"Some abnormalities in the yellow cell count, but nothing-" Franklin was interrupted in mid-thought by the sound of someone knocking on the window of the isolab. He reluctantly looked up from the corpse he was examining to find Ivanova standing on the other side of the glass.
Franklin nodded to his assistant to continue prepping the body and walked to the comm system by the window. "What brings you over, Lieutenant-Commander?"
"Just thought I'd drop by to see how you're settling in. I hope I didn't interrupt anything."
Franklin shook his head. "No, no. I could use the break." He removed his surgical mask and gloves and tossed them into the hazmat container. "I've been on call for almost twenty hours today. Seems like every time I try to leave something new happens."
"Tell me about it. So you've been keeping busy then?"
"I've been here for less than a week and I've already had the chance to examine two alien species that I'd never even met before. And that's not even counting the regular patients." He nodded towards the body on the examination table. "Right now I'm doing an autopsy on a pak'ma'ra at Mr. Garibaldi's behest.
"The missing lurkers?"
"Uh huh. It's a myth, though, that decomposing human flesh is a pak'ma'ra delicacy. They are carrion eaters, yes, but there has never been any evidence of them actually using humans as food beyond few isolated incidents. In fact, some studies suggest that despite their claim that they can eat anything, most pak'ma'ra cannot actually metabolize proteins found in Earth mammals due to a condition similar to lactose intolerance in humans. When-"
Ivanova scrunched up her face. "Please, Doctor, spare me the details. I just had lunch."
Franklin laughed. "I'm sorry. It's just that being stationed here is a xenobiologist's dream. The possibilities for research are simply astonishing." He glanced at the pak'ma'ra's body, still being prepped by his assistant. "It's a very interesting place you have here."
"Don't I know." She returned his smile. "I think I'll let you get back to your work. If you have any questions... "
"Actually, I do have one request. Since I don't know anyone on the station yet besides you and the Commander, I was wondering if you could brief me in on what's what on the station. Over dinner, perhaps?"
Ivanova's eyes narrowed. "Did you just ask me out, Doctor?"
Franklin raised his hands in a placating gesture and laughed. "Wouldn't dream of it, Lieutenant-Commander"