“OK, are you ready?” Richard asked his new associate, David Crestman. David was a recent graduate from medical school and was anxious to learn. However, he was not overly thrilled about having to do an autopsy at this very moment.
“As ready as I’m gonna be, I think.” David replied.
“Good. You can make the first incision then.”
Richard was a coroner with a few years under his belt, and doing this did little to faze him. Being a follower of Ghede also helped him stay calm in the face of death. In the shadowrunning circle, he was known as Reaper, but during the daylight he was a respected doctor.
David picked up the scalpel and positioned himself over the breastbone. There, the knife hovered.
“Oh, fer cryin out loud, the guy’s already dead. Cut him open so we can go home.” Dr. Sanchez prodded.
Just as David gathered the nerve to make the incision, the lights flickered and died.
“Perfect.” Richard muttered.
They waited in silence for a short while to see if power would return quickly. When it didn’t David spoke up.
Being a dwarf, the only thing Richard was able to pick out was David’s heat signature. He realized David couldn’t even see that much.
“Stay calm. There’s a flashlight on your belt.” Richard said as he flicked the switch on his own flashlight and scanned the morgue. He walked to the windows at the front of his office and it was just as dark in the street.
“Oh drek…” he said aloud.
“What’s the matter?” came David’s voice from behind him.
“The power’s out across the city…Shove Cold Cody back into the fridge. We have bigger problems to deal with.”
Richard helped lift the corpse onto the slab he had come from and rolled him back into bay 213.
“What did you mean by `bigger problems`?” David inquired.
“In times of crisis, we don’t cut open the dead, but patch up the living. I need you to grab the portable generator. It’s around the corner to the left, in the storage closet. It’s a big unit on wheels.”
“OK…what are you doing?”
“I’m going to ensure our safety from outside elements, and then grab some lighting…It’s going to be a long night.”
“But, my shift ends in two hours…”
Richard chuckled and rolled his eyes. “Not anymore, it doesn’t. Get used to it. Now go!”
David reluctantly ran off to get the generator. Richard closed his eyes and began muttering in Spanish.
“Oh, gracious Ghede, I call on you to protect those who are hurt, those who would help us and those who would seek solace in this city’s time of need. I would humbly request that you warn me if any souls would seek to hinder in our assistance, and I would offer my body as your vessel to assist me.”
On the astral plane, a man took shape, dressed in a sharp black suit, holding a cane and wearing a top hat and monocle.
“I have listened to your request, O Santero of Ghede, and your requests are granted. I shall warn you of any problems, and obey your commands if I must use your body.”
“Thank you, generous Loa.” Reaper said in his native tongue, as the Loa vanished to begin its patrol.
“Who were you talking to?” David asked, as he rounded the corner with the generator.
“My patron Loa, asking for protection.” Richard replied, as he headed toward the storage closet.
“I follow the path of Ghede. I’m a practitioner of what you call Voodoo. I call it Santeria.”
David was startled. He didn’t realize his first field teacher knew magic. “Ghede is the spirit of what?”
“He’s the Loa of Death and the Dead. Rather fitting, considering where I work, eh?”
David looked puzzled. “You worship the God of the dead?”
“Surprised? I don’t wear black, act all creepy, and tell people `You’re gonna die!`? A lot of people make that misunderstanding.”
Richard dragged out two lighting stands and handed them to David. “Hook these up.”
Reaching down to his belt, Reaper dialed into the emergency frequency. Numerous voices filled the air of the morgue, as the parameds scrambled to get themselves organized.
Richard listened to the conversations back and forth. “Yeah, the whole city’s down.”
“I’ll start grabbing beds.” David volunteered, as he sprinted off.
“Good man…” Bringing the radio to his mouth, Richard depressed the Talk button. “Dispatch, this is 7th street. We’re up and ready to receive patients. Have approx 30 beds.”
After a short duration, the reply came back “Copy 7th. Appreciate the help.”
Richard ran to the generator and plugged in the cable that lit the medical sign outside the morgue.
David was just wheeling out the first bed, when a man staggered in the front door. “Please help me…my wife’s trapped in the car…she needs help…”
“Where’s your car?”
“Outside your building, here.”
“OK, David, see if you can help this man’s wife, and I’ll tend to him.”
The chatter on the radio was increasing in volume, as mobile doctors were sent to locations across the plex. Richard became part doctor, part runner to steel himself for the influx of patients he was sure to receive.
Return to Story Page