The camera pans past a couple of crew members drinking coffee in the lounge and turns down the hall leading to the bridge and sickbay. It turns into the open sick bay door and catches Dr. Arden leaning over a number Petri dishes and Test tubes. The camera pans through the room to reveal the room bulging with medical supplies, computers jammed into place, and supplies tucked into every nook and cranny.
Interviewer: “Dr. Arden, is this a good time?”
Arden: "Good time for what?" He says, concentrating on the chemical reaction taking place in the sample. He looks up, and says "Uh, sure. No problem. Let me finish my observations and jot them down and I will be available."
The doctor finishes up the work, jots down a few notes, then washes his hands. He motions to a stool.
Arden: "Make yourself comfortable.”
He dries his hands and then turns to the camera.
Interviewer: "We are in the middle of a month long non-stop trip. I wonder what the ship's doctor has to do on such long stretches."
Arden: "not much," Arden says with a chuckle. "I was just musing on that myself. Oh I have busy work, but nothing that needs to be done. Right now, I'm helping Rick with some of his botany experiments since I am the only other science guy on board."
Interviewer: "So, in addition to hauling cargo across the ‘Verse, carrying the occasional passenger, and playing host to the companion in his trade, Summer's Gift also conducts scientific research?"
Arden: "I wouldn't call it research, but there is that possibility that it might help someone somewhere. After all, no research in worthless, even if it seems worthless."
Interviewer: "It seems strange that a small transport has both a Doctor and Scientist as crew. What sends a Core-trained doctor Out in the Black?"
Arden: "People out here need medical help just as much as people in the Core. Perhaps more since there are so few of us… medical personnel that is.
Arden: "As for what brought me out here," Arden says with a smile, "I've made no secret about what put me here. Someone either accidentally or deliberately tried to kill me. So I ran. Hopefully I've run far enough from Sophie that whoever it is won't have the opportunity to try again."
Interviewer: "I've heard it said that many people out in the black are on the run from something. In a ‘Verse with over a hundred planets and moons, there must be lots of places to hide. And I'm sure any community would welcome a competent doctor. Why a ship?"
Arden: "Originally I boarded The Make-Make… as it was known then… as a passenger. Then one thing led to another and then another and the people here have become my family. Which was something I have never experienced before. I like that feeling and stayed on because I enjoyed it and it made me feel wanted."
Interviewer: "Tell us about your upbringing. Most people don't know much about the Erehwon colony."
Arden: "I don't know much about it," Arden says with a grin. "But in a nutshell the founders of the colony had the idea that Sophie (where Erewhon is located) could be a paradise/utopia. They decided to try to build that utopia on cloning and the lack of familial environments. The theory is that if you're judgment is not clouded by emotional attachments then it would be more harmonious.
Interviewer: "So what made you leave… Before the bomb"
Arden: "I first left Erewhon to finish my medical training. There I developed a unique individualized way of looking at things while off-Sophie and when I returned, I just didn't fit in. Its hard to be like everyone else when you don't want to be like everyone else."
Interviewer: "You did your medical training on Osiris right? What was the most difficult thing to adapt to outside of you home?"
Arden: "Which home?" Arden asks. "If you mean Sophie, the most interesting thing is the self-expression that everyone does so much of. You may not realize it but everyone does the same things different ways.
Arden: "If you mean Osiris, the lack of that self-expression was jarring when i returned to Sophie."
Interviewer: "And where are you now, fully assimilated into popular verse culture, leaning back to your roots, or an alien in each?"
Arden: "Nothing wrong with being different," Arden says with a smile, "But since I started flying on the Gift, my understanding of culture has grown. I guess I am still an alien in both, though more of an alien on Sophie than Osiris."
Interviewer: "Would you say that you feel at home on the ship?"
Interviewer: "It is clear that you are a close knit crew, but do you have a special relationship with any one particular crewmember?"
Arden: "I have special relationships with all my crewmates, but you are referring to the time Nika and I spend together. We have a similar sense of humor and see the ‘Verse in the same way, surprisingly considering out backgrounds and how different they are. So yes, I guess Nika and I do have a different sort of relationship that I do with the others -- one that is very special to me.
Arden: "However, let me stress that all my crewmates are special to me," Arden says seriously. "And I would go to the wall for any of them if they needed me."
Interviewer: "This is a such a small ship, does having a romance with a crewmate create any problems, friction?"
Arden: "Hasn't yet and Nika and I want to keep it that way. I think the others know that and we are are different enough that i don;t think jealousy would come to the fore."
Arden: Arden smiles, "But if it did and our romance did cause problems, both Nika and I have agreed to end it there."
Interviewer: "And that wouldn't be a problem?"
Arden: Arden looks confused, "Not for me. Whay would it?"
Interviewer: "Some people find it difficult to work next to people they've broken up with. Especially if someone else was in the picture."
Arden: "oh," Arden says simply. "Relationships are ... odd for me. On Sophie we are raised not to form attachments. So for a romantic relationship to end doesn't end the relationship, it just changes it." Arden laughs, "of course, considering my *vast* experience" (and it obvious that he is poking fun at himself) “I don't know what would happen if Nika was to go off and return with another beau. I think I can deal with it, but we never know for sure until we actually have to deal with it.
Interviewer: "Returning to something you mentioned earlier, in the Core you can find around 1 hospital for every 100,000 people, in the Border less than one for a half a million, on the Rim less still. And the quality of care is dramatically lower. Why do think this is?"
Arden: "Money," Arden says. "Not enough money flows in an outward direction and too much flows inward."
Interviewer: "When the Alliance was Unified, it pledged to give equal access to health care to everyone in the Verse. But whereas I can walk into a hospital for a full body scan on Londinium for free, I'd be lucky to even seen a trained nurse on Deadwood, and that might cost me a weeks pay. How do you find yourself filling in that enormous gap?"
Arden: "I do what I can," Arden says with a shrug. "However I will say that certain unscrupulous people use that disparity for their own ends. For example, I attended a boy who had been poisoned. In the Core the cure was as simple as requesting the procedure on the chart at the head of the bed. On the Rim, where this happened, I had to beg, cajole, and offer to sell my internal organs for the treatment. And when I did finally find the person who was in charge he blackmailed me into putting myself in danger in order to get the treatment."
Arden: "Easy to get in the Core," Arden says, "hard on the Rim."
Interviewer: "The boy was lucky you were there to take those risks, few doctors venture outside the Core. And with Beaumonde housing the only full medical school on the Rim, it is unlikely we'll see many homegrown doctors. “
Interviewer: ”Focusing on your job here on the ship. What are the most common injuries or illnesses?"
Arden: "Burns and minor cuts," Arden says smiling, "Both usually suffered by Rina and Christian respectively. And the minor cold. Colds spread like wildfire in a closed environment like the ship."
Interview: And when the bullets fly?"
Arden look at him silently.
Interviewer: “Thank you.”