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Lt Commander Foster - Correct on the Coffin


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((Main Sickbay – USS Constitution-B))

Sometimes he would just stop.

He would laugh it off as the creak of his bones, a flare up of an old injury or his favorite: ‘a senior moment.’ 

Laugh it off and hope that no one saw the thousand-yard stare.  The haunted look in the old man’s eyes.  He had fought, long and hard, to process the trauma of the Dominion War, and had emerged victorious.  The ironic thing was he had to fight a war and then after the war he had to fight another war, but that second one was a battleground within his own mind.

For a moment, as he held the kit, he saw a cargobay.  A Jem’Hadar firing squad, disruptors aimed at a Captain Kenta and his intel officer MacNa-somethingorother.  It wasn’t McNamara, that’s what Cade had always said and somebody always corrected him.  It didn’t matter.  He was dead.  Cade had made sure the correct name was on the coffin.  Kenta was a fair Captain, a perfectly decent Captain.  Cade didn’t have a strong relationship with him in either way – neither positive nor negative.  But Benjamin Kenta was the fiancée of one of his dearest friends Daisy Davidson.  Like every relationship from Cade’s past this one was a knotted and tangled web that boiled down to: he needed to see Kenta live through this.

Foster: ::With a drop of his tone into a sober darkness.:: Jem’Hadar Triage kit ::he flipped it open and prodded a hidden pocket to reveal a small vial.:: Still has the ‘White even.

His hands were already slick with blood trying to close the wounds of two fellow officers rescued from a Dominion prison.  One was a friend.  A good friend.  Someone he didn’t want to admit that he specifically weaseled himself into this recuse mission to save sort of friend.  The other was a bright kid a few months out of the Academy.  He didn’t want to lose them either.

How was he such a good pilot?  Some wondered that last mission as he flew the drive section of the Constitution in loops good enough to be counted as a first-year helm officer.  Dominion war.  He could see MacNa-whatever his name was – his gambit.  A suicide maneuver that allowed Captain Kenta a chance to run.  When Kenta ducked into the shuttle, Cade already had it warmed up, blood-slicked prints all over the controls.  

Ohnari: Doctor Foster did you...

Two dozen Jem’Hadar troops rolled in seconds after the main hatch of the shuttle closed, and they shouldered their rifles, taking aim at the poorly shielded shuttles’s vital areas. The First calculated that they would have time for at least two, if not three good shots once landing thrusters were fired – and with any luck it should bring the craft and prisoners down before they even got beyond the perimeter alarms.

What he didn’t calculate was the near-suicidal gamble of the shrewd Starfleet rescue team and the idiot doctor at the helm to forgo landing thrusters – forgo basic maneuvering thrusters even, and to simply slam the throttle to full thrust.  A massive burst of fire erupted behind the tiny ship, which hit the back wall and coiled around, popping the ship through the damaged hangar bay doors like a cork out of a champagne bottle.  It spun dizzily forward into the open air before getting its bearings and taking off straight upward like a shooting star in reverse.  Behind it, the corpses of twenty-four charred Dominion soldiers stood in salute of a maniac gamble that paid off before they crumbled into ash.

It was several more long seconds before those blue eyes returned to the Constitution and present day, 2398.

Foster: ::quietly, musing.:: Been a long time since I’ve seen one of these.

Ohnari: ::stone faced:: Perhaps not long enough. 

Never long enough, she had that right.

For a moment he looked back at Talia and then the gaze snapped back into focus.  He recognized her, in the here and now.  Doctor Sweetheart.  Conny.  Saveron.  Rescue Jalana.

Always another rescue mission.  May there be less blood this time.

Foster: We need to sort these by usefulness and function…

Was that a specific avoidance of the topic?  Yes.  He had spent enough time in the past for today.

Ohnari: Yes. I believe we can toss that one. oO Into the nearest sun. Oo

Foster: I’ll put it in quarantine.

He hated to admit that the Dominion had some useful stuff.  But was usefulness worth the pain of mental trauma?  Probably not.

Ohnari: Do you think we could replace the missing or broken pieces without looking too obvious...? ::holding up a few items:: Between these three, I can make about one functional kit...and that's stretching it. 

He nodded, rocking on his feet and considering.

Foster: Yeah with a few modifications we can bulk up these kits.  Camouflage our tools to fit in.  Good idea.

She held up another few pieces and looked at them with disgust.

Ohari: I doubt any of the senior staff would appreciate becoming septic if forced to use some of these...

He perked a brow at the basic Demerol suture device.  It was basic, barbaric.

It saved lived in front line triage.  Cade was embarrassed how many times he had to use one of those to just stop bleeding.  The sutures could be removed later and required some extra fancy cosmetic surgery work to remove the somewhat barbaric scarring.  

Surgery work he was all too used to.

He had used those sutures on the Dominion rescue mission.  In the end the only life he couldn’t save was MacNa… MacNab?  No.  It would come to him.

Foster: Demerol’s better than Derma-Plast ::he shrugged.::

Ohnari: ?

He started gather up the most useful tools into one pile as well as the medical kit cases.  The cases were the most important.

Foster: Oh yeah, we’re gonna run this entire batch through not one but two full cycles of class A sterilization protocol.  Because you’re right, I don’t want anyone going septic.

Ohnari: ?

Rocking on his feet, he took out one of the bog-standard Starfleet medical issue hyposprays and placed it into the replicator, adjusting the settings on the control panel until there was a shimmer and the cosmetic casing on the device rippled and changed.

He plucked it from the next and tossed it to Ohnari.

Foster: There, how does that look now when you put it by the historical torture devices?

It was a draft version of the cosmetic alterations they could make to the tools.  Pretty good, but not perfect.

Ohnari: ?

Foster: Sure we can adjust.  It’ll be easier if we do this in a batch.  What tools do you need for a field med kit?

That was, by and large, a personal preference.  Cade liked certain tools that other doctors didn’t favor.

And yes, he was taking that Demerol suture device.

Ohnari: ?

Foster: I’ll get this load into the sterilization chamber.  You gather the real tools we need to cosmetically alter.  We’ll gather back with the steri-chamber gives me the all clear.

Clear.  Something clicked.  ‘Not MacNamara like Marinara, MacNameer like all clear.’

James MacNameer.  Died, 237403.09

He had gotten the name right on the coffin.

He hoped that there wouldn’t be a repeat.

Ohnari: ?


Lt Commander Cade Foster
Mission Specialist

USS Constitution-B
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