Kepler Station
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Hello, Nurse

Posted on Saturday September 30, 2017 @ 2:10pm by Lieutenant Commander T'Lara MD & Lieutenant Junior Grade Damian Mallaester
Edited on on Saturday September 30, 2017 @ 2:11pm

Mission: Hopkins the Line of Fire
Location: Deck 100, XO's Office
Timeline: Mission day -5 (Jan 4, 2352). 0900 HRs

After more than a year of service aboard Kepler Station, one might assess that Lieutenant Commander T'Lara had settled into her role as XO. As an administrator and logistician, she performed her duties to the letter, coordinating a staff of thousands alongside the ever present flow of casualties from the front. In delivering the occasional killed-in-action notification to a friend or family member, her Vulcan stoicism proved an asset, both in maintaining healthy emotional boundaries with the bereaved as well as shouldering the occasional angry outburst against the cold, bureaucratic nature of Starfleet.

However, a cursory glance of the XO's office would suggest she was new to the job. It contained only the regulation furnishings, without personal totems or individual touches. Desk, walls, and other surfaces were clean and bare. She utilized the computer and a PADD for her duties, and nothing else. Visitors had little information to glean about T'Lara from her workspace.

As she sat calmly facing the newly transferred nurse, Lt. jg Damian Mallaester, the XO presented the composure and professionalism that one would expect from the administrative head of a major medical facility.

"You have the fortune of arriving when there are no incoming casualties," T'Lara stated. "I rarely have the opportunity to speak with new medical personal, as they normally are immediately pressed into care=taking. I say this only so you are aware that most of your colleagues didn't ease into their assignments."

"I'll have to keep that in mind should I notice any jealousy from them," Damian quipped, keeping a friendly smile so as not to come off rude or smart. Having had a strong mug of coffee, eggs and toast, he was better prepared to meet with the Vulcan T'Lara than a few hours ago when he first awoke. Judging by the Spartan contents of her office, she meant business.

"I'm glad we are able to meet in person before jumping right into things," he said next. "Not that that would have been an issue should things have been more hectic around here, I just find it better having a face to go along with my superior officers as opposed to a wall of text on my PADD." He held up the device in emphasis.

"Given the number of crew aboard this station, I am likely to become a 'wall of text' from this point onward," T'Lara replied, her inflection indicating an ease with metaphor. Despite her geniality, T'Lara remained seated straight, posture upright. Her hands, resting on the desk, did not move or vibrate even the slightest as she spoke.

"In your position, you will be overseeing a staff of 50 nurses and 120 technicians. There will be little time to worry about the overall bureaucracy." Her eyes flickered thoughtfully. "Starfleet is still figuring out how to prioritize, process, and report casualties efficiently.There will be occasional changes to protocol and regulations that might conflict with a focus on caregiving. In addition to sharing concerns with your department head, you are welcome to present them with my office."

Damian blinked several times in quick succession as the XO started to reply; was that a joke? Did he really just witness what would pass for humor for a stoic Vulcan? He stored that tidbit away for future reference as he regained his composure and listened to the rest of her instructions. A staff of 170 was a hair more than he was used to dealing with from his last posting aboard the smaller, Merced class Kamehameha, but he was definitely up to the challenge.

"Has a Chief Medical Officer been assigned yet?" he asked at the mention of a department head. He hadn't found any information on such a person when he applied for the transfer, nor when he checked the station roster upon arrival yesterday.

"Our Chief of Medicine is currently on-leave," T'Lara explained. "One of the Assistant Chiefs, Doctor Th'ziross, is currently on rotation as Acting department head."

"Very good," Damian nodded, highlighting Doctor Th'ziross on his PADD for later. As he looked up from the device his gaze lingered on the Vulcan's hands a moment before moving up to her eyes. They hadn't moved at all since their conversation began. Vulcan discipline was quite impressive.

"I will have no problem bringing up any issues to Doctor Th'ziross or yourself, should the need arise. Might I inquire as to the morale level of the crew? It must be trying sometimes, this close to the front."

"From a quantitative perspective, we have very few disciplinary incidents among the crew," T'Lara explained. "Our counseling staff, recreational facilities, and the over all domestic nature of the station seem to provide an adequate balance for the stress of duty. You and your staff are the ones who are truly on the front line in this station. From my observation, the nursing staff's dedication lead to pushing themselves to physical exhaustion at times. They may need the occasional reminder to practice self-care."

"Why did you request this assignment upon promotion?" she inquired, with sincere curiosity.

Because I can't seem to stay in one place for long. Because I ended my relationship with the Assistant Chief Security Officer and things got awkward on Kamehameha. Because I know I can do more than what others believe me capable. All of these thoughts ran through the young Lieutenant's mind before he offered her a response.

"Honestly, I just want to help as much as I can," Damian settled on. "I wanted a challenge, and being placed in charge of a large staff, on a station close to a combat zone seemed the right place to meet that challenge. In regards to the well-being of the nursing staff, I can assure you there will be plenty of reminders to take care of themselves should I see the need. I firmly believe that in addition to our physical health, it is equally important to take care of one's mental, emotional, and spiritual needs as well."

If there was enough interest they could start up an entire baseball league with all of the crew and civilians housed on the station. He wouldn't mind spearheading that endeavor. He would also have to look into what, if any, religions were represented amongst the various denizens of Kepler. Damian had no issue worshipping in the privacy of his rooms, but having the ability to go to temple with others would help him feel more at home.

"Spiritual needs?" the Commander tilted her head, seemingly intrigued. "How would you assess those separately from the mental or emotional?"

"I often find the best way is to ask," he smiled again.

"Part of any assessment I conduct, I ask what - if any - religious practice my patients partake in. There are still some conservative sects that do not allow certain medical procedures to be done on their followers so this information serves twofold. If they have no such beliefs then I move on; it is not my place to proselytize. 'The sun sets without thy assistance,'" he quoted from the Talmud. "If they're meant to find solace in God, then it will happen without any interference or influence on my part."

"My thesis is that mental, emotional, and spiritual needs are three words describing the same thing," T'Lara clarified, although she seemed intrigued by his answer. "Further discussion of theological matters is outside the purview of my role as executive officer."

"Your thesis has merit," Damian conceded, "the soul is made up of the physical, mental and spiritual, but each must be watered from a different well. We could always continue such a discussion off duty," he offered. He loved to debate theology with others, especially those who hailed from a different species, but didn't want to push it too far with the XO on his first day.

"We could," T'Lara stated, after consideration. "I suggest you take some time to settle into your duties first."


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