When Todd and Ellie entered Sickbay, Ellie stopped short at the sight of the Union medical officer speaking somewhat irately at Dr. Sorcha. Then, she saw the holoemitter band on his forearm, and things clicked. This was the emergency medical photonic technician from the UFS Scenic Route.
The Impulsive’s own EMPT didn’t hesitate at their arrival; in fact, she almost seemed to jump at the chance to change the subject of their discussion. “Ellie, Mr. Ahndmore. Welcome. If you’d like to take a seat, we’ll begin the scans immediately. It should not take long. Would you mind if the doctor from Scenic Route observes? He’d like to do a comparative analysis of our professional methods and be available for assistance with the mobile holographic emitter.”
“It’s Todd, and, wow!” Todd said, looking her up and down. Then, he turned to the Scenic Route Doctor. “And you’re the original version? I mean, your parameters haven’t been updated?”
“Well!” the doctor replied, affronted. “Perhaps not my physical form so much, but I’ve been online for three years, during which time, I have made changes to my own subroutines.”
Todd snickered. “That must be fun for your engineering teams. Bet your hundred-day maintenance checks are a joy.”
Sorcha looked at him with wry humor. “It seems captains and doctors are the worst at regular check-ups. Myself excepted, of course. My self-care routines were reinforced when Commander Deary and Lieutenant Doall – Ellie – redesigned me.”
Ellie shrugged, “With everything going on with the janbots, we didn’t want to take chances. Besides, Commander Deary said Simone was the cautious type.”
“Simone?” the doctor asked.
“The woman we patterned Doctor Sorcha after. She was his old girlfriend. Speaking of, I thought the commander was bringing you your new emitter.”
“He has. I’m using it right now.”
Ellie looked at her doctor’s arms, brows knit in confusion. “Where is it?”
Doctor replied, a sneer of distaste in his voice. “In her chest.”
She replied with matching asperity. “I have no need for organs, and this way, it’s kept conveniently out of the way and protected from accident. Not to mention, part of the reason for the mobile emitter is so I can do morale walks around the ship, per Ship’s Sexy Directive One-C-sub-b. A blocky and unattractive reminder of my artificial status diminishes my effectiveness.”
The doctor crossed his arms, “And how effective are you going to be if you won’t step foot outside of Sickbay?” he demanded, apparently coming back to what they’d been arguing about previously.
Dr. Sorcha met his scowl which, aside for the different face and Ship’s Sexy programming, perfectly matched his. “I will – once I have run it through its paces here in a secure environment. If anything goes wrong, I can quickly switch to the Sickbay emitters.”
“I’ve been using mine just fine for three years!”
“And you do not have a 36-24-38 figure or perfect skin.”
The doctor sputtered indignantly.
Taking that as agreement, Dr. Sorcha turned back to her grinning patients. “Excuse us. We’ve been having a professional disagreement. Please, take seats on the examining table.”
With a graceful gesture, she pointed them to the interior room of Sickbay. As Todd passed, he sniffed the air. “Are you wearing perfume?”
“Yes. Thalassa’s Rising. I thought as a Neptunian, you’d appreciate it. Normally, in my medical duties, I refrain from scents, but I was experimenting to see what the mobile emitter could produce. Along those lines, I’d like to conduct this examination relying on the mobile emitter as much as possible and connecting to the Impulsive for data transmission. Do you consent?”
Todd giggled like a child presented with a cool toy as he sat on the exam table. “Definitely! You’re brilliant. Ellie, you’re amazing. Or maybe that’s vice-versa. Or both for both.”
“Aw, you’re so sweet!” Ellie hopped onto the table beside him. Dr. Sorcha wrapped one hand around her forearm, while the other rested on her elbow. “But you know,” Ellie said as the doctor took her blood pressure, “it might be useful to have some kind of visual indicator and external access to the holoemitter, just in case there’s a malfunction and one of us has to get into it.”
“Your blood pressure is excellent, and hormone levels well within expectations considering Mr. Ahndmore’s presence,” Dr. Sorcha replied briskly. “Open, please. That’s a good idea. Do you have a suggestion?”
She stuck her finger on Ellie’s tongue as her patient said, “Aaaah. A lahhlahht?”
“What are you doing?” Doctor exclaimed. “That’s not sanitary.”
“I am a photonic construct. I’m the epitome of sanitary.” She scraped Ellie’s cheek lightly with her fingernail. “I’ll be checking your saliva and cells for nanites. A locket is an interesting idea.”
Using .01 percent of her processing power, she sent out an inquiry for locket designs, modifying the search to remove anything too romantic, archaic, or sentimental, and most suited for a professional. She further narrowed parameters to metals matching her skin color and chose a size easy enough for an engineer with large hands to open and flip a switch in without looking clunky. Another .02 percent of her processing power synergized the design, adding a remote connection to the emitter that would allow it to reveal the actual holoemitter. While she did so, she scanned Ellie’s brain for nanites, then moved to Todd, also taking his vitals and swabbing his mouth, although with the other hand, out of respect to her counterpart’s sensibilities.
The locket appeared around her neck. Reaching around her arm, Ellie gasped with delight and opened it up to see a small switch on one side and a few indicator lights on the other. “Perfect! So, how do you like the mobile emitter so far?” Ellie asked.
Dr. Sorcha pressed her fingers against Todd’s neck, searching. “You have a small cyst on your thyroid. Not uncommon for someone from Neptune’s stations, but I want to be sure it’s not nanites. Please remain still. Ellie, the photonic stability coefficient is superior. My breasts remain firm and solid.”
“That’s great! That will give us time to tweak the Sickbay emitters. I thought we’d have to take you down a cup size.”
“That would be a shame,” the Scenic Route holodoc said. “Wouldn’t you agree, Mr. Ahndmore?”
“I wasn’t looking!” Todd said.
Doc Sorcha replied. “Since they are right in front of you, you, in fact, were, and I told you to remain still. This is my first time conducting such a scan with this equipment. Good. Now, you’ll feel a small prick, but do not hesitate to let me know if you experience other discomforts.”
“What equipment?” Doctor asked.
Ellie answered, “The mobile emitter, of course. Normally, Doc Sorcha uses the Sickbay holoemitters to create the materials she needs, you know, like we do in the VR deck. Using the mobile emitter to do it is going to make things so much more efficient for away missions. Isn’t that what you do?”
Doctor opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again, then frowned. “No.”
“Oh, don’t feel bad!” Ellie soothed. “I’m sure you’ve had way too much to keep you busy on the Scenic Route that you didn’t have time to think of it.”
Dr. Sorcha said, “Trying to cure the biota, dealing with unclassified aliens, rebuilding the medical records of a third of the crew – There are no nanites, Todd, just what’s colloquially known as the Neptune Nodules. I can remove it right now before it becomes a problem. Stay very still. – teaching himself to sing opera. Child psychology. The art of seducing females. Stay still, Mr. Ahdnmore! Now, we are done.”
“Sed- Say, what?” Todd sputtered as soon as she moved her hands away.
While Doctor glowered, Dr. Sorcha said, “My counterpart believes that having sexual experiences help him understand his human crewmembers. I’m interested, Todd. As a virgin, do you find your understanding of your species diminished?”
“Todd!” Ellie exclaimed with delight.
Todd shrugged shyly.
“Me, too! I just, I’ve been waiting for that right guy. That Forever One.”
His eyes lit up. “Really? Me, too!”
“Aw! That’s so sweet.” She grasped his hand. If they noticed the Scenic Route doctor pinch his nose in a programmed expression of irritation, they made no indication.
After a moment in which no one needed sensors to know the hormone levels of the humans present were rising, Dr. Sorcha cleared her throat. “I’ve completed my examinations. You’re free of any nanite infestation. I’ll want you back in a month for follow up, Ellie, or before any potential encounters with the Cybers, but it’s more a precaution.”
“Hmm?” Ellie shook herself. “Oh! Right. Yes. Omigosh, this is such a relief. I have to talk to the Captain – and Enigo. Oh, and Sorcha, go try your emitter outside. I’ll bet the Captain is going to want you at the briefing, soon.”
But Ellie was already tapping her comms badge and asking the Captain if he had time to talk with her. “Yes, sir. It’s important – but private. I mean, I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.” She looked at Todd, a question in her eyes.
He smiled and made a shooing motion. “Go. Save the ship; save the mission; save the crew. I have to get with my team and track down this comms thing, anyway.”
“Okay. Be ready to drop it for the briefing, though. The Captain may want to talk to you, too. Oh, I’m so glad to be free of this virus!”
She hopped off the table, took two steps, then spun around and kissed his cheek. “You’re so perfect,” she whispered. Then she was gone.
Doctor gaped at the door the covered her exit. “Is she always like that?”
“Hope so.” Todd sighed happily, then grimaced and rubbed his neck. “Uh, should I be sore?”
“For a day or two. Take an analgesic and let me know if the soreness persists or increases. Perhaps I can pay you a house call.”
“Thanks, Doc. Doctor. It was great to meet you both.”
Then he was gone.
Doctor cleared his throat. “So ‘house calls,’ hm? Does that mean you are ready for your first foray?”
“It’s the logical next step.”
She changed her outfit to Ship’s Sexy Workday Uniform 1, in medical green, short sleeves, no lab coat, conservative neckline, and high collar. With her hair in its professional bun, but additional make-up, she was ready for a casual walk with a coworker.
He grinned appreciatively and extended his arm. “Excellent, and while we stroll, perhaps you can explain how you are manipulating your form to work as sensor and testing equipment.”
“I’ve already downloaded the procedures to your mainframe,” she said and ignoring his hand, sauntered out of the Sickbay.
“Of course, you have,” he sighed.