Timeline: Before staff briefing
Tiber's latest attempt to regain some focus had gone slightly wrong. Judging by the size of the laceration to his arm and the spectacular bruising on his right side leg and ribs Tiber had no choice but to accept that his latest training program had gone a little too far. His modifications to the safety protocols made it possible for him to effectively train in a realistic environment, but not without risk. Tiber needed that risk though, he needed the release that threat and tension gave him. The rush of adrenaline that helped him to focus and concentrate on his surrounding. By the time he had managed to get to sickbay however that feeling had dissipated and all he was left with was this feeling of frustration and subdermal anger than had been following him around the last few days.
"Doctor?" Tiber called as he entered through the double doors embossed with the star fleet medical insignia that identified his location.
Dr. Hightower had been returning to her office when she heard the familiar sound of the infirmary doors opening, but it was the voice that called her that made her turn around. The sight that greeted her not unusual given what she and the Security Chief had found, but she hadn't expected the Intelligence officer they'd recently met to be the next to succumb to whatever was happening around the ship. "Ensign," she started as she picked up the nearest tricorder on her way to him. "What happened to you?" She pointed him to a biobed, and began scanning when he was settled.
Tiber sat on the side of the bed, limping slightly as he went. He grunted a little as he sat, trying his best to ignore the shooting pain coming from his ribs. "My training program on the holodeck."
She nodded as she scanned him head to toe. "Anyone else involved?"
"Just me and two holograms." Tiber grunted to the doctor, shaking his head a little to try and get rid of some of the cobwebs.
Between the readings she was getting and the information he gave, a questioning look dominated her features. "These are pretty serious injuries from a holodeck program. Were the safeties taken off?" She reached for a calcium matrix grafter to help with the broken ribs she found as she waited for an answer.
Tiber knew where this was going but at the same time he had means of keeping the full picture to himself, it was his job to keep secrets.
"No. Modified, but not off."
She raised a brow. This wouldn't be the first time giving this talk to an ensign. As she continued working on his injuries, she responded. "Mr. Augusta, the safeties are there for a reason. When my staff has to take time to treat injuries that didn't have to happen, it takes able-bodied medics away from other potential emergencies. Unless you have special permissions, modifying the safeties is against regulation." Satisfied with the bone treatment, she grabbed a tissue regenerator for the slash on his arm.
Tiber had prepared himself for this particular lecture. The first time he had received it he was 14 years old, but back then he was using his fathers command codes to make the changes. By comparison this was a minor infraction. He shrugged a little bit following the treatment to his ribs.
"I apologies doctor. I have been feeling....troubled. I needed to push myself inorder to try and regain some....focus." Tiber looked down at his feet as he muttered the last part of the sentence.
Varina's tone softened with the apology. "Understood, Ensign. And I'm not ignorant of what department you're in. If you have clearances, I only ask for verification from a department head." She finished her work on the laceration and sat back to let him test out the new skin. "How does that feel?"
Tiber moved his arm up an down slightly.
"Much better thank you doctor. Will that be all?"
"Just a moment, Bucko. There's still some bruising on your leg I can take care of." She reached for another instrument and laid the face of it against the bruise. "I know no one likes the doctor, but at least let me finish before scootin' out."
Tiber slowly hopped back onto the side of the biobed. He was eager to escape sickbay after answering as few questions as possible. He just couldn't help but feel like he is being watched.
Varina gave his last injury her attention, an instument that felt as if it massaged the bruise away. "You got somewhere to be?" she asked with a grin.
A sudden tidal wave of anxiety washed over Tiber. Did the doctor know about him and Nokomis? He tensed up at the thought, looking rather intensely at the doctor as he answered.
"Only back at my post Doctor." He lied.
His mind began rushing with possible ways to discredit the doctor should she know too much. Fabricated requisition orders here, misfiled reports there. Starfleet intelligence were expert at the sort of dirty work the rest of the service liked to pretend didnt exist. Tiber couldn't help but plan for the worst, his nerves were frayed and his thoughts dark.
Varina merely smiled. "We'll get you back on duty, but not before I'm comfortable that you're at 100%." When she looked up at him she saw a shadow of something that caught her eye. Worry? Edginess? "You okay, Ensign? You look like a coon caught in a trap with a hungry dog outside."
Tiber hopped from the biobed he had been perched on and started to slowly pace around it. Thinking hard about how to answer that question.
"I....feel agitated, short tempered. Unable to focus on my work, or much of anything for that matter." He looked up at the doctor with the same expression he had been wearing when he arrived but behind the facade he was crying for help. He was crawling in his own skin.
"I went to the holodeck to try and concentrate on one thing, call it self help if you like doctor. The lack of safety protocols helps me to focus my attention."
She nodded, understanding a bit more now. And knowing there was something to fix gave her the motivation to help. But her usual recommendation to see a counselor was useless, as Orion had not taken one on yet. "Ensign, we don't officially have a counselor, but should you ever need to get things off your chest, I'm a willing ear. If what's bothering you is sensitive, I recommend finding someone in Intel that you trust to be able to talk to. Do you know why you're feeling agitated?"
Tiber paced the floor, circling the bed like a disturbed wolf.
"This space is effecting me more than I has appreciated.....Nothing more." The young ensign placed a little emphasis on the last two words while shooting a poorly disguised scowl up at the doctor as he lied.
The doctor frowned, lack of space on a Galaxy Class? Then she got an idea. "Perhaps some holodeck time with wide open spaces, unstead of aggressive confrontations would help, then. I could program a few with some Texas prairies if you like." She wasn't sure if he'd go for it, but it was worth a shot.
Tiber had been referring the the space surrounding the ship rather than the physical space aboard but he sensed and opportunity to take his leave of the doctor. "I would be willing to try doctor. Was there anything else?"
Varina looked at him, trying to assess if he was pulling something over on her. He agreed much sooner than she expected. But while she figured the likelihood was adequate, she had no proof, so she would have to be sure she followed up with him. The last thing she wanted was her patients thinking she was gullible. When she answered she hoped her tone of voice at least told him she was not to be fooled. "Not at the moment. I'll send you the programs, and I expect to hear whether they, or anything else, is helping or not. Otherwise, you're free to go."
"Thank you doctor. I appreciate your assistance." Tiber gave a short nod of the head before slowly making his exit from sickbay. As the doors shut behind him he could feel the doctors eyes following him, almost looking through him. She was clearly a very astute individual. An interesting prospect for recruitment in the future if Intelligence ever had need of an operative with high level medical access. For the moment though, he was simply happy to have escaped from the doctors interrogation.
Lieutenant Varina Hightower
Chief Medical Officer, USS Orion
Ensign Tiberius Augusta
Intelligence Officer, USS Orion