The medical bay was an exercise in ugly. Stainless steel and molded hydrocarbon held sway, but the usual doctor's office white had been replaced with standard-issue beige. An antiseptic perfume filled the air, but it didn't hide the old smells of fear, sweat, and the anticipation of pain. Everything was rounded off and filed down, all the syringes and sharps tucked out of sight, but it was what it was. Might as well put flowers in a gun barrel.
"You know the drill Mercy: strip," Cross said.
"Not even going to buy me dinner first?" The machine gunner smirked, kicked off her boots, and shucked her fatigues. Cross half-smiled, but the light-skinned Latin woman's characteristic blush was nowhere to be seen. She was in nurse mode, and almost nothing shook her when she had her focus.
"Let's see what the scales have to say first, shall we?" Cross pulled a concealed lever, and a weight pad slid out of the wall, a display flickering at normal eye level. When Mercy stepped up, the screen pressed uncomfortably against her breasts.
"Are you sure this thing doesn't extend any farther?" she asked.
The nurse shook her head, and her short, neat bangs swayed. "Just hold your breath and wait for the beep, Mercy," Cross told her. "It will all be over in a moment."
"I've heard that one before." Mercy sighed, squared her shoulders, and did as she was told. Just as her left thigh began to tremble, the red light switched off, and the scale beeped. Mercy got down, displaying significantly less grace than she'd gotten up with, and sat down hard on the examination chair.
Cross tapped a few keys and plugged her hand screen into the mechanism. In a moment, the tablet held Mercy's vitals. Judging from Cross's frown, they weren't good. "You've put on six more pounds since your last examination." Cross kept her voice neutral and flicked her finger over the screen. "Core percentage has increased by two percent. Mercy, we talked about this."
"I listened." Mercy dug her thumb into the lightning-strike scar that ran up her left thigh and terminated at her hip. It hurt, and it was an ugly, snarling strip of skin that looked like teeth trying to hold her flesh together from the inside. "I'm following the workout regimen you gave me. I cut my off-duty drinking. What more do you want from me?"
"I want you back in fighting condition, Mercy," Cross said.
"I am in fighting condition," Mercy growled. "If you need convincing, I can do that."
-- from "Terror on Saturn VI" by Neil Litherland