Previous Next

Shaken and Stirred

Posted on Fri Nov 3rd, 2023 @ 9:31am by Evelyn Reynolds & Chief Of The Boat Terrence "Jack" Rumm

Mission: Fractures
Location: SS Mary Rose, Deck 7, Sickbay
2002 words - 4 OF Standard Post Measure

Navigating the winding corridors of the Mary Rose, Jack found himself nearing the heart of the ship's well-being: Sickbay. The anticipation of meeting another key member of the crew hummed through him, just like the ever-present thrum of the ship's engines beneath his feet. The health and spirit of the crew often depended as much on the expertise of the medical staff as it did on the sturdiness of the vessel they travelled in.

The doors slid open with a soft hiss, unveiling the state-of-the-art medbay bathed in ambient light. Medical instruments stood in pristine order, and the gentle beep of the biobeds served as a gentle reminder of the critical nature of this chamber. The faint aroma of antiseptics tinged the air, a testament to the cleanliness and professionalism of the place.

Stepping inside, Jack's gaze wandered, searching for the ship's doctor. "Greetings!" he began, a friendly resonance to his voice. "I'm here for the customary check-up as a new crew member. And, of course, to make the acquaintance of our esteemed doctor. Starting a voyage in the vastness of space requires knowing the one who'll patch us up when stars get a tad too rough."

As it happened, there was no need to navigate an endless stream of introductions, which might have been the case when seeking specific staff in a much larger facility. Life within the newly refurbished Sickbay had fallen into a somewhat steady and predictable pattern, but there still weren't nearly enough on the roster for Evelyn to tuck herself away under some flimsy premise involving seniority and privilege. It wouldn't have been her preference in any case and, as it happened, was currently not an option. Due to several insistences on her part, she was the only one currently on duty. She looked up at the sudden arrival of affable energy, hesitated a moment as the unusualness of the man's demeanour registered as something she really ought to be concerned about in terms of crew mental health, and rose gracefully to approach the new arrival with thoughtful reservation.

"Forgive me," she started, a very faint glimmer of humour reflected in her eyes. "Did I just hear you volunteer for medical screening?" A ghost of a smile played about the doctor's lips. "And here I was starting to assume that delusions of grandeur were part of the Captain's recruitment policy. Evelyn Reynolds," Evie added, gesturing with a hand towards one of the examination chairs. "Take a seat."

A chuckle rumbled deep in Jack's chest, his eyes twinkling with mirth. "Ah, Doctor Reynolds! Indeed, I reckon most of us sailors—erm, spacefarers—usually steer clear of these medbays until the fates drag us in." His steps resonated with a light-hearted thud as he approached the indicated chair, but not before giving a theatrical bow in her direction. "Jack's the name. Jack Rumm. Chief of the Boat and a man who believes in the old saying: better to meet under calm skies than in the midst of a tempest."

He eased into the chair, glancing around appreciatively at the sophisticated equipment surrounding him. "Though I must confess, Doctor, your sickbay here feels less like a place of ailment and more of a sanctum of healing. So, let's venture forth into this 'screening'. After all, no better way to get acquainted than to unravel the mysteries of one's well-being." His smile broadened, embodying both respect and a little mischief. "And, rest assured, no grandeur here, just an ol' spacefarer looking to set his journey right from the start."

The very epitome of reservation, Evelyn remained a little mystified by the newcomer's gregariousness but made no mention of it. Instead, turning the keypad towards herself, she pulled up a new patient file and quickly accessed the man's recently-finalised manifest entry in order to link the two. "Do you have any pre-existing conditions, Mr. Rumm?" Her tone, every inch the measure of its British origins, embraced the excessive formality behind the query whilst not entirely eradicating hints of an understated humour.

Jack leaned back, stroking his chin thoughtfully as his eyes danced with memories. "Ah, Doctor, every traveller has his scars—be they of the heart, mind, or body. But, if we're talking physical ailments," he began with a playful glint, "I'm generally hale and hearty, save for an old skirmish wound that occasionally reminds me of its presence during particularly chilly expeditions in the Jeffries tubes."

He gave a wink. "And perhaps an insatiable craving for stargazing, but I reckon that's more of an occupational hazard than a condition, wouldn't you agree?" Jack's tone was filled with light-heartedness, his nature juxtaposing the sterility of the sickbay. "Beyond that, Doctor Reynolds, I believe I'm as fit as a fiddle—unless of course, you discover some newfound space anomaly lurking within me!"

Evelyn found herself quite thankful that Jake wasn't there, or even Oliver for that matter. The slight gape of her mouth was an uncommon sight; she didn't find herself rendered speechless very often. Recovering her wits quickly, the doctor smothered a smile with purpose. "If prior mission reports are anything to go by, the crew is more than capable of finding those without your assistance. Talk to me about your battle scar. Joint related? You mentioned susceptibility to the cold."

Jack's gaze turned momentarily distant, the recollections of a bygone era pulling at his focus. After a brief pause, he refocused on Evelyn, offering a rueful smile. "Aye, that it is. A shrapnel wound, caught me right in the leg during a skirmish on Torma IV. Some advanced medtech patched me up real good, but the souvenir remains." He lightly tapped the side of his thigh. "The cold tends to make the joint a bit stiff, and every so often, there's a twinge, a sharp reminder of the past."

He sighed softly, the weight of memories pressing momentarily on his shoulders before he shrugged them off. "But it's a testament, isn't it? We venture forth, face the unknown, and return bearing tales of our journeys—some in words, others in scars." He tilted his head, meeting Evelyn's gaze squarely. "It's healed quite well over the years, but I suppose there's no harm in a thorough medical once-over, eh, Doctor?"

A more gregarious person may have viewed the juncture as a perfect opportunity for empathy. Not very many months liberated from the walking cane she'd arrived on, and still somewhat reliant on her own attempts at physical therapy to strengthen the artificial joint in her knee, Evelyn understood only too well what was being referenced but saw no immediate value in injecting her own experience into the conversation. Her retelling came with divulgences that were less than comforting and not something she had sought to render public knowledge. "Some focused scans will give me a baseline to keep an eye on it. Joint degradation is something we can avoid if we intervene early enough. Hop up for me," she added, moving to pat one of the beds and then wheeling over one of the portable scanners.

Jack obliged, moving with practiced ease despite his leg. He carefully hopped onto the designated bed, steadying himself with one hand against the backrest. "Truth be told, I've been a bit neglectful in that department. Got used to living with it, you see."

His eyes followed Evelyn's movements as she went about her work. "Torma IV... it feels like another lifetime," he mused. "But there's wisdom in what you say, Doctor. No point in carrying forward pain or discomfort when we've got the means to address it." He flashed her a wry grin. "Though I'll admit, I'm a bit more used to ship maintenance than personal upkeep."

"You and just about every other person."

There was every chance Reynolds hadn't endeared herself greatly to several of the crew, having thrown herself into her unexpected responsibilities with all the tenacity of a woman who was one snapped silver thread away from having no career at all. That coupled with her genuine consternation at the state of the medical documentation had fuelled a tirade of demands regarding updated vaccinations and mandatory health screenings. She couldn't fault the staff for what they'd managed, and was even prouder of them now for how quickly both Oliver and Beya were proving to be more than equal to the task of running their own facility one day, but instability in leadership had let the crew get away with too much. Especially this crew, who had a tendency to find all the holes in the universe and fall through it.

"This will just take a couple of minutes," the doctor continued, setting the scanner to its work. She finally slowed down then enough to properly regard her patient, piercing blue eyes watching him closely as she asked in only half-jest, "Do you have any vices I should know about before you wind up in here regretting them?"

Jack let out a hearty chuckle, his broad shoulders shaking lightly. "Well, Doctor, aren't we diving straight to the heart of things?" He winked, the twinkle in his eye belying a life well-lived. "In my time, I've enjoyed a strong drink, a hearty meal, and the occasional game of chance. But I've always believed in moderation... most of the time."

He paused, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "If we're laying cards on the table, you might find a bit of an over-fondness for a good whiskey. But I assure you, it's never interfered with my duties. Everything in its place and time, as they say."

"I have a penchant for a decent martini once in a while myself." Arms folded loosely across her chest, Evelyn very nearly smiled. "In the right company at least. I don't think you'll find yourself short of a drinking buddy or ten here though, our lounge area seems exceptionally popular from what I've gathered."

Jack's eyes sparkled with amusement. "A martini aficionado, are we? Can't say I've met many doctors with such refined tastes." He paused, weighing his next words with a playful tilt of his head. "Tell you what, Doctor. Once all this medical business is squared away and we're both off-duty, how about we head to that lounge and we can get you one of those martinis? In the interest of, ah, fostering crew camaraderie, of course." He shot her a roguish grin, trying to gauge her reaction. "You know, to ensure our working relationship is on solid ground."

A slightly bemused hitch of a single eyebrow refused to give a definitive answer. "First thing's first," the doctor proceeded, lending credence to the possibility that she was never really off-duty, "we need to have a small chat about just how lapsed your recommended vaccinations are." Having directed her glance at his readings, Evelyn allowed her gaze to drop with a degree of calm smugness. "I'll give you a hint; they're very overdue."

Jack raised an eyebrow in mock surprise, giving a sheepish smile. "Ah, that. Well, I've been meaning to catch up on those, but you know how it is - life gets in the way, one adventure leads to another, and before you know it, you're overdue for a jab or two... or several." He chuckled lightly, "Alright, Doctor Reynolds, I promise I'll sit still and take my medicine like a good lad. But afterward, that offer for a martini still stands. Might need it to soothe the sting, eh?" He flashed her another playful grin.

Inwardly mustering her patience, Evelyn shook her head and busied herself a moment, back turned, before returning with a hypo-syringe in both hands. Her expression, whilst striving not to appear too smug, held an element of quiet triumph as it took only the presentation of two seemingly benign devices to lean playfully into the devilment of well-meaning torment.

"After this, I think I can issue you with health clearance on several provisions, mostly surrounding the frequency of subsequent check-ups. Welcome aboard, Mr. Rumm. Now, please try not to move."


Previous Next