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Consulting Exoimmunologist Part 2
Posted on August 3rd, 2019 by Emilaina Acacia

The attack was finally over. In the medical research lab stacks of petri dishes labeled with names of the dead contained cellular residue scraped off the walls of the Xovul shipyard after good Starfleet men and women had been vaporized.

And for what?

After the chaos in sickbay died down and Doctor Acacia had done her number of examinations in the morgue she finally returned to the lab, haggard. Her feet screaming with ache, her head fogged with sorrow, she never even saw the very short Human lab tech trying to get her attention and ran chest-first into the girl, knocking her over.

“Oh, god, I’m so sorry,” the Doctor cringed, grabbing Lilly’s arm to pull her back to her feet. The flustered Ensign tried to apologize back, which Emily gently scolded her for.

“There– um, a message came through for you a couple hours ago, we must have missed it in the chaos,” Lilly chirped after the Doctor as she began heading for her office, “It was, ah, Starfleet Medical? A Doctor.. Shippo? Or something like that.”

For just a moment Emily frowned, then her eyes widened as she realized what it was probably about. She doubled her pace, power-walking into her office and scrambling to her chair as the door swished shut behind her.

She pulled up her console immediately and was met with a feed of an empty hospital bed. She stared at it, trying not to imagine the worst, but there were nurses changing sheets that looked like they had blood on them…

A few people passed by the console before anyone noticed Emily. Finally a nurse called for the elder doctor, and a smiling Doctor Shiplan appeared on screen shortly after. Emily couldn’t help her visible concern, though his smile did start to put her at ease.

“Tell me it’s good news,” Emily shamefully pleaded, the lifeless faces of the unlucky Marines still burned into her vision.

Doctor Shiplan wordlessly typed into the console on his end, and Emily’s feed split in two. On one side the Commander still watched for her reaction and on the other, a new feed appeared of a blue-skinned baby in a NICU box with wires and tubes sticking out of him. There was a beep from the monitors and Emily watched his chest rise as he took a breath. She gasped, covering her mouth before allowing herself to tearfully smile.

“It began about five hours ago, wrapped up about one hour ago. I understand you’ve been engaged,” Doctor Shiplan began, “We were unable to stop premature labor and had to terminate the pregnancy via emergency cesarean,” Emily’s eyes were fixed on the little blue baby, studying every detail of the white and blue markings on his skin, the antenna on his face, his silver-blonde tuft of hair…

“But it’s only…” Emily mumbled.

“Yes, a little over a month premature by our calculations, maybe two given the different species’ gestation times, but he’s doing very well thus far. Mom made it too,” the older Human doctor mused, tapping at his console again. This time a feed appeared of the more Human-looking mother, sleeping in surgical recovery. Monitors next to her showed reasonable vitals and Emily slowly sank back into her chair, sighing with relief.

“We did it,” Emily breathed, almost not believing her eyes after the day she’d had.

“You know I told Doctor Mars, our genetic specialist, she could learn a thing or two from you. Her report didn’t have a birth plan near as thorough as yours. When we found you were busy I was stood there flipping through it, I went–Wait, nevermind! We had a plan for emergency surgery!.. and everything else!” Doctor Shiplan laughed, “But I joke, Doctor Mars was on call so she actually assisted in the birth. It wasn’t the smoothest, but I don’t anticipate long-term complications.”

“Well, I was hopeful,” Emily nodded thoughtfully, thinking back to her report–she remembered in medical school when they’d gone over baking ‘contingency plans’ into incomplete case studies, and she remembered the words of one of her favorite teachers, ‘Plan for a pregnancy to end the moment it starts. The mother will be much more eager for it than you.’

“Ah, yes. I won’t hold you up, I’m sure you’ve got plenty going on up there, but everyone on the team will be getting the good news sometime today,” Doctor Shiplan tapped his console again, removing the splitscreen on Emily’s end.

“Thank you, Doctor,” Emily nodded.

Doctor Shiplan offered one last smile, reminding her, “Get your part of the completed case study to me by the end of the month. If you have anything else for the family get that to me as well. You have until our patients are discharged to request additional sample analysis or test results.”

As the screen went dark Emily sank so far into her chair that she began to slide out of it. She hovered there for a moment, letting her neck stretch out as far as it could. A beep at the door signaled someone requesting entry.

“Come in,” Emily called, sitting back up.

“Doctor, your presence is requested in sick–” one of the lab techs spoke through the speaker, and Emily was already on her feet.

“Alright,” she replied as the door’s opening swish cut off the end of the young man’s sentence.

“Good news?” Lilly chimed up to ask hopefully from her station where she stood processing samples through a machine.

Emily paused her walk towards the door and looked around at all of the people in the room. Per Lilly’s prompting they had all paused to look at her, and she felt somewhat on the spot. She could feel it in her bones, though, these people needed some good news.

“Oh, a, uh… a baby boy was born in San Francisco today,” she began. She felt a gentle wash of emotions as her lab techs began to feel wonder and hope and she was emboldened to grandstand just a bit, “With genes from five different Federation species. Which was.. a challenge, there were over fifteen Doctors working on this case. He was premature, but he’s doing well.”

Everyone smiled to themselves, and Emily tilted her head thoughtfully, “Lilly, do you remember when I had you analyze all those blood samples from the cargo drop for me?”

“Oh, like… six months ago? I do, actually,” Lilly tapped her chin.

“And Ethan,” Emily mused, “You double-checked my math on my second immune factor report, you remember that?”

“Of course,” Ethan grinned.

“Well… I know our work is hard sometimes, especially on days like today,” Emily swallowed, feeling every inch of the emotional rollercoaster she was taking her subordinates on rattle down her spine, “But we are both the first and last lines of defence for life. We invent new ways to save lives, and the people we have to bury fight so that we can keep that up.”

“What’s his name?” Lilly wondered aloud, breaking a brief but heavy silence.

“You know, I didn’t check what they picked, but I heard they were planning on Xin,” Emily chuckled. She couldn’t help but smile, feeling the renewed vigor of the techs as they drank in the sweet hope that new life brings. She bobbed her head, turning to head out the door towards sickbay, “Good work, everyone.”

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  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    From the dark imagery of the opening paragraph to Emily’s summation at the end of why they do what they do, this log is a rollercoaster much like she took the techs on. Fantastic!

  • Alexis Wright says:

    The pictures you paint with words! <3 I did think this seemed to be slightly less smooth than what we usually see from you, but 1) it's still wonderful and 2) it's entirely possible that my perceptions are just wonky. It's been a long week. :) Thanks so much for sharing more of your lovely writing!

  • Kuari Kuari says:

    This contrast of death and life works really well, an example of light in a dark universe that we all hope for and find comforting. The tenuous nature of the birth shows the fragility of life, but “life finds a way” as a whole is as certain as death. Am I taking this too deep? =P I feel this is a welcome progression from Acacia’s earlier studies, a landmark in her work, and it’s satisfying to see!

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