Why? Why Not
By Michelle Pichette and Holly Cushing
The Doctor was certain that Lee Crane was going to be the death of him some day as he pursued him quite swiftly down one of Seaviewís corridors. Well, he considered, possibly not the death of him, but certainly a threat to his sanity. "Itís just a simple checkup," he repeated for the third time.
"Itís just not a good time, Doc," Lee told him, not breaking stride. "Why donít you get back to me when youíve finished everyone else?"
"I have finished everyone else," Doc said, trying to keep his tone civil.
"Even the Admiral?" Lee asked, sounding surprised.
"Even the Admiral," Doc echoed. "And weíd be done with the exam if youíd come in and let me get it done rather than chasing you around this boat."
"Iím sorry, Doc. Thereís just a lot to do right before a cruise," Lee said, ducking through another hatch. Doc was pretty sure Lee was trying to lose him now.
"Like making certain the crew is in good health and fit for duty, including, nay, especially her Captain," Doc declared, refusing to be outdistanced, even though he was starting to get winded. They had gone pretty much the length of the boat and would soon be in the tail of the Seaview. Doc assumed they were headed for the rear missile room, because they were running out of other options.
"Iím fine, Doc. In perfect condition," Lee insisted as they entered missile room.
Now Iíve got him cornered, Doc thought as they marched over to where some of the crew was working on one of the Admiralís new minisub. This was a deep diving sub, able to go far deeper than the Seaview, and, though it couldnít go as deep as the newly upgraded diving bell, it was far more maneuverable. The Admiral was in the thick of things and his assistant, Doctor Babin, was watching the proceedings from nearby. She watched them approach with a welcoming smile, everyone else too involved to pay them any attention. The Doc liked Miss Babin. She had shown up for her examination early, something heíd never had happen before. "Admiral, Iíve finished all checking out the crew, except for Captain Crane," Doc announced before the Skipper could say a word. "Would you tell him that you can spare him for a few minutes so that I can complete my medical report?"
Nelson glanced back at the men that were presently standing behind him, then turned to them, saying, "Actually, Doctor, I need to speak to the Captain in my quarters. Iíll send him to see you as soon as weíve finished speaking. Lee." Nelson nodded toward the door and before the Doctor could finish sputtering out a protest, they were hurrying out of sight.
"And ĎPOOF!í Another amazing escape by the Incredible Lee Crane," giggled Doctor Babin quietly as she stepped next to the Doctor.
He shook his head as he looked down at her, certain that he was not the vision of jovial at the moment, replying, "Implying that Iím some sort of hazard that needs escaping from?"
"Of course not, Doctor," Miss Babin said, taking his arm and leading him gently away from where the men were working, some of whom had cast discrete glances in his direction at his outburst. He didnít protest her actions because he didnít have many kind words about the Seaviewís Skipper at the moment and the crew shouldnít be around when he was venting. "But if Iíve learned anything since joining this crew, itís that Sickbay is Captain Craneís least favorite area of his vessel. I donít think itís meant to be a slander against you. I think itís medical facilities in general that he seems to have an aversion to."
If heíd been speaking to anyone else, except, perhaps, the Admiral, the Doctor would have agreed and ended the conversation right there. He would never think to discuss the Captainís health issues with the crew. Doctor Babin wasnít regular crew, though. She was part of Admiral Nelsonís research staff, so she didnít report to Captain Crane. And, unlike many of the other young ladies on staff at the Institute, she didnít seem to have any romantic interest in the good Captain. In her, he had a sounding board and Leeís recent avoidance of his had made him just frustrated enough to take advantage of it while he could. "I just wish I knew why. He hasnít said anything to you, has he?" Doc asked the diminutive Marine Biologist. Lee was friendly enough with her, so it was a possibility.
She offered him another of her warm smiles and shook her head. "No, he hasnít shared that information with me. Of course, you could ask him."
The Doctor grunted at the suggestion. "I have, on more than one occasion. The Captain has, over time, told me it had nothing to do with me or Sickbay or other doctors or past traumatic histories or any of a dozen things I could think to blame his dodging me on."
Doctor Babin chuckled again. "He sounds like my father. Heís also in excellent health, but youíd think he was afraid the doctor was going to find something horrible when he goes for checkups. He used to say that it was just a waste of both his time and the Doctors, but I donít think that was the reason he didnít like to go."
Doc glanced down at her. "But he does go all the same?"
"My mom makes him go. Heís more afraid of her displeasure than he is of any doctor."
"So, all I need is to marry Captain Crane off to a forceful woman and my problems are solved. Care to volunteer?" Doc kidded her back. Her good humor was infectious.
"No, no, no," she laughed, shaking her head. "You need to find another girl for that duty. Donít get me wrong, Captain Crane and I get along just fine, but I donít think that weíre compatible for that sort of relationship. Even if either of us were interested, Iím afraid Iím not compelling enough to woo the good Captain away from his first love. Maybe thatís your problem. Heís so infatuated by the Seaview that he has no time for mere personal concerns like food, sleep, and adequate medical care."
The Doctor laughed again, shaking his head. "If the Seaview were a woman, you might have something there."
Doctor Babin gave him another smile. "Isnít she, maybe not a woman, but at least a feminine entity? Iíve heard the Admiral call her Ďhis girl,í and a lot of the crew refer to her as a Ďshe.í Iíve seen guys get all wrapped up with cars and, letís face it, the Seaview is a lot more dynamic than any automobile. Too bad sheís not sentient. Then you could have her tell Lee to go to his physicals and take better care of himself when heís hurt or sick. Heíd most likely listen to her."
"If only that were an option. If only," Doc agreed with a nod and a pat on Doctor Babinís arm. "Well, Iíd better get back to Sickbay on the off chance that the Captain does go there after heís done speaking to the Admiral."
"Good luck," Doctor Babin wished him sincerely as he released her arm and she started back toward the Missile Room. The Doctor, in turn, began to walk toward Sickbay, but he was thinking about the last part of their conversation as he did. He made a slight detour on his path and went into Engineering, finding Lieutenant Commander Simmons, the head Engineer, there, as he had hoped he would. "Miss Simmons, I wonder if I might have a word?" he asked as he approached her.
* * *
When Lee entered Sickbay about an hour later, the Doctor was slightly surprised. He was happy enough not to have to chase the Captain through the boat again and this time he was actually ready. "Letís make this fast, Doc. I have a hundred things to do," Lee said, starting to unbutton the cuffs on his shirt. "Just a blood pressure, pulse, and respiration check, maybe a blood sample, okay?"
"Captain, do you know what these are?" the Doctor asked, handing him the file that heíd gotten from Lieutenant Commander Simmons a little earlier.
Lee gave him a suspicious look, then opened the file and scanned some of the information there. "Itís a routine systems check," he said, handing the file back to the Doctor.
"Yes. Something I understand that we do these not only before every mission even if there are no indications of problems, but also at regular intervals when the Seaview is on missions. The Engineering department checks all systems, major and minor. Of course, if anything is found, repairs are done immediately and weíve been delayed in leaving port on several occasions because things werenít exactly perfect," the Doctor said as he took the file and then turned to set it on the counter behind him.
"That is standard operating procedure, yes," the Captain agreed, but he was starting to sound annoyed. The Doctor knew Lee had no idea what he was getting at.
"And you are no less important to the Seaview than any of these systems, major or minor, are you? If you have a Ďsystems malfunctioní because I donít get to do my job, you put the Seaview and her entire crew at risk. There is no life threatening emergency dogging our steps at the moment, Captain, so I know that you will indulge me while I give you your required Ďsystems check.í After all, we wouldnít want some minor system malfunction that we could easily repair causing major problems later, would we? Now, get undressed and hop up on the table here," the Doctor said, indicating one of the examination tables.
Lee looked like he was about to argue, but he shrugged and pulled off his tie, then began to unbutton his shirt. "All right, Doc, all right," he muttered under his breath. The Doctor smiled. The Seaview had helped the Captain see reason after all, without having to say a word.