Friday, July 11, 2014

"Hurricane Zuna"

By Kahless of Vulcan
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In the year that he had known her, Sukhet had seen many sides of his immediate superior, Doctor Zuna Sarrana. Sukhet had been a part of the Wolfsong crew from the beginning, while Zuna had only come aboard after the previous CMO resigned from Starfleet for personal reasons. However, Zuna had quickly made an impression on Sukhet - although initially, that impression was less than positive.

Sukhet had developed a comfortable working rapport with Doctor Kiev in the four years they spent together, and he had naturally felt a reasonable degree of concern when he learned she was being replaced. Some individuals in his position would have been jealous, feeling that they should have been promoted to fill the position, but Sukhet felt nothing of the kind. His only concern was that his new superior would be capable of caring for the needs of the crew as well as Doctor Kiev had.

At first, Sukhet was shocked and dismayed by Zuna's headstrong and argumentative attitude, her habit of showing flagrant disregard for Starfleet protocol, and her sarcastic bedside manner - not to mention her propensity towards violence. It seemed impossible that someone so chaotic and undisciplined could possibly be a capable doctor at all, let alone fill the role of Chief Medical Officer on a Federation starship.

Sukhet soon realized that while Zuna was often harsh and acerbic, beneath all the anger and chaos she was a person of quality. He saw firsthand how dedicated she was to her patients and how determined she was to heal and protect everyone around her. She may not have been the most gentle of healers, but woe betide anyone who threatened harm to someone under her care.

On one occasion, a Klingon warrior swore he would kill Zuna's patient, a young Bajoran resistance fighter he had a disagreement with. The Klingon went so far as to draw his knife in sickbay, and as he advanced on his target Zuna took immediate steps to protect her patient - starting with a savage kick to the Klingon's groin. She followed that up with a solid haymaker punch that knocked the Klingon flat on his back before he even realized what had happened. As he sat up and wondered how such a small woman had beaten him so soundly and so quickly, Zuna calmly turned her back on him and resumed caring for the young Bajoran. It was a calculated insult, and the Klingon reacted with explosive rage. Sukhet intervened before the Klingon had time to renew his attack, but even if he hadn't done so, Sukhet was confident Zuna could have taken the Klingon down without a problem. In fact, when Zuna thanked Sukhet for protecting her, he honestly replied that he had been protecting the Klingon from her, and not the other way around.

Another time, Zuna stared down an overprotective Gorn mother who didn't want to entrust her children's care to Starfleet officers. Zuna's fearlessness won her the Gorn's respect to the point where she was allowed to attend to the sick younglings, while the mother warned that any other Starfleet doctor who dared touch her children would become their next meal. Without hesitation, Zuna braved the razor sharp teeth and claws of the young reptiles to inoculate them against mutagenic fever. If Sukhet had doubted that Zuna was a force to be reckoned with, her treatment of those Gorn infants would have shattered that doubt.

On other occasions which Sukhet had not personally witnessed, Zuna had reportedly slapped an influential Betazoid diplomat in public, broken a Nausicaan's clavicle in a barfight, and called a Romulan admiral a "raving idiot" and a "pointy-eared hobgoblin" to his face. It didn't matter who you were or what you could potentially do to her - if Zuna Sarrana thought you were wrong or out of line or just plain stupid, she would tell you. She had definitely earned her nickname of "Hurricane Zuna." Sukhet did not approve of all her actions - and he certainly wished she controlled her emotions to a greater extent - but he couldn't help but admire her spirit.

Sukhet had seen plentiful evidence of Zuna's strength and tenacity. He had seen her take on everyone from Klingon warriors to Gorn mothers to Hirogen hunters, all without so much as flinching. The more he saw, the more he realized that Zuna was consumed - not with anger and violence - but with passion and determination.

There was another side to Zuna, one Sukhet saw for the first time when she cradled a sick Cardassian orphan in her arms and slowly rocked him to sleep while singing a lullaby in a calm, soothing voice. He saw it in the way she comforted grieving parents and frightened children, the way she didn't hesitate to put herself in harm's way to ensure her patients had the strongest possible chance of survival. Zuna's patients may have found her intimidating and even insulting, but they could never doubt that she had their best interests at heart.

Zuna's relationship with the majority of Wolfsong's crew intrigued Sukhet. Not everyone on board liked Zuna, and many of them even found her intensity frightening to a certain degree. This was understandable, especially if the crewmembers in question had ever been subject to the full force of her ire. Failing to arrive for a scheduled checkup or physical was sure to result in a stern lecture, while injuring oneself as a result of negligence earned a worse reprimand, and injuring another crewmember through negligence was about the worst sin one could commit on Zuna's watch. Even when such things were not involved, her bedside manner could often be described as "prickly" or even "caustic."

Sukhet had been told on more than one occasion that his calm and logical bedside manner was far easier to deal with than Zuna's harshness. But Sukhet had observed over time that, when given a choice, the majority of the crew would often choose to be treated by Zuna rather than Sukhet. While he wasn't at all offended - as long as the patient received the proper care, he was satisfied - Sukhet was perplexed at first by the seeming paradox. It later became apparent that the same angry, emotional outbursts that made Zuna so intimidating to the crew also provided irrefutable evidence of her care and concern for them.

It was true that Zuna could be difficult to work with. She could be blunt, sarcastic, and insulting. She was also impatient, argumentative, and demanding. But Sukhet knew beyond a doubt that anyone who was sick or injured would find no greater advocate and no more determined protector than Doctor Zuna Sarrana.


END

2 comments:

  1. I love it! I love how well-developed this character is. I love how well this atmosphere was generated. I'm reminded a little of the Dirty Dozen sometimes. They may be a little bit of a misfit crew but I would put them against the best and brightest, and still see them win!

    Great story, Kahless. I love the development of Zuna. She's one of my favorite characters.

    - Captain Universe

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks a lot, Cap. She's one of my favorite characters to write.

    ReplyDelete