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Posted on Wed Sep 6th, 2023 @ 11:13pm by Warrant Officer Iryna Voznyuk & Ensign Isaac 'Zac' Hughes

Mission: Contagion
Location: Deck E - Sickbay
Timeline: Day 362
3417 words - 6.8 OF Standard Post Measure

Iryna sighed as she staggered into sickbay holding her shoulder tightly against herself. She was going to regret her life that day but there was no way she was declaring a medical emergency despite falling in the shower and landing awkwardly in the new space she now had. It was that foolishness that led to her suspected dislocated shoulder. Gerhard was going to be disappointed she was sure, the marines were going to mock which was easier to deal with than the armoury chief.

“Hello?” She croaked finally as she glanced down at her bare feet, shorts and vest top that she had just managed to get on to make her own way to sickbay.

It was early enough into the shift that Hughes was still in the process of settling himself in. This tended to involve the consumption of breakfast, which routinely became coffee and whatever bread substitute he could carry through the corridors as a piled monument in the palm of one hand. Just in the process of setting the whole lot down on his desk, the doctor turned immediately at the sound of a voice and stuck his head out of the office door. "Good morning."

It took all of a few seconds for him to understand the reason for the visit.

"Come in, take a seat."

Iryna said nothing as she staggered to the bio bed and sat heavily against it. That was all she was doing on her feet for now. She could shift better onto it in a moment but the pain was getting worse by the second despite her attempts to ignore it.

As Hughes gathered his tricorder, the doors opened the sound of a jaunty whistle, entirely tuneful but with just enough of a piercing quality to be intrusive. Even despite being entirely out of patient vision, there was no mistaking the mischief, or the momentary pin-drop silence that followed as recognition bled almost immediately into hyper-vigilant concern. Isaac knew that Cusack was tall but he could have sworn the man took only two strides to cross the distance.

"What's going on? What happened?" The marine's gaze grilled the doctor for only a split second before turning on Iryna as a deep frown.

Of course, he had to be there! She sighed to herself as she thought about it all knowing they had only left each other an hour or so ago. "My new quarter's shower is not familiar." She said between gritted teeth as she held her arm even tighter in place as she stared at the wall ahead.

Completely oblivious to the doctor's examination, Nate studied her features in protracted silence, his eyes darting in a way that made it perfectly obvious how quickly the wheels were turning. "I swear, I take my eyes off you for one minute..."

He straightened then, blinking rapidly as if to finally catch himself thoroughly ensnared by his immediate gut-reaction, which was very quickly starting to seem just a little over-the-top. There was no obvious blood, she was completely conscious and, judging by the look she was currently using to attempt to set him on fire, utterly in charge of her faculties too. Logic was not going to settle his adrenaline swiftly, however. "Looks painful," he risked the obvious, his tone still failing any attempt at flippancy by being drenched in concern.

"I should imagine it is," Hughes quipped, kindly excusing Voznyuk from any unnecessarily vitriolic confirmation. "That's one very nicely-done dislocation, Warrant Officer." Clearing away any seats from around the bed, the doctor set everything out of his hands and allowed them to hover, without touching, as he delivered the next round of good news. "I'm going to need to get you back a bit, though if you'd prefer me to sedate you for this, I can set up one of the treatment chairs to transfer you."

Iryna did not need to respond to the painful comment she was currently trying to resist the urge to throw up from the pain. She glanced at where she was and shook her head. "If I move my legs are going to give out." She finally said in a tone that spoke to the fact she felt vulnerable half naked and in a position of injury.

"Then you just stay right there, we'll get you situated. Nate."

There was just enough warning in Hughes' tone to snap the marine out of his deep scrutiny. Bewildered only for a few seconds, Nate moved to the side with a nod of his head. "Right, sure."

It was no surprise now that his hands could be gentle, she'd experienced that in numerous contexts over the past few weeks. It had been some time since they'd handled her whilst injured, though even that had precedent set far enough back that they spent every day valiantly trying to forget it had ever happened. It was powerfully reminiscent, however, the way his hand scooped beneath her knee as his arm went around her and he slowly coaxed her into a position cradled against him where he could move her entirely in one motion without jostling too much. A hushed apology was a new addition, his chin rested against her temple in the moment a shade more intimate, but as he braced himself to hold her whilst the doctor worked, there was no escaping the fact that they'd been here before.

Nate was a big fan of not returning ever again. He just hadn't banked on needing to wrap her in insulation tubing to avoid it.

Iryna only let out a soft noise of pain as she was shifted onto the biobed properly. "Thank you." She whispered not trusting her voice to be any higher for fear it would break her resolve.

"Hold her steady," Hughes warned, handing the trainee nurse a nausea bag just in case. "I'm administering a general anaesthetic," he explained as he moved to do so, "because scans are showing limited complication. One very angry axillary nerve but it should calm down if we can give it a little space. I'm going to be gently adjusting your arm to see if I can coax things back into place without us needing to operate. Sedation will help," he promised. "But if at any stage you want me to stop, just tell me."

"Okay." She replied confirming that she understood what he had said even as she bit her lip to focus on her breathing as she felt the general anaesthetic working its way through her body and her body relax just a little making her stance no longer quite as hard on her arm keeping it against her.

"We're going to have to get you one of those special seats for the shower," Nate murmured, not one to ever have quite grasped the notion that it wasn't necessary to hold a conversation just because you thought you were doing your best to distract. "Maybe a walking frame."

“Let’s not” she barked back before offering an apologetic look to the doctor for her manners or lack of them.

"Another minute," Hughes warned, monitoring the anaesthetic's uptake.

"At least it's not your punching arm," Nate continued, casually oblivious to the fact he was likely about to reap the consequences of that very fact.

“No, but I am… I am sure I could use my other arm if the need appeared.” She said lightly letting out a soft groan at the painful sensations going through her body.

Over the top of her head, Nate watched as the doctor shifted slightly to the side and, making eye contact long enough to simply nod, gently took the injured elbow and slowly coaxed the arm away from where it was pressed tightly against her torso. Wincing in sympathy, Nate's immediate remedy was to talk louder. "I'm pretty sure they could remove both your arms and you'd still find a way to slap me when I needed it."

The woman was reluctant to let the man take her arm but slowly she relaxed enough to let him. She bit her lip hard as she gave up full control and closed her eyes just listened to Nate talking.

From his position, Nate couldn't really see what Hughes was doing, and whilst that was perhaps not great from a training point of view, it was likely better in all other aspects. He'd done something similar to a finger once, which had been painful enough. He was well-versed in this woman's pain threshold and her capacity for stubbornness when admitting to personal discomfort. For her to be so visibly distressed in such a public setting spoke volumes.

He struggled himself to keep his demeanour at least somewhat devoid of the personal attachment he was pretty sure she wasn't quite ready to parade in front of everyone. Hughes wasn't stupid and Nate didn't think for a moment that the other man wasn't aware of the pair's relationship, there had already been a curt and awkward discussion to address the whole matter of rearranging Jamesson's face. But the guy oozed discretion and Nate banked heavily on it as he drifted towards a more practical piece of rambling advice.

"We're not so short-staffed that we can't come to you when this kind of thing happens," he pointed out. "Daglish would probably tell you that carting people to sickbay when necessary is on my extensive list of duties she keeps bullshitting up."

"We can even provide you with a pair of costume donkey ears if required," Hughes quipped, though his focus on task left his tone somewhat vague.

"Eh, it's an improvement from always having to be the ass-end."

He had a good point that she could have called for help but there was no way she was doing that whilst naked and wet from a half completed shower. She felt bad enough sat there in just a vest top and shorts as it was all she could pull on one handed. “I am not declaring a medical emergency whilst naked.” She said firmly through gritted teeth as she jerked away for a moment at the touch before relaxing again. “Sorry that… I did not like that.”

It took every ounce of restraint he had for Nate to bite his tongue. The impetus to make some sort of ludicrous remark involving naked medical emergencies was a point of self-reflection for another time, perhaps, but it did highlight how very quickly his headspace had shifted. The humour wasn't a new addition to his repertoire but giving a damn about time and place certainly was. "Nearly done," was what he chose to say, his eyes seeking out Isaac's for clarification.

"We're up to the hard part," the doctor advised. His hand had found the marine's elbow, the other pressed palm-flat against the displaced scapula. "After this, we'll address the ligament damage but that's mostly over-extension. Nothing torn that scans are showing." As he spoke, Isaac used the evaluation as distraction enough to allow for a split-second adjustment, easily the most painful part of the treatment despite the anaesthetic. It was over before there was time to flinch, however, and having finally released the pinched nerve, the shift back to alignment brought with it considerable relief.

Iryna’s whole body shift in pain at the adjustment and she swore loudly in Russian but once the shock of the suddenness of the movement stopped she relaxed and slumped back against Nate. “Thank you.” She whispered blushing.

"That should be the worst of it," Hughes reassured kindly, probing the readjusting shoulder with just enough force to be uncomfortable but without the previous jarring pain. "I'm going to administer an anti-inflammatory and restrict use of the arm for the rest of the day. Light duties only," he added, with a pointed look before moving off to gather what he needed.

For his part, Nate realised somewhere around the minute mark that he had opted to hold her for far longer than would have passed as a normal bedside consideration. He hesitated, wondered if it was necessary to make a big deal out of it when she wasn't, and eventually decided on a compromise only because one of his legs was slowly losing circulation. Moving carefully, he sat down on her good side and gently leaned in to nudge her. "Told you we should have stayed in bed."

Iryna nodded at the light duties comment. She was going to do anything they wanted at the moment as she had been lucky to not pass out or throw up with the pain. Iryna jumped at the sudden slow attempts for the man to move from behind her and awkwardly coughed sitting up straight. “Yeah…”

Ducking his head, Nate lowered his voice as he stared across the room towards Hughes. "I think he knows," he whispered, which in Cusack's case was not exceptionally quieter than his normal tone. "He's been nothing but pleasant to me, which is probably just covering a mound of bullshit, but Daglish spends most of the day hurling pot shots at me about having better taste in marines than she does." Still staring straight ahead, he allowed his head to lean sideways to touch hers. "We're not very good at this keeping secrets things, I don't think."

Iryna normally would have shrugged but she just nodded and accepted the card that had been dealt to them. She could think about it properly later on but for now she was so relieved that the pain was gone. "They won't tell, they just like winding you up." She said finally.

Though he'd been surprised to realise it, Nate wasn't really terribly bothered by the lack of secrecy around developments in his personal life. He was wary in the sense that doing too much to confirm suspicions ran the risk of making the other participant uncomfortable but he had expected to feel far more defensive than he did. If anything, the only lingering issue was knowing exactly how to refer to Iryna without laying claim to a title he hadn't cleared with her first. It was that sense of limbo, and the general understanding that only time would really shift it, that coaxed him down off the bed to make a show of scrutinising her face. "Better?"

The woman looked up at him as he shifted from the bed next to her and stood in front of her. She looked a little dazed and tired but nodded. “Definitely. I do not want to throw up all over the floor now or even better connect face first with it.” She admitted. It was a big step in admitting she was vulnerable.

Ducking his head to level a look of mock sternness at her, Nate at least kept his volume down as he pointed out again, "You're allowed to call me if you need help, you know." The rise of his eyebrows was overstated but left him looking pragmatically resigned. "Who knows, I might surprise everyone and actually be useful for once."

“I could have but how am I going to find you? We don’t have personal communities and I beat you here.” She said seeing his resigned look. “If you were in the room I would have 100% got you to help but I was naked on the bathroom floor alone so I made do. Just be glad I did not hit it back into place myself.”

"Yeah, don't do that." As far as advice went, it was a shade too late. "Tried it once with a pinky finger, don't recommend it." Glancing up as Hughes rejoined them, Nate moved to the side just enough to accommodate the doctor but close enough that it probably counted as hovering. An overly-attentive stare watched as a sling was gently slid into place and adjusted.

"I'd like to check it again in the morning," Hughes said as he administered the anti-inflammatory. "And sooner if you experience any excessive discomfort. I'll grab you a few ice packs too, 15 minutes every few hours. And no using it," he added. "Tomorrow we can access if there's any rehab we can work on or if things will settle down on their own."

Iryna slowly used her good arm to push herself off of the bio bed. “I am sure I will keep out of danger with crew rosters and ... Other one handed things.” The woman assured quietly as she looked down at herself. “Can I come back in a couple of hours to get the ice packs?” She wondered hopefully. She was feeling vulnerable stood there how she was.

Only one of the two men present looked surprised. "I suppose that would be fine," Hughes started, mulling over the request for a moment. "If you make sure you see me before you go, I'll show you how to pack the shoulder properly to get the best results. Just a couple of hours though," he warned. "Otherwise I'll send a nurse after you." The slight twinkle in the doctor's eyes left no confusion over which one he meant.

“I will be back by…” she glanced around for a chronometer and sighed when she found none. “Um… 12:00 hours.” She decided that was roughly around the right time. She sighed a little. “What are you planning on telling Gerhard?” She finally wondered.

Hughes suddenly found the weight of two pairs of eyes scrutinising him. "The daily medical reports are submitted at the end of shift rotation. At the moment, my intention is to list your injury as an anterior dislocation of the shoulder caused by over-extension from a brace position when falling." Isaac lifted his eyebrows, though his expression remained gentle. "Then there's a really boring part about what we did to treat it and the suggested physical therapy moving forward, plus the obligatory recommendations for adjustments to your work duties until cleared." He smiled. "It's all very impersonal, I don't actually need to knock on his door and tell him you lost an argument with gravity whilst showering."

Iryna blushed even more but nodded. She deserved that sly dig but the relief that her superior officer wouldn't know just how ridiculous her morning had been. “Thank you doctor.” She whispered looking embarrassed. “I appreciate that. And I will be back after a few hours rest and in more suitable clothing to get the ice packs.”

"I think, under the circumstances, I can release Mr. Cusack to make sure you get where you're going in one piece." Despite the excessive amount of knowing behind his gaze, Isaac permitted the charade of professional integrity if only to spare his patient further mortification. "Half hour," he directed at Nate. "If she tries to do too much, you have my permission to confine her to quarters until I get there."

A cocked eyebrow wasn't exactly gratitude on Nate's part, though he had to grudgingly hand it to the doctor; he was quick on the uptake. "It'd be faster to just shoot me now if you're that keen on getting rid of me." Shaking his head, the marine extended a hand to help Voznyuk down from the bed.

Iryna took the offered hand and and used the momentum to move. She was just relieved that the ship was kept clean and that her feet got no damage from wandering around barefooted. “You will have him back in 15 minutes I promise.” Iryna was not about to distract him from his new position when we was doing so well.

"Do you need me to carry you?" Nate leaned in to murmur as the doors parted, conscious of the fact that the only response he was likely to get was an elbow to the ribs. As a tactic, trying to make her laugh had always been tied with trying to antagonise her as his go-to, it just happened to be edging ahead because it was currently far more likely to succeed than it once had.

The woman quickly shook her head. She very much did not want to show any more weakness than she already had but she did offer a smile to him. She at the very least saw it as an attempt to try and make her smile. "I think you have more chance of me carrying you than the other way around." She admitted.

Taking the opportunity before they were too out in the open for him to risk it, Nate bent down and pushed a kiss to her temple. "You get that arm working again and you're on."


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