Season 2: Episode 3: Determination is not always a good thing
Location: Base Camp - Crew Tent
Timeline: Day 2
Estelle had to take a break at some point. She had already worked through one, only taken the time to have a cup of coffee. She knew she needed some food in her but she also wanted to be alone for a bit. She couldn’t put on that cheerful face that she still used with her patients for much longer. She ignored the small break room they had set up for the medical personnel and went back to the tent they had spent the night in, assuming that nobody else was there. She went for the replicator, got some coffee and fried pasta with eggs, and sat down at their table. Only in passing did she see a box on Sami’s cot that she didn’t know why she had brought it down with her.
Once she was sure Anya was gone, Sami walked back to the tent, having decided she was going to pack her things, take a few supplies and some water, and stay at the water reclamation center. She was surprised to see Dr. Hertz in there, or anybody for that matter, “Oh, Doctor, hi…” She began, noticing the box still on her bunk. I guess she didn’t want that, either, Sami thought, wanting desperately to sob, but not about to let anyone see that, she wouldn’t give anybody the satisfaction.
“Hi Sami”, Estelle said, dropping her cheerful act and looking at her, showing all the worry and fear in her face that she felt deep down. She did not feel like pretending, not at all. “Please, do come in. Don’t mind me.”
“I was just coming for my things.” She started, “Somebody needs to be at the water reclamation center around the clock, keep the rioters and looters from destroying it all over again. Look, Doc, I’m sorry about Li, but we’re going to get her back. I hear Commander Brett is already tracking the people who kidnapped her, won’t be much longer now.”
“I hope you’re right”, Estelle said. “And please don’t stay at the plant. Leave that to security. They’re trained for this. We really don’t want to lose anyone else. I did not expect some of the people to lose it like they have down here but I don’t want you to end up a casualty as well.”
“Somebody needs to be there to fix things that break.” Sami shrugged, “I’ve got a couple of the Home Guards who’ll be staying there, too. I’ll be fine.” She sat down beside the Doctor and sighed, the doctor was right about one thing, this had gone down in a way she hadn’t imagined possible, “Everything that could go wrong has, huh?”
“No, don’t go there”, Estelle said. “It could be much worse. Let’s hope it won’t be.” Not a reason to be cheerful, but Estelle really didn’t need the situation to deteriorate any further, especially not in one particular respect. “Uh, excuse me for a moment.” She rushed to the head, from where noises clearly indicative of eating in reverse could then be heard.
“Doc, you okay?” Sami called, then got up to go to her side, quickly taking the Doctor’s hair in her hands to keep it out of the way of the technicolor wave, though the smell made Sami want to join in.
Estelle didn’t look okay, but she nodded. “Yes, thank you… I’m just sick with worry. I checked, I’m not infected.”
“That’s good.” Sami nodded, though now she worried that she might be. Dorso had it, I was with Dorso all day, I might have it, she deduced. “Ummm, I hate to ask at a time like this, but, uh, I was with Dorso when he fell out, could you maybe?”
“Give me a moment?” Estelle asked, getting back to her feet. She needed to wash up, so her next stop was the tap. She could check Sami after. Wouldn’t do, all filthy. She took off her uniform jacket, pinned her combadge on the undershirt, and tossed the jacket in the rubbish bin. “You do look like you’ve had a rough day, too.”
“Not my best day, Doc. Not by a mile.” Sami said, forcing herself to laugh before turning serious, “Doesn’t compare to what you’re going through though, so don’t worry about me, please?” All that had happened to Sami was she lost a woman she never really had, the poor doctor had lost something tangible. Something you’ll never have, melonhead, her internal voice mocked her.
Once washed up, Estelle put her arm around Sami to give her a sideways hug. “We can both use a bit of commiseration. I know Liorga is dear to you as well, and you to her.” She pointed back to the main room. “I’ve got my medkit in there. Let’s see if you’ve caught it.” Estelle was certain, sooner or later, she’d catch it herself. So far, people with a good immune response had been safe, but worrying and stressing out didn’t have the best of effects on her ability to resist disease.
“Right.” Sami nodded, following the doctor, “Take one more worry off of the plate, huh?”
“Yes, just sit down somewhere”, Estelle retrieved her tricorder and scanned her. She sighed. “No, you’re not going to the plant. You can stay right here. You’ve caught it.” She put a hand on Sami’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, these will be an uncomfortable few days for you.”
“Crap…” Sami groaned, not only was this taking her off the roster for work, it was going to make her escape from Anya impossible now, “Yeah, that’s saying the least of it, Doc.”
“It’s not lethal for a young girl in general good health”, Estelle said, something she hoped was at least a little comforting. “And I’ll give you what I can to ease your symptoms. But you’ll have to rest. If you can, walk about the tent a bit, to not have your metabolism shut down on you, but don’t do any work.” She was back in doctor mode, where she had to shove away the worries she felt. But there were no jokes coming to mind, for a change. Estelle retrieved two mugs of chamomile tea from the replicator, handing one to Sami. “This, for a start. It helps.” She took a sip herself, it would calm her stomach.
“Okay.” Sami nodded, sipping on the tea that she knew would put her to sleep before too long. She’d thought the issues she’d been having with her stomach were just a result of Anya throwing her out with the rest of the garbage, turned out it was something that might or might not have been worse, but at least this would heal someday, she wasn’t so sure about the other...
“What’s that on your bed, by the way?” Estelle asked, changing the subject to something she hoped was a lighter mood. She had no way of knowing.
“Just something I bought for my mom.” Sami lied, “Planned on sending it to her a couple days ago, but here we are, huh?”
“You found the time to buy something here?” Estelle shook her head. “You young people are so full of energy. I wish I was nineteen again sometimes.”
“Don’t.” Sami answered quickly, “It sucks.”
“It won’t, in a few days time”, Estelle promised. “This will pass. And by then, Liorga will be back with us, too.” In her worry, she had all about forgotten the other guy, but that might have also been because they had never met and all she knew was his name.
“Right.” Sami forced a smile onto her face, “Li and Dorso are gonna come right through there and let us know they’re okay. Everything will be better then.” Almost everything, she thought, though she wouldn’t voice it because she didn’t want to stress the doctor, who had real problems, further or embarrass herself by being proven a fool. Way to go, melonhead...
“And I’m going to keep believing that”, Estelle said. “For the alternative is unthinkable.” This was one of the rare moments where her otherwise rational mind, that always considered the data and went with the most realistic course of thought and action, took a step back as a protective measure. Estelle refused to give in to the fear completely.
“Keep believing it because it’s true, doc.” Sami said, yawning, that chamomile tea was taking her down fast, it always did, “Gonna take a lot more than some slimeball kidnappers to keep Li from you. She’ll come in here any time now, Dorso draped over her shoulder, dragging the bad guys by the rope around their ankles with the other. You just wait.”
“And if she needs help doing that, I’ll have their heads”, Estelle said, determined. Though, deep down, she knew that the security people wouldn’t allow either her or Gallia, who Estelle was sure felt strongly about this as well, near the rescue operation. She saw that Sami was getting sleepy, so Estelle moved back to the table. “You go and sleep. I’ll finish this meal and go back to work. I will check on you, or have someone check on you, regularly. I promise.”
Sami considered asking the doctor to stay, but didn’t, the last thing she wanted was to be a bother. She simply said, “Thanks.” before rolling over and falling asleep fast.