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'Tis But a Flesh Wound

Posted on Fri May 27th, 2022 @ 12:42pm by Delaney O'Callaghan & Aarix Teral

Mission: Adrift
Location: Temporary Sickbay
Timeline: MD02 1032
2618 words - 5.2 OF Standard Post Measure

"I do not need to see a doctor."

"Argue less, walk faster."

The morning had not gone at all as Delaney had envisaged. Despite her best efforts, she'd dozed off only an hour or two before Leiddem had stirred for the morning shift, and once her sleep was disturbed, that was it as far as the redhead was concerned. It had left her, just as she could have predicted, marginally less functional than if she hadn't bothered sleeping at all, but she'd suffered through a mug of brown coffee-flavoured water and headed back into the supply depot to continue the revised stocktake she'd been dragged away from hours earlier. It had seemed like a good way to try and wake up.

It had turned out to be one nuisance after another.

First, it was the single box of blown flashlight globes that had been reshelved amongst the rows of perfectly functional ones, so she'd had to spend time testing ever damn box until she found the culprit. Then, an entire container of liquid detergent had drizzled itself over everything directly below it, and trying to clean it up resulted in very poor decisions about utilising water as a medium for rectifying the mess. Sticky goop had become copious amounts of bubbles very quickly. Then there had been the spider. Then she had dropped a 5L can of cooking oil directly onto a tube of toothpaste.

Then she'd embedded a piece of wire into the fleshy part of her palm, right below her thumb.

Marched and unceremoniously dumped in the middle of the makeshift sickbay, Delaney held her injured hand in her good one and rolled her eyes impatiently to the ceiling. If she'd been allowed to just yank it out herself, she could have disinfected it, bandaged it and got on with making a mess of everything she touched. Now, she was just a perfectly able body taking up space that less-able bodies really needed.

Shortly after Delaney sat down, Aarix made his way over to her, tricorder in hand and a PADD tucked under his arm. Despite being around for some time, he hadn't really had a chance to meet much of the crew beyond their medical records, so maybe the tight quarters may be a good chance to actually meet people. While he looked more lively than last night, he hardly got enough sleep to feel how he looked. "What brings you in to the land of makeshift cots today?" Aarix asked, trying to keep the mood light.

Though she'd arrived disgruntled, Delaney mostly attempted never to linger long in any state of mind that wasn't forward moving. Exceedingly capable of finding the silver lining, it was the prospect of talking to someone she'd maybe greeted once or twice that relaxed her features into a bright, somewhat pragmatic smile. She held up her abused hand, with its sliver of wire embedded at least an inch, and replied, "Apparently, I'm not allowed to pull it out myself."

Aarix looked at the wire in her hand, noting the developing irritation around the wound. "I wouldn't have been upset if you did, but it's always good to make sure it doesn't get infected. Things like tetanus can be nasty. How long ago did this happen?" He turned to a nearby storage bin set up to grab some supplies before returning his attention to the woman on the cot. He set a small empty container, the PADD, and the tricorder on the cot next to her. In a slightly larger second container were some tweezers, a dermal regenerator, and an antibacterial he could inject as needed, and he set that on the cot as well before donning gloves to pick up the tweezers. "And remind me your name again?" he asked, holding out his free hand for the injured one.

"Delaney. Aarix, right?" She had the unfair advantage of being particularly good with names and faces, coupled with a natural curiosity for collecting acquaintances. Far from being squeamish, the redhead pulled her damaged hand up to her face for closer scrutiny and screwed up her nose as she pressed the thumb of her other hand against the flesh just beneath the puncture site. "About 10 minutes ago? I was looking for pliers when Benji found me. He works in Security," she added. "I think it's kind of bent in there? Not my best idea ever."

Aarix confirmed his name with a nod as he gently took her hand in his, palm up to examine the injury. Upon closer inspection, he could see that it was indeed bent, and in a way that would make simply pulling it out impossible, judging by the ever-so-faint bump of the wire under her skin. "It looks like it is bent. I'll have to make a small incision to get it all out. Would you like a mild painkiller, or a local numbing agent?" Given she literally just poked at it, Aarix would have guessed that she'd probably be fine, but he never assumed what someone wanted when it came to treating them.

Not only was Delaney fine, she gave him 'a look' that chastised him playfully for thinking otherwise. "I would say save that for people who need it. This has already turned into a stage production."

She was, of course, not impervious to pain and having her flesh cut into was probably something Delaney would prefer not to watch if she didn't have to. As a means of distraction, but also to satiate her own curiosity, she glanced around the space, her gaze flitting between faces to catalogue. "How many serious cases are there?," she asked quietly. It had become too easy to get swept up in organisational procedures, and personal revelations, and caffeine withdrawal, and inexpert spider hunting. There was something sobering about being reminded that not everyone had fared so well in the initial impact.

Aarix nodded, respecting the decision. In the container full of contents, there was a scalpel, and he replaced the tweezers with the sharp object. "Fortunately, not many. I think the common injury is a broken bone and some burns, but most got away with minor injuries. A few needed emergency treatment, but they're responding well." His mind briefly wandered to last night, when his patient went into cardiac arrest. The man was still unconscious last he checked, but was doing better. Turning his attention to the woman's hand, he took a moment to see where specifically the wire was. "You'll feel a sting, but this should be pretty quick," Aarix informed, before pressing the scalpel to the heel of her palm. "Any word on what happened to the ship?" he asked, partly out of curiosity and partly to help distract Delaney.

It was a kind gesture, but if one thing was constant, it was that Delaney was exceptionally good at distracting Delaney. She'd already clocked Oliver across the room and had instantly preoccupied herself with the realisation that she hadn't seen him much since the entire universe had decided it hated them all. She chalked it up to another task for her morale crusade and glanced back at the doctor, which honestly just meant staring at what he was doing. Right now, it appeared to resemble mangling her hand. "I don't know that anyone knows what caused it. If they have any speculation, they've not shared it with me. I guess it's likely that it's hardware failure? Rosie's not as young as she once was."

Delaney winced as the scalpel peeled back layers of her skin, though the sensation was bearable and she was more intrigued by the process than perturbed by it. "I offered to get out and push." Despite her predicament, Delaney grinned.

A little breath of air left Aarix's nose as a sign of his chuckle, his eyes trained on the business end of the scalpel. "I've been told that hardware tends to be the first to go. At least, that was the case for freighters." The wire started exposing itself, and Aarix very carefully and gently nudged the wire with the tip of the scalpel to see if he had cut deep enough to remove it all. Seeing the wire wiggle, he put the scalpel back in the container and grabbed the tweezers. "Hopefully, it's an easy fix."

"I'm starting to think we don't do easy." Oddly enough, the scalpel hadn't been as uncomfortable as the digging around of tweezers, no matter how careful the doctor was. Delaney squeezed her eyes into a wince and then peeked through one, squinting at his progress. "How long since you arrived? I got told when I first got here that hopeless optimism usually peters out after the first few months. Though," Delaney added, "I've been here well over half a year and I am still placing bets on them feeding us some sort of chocolate-related food before the end of this. I know they're hoarding it somewhere."

He felt her hand tense in his as he tried to get a decent grip on the wire, the sensation subtle but not any surprise to him. "Sorry about that. The wire managed to lodge itself pretty deep." Finally pinching the wire with the tweezers in a way he liked, Aarix began to pull. Because of the bend in the wire, he had to pull toward Delaney's fingers instead of straight up, and a moment later the wire came loose. "There we are," he said with a smile. Letting go of her hand, he put the wire into the empty container, along with the tweezers. "I've been here since Freecloud, so several weeks, I think? It feels longer." Picking up his tricorder, he did a scan of her hand to make sure he got all of the wire. "If you find the elusive chocolate hoard, be sure to save me some."

For a split second, Delaney regretted the lack of numbing agent. It took considerable willpower not to yank her hand away, or at least tense it towards a fist. To counteract the urge, she screwed her eyes shut and exhaled through the pain. "Been here only weeks and already expects in on the chocolate rations. Me thinketh thou expecteth too much...eth." The tiniest sliver of opened eyelid allowed her to peek at his progress and, as additional distraction, Delaney resorted to what she knew best; interrogation. "So, I've often wondered; what brings competent doctors onto ships like this? Surely there are cushier options elsewhere? Not," she hastened to add, "that I'm complaining. It's just always good to know what makes the fresh blood as bonkers as the rest of us."

Aarix chuckled. Not picking up any lingering pieces of wire in her hand, he replaced the tricorder with a dermal regenerator. "Mostly curiosity," he answered, supporting her hand from underneath as he turned on the device. "I heard of the ship needing doctors, and figured the worst response I could get was 'no.' I grew up in a Martian colony and hadn't really visited anything beyond the planets of Sol, so I thought that working on a ship would help me indulge that scientific curiosity." A smile crept onto his lips, "Birin is convinced I didn't quite think it through, but she works as an engineer on freighters, so surely she understands to some degree."

As much as his reasons seemed to mirror her own, and gave ample opportunity for a perspective from someone who had set out with the same lofty goals and was now in a position to report back, it was the confusion of the final explanation that caught Delaney's attention. "Well, my mother is an engineer and I can confirm that their logic doesn't always extend to applying personal limitations to other people." And then, because it was exactly the way she operated, especially when this tired, she added, "Is Birin family?"

There was a pause as Aarix pondered his relationship with Birin. "Not related family, no. We met when I started med school, and whenever she was near Mars we would get smoothies. It's our little thing." A little smile crept onto his expression as he recalled the last time they got smoothies. In hindsight, he appreciated her concern about him suddenly deciding to go into space, but she could really be protective at times.

"Unrelated family then, got it." Watching the doctor's face was easier than watching him clean her wound and so Delaney smiled to herself as the look of distant fondness that crept into the human's eyes reminded her of a similar daft expression she'd caught herself out on just recently. The instant empathy only created more questions, however. "So what made you serve on different vessels then? Couldn't you find something with room for both of you?"

"Her freighter didn't need a doctor. I wouldn't ask her to relocate unless she really wanted to. She likes the freighter she's on, and we find ways to stay in touch," he shrugged. Aarix then gave a closed mouth chuckle, "besides, I'm sure I'd drive her nuts if we were on the same ship."

That gave Delaney pause for thought. Of the challenges she faced dating a colleague, not being able to escape each other rated kind of high on her list of things to consider. She and Leiddem did a pretty poor job of avoiding each other either way but, at the very least, she could empathise with the sentiment. Delaney just wasn't sure she'd be able to do long distance ever again. It had been bad enough back on Earth, with better opportunities to visit, and then the jerk had still cheated on her...

"Our subspace transmissions aren't too bad," she eventually replied, intending to be encouraging. "And we hit Freecloud often enough to make use of slightly better facilities." With some surprise, she realised he was nearly done with her hand and peered closer again to see what the lingering damage was going to be. "What's the prognosis? Amputation?"

"That's good to hear," Aarix said with a smile. "I also have family and friends back home that I want to keep in touch with, and whether or not I could stay in touch with home was a concern of mine." At her question, he turned his attention back to the hand and watched the rest of the injury heal up. "Fortunately, your hand lives to see another day," he declared, turning off the dermal regenerator.

"Well, there goes the sympathy card for the rest of the day." Flexing her hand, Delaney frowned in concentration as she tested the durability of the freshly-repaired skin and arrived at the conclusion that she would probably survive. "But at least it means I can get back to making a mess of everything." She hopped down, still inclined to favour the hand by elevating it to curl against her chest despite the fact that it really wasn't necessary anymore. "Thank you for saving me from my own stupidity. I hope you get to talk to your girlfriend soon."

"Any time," Aarix replied with a smile. "Maybe next time you deal with wires, wear gloves? Those will protect your hands better."

A cocked index finger, proving the flexibility of her newly-repaired skin, became the finger-pistol accompaniment to Delaney's departing grin. Common sense, it really ought not have been that difficult to come by. Still, the day had started out badly but that only left room for improvement, and in the grand scheme of Delaney's over-abundance of optimism, that left only one possibility.

Nothing else was going to go wrong.



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