=/-\= Vulcan =/-\=
Word had spread around the medical camp quickly that the Charon had just recently been towed into a docking station high in orbit of Vulcan. Word was she was in pretty bad shape, but given recent events no one was really surprised there. Most people were more shocked that the Charon had even survived at all, though having served with t'Rehu and her crew Paul Jennings knew better than to be surprised at that.
It was nearing nighttime on this section of Vulcan, and tonight the Doctor was not on call. Instead he had elected to spend his evening in the costal metropolis of K'Lan-ne, located on Vulcan's Xir 'Tan continent. Despite his years of service to Starfleet, Vulcan was a place that (despite its proximity to Earth) Paul had never really visited. Tonight, with the hospital under control and things beginning to settle, he thought at least an hour or two of distraction was worth the effort.
The buildings here, much like the rest of the planet's architecture, where constructed from the dark rust-colored stone apparently found in abundance on Vulcan. Some of the older constructs appeared to even be built straight from massive stone formations sprouting up from the ground itself.
Not a hundred meters from the temporary medical station's outer perimeter gate, Paul heard footsteps falling on the rocky ground, and turned to see who was chasing after him.
"Didn't think you were going to have a night out on the town without me, did you?" asked Camellia Candela, short of breath after running the distance from the gate. As she stopped in front of him, she bent over and placed her hands on her knees, sucking in the quickly-cooling air.
Paul raised an eyebrow (a habit he was sure was the result of his recent extended exposure to Vulcans) and replied with a question of his own, "Were you not scheduled to supervise the IC ward this evening?"
The young woman smiled mischeviously as she stood back upright, "I may or may not have called in a couple of favors, and returned a few poker IOUs to get off duty this evening. See, this little bird told me you had designs on the city tonight."
"I see," the oldest of the pair replied with a slight shake of his head as he turned to continue his walk deeper into the city. As she moved to walk beside him, he noticed how eerily quiet it was on the Vulcan street, not at all like downtown San Francisco or London would be back on Earth. Quiet, stringed music could be heard floating through the occasional open door or window, but the normal bustle of a metropolitan evening was quite absent.
Almost as if reading his mind, Camellia sighed, "It's so quiet."
Jennings shrugged, "With everything that this world has just experienced, it doesn't surprise me. Besides, Vulcans have never been known for their night life."
The pair walked through the darkened sector of K'Lan-ne for nearly half an hour in relative silence, passing but a handful of locals going about their day's end tasks. Even for Vulcans there was an obviously subdued tint on the atmosphere. Finally, however, they managed to find a small eatery located just off a main thoroughfare and decided to stop for dinner.
As they were led to a table in the corner of the establishment by an elderly-looking Vulcan male Camellia looked over at Jennings and asked, "Do you trust me?"
"Trust you?" Paul replied, not quite sure what she was inquiring to. "I see no reason not to."
As they took their seats across from one another, she looked up at the Vulcan proprietor, "Shur t'plomik and kreila for two, please."
There was only one part of her request that Paul easily recognized, as plomeek soup was one of the most commonly known Vulcan dishes. Though, as with most else from this culture, it was something he had not ever had the opportunity to sample. At least his companion seemed to know what was worth trying.
The evening continued quietly, as they shared their meal of soup and a rather flat type of bread. Their conversations spanned topics from the administration of their makeshift medical facilities, to past assignments, and to families and friends.
"There was a time," Paul was saying as he took a bite from the bread he had perched at the end of his fork; Camellia had quickly instructed him in the ways of Vulcan table etiquette. "When I wore red instead of teal."
Sipping broth from her spoon, she looked a little surprised, "Really? You don't' seem the command type."
He placed his fork down on the table and pushed the nearly empty bowl away from him, finished with his share of the meal. "You'd be surprised. I've served on the command track twice in the last decade. I served as First Officer on board the Enterprise several years back, and transferred to the same post on board the Intrepid."
"What made you return to medicine?"
Paul sighed and leaned back in his seat. The meal had been quiet enjoyable, and his stomach was feeling very satisfied. "I'm not entirely sure. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love what I do. There's so much fulfillment in working in sickbays and infirmaries. But I loved the command-level work nearly as much. The fulfillment is different, working off the bridge of a starship. Or leading away teams down to the surface of a planet."
Candela shrugged, "I couldn't begin to imagine. I've never done anything outside of medicine."
"Well, after I left the Diplomatic Corps I returned to Starfleet Academy, where I attempted to pass on what wisdom I've gleaned on to the next generation of medical officers," he continued, pausing only to take a sip from his glass of water, "But when I heard that Starfleet was hurting for counselor's to serve on some of the long-range exploration vessels, I returned to active duty and wound up on Charon."
"Speaking of," the young woman interjected. "I got a message this afternoon from one Captain King, from somewhere off near Hirumarian space. Says he received a glowing recommendation from an old friend who knew he was looking for a Chief Medical Officer."
Paul could not help but smile as he sat the glass back on the table, "I told you I was going to make the call."
Rolling her eyes, she scoffed, "Well I didn't think you were going to do it so soon. Not that I don't appreciate the gesture. There's still work to do on Vulcan."
"And there's plenty of people on Vulcan to do it," he retorted.
This time it was she who sighed, "Well, after seeing everything that needs to be done here, I turned down the offer. I'm an emergency responder, it's what I do. Being stuck on board a space station in the middle of nowhere…it's a great career opportunity, and I really appreciate what you did for me, but I think I'm going to stick around closer to home."
Paul shrugged, "It's your decision to make."
"So, you don't hate me?" she asked, her tone nearly pleading as she forced on a weak smile.
"Of course not. And if I hear of anything opening up that an 'emergency responder' might be interested, I'll make sure you'll be the first to hear about it."
=/-\= End Log =/-\=
Commander Paul Jennings, M.D.
Senior Medical Officer
Detached Duty, Starfleet Medical