Guardian Station

Barzan Sector

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Post 15 - Of Dogs and Tricks

Posted on Fri Mar 27th, 2020 @ 5:44am by Captain Kudred Valyn & Captain Nathan Cowell MD
Edited on on Sat Mar 28th, 2020 @ 9:50pm

Mission: Episode 1: Changing of the Guard
Location: Starbase 38 - Sector H-Turquoise - Main Infirmary
Timeline: Mission Day 01 - 1700 Hours

[Starbase 38 - Barzan System]
[Sector H-Turquoise - Main Infirmary]
[Mission Day 01 - 1700 Hours]

The medical receptionist managing the opening foyer of the expansive medical centre had offered Captain Kudred a polite smile upon his arrival. He did not recognise her; like most of the rest of the medical staff, at least the front-facing or senior figures, appeared to have been swapped out with the recent flurry of personnel moving on and off of the station. As had been planned, a good number of them had transferred or were preparing to transfer to vessels actually bound for the Delta Quadrant. It was one of the perks/promises of a Starbase 38 posting, or so Kudred understood it.

The junior-grade lieutenant, supported as she was by a civilian on one side and a Barzan on the other, had gestured to a nearby waiting area and had been more polite than he initially expected. Arriving a day earlier than scheduled and then trying to force one's self into a schedule did not usually go down so well in these circles, but he presumed his rank had gone some way to permitting him access.

He crossed his legs and looked over at the wide display hanging on the wall opposite him. Great care had gone into its design, the device purposed to appear like an actual painting. Whilst its shifting image made it clear it was an advanced piece of decorative equipment, the actual surface and depiction could have fooled a passing observer into thinking it a genuine article. Currently, it was portraying a large field of crimson-red grass, a violet sky looming large overhead, in an oil canvass style.

It pleased Kudred.

A Starfleet-standard chirrup then played as Kudred's name appeared on another display. Beneath that was the name 'Dr. N. Cowell', a name the captain instantly recognized - and the man he had intended to see. He rose, adjusted his uniform, and made his way through some of the complex (there was no better description of it) to the infirmary Doctor Cowell was working from.

Another officer moved passed him as he arrived, a young female Bajoran that Kudred did not recognise from any roster, and he assumed position at the doorway. "Doctor Cowell," he opened, not yet stepping into the room as he addressed its sole occupant. "Captain Kudred, here for an inconvenient and previously-unscheduled checkup," he added, his tone soft.

Captain Nathan Cowell looked up from the clipboard he had in his hand, "I see that. No point standing out in the corridor. Have a seat on the exam table and I'll be with you after I finish this chart."

Regardless of the doctor's demeanour, Kudred was not yet willing to abandon his manners to satiate another's expectations. He thanked Cowell for the invitation and complied with the instruction, sitting himself onto the table. He glanced over to the desk Cowell was sat at and noted that he was using a classical writing instrument to inscribe. Between the cultural leanings of Admiral Belvedere, Doctor Cowell and his own fanciful tastes, Kudred wondered at the old-fashioned cadre of officers directing this marvel of engineering into the twenty-fifth century.

The old man pulled a folder off the desk and slid the paper he'd been scratching notes on into it before picking up his old style medical tricorder and walked over to stand in front of his patient, "Anything I need to know about your health before we get into it?"

An interested amber eye flicked to the chosen tricorder of the doctor. A man of his age and celebrated talents would have his reasons for using such an outdated model, so Kudred thought little more of it. "I contracted Pottrik Syndrome as a youth on Cardassia," he explained, knowing that some residual scar tissue would be detected on his physiology, "which the backroom physicians my father hired were certain was a death sentence for me." He let his eyes settle on Cowell's, which were currently cast down to his tricorder's readings. "I got better."

"Did you now?" the old man grunted sarcastically as he waved the medical scanner over his patient's body, "And here I was thinkin' I was the only one with a penchant for stating the obvious."

Nathan continued his work for a moment before tucking the scanner back inside the cradle it came from, "You seem about as healthy as a hybrid of your variety could be. Probably why you... 'got better', as you so succinctly put it. Any health concerns you might be worried about? Something you want me to look at a little more closely?"

"Accuracy, brevity, clarity," Kudred recited the Academy 'ABC' for appropriate comm channel usage, wondering if poking back at the doctor's own comment might irk him, although he appreciated he should probably be making an effort to avoid such confrontations. With this particular man, he decided that was probably not quite possible. "But, yes. The check-up is incidental. Doctor, what is your experience of Bajoran-Cardassian hybrids?" It had been Kudred's experience, unfortunately, that most hybrids either died from childhood illnesses, courtesy of the Occupation, or were actively killed - usually by one of the parents. He had almost been counted amongst their number.

"I've taken care of a few of them in my time. I did run a hospital ship during the Dominion War," the elder Captain offered.

"I have Bajoran family. More specifically, I have a Bajoran cousin," Kudred explained, minorly adjusting his combadge as he continued speaking. "He has an especially rare blood type and has suffered issues with his bones from a young age, courtesy of a unique strain of Orkett's Disease. I only discovered recently, in the past few weeks, that he may require further transplants to aid him in older age. Unfortunately, previous donors have died or are no longer available, and the doctors on Bajor do not have enough expertise regarding my physiology. And the Cardassians... Well." He smiled faintly at the doctor with that last comment. "My limited understanding is that, whilst my blood favours my Cardassian side, there are markers for antigens in common with his own. I appreciate this is a fairly involved request, but I presumed, perhaps erroneously, a man of your years and experience may have some insight in the field, and could advise whether or not it was possible, most likely with additional work, that I could become a donor for him."

The XO removed a PADD that contained the preliminary data from his hip and placed it beside him. This was a matter he had previously sought to research himself, to seek out a xenobiologist, haemotologist or a surgeon that may have worked in the Bajor sector in years past to examine the data and opportunities. When Yeoman Mehra had informed him of the storied individual taking up the reigns of CMO aboard SB38, the distance for that search had been drastically cut down.

"Looking to synthesize antigens, eh?" Nathan said while folding his arms, "Not an easy thing to do, but far from impossible."

The old man's face scrunched up in thought for several moments before he spoke again, "We had this... former Drone on the Arizona many years ago. Nice kid, a little goofy. Anyway, a great many samples were collected of his nanoprobes. Most people hear Borg anything and they start to back peddling and making up excuses as to why it wouldn't work, or some drivel about not wanting to be assimilated and what have you. Long story short, there's a couple of pretty radical but effective methods for using nanoprobe enhanced cellular compounds to fabricate antigens like the one you're talking about. Luckily for us, we don't have to farm some fresh Drones to do it, we can fabricate them ourselves here locally and not have to worry about nasty side effects. Much as I hate the bastards, the Borg did come up with some pretty advanced stuff when it comes to keeping people alive."

"Preservation of life comes before sanctimony," Kudred replied, grateful for the suggestion. "And being on this station, we may yet get another chance to study Borg up close - or the other way around, perhaps. However, if you think this research could bear fruit, synthesising nanoprobes to perhaps make whatever goods my body has on offer compatible, then I am not concerned if even the Pah-Wraiths themselves conducted the research. What will you need from me; is there even anything I can do?"

"A blood sample and patience are about all you can do right this minute, but it's better than nothing," the old man shrugged.

Kudred nodded. "Thank you, Doctor." He lingered for a moment, his curiosity regarding Cowell (which was not helped by knowing that was not the man's actual given name) almost outweighing his need for social decorum. Although his time at the Academy was inconveniently outside of the doctor's time teaching there, the stories were plentiful. For a man of Kudred's own leanings, it was difficult to not capitalise on the opportunity. He had a degree of access to the CMO's service record, after all.

"After over half a millennium," he said, now rising from the examination table to stand beside Cowell, "does this not become dry, considering all you have seen, the people you have known and been?" The question was framed quite obviously as one of true curiosity and wonderment, not meant callously.

"Shit no," Nathan said with a genuine grin, "Being a doctor is the only thing I do that feels right. Sitting on the bridge of a ship went against the grain, didn't feel right sending good men and women to die after spending more than a few lifetimes trying to keep those same people from dying in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I loved every ship I ever Captained, and every crew I ever led was near and dear to me in my own way. But this..."

Nathan gestured around the room with a free hand, "This is where I can be me. And I've been a fair few people over the years, as I'm sure you can imagine."

"No," his patient replied honestly, wearing a faint smile, "I cannot. But I do admire you, Doctor Cowell, for staying the course. I can just about comprehend the longevity and extended experiences of the Vulcans and Romulans, but to experience the rise and falls of civilisations in the fashion you have, and, if you do not mind my saying, the faces that have come and gone for you - it beggars belief."

Kudred picked up the PADD he had placed onto the bed and offered it to Cowell. "I have long had a fascination with the anthropology of races and worlds. You are the living embodiment of such a large portion of history, told and untold, yet to remain so resilient and dedicated... We have both met people, I am sure, that lost that vim and vigour within from just a decade of losses. And, indeed, there are those that never even find that in themselves, which is perhaps the more tragic."

"Can't say for sure if it is. Some people are just born into misery and they never let it go. Seen that sight more times than I care to count. But if you're ever of the mind to listen to it, I'm sure I could be talked into talking about the good old days over a good whiskey," the old man said as he took the offered PaDD.

"I have heard our compatriots say that one cannot train an ageing canine to perform new skills," Kudred said with an incline of his head, appreciating the offer, "but I am attempting to acquire a taste for kanar. Perhaps there is an evening coming up that we could share in revulsion, whilst you tell bare all regarding the past." He extended his hand to Cowell. "Thank you, Doctor. For whatever it may count, coming from the mouth of a child, I am pleased you are here with us."

"Don't mention it," Nathan said, shaking the man's hand, "Oh, and one more thing. The saying is 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks'. And it ain't anywhere close to being true."

A mission post by,

Captain Kudred Valyn
Executive Officer
Starbase 38

Captain Nathan Cowell, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Starbase 38


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