Arabelle greeted Lady Miranda only to be told that, in the hospital, she was Dr. Waldemar not Lady Miranda.
Dr. Waldemar looked at Arabelle's load and sniffed. "You said you had a large number of toys to donate. I hardly call two bags a large number."
"I'm not an elephant," Arabelle pointed out, tartly. "The rest is out in my car."
"Be very clear on this. Your project could make life easier for our patients or to overburden our staff unbearbly. It's up to you to make it work!"
Arabelle settled into work. These toys were going to make hospital life more bearable for a lot of people. Volunteering was the lifeblood of the entire system and the duty of all citizens. Without people like her stepping in to make life better, their civilization would have collapsed decades ago. Arabelle wasn't an outgoing charmer able to canvas money for good causes or run charitiable programs. This behind the scenes task suited her much better. She could make a real difference here, She still hadn't managed to access the portal's main computer/lab room. If she couldn't, she would have to try to sell her land and move. She intended to get the toy department running smoothly enough that, if she had to leave, someone else could take over and succeed.
"Your appearance, Dame Arabelle," Dr. Waldemar stated, "is not acceptable! Hair must be pulled back from the face and confined if it is shoulder length or longer. Your dress is too fancy, too obtrusive. Simple, functional clothing is mandatory. Look at your shoes! What were you thinking? Those heels will kill you, standing on your feet for hours at a time! You should know that high heels throw your spine out of alignment, creating serious problems in time. Bare feet are not permitted either. You're only setting up today but tomorrow you must be dressed sensibly! Remember that you are here to work, not to flirt with the doctors."
"I'll try not to flirt with you, Doctor," Arabelle said snidely. "Even though the scent of your disinfectant is driving me wild with desire."
"Very funny," Dr. Waldemar stated flatly. "Save the comedy for after hours. This is an important responsibility and I expect you to treat it as such."
Arabelle sighed. "Dr. Waldemar, you are the only doctor I'll have any contact with and I don't imagine I will see you very often. My job is simply to maintain the toys, to sanitize them, repairing and replacing as needed. A half-bright 12 year old could do that. Oh, I imagine there will be a few conflicts but it's as simple as sneezing."
"Here is your sanitation station," Dr. Waldemar said. "It is very utilitarian, deliberately so, to maintain the very strictest hygene. I needn't point out to you how important good hygene is. First you will sanitize your hands, then the shelves. Then you will microchip each toy, log it into the system, sanitize it and place it on the shelf. Once all the toys have been processed, staff members will take them to where they are needed. They will return them to this bin. You will take the toys out of the bin and sanitize them. Shelves must be sanitized before the toys can be placed on them."
"This is your locker. You may place your purse, outer wear etc. in here. I needn't tell you, Dame Arabelle, how important this position is. These toys are meant to bring comfort and reduce stress for some of our most vunerable patients. They are not supposed to make matters worse by transmitting infections due to an unsanitized toy."
"The hand sanitizer doesn't work," Arabelle commented. "Relax! I'm sure I can get it running again. I presume that's why Sanitizing Sally is still here instead of being in the lobby."
"No, that stays here to remind our volunteers to sanitize their hands before touching the toys. It doesn't seem to be running so that's another thing you will have to fix, if you can."
Dr. Waldemar continued her lecture. "Your hours are from 8 am to 2pm every day, including weekends. Until we can find another volunteer to share the work, of course. Try to be early. Toys are not distributed until after the patients have had their breakfasts. You will need to have all the toys sanitized and ready to go by nine at the very latest. There's a second distribution after lunch, about 1 o'clock. You'll need to make sure all the returned toys are sanitized and ready to go after the evening meal. I trust that is clear."
"There's only one thing I don't understand," Arabelle said. "Who lobotomised you while I was away? You sound like a half-witted drill sergeant. Yes, I'm not dressed to work but I chose to be on time instead of wasting your valuable time. I understood that you were in favour of my idea, not that you were being forced into it. If you think it's going to add to your workload, or ruin your day, say so. I can back out."
Dr. Waldemar sighed. "It's not you and I am in favour of this project. It's just....you have no idea how busy we've been since Thorvald's Cure was discovered. Treating a patient who can shock one senseless isn't easy. There are psychological complications as well as physical ones. You wouldn't understand."
"Probably not," Arabelle conceeded, "Since I happen to be an Aesir and haven't had any physical or psychological complications. Well, except that my hair is blonde instead of red but I don't complain about that more than once a day."
Dr. Waldemar shook her head. "Consider your quota filled! Look, just do what you can. I'll be back later to see how you're doing."
Lady Miranda's (correction Dr. Waldemar's) attitude was upsetting. While Arabelle had never been close to Dr. Waldemar (who was six years older), the king's granddaughter had always been cordial. Perhaps it was simply the responsibilities she now carried. Although, Arabelle couldn't see why curing people of Thorvald's Syndrome would overburden the hospital. People walked in sick, were treated and walked out sound the very same day. In and cured, a medical miracle, instead of endless and futile treatments with long hospital stays. The treatment felt wonderful, as she knew from firsthand experience. Producing electricity wasn't traumatic and shocking someone was no more accidental than punching.
There had to be something else bothering Dr. Waldemar but it was really none of Arabelle's business. Dr. Waldemar had made that plain and Arabelle didn't really want to get involved in some personal crisis. If ultra-competent Lady Miranda couldn't handle it, there was no way socially inept Arabelle Viksne could fix it.
Best to concentrate on the job at hand. When this worked out, Lady Miranda should relax. If not, Arabelle would find a replacement for one of them, someone more congenial. She'd deal either way. Getting the job done had always been her forte, not charm.