Previous Next

Unannounced Visitor

Posted on Tue Oct 19th, 2021 @ 12:53am by Fleet Admiral Sturnack & Vice Admiral Nathan Cowell, MD & Captain Jocelyn Blake

Mission: Episode 2: 18th and Constitution
Location: Starfleet Medical
Timeline: Mission Day 17 at 1030

[Starfleet Medical]
[A week after Sturnack's return to SF Med]
[MD 17 - 1030 Hours]

The transporter pad at Starfleet Medical was a bustling place. It was mere moments after Jocelyn coalesced on the platform that she was hustled off the pad, making way for other, likely more important, incoming people or supplies. Absently she wondered if the transporter beam had any impact on coffee quality. She hadn’t noticed any in the past, but then the intricacy of the technology always felt like magic to her.

She moved quickly to the front desk just to the other side of the hall from the transporter pad. Marlena had shared with her where Admiral Sturnack was staying during his agreed upon tenure at Starfleet Medical, but she wanted to make sure that she was, appropriately, registered as a guest before proceeding.

“Captain Jocelyn Blake here to visit Fleet Admiral Sturnack,” she advised the orderly at the desk. The man looked her over and nodded before tapping her information into a PADD. Satisfied that she had an appropriate clearance level to have access to Starfleet’s CinC, the man waved her on. “Third floor next to Dr. Cowell’s office,” the man advised. “Do you want me to call ahead and let him know you are coming up?”

She shook her head. “No, that’s ok,” she remarked.

Truth be told her reason for coming was flimsy at best and she wasn’t sure he’d agree to see her. She was taking a chance showing up unannounced. Marlena had said as much after giving her a long stare upon her request for information about Sturnack’s location.

She headed for the bank of lifts quickly, messenger bag tapping against her hip as she walked and quickly stepped on only to find herself, unexpectedly, face to face with the Director of Starfleet Medical himself.

“Admiral,” she said by way of greeting, suddenly self conscious.

"Captain," the old man grunted in return, "Now that we've both stated the obvious... You don't look at all sick, injured, or crazy, so what brings you to Medical? Are you doing a feature on why hospital food still sucks out loud even after four hundred years of technological improvements?"

The lift the pair was waiting in front of opened up, allowing the pair to walk inside. Once the doors slid shut the elderly physician gave his fellow occupant a measured look before seeming to stumble onto something.

"You must be the 'friend' he was talking about. Starting to make a bit more sense now..." Cowell nodded to himself as he made the vague statement.

Jocelyn took the elderly doctor's comment in stride, not quite sure how to place it. "I leave most of the writing to the press these days," she commented, "but if a hospital food expose would be helpful I'm glad to send a few reporters your way."

She smirked slightly, but answered the man's question anyway. "I have a meeting with Fleet Admiral Sturnack."

It wasn't expressly untrue, but nor was it entirely accurate, so she waved on the line of give less information so as not to perjure herself.

"No you don't. He has a physical therapy session with me in five minutes, or else I wouldn't be on this lift at all. But you tried to bluff your way into not telling me more than you had to," the old man chuckled, "But it's fine, you can have your little chat with him first. He doesn't like to admit this but the only time that Vulcan has even a slight emotional response is when I walk in for our little leg exercise sessions. I think he almost frowned once."

Had Jocelyn been sipping her coffee in that moment she might have spat it out in response. "I mean... he does, technically, have a meeting with me coming up..." she offered... "We've just been doing them virtually." She had the wherewithal to look slightly sheepish. "But... to your point about hospital food... your coffee sucks. So I brought him some from a place that we both enjoy."

"Does it?" Cowell took on a contemplative look before shrugging, "Wouldn't know, haven't ate or drank anything that came out of a hospital mess kitchen since World War I. After drinking what amounted to diaper squeezings out of a filthy mess tin in a trench hut turned hospital for years... I wouldn't touch hospital coffee with a prosthetic tongue... or a mechanical stomach... or anything, really."

Jocelyn made a face at that, the mental image accompanying the doctor's description making her cringe. "I don't know if it's that bad, but it's certainly not good."

The lift stopped then, dumping them out on the appropriate floor. Jocelyn paused, looking up and down the hall for a moment to get her bearings. "How is he doing, anyway?" she asked, clearly deliberately attempting to make that question sound unimportant despite her curiosity.

"His treatment plan is on schedule," the old man shrugged the comment off as he began leading the way toward the office the Fleet Admiral was staying in, "Anything beyond that you'll have to ask him yourself."

Jocelyn nodded, following Cowell down the hall and taking note of when they stopped so she could easily find her way back to the lift. She turned to Cowell, an amused expression on her features. "You wanna go in first or should I?"

"I told you, you can have your little meeting first. I'll come break up your little hugging convention or whatever you political types do when you get together. I've got some charts to review anyway. My office is the next one over, just in case you need me or you get done with him before I get through with my stack," Cowell said, turning and heading for his own office.

"Jocelyn?" came a placid voice from the left. The door to Sturnack's room was currently open, offering a view of the Vulcan in his hover chair. He whirred forward, his right eyebrow arching in surprise. "Marlena did not inform me that our meeting was to be held in person. I expected to take our call while performing some of my physical therapy exercises. Doctor Cowell should be here any moment..." the Fleet Admiral trailed off, looking around as if hoping to spy the white-haired El-Aurian behind the woman.

The red-haired woman's eyes widened as suddenly all of the very cool and collected reasons for showing up in person she had imagined giving flew from her head. "I... umm... asked her not to mention it?" she finally managed, head swiveling to find that Dr. Cowell had, in fact, disappeared into his office, though the door wasn't closed.

She turned back to Sturnack, suddenly wondering if she had made a mistake. She was here now, though, so she stuck her hand into her messenger back pulling out the CinC's coffee tumbler. "From the Horseshoe," she said, offering it to him.

The Vulcan regarded the tumbler as he might a PADD being handed to him. At least, at first. But as Jocelyn described from whence the coffee had come, Sturnack seemed to soften somewhat. Reaching forward, he wrapped his fingers around the tumbler which -- given the way the woman had been holding it -- resulted in a momentary touching between them. The contact seemed to affect the Vulcan, his cheeks effusing with greenish color that lasted only as long as it took for Sturnack to pull his hand away, tumbler in tow.

"A thoughtful gesture," he said quietly, nodding. The color had left his cheeks and now he regarded Jocelyn with that same neutral mask he always wore. "I admit that the coffee here is somewhat lacking in flavor profile and potency. While I have not spent much time in hospitals in the past, I am told such is...'part of the experience,' to quote one of the nurses." He took a sip from the container then, offering Jocelyn a nod once he'd swallowed. "A marked improvement. Thank you. Now," an air of officiality slid over him, "your report, Captain?"

She had stepped into the room during their exchange and found herself momentarily distracted by the very simple action of handing him the tumbler. His fingers were warm where the brushed hers and that detail seemed to stick, distracting from the reason--flimsy or not--that she had actually come.

She nodded to him, looking around the room a moment before spying a low counter along the wall nearest to her. "May I?" she asked, making for the space and setting her bag on top of it. She removed her twin tumbler from the bag then along with two PADDs, one of which she offered him. She debated taking the chair next to the counter but, in the end, remained standing.

Sturnack nodded his assent and then took the offered PADD, this time grabbing the item as far from Jocelyn's fingers as possible. Now in hand, he began to peruse the device's contents as the woman began speaking.

"The press has been quiet today," she remarked, starting into her briefing. "A few folks raising questions about the Prime Directive as it relates to our efforts in the Chalvana system, and the Dredge is continuing to write conspiracy pieces based on FNN's implication that we are harboring terrorist groups." She paused here with a slight frown. "Lieutenant Hoover is the one who has been seeding that piece and the Dredge's insistence on our guilt has helped to make the more reputable outlets hesitate at making similar claims."

"A wise tactic," the CinC offered in praise of Jocelyn and Jordan's tag-teaming against the Dredge. "The more they appear on the fringe, the less seriously they are taken. Well done. As for the rest?" Sturnack looked up at Jocelyn, "The questions about Chalvana are natural. Until we have fully-vetted, formal evidence backing up our claim of external interference, questions relating to the Prime Directive are to be expected. I am sure you are handling such inquiries with aplomb. However, we might consider a formal statement from our new Intelligence Director as to our investigation into such."

It was business as usual it seemed, even though the CinC was dressed in drab, hospital couture rather than his Starfleet uniform. The garment hung in the open closet across the way, laying in wait for planned-on meetings with invited guests. Given the tousling of the Vulcan's hair and the distinct not-readiness of his attire, it was clear Sturnack had planned for the exchange to truly be audio-only.

"I apologize for the state I am in," the Vulcan began. "Had I known you were coming, I would have...dressed the part," he tipped his head, using an all-too-human phrase. His chair whirred again as he drew back, moving to set the PADD Jocelyn had given him on a low table in the sitting area of his room. "Thank you for the report. I will peruse the rest and contact you further as needed, Jocelyn."

"Nothing to apologize for, sir," Jocelyn said, voice business-like though she hadn't missed his informal use of her first name. "It's not as though you were expecting me. I could hardly have expected you to be... put together." She choose the words carefully, wanting to alleviate any concern. His un-uniformed-in-need-of -a-comb state paled in comparison to the mess he had found her in right before the bombing. If there was anyone for whom it shouldn't matter, it was her.

She moved for the door then, recognizing the polite dismissal for what it was. "I'll let you know if anything new comes up, sir." And then she was out the door, stepping down the hall to poke her head into Cowell's still open office door.

She knocked lightly against the door frame to get the man's attention. "He's all yours," she said with a small smile. "Thanks for letting me disrupt your schedule." Without waiting for a response she pulled back, backtracking the way she had come in search of the lifts.

Cowell pushed back from his desk and made the agonizingly short trip from his office to the room that his star patient was currently occupying. "Hugging convention over with, I take it?" the old man snorted at his own joke but didn't bother waiting for any form of acknowledgment over his statement before launching into his now almost routine speech about the morning's therapy plans.

"Today is the day you've been waiting for. Time to lose the chair and use the legs your mother gave you and that I've worked damn hard to reclaim for ya. We'll start slow. Two laps around the building under your own power," the old man announced like he hadn't just made a very unrealistic demand.

"Around the entire building?" Sturnack asked in response, his characteristic eyebrow raising now at the Doctor. "Given the difficulties I've had, such an extenuating walk seems rather...hopeful," the Vulcan commented, though he did not shy away from the hard work at hand. Bracing himself on the armrests of his chair, Sturnack began to hoist himself up, gathering his feet beneath him on the cool tile floor of the office he'd been calling home. "I do believe," he looked to Cowell, "that if I'm to walk outside, I will require footwear and attire that closes at the rear."

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

Captain Jocelyn Blake
Press Secretary
Starfleet Command


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


Fleet Admiral Sturnack
Starfleet Command


Previous Next