we are going to run into problems are with the fact that it is highly contagious and that it still unfortunately carries a bit of a stigma, from many years ago, when the illness was seen by some as a consequence of doubting the Prophets."

Malcom allowed his new CMO to lead the way onto the promenade. He was impressed that she'd already memorized the station's layout. "I did some reading on Huerin Pox so that I wouldn't embarrass myself in front of my new CMO," Malcom said. "From what I understand the pox progresses in three distinct phases but only the second phase is truly deadly, correct?"

"Correct," Jamia confirmed, unsurprised but appreciative that Llwyedd had done his homework. "The second phase is indeed the deadliest, with a 94% mortality rate for anyone left untreated. That's why I mentioned my concern with the stigma - many Bajorans refuse to vaccinate, and are not likely to come forward soon enough if infected out of shame. That's what has allowed this outbreak to get out of hand in the first place.

They rounded a corner and the slowly increasing clamor of business indicated they were almost to the station's center. In particular, the chimes for the Bajoran temple seemed to rise above the din, beckoning all to attend the service about to begin. "The second phase patients are the ones who will require the most attention from Firebird's dedicated medical department. Fatality aside, it is where we tend to see the most complications arise. The supplemental staff we pull from other departments will be functioning primarily as aides and orderlies... have you or your first officer been able to put together a modified duty roster yet?"

"I received the request and had my yeoman, Petty Officer Lak, draw up an appropriate duty roster. We're also keeping our Marines on standby in case of any civil disobedience. I've seen it happen before in similar situations." Ahead he could see the entrance to DS9's medical center. "Have you been able to work with the staff here to set up supplies and other assistance?"

"For the most part, yes," the doctor answered. "DS9 allotted a significant amount of cargo space for materials needed to treat this disease - the station's primary role will be to act as a re-supply depot for all of the outside help coming in. They'll see that we are fully stocked before heading to Bajor, and we can facilitate replenishment runs as needed. As far as 'other' assistance, we'll be receiving a Bajoran Prylar... I think her name is Beej..." Jamia strained to remember the name, a small detail at the moment, but she had met the woman only the the night before and it wasn't like her to forget a name so easily. Must be the tremendous amount of new information she'd had to absorb over the last few days. "Anyway, we're getting assigned a Prylar who will be on hand to assist with any of our patient's spiritual concerns. That'll be it regarding assistance." She punctuated the sentence by bringing the pair to a stop just outside the infirmary door. "Technically, we are the extra hands, so there will be no additional personnel assigned. Any other questions before we head in?"

Malcom held up a hand. "Doctor, I certainly feel that you have a grasp of the situation and the action items for when we reach the ground. However, I've also reviewed your file and essentially for the past six years you've been a general practitioner and administrator on an agrarian colony. It isn't ideal for a new department chief to jump into an emergency before they've had a chance to interact with and get to know their shipmates. Are you sure you don't want to sit this one out, helping here on DS9, and let Dr. Oggt and the EMH handle things on Bajor?" Malcom asked. He knew it might come off as an insult but he prioritized his crew over all.

Jamia's brow furrowed and she reflexively bit the corner of her lip as she considered the captain's suggestion. He certainly had a valid concern, so she did take a moment to think it through before providing an answer. "I can see where you're coming from, Captain, but with all due respect, I do believe I'd be an asset to this mission. I am the most experienced medical officer available to you, and although it is not ideal to just be meeting the members of my team, I trust in their training and professionalism. I also think that my time at the colony can be seen as a strength in this particular emergency - our destination, Dahkur Province, is an agricultural community, and the care of an entire community has been my focus for, well, as you said - six years. I can do this."

Malcom heard the confidence in Jamia's voice, something he was glad of. And she did have a point. Her previous life was very similar to what they would be experiencing on Bajor. "Very well, doctor. I'm on board. Lets go inside and see what Commander Chicoine, the CMO here on DS9, have to say," Malcom said with a warm smile. He motioned for Jamia to go first. "After you, doctor."

Forty-five minutes later, the pair emerged from the meeting. Jamia was doing her best to mask her frustration in front of her new captain; aside from some additional logistic details, nothing new had been covered and the ship could have been on its way to Bajor by now. After six years of simply getting the job done, this gathering had been a rather stark reminder of Starfleet bureaucracy, something her memory had conveniently glossed over when she decided to return. Attempting to let the irritation fade, she turned to Llwyedd and asked, "Any other stops you need to make before we head back to the airlock?"

Malcom had watched his new CMO closely during the meeting. He was quite familiar with meetings of the sort they had just exited. There was a lot of repetition so that everyone was sure to be on the same page and the station commander had kept a tight grasp on the agenda. But there wasn't anything new compared to what had been relayed in the numerous communique he'd received on their way to DS9. To Malcom, it came with the territory of being a Starfleet Captain. But he'd observed Dr. Kaar's body language and pegged her to be someone who was not fond of meetings. He didn't blame her.

"Actually, why don't we stop at Quark's and grab something to drink? My chief of ops let me know that we won't be fully ready to leave for Bajor for another hour. Maybe we can talk about something non-work related for a while. I have a feeling once we break free from DS9, we're going to be working non-stop," Malcom said, motioning toward's Quark's Bar. He could hear the Dabo wheel spinning and he could see Quark's orange head through the window.

"Oh," Jamia stammered, a bit surprised by Malcom's suggestion as she was very ready to start working the problem. But the captain had made a couple of very good points, and she realized that she really hadn't taken a moment for herself since receiving her new assignment. Letting go of a breathe she didn't know she'd been holding, she offered her companion a genuine smile. "You know, that sounds like a great idea." The pair made the brief stroll to the entrance. "Bar or table?" she asked, noting that business was livelier than she'd expected for so early in the day.

"Bar," Malcom said and lead the way through the morning crowd. He saw Quark's eyes dart at the duo, likely determining their net worth, before turning back to a pair of Klingons already sitting at the bar. "Welcome to Quark's!" Quark said.

Malcom didn't bother to respond. Quark wasn't listening anyway. Instead the captain chose a spot at the far end that appeared a little less crowded. He slid into open seat and waited for his doctor to join him.

"It will probably be a few minutes before he gets to us. I think this group of Klingon's just came back from the Gamma Quadrant. I read a report from Starfleet that they were doing salvage work on old Dominion planets. Must be flush with latinum. Have you been through the wormhole much?" Malcom asked, futilely trying to get Quark's attention so they could get a drink.

"Not really," the doctor answered, trying to think back. "A handful of times, maybe? I can't remember anything of note from those trips, though, I spent most of them confined to sickbay." She softly laughed at own words. "Wow, 'confined'? I don't think that's how I've ever felt about it... trapped, I mean. I enjoy the work and know that most of it isn't flashy, but I must say that I have loved those opportunities to get off the ship, you know? Getting to see new places, meet new people... Oddly enough, I had more of those chances once I was a department head." She saw that Quark had moved on from the Klingons but had stopped to chat with an ornately dressed Bolian who had walked in after them. "What about you? Are you one of those COs who get 'confined' to the bridge, or do get the chance to get your feet on the ground?"

Malcom waved his hand again and saw Quark nod at him. "Interesting question. I guess that I try to do a little of both. We're such a small crew that I probably could go on every away team or mission. But I've got an amazing staff and part of my job is to make sure that they are getting the opportunities they need to advance their careers. I've had three XOs leave since I took over. Two have their own ships now and one is an intelligence section commander. I hate seeing people leave but the Firebird is like any home. Everyone outgrows it eventually," Malcom said as Quark walked up to their spot.

"Good morning! I'm Quark, the owner of this bar. We've got a special on Sagittarian Milk Wine and I just received a new shipment of Rigellian Ale, if you're adventurous," Quark said with a leer.

Jamia considered the Ferengi's suggestions but thought it best to go for something non-intoxicating. "Good morning. I'd like a Kava Fizz, please, extra sweet." It was a refreshing drink and one that tasted so much better handmade than replicated.

Quark nodded, his face taking on a sad look as he calculated the profit margin of a Kava Fizz versus the Sagittarian Milk Wine.

"I'll take the ale, please," Malcom said. He watched Quark make their drinks and deliver them, admiring the efficient manner in which he conducted himself. Malcom raised his glass to Jamia. "Here's to a hopefully long and productive tenure for my new chief medical officer."

"I'll drink to that," Jamia smiled, raising her own glass before taking a deep, refreshing drink. "Mmmm, that's good. A replicated one never, well, fizzes right." She set her glass down and picked up the fresh kava that had been added to the drink as a garnish. "So tell me, captain... when you aren't leading us into the unknown, what do you like to do for fun?"

Malcom swirled his drink in his glass, listening to the sound of the dabo table nearby. "I like eating new foods, especially if they are from new contact planets. I also like sailing, when I get the chance. And I do enjoy a good holoprogram from time to time," Malcom said. "But generally I don't get much free time. I am busy making sure the ship and crew are taken care of. What about you?"

"I love being outdoors," the doctor answered, still twirling the garnish in her hand as they talked. "Actual outdoors, that is, not the holodeck. I mean, I do enjoy the occasional holo-mystery, but nothing beats camping or hiking or, even, just sitting out in the fresh air. I guess that's the farm girl in me..." She finally popped the kava in her mouth. "You know, that might be the hardest part about returning to Starfleet for me. Probably why I jump at the chance to join any away team, at least the planet side ones, you know? Nothing beats standing under an open sky."

"Oh, I agree. At home, Earth, I have a deck that looks out on the ocean. I love to sit there and just... be for a while," Malcom said and then his combadge interrupted.

=^=Kipp to Captain Llwyedd=^=

Malcom tapped his combadge. "This is Llwyedd. Go ahead."

=^=Sir, Lieutenant Rees and Chief Harlan report that the ship is ready to depart in all respects.=^=

"Very good, Kipp. Doctor Kaar and I are on our way. Llwyedd out," Malcom said. He took one last drink of his ale and set the glass down on the bartop, along with payment. "It looks like we'll have to continue this at a future date, doctor. Time for us to get underway for Bajor."


Captain Malcom Llwyedd
Commanding Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Jamia Kaar
Chief Medical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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