“Govno ... zavali yebalo blya ...” Dr. Irina Marchenko groaned and swore repeatedly under her breath in her native Russian as she fumbled in the dark trying to find and silence the wailing chronometer. She had never been what the North Americans called “a morning person,” and the wild night she’d just had wasn’t helping matters. She fumbled around for another moment until the nude ensign lying beside her mumbled into the mattress, “Just turn the fucking light on already.”
“Computer, lights,” said Irina in her heavily accented English, and the room was illuminated. She found the chronometer on the nightstand and hastily turned it off. She turned to the young man next to her and apologized, “Sorry, I was trying to let you sleep.”
“No one could sleep through that racket. What is
“A replica of a twenty-first century alarm clock. The computer just doesn’t do it for me, I sleep like the dead.”
“I noticed,” said the ensign, rubbing his eyes and propping his well-built body up on one arm to look at Irina. “So, you’re headed to Sickbay?”
“Yes,” affirmed Irina. “You can stay and sleep if you like. Or I can replicate some coffee.”
“I’ll take the coffee. I should go anyway, my shift starts in two hours and I could use a shower.” He paused. “Thanks for last night.”
“Anytime,” replied Irina. She couldn’t remember his name, but he’d been amazing in bed, so she’d look him up in the database and refresh her memory when she got to Sickbay. For the moment, though, she gave him a sultry kiss before putting on her silk robe and heading for her own sonic shower. On the way, she stopped at the replicator. “Two coffees, black.”
By the time she exited the shower, the ensign had gathered his belongings and one of the two steaming cups of coffee and left. Irina dressed in her medical blues, slipped on her lab coat and headed for Sickbay.
When she arrived, there was predictably very little going on. With not much more than a skeleton crew present on the USS Tesseract
three days before launch, there weren’t many people around to need medical assistance. Her own presence there was due to a conference of the medical staff scheduled later that day to review the 37 species represented on the Tesseract
and highlight the medical needs likely to arise with each.
She sat at a station and looked up the young ensign she’d slept with last night. Eric Bouchard. A nice enough name, if a little North American for her taste. Her first preference was for Russian men, and failing that, she preferred aliens for sheer novelty. Ensign Bouchard was currently assigned to Transporter Room One. A tedious assignment. It was no wonder he was ready to blow off some steam after eight hours at a transporter console. Despite the fact that he was probably ten years Irina’s junior, Bouchard had shamelessly flirted with her in Ten Forward, and when she had invited him to accompany her to her quarters, he hadn’t needed any extra encouragement. She had poured them both shots of the real Russian vodka she always kept on hand, and a very pleasurable night had ensued. She smiled at the memory.
The Sickbay doors opened and Irina quickly stopped smiling and closed Ensign Bouchard’s file. She looked up to see who had come in. It was the other two doctors assigned to her shift -- a young and pretty Indian woman named Sheila Duggal, and a Vulcan male named Sarik.
The woman introduced herself first. “Hi, I’m Doctor Duggal.” She extended a slender brown hand.
Irina stood up and took it. As she shook Dr. Duggal’s hand, she said “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I am Doctor Irina Marchenko. And you must be Doctor Sarik?” She turned to the Vulcan man, who shook hands with her stiffly and nodded.
Properly introduced, the three doctors sat down at various stations and went to work, mostly reading up on what they expected to cover at the afternoon meeting. Irina scrolled through the pages and pages of biological information and her eyes quickly glazed over. How anyone could be expected to memorize the anatomy of 37 different species was beyond her, and in an emergency, they always had access to the databases. Where Irina excelled was at finding cures for rare and exotic diseases. She could handle trauma when she had to, but was grateful for the extensive databases at her fingertips in such situations.
She was relieved when the silence in Sickbay was broken by Duggal. “We’ve got Borg on this ship?”
Sarik replied, “Affirmative. A single ex-drone. The ship’s First Officer is a Brunali male liberated from the Borg Collective by the crew of the USS Voyager
. Upon Voyager
’s return to Earth, he entered Starfleet Academy and graduated first in his class. His current rank is Commander and his name is Icheb.”
“Speak of the devil,” said Irina, as the Sickbay doors slid open and Commander Icheb walked in.
The three doctors rose in unison as their commanding officer entered the room.
“At ease,” Commander Icheb said. “I’m Commander Icheb. I’ve been assigned as First Officer of the Tesseract
, but I’m a scientist first, with expertise in genetics. I’ll be spending a lot of time here assisting with research of any new species we encounter on our journey, as well as looking for possible cures for existing diseases using any new information we add to the databases.”
At this, Irina looked up with interest. She spoke up before anyone else could.
“Commander?” Icheb looked at her. “I am Dr. Irina Marchenko. I have extensive experience in the area of microbiology and rare diseases. I would be happy to assist you in your research during our voyage.” She gave him a coy smile and hoped he took her up on the offer. Not only was that area of research her life’s passion, but she found the ex-Borg drone kind of attractive in that excessively clean-cut Starfleet way.
Icheb nodded. “Thank you, Doctor.” He sat down at a console across the room and began tapping on the keypad. Irina looked him over. Alien and cyborg. She was intrigued. With a barely perceptible smirk, she brought up the file on Icheb’s physiology. She was suddenly curious to know exactly which parts of him were enhanced. She was disappointed to learn that only his brain and vital functions were at all affected by the Borg implants. Well, I shouldn’t be surprised,
she thought, the Borg aren’t exactly known for their sex appeal.
She took another glance over at the First Officer. Still .... I wouldn’t kick him out of bed.
“What are you doing?” asked Sheila suddenly. She was working at a console behind Irina’s, and Irina realized she was busted. Sheila shot her a conspiratorial glance and smirked. She lowered her voice to avoid Icheb hearing them from across the room. “All systems go?”
Irina smiled, relieved to have found a friend. “No,” she replied quietly. “They are not. But you can’t blame a girl for wondering.”
“No, I can’t,” Sheila agreed. She added, almost whispering, “He’s certainly not what I expected. I have to hand it to Voyager
’s Doctor, he -- it -- whatever -- certainly knows how to do one hell of a makeover. Have you ever met Seven of Nine?”
Sarik suddenly broke his monotonous silence. “Since you are both so fascinated by Borg physiology, you are no doubt aware that Borg cranial implants provide heightened sensory awareness, including enhanced auditory function.” Both women involuntarily glanced over at the First Officer, who had been sitting with his back to them. If Irina hadn’t known better, she would have thought she saw the Vulcan smirk.
Icheb turned around in his chair, looking amused and slightly embarrassed. It was clear he’d heard every word they’d said. Sheila quickly looked down at her console, but Irina met his glance and gave him a bold, flirtatious smile. She’d often been told she had no shame, but she didn’t consider this a bad thing, in fact, she felt it gave her an edge on the competition. Commanding officer or not, she had made her decision. She wanted a night with the Borg.