UES Enterprise. Earth Orbit.
16th April 2161
Partridge didn't get sick in the elevator. She did, however, get rather nervous as they got in. Hernandez thought that was understandable.
Because the secondary hull had a different orientation to the primary one, finding a quick, efficient means of transport between the two had presented the designers with quite a problem. Both Hernandez and Partridge were quartered near to Fin One, the vertical strut. As such they had started out upside down with respect to the primary hull. The elevator shaft was zero gee, but gravity generators were built into the base of each elevator.
The elevator would travel to a point midway along the shaft, stop in a specially modified wider section, and then rotate along it's horizontal access so that the bottom was now towards the primary hull. It would then carry on it's way. For those travelling on-board, the sensations were quite peculiar.
One would enter the lift as normal. It would proceed upwards at a fair rate, before slowing to a stop. There then followed an odd swirling sensation, as the elevator spun round. This was made all the more disconcerting by the fact that, whilst your inner ear told you that you were moving, your awareness of gravities effect on your body told you that you were stationary.
That was the point when most people grabbed tightly onto the hand rail.
The elevator would now carry on it's way, except that to those on board it seemed as if it were now heading down. Consequently, when it stopped, there was the half expectation that you'd returned to your starting point.
That's going to take some getting used to
, Hernandez thought. She wondered about the two lower fins, where the gravitational orientation was more side on than upside down, and how one got from one hull to another there. Something to investigate later.
Unlike the lobby on the secondary hull, this area wasn't considered living space. It was smaller and, apart from a computer terminal and a couple of rows of bench seating, empty. A couple of marines were present, checking the room as part of the security sweeps. They saluted Hernandez.
She saluted back "All clear?"
"Yes Ma'am. Nothing out of the ordinary yet." He sounded disappointed.
Hernandez sympathised. She'd not met Lt. Reed yet, but she understood that he and his unit were highly regarded and, considering that Earth hadn't fought a major space conflict, quite experienced. Anti pirate activity, xenomorph eradication, the border wars with the Axanar, quelling the insurrection on the Alpha colony. They'd been there and done that, and the only reason they hadn't bought the t-shirt was because one of their enemies was using it as a surrender flag.
Which begs the question, what are they doing on Enterprise?
Marines were supposed to be on ships of this type, but there seemed little sense in placing combat veterans on an exploration mission. She knew commanding officers on warships who'd give their first born to have Reed and his unit on board. So why here?
Yet another little mystery. They're starting to add up.
Sickbay was located near the shuttlebays. That made sense. It was next to the quarantine bay, and also allowed anyone injured on a landing party to get medical aid as quickly as possible.
Hernandez levered the door open and stepped into the office, Partridge close behind her.
Doctor Philip Locke was a small man with pale watery blue eyes. He was seated behind his desk as they entered, perusing the computer screen with great intensity. As he became aware of their presence he looked up sharply.
"What do you want?" he barked.
Hernandez was taken aback. "You requested I come in for a medical examination." she said simply.
Locke grunted an acknowledgement. "What about you?" he asked Partridge.
"Oh, I put in a request for a spare pair of glasses. I was told they're ready."
He waved her towards one of the internal doors. "Go ask Millington, he'll have them." he grumbled. "Not that you need them, damn affectation. "
"They help for reading"
"Hmph. I could fix your sight in ten minutes."
Partridge shrugged. "I'd rather wear glasses."
"Whatever. Just go. Go. And put some sensible shoes on! You'll break your ankles! Or your neck! Or both!"
As Partridge skipped away, he muttered, just loud enough for Hernandez to hear "....supposed to be the smartest person in the world. Damned flighty idiot, if you ask me."
After the near worship of Partridge seen elsewhere, this amused Hernandez. She must have let her feelings show as Locke suddenly skewered her with a stare.
"What's so damn funny?"
"Er, nothing, nothing Doctor. Er, is this a bad time for you? I could come back later..."
"Why do you say that?" he snapped.
Unfortunately, Locke was one of the civilians attached to the crew. If he'd been a member of UEMA or UESPA, Hernandez had the power and authority to deal with his attitude. As it was, he had to be handled with kid gloves.
She'd been on deep space missions where the only medical help on board came from a Corpsman. They did the job well enough, but were no substitute for a fully trained doctor.
In addition to twenty years general practice, Locke was an experienced surgeon, and had recently completed the cross species training program. He was the ideal choice for the mission, and Hernandez didn't want to upset him.
"Actually, Doctor, you really don't need to see me at all." she smiled.
Locke leant back in his chair. "Is that so?" he asked softly.
She pulled a data chip from her pocket. "I had a complete medical check up just a few weeks ago. I have the results right here."
Locke sounded impressed. "A full check up? Just weeks ago?"
He drummed his fingers on the desktop, apparantly deep in thought."I don't remember that." he said, sounding puzzled.
Now Hernandez was confused. "Remember what?"
"I don't remember giving you a check up. In fact, I don't recall ever meeting you at all, before last night.
"Oh, perhaps I gave the wrong impression. It wasn't you, it was Doctor Hartley at UEMA HQ."
He nodded, and took the data chip. "Ah, I see, I see. Some one else
He gave her a withering look. "Why are you telling me this? Why
wasting my time, my valuable time, with this? Hmm?"
He tossed the chip contemptuously aside. "I called you here so that I could examine you, not read someone else's opinions!"
He stood, and handed her an empty vial. "I hope you've had something to drink this morning. I'm going to need a sample. Afterwards, go to ward one for the blood test.". Without waiting for a reply he darted out of the office.
"Yes Doctor." she told his retreating back. She looked down at the vial. Somehow, it seemed to encapsulate her feelings about the mission so far.