<FWG> <Patronus> Issue 1, Article 5: "The Cold Skin, The Sleeping Man"

  • From: Jason Ziredac <ziredac@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: fwgalaxy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2007 19:53:01 -0800 (PST)

  The Cold Skin, The Sleeping Man
  by Doctor Aylyn Cta
   
  
  ?Seal up that entry wound,? Aylyn called to one of her ER nurses, pulling out 
of her tray the epidermal/tissue rehabilitator to hand to the person on the 
other side of the table. They had Varia on his side, supported by properly 
designed cushions. His skin was pale, like his life force was already packed up 
and ready to leave his body from the exit wound. The rehabilitator was removed 
from her hand, and she went back to her attempts to stop the bleeding that was 
tainting Varia?s lower back. 
   
  ?We have three lacerations to his lower intestine,? said the nurse who took 
the rehabilitator. ?They look like they require intensive surgery.?
   
  ?Hypospray him again,? Aylyn ordered, watching the extra-strength anesthesia 
capsule pop into place on the spray. ?I don?t want him coming to.? For a 
moment, Aylyn let the sound escape her ears, the air evade her nose and mouth, 
and she looked upon Varia?s sleeping profile, the pain still carved into his 
features. Horrified and heartrendered, she punched out words like Morse Code in 
her mind, on repeat, like a beacon: you may never walk again.
  Life preservation was almost always a certainty in the well-kept lives of 
Starfleet officers, but spinal surgeons were not sanctioned to every ship in 
the sky; they would have to get him to a medical station, the nearest one being 
in Tradis, Starbase 104. They could get there in time if they left now; if left 
untouched in its current state, Varia?s spine would begin to heal brokenly, and 
thus would either never heal or would take hours of rigorous surgery by the 
best surgeons available. And if 104 was guaranteed to have those handy people 
on board, Aylyn had a third eye.
   
  ?His internal bleeding is getting worse, Doctor,? said Nurse Green. ?We can?t 
leave both wounds open; we have to seal one and work on the other if we?re 
going save him.?
   
  ?There?s nothing I can do for his spine,? she ruefully replied. ?It?s broken 
in two. I?ll patch this up and we?ll fix his intestines.? The rehabilitator was 
handed back to her, and she sealed his wound, leaving an uncomfortable 
misshapenness in his lower back. With the help of three other people, she 
gingerly turned him onto his back, going slow, going feverishly, wanting not to 
exacerbate the already irrevocable. 
   
  It took thirty sweating minutes, pulsating with cold questions and the 
clinking of steel and the marking of flesh. The work was like typing with cold 
fingers, unsure and wavering; the Coldstream hadn?t had a severe emergency 
surgery patient in its entire run. Machines only aided in the surety of 
success, and did the same for failure. After hundreds upon hundreds of years of 
medicinal sciences being devotedly improved, as Aylyn often marveled while in 
med-school, the life of an emergency patient still rested in the hands of the 
doctors themselves.
   
  And this scared her.
   
  Time heated her heels, even as the final patch was secure on Varia?s lower 
intestine. They sealed his frontal wound and ensured that the remaining tissue 
was intact, and then they turned him over so his ailed back could be 
unadulterated. Biting lips and still veins filled Sickbay as even their chief 
stood sadly above the operating table, looking down at the sundered spine, the 
cold skin, the sleeping man. 
   
  Muting the world, she looked upon his profile again, and wished to be his 
mother. Only his mother would have the permission to cry brokenheartedly with 
her sprawled body on his. When he awoke, what would he ask? When he awoke, who 
would he blame? With numbing fingers and tingling eyes, Aylyn couldn?t offer an 
answer. Not to herself, not to anyone who might have asked. 
   
  For now, their job was done and it was a place for someone to come in and 
take over. Someone with stable hands and a firm knowledge of the spine. How to 
put one back together. Nurses began to go about other work, and on the wall 
above the bed, lights blinked and steadily pulsated, each color and length 
describing another function of Varia?s body. Aylyn looked upon it like a map, 
watching for her next turn, and knowing she was lost. 
  She must have given off a vibe, because she had been left alone in the OR, 
and now that she knew it, she allowed her wobbling knees to bend, and her butt 
to reach the floor. What broke her posture was something that oughtn?t to have 
done so in any other situation, and she didn?t know why it hurt her. The 
air-conditioning came on, and a light cool breeze shifted the hair on Varia?s 
head. Already she could see the wind blowing in his hair as his chair hovered 
over the sidewalks of his hometown, the clouds and grayness of the windy day 
circulating his medical discharge, and she could see the sadness in his eyes. 
   
  ?He wanted to go,? she whispered, now gazing unfocused at the carpet under 
the operating table. ?He was going to leave the ship. Leave Starfleet, for what 
he believed. But he wanted to walk out, wanted to run out of the enrollment 
office, wanted to stand before the Admiralty to give his final fuck you to 
those arrogant bastards. I want to make sure he can have the right resignation.?
   
  Gathering the gumption to stand, Aylyn drew close the table and brushed a 
hand over Varia?s right shoulder. ?I?ll make you better, Varia. I promise. 
You?ll walk again, even if I have to push those back surgeons aside and do it 
myself. If they give up on you, I?ll be right there to die trying.?
   
  First thing: tell Hayes that it was imperative they leave for Starbase 104 
immediately.
  ?Cta to McQuarrie.?
   
  When Hayes?s voice came through, he sounded out of breath, shaky, a little 
frightened. ?What do you need, Aylyn?? Puzzling, erratic, unexplainable reply. 
He sniffed like his nose was (bleeding) running.
   
  ?Sir, it?s imperative that we leave for Starbase 104 immediately for medical 
assistance. Varia?s spine is broken in two and I don?t have the proficiency??
   
  ?We can?t, Aylyn.?
   
  A bowling ball grew in her gut like a drop of water grows on the underside of 
a faulty faucet. ?We can?t? Why not? Sir, Varia may never walk again.?
   
  ?We can?t because?they?we might not be able to dock.?
   
  ?Is this another one of the Admiral?s reasons, Hayes?? Aylyn shouted 
frantically. ?Are you bending over for Ramirez again? Look, tell him that Varia 
may not walk again if we don?t get moving. He?s a son of a bitch, but I don?t 
think he has a heart cold enough to leave a man he doesn?t like to be paralyzed 
from the waist down.?
   
  ?Aylyn??
   
  ?What? What, is he in the room? Good! Admiral, I swear, if you don?t let 
Hayes take this ship to Starbase 104 right now, then so help me, I?ll come up 
there myself and??
   
  ?Aylyn, stop! He?s?he?s here, but he can?t exactly hear you right now.?
   
  ?Hayes?Hayes, you?re beginning to freak me out, here. What?s going on??
   
  He was struggling with his breath, still, and trying to place momentous words 
in between each gasp. And those momentous words were found scrambled and 
questionable at first, but finally his stammering came to a startling 
conclusion: ?I?ve just?Aylyn, I?ve just beaten the hell out of the Admiral.?
   
  Well there?s your court-martial, Hayes, you stupid bastard. That is, if I 
heard you correctly. 
   
  ?What??
   
  ?You heard me.?
   
  And that bowling ball in her gut went down the gutter in the tenth frame. 
?You?ve got to be kidding me.?
   
  A finger-curling scream came from outside the ER, in sickbay, down the hall 
in one of the private biobed rooms. Aylyn turned, troubled instantly, the 
future no longer predictable on a ship where the captain had apparently beaten 
an admiral unconscious. Why? she wondered, but not for long. While her body 
began to move toward the scream, she heard Hayes on the other end of the 
channel crying, ?Jesus God, red alert! Red alert!?
   
  Red lights that had never been seen on the Coldstream were flashing all 
around from their emergency positions. Nurses were suddenly like zombies; they 
were stunned from seeing this odd flashing redness about them, and the gaping 
scream coming from a biobed room, and the announcements of terror on the 
intercom.
   
  Red alert, red alert, the planet has fired upon us, repeat, the planet has 
fired upon us. The Primo Morire has been destroyed?
   
  Aylyn felt like she was swimming instead of running through the sickbay hall 
down to the source of the scream. When she reached it, she found Chi, 
Lieutenant Commander Mungoti, upright in her biobed with a sheet draped over 
her quivering legs, and her lungs releasing a braying heard only in myths about 
banshees. Her eyes were wrought with blind terror, and every muscle in her body 
was flexed so tensely that it looked like her bones were trying to escape her 
skin.
   
  ?Chi!? Aylyn cried, rushing to her side. ?Chi! Calm down! What?s wrong? Chi! 
Stop screaming!? This was no mere panic; she was screaming before red alert was 
initiated.
  Chi burst into tears, her body shaking with each weeping motion, her breath 
limited to sharp gasps. A whine was leaking from her clenched teeth, and 
finally, after almost a minute, she recognized Aylyn?s presence, and grasped 
her severely. She pulled her close with such visceral strength and fear that 
Aylyn lost all bodily control and went limp, staring into Chi?s crazed eyes. 
   
  ?This is it,? she said. ?Oh my god, this is it, Aylyn, this is it. This is 
where it begins.?
   
  ?Where what begins?? 
   
  ?Daelratung.?
   
  ?What?s Daelratung??
   
  ?I wish I knew.? And then the ship bucked horribly, and every room was 
quaking and filling with the rumble of a direct hit. Something hard, something 
deadly, and something shield-designers had not anticipated. The knocking sent 
Chi and Aylyn flying off the biobed, and Chi?s head met with the corner of the 
end table, and Aylyn crashed on top of her. In the red light, Chi?s blood 
looked black as it ran from her hairline. Her doctor?s instincts kicked in and 
she grabbed a chunk of the white sheet and held it to her lieutenant 
commander?s skull, beginning to feel tears herself, and fearing the reason that 
the Coldstream was under serious attack.
   
  ==

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  • » <FWG> <Patronus> Issue 1, Article 5: "The Cold Skin, The Sleeping Man"