Jump to content

Changeling-Earth 2: Freehold Earth - Manifest's Rescue Zone: The Medbay

Dawn OOC

Recommended Posts

From the outside, the Medbay looks like a giant built a plastic wheel and then forgot the outer rim. Long, white wings extend from a central room, which is the operating theatre. Non-medical staff scurry to lengthen the wings as needed, snapping together the temporary housing with the reckless quickness of long practice. Inside, others assemble medical cots, sometimes while orderlies wait with a moaning patient.

One of these spokes is dedicated to triage, and a steady stream of patients are carried in and out. Those who need surgery immediately are held there for an open bed in surgery; the luckier ones are given painkillers and asked to wait. The truly unlucky are given pain meds and made as comfortable as possible.

Like a scene from an old war movie, the critical care wings resemble nothing more than an organized charnel house. Hurt people lie in cots or on tables, waiting for care; medical staff dash around, their eyes dull with exhaustion and grief. Their white jump suits are stained with all kinds of unimaginable fluids, all from bodies that were once hale and whole. There aren't enough blankets to go around yet, and the patients closest to the construction shiver on their beds. It isn't cold in here, at least; too many bodies fill the rooms that make up the medbay.

Family members come and go; all try to stay, but there isn't enough room, and they're cleared by staff, only to sneak back as soon as they can. Some corner doctors, nurses - anyone in medical white - and demand better care for their loved one, or more painkillers, or just another confirmation that their family member will heal. In the rooms, the soft moans and sobs are a constant undercurrent of terror.

Outside, a long line of people with minor injuries wait for first aid treatment, holding small cuts closed or limping. Someone found chairs and set them up for the worst injured, trying to make things better. Unlike inside the medbay, there appears to be adequate help; enough people know how to bandage a cut or apply anti-contusion medication that the line moves along with decent speed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

‘Allah let everything be okay. Let the storm pass over me and the damage be isolated. Allah let me have enough time for me to take a hit. I need it so bad.’

So Khalid thought as he made his way into the strange, new air. It felt heavy, unlike the sanitized and recycled air aboard the ship. It was moist and … well, dirty. The nose twitched and the eyes watered slightly. It made him reach for the mouth mask that wasn’t there.

The light was either coming into its own, or slowly fading. Khalid had no idea how hot or cold it could get, or how humid it would become. It was totally unsettling to step out of the failed comfort of the ship and into an unknown New World. He hesitated at the last step. It was as if he somehow holds back the march of his destiny by staying off the foreign soil. People were pushing past him in their panicked rush toward the illusion of safety and security. Everything felt like a lie and Khalid felt a sense of hopelessness then he took that step.

“Dr. Al-jamari, thank goodness!” someone in a Spacer Jumpsuit said. Khalid had another reason to hate his white jumpsuit and now his name tag.

“You are the first one out,” the man continued. “We need to set up a medbay. It’s going to be over there,” he gestured toward a rough looking field to his left. The man then took Khalid’s arm and let him in that direction.

‘Why me?’ Khalid wanted to scream and rant and weep. Give him a rock to hide behind so he could have some peace and quiet away from all these needy people.

“Sure thing,” he said with little enthusiasm.

“You are the first physician from the Manifest. Communications is all messed up.”

Khalid was left praying the man would just shut up.

Even as they approached, the hub in the wheel went up. Someone was finishing putting an operating table together and ever containers of medical supplies were being unpacked. As the man drug him forward into the central chamber, two other appeared with a badly burned and bloodied man with a Spacer’s suit on. The put him on the table and then all three were staring at Khalid. All Khalid wanted to do was shooting up and let his disaster pass him by in a peaceful haze. He would worry about the people dying when he crashed back down to earth … later.

“Okay,” his lips said unbidden. “Who has any medical experience?”

One of the two ‘orderlies’ had experience in the Ship’s Dispensary so Khalid selected her to be his assistant while he began his first surgery of the night. Compared to what he would face later in the night, burns this bad weren’t so bad; Fluids, NewSkin, broad spectrum antibiotics, plus morphine for the pain. This guy would most likely live.

The problem was by the time he finished with Patient One, Numbers Two, Three, and Four were piled up. Another doctor came in. They built up the Operating Theatre around him. They put up lights to fight the fading of the day. They even slipped him some stims with some coffee to keep him going. Of course, it got worse. They started having to prioritize patients – who had the best chance of survival, or who had the skills the colony had to have. Some teenager’s mother threw herself at him, begging for her child’s life when there was nothing he could really do.

The Teenager died because Khalid couldn’t find all the arterial tears the boy had before he had to move on to the Construction Engineer who was a Priority One. The Lead Botanist died because someone mislabeled plasma with saline and by the time the thing was corrected her blood pressure had gone through the floor. That was it though. Four hours into the crisis and he only lost two. The problem was he remembered the two he lost and not the six he had saved.

Finally they rotated him out. He stepped full clothed into the shower they had attached to the unit. The blood, bits of flesh and other such refuse of the human body were washed away. Someone handed him a plate of, if not hot then warm, food. Khalid found himself ravenous and dug in. Just as he put the plate down, a masked orderly called his name. Someone needed assistance. Khalid got up to do his job, so numb that he actually felt nothing else So numb that he temporarily forgot how to feel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When he returned, the operating theatre held a surprise. There were six more doctors there, eight more tables and enough assistants that everyone had a full attending staff. The new people weren't shaken or haggard; they were fresh and full of energy as they zipped around. They weren't even injured, though their jumpsuits showed considerably more wear, as if they'd seen more than a day's use.

A critical care wing was up, built by a swarm of bustling helpers, also fresh and uninjured. The triage hall was in full swing, and order was steadily descending on the Medbay. As Khalid watched with dull eyes, a team was removing the core of a wall to make a door.

"Dr. Al-jamari?" The speaker was tall and swarthy; he appeared to be Polynesian, right down to the natural heaviness inherent to those islands. "I'm Dr. Mumea, Chief Surgeon at New Terra. We're here to help you folks out. Can you go another few rounds?"

"New Terra?" Khalid asked, his voice shaking with weariness.

"Yes, that's what we named our settlement," Dr. Mumea replied. Seeing that Khalid still didn't follow him, he added, "We're from the Hilton's Intrepid. We've had a week to get ready for you and the Hilton's Enterprise. After we crashed, we thought you might, too. We couldn't get a signal up to warn you, though." He grasped Khalid by the shoulders with hands big enough to cover Khalid's face. "Doctor, can you continue?"

Khalid muttered something; too much had happened too quickly, and his head was spinning. Dr. Mumea must have interpreted his mutter as an assent, because he said, "Good show, man!" and clapped him on the back. That clap pushed him conveniently toward a table where another injured person was being prepped for surgery.

"She's a biologist, doctor, one of our xenobiologists," the nurse said. Her voice was even and calm, and even without a glance at her, he could tell that she was from the Intrepid. She was too fresh to have come from the Manifest. "Two broken legs, multiple fractures, a broken arm, but the most vital is internal bleeding." She was a good nurse, and pretty, with a strong, lithe figure, while her hazel eyes flashed with intelligence when she met his eyes. Her skin, what little he could see around her mask, was a soft mocha color and looked as smooth as cream. "Dr Al-jamari, you ok?"

He'd been staring at her, his jumbled mind settling on something far more pleasant than the task before him: the possibility of losing another patient. "Yes, fine," he said automatically, his eyes dropping to look at the patient.

Akilah's still, broken form taunted him with the expectation of his failure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Evan would've run to the Medbay if he had the energy, but his feet felt like they were made of lead and he simply couldn't muster the strength. Everything seemed so very far away, like looking at the world through a small, dirty, cracked mirror on the other side of a room, and he found himself unable to think of anything but the names of his wife and daughter over and over again, until they lost meaning and became mere background noise, overshadowed by blank, unfocused despair.

He shouldn't be despairing yet; he should be anxious, fearful. Unless...bullshit. There was no real way for him to know what had happened to them. It was his mind jumping to conclusions, imagining the worst possibility. That's all.

He stumbled into the Medbay, the moans of the injured mixing with the buzzing in his head. Akilah, Akilah. Her face wasn't on the man with one leg, or the woman whose eyes were covered in gauze, or the child whose foot was crushed and head smashed. Evan looked on. Lila, Lila. No Lila.

Evan grew desperate, striding through the critical care wing, ignoring or pushing aside the doctors and nurses that tried to get in his way. They could've perhaps sedated him. Maybe they were running low on sedatives. Maybe they saw the look in his eyes and shrank back. Lila, Lila. Akilah, Akilah.


Evan stopped and stared. There was Khalid as Evan had never seen him, clad in a bloody medical jumpsuit, leaning over a patient. Evan felt the welling disdain drip out of him as he realized who it was on that bed. He felt dizzy, and held out his hand to clutch a wall that wasn't there. And - yes, there was the fear. Horrible, quivering fear tempered by a dash of relief that at least she wasn't dead yet. The nurse was pulling on his arm, asking him if he had any family here. Evan just stared at her blankly, and turned his gaze to Khalid. It was hard to ask, somehow. Like admitting defeat.

"How...how is she?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Khalid would thank Allah the Benificent later. He would think of the jokes they would share anew after that. He would would think about a whole host of other things later. The burning clarity of what he must do NOW scorched all other thoughts away.

She had been his sister. She was the fire that burned inside his mind, the wildfire that had cleared all the underbrush - the detris of life - away until she wasn't even his sister anymore. She became a host of small, yet manageble problems. No matter how bad they appeared, to Khalid's mind, they were things he could manage. He was that good. He had to be.

The problems were small, and he could do this.

"How ...how is she?"

Without really thinking, his voice responded to the familiar.

"She's with me, Evan. I won't let her go."

Then, he added to his brother-in-law,

"You need to find Lila. Akilah will be fine. Trust me."

Believe in me.

Khalid never stopped working as he spoke. His mind, his senses, had become a surgical engine, repairing the body of the meat before him. Later, when he was done, this flesh would become a person right now. He simply didn't have time for that kind of emotional thinking right now.

You will fail. You always fail.

In the back of his mind, in a tiny, unoccupied-with-the-greater-task-of-healing-another part of his mind Khalid saw himself throwing that vial away. This time would be the final time. This time he would not fail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The nurse - McGill, according to her nametag - looked between the two men, then at the patient, then at them again. Comprehension filled her gaze and she took a gentler grip on Evan's arm. "Sir, Evan, your... wife is in good hands," she said firmly. It was her best nurse's tone. "She's a xenobiologist and we're going to do everything we can to save her." There was a hint of discomfort in her voice for even putting it that way, but she pushed on, determined to comfort the big man and get him out of her O.R.

Gently but firmly she steered him away, stating, "You have to find Lila, and I have to help save Akilah. Go." She was already turning back to the table, to Akilah.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[OOC: Drew, not to push you, but... I pushed you out of the scene. Sorry about that; you can pick up your post at your next stop. Thanks - Dawn]

Evan found himself outside the Medbay, an orderly gently pointing him in the direction of the Orphanage. Why didn't they call it the Day Care? It seemed far too morbid to call it the Orphanage, as if the entire name was designed to create despair in the separated children and parents. But Lila might be there...


Helena reeled when a large man knocked her in the shoulder. Angry, she spun with a retort on her lips, but she held it in when she saw him barreling toward the Orphanage. It wasn't hard to guess his urgency, and she let it go. Besides, being angry took energy she didn't have right now, energy better spent on helping others.

She stepped to the head of the line, expecting a mild protest from those waiting. Only one person had the energy to glare at her under the bloody rag pressed to his forehead, but that glare dropped with a blush of shame when she told the closest orderly, "I'm here to help."

And help she did. First she applied butterfly closures to the man with the bleeding forehead, receiving a soft, sheepish thanks for her efforts. Next, she helped splint a broken finger, taping it between the ring and pointer finger with two tongue depressors to keep it straight. Then was the sprained ankle... then the shallow lacerations on the back... then the split lip and loose teeth... or was it the broken nose? They all flowed together into a blur of medical problems and solutions, broken people being fixed.

Helena's rhythm was broken when a hand caught her elbow before she could move to the next patient. "Helena," Linda said, her face scored with exhaustion and her voice cracking, "you could use a break. Your turn to take the dolly and head over to the Manifest to see if you can find more medical supplies. Just grab anything, but we particularly need more bandages, so if you see those, they get priority." The woman smiled and brushed hair back from her face. "If you wanna eat, get something too. Hopefully, we'll be done here, soon."

They'd been saying soon for a while now. But Helena allowed the "news" to cheer her and she nodded. "Sure, Linda. I could use a walk."

The night was pleasant, the cool air invigorating. People were around her, but they were busy with their own projects. The pseudo-solitude allowed her to enjoy the springy earth and the whispers of the gentle wind. Helena knew from T-998's unmanned survey mission that the day-night cycle was about thirty-six hours long. It would be an interesting challenge for the diurnal humans to adapt to that cycle. But for now, it meant that they were facing a long, dark night; not the best situation for finding survivors.

A pile of crates was set up near the crack in the Manifest, piled up for anyone to take. No one was hoarding things, not yet, but Helena had a concern about it for a moment. She pushed the thought away; it seemed too dark for this brave new world. They were all in this together, and everyone had to pass through a battery of psychological tests to be approved for this mission. Surely, if someone were greedy or liable to work against the community, they'd have been weeded out.

The crates had been sorted by type, and Helena located the medical crates easily. Most of them were specific machines that would be set up later; she ignored these to search the others. She was halfway through loading the dolly when she heard the first voice.

"Has anyone reporting seeing one?" The voice were far away, but coming closer. Helena could hear them walking as they spoke, approaching on the other side of the crates. They were stacked higher than her head and allowed her to stop and listen to the approaching people unseen.

"No, not yet. Quiet night," a woman said, her voice so hard-boiled that Helena knew she'd be small and tougher than tack leather.

"Do the Mannies know yet?" the first asked.

"No one's said anything," another voice said, deep and resonant. "But I've caught a few jumping at shadows."

"Anyone told the Manny's leaders yet?" the first asked, this time his voice muffled as if he were holding a cigarette between his lips. Helena heard the click of a lighter the moment he was done speaking.

Deep Voice snorted. "Their Mission Leader is in the Medbay; they don't expect him to survive the night. No one seems to know their asses from their heads. Let's hope the night stays quiet. An attack right now would be a nightmare."

"I want 'em to try something," the woman snapped briskly. There was a cracking noise that Helena belatedly realized was the sound of a rifle being cocked.

"They won't try tonight," another voice said. This one was soft but carried complete authority, and Helena could sense the reverence the others held for the speaker in the way they listened to him. "They don't have to, not with everyone stumbling about. God knows how many they've already taken before we ever saw them. That's why we need to get back out on patrol. And make sure none of the Mannies catch wind of this, until we know who's competent and who can lead without creating panic."

She heard them start to walk away, talking about who was going to cover what. She had a choice: hide here or confront them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a long, long litany of things Helena Lindsay wasn't. On that list, Diplomat, Sneak, and Soldier ranked pretty highly. There was no way she could fast-talk these people. She couldn't follow them without being blatantly obvious, and she didn't have the combat experience or instinct to hold her own if something did happen. Were they talking about the bipedal... thing that'd been outside the berths? Could there be more of them?

Of course there'd be more of them, her common sense chimed in acidly, neatly severing the tangled threads of her thoughts. Feeding and reproduction, 'Lena. Biological imperatives, and all that.

It was a chilling thought.

But... Even if she did manage to get their attention, what could she possibly say? No, no. Better to stay here, stay quiet, and stay out of the-

An image of that eye, red and baleful, sent a surge of adrenaline-born energy through her body, and the thought of being left out here for it to find her again was motivation enough to get the dolly loaded and her legs moving- if only to force down the primal sense of panic that arose from the idea of being hunted by the unknown.

"Excuse me?" she called out clearly, to the small group that was slowly gaining distance. Trailing along behind them, she gave the cart another shove out of exasperation, picking up her pace as she tried again. "Hello? I need to speak with you, please." She forced herself to remain calm, to keep her voice neutral, knowing that the key to her current predicament lay with the last speaker.

She had to know. If they'd encountered these things, and people had disappeared already... The implications were grim, indeed, and her sincere concern for the welfare of the colonists only narrowly overshadowed her innate curiosity about New Terra.

As quickly as she could, she moved to close the distance between them, the supply cart rattling as it rolled across the uneven ground.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am God!!!

Khalid raised his clenched fists above his sister and looked to the heavens ... or in this case, the top of the pre-fab structure. He had done what was probably, no surely, the best medical work he had ever done. It may well have been the best medical work ever done by any surgeon anywhere at any time.

I am never going to do that shit again.

He knew he was lying to himself, but he didn't care.

Nurse McGill looked at him as if he was insane, but she wasn't calling to have him taken away so he must be within her tolerance limits. Still, her look was a sharp dose of reality. The euphoria ebbed away.

By the time two attendants came and took his sister away to Post-Op he was feeling his fatigue again.

"Can you keep going?" McGill asked him.

Khalid nodded and then croaked out an "Okay."

Thankfully the next person was far less injured than any of his previous patients. It took him a minute to understand what that must have meant. The recovery was winding down ... and the other badly mauled patients hadn't made it this long.

"How many more?" Khalid rasped out over his unused wind pipes.

"One more ... after this one," McGill promised him.

"It's that late?"

Instead of answering immeditately, she looked down one of the corridors and out into the dark.

"Yeah," she said grimly. "It's well into the night cycle."

Khalid was a bit too tired to care about the nature of the last response.

The water was cascading off Khalid, cleaning him. The warmth wore away at some of his muscle fatigue, but couldn't touch his deeper ache. He knew what he needed and it wasn't a shower, and it wasn't a meal.

He got out and toweled himself off, casually looking around to see if anyone was noticing. The Manifest's crew were mostly walking zombies by this time. The Intrepid crew mostly kept away from the darker places thankfully. It was easy for Khalid to steal himself away from the Medbay and fine a dark place to hunker down and pull out his stash.

The twin moons gave him enough light to see by. He readied the vial and drew back the needle. He placed it gingerly, lovingly aside as he rolled up his sleeve. The rubber tube felt warm against his skin. He wrapped it off and tapped the fulcrum of his upper and lower arms with a finger in a flicking motion. He was ready.

The animal part of his brain, the monkey part that feared the leapord, grabbed his self-indulgent and greedy sense and screamed into the frontal lobe. Khalid almost dropped his beloved needle as his head popped up and he looked around. He saw nothing.

The craving inside him warred with this primal fear. It was only the dark, right. Nothing in the forest could possibly hurt him ... right?

Khalid tried to move the needle to its injection point, but his hand was shaking. He couldn't give himself pleasure. Self-preservation intervened in a way it never had before. The forest was still and there were people, a lot of people, just behind him ... and he was terrified.

Khalid was isolated and alone and help was a thousand miles away, or so the base of his brain was telling him. A lonely, lost little primate lost in the darkness and the darkness had teeth ... very sharp, nasty teeth.

Hands still shaking Khalid put the full needle back into his pack. The vial joined it. He was so anxious and nervous that he coulnd't fully pull the zipper closed. He had to look away from the darkness and down to the zipper to close it.

The problem was he had to look back up to leave. If he looked up then ... then something horribly bad was going to happen to him.

Why ... why am I afraid of the dark?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The woman heard her first and spun, her rifle rising. The man next to her pushed it back down quickly, spinning almost as quickly as she did. Helena pushed the cart the last couple of feet, pausing when the man who had pushed down the rifle spoke. "What do you want?" His voice was the authoritative one, and it was rough with suspiscion and anger.

"I heard you talking," Helena said, stepping around the cart, "and I saw something... when I crashed. An eye..."

The largest of the men was sporting a cigarette, and he stepped forward when the leader glanced at him. Helena was grabbed and pulled toward the group, which started moving again. "Hey!" she shouted.

"We don't have time to stand and talk," the leader said as she was pulled along. "Not right now."

"But... the supplies... I was-"

"Hey, you," Deep Voice said, revealing himself to be the short blonde built like a wrestler. That was addressed to a random colonist walking by, who jumped when the human fire plug pointed at him. "Go back and take that cart to the Medbay."

"Did they send anything else?" the leader asked. He was a man of average height with thin brown hair and a craggy face. The aura of confidence he emitted was still in full effect, and even Helena felt that pull.

"No, Lee, they haven't said anything else," the woman said, pressing a hand to her ear. "Just that one transmission."

"We need those mechanics," Lee muttered. "Call Mike; get the bird out."

"A rescue at night?" the woman asked, but when Lee glanced at her, she nodded and began to speak into her headgear.

"What is going on!?" Helena barked, frustrated.

"We don't have the time to explain," Lee said, still walking. "I'm Lee Black, Mission Leader for the Intrepid. I've called in one of our fliers to go and retrieve the mechanics from the Manifest, before we lose them. They're the key."

"The key?" Helena asked, even as they cleared the edge of the Rescue Zone and a low hum filled the air. Above them, a spotlight snapped on, shining down and turning night to day. The flier began to descend. As she blocked the light overhead, she shouted over the hum, "Key to what?"

The flier landed with a thump and Lee looked at her, his gaze disturbingly intense. "The key to getting the hell off this rock." Then Smoking Man hustled her onto the flier as everyone else got aboard.


Khalid shivered, impotent and helpless in the darkness. Something slithered through the folige; the darkness breathed softly. And with animal terror, Khalid ran.

It chased him, leaving the safety of the woods for the joy of the pursuit. He could hear it behind him, pounding across the open ground. Khalid didn't look back, at all. To look back was to invite his own death.

The air burned in his lungs; his heart felt as though it would shatter his chest. Khalid could see the gap ahead, the final plunge between the Dorms that would put him back in the lit area of the Rescue Zone. He even saw a man with a rifle, peering at him as he raced out of the darkness.

Something slammed into him, knocking him down. He had the sense of claws and teeth and rippling fur, and then he heard a gunshot. Just like that, the creature was gone. The chaos it had left behind remained; the guard ran up and grabbed Khalid, pushing him down. "Don't move! Are you hurt?"

Khalid couldn't breathe; he knew he'd just had the wind knocked out of him. Then the pain started in his back, and he passed out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm ... I'm alive!

Khalid stirs involuntarily and then stops. No-thing touches him. In fact, he can hear the movement of people around him; not close by but close enough and more importantly, all around.

God Loves Me.

Khalid purrs through that thought. He had made it. The horrible nightmare creature (had there really been a creature?) was gone. He was warm, and comfortable and ... numb from a local anethetic on his back ...?!?

Khalid's hands began to fumble for his waist. Were was his back- his stash? It wasn't there. His mind raced desperately. Why would they have taken it? Who would have taken it? How would he get it back?

Why do people hate me? All I want to do is get high.

Feebly, Khalid sat up and looked around. He was in the medical section, but off with the supplies. For some reason they were keeping him segregated from the other patients.

What the hell was going on here? What were they doing to him?

Like a beacon shining out to a desperate sailor on a storm-swept sea, he saw his pack layed up on a cardio-defibulartor machine that looked brand new. It could have been laying in the maw of a giant Venus Flytrap and Khalid wouldn't have cared. He swung off the gurney and staggered toward it like a man possessed. With movement, he also became dimly aware how much his back hurt - not that Khalid was all that good with pain in the first place.

Khalid had just grabbed his precious pack when two people came into his section. One of them was armed, which seemed a bit extreme until the memories of ... it came flooding back. Suddenly Khalid's breathing became shallow and his hands were shaking.

"Is IT still out there," he choked out.

He gave up trying to unzip his pack and check on the contents and instead began to try and put it back around his waist. The people didn't look happy.

Mabye me being dead would make their lives easier?

With that grim thought in mind, Khalid could see that the two were having problems picking their words.

"I could get back to work?," Khalid offered. "Right back to the old grind. Helping people. That's me," he offered hopefully.

At the same time, the meds he had taken for the pain and trauma were wearing down and the nightmare that had stalked him, played with him, toyed with him came back stronger to his near-concious mind. Khalid couldn't stop himself from shaking. Deep down, he knew he wasn't going to be okay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Yes, it's still out there, Doctor," the soldier finally said. "We have some dangerous wildlife out there. You were lucky you made it back; the black dogs usually attack in packs. That was probably a young one who was just evicted from Mommy and Daddy's pack and had an empty belly."

"Black... dogs?" Khalid asked nervously. Dogs were big and obnoxious, not to mention they were able to sniff out stashes of drugs all too well.

"We call them that, though they seem to be more like big jackels," the soldier said, shrugging.

"Enough," the woman said, and Khalid recognized her voice. When he looked in her eyes, he realized it was Nurse McGill. Without the surgical mask, she was as pretty as he had assumed, with a heritage that hinted at a heavy mix of Caribbean and Anglo-Saxon people. She was also pissed. "He's hurt, you know what happened, so you can leave," she told the soldier, who scowled and left.

"And you," McGill said, her big hazel eyes landing on him with the weight of a punch, "have some explaining to do." Her hands came out of her pockets; in her left was his stash, in her right was his full syringe. She fairly trembled with glorious rage as she stared at him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no idea what they are.

I'm holding them for a friend.

I wasn't planning of using it.

Its for personal use only.

Those and a few other choice loser excuses went through his mind as he stared at the paradise in her fist.

God is laughing at me.

"It's the last of my stash - heroin."

Khalid suddenly realized he was past caring even as he spoke those damning words.

"I've been trying to shoot up all night, but then those dogs (were they really dogs) came after me."

"Go on. Tell who ever is in charge. I'm passed caring."

His look wasn't one of hopelessness or resignation. His was one of hate, for a spiteful world that had put him in this position. Forgotten was all the things he had done and thought this evening. All that mattered came down to his sick hunger, barely held in check by the drugs still courseing though his body.

And, just like always, Khalid has passed the responsibility for his actions to another - to Nurse McGill. This time, it wasn't working so well and Khalid couldn't figure out why. Maybe it was because most of him didn't care what happened.

Maybe I can make my way back into the forest and be free of all this.

His fear knotted in his gut. He was feeling alive again, suddenly.

"What are you going to do?" he asked Nurse McGill, the fear having come back and a deep seeded worry about his future having come back. Maybe she would give him one last shot before ruining his career.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I don't care that you don't care about yourself," McGill said, turning toward the bathroom. Khalid followed her, fear rising in his gut. When he saw her head for the small trash incinerator, he whimpered and grabbed for his drugs.

"No!" she snapped, struggling with him. Fortunately, she'd left the cap on the needle, and neither one was stabbed. For a long moment, they fought until she won simply because she was rested, uninjured and not high. "I don't care that you don't give a shit!" she snapped as the drugs and needle disappeared with a flare of orange light.

"But these people, they need doctors," she snarled, whirling on him. She got so close to him that he could see the hint of freckles across her nose and cheeks. "You did a good job today, good enough. If I tell, you're gone, and we'll be short one more doctor. So you get a reprieve. Make the best of it. That's what this place is about. New starts."

She walked toward the door but stopped, clearly considering something. After a moment, she turned back to him. "Come find me first thing when you wake up. I'm going to give you a drug test. You'll get one anytime I think you need it until you've earned the right to not be treated like a child. New Terra may be about new starts, but I'm not risking others. Once we have some more staff, you can flush your life away, but until then, you belong to New Terra."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It could be the madness of the drugs inside of him, or perhaps Khalid really was that clever. Which ever it was, Khalid knew he had to do something.

No. Not something about his addiction. That just wouldn't have been Khalid's style. He liked his high. He liked the sense of euphoria that coursed through him when he shot up, but mostly he hated being the one who was in the wrong. None of this was his fault and he knew it.

Besides, he had some really nice pain-killers in him right now. Wounded people got pain killers. The less he actually rested, the longer he would take to heal, and the longer he would be on the pain-killers. That would tide the cravings over for a while. On the plus side he would look like a hero. Khalid knew he would be a great one too. Wasn't he the best doctor on the planet?

"I'll take the drug test now," Khalid told Nurse McGill. "I'm ready to get back to work."

With a smile he added, "Having some crazed wild dog jump on my back has kind of ruined sleep for me anyway."

He smiled at her. It was a winning smile that had gotten him through some tough nights before because the plain fact was that Khalid was a gorgeous human being ... on the outside. It helped him that McGill was his kind of woman; pretty and a bit bossy.

Khalid walked to her side and started to steer them toward the Lab, totally unafraid (or so he would have hoped). Winning the good nurse over to his side would take some time, corruption alway did, but this was a campaign he was willing to wage. He was too good looking not to win.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"No," McGill said, stopping him with a hand on his chest. "You're going to eat and sleep. You've worked two shifts, we're adequately staffed at the moment and you've been wrecked and attacked. You're done - nurse's orders."

She gazed up at him, her eyes resolute - and quite lovely. "You can't know that we won't have a sudden burst in volume," he replied in his most reasonable tone of voice. He reached out and gently took her by the wrist, moving her hand away. He'd have rather left it there, but was careful to remove it in a tender manner meant to be sexually confusing. "I should be on-duty," he said.

"Dr. Al-jamari, I'm not even on duty anymore, not once I've put you in bed, and I haven't been working as long as you have, or rode down on the Manifest today."

McGill was resolute, and Khalid changed tactics. He allowed himself to be tucked in; that was a delight, given the person tucking. He really was tired enough to sleep, but he pinched his legs together on his scrotum, and the pain kept him awake. Five minutes after she was gone, he was back on his feet, back in uniform and back on duty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Disinfectant filled the air and burned his nostrils. The screams of the wounded filled his ears and the pain that seared in his side was but a kindling ember in comparison to the conflagration of their suffering. His clothing was torn away carefully but not without a few minor bumps to his sore side that forced even more grunts past his cracked lips- grunts that should have been full blown screams of agony.

"Jesus, Bristow. You're a mess." Doctor Marlene Nanza approached him and looked at his bleeding side. Lovely and way out of Adam's league, the two had shared a drink once or twice about thirty years ago. They hit it off pretty well and enjoyed some flirting before going into stasis, and the chemistry didn't seem to have faded with time, if her expression was any indication. She noticed easily that his wounds were not something thing that could have been done from a landing berth. "Dear God in heaven Adam... how did you end up like this?"

"The things I go through to meet women," he grinned and winced as she stabbed her finger into his side, away from the injury but well in the sore area. She wasn't playing around with him today. Zeus laughed at the poor fool, his chuckle like the roll of distant thunder.

"You're not that cute Bristow." Her reply came tersely, obscuring the grin his wisecrack elicited as she spun around to retrieve the implements she would need to treat the dying comic.

"Too many people couldn't get secure in time," Sweat glistened across his pallid features. His blood loss was catching up to him. "Had to help them... tired... had to... help... feeling a lil woozy...

"Hey, hey, Adam, bro. C'mon, stay wit' me man!" Zeus slapped his cheek a few times to jostle the man back into consciousness but there was no response. "Doc! Oh shit, Doc! Adam! Wake up man!"

Tears streamed down Rabbit's face and she bit her fist as she looked away, shaking her head in disbelief.

Adam and darkness were starting to get too well acquainted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As consciousness returns for Volos, his nose stings at the scent of astringent and disinfectant. His eyes slowly open, and his voice croaks out a painful syllable, "OW." The nearest nurse turns to Volos' bed and sighs.

"We were wondering when you would wake up. You had some nasty injuries, but the doctors were able to patch up most of them, and the rest will have to heal with time. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must get back to work." With that, the nurse turned around and walks away.

Volos feels a small, annoying itch on his right calf, and when he looks under the blanket to see what is causing the itch, he notices that his right leg has a large cast from the knee down. His left arm has a similar cast on the forearm and hand. He whispers to himself, "Damn... must have been bad."

He looks down at the ground on the side of the bed and notices a pair of crutches, sized for his slim, small body. He sighs and lays back, his head overwhelmed by the sensory input and the idea of the crash landing. His head clears, as he begins to feel the pain, through the painkillers. Slowly, he swings his legs out to the side and he bends at the waist to retrieve the crutch he can use on his right side. He levers the crutch underneath his right shoulder, and stands, putting his weight on the crutch. Volos slowly makes his way out of the pre-fab building into the light of the clearing. He looks over at the twisted hunk of metal that used to be the ship. He shakes his head sadly, and makes his way over toward the dorms, looking for a place to sit and think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You leave him the fuck alone!" Rabbit's voice, when she got agitated enough, could pierce bulkheads. From the way Adam's headache redoubled, she was more than upset; she was enraged. Given the profanity and the use of the male pronoun, he was pretty sure she was upset about something regarding him.

Adam couldn't help much, as he was in a coma. But Rabbit's voice was a medical miracle, apparently, because it was waking him up. The responding voice wasn't nearly as jarring, and Adam started to slip away again. Then Rabbit screamed, "I will not shut up! She's going to hurt him! He's injured, leave him alone and let him heal." Another murmur, another moment where he thought he might sleep again, and then Rabbit's voice: "That's fucking brilliant! Get him up to lead, so that he kills himself, and you have to find someone else to do it!"

There was only one way to shut her up so that he could get back to sleep. "Rabbit," he grumbled, "shut up."

"Did you hear that?"

"He's awake."

The light shining through his eyelids darkened; someone was leaning over him. "Mr. Bristow? Can you hear me?" The voice was unfamiliar to him and he slowly opened his eyes.

"Yeah," he said, his eyes slowly focusing on the woman leaning over him. His interest in sleeping declined as his focus increased. Golden hair curled around an angelic face - though someone as beautiful as she shouldn't look so grim - and green eyes that sparkled with an inner fire. "Hi!"

"Er, hello. I need you- Are you listening to me?"

"You have my complete attention..." His eyes flickered to her nametag. "Ms. Harper."

She frowned. "I need you to tell your men - and woman - to get off their asses and work," she said. "They've been hovering around you, which is sweet and all, but I need every hand I've got working security. Can you please ask them to accept me as a temporary command?"

Adam glanced over to see Rabbit, Zeus and Bert watching him closely. "It's only been a few hours, Boss," Bert said, rubbing his hair. "And they didn't know if you were going to kick off. We wanted to be here in case you thought about giving up. You know, so we could kick your ass."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Adam gave them 'the look'. "While I was out did you get me intel?" Adam asked as he struggled to sit up.

"Well, uh, we've kinda..." Bert knew what was coming next.

"Do I have a head count? Was a perimeter established? Inventory of medical supplies, food stores, munitions?" While the injured man continued down a list of all the things that were procedure in the event something like this happened, Ms. Harper was doing all she could to contain a slight grin.

The three Adam called his closest friends quickly found themselves on the side of Adam that was not a pleasant place to be: his dutiful side that placed the security and safety of others above himself at all times.

"Buh, Bristow," Rabbit's tender concerned voice cracked as she spoke up. "You were bleeding and..."

"I don't have time to bleed, and you don't have time to hang over me and watch me do it. We have a duty to the people of this ship, this colony. We are face to face with our destiny, lady and gentlemen and we have to meet it head-on. Life's about action, and duty. Quit sitting around guys, get yer asses in gear and show these people that we're here for them."

They looked at one another, then him, then around the medbay. They could hear the cries that they were drowning out before. They could see the pain, feel the sorrow, know the fear as it was all tangible in this place of death and agony. Yet there was more. Though the doctors were tired, their feet hurt and their wills were almost broken, they pushed on. They continued to fight as hard as they could against the ravages of sorrow, pain, and misery. The warmth of their light pushed back the shroud of disaster and tore through the nimbus cold of tragedy's tight grip. They had to, they had a duty to the people. Their light was hope, their duty was clear.

The three Security Agents looked at their boss contritely, shame plastered on their face like a melting wax mask. One by one they shuffled out to do what needed to be done, their resolve tempered and bolstered by Adam's words.

Adam looked over to the gorgeous Ms. Harper. "Tell them I said to listen to you. But please, do me one favor, respect that they are professionals even if they don't look or act like it times. They're good people, respect them and they'll move mountains for ya. Zeus will keep the other two in line."

Adam stared at Ms. Harper's name tag which was pinned on upon her rather full bosom. "Oh, and..." he let it hang in the air for a moment, he made she knew he was staring. "Nice name tag, Ms. Harper. What's the other one called?" he said with a sarcastic grin and winning smile.

He leaned back rest his upon the pillow. The painkillers were wearing off and his body was telling him to rest again. "I don't have time to bleed"... man, where do I come up with this stuff?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sadly, willpower and stamina couldn't match up to need in this case. Khalid was going strong, for about thirty minutes, before he began to fade. They steered him to a work station were he could examine incoming samples for pathologies.

When he fell asleep, they worked around him. Someone even gently put a blanket on his shoulders. Everyone who was close noticed the nightmares he seemed to be having, but there was nothing anyone could do at the time. Psychological Counseling hadn't been brought together yet.

They woke him for some more pain medication around "theoretical" 4 AM. He was out again like a light after that. He was still making odd whimpering noises when McGill found him around sunrise. She was initially a little angry with him for not being at his bed and she had this nagging feeling he was out "doing something" he shouldn't be. Finding him here took the edge off that bitterness ... but not enough to want to give him a test ... right then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Harper seemed to ignore his question. "Thank you, Mr. Bristow," Ms. Harper said, crossing her arms under generous breasts. "I intend to treat your people with all the respect they earn. I'm sure we'll get along fine now that they don't feel the need to hover over you.

"I need to get back to work, but I'm sure we'll be seeing more of one another," she added, smiling. "I'm the second on the Intrepid. Our Mission Leader, Lee Black, will want to be talking to you later, but right now, he's rescuing some engineers from the... the crash. But that's later. Rest up. You're going to need it."

At the door, she turned and added, "And the other one is called Barbara." She gave him a green-eyed wink and left.


Khalid had vague memories of being moved, mostly by force. When he woke up, it was in a bed in a room with three empty beds. Clearly, he wasn't in the Medbay anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lying down staring at the ceiling, all Adam could do was listen and try to lean his head in her direction as she spoke. His eyes widened so suddenly he thought they'd pop out of his skull when she mentioned 'second on the Intrepid.'

Second? Oh, shit Adam... nice frickin' job dumbass. he mentally berated himself and let out a soft sigh, resigning himself to the fact that what was done, was done.

His side began to ache as he laughed hoarsely to himself, a grin spreading ear to ear. In retrospect it was downright right hilarious. Figures it would be just his luck to sexually harass the second in command of the sister ship of the colony only minutes after meeting her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day Two

"Adam? Mr. Bristow?" Someone was gently shaking him, slowly waking him up. Groggily, he opened his eyes, mildly surprised that he felt a little better. Not great, but better than he had. Of course, part of that might have been the view that was greeting him first thing.

Barbara Harper stood over him, looking as fabulous as he remembered. But more jolting than that was her obvious distress. Her green eyes were rimmed with red, and her nose was shiny and swollen. Anguish clung to her features like dew to a leaf, and her strong, competant aura from their last encounter had been crushed. She seemed diminished, smaller.

"I'm sorry to wake you," she said softly, giving him a weak, miserable smile. "But we're having a meeting... I'm going to explain a few things to the Manifest people and I thought that the Mission Leader should be there." Adam felt the shock like a punch to his gut; Zeus had said that Saul wouldn't survive the night, but for him to actually die seemed unreal.

Shame spread across Harper's features a heartbeat later. "Oh, no... you've been asleep... I shouldn't have told you like that. I'm sorry, but Mr. Armstrong died this morning, right around the time that we lost-" Her voice cracked and Barbara stopped, her lip trembling. After a moment of silence, she continued in a soft whisper, "I'm in the same boat." She closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them and said, "I'm going to be strong... like L-l-lee would have wanted. Can you come with me, and be strong for your people, too?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Hey, hey..." The new mission leader sat up, wincing a bit as he did. "Ms. Harper, c'mon. Everything is going to be alright. I'm sorry for our losses, you have my sympathies, but you're right. We need to be strong for our people now, okay?"

He raised up and hugged her gently, giving her the time she needed to be alone from prying eyes and near someone who understood her emotion stress. The new struck Adam like a ton of bricks, but he'd already decided that now was not the time to freak out... he'd do that later.

"Shhh," he quietly attempted to calm her. "You're not alone. We, all of us, are going to get through this."

He leaned away a bit and looked into those lovely green eyes. "Be strong for me and I'll be strong for you."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Barbara broke down again at his sympathetic gesture, clinging to him for a moment while crying into his shoulder. When he pulled back, so did she, rubbing at her eyes and sniffling. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "It's just that when we crashed, Lee held us all together. And then when people started disappearing, he managed to keep us calm. He was a real leader, and I'm... I'm not sure I'm-"

Adam started to ask, "Disappearing?" That's suddenly a much larger concern to him, but Barbara keeps going, rolling forward.

She stopped herself, shaking her head. "I would have never heard Lee say anything like that," she muttered. Adam can see that she's trying to pull herself together; while she's not going a great job of it, she's trying. She let down her hair and pulled it back into a ponytail, recapturing the loose tendrils. Her breasts made interesting motions as she lifted her hands over her head. "I know that he'd want me to do a good job."

She slapped Adam's leg. "C'mon, then! Let's get to it. We've got people to debrief!" She turned to the medical crew. "Can we move him? He needs to get to the meeting in the Mess."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

[Coming from the orphanage]

McGill hurried after him, shock making her slow to react. "Wait!" she snapped, catching his arm. "You can't do that! Those aliens... you don't know that they'll let Evan go. Or if they have him! Just because he's not here, didn't mean that he didn't fall down a hole or something. And they may take you!"

"Nurse, please," Khalid said with a confidence he didn't feel. "By all accounts, all attempts to talk to them have started with hostility. I'm going to try peace. And I'm going to try to bring my niece's father back."

"Doctor... Khalid, please," McGill begged. "It's not safe."

"Nothing here is," he said, removing her hand. "And I'm not trying to be a hero. I'm not strong enough to look at Lila everyday and know that I didn't try to find her father... that a much better man then me was taken. I can't stand looking at her and not doing anything. I'm not strong enough for that."

They argued for a while, until he pretended to be convinced. It wasn't hard to pretend, because he wished it were true. But what he'd said about Lila was more pressing to him. He didn't have that kind of strength, nor did he want to be a foster father. At least, this time, his selfishness might help another. He didn't want to think about the alternative.

Positive thinking, that's all he needed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Khalid needed his work now. He needed to see that he was making a difference in the world ... making things better. Healing was his gift. He was really good at it, especially the post-operative part. You would listen to how a patient felt, were it hurt, and how much then speculate with the patient on the best way to get them better. He empowered them. They had to want to get better, he believed, and he worked on the belief that they could make themselves better. They became part of the process adn they did get better.

His rounds were short, but then he had some of the worst cases too. They needed a more intensive effort and they had tapped him for the ICU.

He felt like Dr. Khalid first while he was amongst them. All the other cares and worries faded away and he was able to concentrate on the injured. In a way, they helped him as much as he helped them. They gave him some of that hope which was in such short supply.

"Doc, what happened to us?" his last patient asked. Khalid knew what he thought had happened. He could tell him that, but to what purpose. The news, the real news, was really bad ... and scary.

"Mr. Lang, a ship fell on you."

The man chuckled weakly.

"No Doc. Seriously, what's happened?"

There was fear in the man's eyes.


The man looked at him expectantly.

"Okay, a Seriously Big Ship fell on you," he joked. "Now get some sleep. What you seriously need to do is get some sleep."

He came back at lunch, his shift over until dark, and found Lila asleep besides her Mother. Part of him wanted to wake her and tell her what he planned to do. He wanted her to be proud of him. That was selfish and he dismissed it. Khalid had another moral moment to contend with.

People were waiting around the crackerbox dorm. They greeted him, said hello, talked amongst each other, and avoided the real reason they were there. The Fear.

Khalid held up his hands for silence and he got it.

"I know you think I have the answers, but I don't. Wishing and praying this crisis is going to go away wont' work. I've tried, ... and I've got nothing."

There were some "No's" but Khalid silenced them.

"I do believe there is another way. I wish I was brave enough to explore it fully, but I'm not."

"What I am is a man with a sister in the hospital, a niece who is lost and confused, and a hope that I can make a difference. I'm going to go talk with the Beings in the Forest. My goal is not noble. I can't be my Brother in Law, so I'm going to find a way to bring him back. My sister and niece don't need me. They need him."

"No one needs me ... as much as he is needed, so I'm going to bring him home."

"What about the engines," one of the diehards asked.

"I ... I don't know. Believing they WILL be made to work beats having no hope at all."

Khalid didn't feel like arguing. He didn't have the time, or the will.

"That's all I've got to say. When ..." he sighed, "if I come back, we'll know more about what's beyond our enclosure and what we can do about it. Everyone take care now."

Khalid stood up and smiled.

"Time to go," he whispred to himself.

Khalid's feet didn't want to head out into the wild. They didn't want to turn away from civilization, and safety. The exemplified the mood of his baser instincts ... the will to live. Still, they finally obeyed and Khalid found himself taking small steps toward the woods. His strides lengthened. His pulse lightened and his gut unknotted from its intense fear. He felt the cool touch of the eves. Soon he was out of sight from the scar in the land that was the encampment. Funny that he would think of it that way.

The undergrowth lifted and the air smelled ... earthy. With one last step, the last of the sunlight brushed passed him with its warm and familiarity. Now was the realm of the unfamiliar and the fearful.

Khalid's pace slowed as he took in the granduer of the surroundings, the timber pillars holding up an leaf-filled sky. Resolve was fading and he checked his watch.

'Okay,' he mused. 'I'll wander around here for a few hours, not find anything, go home. I tried right?'

Fear fed upon fear and Khalid felt weak.

"No," he breathed out at last. "I've got to find Evan."

Khalid took a few more strong strikes. Thinking of Lila and Akilah drove him forward with borrowed strength and guilt.

'Hell, I might even get lost,' giggled the part of his mind already lost to the madness that lay beyond fear.

"Better not get lost."

Khalid picked up a branch of the tround and marked the trunk of one of trees, pointing to what he hoped was back toward the shelter of his fellow humans.

"Wouldn't want to be caught out here after dark."

You wouldn't want to be caught, whispered a voice to his soul.

"And now I'm going crazy," Khalid whispered to the dark.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...