Mission 0 - Leaving the Blue Marble
Location: Deck 12 - Sickbay
Eilaea took a moment before stepping through the doors to the medical area to tug at her jacket, belt, and sash to straighten them; an old habit she often used to compose herself mentally as much as ensure she looked the part physically. Decades of habit and training warred with logical analysis of current events and statuses in her head; the former telling her it was folly to submit herself willingly for examination by foreign medical personnel and allow them to gather data on her. She firmly overrode such a voice, however: Regulations required this of all new personnel aboard the ship, it seemed; and it would be a poor start with their new commander to attempt to refuse.
As she entered, she swept her eyes over the area, noting by long habit the entrances, exits, and doors that appeared to lead elsewhere, before finally spotting what appeared to be the most senior of the medical personnel present and approaching. This was the first assignment in decades, for that matter, she was entering so blindly; normally she would have had access to a wide variety of files before a posting to a warbird, and reviewed at least basic information the officers and any notable members of the crew before coming aboard.
"Lieutenant." Eilaea said, coming to a respectful stop before the human woman, noting their equal ranks and relaxing her posture ever so slightly in light of it.
Varina had no choice but to notice the Romulan in full military attire approaching her, the second in as many hours to visit her Sickbay. This one seemed more serious than the first, if that were possible. She put her shoulders back as if she were preparing for a showdown, and wasn't quite sure why. But she noticed some of the tension leave the other woman upon addressing her, and Varina did the same. "Hello...Lieutenant. Welcome aboard. Should I assume you are also here for your baseline physical, or do you have a more pressing issue?"
"Thank you." Eilaea gave the doctor a little dip of her head in greeting and acknowledgement of her welcome. "Yes; I am here for my initial exam. I can return later if there is a time conflict, however."
Varina smiled. "Not at all. Please, have a seat on any of the biobeds you'd like. I just need to get a few things together." She did so rather quickly and returned to the Lieutenant. "How are you feeling?" she asked while getting the probe out of the front of the tricorder. She started pointing it at the woman's head as she waited for an answer.
"Fine." Eilaea replied, realizing uncomfortably that she had no idea whether or not any medical records had been among the data supplied to the Federation on the two of them or not. Sliding onto one of the biobeds, she undid the clasps on her belt and sash, then the front of her uniform jacket, pulling it off and laying it to the side, leaving only the undershirt and suppressing a slight shiver in the cooler air. It was only then that she considered the fact that in doing so and baring her arms, neck, and shoulders she had also revealed a decent portion of the scarring that covered most of the left side of her body save her face; a souvenir of the Dominion. It was not something she was used to concerning herself with, honestly, aside from providing occasional assurance to their own medical personnel that any lingering pain and effects of the original wounds did not significantly hinder the performance of her duties. Too late, however, she wondered if the reactions of others might differ slightly among Federation personnel; and met the doctor's eyes with a slight grin. "I believe there is a saying among your people which I heard during my time at the embassy that would fit well here: 'You should see the other guy'."
Varina realized her expression must have betrayed her thoughts, which was slightly embarassing. Though she imagined the cliche fit and chuckled in response. "I somehow get the feeling I'd rather not." She winked, her own grin forming. "The Dominion War incident?" she asked,trying to get more information than what she had. Although it would do for bare bones, Varina hoped she could get some more context...if possible.
One of Eilaea's eyebrows rose ever-so-slightly for a moment: That was one question answered; apparently some degree of medical records had transferred; though from the tentative nature of the statement likely rather limited ones. Unsurprising, really. "Yes. I was one of nine survivors recovered from the V'rela after she was destroyed by Dominion forces while on a reconnaissance mission."
The results of that mission, Eilaea realized, had probably been shared with the Federation in fact, after a fashion; their allies against the Dominion at the time: The specifications on the prototype weaponry they had stalked the Jem'hadar vessels specifically to retrieve scans of. Though somehow she doubted the details of the data's retrieval had been shared. That only five of the nine survivors had lived long enough to ultimately reach home again likewise seemed unnecessary to mention; as she had learned much later from reports on the incident from the other warbird that had responded to their distress call in time to lead the remaining Dominion forces to withdraw rather than attempt to comb the wreckage for secrets; "destroyed" was a reasonable term for the V'rela's fate: Too badly damaged to engage its fail safe auto-destruct sequences, what remained of the vessel to find those few survivors on had been little more than pieces floating in space where the right sequence of emergency bulkheads or fields or even collapsed areas had kept a compartment from leeching out the last of its remaining trapped atmosphere into the vacuum yet. Still, she thought at the end of these solemn recollections: In the end, the victor of the day had not been the victor of the war. The Dominion had eventually been forced to withdraw it's forces in the Alpha and Beta quadrants and swear off its attempts to conquer the Empire and the Federation and the other powers within, along with one of its vaunted leaders, the Founders.
"I am afraid I can tell you relatively little detail on the following year and a half from a medical treatment and results perspective; save that I was eventually cleared to return to duty 18 months later. My husband would no doubt be able to speak to items from a technical standpoint..."
It was the doctor's turn to lift a brow. "Your husband? Is he assigned here as well?" As they talked she pulled the probe out of the tricorder and began to scan the Romulan. If she could get more information, it would be helpful, but she at least had enough to work with, given what she'd been sent.
"No; he lives with our daughter in the capital, where he has a civilian medical practice at the moment." She spared a moment of unexpressed regret for this state of affairs...or rather all that had led to it. Ideally, there should have been others to help them raise Nevala should both of them desire to or were required to be on shipboard duty at the same time. Her extended family, and his. Gone, for the most part, in the flames of Hobus; along with the homeworld she would never see again. Even now, eight years later, it felt odd and hollow to refer to the capital and no longer mean the one which had stood for the length of the Empire until its destruction. "I am reasonably certain he knows the details however, as we met when he was one of the physicians at the hospital I was treated at afterwards." Here, she watched carefully - as a general rule she'd found that most of her own kind considered that piece of the tale rather romantic; and she was reasonably sure it was a rare area of cultural crossover with humans, as well.
Varina didn't disappoint. The smile showed clearly that she was pulled into the story. "Really? Was his bedside manner that good? Was it love at first sight?" She paused there. Did they marry for love? Truthfully she hadn't known enough Romulans to know their courting practices, and found herself wondering if most of them found their own partners, or if it was done for them by the previous generation, or perhaps some other way.
The raised eyebrow was back again. “Love at first sight? No. Lust and passion and desire may beckon on first sight but love? Love takes time. As for the initial spark...He was, I admit, extremely handsome. Devoted to his duties and dedicated to doing all he could to attempt to return me to mine.” She was fairly certain other facets of the tale would not translate the divide between species and cultures quite so well; it seemed odd to her that many humans married without permission from their families - who would be so foolhardy as to join two houses without the approval and consideration of the heads of them? Love might have begun their match; but it was the approval of their respective great-grandmothers that had sealed it, or had allowed for such. For that matter, she was also reasonably sure most of the married humans she had met had moved from besotted lovers to bonded pair in what to her seemed an ill advised warp 8 pace; often marrying within five mere years of meeting a partner. Then again, she reminded herself, they did not live nearly as long; and many of them seemed to avail themselves of Federation law to dissolve a union they rushed into that later failed them.
'Devoted to his duties...' Varina imagined that went a long way for a Romulan, given what she did know about them. And she could hear the affection and pride in the woman's voice for her mate who displayed such virtues. She did agree with the other woman's initial assessment. Love does take time, and even given that time, it's never a sure thing. She had found that out the hard way. She sometimes wondered, given the circumstances, if she had ever really known her ex. He'd changed suddenly, and she didn't know why. That he hadn't stood by her in her hour of need--no, in fact, he'd turned on her--had hurt her deeply. But once she got over the initial hurt, anger and hatred had set in. The man to whom she'd given her whole life, she couldn't trust anymore, ever.
The doctor blinked and shook her head, she'd gotten lost in thought right in front of her patient. "I'm sorry," she said as she checked the tricorder. "The machines say everything checks out. I'd just like to take a blood sample and we'll be done."
Here, Eilaea hesitated: She was sure that injuries and medical treatment aside, there was already enough of her blood sitting in vials somewhere in the Empire to fill her body several times over; much like their Federation counterparts it had been a mandatory daily proof in the years leading up to the fight with the Dominion, and during it; to prove one was not a shapeshifter, especially in posts as sensitive as some she had occupied. Sometimes, quite honestly, more than a daily occurrence. But handing it over to a foreign power...It went against training and instinct alike; the possibilities including not only less-likely-to-succeed endeavors such as cloning attempts, but more subtle ones such as use in engineering a custom targeted virus or other malady, or keying a tracking device or remote weapon to her genetic signature....
....On the other hand, with only herself and Vriha aboard, vastly outnumbered...Well. If the Federation intended them to come to harm here, they could likely accomplish it quite well without such a sample to work with. Finally, Eilaea held out her arm in acquiescence.
Varina noticed the hesitation again as she had seen the same with Vriha. This bunch could be very suspicious, although she imagined they may have had reason to be. Once again, she attempted to reassure her patient as she drew the sample. "I take my patient's confidentiality very seriously, so you can rest assured I won't let anything within my power happen to compromise that." She put the device back on her nearby tray and stepped back. "You're good to go."
Lieutenant Eilaea t'Keirianh
Operations Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant Varina Hightower
Chief Medical Officer, USS Orion