A long time ago in a chat room far away, the question was raised as to what the guys would act like if they got a little toasted. My brain…
Toast: An Admiral’s Definition.
“The admiral is toasted,” Chip Morton announced in a low serious voice.
Lee Crane shot the blond a stricken look. “What? When? How? Why?” he stammered.
“You forgot the ‘who’,” Chip added as his blue eyes danced with amusement.
“I already know the ‘who,’ Blondzilla. Now what the devil are you talking about?” Lee shot back. Obviously there was more going on than what Chip was telling.
“You should go to Sickbay. This requires a visual. Trust me,” Morton answered mysteriously.
Lee dropped his pencil to the table. “I’ll do just that. Try not to run us into anything while I’m gone,” he tossed to his best friend. Heading toward Sickbay, Lee tried to puzzle out what on earth Chip was talking about. Nelson liked his scotch but never to a point of getting drunk on a cruise.
“There’s nothing wrong with me, Jamie.” The admiral’s irate bass echoed through the corridor and Lee picked up his pace. The slightly charred smell of something burnt hit Lee’s senses and he wrinkled his nose in reflex. The smell was coming from Sickbay. He entered the open door of his least favorite part of the boat to find a rather unique sight.
Admiral Harriman Nelson was setting on the exam table, holding rather than wearing his charred and still smoking khaki shirt, clearly agitated that the CMO was calmly ignoring his protests that he was fine. Jamie was busy listening to the admiral’s heart rate and respiration. Nelson’s broad, bare chest was dotted with scars. Most were old reminders of past encounters but there was also a scattered of new marks—raw red patches that could only be burns.
Nelson’s rugged features were coated in a thick layer of black soot. Only two white holes around his eyes, from where he must have rubbed them clear, encircled the twin orbs of sapphire flame. The normally tamed auburn hair was now rather scotched looking and standing straight up, ignoring Nelson’s attempts to make it conform to regulation. He continued to run a hand though the mess, which only served to further muss the tousled, tangled mane. As Lee continued to look, he noticed that the toes of Nelson’s black shoes were also blown out and the smoldering remains of his socks peeked through the ragged holes. His left foot didn’t even have a sock left. Bare toes wiggled freely inside the shoe. Lee felt a laugh trying to burble up but he choked it back down. He couldn’t keep the laughter from his eyes though and the admiral focused that glare of his on the young captain. Lee squirmed, trying to look serious and failing miserably.
“Do you find something amusing, Ensign?” Nelson grumbled, fully realizing that Lee was inches away from busting out in laughter.
“No sir, nothing is funny, sir,” Lee managed covering his mouth with his knuckles.
“I suppose Chip sent you down here.”
“Something like that.”
Nelson sighed. “Go ahead and laugh Lee, before you rupture something,” he rumbled.
Lee couldn’t stop the wild cackle that erupted. Bending over with his hands on his knees, it was several long minutes before he could get control and return to some sense of normalcy.
“Ah, sir, if I might ask,” Lee inquired once he was able to form a coherent sentence.
Nelson sighed again. “An experiment in the lab. Two wires must have crossed or something because the whole unit I was rewiring reversed polarity and sent a shock through me that knocked me against the bulkhead. Sharkey happened to going be by and heard ‘this outlandish bang,’ as he put it.”
Lee nodded in understanding. Sharkey had a weird sixth sense about the admiral. “And how did Chip find out?”
“He was coming from his cabin and saw me with Sharkey and ‘suggested’ that the chief see me to Sickbay.”
“And a good thing he did, Skipper. Admiral, I want to keep you for observation for at least twenty-four hours,” Jamieson said as he hung the stethoscope back around his neck.
Nelson shot the doctor a disgusted look. “Twenty-four hours? What for? There’s nothing wrong with me!” Nelson protested with venom.
“Probably not, but I intend to monitor your heart rate just to make sure there isn’t any evidence of arrhythmia.” The doctor was obviously not giving in.
Nelson shot Lee a pleading look. “Commander Crane, explain to this man that there is nothing wrong with me.”
Lee was not about to do any such thing. Jamie was perfectly within rights to keep the admiral for observation. Knowing he’d pay for his comments later, Lee decided to throw his support behind the CMO. “Admiral, you pay Doctor Jamieson for his experience. If he thinks he needs to keep you for twenty-four hours, you should let him do his job.”
The look on Nelson’s face would have sent lesser men running for their lives. Lee backed out of Sickbay slowly, as if retreating from something poisonous. The admiral could be vicious in retaliation. Lee figured he’d have to watch his back carefully in weeks to come.
Jamieson noticed Lee’s retreat and quickly encouraged it. “I’ll need to get the admiral settled with a heart monitor. Why don’t you come back when things are a little…calmer?” he suggested.
“Let me know when that might be?” Lee asked, three steps into the corridor.
“Absolutely. Come on, Admiral. Let’s get you out of those toasted clothes.
Lee made a hasty retreat as Nelson and Jamieson traded off with suggestions about were the other could go and what they could do when they got there.
Lee retraced his path to the Control Room, still chuckling. Leave it to Admiral Nelson to give a new meaning to the word ‘toasted’.