Sterilization (Day 2, Infirmary)

Proper sterilization of the medbay was a painstakingly detailed process. Dorian began with the ceiling bulkhead. Soon, even his breather mask could not withstand the potency of the bleach water mixture as he scrubbed. Next came the walls, a somewhat quicker process with the long handled brush, followed by the windows and hatch. The cabinet exteriors, countertops, and shelf spaces were all washed down with a sponge, as was the exam table. Now, the detailed work could begin.

Dorian laid paper sheets atop the counters, before emptying all the drawers. The Alliance soldiers had seen fit to effectively rob him blind of any surgical tool; gleaming stainless steel scalpels and forceps were always popular items in a government sanctioned ‘smash and grab’ operation. A similar fate would usually befall a stethoscope, but somehow, his had survived. Likewise, the blood pressure cuff. But suturing needles, syringes, rib spreaders, and the grislier tools like bone saws were all vanished in the ether.

He left the freshly sanitized drawers hanging open to dry as he emptied the pharmaceutical cabinet. Though the unit had withstood a fierce assault by the purple bellies, Adler couldn’t risk the threat of any airborne particulate that might’ve settled through gaps in the cabinet door. Pill and medicine bottles were all laid out atop a nearby sheet as he sterilized the cabinet’s interior. The scrape and pry marks would require touch up painting; he’d raise the issue with Marisol.

After careful cleanings of the adjustable work light and the old electronics, Dorian set to the chore of sanitizing each object before returning it to its’ assigned space. Every pill bottle, every vial, every tube was carefully wiped down with disinfectant. The double edged sword related to such mindless, time consuming work was the freedom of thought afforded. No charges, he pondered, yet they stripped this room, and strangled the program in its’ infancy. Could Marisol be right? It seemed so. But the logical follow up questions…”what?” and “why?” as related to motive, were unclear.

His intelligence dealings hadn’t once been raised during the interrogation. They’d shown him a photograph of General Kau’li, yet hadn’t pursued a line of questioning when Dorian claimed ignorance. In fact, the only real focus brought to bear was upon Vas Jat’s doings on Ezra. It doesn’t add up, he puzzled to himself. Perhaps he mused, I’m being punished for not dishing up on my shipmates? This was a possibility; the Alliance had laid waste to many lives for far less.

Espionage, he thought of the unassigned charges in Hardy’s parting shot. Treason, murder. Their efforts to tie Vas to the Ezra cop killing were obvious, but the fact that neither Marisol nor himself were pursued or brought up on the other charges indicated their failure to make a case. So they’re trying to erase me, instead, he thought, and they’re trying to threaten her with her children.

He thought of Riley. Dorian wasn’t a trained psychologist, but he understood enough to recognize patterns in her behavior. She possessed an underlying insecurity, perhaps evidence of an internal conflict borne by needs of the woman, versus the demands of ‘The Lieutenant’ persona. That conflict had given her to avoid him for days at a time, only to attempt balance with a hasty reaffirmation of his devotions before ‘The Lieutenant’ would reassume command. One thing was certain. In the aftermath of the Alliance raid, ‘The Lieutenant’ would hold total sway over Riley Thorne for some time to come.

Based upon what he currently knew, that all made a cruel type of sense. But it was Hardy’s earlier threat that bore closer scrutiny. Court-martial, he’d blurted in response to Dorian’s intransigence. An intriguing admission, he mused, given what Riley had shared of her life with him. Begs a fairly important question, Adler considered as he set his efforts to the final leg of sterilization. As the mop glided over the deck, he considered that question, and its’ impact upon his future. He’d have to ask, regardless of how much his love for her would beg against it.

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