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Premature Evacuation

Posted on Wed Oct 13th, 2021 @ 7:02pm by Fleet Admiral Sturnack & Commander Marlena Glenn & Vice Admiral Nathan Cowell, MD

Mission: Episode 2: 18th and Constitution
Location: CinC's Office, Starfleet Command
Timeline: Mission Day 10 at 1200

[CinC's Office]
[Starfleet Command]
[San Francisco, Earth]
[MD10, 1200 Hours]

"He should be here any minute," Commander Marlena Glenn smiled at the austere Vulcan in front of her. "Ready for a, um...sturn," she smirked, "talking to? I can't imagine the Vice Admiral will be happy you left Starfleet Medical against their recommendations."

"It was that," Sturnack steepled his fingers, "or allow Jocelyn to be cashiered out of service. I will...take my lumps," the man used a human aphorism, "if they are, indeed, coming. However, let us proceed as if the Vice Admiral is coming for a standard check-in now that he has become the head of Starfleet Medical."

"Whatever you say, Admiral," Marlena chuckled back, collecting a few PADDs from Sturnack's desk and then placing down a few more. "Reports from Interstellar Aid, Homeworld Security, and Starfleet Intelligence. More of the same, really...we're in kind of a holding pattern. But there may be a few tidbits you'll want to review yourself. I've marked them for you," she said, looking again towards Sturnack.

"Thank you, Marlena," he used the woman's first name just as he had with Jocelyn's a moment earlier; both instances connoted a familiarity there that was unlikely to go unnoticed. With Marlena, such was because of the years they'd spent working together. The woman insisted her call her by name and she lit up on the few occasions that he did so. With the latter, however, Jocelyn's name on Sturnack's lips was a newer thing; why he used the name wasn't even immediately apparent to himself and yet it was uttered.

Sturnack was seated in his hover chair -- as he had been for the last couple of days -- and began maneuvering himself from behind the large, mahogany desk in dark shades of chocolate. Sturnack brought the chair around and moved towards the central seating area of the room. The primary chair in chintz -- where the CinC would normally sit during less formal conversations -- had been temporarily put in storage, making room for the hover chair instead. And it was, from that position, that the Fleet Admiral turned himself to spy the transparent aluminum doors looking out into the anteroom beyond. Cowell, it seemed, was already there and waiting. And as Marlena had possibly predicted, the man did not look happy.

"Please, escort the Admiral in. And thank you," Sturnack nodded deeply, "for the refreshments." His eyes briefly went to a pastry-laden tray and a few different types of bottled water; there was a pitcher of iced tea there as well.

"Of course. We'll see if he likes any of it," Marlena crinkled her nose and hmmph'd. "If you need me, you call me, sir. I'll be just outside."

And with that, the young woman moved to open the double doors and offered Cowell a smile of epic warmth. "Good afternoon, Vice Admiral. Commander Marlena Glenn, aide-de-camp to the CinC. He's ready for you now," she said, gesturing for Cowell to enter.

"I seriously doubt that, kid... but thanks for trying," the elderly Admiral said as he stormed into the room to find a Vulcan occupying a floating prothetic. The frown that graced his already stern features was the kind of look that had, at many points in his long career as a physician, made people run in fear of what was about to happen. Given that the target of his rather unhappy glare was a Vulcan, Cowell knew there wouldn't be any fearful fits of flight... not that the whole hovering chair thing was the only reason for a lack of spontaneous exit.

"So, I'm pretty sure you're old enough to know why I'm here, son. And you're probably wise enough to know why I'm not too happy with you deciding that you could just walk out of my medical facility when I gave those folks very specific orders to keep every single patient on site until I got the Arizona in orbit and I could take an accurate account of what the hell we were dealing with from the medical point of view. The fact that you decided to do whatever the hell you thought was 'logical' at the time won't save you from the ass chewing you're about to be on the receiving end of. But..."

Cowell didn't bother to sit down, storming right up to the Vulcan with his arms now folded across his chest, "I'm not entirely unreasonable. If you can give me one really good damn reason you think you know more than I do after being a physician longer than you've been alive... maybe I'll forego the lecture and just cart you back to Starfleet Medical. So? What possible reason could be so logical that you felt that disobeying my direct order as the senior most medical officer in all of Starfleet at this very moment was a good idea?"

There was no flinching or even modicum of alarm as Cowell approached, entering the personal space of the Commander-in-Chief. The Vulcan simply regarded the El-Aurian with a placid look, as if he were considering the weather or deciding how he felt about a piece of art. Sturnack gave no visible signs of being intimidated by the violation of his personal bubble, nor did he rear back or stiffen before speaking. He simply blinked back with a natural pattern, looking upwards to regard the man who had so unceremoniously barged into his office with a full head of steam, if not a full head of hair.

"My friend was about to be destroyed. Utterly and forever. Without regard," Sturnack continued, "for what is right and what is fair. By a man who, by all accounts, should not be in his position but is -- for the moment -- highly needed for his political acumen. Her plight was more important than my own."

For once, it was an answer from a Vulcan that did not involve playing games or jumping through various hoops of logic to untangle. The words were said without hesitation or condescension. This was not a verbal sparring match, nor a test of wills for Sturnack. Instead, he simply let the intent behind his works speak additionally for him. Someone vital and well regarded had been in trouble and the only way to solve the situation had been to leave the potential for his own good health behind.

The old man gave the Vulcan sitting in front of him a long, hard, cold stare as he listened to the reason that came out of his mouth. It took him a good little while to speak again.

"Friendship, eh?" was the words that came out of his mouth. The part that didn't match his withering glare was how warm the voice had been. In complete opposition to his entry, his words didn't have even a tenth of the sharpness they'd had only a minute ago.

"Alright, I'll accept that," the old man said with a shrug of his shoulders before turning his eyes on the spread at the table, "Oh... sweet tea... mighty thoughtful of you."

The elderly physician grabbed a cup, then the pitcher, and poured himself a drink before flopping into a chair at the table. One long quaff of the liquid in his glass later, a contented "Ah" slipped from his mouth, his frowned replaced with a slight smirk.

"Your aide out there knows her shit. This isn't replicated. Damn near a lost art making this stuff from scratch..." Cowell mused before his frown returned, "You're still coming back with me to Starfleet Medical though."

"Commander Glenn has often impressed people with the amount of thought and effort she puts into these things," Sturnack replied neutrally. "She will be pleased to know you enjoyed your beverage."

The Fleet Admiral appeared neither relieved at Cowell's de-escalation nor put out at the order to return to Starfleet Medical. The Vulcan simply nodded again -- once and deeply. "I am...looking ahead," Sturnack began, "to a time when this chair is not needed. Thus I will return with you willingly. However," he arched an eyebrow, "there is a caveat to such. I will need to continue working. There is too much to do and, between the two of us, I cannot yet trust the command structure I would leave behind. Most work will be done remotely but I may need to see certain Directors from my room. Could that be arranged?"

The Vulcan was placing a lot of trust in Cowell. After all, he'd admitted that his Deputy could not be trusted to keep things on-the-rails in his absence. That was an admission not given lightly; Sturnack could only hope that the Doctor would respect the confidential nature of their medical discussions and keep that tidbit to himself. Though no emotion to such was exuded, the Fleet Admiral simply added, "I appreciate your discretion in these matters, Doctor Cowell."

"What matters? I just came in here and chewed your ass for violating doctor's orders, didn't talk about anything else as far as I'm concerned," Cowell shrugged off the whole ordeal as if it were a given that it wasn't for anyone else but them to know what actually took place.

"Anyhow, I can do you one better than just a room. Since the Deputy Director is still very wet behind the ears, I'm going to toss 'em out of the office for a while and make sure they work the floor for about a month or so. Should be about the time I need to put you back on your feet, plus it gives you an office we can modify with some physical therapy equipment, a nice bed... shouldn't take more than a few hours to arrange... four, tops. Plus, since that office is right next to my office, I can keep a damn eye on you and make sure you stay put. Won't stop you from working, son, but I'll be damned if you're gonna pull a Houdini on me. If you can handle that, we can call it good and we'll head back to Medical right now. And before you ask, yes... you can bring your aide too. I don't have a use for them personally, but I gather the rest of you 'real' Admirals need 'em," the old man smirked, holding his hand out and waited for the Vulcan's reply.

"I am appreciative of your efforts," the Vulcan in question nodded. "Marlena should be able to manage things mostly from here but having a dedicated space for me to work and convalesce will be welcome indeed. However," Sturnack's eyebrow arched even higher than it had before, "it will be two weeks, Doctor. I cannot spare a month," he said in response. "Should you agree to that, you have my word that I shall refrain from further magician-like exits." His hand, too, reached out, waiting for the shaking that would clench the deal.

"Patch you up in two weeks? Who do you think I am, Nathan Cowell?" the elderly physician said before taking the Vulcan's hand and giving it a firm shake, "Come to think of it, that's exactly who I am... So you got yourself a treatment plan. Now let's get you back to where you should have been the whole time and start working on this problem you got with your mobility, shall we?"

"Your reputation is well earned, Doctor," Sturnack shook the hand in kind before withdrawing. "I have a few things to attend before I can leave. Once the space is ready for me, however, I will do as you ask and return. However, there is something else I must disclose beforehand."

"As my Doctor, you should know that I have been suffering from a neuro-chemical imbalance as of late." Cowell likely knew where this was going but Sturnack pressed on. "My amok-time -- the time of Pon Farr -- has been upon me for some weeks. I have been managing the condition with exhaustive meditation and medication prescribed by your predecessor. The urges have been controlled and relegated but it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain that control. In my current condition, I will not be able to physically satisfy the conditions of Pon Farr. As such, I will need you to assess my current medication levels and adjust accordingly. I must ask...while you are only here to raise your voice," he might of winked if he were a human, "that you keep this, too, between us. It is intensely personal."

"You're just a bag of problems for me to deal with, ain'tcha. Well, like the Brits used to say back in the Great War, "In for a penny, in for a pound"," Doc Cowell said, shaking his head slightly in what could only amount to frustration, "I'll have the office renovated and send you a message the minute is done. If you're not in that space twenty minutes after that call, I'm gonna have you beamed there."

The old man turned around and headed back the way he came. Once outside, he caught sight of the Commander who had shown him in, "Damn good tea you made, kid. Haven't had it that good since the last time I was on Earth."

"Oh, and before I forget... If you see your boss disappear in about four hours and... eh, we'll call it twenty-five minutes... Just remember... it was me," the Vice Admiral smirked before heading toward the exit to the building.

"I'll bear that in mind," Marlena laughed outright. "Figured he'd get snatched back sooner or later. And you're welcome for the tea, sir," she said, offering a kind smile as the man departed. Moving towards the doors to Sturnack's office, she poked her head back in and saw the Vulcan perusing the various PADDs she'd left behind for him. "You've got Admirals Upton and Ch'lith next. Then Renton. Think you can handle them all in the next four hours and twenty three minutes?" she smirked.

"I will function adequately," the Vulcan tipped his head to her. "You'll be playing a bit did you put it? Defense?" he asked, then nodded as Marlena smiled in confirmation. "You'll be playing defense again while I am recuperating. Hopefully the Rear Admiral proves less problematic this time."

"Commander Creamer on the job, sir," Marlena flashed that doe-eyed grin of hers, a mane of red hair flouncing around her face as she did. "I'll let you know if he goes on the rampage again, fear not."

"Very well. If you'll excuse me," Sturnack gestured to the PADDs, "there is much to do." As Marlena withdrew, the Vulcan found himself wondering -- not for the first time -- what exactly he should do about the Whitford situation. He hadn't been lying that, as the new CinC, he needed the man's political contacts and acumen. But perhaps there would be a time soon when the cord would be cut. He would simply have to wait and see.

=/\= A joint-post by... =/\=

Fleet Admiral Sturnack


Vice Admiral Nathan Cowell, M.D.
Director, Starfleet Medical


Commander Marlena Glenn (linked to Sturnack)
Aide-de-Camp to the CinC


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