Post #5 of the 30-day Mass Effect drabble challenge. Today’s prompt: Anderson, Chakwas, “close enough to hurt,” courtesy of the Mass Effect Random Prompt Generator.
Captain Anderson met personally with every member of the Normandy crew who survived the ship’s destruction over Alchera. All except one.
He found Dr. Chakwas in the emergency room at Huerta Memorial Hospital tending to victims with radiation burns. She wouldn’t come out, and the hospital staff wouldn’t let him in. He had to wait two hours before she met him in an empty room at the hospital. A guard stood outside.
She looked as shaken as the rest of them. The ‘mother bear’ of the Normandy had her arm in a sling and bandages on her face. By the shadows under her eyes, she hadn’t slept. “Captain. What can I do for you?” she asked.
“You should be getting treatment yourself.”
“I’ve suffered no radiation and I can still walk. I performed battlefield surgery during the Blitz with my arm in a sling, so don’t tell me how to take care of my crew.”
“That’s fine, doctor. Now I’m giving you a direct order: sit down. Give me five minutes of your time to save other people’s lives.”
Dr. Chakwas sat. She submitted to his questions like a patient submitting to a hated physical exam. Cooly. Emotionlessly. Like all the others, she had little to say. The Normandy had been attacked by forces unknown. She didn’t know what happened to Commander Shepard.
Anderson stood to leave. “All right, then. Thank you, doctor. Try to get some rest.” He stood to leave.
“When are you mounting a rescue mission?”
She didn’t understand, unfortunately. “Doctor, your recovery was the rescue mission.”
Chakwas jumped to her feet. “What?”
“We don’t know what’s out there. After what happened to the Normandy, we’re not going back there without a cruiser flotilla. We can’t spare those kinds of assets for another week.”
“People could still be alive. Shepard could still be out there!”
“Doctor, you’re too close to this.”
She grabbed the stripes on his shoulders. “And you’re too far away! They were your crew before they were Shepard’s!”
The guard came into the room. Anderson held up his hand. “No! It’s all right. Doctor, this hurts me as much as you. Shepard wouldn’t want us to risk more lives.”
“He would risk his own. You know that he would.”
Anderson sighed. “I do.”
Dr. Chakwas trembled. Anderson thought she might strike him. Instead she simply turned away, and stormed out of the room.