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Adults Can Be So Weird Sometimes

Posted on Fri Mar 3rd, 2017 @ 4:05am by

Mission: The Space Between
Location: Medical Complex
Timeline: 6 months after attack MD1 - 1245

Ashley was idly shaking a PADD in her hand as she followed Cara about the enormous Medical Complex that was now the CMOs new domain. She had promised to come find Cara after she and her uncle had finished setting up their new home in the Residential Complex, but was a bit distracted thinking about their new neighbors in the suite across the corridor.

"Shaking it doesn't help," Cara said with a chuckle. "I find smacking sometimes does though."

Ashley broke from her reverie and looked up at Cara. "I'm sorry. What?" She looked ashamed momentarily for not listening as she knew how important Cara's survey work was going to be in days to come.

Cara laughed. "What planet are you on today?" she asked. Cara had always been a little skittish of children...especially teenagers...except in a clinical setting but being around Ashley was changing her mind. Unlike most of the teenage girls she had observed, Ashley had a good head on her shoulders and she didn't exhibit the usual teenage angst and drama. Like her mother, Ashley had a big heart and she had become a huge help to Sister Albina in the day care center.

Ashley shrugged sheepishly as she returned her attention back to the survey list on her PADD. "Just a little distracted is all. I won't let it happen again."

Cara stopped in front of the doors to the soon to be In Care Unit and looked at Ashley. "Wanna talk about it?" she asked.

Ashley paused in thought for a moment, then slowly began to nod her head. "Yeah, but do you mind answering a few personal questions first?"

"Of course you can," Cara said, taking Ashley's elbow and steering her away from the door so that they were out of the way of the workmen going in and out.

"I remember when you, mom, dad and I all first got to Star Base 900 almost two years ago." Ashley looked pensive as she was trying to put thoughts to words.

Cara smiled. "I do, too," she said. "I also remember you didn't want to be there," she added with a chuckle.

Ashley remembered feeling like her life had been turned upside down back then, but within a week's time she had met two other girls her own age and they had all become the best of friends. She then returned to her train of thought. "Well, then Uncle Drew arrived a little less than a year ago. Dad invited him over to dinner his first night and Mom had invited you. It was clear, even to me, they were trying to play matchmaker for the two of you."

Cara's cheeks blushed and she giggles. "Yeah. They weren't exactly inconspicuous," she said.

Ashley giggled and nodded. "I told them both it wouldn't work, that Uncle Drew would see you more like a sister and not a girlfriend."

Cara sighed and nodded. "Yep. He does."

Ashley seemed lost in deep thought for a few moments before continuing. "Well, there's this woman and an older guy that moved into the residential suite across from ours." She squinted her eyes as she starting choosing her words very carefully. "I know Uncle Drew likes her, because he looks at her the same way Bobby Davidson looked at Kerry Bowers in theater class for like a week before he got the courage to ask her out." She then frowned and shook her head. "I guess what I want to know is.... How can adults be so weird sometimes, just like us teenagers?"

Cara burst into laughter. "That's a very good question," she said. "Unfortunately, my dear...I don't have the answer." Folding her arms across her chest she quirked an eyebrow. "So tell me....who is this woman? Is she pretty?"

Ashley fiddled around with her PADD and accessed the personnel listing for all the survivors. She keyed in the name Catherine Waddington and brought up a picture and basic data. She handed the PADD to Cara. "Very pretty. Not prettier than you I'd say, but just pretty as in ... different kind of pretty."

Cara's eyebrow raised. "And younger," she mumbled.

Ashley shrugged. "PADD says she is from a place called Yorkshire, England. Guess that explains her and Mister Price's accent." She gave a momentary giggle. "Kind of reminds me of the way we had to speak in last year's school play, Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare."

"Who's the...," Cara made quotation marks in the air, "..."old" guy with her?" she asked, trying to sound less than curious.

"Um, I think he's her aide or personal assistant." Ashley tried to remember what her Uncle Drew said exactly. "I think Lady Catherine is a Federation Ambassador."

Cara looked at the picture again and looked surprised. "Wow! I wonder who she....," she caught herself, "...nevermind. I didn't know ambassadors were so young."

Ashley gave Cara a suspicious look. "You know...for someone who chose not to go on a date with my Uncle Drew a year ago, your acting almost jealous."

Cara straightened up, her cheeks turning red. "Me? Jealous? Nah. Why would I be jealous?" she asked.

Ashley couldn't help but bust up laughing. "I don't know. I'm just saying if I didn't know any better that is how it sounded to me."

Cara, playfully flipped the ends of Ashley's hair. "Well you just get that nonsense out of your head because it couldn't be further from the truth," she said and gestured toward the doors. "Let's get back to work, shall we?" The doors slid open as two workmen came out carrying tool boxes and Cara stepped into the doorway and waited for Ashley. "Besides....I would have if he had asked but he never asked," she said and stepped across the threshold.

Ashley was not one prone to moments of speechlessness, but Cara's admission not only caught her off guard, it actually stunned her into exactly that.

It took an hour to go through the In Care Units...or Wards as most medical personnel referred to them...and Cara was impressed with the remodeling progress. The private rooms were spacious...even luxurious. In both private and shared rooms, the exterior wall would be a holographic display that could allow the patient to view whatever landscape they chose. The interior wall was a clear acrylic that gave the nurses an unobstructed view of the patient but with a privacy mode. From the nurses' stations every patient's monitors could be viewed. When they were finished the Wards would sparkle with chrome and acrylic.

"When do you think you'll be finished?" Cara asked the project foreman.

"We're actually ahead of schedule, Doctor," he answered. "We'll have full power to the technology by the end of next week. We start painting tomorrow and will clean up and lay the carpet over the weekend. We're looking at QM being able to start bringing in the furnishings by the beginning of next week."

Cara raised an eyebrow. "Wow! That's incredible,' she said. "You're doing a great job. Its everything I pictured and more," she said, shook the man's hand then said, "let's go see if there's still lunch in the officers' mess. I'm starved."

=====Officers' Mess=====

Ferguson stepped into the state of the art dining facility looked about the spacious chamber. He walked with a purposeful stride over to the replimat dispensers and ordered a cup of hot tea and a serving of bangors and mash. He then wandered about the tables looking for a specific person. He finally spotted them with the young lady he had met the day before. He approached their table and addressed Ashley first. "Ah Miss Ashley, it is a pleasure to see you again." He looked at Cara and gestured with his tray towards their table. "Would you ladies mind if an old man joined you for luncheon?"

Cara was in the middle of taking a bite of her Reuban sandwich and she looked up, nodding towards the empty chair as she covered her mouth with a napkin.

Ashley emphasized Cara's information by gesturing to the chair next to her. "Please do Mr. Price."

Cara chewed up her bite and swallowed. "Price? Ferguson Price?" she asked, putting her sandwich down and taking a drink of her beverage to wash down what she had hurriedly swallowed.

Ferguson nodded as he took a seat next to Ashley. He recognized Cara as the doctor who had entered a chaotic sickbay aboard the Hopper and put thing in good order in just a few minutes. He'd not had a chance to meet her then, but her remarkable calm in a near riotous event had spoken wonders about the woman's ability to handle a crisis. "One an the same mum.' He glanced at both of them. "Please, just call me Ferguson."

Cara smiled. "I just saw a memo about you," she said, as she tried to remember what the memo had said.

Ferguson took a sip of his tea and frowned, He set the cup back down on his tray with his hand resting over the top of it. He glanced at Ashley for a moment. "Hmmm, my tea seems to have gone tepid. Would you mind being a dear and fetching an old man a hot cup of Darjeeling with just three drops of honey."

Ashley immediately rose from her seat. "Of course Mister P...I mean Ferguson. Be right back."

Ferguson lifted his hand from the still steaming cup and faced Cara. "Sorry about that doctor. I have a chronic heart condition and I did not want to worry Miss Ashley unduly. I hope you can understand."

Cara's memory sparked. "I do," she said with a smile. "But you shouldn't worry about Ashley. She is one tough cookie," she adds with a smile. "She's been through a lot in the last few months and taken it like a champ. Of all those her age and younger who lost their families...she is one of the few I don't worry about. I suspect she will make a fine Starfleet officer someday. Maybe follow in her mother's footsteps." A brief wave of sadness washed over Cara and she took a sip of her beverage. "So," she said, changing the subject. "...we need to schedule an appointment for you to see me. We had a top cardiologist on SB900 but I'm sorry to say he didn't make it out so looks like you are stuck with me."

"Well, I have no doubts that I am in fine hands then." Ferguson lifted his steaming tea cup and saluted Cara with it before taking a tentative sip of his still hot beverage.

"Why don't you drop by the ER in two hours," Cara said, with a smile. "Ashley has day care duty so she won't be shadowing me then."

Ferguson took one last sip of tea from his current cup and placed it back on the tray. He pulled an old-style pocket watch on a small gold chain and checked the time before nodding. "Two hours it is." He spotted Ashley returning with his fresh cup of tea, but still a bit off. He glanced at Cara and gave her a fatherly smile. "And thank you for exercising discretion about my condition in front of young Miss Ashley. It is greatly appreciated Doctor Nichols."

Cara smiled and winked at Price then looked up at Ashley and grinned. When the girl reached the table Cara said, "we should probably get going. You have Day Care duty in thirty minutes and I still have one more area to inspect."


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