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One Order: Hi-Tech Brace

Posted on Mon Aug 22nd, 2016 @ 1:29am by Lieutenant Samantha Winters & Lieutenant Mikela Reyes MD

Mission: The Ties That Bind
Location: USS Manoora, Main Engineering
Timeline: [Backpost]

[Post Start]

Mikela left Sickbay early, on the first day that the flood of patients began to abate. The ship was moving now, away from the Starbase, and had not yet gone into combat, so she knew that this had to be the closest she would ever get to downtime. She aimed for Engineering. The turbolift system was pretty good at bringing people straight to their destination as long as their destination was a major point of the ship, and she was quietly glad that she didn't have to walk far. She exited the turbolift and entered Engineering, limping mildly and using her cane more for habit than weight-bearing. She had brought it with her because she knew she would need it by the afternoon.

She paused by the main reactor and looked around, trying to get her bearings.

"Ferguson, I've told you already, you can't fit in there. You start trying to crawl behind those panels and we'll have to cut through the bulkheads to get you out!" The raised voice of the chief engineer carried easily over engineering from where she crouched, half-in, half-out of a service panel on one side of the room, looking over to a barrel-chested man who was attempting to get into a similar one on the other side of it. Her warnings didn't appear to deter the large lad, who continued trying to find an angle with which he could get his shoulders into the open hatchway.

"Ferguson!" After being ignored again, she handed the tool she had in her hand to another (similarly small) engineer and after telling them to finish up her task, stood and strode across the engineering bay. Grabbing the larger man's jacket at the point on his chest that it formed a 'V' over his yellow undershirt, she somehow pulled and pushed the man around and away from the wall. Despite the fact that standing in front of him she looked to be at least a full foot shorter, she still seemed capable of intimidating the man. "I won't tell you again, Ferguson. The next time you try and squeeze yourself in there, I'll help you myself, and shut the hatch behind you. With a pair of Archie's smelliest socks for good measure. Now go help Kelper calibrate the forward sensor array." Ferguson nodded meekly the and wandered off to his new task.

Mikela tried to repress her smile. She knew who the Chief was now. She recognized the command style. She strode towards the woman, limping as always, but trying subconsciously to keep from showing her handicap. "Chief!" she called. "A word, please, when you've got a moment... there's no rush."

"What can I do for you, Doc?" Sam asked, glancing over and taking a guess that the lieutenant held some sort of a doctorate based on the colour of the uniform. She was still splitting her gaze between making sure Ferguson did as he was bid, and that her smaller engineers were getting on with the work behind the service panels on either side of the room.

"Well, some time when you aren't too busy, I'm hoping that maybe you can engineer a better brace for me," Mikela said. She had considered her wording for much of her trip from Sickbay to Engineering, and this was, she realized, about as meek and self-conscious as she got. "I can show you what I've got. It's pretty standard. Ever since prosthetics have gotten so fancy, Medical doesn't do much customization for the brace that you wear meanwhile. I'm pretty much stuck with me, though, so..."

"There no chance of getting yourself a prosthetic then?" Sam asked, her attention now drawn by the prospect of a new side project. She held up her hands mock defensively. "If you don't mind me pryin'. I thought pretty much everyone who got an injury that couldn't be fixed got a prosthetic. Hell, they've been doing prosthetic hearts for over fifty years now."

Mikela had heard that question before, but rarely as cheerfully. She shook her head, chuckling lightly despite herself. "I just happened to be the lucky bastard who's allergic to the alloys that pretty much everybody uses for prosthetics. I can touch it, I can walk around in a ship made of it, I just can't have it inside me. I'm pretty much stuck with external aids." She hesitated for a moment, then shrugged, hitched up her extra-wide pants leg up to the mid-thigh, and showed Sam a simple leather brace wrapped around the knee of a healed, but badly scarred leg. She wasn't self-conscious about it anymore, though she did take just a moment to hope that she wasn't about to shock anybody too badly with the sight. "I get some stiffness out of this. It keeps the joint from giving out on me when I've had a long day. That's it."

"Ah, allergies. Humankind's way of trying to kill itself using just the things around it. Hayfever used to be the worst so I hear, before they managed to cure it," the engineer responded sagely. "Allergic to grass... a real David and Goliath struggle there." She exhaled as she squatted down to get a closer look at the brace. "So how much motor assistance do you need? Do you need something that helps you do the work, or just something that stops your muscles working so hard on their own?"

"Well, that's the tough part to figure out," Mikela answered. "Muscles are okay, they're just not attached very well. The knee gives more and more over time until I get a chance to rest it. I could just wrap it up really stiffly, put a cast on it or something, but that keeps me from sitting down. Maybe... I don't know, I think a motor might be overkill. But I've sometimes wished I had a little bit of spring or something, maybe a stiffer brace above and below, with springs in-between or something... Well, you're the engineer." Mikela laid aside her cane, took a breath, and walked several steps in a straight line, keeping herself from limping as much as possible, letting Sam see how the joint gave a little extra with every step. She turned around, headed back towards her cane... at the last step before she reached it, her knee gave entirely. The brace held it together barely well enough to keep her from falling down, and she steadied herself on a nearby console. "Whups. Well, it's performing for you, you can see the problem. You know what, when it's bad enough, sometimes I *do* just want to be able to lock the joint."

"I should be able to work something up," Sam said, already coming up with several ideas in her head as he scanned the brace to be able to get a holographic representation of it into the computer for reference. She somewhat begrudgingly dismissed some of the wilder ideas her brain came up with amongst the more practical ones - she doubted the doctor would want rocket shoes built in after all. "Gimme a few days?"

Mikela shrugged and nodded. "Sure thing. Whenever you get the chance, you know. I know this is above and beyond."

"Yeah well, until I was twelve I always thought that was Starfleet's motto; 'To go to Infinity and Beyond'. Then my older brother ruined the illusion and told me that was a quote from an old twentieth century kids film." She shrugged. "Still, always sounded good to me. It's no bother. I'll let you know once I've worked something up."

"Hah!" Mikela chuckled, shaking her head. "Well, I've got to get back to Sickbay. Have a blast, 'Above and Beyond'... and thank you."

Lieutenant Samantha Winters
Chief Engineer


Lieutenant Mikela Reyes MD
Chief Medical Officer
USS Manoora


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