"I am not sick. I don't get sick," Shane Gooseman complained as he waited outside Medical for an available doctor. Niko, who was sitting beside him put a hand on his forehead.
"Goose, you have a fever, you're shaking for no reason, and your voice sounds horrible. You are sick."
"Supertroopers do not get sick." he insisted.
"Relax, Goose," said Doc as he read the posters on the wall. "It's probably just the flu. It's been going around lately."
"I've never caught the flu before. I'm supposed to be immune."
"I doubt you could be immune to every strain that comes along. It mutates too fast," Niko pointed out. "All this means is you'll have to get flu shots along with everyone else." Goose made a face at that, causing Doc to snicker.
"I've never seen anyone so stubborn," Niko continued. "You'd probably still be trying to adjust those coils in your interceptor with double vision if Doc and I hadn't made you come down here."
"I was doing fine," he insisted.
"You fell off. If you had been anyone else, it might have been serious," said Doc. "You're just lucky that your biodefenses are still working." Goose sulked. His biodefenses might be working, but they hadn't helped his flu symptoms at all.
"Ranger Gooseman?" A nurse walked over. "Doctor Picardo will see you now."
Goose glared one last time at his teamates, and stalked into the examination room.
* * * * *
"Well, your blood results confirm it. You definatly have the flu." Doctor Picardo sounded much too cheerful about it for Goose's temper.
"So why aren't my biodefenses working on it?"
"I have no idea. Maybe they don't recognize it as a threat."
"That doesn't make any sense."
"As I said, I don't really know why. We'll run more tests, of course, but your immune system seems to be on the job all by itself. I wouldn't worry too much about it."
"I still don't know how I managed to catch the flu."
"Oh, I imagine the same way everyone else catches it. You were exposed to someone who had it." Goose sulked some more. "Obviously, this is a rather nasty strain. It would almost have to be, to successfully infect a supertrooper."
"Does that mean I have to stay here?"
"I don't see any real reason to quarantine you. This strain is covered by the current immunizations, so it shouldn't be a contagion problem. We will monitor you, of course. In the meantime..." he handed Goose two bottles. "This is for the nausea and sore throat. You've been relieved of duty. Stay in bed, drink plenty of liquids, and call me immediatly if your fever rises above 104 degrees, or if you show any severe symptoms. Otherwise, I'll see you in a few days for a followup."
Goose nodded, and walked out.
* * * * *
"Look on the bright side, Goose," Doc said cheerfully. "Now you don't have to go to this month's department meeting." Goose groaned, and burrowed deeper under the covers. Doc had promised to 'take care of him', and had so far proved to be far more annoying than a sick person could take. He just couldn't seem to resist taking advantage of the situation, and had been teasing him about it at every opportunity.
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" he grumbled. And immediatly regretted it, as another wave of nausea washed over him.
"That's just the flu talking, Goose." Doc replied. "You want a pizza or anything?" Goose groaned again, and pulled the covers over his head.
Zach poked his head in the door. "How's our patient doing?"
"He's feeling worse. He finally learned firsthand what the phrase 'worshipping the porcelain god' really means..." Somehow, Goose found the strength to throw his pillow into Doc's face.
"A little testy today, are we my Gooseman?" Goose responded with a string of vile spacer insults.
Zach chuckled. "I see the flu hasn't changed his temper any." He set a sealed container down on the endtable next to a plethora of wadded tissues, empty sports drink bottles, and various medications. "Homemade chicken soup, courtesy of the kids. For whenever you can keep food down."
"Isn't that an old wives tale?" Doc asked.
Zach shrugged. "It always worked for us."
Goose pulled a pillow over his head and tried to block their voices out. It didn't work. Doc and Zach continued to exchange cold and flu home remedies in what sounded to his oversensitive ears as shouts. He seriously considered finding his gun and shooting them.
Someone tapped him on the shoulder. He curled up and ignored it. When he was tapped again, he mumbled "oo 'way".
Niko sighed, and tried again. "Goose, do you think you could keep your medication down now?"
Oh. The blankets rustled, and a hand blindly groped out. Niko handed him the pills and offered a glass of water. There was a mumble that sounded like "pank oo" in response.
"Do you want to try the soup now?" This recived a definatly negative response. Niko patted the covered lump of her teamate in sympathy. "Then I'll just leave it and the tea here. Try to get some sleep. I'll check in on you later."
Goose moaned in response. Niko sighed again, and herded the still jabbering Doc and Zach out, to Goose's everlasting gratitude.
* * * * *
"So, how are we doing today?" asked Doc as he walked in. Goose was sitting up in bed, surrounded by used tissues. He hacked in response.
"That bad. Jeez, this bug just doesn't want to quit. Makes me glad I had my shots. Anything you need today?" Goose tried to answer, but all he managed was an inarticulate croak.
"What was that? I didn't quite understand you there, Goose," Doc snickered. Goose glared at him, and tried again, with even less impressive results.
Doc's grin got even broader. "Maybe you should try sign language."
Goose took this suggestion, and gave Doc an old, time-honored hand gesture, the meaning of which was unmistakable. Doc's grin didn't falter for an instant.
"Really, Goose. Is that any way to talk to your flu angel?"
Goose snorted and repeated the gesture, this time with both hands for emphasis.
"Well, if that's really how you feel..." Doc turned to leave, and bumped into Niko as she came in. "I don't think he's in the mood for company today."
"I noticed. I just wanted to drop off this cough syrup," she replied.
Goose perked up, though he tried to not look too eager as he took the bottle from Niko. Tossing the little plastic cup aside, he took a hefty swig directly from the bottle, and flopped back down in bed.
"Goose, that's prescription strength...oh, never mind." She threw her hands up. "I give up. Just try not to overdose."
From flat on his back, Goose gave her a thumbs up sign, and took another swig.
* * * * *
Monday morning, Goose strode into the lounge. For the first time in almost a week, he felt great. His sinuses were clear, his voice was back to normal, and, best of all, he was hungry. Thank goodness it was over. He never wanted to go through that again.
Spotting Doc and Niko at a table, he decided he should thank them for putting up with his grouchy behavior last week. He took his mug from the dispenser, and walked over.
Doc glared up at him with bloodshot eyes. "You would be chipper today," he grumped.
"Doc, you look awful." So did Niko, who was hunched over her tea, staring at it with a glazed expression.
"Of course I look awful," Doc croaked. "I caught whatever the hell you had while taking care of you. So did everyone else who got near you." Niko moaned, and rested her head on her arms.
"What about the flu shots? I thought they covered this strain."
"They did, until it mutated in your damned system. Doctor Picardo is publishing a research paper on it. Meanwhile, we get to suffer."
Goose looked around the mostly empty lounge. "Where's Zach?"
"At home. His kids are loading him up on chicken soup and hot tea. As for me..." Doc blew his nose. "I'm going home, getting into bed, and spending the next week or so fanasizing about giving you your flu shots personally next year."
Niko painfully raised her head. "The next person to raise their voice gets this mug shoved up his nose," she whispered. Then she dropped her head back down with a thump.
"I guess I should get you two put to bed." Goose set his mug down, and picked an unresiting Niko up. "Should I come back for you, Doc?"
Doc fumbled with the cap on his prescription. "You're enjoying this, aren't you?" he grumped.
A wicked grin crossed Goose's face. "That's just the flu talking, Doc. But don't worry," the grin got wider. "I'll take care of you."
Doc moaned, and banged his head on the table.