How The Other Half Lives: Episode 8

Bart looks out the window of the rail car, nager vibrating with inexpertly controlled ~~ excitement ~~. This is his first view of a Nivet town.

Ammenia is very glad that on this side of the border, she doesn't have to sit on crates in the baggage car.

Marvin is also glad not only that his Gens are pleased, but that he's out of those fleckin retainers at last.

Bart looks at Marvin, and carefully tones down his excitement. He's three-quarters field -- Marvin helped him persuade the border people that he shouldn't have to start Donor school freshly drained.

Bart: I'm not projecting too loudly, am I, Marvin?

Bart speaks in Simelan and uses the term for excess nageric intensity comparable to loudness.

Marvin: No, Bart. You're fine.

Bart: Good. ~~ happy ~~ excited ~~

Ammenia: You're not required to be an emotionless automaton, Bart. You only have to avoid unduly influencing the Simes around you against their will.

Ammenia winks.

Bart: Yeah, but I don't know how loud I am yet. I need more practice.

Ammenia: Most Simes don't mind being influenced by positive emotions.

Bart smiles.

Bart: Well, I guess they'd be getting that from me now. I can't believe I'm really here in Nivet at last.

Ammenia: I hope it isn't a disappointment. Houses are houses, both sides of the border.

Bart: It's not the houses, it's the people.

Bart is delighted to see Simes walking around without retainers, and Gens acting normally around them.

Marvin: Well, we've got 43 minutes 22 seconds, provided our connecting train is on time, which it never is. So look all you want.

Iklinda sticks her head through the doorway and looks down the length of the car.

Iklinda: Hajene? Hajene! Oh, good, Graar said he zlinned a channel on this car. ~~ relief ~~

Ammenia comes to professional ~~ alertness ~~.

Ammenia: Is something the matter?

Marvin: [at the same time] What's the matter?

Bart also turns at the sound of Iklinda's voice.

Iklinda: Quincy -- he's our stationmaster, went up a ladder and fell off. He's out cold, and I think he broke his arm.

Marvin: I see. Well, I'll be glad to come and look at him, but I'm not licensed to do healing, unfortunately. Is he a Sime or a Gen?

Iklinda: But you're a channel. ~~ puzzled ~~

Marvin: I can only do selyn transport. Anyway, show me where.

Iklinda: Quincy? Oh, he's a Gen. Shouldn't even have been up a ladder, but all the Simes were outside.

Marvin gets up, motioning Ammenia and Bart to follow him.

Iklinda: Right this way, Hajene.

Ammenia reaches for the medical kit, then falls in behind Marvin.

Bart follows, wondering if it's okay to leave his pack -- his grandfather's Gen Army pack -- behind.

Iklinda leads the way off the train at her slow Gen pace.

Marvin wishes the patient had been Sime, as then Ammenia could have helped him heal.

Iklinda leads the little group into the stationmaster's office.

Iklinda: Right in here, Hajene.

Marvin: Thanks.

Marvin goes in and zlins Quincy, who is definitely unconscious.

Bart stays well back, tries to keep his nager ~~ neutral ~~ and watches Marvin and Ammenia intently.

Ammenia ~~ supports ~~ Marvin, to give him the best possible chance of zlinning what's wrong.

Quincy moans but remains unconscious.

Marvin: Well, his elbow is out. I can put it back in. It's just as well he's unconscious; this will hurt.

Ammenia: How much do you have to zlin while you're resetting it, Marvin?

Marvin: Not at all, once I get into position.

Marvin sits down on the ground, zlins very closely, takes a two-armed four-tentacled grip on Quincy's elbow.

Marvin: Okay.

Ammenia ~~ relevels ~~ Marvin, to keep him hypo.

Marvin pulls the elbow back into line with an audible crunch.

Bart flinches at the sound and tries to keep his nager ~~ calm ~~. He knows he's going to have to get used to things like this to do a Donor's job.

Quincy whimpers as he flashes the ambient with ~~ pain ~~

Ammenia's much stronger nager soaks it up, preventing it from reaching any Simes outside the office.

Ammenia: How high is his field, Marvin?

Marvin: I'd judge that he donated about a week ago. Let me go back to duoconsciousness; I need to get a closer look at that head injury.

Ammenia: All right. His nager should be over the shock of the resetting.

Ammenia neatly ~~ relevels ~~ Marvin duo.

Marvin makes the gesture for "Good job". He deep-zlins Quincy's head injury.

Marvin: Okay. The bump is just local swelling. It's the contre-coup that worries me.

Ammenia: Oh?

Marvin: When the left side of his skull hit the ground, it stopped moving, but the brain inside did not. Consequently, the brain bounced off the left side and slammed into the right. That's what's keeping him unconscious. I'll have to watch this for a while to see whether the cerebrum is swelling dangerously.

Bart doesn't follow Marvin's explanation because his Simelan vocabulary isn't large enough yet.

Ammenia: Should I have them send to the Sime Center for help?

Ammenia is aware that Marvin isn't a healer, and they have a train to catch.

Marvin speaks to Iklinda.

Marvin: Can you get someone from the Sime Center to come? I'll stay with the patient as long as necessary.

Iklinda: Uh, yeah, but it'll probably be an hour or more before they can get here. This isn't much of a town aside from the railyard. We share our Sime center with two other towns. They're a bit of a distance away.

Marvin: Well, there's unfortunately not much I can do for Quincy here other than what I've done. Hopefully someone will be here before that. Is there a telegraph line by any chance?

Iklinda: There was. Will be again, once the work crew finishes up. but it's out today. I'll send a runner.

Iklinda: (louder) Denna! Denna! You're gonna have to go after all!

Marvin: Absolutely. And make it a Sime, please. Your channel can reimburse him and charge it to the emergency account.

Ammenia: Yes, this definitely qualifies for "justified emergency augmentation".

Iklinda hurries out of the room.

Iklinda: Denna! Get your tentacles out of those files and get moving! Now!

Iklinda returns, grinning.

Iklinda: Smart kid. She left already, before I even knew you were here. There'll be someone along any minute.

Marvin: Ah, good. ~~ relief ~~

Ammenia: I'd like it better if he was showing any signs of stirring.

Ammenia frowns at their patient, ~~ concerned ~~ that this problem is beyond Marvin's skill (and license limitations). She's used to working with Firsts, who have a lot more medical training, and are allowed to use it.

Marvin: It's not how he looks at any given point that matters, it's how long he takes to rebound from it. Or so I understand, anyway.

Quincy twitches.

Ammenia: Is he coming to?

Ammenia much prefers that to the alternative.

Marvin zlins.

Marvin: No, he isn't.

Ammenia: Shen.

Quincy twitches again, then clenches every muscle.

Ammenia: Bart, come over here. We may require some extra hands.

Quincy begins thrashing, and tries to swallow his tongue.

Bart comes over, hoping he can do some good.

Marvin: Bart, take off your shirt; I need to pad his head.

Bart complies, even though it's pretty cold, and hands the shirt to Marvin.

Quincy sinks his teeth into his tongue. Blood begins to flow.

Marvin folds up the shirt small and very carefully inserts it under Quincy's head, moving his neck only the minimum amount.

Ammenia is ~~ supporting ~~ Marvin closely, to prevent him from being too badly affected by the convulsion.

Bart is trying to keep ~~ calm ~~, but this is pretty alarming. He knows Marvin isn't a practicing healer, but he and Ammenia seem to know what they are doing.

Marvin: All right. We've done what we can until the channel gets here. Normally I'd turn him on his side to help open his airway, but if he has a neck injury that would be a very bad idea.

Ammenia hopes that they have a First in the local Sime Center.

Bart shivers in his embarrassingly worn undershirt.

Arton opens the station door, sending a wash of ~~ calm ~~ and unhurried ~~ confidence ~~ through the ambient.

Arton: Someone sent for a channel?

Arton crosses the room with Sime swiftness and kneels beside the thrashing patient.

Ammenia: Yes.

Bart moves back out of the way, trying to zlin ~~ neutral ~~, and not ~~ cold ~~.

Ammenia adjusts her field to allow Arton to zlin the patient.

Arton: How long has he been like this? I'm Arton, channel Second.

Arton gently cups the patient's head with fingers and handling tentacles as he extends his laterals to zlin.

Ammenia: Long enough for you to be sent for. We've been here -- how long, Marvin?

Marvin: The seizure is now at 3 minutes 14.15 seconds, Hajene. I didn't see the patient fall, but I gather it's been about an hour. Marvin Gardener, Second, Selyn Transport Service.

Arton doesn't even glance up as his Donor catches up with him.

Arton: My bag, Merlar. The blue pill case.

Ammenia ~~ relinquishes ~~ her support to Arton's Donor, which lets her protect Marvin more efficiently.

Bart watches as an official in-T channel and Donor get to work.

Arton starts to reach for the pill case, then changes his mind.

Arton: Hold off on that for the moment. I'll get a pill into him later.

Ammenia looks at Bart, to see how he's taking all this.

Arton returns both hands to their original task, cradling the patient's head as his laterals shift minutely above the injury.

Bart is watching ~~ intently ~~, but his arms are wrapped around his chest, trying to get warm.

Ammenia catches Marvin's eye, then nods towards Bart.

Arton: (distractedly) Someone find a blanket for young Sosu, uh...

Ammenia: Or perhaps one for the patient's head, so Bart can have his shirt back?

Arton: Sure.

Arton's attention is mostly on the patient.

Ammenia: Marvin, will we be able to make the train?

Arton: I relieve you, Hajene. Go catch your train.

Ammenia takes a blanket from Iklinda, and holds it out towards Arton.

Ammenia: Bart's shirt, Hajene?

Arton: Mm-hmm.

Arton frees one hand long enough to take the blanket.

Arton: Go ahead, Sosu.

Ammenia leans forward and deftly removes Bart's shirt, helping to replace it with the folded blanket. She hands the shirt to Bart.

Bart shakes it out and puts it back on, gritting his teeth to make them stop chattering.

Marvin: Thanks, Hajene. Are we ready? We still have 17 minutes (shen the seconds, the train's not that accurate) to see the town, if you want, Bart. Or we can just wait here. Your call..

Bart: Uh, I guess we should get our stuff off the train.

Bart hopes Marvin or Ammenia will suggest some tea to warm up with.

Ammenia: There's time for a snack, first, I think.

Bart: That would be good. Or at least some tea.

Marvin smiles indulgently: when the emergency is over, a Gen's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of food. Still, trin is trin.

Ammenia: I haven't been here before, at least not long enough to figure out where the good tea shops are. Have you, Marvin?

Marvin shrugs.

Marvin: I suggest you follow your nose, or ask one of your fellow Gens here.

Arton doesn't even glance up from the patient.

Arton: Cloud and Whistle, two blocks down.

Marvin: Thanks.

Marvin heads off in the direction he thinks is most probably "down", based on the nageric glimpse he got.

Ammenia looks at Bart.

Ammenia: Ready to explore, Bart?

Bart: Sure!

Bart is getting back some of his earlier happy excitement at really being in Nivet.

Ammenia links arms with Bart, and saunters after Marvin.

Ammenia: Onward, then!

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