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Double Double

Posted on Wed Apr 14th, 2021 @ 3:39pm by Centurion Nancy Gable & Gunnar Arnason & Major Ashley Rogers & Lieutenant Kaol Ralaa

Mission: Chapter IV: Unravelling the Mystery
Location: Medbay
Timeline: 238702.16

Gunnar had just called Gable over to consult on the recommended prosthetic for a lower leg amputee who was sufficiently recovered to receive one. It seemed the best avenue to defuse the argument that had been brewing between her and Kaol over... any number of things actually. At least Raven had checked in, even if she had left as soon as she possibly could.

The medbay doors then opened up to Major Rogers bringing in her Terran counterpart as well as a Terran Gunnar Arnason, "Anyone home?"

Kaol looked over at the voice. Could his day get any worse? Two Rogerses and a Terran Gunnar... his eyes widened as the Terran Rogers approached him.

Commander Rogers slapped Kaol on the shoulder, "Hope you did what I said..."

Gunnar had naturally looked up at people entering medbay, ready to help if needed, but froze at the sight of man with the two Ashes. He knew the face - he'd saw it in the mirror everyday, and it had once looked nearly identical back in his Starfleet days ...though he had never worn a uniform with a dagger at the belt. His eyes shifted to the mirror Rogers. She couldn't have mentioned there was a mirror version of me coming over?

Gable's reaction was less sanguine. She looked from her Gunnar to the other. "No. No, two Rogers are bad enough. I'm not dealing with two Arnasons. One of you is my limit."

The other Arnason merely smiled, amused. "My dear doctor, I assure you you will not have to. I'm a counselor, not a nurse, so unless someone here needs an ...intervention..." he glanced briefly toward Kaol, "I will not interfere in your work in any way."

Major Rogers looked at Nancy and shrugged, "I would have given you a heads up. But I have my hands full."

As if on cue, the medbay doors opened again, this time Renee came in with a large case in her arms, "Special delivery for Dr Gable."

Commander Rogers looked over and tried hard to maintain a stern demeanor befitting a Terran officer, especially since their Counselor was with her.

The Major noticed her counterpart's reaction and her curiosity was piqued.

Renee handed the box to Nancy, "I hope this comes in handy."

All Nancy could think was 'What now?' but on looking in the box, she laughed out loud. "Arnason," she paused when two men reacted to the name, and pointed at the Gunnar she knew, who was grinning... "That Arnason - the one who looks like the cat who swallowed the canary. This is for you." She picked out a roll of duct tape and tossed it at him. "But I suspect you knew that?"

Gunnar snatched the roll out of the air. "Yes. I believe it is," he laughed. Really if not for the unsettling presence a mirror version of himself he probably would have been hard pressed to keep from laughing the second Renee came in.

Kaol's brow furrowed, confused at why these people found it so amusing to celebrate the failings of the medical equipment and supplies on this ship. "You are all juveniles," he declared.

Major Rogers looked over at Renee, "Duct tape?"

Renee smiled widely, "You had to have been there..."

The Major nodded over at her counterpart, "I take it she was?"

"You know, this brooding jealous thing you have going on isn't a good look for you," Renee pointed out as she walked away. "I have to get back to the Mess Hall, hope you can all join us soon," she shot a look to the Major before giving the Commander a squeeze on the arm on her way out, "Thanks for the help with the stew."

Major Rogers glared at the Commander, who was smirking smugly.

Commander Rogers looked over at her Gunnar, "I think I like these people..."

The counselor had been rather surprised by the incident, and somewhat puzzled at the significance of duct tape in conjunction with his doppelganger. A joke? Or given Major Rogers jealousy, some allusion to bondage, possibly involving him, the woman and his Commander Rogers? That was... not out of the question, though he hadn't thought it the sort of thing Rogers would be into. "They are certainly ...interesting."

"It may surprise you, but I have full confidence that this crew will be a difference maker in our mission," the Commander told the Terran Gunnar. "They're a tight knit and very competent group, despite the juvenile shenanigans. I hope that part goes into your report to the Captain."

"Tight knit, or perhaps," his lips twitched slightly, "tightly bonded, I can see. Competence requires greater observation to determine." He looked at Gable. "No offense, doctor, merely a statement of fact," he added politely.

"Both of you require a lot more observation to be trusted," Gable replied evenly to the mirror version of Gunnar being insufferably polite. She gave him thin smile. "No offense. Just a statement of fact."

Terran Gunnar laughed, and smiled at his Rogers. "I can't speak to competence, but I see why you like them."

Kaol rolled his eyes out of view of everyone and mumbled to himself, "Their standards are mere competence... not excellence." He sighed.

Major Rogers muttered to herself, "Maybe it's just one of us she likes." She knows herself and this Terran version of her is far too much like her for her to be comfortable. In battle or in a fight, definitely... not now.

The Major walked over to her Gunnar, "Welcome to the club, I hope your counterpart isn't as much of a pain in the ass as mine is..."

"I wish I'd had a little warning about the club," he replied. He wasn't a counselor, but he was trained in observation and there was something just a bit 'off' about this person wearing his face. Or he just found a version of himself clearly more comfortable with violence somewhat unnerving; he was finding it difficult to be objective when looking at himself. Showing any of that here wouldn't do though. "He's certainly more comfortable being ...difficult... than I am."

"Matter of opinion," Nancy remarked coming up beside them. "You're your own kind of difficult. And you're the one with the beard - isn't that supposed to mean you're the evil twin?" she teased.

"What if we are the evil twins..." The Ash of this universe pondered.

"Maybe from their point of view we are," Gunnar acknowledged. "Very few people think of themselves as the bad guy."

Ash looked over at Gunnar, "Speak for yourself. I know I'm the bad guy."

Across the room, the other Gunnar watched the grouping form - it was natural in new circumstances; he was standing next to the Rogers from his universe after all. However, he noted that one member of the crew stood alone, the Romulan doctor. He seemed unhappy with everyone and less guarded than was normal for a Romulan. "One member seems less tight knit," he remarked to Rogers.

The Commander nodded, "He doesn't belong here and he knows it. Dr Kaol Ralaa, a planet side doctor, very confident of his skills but he is completely over his head on board a ship. If he doesn't start seeing that, he will be a liability. Perhaps you can... help him?" She looked at Gunnar and smirked, "You might be doing everyone a favor and gain us some good will..."

The Counselor looked at her, taking a beat to interpret that - when a Terran officer told him to 'help' someone, it generally meant help them understand that complying would mean less time in an agonizer booth. That mode of treatment didn't seem to be available here, and though it would be easy enough to retrieve a handheld agonizer from their ship, the reference to generating good will probably precluded using it. Or at least good will from the Romulan - he felt the other doctor might go either way in terms of liking or disliking the approach, and he wasn't certain about the other version of himself; it was difficult to evaluate any version of yourself and he couldn't decide if that Gunnar really was openly showing his feelings or was even better at masking his true feelings than he was.

Well, talking was the first step either way and he personally felt the better approach was the soft appeal to pride and ego that got a subject to willingly to cooperate and even wish please you, at least if you didn't want to completely break them. "I'll see what I can do," he said with a nod and headed toward the Romulan.

"Dr. Kaol, I'm told you're well known surgeon in this time line." The Terran Gunnar smiled and lowered his voice to an almost conspiratorial level. "And if I am any judge of people - and I am - you're also someone with perhaps a ...more objective... view of the situation here than most."

Kaol perked up at the acknowledgment of his skill, his fear replaced by pride, "I appreciate the recognition. It seems to be a rarity here. I'm not sure how things are run in your universe, but the casual disregard for protocol and acceptance of flawed circumstances here are quite disconcerting."

"The lack of military discipline is evident," the Terran agreed. "While nearly any combat circumstance can be expected to be less than optimal for delicate work - as I'm sure you know well enough - I've been tasked by my Captain with assessing this ship and crew. I would value your input on what deficiencies are most in need of attention."

Kaol practically was giddy that someone was willing to listen to him, but he had to temper his personal vindication because those someones were the Terran Rogers and this version of Arnason. "I'm far too loyal to the Empire to provide you with intelligence that would potentially harm us," he said.

Terran Arnason held up both hands. "Of course you would not. Forgive me if I even gave the impression of requesting that. My interest is specifically in this ship and the degree to which it can be function effectively as my crew may after all be putting our lives in your hands. Medical is of particular interest since our own facilities are rather limited."

Kaol nodded, "In that case... we are not much better than you. This medbay, while seemingly pristine and equipped, is nothing like a planetside hospital. And the leadership here seems to have no problem with that. We are embarking on missions to rescue refugees and now whatever you people are getting us involved in... but yet we don't seem to care that we can do better. We recently lost a patient because our one replicator malfunctioned. We know we are going into situations where mass casualty events are the norm, yet we don't learn from previous mistakes and we just accept things as they are. And we have a funeral for man that died because of it... one that I have no intention of going to."

"I see." Only long experience allowed the counselor to affect a sad but otherwise neutral expression at that last statement. He could only assume no close comrades of the deceased were left, or that they would refrain from beating the surgeon to a pulp for such disrespect until after the coming battle. But what happened after that battle wasn't his concern. "Within the bounds of what can be accomplished in the next few days, what do you think could be done to correct these shortcomings?"

"I'm glad you're actually willing to listen," Kaol smiled. "Assuming we take on casualties to the extent we did the last time, we were woefully short on blood, so we should restock our blood bank. We need to have backups and redundancies to power and life support in the medbay. At least two additional replicators would be critical. I actually have a list I came up with," he said holding up a PADD. "There is no reason we need to repeat what happened to Gedak."

Taking the offered PaDD, the Terran smiled - nothing like detailed lists, and he was sure Kaol not only had all sorts of notes but unlike most Romulans was clueless enough to have not encrypted anything. "Thank you, I'll see what can be arranged on our end. I'm sure we could at least supply a freezer case for storing blood so you can pre-replicate units of several types." It would mean dumping a corpse or two, but science should really be done with them by now. "Other systems are less easily transferred given the differences in technology. Perhaps you could coordinate directly with your engineers on the replicators and power issues?"

Now Kaol was actually ecstatic, "Now this is the response i was expecting from my leadership! I'm glad we are working together, Mr Arnason."

Major Rogers nudged Nancy, "Kaol looks happy. I don't like that...."

"Still think we might be the evil ones?" Gable asked sardonically.

"Terran Gunnar weirds me out more than Terran me..." the Major said, looking at Nancy. "I wish you had a Terran equivalent... its unnerving as hell."

"I don't." she shook her head. "Terran Gunnar is unnerving enough."

Only peripherally aware of their reaction, the Terran Gunnar merely smiled at Kaol. "A pleasure, Doctor. But it's Lt Arnason," he corrected mildly, and glanced toward the other Gunnar across the room. "It might be a useful way to begin distinguishing us." He affected a brief pause. "I understand if you're not comfortable saying, but if you don't mind, want is my counterpart like? A matter of curiosity, you understand."

"He is a very competent nurse. Dedicated, good bedside manners. And the cause of the... duct tape delivery as he used some to patch himself up during battle. Which I suppose is a good summary of the man. He has worked with Dr Gable before as well as our Major Rogers. I find his choice in friends questionable," Kaol explained.

Duct tape to patch a battle injury? Perhaps the other version of me isn't quite as soft as he looks "Thank you. I'm glad to hear that I'm agreeable and dedicated in this universe," the Terran replied. "If we are at base the same person, I assume he simply tries to create cordial relationships where he can. I have become friends Commander Rogers, after all."

Kaol shuddered at the thought of being friends with either of the Rogers, "They're both terrifying. I don't see how anyone can be close to her... Terran or not."

Better friends than not... He didn't share the thought. "She has her good points, as most people do if one looks for them," the mirror Gunnar remarked, offering a smile. A mere suggestion since he judged that pushing the point would trigger resistance. "If you don't mind, I would like to talk to ...myself. It's a rather unique opportunity."

Kaol nodded as he waved the PADD at the Terran, "Yes, of course. I'll get right on this. Thank you for the talk."

Major Rogers looked over at Kaol and glared at him. His happiness makes her uneasy. "Hey Gunnar, looks like you're coming to talk to you."

"Great... If talking to yourself means you're crazy, what does it mean if you don't want to talk to yourself?" he muttered.

The Major growled, "Better than wanting to punch yourself so you don't hit on your ex..."

Gunnar frowned. "I did not need the idea of him coming on to T'Ango in my head..."

"Well... T'Ango doesn't hate you... I can't seem to make things right with Renee, so.... there's two of me now for her to spite," Ash said. "And this Gunnar seems to get along with Kaol... so, there's that."

"I suppose it's something..." He'd like to think he had some core of basic decency that would hold up even in that universe, though he wasn't exactly confident of it. Gunnar put on a pleasant smile as the other man came over.

"Mr Arnason, I realize this must be..."

"...very strange?" Gunnar finished with him, though with a rising tone that made it a question. "Yes."

"Perhaps if we - " They stopped, realizing they'd both spoken.

They each considered a beat. "You go..." they started simultaneously, and stopped again. Both looked at their Rogers. "Is this how it was with - " They began. Each pinched the bridge of his nose, then puffed identical laughs.

The Rogerses both rolled their eyes and said, "Yes. I would say you get used to it... but no." They looked at each other and said, "They think it's funny. Just give it a few days..."

The Arnasons looked at each other, and broke down laughing.

As they each recovered, there was a moment when both opened mouths to speak but realized the other was doing the same. They looked at each other, trying to decide how to circumvent that. Both lifted a hand, gesturing identical versions of 'go ahead', and then swallowed laughs at the same time.

"Oh for heaven's sake!" Gable cut in. She pointed at the Terran Gunnar. "You talk."

He grinned, and inclined his head to her. "Thank you. Apparently my counterpart's choice of friends isn't as questionable as Dr. Kaol thinks."

"He certainly seemed to think a lot of you," she remarked tartly - back when he'd been closer to single, she'd seen her Gunnar being charming around women in that proper polite way that got their guard down and she was not falling for it. "He took to you like a tribble to a silo of grain."

"Or a large ego starved of praise." He shrugged. "I was asked to help him. That begins with making him... inclined to cooperate."

There was something in how he said it that made the non-Terran Gunnar tense. As if sensing that, the counselor turned to him. "Simple flattery and suggesting meaningful tasks, nothing more. The Terran Empire tends toward harsh methods and I prefer persuasion, so one learns to use double meanings to make superiors happy," he explained, and extended a hand. "Lt Arnason, Chief Counselor. I understand you're a nurse, though by your bearing I surmise you once held rank as well?"

"Nurse Practioner, though I've frequently doubled as a surgical nurse. And yes, the same rank, in fact," Gunnar replied taking the offered hand - it was strange shaking your own hand, a reaction he sensed from the Terran though he seemd to be trying not to show it; in fact both held an instance longer than they might have simply to not seem to pull away too quickly. "A couple years back we would have looked as identical as our Rogers," his eyes darted to the man's belt, "except that I never carried a dagger."

"Your Starfleet didn't encourage promotion via assassination," he replied good-naturedly, and looked around. "Though I suppose there are enough instruments lying around medbay that a dagger would be superfluous."

Gunnar had almost smiled, thinking his counterpart might actually be a decent person trying to navigate a horrible system. But with the last comment, he was right back to creepy.

Major Rogers checked her own sidearm and knife, "Not sure what it says about me that I've always carried a weapon on me... openly and concealed..."

The Commander nodded approvingly, "It says that you're smart and cognizant of threats... although your fashion sense needs improvement. Is that what you're wearing to the funeral tomorrow too? Don't you have a uniform to wear?"

The Major shook her head, "I'm not putting that thing on again. That not who I am anymore. Besides, then I'll look like you."

The Terran smirked, "That's not such a bad thing, I think we look good in uniform. Better than wearing the same outfit several days in a row... surely you will respect your dead crew member more than you thought to respect us as guests aboard your ship."

Ash looked to Nancy and her Gunnar for support.

"The suit is...." both Gunnars started.

Nancy rolled her eyes and pointed to her Gunnar. "You first this time."

"The suit is perfectly appropriate dress attire for a civilian, which describes most of the crew as this is a mercenary ship," he explained. "Unless you want her to wear a Tal'Shiar uniform to go with the privateer commissioned rank."

The Terran Gunnar nodded, then tipped his head a bit to the side. "Which will you be wearing? I suppose it won't be dress Tal'Shiar as that requires a dagger."

"I'm just a volunteer here, not part of the crew," Gunnar replied. "I have a dark wool suit that would be appropriate, but I could dust off my old uniform." He gave his Rogers a half-smile. "Or I may be bullied into dressing for an honorary Dosadi rank."

The Major shook her head... the other her was right, it would be disrespectful to Gedak. And it would feel even more wrong to wear a Tal'Shiar uniform and shouldet the sins of an organization she was never a part of. "Fine, I'll wear my Starfleet uniform. If I'm going hate myself for what my attire represents... it might as well be for the sins committed," she mumbled. She looked over at the Terran Rogers, "I really don't like you."

Lt Arnason shook his head. "Please don't make me bring you two in for couples counseling."

Both of the Rogerses glared at the Lieutenant and asked each other, "Can I kill him?"

That only got an amused smile from the Terran Gunnar. "If you try outside of it, I look forward to watching from the next life as you explain that to the Captain." His smiled broadened a little. "Provided it's my hour to die."

Great. Me as a Klingon... or worse, a viking... Gunnar thought. Then again, it wasn't that he hadn't considered the old belief that the only point set by fate was the moment of death - in fact, he'd taken some comfort in it when he was a prisoner constantly being threatened with execution. Was that what living in the Terran Empire was like every day?

"Not in my medbay," Gable said firmly, glaring at all of them.

"Of course not, Doctor. We are guests here," the Terran Rogers said.

Kaol called out from his station, "I request that he lives at least until he helps us upgrade this medbay!"

Terran Rogers looked over at Kaol before turning to the rest of the group, "Now him... can I put him in an agonizer for just a little while?"

Ash looked over at Nancy, "It might be fun?"

Nancy curled her lips in, trying not to smile, though her eyes said 'yes'.

"He's difficult, but not that bad," Gunnar objected.

"I agree," the Terran Gunnar concurred. "Though if he's okay with me dying after the medbay upgrade, I could be persuaded to arrange for an agonizer to be added to your equipment."

 

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