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Doctor in the House

Posted on Mon Jan 13th, 2020 @ 5:16am by Captain James McCullen & Lieutenant Robert Kowalski

Mission: Reaching Out in Hope
Location: Sickbay
Timeline: MD10, 1500 Hrs

Captain James McCullen strode into sickbay with an ensign and a lieutenant in tow, he had been notified, of course, that a new chief medical officer had come aboard moments before departure but in the rush to get underway, the briefing and all the assorted tasks he had lined up, he hadn't found time to meet with the doctor. As it was, he had squeezed in a quick visit to sickbay while in the middle of a dozen other things.

"Make sure it gets done," he told the lieutenant, "and send me a report as soon as it's completed."

"Aye sir," the lieutenant nodded, taking himself and the silent ensign, a newcomer fresh out of the academy that was still in the early stages of learning that life aboard a starship was nothing like training and that while his education was complete, his training had only just begun.

"Now then," he breathed, taking a moment to shift mental gears. "Nurse, where is Doctor..." damn, too many new names! "... Kowalski?"

The nurse just nodded. “He‘s in the CMO‘s office, Sir,“ she replied pointing to the small office to the left of the main entrance of sickbay.

Kowalski was just reading the personnel files of the medical department to make himself familiar with his team when he noticed a new visitor or possible patient from the corner of his eye, so he stood up and went there. The smallness of an Intrepid-class starship could also have its advantages.

“I am Doctor Kowalski! What can I do for you.... Captain,“ he greeted the Commanding officer as he noticed the four pips on his uniform.

Jim gave the new doctor a wide smile, taking a moment to give the man a visual once over. Lean and athletic, in need of a shave or in the process of growing a beard, he looked like your average Starfleet officer. For McCullen, it was an unusual position that he hadn't fully studied the doctor's file before he'd come aboard, outside of his service record the man was mostly a mystery.

"Nothing medical, doctor. Since there wasn't time for the formal welcome aboard talk, I thought I'd take a few minutes to come down and make formal introductions, Captain James McCullen." He extended his hand for his customary handshake.

"Pleasure," Kowalski said while shaking the Captain's hand. "It's quite a priviledge that the commanding officer chooses to come to me for the formal welcome. Should we go to my office? Would you like a coffee, tea or something else, Sir?", he asked.

McCullen grinned to himself, enjoying the role reversal, it was usually him offering the drinks. He didn't mention that it was actually Kowalski's duty to report to the CO as soon as he came aboard, things had been hectic and he'd already decided to let it slide. "Your office will be fine, and I'll have a coffee, black, without sugar." He told the doctor as they made their way into his office, "tell me about yourself, doctor."

Robert handed the Captain his coffee and sat down on his chair with a strong, black coffee himself.
"I guess, I always wanted to be a doctor," he started. "I think Starfleet is all about exploration and helping others - and the job of a Chief Medical officer combines that in the best possible way. So I went for the position your were offering. I've worked as Assistant Chief Medical officer on Starbase 124. I primarily worked with patients but it was also possible to put some effort into medical research. But I always thought being out here on a starship and perhaps being the first one to discover new medical phenomena would be more rewarding. So in the end I thought that being on a starship would really be another step in my career."

"Hm," McCullen hummed as he sipped his coffee - many young officers seemed to get it into their heads that every starship in the fleet was out on the boundaries of explored space encountering new and interesting things, but the reality was quite different - most small to medium size ships never left Federation space, the exploring was left to the big boys and the flagships. Still, he didn't want to discourage the doctor or let him down and they were, most unusually, actually on the edge of Federation space.

"I don't know that you'll get the chance to encounter new medical phenomena very often, doctor, but you'll definitely get the chance to help others. Our current mission is a response to a distress call from the planet Stakoron II, until very recently in Dominion space. We don't know what we'll find when we get there, but it's a good bet that there will be medical needs that have to be met."

Robert nodded. "I will ensure that Medical will be ready to help as soon as we get there." He scratched his right temple. "Do we have medical data on the inhabitants of that planet? It might be very helpful if we knew a few things about the physiology in advance." Robert did not lose any time. He was already plunging into the task ahead.

"I'm afraid we don't have much," McCullen frowned, setting his coffee down on the table and leaning forwards. He hadn't been expecting to have this conversation with the new doctor but he happily waded in, pleased that Kowalski was already thinking ahead and planning, it was a good sign. "They're reptilian of some kind, but beyond that we know next to nothing about the inhabitants, the only data we have is from a Ferengi trading mission just before the war and they weren't really interested in scientific data, or data of any kind, really."

"Reptilian. I see," Kowalski murmured. He already thought of checking the most important data on reptilian lifeforms whose physiology was known. Of course, that did not mean that the physiology of the lifeforms on that planet was the same, but chances were high that at least some attributes were the same or at least similar. And it gave medical some preparation to do. It was not good to spend the time before a mission like that just sitting and waiting. "Better than nothing." Then he took another sip of his coffee. "But I have to apologize, Sir. I did not want to interrupt you," the doctor said suddenly realizing that the first conversation with his new CO had gone into a very different direction than expected.

McCullen raised his hand and smiled, "that's all right, doctor. We should be arriving at Stakoron II in about eight hours, I'm aware that's not a lot of time, but hopefully it'll be enough for you and your people to get everything ready."

"Eight hours," Kowalski repeated already thinking of necessary preparations. "We will be ready, Sir."

"Good to hear it, doctor." McCullen responded, pushing himself up and out of the chair as he spoke. "I wish we had more time to talk, but we've both got more work to do than time to do it."

Kowalski just nodded. "Indeed, Sir. Have a nice day," he said and then turned towards his desk.


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