Captain’s Log, Intergalactic Date 676928.38
We’ve come through one of the worst battles of my time on this ship, and only through the exceptional efforts of the crew did the ship survive. However, survival has come at a great cost.
It’s been three days since Guy Pasteur and Lieutenant Loreli were killed. The crew is gut-punched and reeling, and who can blame them, but we’re not out of the woods yet. We’re still damaged and running on impulse power. The nearest help is days away at maximum warp, and if the Cybers decide to come after us, we’re sitting ducks. For now, people are throwing themselves into getting the Impulsive back together. People are working double shifts, and those whose primary duties aren’t needed right now are volunteering for everything from clean-up duty to assisting in Sickbay.
In light of the doctor’s death, we’ve activated the emergency photonic medical technician, but it sustained damage and has been unable to take physical form beyond a pair of blobby-disembodied hands – a disconcerting effect for everyone except Ensign Gel, who felt right at home. A team is working on repairs and Commander Deary said I can see the results today. He seems especially pleased with his work. Maybe he has something to provide a little brightness in this dark time on the Impulsive.
Jeb ended the log and sat back. There was so much he didn’t say, hadn’t said in any of his logs or conversations with HuFleet. How Dour had barely left the teleporter room since the accident, taking his meals there and refusing to wash until Smythe had sent Ensign Gel down to deliver an ultimatum: take a shower or have the Globbal manually extract the dirt and sweat from his body.
“He said, ‘As long as I can continue my ceremonies,” Gel had reported. “I’m sorry sir, but there’s only so much I’ll do in the line of duty. A glob’s gotta have his limits.”
Or how Lieutenant LaFuentes and Ensign Doall hadn’t spoken to each other since that day. Enigo had even used his injury and the need to oversee repairs in Security to have his rotation on the bridge changed to mid shift, when Doall was off duty. At least his hand was healing well; he’d even taken to playing his guitar more often as a form of therapy.
Ellie, for her part, was avoiding everyone, having Janbot deliver her meals in her room or in the Other Section bridge, where she said it was “easier to work.” She’d spent more time talking to the little bot than to her crewmates. Jeb had finally ordered her to work with Commander Deary on fixing the EPMT. Deary could be as good with grieving Ensigns as he was with damaged engines. The commander believed she just needed a little time, but Jeb didn’t like her isolating herself.
He glanced at his clock, which despite being retooled to a 100-unit day, was still called a clock because changing the name to “chronometer” or somesuch was just a waste of syllables. Time to meet Doall and Deary in Sickbay and see what they came up with.
* * *
What they’d come up with was a Namibian beauty of ancient Earth. Perfect dark skin, 36-24-38 figure, five-seven when she wasn’t in heels. Of course, she wore eight-inch Skyscraper high heel ballet toe patent hip boots. She wore the Ship’s Sexy alternate uniform of a blue micro-mini, sleeveless, with the fabric hugging her curves until it met at the choker-collar. The front had a teardrop peek-a-boo that showed just enough cleavage to make promises she’d never keep. Her face was a perfect oval, with prominent cheekbones, full lips, and almond eyes that slanted coquettishly. Her hair flowed exuberant and bushy around her head, yet every black curl was perfect. She wore her makeup just heavy enough to be exotic without crossing the boundaries of professionalism.
Jeb resisted the urge to wolf whistle. “Well, now. I’m…impressed.”
Deary sighed happily. “Aye. She’s a beaute, isn’t she, Captain?”
The hologram was still only an image, and it floated before them, slowly rotating so they could examine all sides, each as appealing as the one before. Maybe a bit too appealing.
“Still, it might be a little much.”
“Mayhaps, but we need something to compensate for the lack of training. We can feed all the manuals and training holos into its matrix, but nothing replaces the actual experience. And…there’s the issue of the EPMT’s standard personality subroutines.”
Jeb nodded. EPMTs were designed for emergencies. That was what the E stood for, after all. However, it also meant that they were designed to be curt, decisive, and impatient with anything that interfered with saving lives or healing wounds. “I get it, but maybe we could tone it down just a bit? We don’t need every able-bodied male suddenly calling in sick.”
Ensign Doall gave her superior a look that said, “I told you so,” but aloud she said, “How about this?”
The image winked out and was replaced a moment later with the same woman, but this time in a longer skirt, a doctor’s lab coat, and more sensible shoes. She still had the teardrop opening in the uniform, however.
Jeb grinned. “I like it. Load it to the Sickbay emitters and let’s try her out.”
“Sir, if that’s all, I could go work on the shield emitters,” Doall offered.
But he knew it was a way to avoid the people in Sickbay, crewmen and friends she felt were only there because of her decision to save the KatHack program. He spoke with innocent obliviousness. “Not at all, Ensign. Plenty of people are working the shields. You helped design our EPMT’s new form. You should be there for the unveiling.”
“Yes, sir,” she muttered and followed behind. In Sickbay, she kept her eyes on the pad, her hair falling to hide her face.
Jeb watched to see if anyone was looking at her with anger or blame, but everyone focused on the static holoimage of the new ship’s sexy. They gave everyone a moment to admire their handiwork. Then Deary activated the EPMT program.
The eyes sparkled for a moment with intelligence, then seemed to turn inward in thought as the program accessed the most recent events of the ship. Upload complete, the EMPT looked down at her own body. “Explain.”
The captain stepped forward. “There was a teleporter accident. We lost our doctor and have patients.”
“Yes, all of whom are in stable condition, though I detect some increased heart rates, the cause of which seems obvious. Again, Captain, I ask if you could explain.” Her deep, warm voice and the way she rounded her vowels somehow did not manage to erase the curt, demanding tone.
“We also lost our ship’s sexy.” Every word opened the tear in his heart anew.
The holographic doctor, however, simply nodded. “And the Impulsive has never been without one. I understand. I shall endeavor to fulfill both duties until suitable replacements can be assigned. To do so, I will need to leave the confines of Sickbay. However, with the replicators shut down, I cannot create a portable emitter.”
“We thought of that,” Deary said. “The HMB Scenic Route has been running an EPMT since it was lost in the Phi quadrant. They’ve got several, so they’re bringing us one. Should be day after tomorrow.”
“Not optimal, but it will have to do. Is there anything else I – or you – should know? In that case, I’d like to get to my patients. Minion First Class Edmundson has retorn his epidermis trying to get a better look at me. As doctor and ship’s sexy, I think it best to give him a better view before he retears a muscle.”
With Ship’s Sexy Professional-yet-alluring Nod 5 (for superior officers who know better than to harbor fantasies), she turned on her only four-inch heel and sauntered to her patient. By Keptar, there was a derriere to pray by! Jeb shut his eyes for a moment, the better to give thanks. The male nurse mouthed “Thank you” to Deary before hastening to her side.
Minion Edmundson waited, excitement warring with the pain of reopening his wounds. As the nurse pulled out the skin knitter, the EPMT said, “It was foolish to injure yourself again. You have been a bad patient.”
“Yes, doctor!” Edmundson replied. He tried to sit up straighter.
The doctor pushed him down. “Stay still or I’ll restrain you.”
There were a couple of snickers. Jeb kept his face neutral but was glad Ellie had changed her footgear.
And speaking of…
“Commander Deary, Ensign Doall. Good work. Shall we?” Once outside, he bumped fists with Deary, who strode ahead. As usual, Ellie anticipated her Captain’s desires and stayed behind. He waved his hand at a convenient conference room that happened to be empty. “Ellie, let’s you and me talk.”
Here is the footwear Simone was wearing, modeled by none other than Nichelle Nichols. Thanks to Tony Martinez in the Space Opera Facebook group for this gem.