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Log of the Month for May, 2004

The Plasma Burns Will Continue Until Morale Improves
Posted on May 25th, 2004 by Adam Drake and William Marlowe

His engineers were nothing blurs as they whizzed their way back and forth across the engine room. Everyone had a PADD in their hand, an instrument, a report to deliver, or some sort of work order – no one was standing around. They still weren’t at full power and they wouldn’t be. Plain and simple, Adam came to the conclusion, they needed a full refit and they needed it soon. Adam wasn’t happy about submitting to the critique of bringing in the Atlantis nearly two years before it was due for a refit, but she’d seen her fair share of action as of late.

“Langston, keep an eye on the ion flow,” Adam shouted as he pulled himself out from underneath a diagnostics console, “with the integrity of the ion generators and the containment emitters it’s going to be quite easy to do something wrong. If the levels take even a small step outside of the normal parameters I want to know immediately.”

“Aye, sir.”

Adam slid back under the console and grabbed the plasma torch and the sonic resonator. Maneuvering the resonator into the tight compartment, Adam attempted the best he could to reset the EM relays in the fried circuitry. It was hard trying to do something while others tried to compensate – it was the only flaw to Starfleet’s technology. Without thinking he activated the plasma torch and removed some loose charred wiring.

A shower of sparks sprayed him in the face and an explosion propelled him out onto the deck. The plasma torch came loose in his hand and, in almost slow motion to him, came falling towards his arm. He couldn’t get away and the green flame screeched across the fleshly portion of his right wrist. Curses of all kinds came from his mouth as he clutched the tender flesh. “God damn it!” The next thing he knew he was walking into sickbay cradling his arm.

There was much that Marlowe didn’t like at the moment. He didn’t like the fact that the crew had been physically and emotionally taxed to the brink of bankruptcy, and without even twelve hours’ rest at a starbase before once again having to get underway, bound for unfriendly territory in a battered ship. He didn’t like the fact that his sickbay couldn’t supply the crew with the care it would need if the situation took a savage turn for the worse. And most especially, he didn’t like the fact that he hadn’t even laid eyes on this—this–creature who claimed to be the last, best hope for peace between the Federation and the crystalline aliens. Marlowe felt too confined to sickbay for his liking, and he was through waiting for his superiors to do the sensible thing. “I’m going to check with Science about the Ambassador,” he said, already on his way out. Someone said “aye” and took over behind him, but he was already wondering what kind of data could be gleaned from the pattern buffers in the transporter room–


“What the Hell–”

“Watch it!”


Marlowe felt something wet brush against his hand, and he looked to find the charred-beef remains of the engineer’s wrist. “Hey, Lieutenant,” Adam said through gritted teeth as he brushed passed the doctor into sickbay. His arm was numb from the pain that felt like a million tiny needles penetrating down to the bone. He couldn’t even grip anything in his hands; he assumed that that was because of the tendon and muscle damage to his wrist. “Fried my wrist with a plasma torch, doctor, it’s pretty bad. I haven’t had a wound this bad since Penga’Ra.”

Marlowe held his hands over Adam’s arm to protect it and keep it steady. “Sit down.” A nurse wheeled over a tray of instruments; Marlowe selected a medical tricorder and tapped a few commands into its tiny display as the nurse cut away Adam’s wrecked sleeve. “What happened?”

“I was working on an EM relay junction when they charged from the static and exploded. It pushed me out from under the console and I dropped the torch I was working with,” Adam winced a bit as the nurse pulled the tattered cloth from his arm and disposed of it, “I tell you, though, I wouldn’t have to be doing that if I had proper time at starbase to repair all of our systems. What can I do on fourteen hours at starbase? Nothing.”

“Not very accommodating of the Ambassador to refuse us time to refit.” Marlowe scanned the injury, briefly, and confirmed what he had already surmised. “Let me give you something for the pain.”

Adam’s arm had been badly mangled. It was not in danger of disintegrating into ashes at any moment, but if it wasn’t rested and treated properly, the damage could be permanent. But Marlowe wasn’t sure if he even had the necessary topical creams and stimulants on board: after the injured had been transferred off the ship at starbase, there had only been so much time to resupply sickbay before the Admiral ordered the ship into space. He’d had technicians replicating what they could, but with the ship’s power grid being what it was, the system could handle only so much strain. . . .

“Not to mention that morale is about to crash through the bottom of the ship,” Adam continued.

“I hadn’t noticed,” Marlowe muttered.

“I’m serious, doc. Take it from me: this is a dangerous situation. Nobody’s been getting much rest, and out here in space, that can be deadly. Even the best of us are liable to make bad mistakes at all the wrong times.”

“Yes, like dropping lit plasma torches on our hands.”

“Yes, like . . . Now just a damn–”

“I don’t suppose you can rest that arm for the next several days while we complete the regeneration series.”

“Rest? Are you kidding? Being as behind we are I’ll be lucky to get a couple hours of sleep let alone a few days rest. Give me something to take for the pain and I’ll be back when it wears off, but I have to work.” Adam was adamant about returning to work; no amount of pain could keep him from working on his baby. He knew that it wouldn’t be easy to get the doctor to sign a medical release so he could do just that, but he thought it was worth the try.

Marlowe narrowed his eyes and seemed to be contemplating something. “Let me see what I’ve got.” Marlowe disappeared into a small lab adjacent to sickbay. He returned a little while later with a container of burn cream and arm brace that had been stripped of its orthopedic supports.

“Let me at least start the regenerator treatments,” he said as he held a glowing instrument over Adam’s arm. “Then I can give you this brace, which should protect your arm as well as allow you to start a topical treatment regimen. I’ll send you back to Engineering on the condition that you do not place any unnecessary strain on this arm–or any, if possible. If you’re not careful, Major, you’ll ruin the tissue, and nothing short of extensive corrective surgery and physical therapy will save it then.”

“I’ll let you make the choice, doctor, my arm or the entire ship?” Adam smirked slightly as he nodded for the young man to proceed with the treatment. It wouldn’t be long before he was out of sickbay and back to his old self, but he was going to have to lose that brace first, “thanks, doctor.”

Marlowe finished with the regenerator and coated the inside of the brace with the ointment and carefully strapped it over the burns on Adam’s arm. “How does that feel?”

“Sticky and tight.”

“Come back when the pain medication wears off. It’ll give you a chance to have that brace replaced as well. And be careful with it: we don’t have much to spare here. Failure to follow my instructions could be hazardous to your health.” There was an odd, dangerous glimmer in the overworked doctor’s eye, but Adam ignored it.

He nodded slightly at the doctor and smiled, “thank you doctor.” With that he turned and walked towards the door. Adam stopped and looked at the doctor for a moment feeling something odd that he’d not felt before, but pushed it from his thoughts and walked out of sickbay and back towards his domain.

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