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Aberrant: 2011 - Missing Something besides an Arm

Robert J. Lambert

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November 12th, 2007

Robert laid back on his bed, the bandages over his chest and covering his arm were tight, and itchy. The cast on his leg and the bandages around his head were bothersome, but the constantly dripping neuro-dampener, a very haugthy name for anesthesia Robert figured, kept them all feeling like a very far away thing.

Thankfully, the TV had Cable, not that Robert had not picked some Español on his month in Spain, it was an easy lenguage if you didn't mess with the conjugation, which Robert never did. His food was bland, the TV boring, and the newspaper in spanish.

Thinking back on his decision about staying away from home, it might not have been the best decision ever, but he didn't want Britt to see him like this, it was hard enough for Daniel to see him like this.

Robert closed his eyes, lately he had been sleeping for hours on end, he always felt tired it was probably the 'Neuro-Dampener', he laid back as comfortably as possible with a needed on his spine, and slowly fell into unconciousness.

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It had been a series of long, difficult weeks, and Brittany had come alternatively to valleys and peaks of misery and mitigated joy. She was lonely, and she worried constantly for Robert's health. She had done her best to busy herself at home, but it didn't help much. Being at home reminded her of Robbie, no matter how she tried to keep her mind quiet. It was hard not to be reminded, living in the home they made together. She awoke each day in the bed they slept in together, or sometimes on the couch they fell asleep on. She fed and played with their pet, washed their dishes, dusted their furniture. The fleeting distractions that took her away from home - her date with Kara, the relief benefit concert - were good while they lasted, but always, her travels brought her back to their quaint little cabin, and the empty space where Robert should have been.

She though often of their last conversation, turning it over and over again in her mind. She still remembered it almost perfectly: she'd been worried, worried for days. He'd been gone to Africa nearly a week longer than he said, and she'd not heard from him at all. That wasn't so unusual, but her attempts to get ahold of Daniel were likewise unsuccessful, and that spoke volumes about the state of the situation. So when the phone finally rang from a Spanish hospital, and heard Robbie's voice on the other end, she was so shocked she very nearly cried. "Robbie!?", she yelped, stunned. "Where are you!? What's going on!?"

"I'm in the hospital, Britt, I--"

"The hospital!? Where!? What happened?! Are you alright!?"

Robert sounded weary on the other end, possibly even drugged. It was a tone and tempo she knew well; she'd heard it from herself in the hospital, after her mortal fight with Cyn. The quiet desperation, the submission to the horror of the situation. He let out a long sigh before answering. "I'm in Spain. Things...things went bad, in Africa."

"Are you alright!?", she frantically repeated the question.

"I'm... I'll live", he replied, a hint of bitterness in his voice. He could hear her starting to cry, back in New York, and it sunk a pit into his gut. He didn't want to stop talking, but he knew he couldn't stand to much longer.

"A-are you in one piece?", she sobbed desperately.

Robert almost laughed acidly at the question. Such a cutting turn of phrase. He knew he couldn't answer it. "Look, Britt... The doctors say that I need some time alone to recover. I've still got a lot of surgeries ahead of me, and it won't be good for my recovery to have visitors. But I'm going to be out of here soon, okay? And when I am, I promise, you can come and get me. Just...don't worry. I'm going to pull through. I promise, I'm not going anywhere."

Brittany swallowed her tears on the other end of the line. She wanted to tell him to go to hell, that she'd be there as fast as the fastest plane could take her, damn the doctors and damn their orders. But she didn't. Robbie was wrestling with something big, and if he wanted or needed to be alone, she knew she had to respect it. But she didn't have to like it.

That had been what felt like forever ago. Calling the hospital to try and get status updates had proved fruitless; it wasn't that she didn't know enough Spanish to get by, they simply deflected her every attempt. Every call was met with the stark insistance that Mr. Lambert could only take calls from direct family, and only during certain hours, and this and that. Even her attempts at subterfuge to disguise herself as a sister or cousin proved impossible. At last, she'd managed to contact Daniel, who'd told her that he was due out in just under two weeks.

She missed Robert too much to wait that long, and she was sick to death of waiting. It had been months now, months, and her little home felt so empty. Almost like instinct (very probably exactly like instinct), she thought almost immediately "I haven't been screwed by a nice, live, human dick in far too long", but she almost felt ashamed of the thought as soon as it crossed her mind. It wasn't the only reason she missed Robbie, or even the foremost. In fact, she realized as the creeping tendrils of the idea slowly took purchase on her senses, moving slowly from the purely emotional to the shared realm of the logical, that maybe what she was feeling was something a lot like...well, love.

She had waited long enough, she decided. With her uniform on, goggles fastened up, and a small bag packed, she took off for Madrid, and this time, she would not be denied.

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Robert woke up groggily, the mid-evening sun hitting him in the face disturbed his sleep, he could feel the doctor opening the door. "Sr.Lmabert? I'm Dr. Miranda one the surgeons that works on you, I'm here to remove the neuro-dampener, your body should be able to tolerate the pain now, but if it is too strong tell me and I will allow for it to be put back in."

Robert nodded through a haze, he was in a point between sleeping and being awake as he sat up for the doctor to work on his back, the 2 inch needle was removed from his spine with very little work. "It will take about an hour or two for you to get the full feeling back, don't worry. With nothing else the matter I will take my leave, the nurses are waiting for you if you need anything, don't be shy with them." Dr. Miranda pats him on the back before leaving, Robert is left alone in his haze.


The World had been a strage place this morning, leaving half his conciousness sleeping while the other half was awake does that to you. Robert looked at everything with amazement, somehow his half dazed state seemed to cheer him up, one of the Nurses opened the door and asked him. "Mr.Lambert, you have a visitor. Should I let her in?"

Robert nodded, as he laid back on the bed. "Visitors are always good, right?"

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She looked twice, just to be sure. And then a third time. There was no mistaking it; where once there was an arm, now there was only a mess of gauze and bandages, with what looked like a tube hooked up to an IV emerging from within the mess.

When she came to Madrid, after so long, and the way he'd taken to responding to her, and the way he'd avoided seeing her, she expected...something... Something bad. But not this.

Her first impulse was to just cry. She wanted to sob and leave and come back later and find him magically restored, whole again. But she could see, plainly, that wouldn't be happening. He'd been here for over a month; if there was anything they could do for him, they would have done it already. So there was nothing to do. He was like this, possibly for good. She wanted to cry. But she didn't. The instant that the tears hit her eyes, like the first heavy drops of rain before a thunderstorm, instead she stopped, breathed deeply, and walked up to the bed calmly, even as he stared back at her in silent horror at being found out, motionless, terrified of her reaction.

Approaching the edge of the bed, she cupped his lantern jaw in the palm of her bare hand and gently stroked his face up and down his cheek, looking at him tenderly. "It's gonna be okay", she smiled sadly down at him, leaned in, and gave him a gentle kiss. "I'm stickin' with you, Robby. I'm here for you." Her smile got a little brighter and a little sadder, and a tear rolled down her cheek.

She turned her head towards the attending nurse, who stood at the door, both rapt by the display of human emotion and - as her job dictated - waiting for the young woman to finish her visit so that she could be escorted out. "Could we be alone?", she asked the nurse. And the nurse, who by all rights should have refused, saw the girl standing a the side of the bed in her grief, and decided, instead, that the last thing in the world she could do right now was cause her even an ounce more. Without a word or gesture, she backed out the door and shut it behind her.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Robert used his good arm, puttig his hand over hers. "It's....not that bad. I'm getting used to this, and Daniel says he can hook me up with a protesis that works like a wonder." Robert smiled at her, tears welling up on his eyes.

"I know how it looks, and I realize that some things will have to change but...it's not the end of the world Britt." Robert brought the girl close to him, kissing her forehead.

"I'm still the same Robert I was, right?" a single tear rolled down his cheek, removing it with his hand, he then started removing hers. "Don't cry....please."

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