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Chapter 7 - Can’t Trace Time by A.J. Hall

“The fuck!”

Belatedly, Owen realised that his exclamation hardly constituted best clinical practice. Nevertheless, on the other hand, if you’d just realised exactly how the bloke in The Crying Game must have felt -

Petrova Comienski turned her head from the - to be fair - extremely competent examination she was making of their patient. Competent, and, more to the point, thorough. Which was why the patient was now wearing just the top half of the track suit Petrova had dug out from somewhere. Which was also why it had just become apparent that the patient didn’t just possess a complete meat-and-two-veg, but was by any reasonable standards quite impressively endowed.

Not that Owen was proposing to enter into any sort of comparison, obviously.

Do not attack an enemy that has the high ground.

“Sir?” Dr Comienski enquired, with a trace of delicate malice. Belatedly it occurred to Owen that she, of course, had been dealing with their patient for several days. And she had still left him to leap athletically to conclusions while waiting for him to fall flat on his backside.

For the love of God! How many millennia had it been since his own era? Surely, in all that time, junior doctors could have come up with something more sophisticated than springing a pre-op transsexual on their superiors without warning. Good grief, did that mean they still did the one with the glass eye, too?

Owen retreated behind the comconsole and tapped in a code. “Dr Comienski,” he jerked out through gritted teeth, “don’t take this the wrong way. I know it’s difficult for you being the only woman doctor on the staff. But does it ever occur to you that sometimes - just sometimes - your colleagues might hate you for being a smartarse, rather than just because you’re a bird?”

The patient snorted with appreciative interest. Comienski looked coldly furious, declined to comment and turned once again to the job of attending to the patient’s truly nasty collection of abrasions and contusions. Owen called up the patient’s complete clinical record, determined that he wasn’t going to be taken by surprise again if there was anything else Dr Comienski hadn’t been entirely frank about.

The record unscrolled above the vid-plate in ghostly 3-D. He contemplated it for quite two minutes in complete silence. And then coughed, pointedly.

“Dr Comienski. I need a word with you once you’ve finished dressing those injuries. In my office. Start the system running a full analysis of those blood samples, and -“

A thought suddenly occurred to him.

“I don’t suppose there’s any chance of a cup of tea round here, is there?”

Comienski digested the apparent non sequitur for a second. Then shrugged.

“Why wouldn’t there be? Actually I usually - that is, I believe the security team tend to have a brew on the go about now. I could always call on the com-link -“

“Tea.” The patient sighed beatifically. “I was beginning to think no-one was planning to offer.”