Script by David Eversole
Adaptation by Carolyn Kaberline
The Potemkin slid silently through sector 217-R as Helmsman Mike Delaney sat in the captain's chair. So far the patrol near the Witchhead Nebula had been uneventful, which after the events of the spatial anomaly they were calling "The Void" was a welcome turn of events.
Delaney gave a quick glance around the bridge before his gaze returned to the wispy blue tendrils of the nebula. Despite its name, the nebula revealed nothing sinister in its fairy-tale shape. There was even something beautiful about the way it reflected the light of nearby Rigel.
The sound of the turbolift doors opening, followed by the slap of something metallic on the railing interrupted Delaney's reverie.
"Ah, our new helmsman, if I'm not mistaken," came the unmistakable voice of Maura Drake, the Potemkin's chief medical officer.
"Yes, ma'am," Delaney said as he rose to face her, extending his hand toward her. "Michael Emmett Delaney. 'Mike' to my shipmates, ma'am."
"Don't you dare 'ma'am' me again," Drake said, pointedly ignoring Delaney's proffered hand as she leaned on the medical case. "I am a doctor," she said with the emphasis on the word 'doctor.' "Never address me otherwise. Either 'doctor' or if you feel you must, 'Doctor Drake.'"
"Yes, Doctor," Delaney said, snapping to attention.
"Now, why aren't you in Dickbay?" Drake addressed the helmsman.
Delaney answered uncertainly, "Because I'm not sick?"
"Not sick?" Drake asked incredulously. "What has that got to do with regulations? You came aboard this vessel four days ago, and you have not yet reported for your physical, Commander."
"I was rushed into duty immediately, ma'a--Doctor," Delaney answered. "Perhaps you were unaware of the Void that was causing ships to disappear in this sector?"
"Where is the captain?" Drake asked of no one on the bridge in particular. "How many times must I remind him? Regulations clearly state that a crew member may not assume his duties without first being certified medically fit by the chief medical officer? And there's no mention of any exceptions for Voids or anything else."
While most of the bridge crew tried to become invisible at their posts--some of them had been the focus of Drake's past tirades--the doctor once again turned to Delaney.
"You may refer to me as the Chief Medical Officer or CMO, but not in direct address," she stated emphatically before turning to Mtume. "Now where is the captain?"
"Doctor, he's in his ready room, probably reprimanding another one of our new officers," the communications officer replied somewhat helpfully.
Drake stared at Mtume for a moment before once again turning to Delaney.
"Commander Delaney, report to Sickbay," the doctor said before adding a strong, "Now."
"Doctor, I have the conn," Delaney insisted.
"Commander Delaney, I am relieving you of the conn, pursuant to Starfleet Order 121, Section B," Drake emphasized.
Unsure of what to do, Delaney turned to Mtume for help, but the communications officer, unwilling to get involved, only rolled her eyes and waved the helmsman off.
"I saw that, Lieutenant," the chief medical officer said looking directly at Mtume and using the tone of a school teacher just having caught a student up to something.
Delaney took a step up to the same level as Drake while Mtume quietly slid into his vacated seat.
"Well, well, I can see it's a diet for you," Drake said, poking the helmsman in the stomach. "You're even heavier than that oaf Reigert was."
"I'm from Xartheb," the new helmsman said, drawing himself up to his full six feet three inch height.
"'I'm from Xartheb,' what"? Drake asked with her tone rising and her Southern accent becoming more noticeable.
"Doctor," Delaney responded.
"No, you dolt," Drake chastised the befuddled helmsman. "One 'doctor' per conversation is enough! What does Xartheb have to do with a diet? Xartheb? Xartheb? What is Xartheb?"
"Xartheb is a marginally Class M planet orbiting Barnard's Star," Mtume broke in. "It is a heavy gravity planet, which supports a Human colony whose inhabitants have adapted to the gravity over the past two centuries..."
The last few words of the communication's officer went almost unheard as the exasperated doctor broke in. "Never in my twenty years in this Starfleet have I seen a captain as negligent in his regard of Starfleet Medical Regulations," she said, before addressing her remarks to Delaney once again. "Ah, so, you're within your weight limits?" she asked.
"Yes, Doctor," he replied.
"My ass, you are," Drake stated. "You're going on a diet. Come on right now, and you see my medical bag," she added pointing to the case on the rail.
"Yes, Doctor," Delaney said, eyeing the case.
"Do bicep curls with it on our way to Sickbay," the doctor ordered, then stared at Delaney's tunic for a moment before fingering the material.
"Why is your uniform the wrong color?" she asked.
"This was the uniform I was given on the science ship Lowell," Delaney explained, looking at his tunic. "I'm allergic to algae-based xenylon. I'm afraid the color may be a little off."
"Wimp," Drake intoned as she stared at him. Finally she turned and stepped into the turbolift, leaving Delaney to grab her medical bag and follow. They both turned and faced the front as the lift began to move under Drake's direction.
"You'd fit in very well on my world," Delaney noted, beginning a set of curls with his right arm.
"Well, thank you, Commander," Drake said as she smiled for the first time in their encounter.
"Too bad you're so damn scrawny," the commander said as he looked up innocently.
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