Dr. Elizabeth Merab gazed at Commander Drusilla Nona, the salt-and-pepper haired Chief Engineer of Transport 80-14. The sixty-four-year-old was brought into the Medical Bay with difficulty breathing due to inhaling toxic fumes. She was also suffering debilitating pain from multiple fractures in her right leg.
“Drusilla, you can barely breathe, and that leg can’t support your weight yet,” Dr. Merab said in an exasperated huff.
“I can manage better than you think, Elizabeth,” Drusilla hissed back. “And my team needs me!”
“You’re a certified mechanical genius without peer, but you have a chip on your shoulder the size of Dolarus Prime,” Dr. Merab insisted.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You work beyond your shift hours, get far too little rest, and you refuse to change your dietary or exercise habits,” the doctor continued.
“I passed my last physical,” the engineer retorted.
“I’m still not convinced you didn’t use some kind of tech to throw off my bio-scanner.”
“If I did, you couldn’t prove it, doctor,” Drusilla said with a smirk.
Not responding to the comment, Dr. Merab added “You even think you can continue to work with these injuries.”
“I can!” the engineer asserted.
Let’s put that to a reality check, shall we? Dr. Merab barely touched her patient’s injured leg and then let go. Even so, it caused the older woman to howl in pain.
“Th-that’s got to be some kind of ethics violation!” Drusilla wheezed a moment later, furious and now sweating from the discomfort. “Do n-no harm, right?”
Dr. Merab visibly bridled under the accusation but stayed in control of her emotions.
“We’ve known each other for twenty-five years, Drusilla. I’m hoping a personal appeal will prevail where reason has failed. Barring that, I might have to drug you against your will and face being dragged off in fusion cuffs. That is, if we survive this catastrophe.”
“Just try it,” Drusilla warned.
Dr. Merab leaned close to the Chief Engineer and spoke softly but with a firm tone.
“Between your half-scorched lungs and the effects of being tossed into a bulkhead, I would be doing more harm letting you go in this condition,” Dr. Merab soothed. “Dru, let one of my nurses treat you properly, so you can live to see your husband and grandsons again. I know I want to see my granddaughter on her tenth birthday next month.”
Drusilla gave her an angry gaze. “No air using our grandchildren, Liz.” Then she relented. “Fine. Do what you have to do but get me up and walking around as soon as possible!”
Satisfied, Dr. Merab smiled and used a hypo-injector to relieve the engineer of consciousness.
“You have a deal, my friend.”
This excerpt is from Into The Unknown: Seven Short Stories of Faith and Bravery, available as an ebook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Get it now!
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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