Treating the Problem
Mission 0 - Leaving the Blue Marble
Location: Deck 12 - Sickbay
Timeline: Day 3 - 0830 Hours
Lieutenant Commander Barrett entered sickbay and then paused as the doors whooshed shut. He looked around at all the busy personnel milling about, stocking medical supplies, checking equipment and consulting a few patients that had minor injuries or consultations. He turned left and walked along the wall to the CMO's office to see about his physical and perhaps to clear the air regarding some concerns he'd read about in her personnel file. He didn't like drama aboard his ship and he wanted to make it perfectly clear that he wouldn't tolerate it aboard the Orion.
Inside the office, Varina was arranging her things. She'd spent most of the morning working in the main Sickbay with the others, after an initial departmental meeting. She wanted to be sure her Sickbay was in order, running efficiently, and able to serve the crew quickly and with grace. Most files and information were on PADDs, but she still preferred to write with a stylus at times, especially when taking quick notes on the fly. So she had a drawer to keep said notes in order. It was as she was sitting back up from the drawer that she realized someone was standing in her doorway. The sudden presence startled her, but she recovered quickly, not wanting to show she hadn't seen anyone coming. "Hello. May I help you?" she asked, sitting back in her chair.
Logan slowly took a few steps into her office and draped his hands behind his back. "I was told that my physical was expired and thought I'd come down to iron out that problem." His eyes watched her movements as he tried to get a discerning read on her. Despite her blemished record, there weren't any major problems with her knowledge or application of medicine, he reminded himself.
As he stepped in and began speaking, she took in the words he said, but she sat up when she noted 2 solid pips and one hollow pip on his collar, and stood when he'd finished. She hadn't seen his picture, but she was starting to think that the man standing before her was her Commanding Officer. She gestured to the main Sickbay area. "We can take care of that. Commander Barrett, I presume?"
Logan nodded as he took a step forward and offered his hand in greeting, finding her handshake solid. "It's good to meet you, doctor. It looks like you've jumped in with both feet in a very short time." He waved his hand around the room in an encompassing gesture. "Your staff are running around techs are smoothing out the bugs, and all without the help of my first officer. Well done." He tugged downward on his uniform front. "Before we knock that out, might we discuss something briefly?"
Her smile vanished before she could hide it. She knew what he wanted to discuss, and she wondered if her first impression of him would last through his questioning. She nodded. "Please, have a seat." She sat back in her own.
"Thank you, doctor," he said before sitting down quietly. "I just wanted to clear the air about any potential feelings you may have about your... past incident. To be frank, there was a part of me that wanted to reject your application to the Orion based solely on that blemish alone." He tugged his uniform again, almost as a physical pause before continuing, "However, I've seen too many good officers' careers be unjustly destroyed because of one or two screw-ups."
She raised a brow. "With all due respect, Captain, I did not screw up, at least not in the line of duty." In her personal life, however, her ex definitely fell in that category. "I did everything I should have. What was lacking was the documentation to support my actions."
Logan arched an eyebrow at her and let out a long, quiet sigh at her defensiveness as he steepled his fingers. He understood how defending yourself to everyone eventually wore the skin thin. "And why do you think you're sitting in that chair, having this conversation at all?"
That question took Varina by surprise, and she considered her answer before speaking. "I was given the impression brass had assigned me, with little choice for you."
He nodded slowly while keeping his eyes fixed to hers. "You'd be right. I'll be frank, doctor. I don't like officers that pull favors with admirals. And even if it wasn't your doing, I don't appreciate it. The circumstances surrounding your court martial make me take pause but..." He stopped, undoing his fingers and leaning forward in his chair. "I'm not convinced that you made the right or wrong choice at the time. Risk is our business, after all. I'm giving you a fresh start. No baggage, no judgement on the past as long as you can follow my orders."
She grinned, without it really reaching her eyes. "I hate to break it to you, but I suspect this was no favor. I haven't been on the receiving end of any favors for the last 3 years. And I'm sorry you were pulled into my...baggage." She paused, considering the rest of what he'd said. "I appreciate your offer. It's always been my intent to serve with distinction, although I may not have felt I'd been given the opportunity up until now. I still intend to act and serve in a manner that reflects well on you and myself. I take pride in my abilities, and those of my staff. That said, not being the brunt of someone's prejudices may take some getting used to, so please accept my apologies if I jump to conclusions at times. I will try to remember I'm under different command now."
Logan pursed his lips and nodded curtly. "That's a fair arrangement, Doctor Hightower." He rose from his seat and offered his hand in official greeting. "And welcome aboard the Orion."
Varina stood as well, and accepted the proferred hand with a tentative smile. "Thank you, Captain, especially for your assurances. Shall we proceed to your exam, now?"
Logan smirked as he shook her hand. "You're welcome. And... of course." He dropped his hand and cocked his head slightly to the side. "I almost thought I was going to get away with that physical."
She grinned back at him as she moved around her desk, and gestured for him to go into the main triage area. "You're gonna have to try harder than that to get one by me, Sir. In my 14 years in Starfleet, I've seen just about any attempt at getting out of appointments. I can see the excuses coming from a mile away."
"I suppose it's the role of the chief medical officer to keep me on my toes?"
The Doctor raised a brow in amusement as she followed. "Your newness is showing, Sir. Any seasoned CO knows that is true."
He gave her a faint grin that she couldn't see and muttered, "Clearly I need to up my game..."
Lieutenant Commander Logan Barrett
Commanding Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant Varina Hightower
Chief Medical Officer, USS Orion