There was always something…
Thankfully, the Troll Killers had shuffled off due to the kind intervention of three strangers, but now the drugs Richard had taken had kicked in. His headache was long gone, but now he felt like the walking dead (probably why Ghede didn’t disagree with the drug). If he were to sit down, he would fall asleep in minutes. So, he tried to keep busy. Luckily, there was no shortage of patients.
Each patient took a little longer to clear; as the more severely wounded ones couldn’t be magically healed for fear that Richard would be knocked out from the drain. A few times, David would have to nudge his boss to keep him aware in the middle of a procedure.
After nearly falling asleep twice, Richard finished sewing up a nasty gash in a patient’s side.
“David do me a favor…get me a large cup of coffee, heavy on sugar, and a snack cake or something. If I need to perform a surgery later I can’t afford to be snoozing.”
David ran off to the small room that held the coffeepot and snacks while Richard willed himself to stay conscious. “Here ya go.” David startled Richard awake a few minutes later.
“Fighting an uphill battle, my friend.” The tired honungan said, while shaking his head.
“Not one you’re winning by the looks of it.”
“Mmmm.” Richard said as he sipped the coffee. It was old, and he could feel the sugar grinding between his teeth.
“How much sugar did you put in here?” Richard asked looking down at his cup.
“You said heavy on the sugar…” David said with a smirk.
“That I did…Never had to chew my coffee before, but you know what they say about desperate times…”
Richard winced as he swallowed another mouthful of his thick coffee and took a large bite from his cream-filled confection.
“Who’s next?” Richard inquired to David.
David looked uncomfortable. “There’s a lady over there that looks pretty banged up, but…”
Richard looked at David with an arched eyebrow. “But…?”
“She’s heavily augmented…I think she may be a shadowrunner…”
“So? That whole Hippocratic Oath we took…Remember that? She’s in our clinic, so we are obligated to heal her. I’ll go take a look, if you’re uncomfortable with it.”
Richard scooped up his coffee and snack and made his way over to the Japanese woman sitting in the waiting area. He quickly switched to astral sight to confirm David’s suspicions. Her aura was full of black patches, showing the extent of her implantation.
“Hmmm…lots of metal in her.” He mused to himself. “Quite a lot of headware…I wonder if she’s some form of decker…”
He set his caffeine injection down on a nearby table and walked up to the chair where the tall Japanese woman sat. When she was sitting, and Richard was standing they could almost look eye to eye.
“Good evening, miss. What happened to you on this rather interesting evening?” Richard asked, while looking at the blood trickling out from around her right cybereye.
Machiko jerked awake with a start and tried to focus her vision as she assessed the person in front of her. A doctor…Well, she could certainly use that, or a mechanic she thought dryly.
“…What? Sorry doctor, I seem to have dozed of there for a while, what was your question?”
The exhausted dwarf peered at her for a moment and sighed “I wondered what had happened to you on this interesting evening.”
“I managed to fly for awhile when my bike had an disagreement with the rear bumper of a car. Mostly bruises, some cracked ribs and some minor glitches in my headware, my right eye seems to have taken a slight bump. I can’t feel anything from my left arm right now and I think I’m glad for that. But other than that it doesn't seem to be anything serious, all I really need is a working phone.”
The doctor (R. Sanchez according to the nametag) raised an eyebrow and gave her a once-over. Her biker outfit was torn in a dozen places and there were patches where skin showed through, not bleeding but seriously bruised, and her left arm was certainly in a serious condition, it was at least dislocated at the elbow.
“Miss, I...what is your name?”
“Machiko Tetsuhara Dr.Sanchez, but call me Maki.”
“Much better. Now Maki, if you call that nothing serious perhaps you should take a look in the mirror over there.” Richard pointed towards a mirror by the reception area.
Maki used her functioning cybereye to enhance the image on the far wall and swallowed audibly. The right side of her face was one large bruise, especially around the eye and her right temple, which contained her Jack. Blood had clotted around her eye and she had lacerations over most of her face, god only knows what she had looked like if she hadn't been wearing a helmet.
“My god...I certainly could have looked better couldn't I?”
Sanchez gave her a severe look. “You certainly could, I'll bet that you also have at least a small concussion, that would certainly explain the problems you might have with your cyberware, but only an examination will reveal that, come along, let's patch you up.
Maki gave the doctor a vane smile, he was certainly dedicated, if somewhat grumpy. “Then perhaps we could speed things up a little doctor, my biomonitor is fully functioning and it could give you some info.” She raised herself from the chair and almost fell forward as a stabbing pain shot out from her chest.
Her right arm lashed out and grabbed the chair in panic, her face went pasty gray for a while as she caught her breath and fought against the overwhelming urge to throw up. “God that hurt! Add at least one broken rib to the list doctor.”
“David! Get your butt over here!” Richard yelled. “And bring a gurney…”
David wheeled the bed to where Maki was and lowered it to chair level so Maki could seat herself on the gurney without too much strain.
“OK, I’m going to need you to lay back. Do it slowly, and carefully.”
The pain Maki was feeling was evident, as her face contorted to a grimace of pain as she lay back. By the time she was flat on her back, her face had gone ashen again and looked on the verge of blacking out.
“How you holding up, Maki?” Richard inquired as they wheeled her back into the main part of the clinic.
“To be honest, I’ve felt better.” Maki mustered through clenched teeth.
“So, what’s the situation?” David inquired.
“Maki here was in a motorcycle accident and walked here, when normally a moto-medic would have been able to get to her. Unfortunately, this isn’t normal circumstance, the Citywide medics have their hands full, and we’re not doing autopsies tonight. We have a broken rib, a dislocated or possibly broken arm, possible concussion and cybernetic damage. You give Maki a local anesthetic on her arm and check if it’s broken. If it’s merely dislocated, set it. If it’s broken we’ll deal with that hurdle when we reach it. I’m going to get a diagnostic machine to check for cybernetic damage, and a little something for her ribs.”
David filled a syringe to administer the local anesthetic. “What are we going to get for her ribs?”
“Magic stuff.” Richard stated.
“But…won’t magic be a problem?”
“It may be a little harder, but it’s the quickest way to get this young lady back on her feet. Besides, I’m getting something to make it easier on me to use my magic. Patch her up, and I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
David shrugged. “You’re the boss.”
Richard ran back to his office. He had removed all the furniture from his office and had erected his casa in the room. It was a circular hut that went from ceiling to floor, made of fabric stretched around a wooden frame. The fabric was treated with a chemical treatment Ghede himself had showed him, which had hardened the shell.
Maki looked from where she lay on the gurney and realized she had almost forgotten her satchel, she had too much sensitive equipment in there to risk it from vanishing.
“Excuse me, David is it? Could you make sure that my belongings go with me? I mean no disrespect to your security but I don't want to risk it getting lost.”
David looked at the satchel for a second before retrieving it, he gave her a worried look as he felt its weight and heard the sound of metal on metal. He sincerely doubted that she had any kind of normal tools in the bag, no normal person used that amount of cyber she had in her. “No problem miss.”
Richard stepped through the opening in the hut and the air changed noticeably as he crossed the threshold. Inside, the air smelled of incense and melted wax. The hardened fabric that made up the walls of the casa were painted with Ghede’s various vevers, for the various tasks the Santero might require the spirit for. The poteau-mitain, the axis of the casa, was a circular table with a pillar of candles and wax that rose up to the ceiling. Every candle burned, adding a strange glow to the room. The candles that made up the poteau-mitain burned in various colours, giving the casa an aura of mystical power. On the table, circling the poteau-mitain, were Richard’s offers to Ghede.
A half bottle of Jamaican rum sat on the table, with a shot glass on either side. Rum was Ghede’s favourite offering, and Richard ensured there would always be some there for his patron. The floor depicted the various renderings of Ghede in the lands he is known. Drawn in cornmeal, the images have never been disturbed. It was as if Richard’s steps were guided as he crossed the casa, as he had yet to accidentally disturb Ghede’s visages from the floor.
As Reaper made his way past the table where his offerings sat, a voice echoed within the casa.
“Hello, Santero! Would you stop and chat for a while?”
Reaper’s hand shot to his chest, as the voice of Ghede had startled him. Sometimes having an affinity for Ghede was a curse, as he just “dropped in” from time to time.
“I would, Patron, but I’m afraid I have mundane matters to tend to at the moment.”
He could feel the spirit assensing him, trying to gauge if he was simply making excuses. When satisfied that the Santero was really busy, the air lightened some. “Very well. Will you return later?”
“Yes, I will. I feel quite tired and when my duties allow, I will meditate with you to unwind.”
“Excellent. I will wait for you here then. Erzulie will be with me so dress well.”
“You will allow Erzulie into your casa?”
“Sure…call it a date.” Richard could feel Ghede’s grin.
“I have only what I wear, O Loa.”
“Well, you are a doctor…that’s a point in your favour…O, and stop being so formal.”
“Are you sure you wish me to drop the respect?”
Richard paused. “You’re a pleasure to speak with as always, Ghede.”
“Good. If you can’t dress the part, at least be respectful when the lady is here later.”
“I will do my best.”
“Yes, thank you for slowing me down, Ghede.”
“You are quite welcome. And bring another glass. It would not be fair to deny the lady a drink.”
Richard grabbed a short wand with a bird skull at the end, and a sphere of sandstone from a distant part of the globe (Ghede only knows where exactly).
Without another word, Richard quickly left the casa and made his way out to the main area where Maki was laying. Eric MacGregor, a doctor at the morgue, had finally arrived and was checking out Maki’s cybernetics.
“Eric! It’s about time you showed up. What’s the situation? And where’s David?”
David stood up from behind a counter. He was searching for a new box of bandages, apparently.
“I sent him on to other patients.” Eric stated. “He reset Maki’s elbow and then he went to check on a new patient who seems to have left a large patch of skin on the asphalt a few blocks away.”
“Charming…” Richard remarked.
“But David told me you were going to work your mojo on her ribcage, so I was keeping her still until you returned. I’ve patched the diagnostic machine to her biomonitor, and I’m waiting for the data to download.”
“Great. I’ll take over.” Richard said.
“OK.” Eric said, as he headed off to check on other patients.
Richard looked Maki over. The fibra-cast was in place over her dislocated elbow, to keep it stationary, and the larger lacerations were all bandaged up. All that remained were the subdermal injuries, primarily the broken rib.
“OK, this may look a little strange, but it’s just the nature of my magical discipline, OK?”
“You’re the doc. As long I’m able to move around, I’ll be happy.” Maki replied.
“Fair enough. People who don’t know me, or my tradition seem to mistrust Santeria, that’s all. I just wanted to warn you. Now, please don’t interrupt me as I’m casting, alright?”
“Not a problem, my ex husband was a mage, I know the drill.”
“OK, here we go.”
Richard brought up the straight wand with the bird skull and placed it on the center of Maki’s chest, just below the breasts. Richard closed his eyes and began rhythmically chanting in his native tongue. He ran the wand in small circles over her lower ribs and the eye sockets of the bird skull illuminated with magical power.
When he finished chanting, the light in the bird’s eyes faded and tendrils of smoke coiled from the empty sockets. Richard crushed the sandstone sphere with his other hand, and stood there silently, with his eyes closed.
After a pause, where he stood motionless, he opened his eyes. “How do you feel?”
Maki sat up. “Much better. Thank you.”
Richard tossed the inert wand into a nearby garbage can and went to grab the broom to sweep up the remains of the focus he used to help his drain.
Maki sat up on the gurney and closed her eyes, a command activated her Biomonitor.
SCANNING DAMAGED SECTIONS...
A comprehensive list of her cyberware and its functional status scrolled down in her field of vision, the scrolling stopped with an angry scarlet glow. Her bonelacing had taken some slight damage, 93% efficiency due to stress, or more likely she thought, due to broken ribs. Her cybereye was another matter altogether, three out of four circuits where shot to hell and most secondary systems where offline. It did work though, barely.
She stood up carefully, still feeling a little woozy from medication and had to catch her balance twice before she felt she could trust her feet.
“Whoa! Now that's what I call painkillers. I don't think I want to be walking home with this affecting my balance, to many predators looking for prey out there tonight.”
She looked over at a nearby table at her destroyed biker outfit and then at herself, dressed in a pair of briefs and a blouse. In order to take care of her wounds they had been forced to cut open parts of her outfit where the synthetic material and her skin had fused due to friction and where patches of gasoline had caught fire. Her body armor would be another expensive bill to pay.
“Hmm, not that I would be able to go anywhere dressed like this, might as well weather the storm here.”
Dr. Sanchez watched her as she put on her shoulder-rig and checked her oversized handgun, David had had gone several shades of white when she had pulled out her gun from beneath her suit when they wheeled her into the examination room. She had simply smiled and laid the gun aside at a nearby table, along with a lot of questionable items she had on her person.
“First of all Maki, I respectfully insist that you stay at least six hours for observation, and by that I mean NOT going around armed to the teeth scaring the rest of my patients. I think we could find you some clothes in your size, mostly standard issue lab coats I’m afraid, but that is better than traipsing around in whatever nothing you are wearing now.”
The last sentence was spoken with wry humor as he looked at the quite scantily clad elven lady, who looked like some bizarre centerfold from the Ares Guns R’ Us catalog, if you disregarded the bandages, bruises and the occasional scar.
Maki’s head whipped up at the remark and her cheeks colored slightly, damn she thought. I’m to damn old to blush like a schoolgirl!
“Hrmm, well, yes…Clothes would be appreciated, but I’d kill for a cup of coffee right now.”
“Dr. Sanchez, I hate to be the fifth wheel, and I certainly do not feel like being a good little patient and stay in bed for a few days. The night has barely begun and from what I know, and I believe you do to, from experience, is that this place is gonna get crowded before the night is over and you look somewhat understaffed, not to mention exhausted.”
“Probably, what’s your point?”
“I do have basic medical training and since you won’t let me go, not that I would be able to get anywhere right now, I thought that I might as well try pulling my own weight around here.”
Reaper smirked. “Medical training?!” he thought “She looks barely old enough to have graduated from college, never mind med school…Didn’t she say ex-husband earlier? How old is she really? …Damn elves…”
“If you’re capable, I welcome the help.” Richard finally said “Initially, I want you working with Dr. MacGregor as his assistant. He has many years of experience, and will serve as your checks and balances. If he thinks you’re capable enough, we’ll send you on your own, and with a little luck we’ll keep things under control.”
“Sounds quite reasonable, Doc. It’ll keep me from going stir crazy.” Maki replied.
“And the moment I see you straining yourself or clutching a healing wound, I’ll put your butt back in bed real quick. You’re still my patient first and foremost.”
Maki smiled and nodded. David arrived by her side with a lab coat and a Seattle University sweatshirt. “With the front window blown out, it’s sure to get cold…” he muttered while trying to keep his eyes from her form.
“Oh, and if you’re going to be working with us…” Richard stated to Maki “I’m Richard Sanchez, and my co-workers are Eric MacGregor and David Crestman. David, Eric, this is Machiko Tetsuhara, but it’s less of a mouthful to call her Maki. Now that the pleasantries are over with, let’s get to work.”
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