Huddled Masses

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
- Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus

Spoiler: Cargo Bay 4, Deep Space NineShow
The large, open space, normally dedicated to spare cargo, was instead a hive of a quiet, intense sort of chaos. The flash of a Starfleet uniform could sometimes be seen drifting between the otherwise greyscale variety of attire. The crowd marked the arrival of another freighter; carrying mostly refugees and whatever goods they could grab.

“Hold still for me please, the device needs time to scan.” The voice of Lieutenant Junior Grade Costas Delphiki had reached a monotone level of exhaustion. Everyone was pushing themselves a bit past their limits. Fighting through the fatigue, alert eyes scanned the readout on the medical tricorder. He didn’t recognize the species he was currently scanning. Putting too much trust in the device was something his professors had warned him against. No professors in sight now, though.

The unfamiliar language hit his ears a fraction of a second before the universal translator in his badge did its job. The Lieutenant shook his head. “No, you’re completely healthy. Nothing abnormal on the scans.” More translation. “I’m not sure, there is a database with names of people who’ve passed through the station. You can look there.” The alien moved off quickly with what Costas assumed was a nod of thanks. Another new arrival instantly replaced the one who had just departed.

Costas didn’t need a medical tricorder to triage this individual, but he scanned the young women regardless. Fatigue clouded judgement and he didn’t have time to make a mistake. The patient, which she had just now become, had a broken clavicle and several deep lacerations. The injuries had seen some makeshift first aid. It wasn’t bad work, but the risk of infection in an environment like this was high. He affixed a yellow adhesive strip to the woman’s upper arm and pointed towards a makeshift medical station near the back of the bay. “They’ll get you taken care of right over there, it’ll be a quick fix.”

The women headed off to the intermediate triage station. The team of doctors on duty there were equipped to handle minor to moderate medical ailments. A large line of people awaiting treatment for fractures, burns, and other injuries marked just how many people were coming through the bay. Anything more serious required transport to one of Deep Space Nine’s sickbay facilities. Most of the medical work was being done at the various points of entry, though. So much so that most sick-bays were operating on skeleton shifts.

The third individual in as many minutes was a middle aged Karemman. A quick visual scan didn’t indicate any blatant injuries. The tricorder revealed a more serious matter, an alert blinking to life on the screen. Costas bit his lower lip as he read the diagnosis. The Karemman’s internals were reading abnormal. Matter particulates in the lungs and moderate respiratory scarring. Serious enough to warrant immediate transfer to sickbay, according to the triage program on the tricorder. Costas wasn’t well versed in Karemman anatomy.

The Lieutenant affixed a red strip of adhesive and walked the man over to the station himself to ensure immediate treatment. Another doctor escorted the man out of the cargo bay in the direction of the nearest sickbay. Free from the seemingly endless procession of new arrivals Costas took a moment to scan the milling crowd. Conversation was low, but plentiful. People were mostly clumped up among the same groups they arrived with. The largest concentration was near the terminals displaying those known to be on the station or in temporary quarters on Bajor. The list was growing faster than people were able to reunite.

Among the shuffling of people, the doctor was able to spot a child lurking somewhat in the back and holding his arm close to his chest. He started off across the bay, checking for anyone accompanying the youngster. The boy appeared to be alone. Costas approached with a friendly greeting, deciding a simple dislocation was at fault. A quick tricorder scan confirmed his assessment and indicated an otherwise healthy patient.

The lieutenant kept his tone light and stress free as he gently felt around the dislocation, planning out the movement of the relocation process. Remembering a tip from an instructor, he popped the joint back into place midsentence, without any warning at all. A brief flash of pain crossed the boy’s face, but with the joint back in place the source of the discomfort was removed. A few minutes later Costas discovered the boy was traveling alone. He wasn’t sure what the procedure for that was, but luckily a Starfleet counselor happened to be passing by. After transferring the boy to her care Costas looked over the bay again, pushing away the grief that hit quite suddenly.

A new freighter was just arriving, the newly minted refugees unloading. Some paused right after exiting the docking collar, others moved to the displays, seemingly on a mission. The sheer number of arrivals across Deep Space Nine was taxing even the second wave of Starfleet personnel. That was something Costas had to trust command to take care of, all he could do for the moment was keep going. He shook his head as if to clear his mind, and moved to greet the newest residents.