Katsura is standing outside in the cold pre-dawn sipping a cup of hot thin maize gruel with plenty of salt.
Nick is standing by her side, but his breakfast is more substantial. He's put cheese and various other things between two slices of bread.
Mendels is still only half awake, but has already made one quick round of all his patients this morning. He hasn't even had time to think about breakfast yet, as he hurries towards the Sime enclosure.
Katsura: I hope more people will come here today, now that the word has spread.
Nick: I expect we'll get two types of patients: those whose injuries are too minor to get attention from the overworked Gen doctors, and those who can't be moved that far. The first kind will probably be more pleasant to deal with.
Katsura: Yes. If they're willing to come to us for minor problems, they won't be desperate, so they'll be the ones with more favorable attitudes.
Nick: If we get one of the other kind, don't hesitate to lean on me as much as you have to. You can't help anyone if you collapse.
Katsura: Yes, you're right.
Katsura hates being weak and dependent, but resolves to take Nick's offer, as much as she dislikes the necessity.
Nick hasn't worked very much with Kat, so he holds off on the rest of the lecture until he sees how badly it's needed.
Katsura looks off to the side and raises her arms to zlin better.
Nick adjusts his nager to clarify Kat's perception.
Katsura: Two Gens coming. One has an injured leg.
Nick: How badly injured?
Nick assumes not too badly, or their prospective patient wouldn't be limping along.
Katsura: Hm. Broken ankle, I think, but reasonably well immobilized. Let's go to the gate to meet them.
Katsura is referring to the opening in the rope barrier when she says 'gate'.
Nick steps up his ~~ support ~~ a bit, stuffs the last bite of his sandwich into his mouth, and moves with Kat to the "gate". He's well versed in the first priority of Donors in a disaster: don't let duty get in the way of at least semi-regular meals.
Frack tries to get a better hold on Frick. He's not real happy about the direction they're headed.
Frick picks up on Frack's disapproval.
Frick: [softly] Look, I don't like this any better than you. But it's better than waiting in line for three hours, or whatever, with the "minor cases". And it does hurt like hell.
Frack: Dyin' would hurt worse, well until it was done anyway.
Frick: Well, there is that. But why would the nurse back at the big tent send us here? Don't make sense.
Katsura: If we were in-T I'd go out to meet them and carry the man in.
Nick: If he's made it this far, a little farther won't make things worse. At least they don't seem to be carrying firearms. Can you zlin any knives?
Katsura: Just small pocketknives.
Frack has shot his share of berserkers and isn't about to believe there is any such thing as a "safe" Sime. He looks toward the tent that's getting closer with each step. How does he always let Frick talk him into these things?
Frack: I don't like it. Nope, I don't like it one bit.
Frick: Fine. Don't like it. Just don't stop moving.
Frack grumbles something about stupid ways to die and keeps moving.
Katsura: Do you want to go talk to them, Nick?
Nick: Perhaps I'd better. What state of mind are they in?
Katsura: The injured one seems resigned and determined but the other is doubtful and somewhat hostile.
Nick shrugs, then steps beyond the rope "barrier", hoping that his Gen-style winter coat will be at least somewhat reassuring.
Nick: Hello, there!
Katsura braces herself for strong reactions from the Gens.
Nick is well-practiced at ~~ supporting ~~ from a distance, and his considerable nager is between Kat and their prospective patients.
Frack looks up at what seems to be a real person. He still doesn't like it. He wonders if this is how they lure you in.
Frick: Umm, hello. Is this where the sn-- Simes are? Back there they told me I could wait or come here, my choice. I figured I'd check it out.
Frack: [mumbles under his breath] Check it out he says!
Nick: Well, most of the Simes are out spotting buried people with the rescue teams, but we've got a channel here who can help you with that ankle. How'd you injure it?
Nick takes the side opposite from Frack and provides a more physical kind of support than usual.
Frick: I was walking, and then there was a hole in the street where there wasn't any before.
Nick: Ah. Is it a sprain, do you think, or a break?
Nick proceeds towards Kat at a steady pace.
Katsura tries to look harmless, arms under her cloak. She also tries not to tense in fear of what these Gens could do to her nagerically.
Frack tries to see if there are any tentacles on the helpful guy. He almost trips doing it.
Frick: Break. My brother here put it back ---Arrrgh!
Frick radiates ~~ pain ~~ and ~~ fear ~~ as Frack's support vanishes suddenly.
Frick: Dammitall, watch where you're going!
Frick's ~~ anger ~~ covers the ~~ fear ~~.
Frack: I said I was sorry. ~~ embarrassment and a little peevishness ~~
Nick: Calm down, both of you. It's not much further. We've got a fire inside, and breakfast.
Katsura wonders whether she should drop hypoconscious until Nick is closer and less distracted.
Nick is managing to provide pretty decent support, considering the circumstances, although it's not perfect.
Katsura does a breathing exercise and resolves to let all these uncontrolled emotions wash over and through her. Well, it's a soothing idea.
Nick: I'm Nick Reckage, by the way, and over there is our channel, Hajene Kat Farris.
Frick: Pleased to meetcha. I'm Frick and this one here is Frack. That's what they call us anyhow.
Katsura: Welcome, Mr. Frick and Mr. Frack. We'll be happy to help you here.
Katsura wonders if she should offer to carry Frick to the tent. She suspects it's not a good idea, politically.
Frack looks at the woman with some ~~ suspicion ~~.
Frack: Yeah, I'm Frack. Are you the Sime?
Frack has let go of his manners in favor of his hold on Frick. He never was good at multi-tasking.
Katsura: Yes, I'm a channel, a sort of doctor. If you'll come with us, we have a treatment room set up inside the tent.
Katsura hesitantly gestures, tentacles in.
Frick: Go for it. I'm definitely not going back, no matter what.
Frick tries to mentally drag Frack along.
Frick: [whisper] Look, if you don't wanna, just back off and she can help me in.
Katsura can hear the whisper.
Katsura: If you wish, Mr. Frick, I can carry you.
Nick: Or I can help you in.
Frack: [also whispers] When did you go snake happy? I got you this far -- I ain't leavin' you now.
Frick: [ditto] Well then move your ass! I ain't got all day!
Frack actually is moving Frick's ass and continues to do so.
Nick: There's plenty of breakfast for both of you.
Nick has settled into the ~~ blanketing comfortable support ~~ that he usually uses in such situations, which is more than Tecton Donors are used to supplying over any significant length of time. He gestures for Kat to lead the way, figuring that their guests won't want a Sime behind them.
Katsura nods and leads the way, ~~ grateful ~~ for Nick's skill.
Mendels is so preoccupied with a mental review of the patients he'd like a channel's second opinion on, that he has no particular emotional reaction as he approaches the rope barrier.
Katsura zlins his approach.
Katsura: Nick, Dr. Mendels is here.
Frack keeps moving Frick along his chosen path. He still doesn't like it.
Mendels sees a group going into the Simes' tent and adjusts his course to follow them in.
Nick nods, but doesn't drop his support of Frick or Kat.
Katsura: If you'll just come in here with me, sit on the treatment table here...
Nick: Come on, it's just in here.
Nick steers Frick through the insulating curtains into a small alcove.
Mendels pauses at the doorway of the tent. After yesterday, he figures he'd better announce himself instead of just barging in.
Katsura: You were wise not to put your boot back on after wrapping the ankle. It has swelled and we would have had to cut the boot off.
Katsura is pleased that complex grammatical structures like subjunctives have come back to her.
Frick: Those boots cost way too much to let you carve them up.
Nick helps Frick onto the table, then lets go and steps closer to Kat.
Frack can't think of any doctor he's ever been to that was a woman. But then he's never been to a doctor.
Frick is ~~ relieved ~~ to be off his feet, as even his good foot is starting to hurt from leaning on it too much.
Mendels: (loudly) Good morning, Hajene. ~~ preoccupation ~~
Katsura leans a bit harder on Nick's field.
Katsura: Good morning, Dr. Mendels. I am caring for a patient with a broken ankle here.
Nick offers ~~ warm support ~~.
Katsura gestures her thanks.
Frack eyes the Gen and turns as the Sime greets the doctor.
Mendels: ~~ curiosity ~~ Mind if I observe?
Nick also manages to place himself between Kat and Frack and Dr. Mendels, without being obvious about it.
Frack turns to the newcomer.
Frack: Did she call you a doctor?
Frick elbows Frack and points to the obvious piece of doctor equipment around Mendels's neck.
Mendels: I'm Dr. Mendels.
Nick: Dr. Mendels, did you get the supplies we sent over?
Frack: ~~ relief ~~ Then you're gonna take care of Frick's busted ankle.
Mendels: Yes, we did, Sosu. Thank you. But I'm afraid I've come to ask for another favor.
Mendels turns to Frack.
Mendels: Don't worry. Your friend is in good hands with the channels here.
Katsura moves closer to Nick.
Nick puts a casual hand on Kat's shoulder, the better to block the ambient.
Nick: What can we do for you, Doctor?
Frack's ~~ relief ~~ is fast turning to ~~ frustration ~~ as his hope is dashed.
Frack: Look, are you a doctor or not? If you are, stop jabberin' and fix my brother's ankle!
Mendels: I'm not going to interfere with another doctor's patient.
Frack goes quickly from frustrated to ~~ pissed off ~~.
Nick: Mr. Frack, this could take some time. Why don't you go around the corner and get yourself some breakfast?
Frack: I'm stayin' right here.
Frack eyes the "doctor" who won't doctor with real ~~ contempt ~~.
Mendels: Hajene, Sosu, when you're done here I was hoping to borrow a little of your time for several of my patients over at the main tent. But first, may I observe here? ~~ curiosity ~~ hope ~~
Katsura feels an impolitic, but justified, desire to demand Frack and Mendels leave at once.
Nick looks at Kat, letting her make the call.
Frack figures the pain from the broken ankle has scrambled his brother's brain or something.
Katsura: Dr. Mendels, it is somewhat crowded in here. Perhaps later?
Nick: You should get some breakfast while it's still hot.
Katsura: Our cook is very good.
Frick waves his hands over his head and shouts.
Frick: Stop it, all of you!!
Frack: I said I'm staying. ~~ determined ~~
Katsura winces and trembles. She leans a little harder on Nick.
Nick puts an arm around her, working to repair the damage.
Frick: Frack, if she don't want you here, out you go. What good can you do against a Sime, anyway?
Frack looks at his addle-brained brother.
Mendels: Are you sure you wouldn't like to join me for some breakfast, young man?
Katsura leans on Nick physically, too.
Nick: If you don't want to go eat then could you please stand over there, where you're out of the way?
Mendels: Let's get both of us out of the way so the channel can do her work for your friend. Come on, let's go eat.
Frack: I can bend her boyfriend a little if she doesn't do right by you.
Frick: Shut up, Frack. Miz -- I didn't get your name, you look like you need peace'n'quiet to work, right?
Katsura: Yes, I do. I am Hajene Katsura.
Frack: [mumbles] And they call me the dumb one. All right, you want to play with the Sime you go right ahead.
Frack's stomach growls.
Nick is ~~ relieved ~~, but doesn't let that disrupt his concentration.
Mendels: Let's go eat.
Mendels gestures for Frack to precede him out of the cubicle.
Frack makes his way out the "door" and doesn't even look back to see if Frick cares.
Katsura is still trembling, but much relieved. She'd like to turn to Nick for a few minutes, but thinks it will distress the patient.
Frick is mostly ~~ relieved ~~ that his needs are going to get tended to, dammit.
Nick ~~ steadies ~~ Kat, and adjusts his nager to provide a clear "window" zlin of the ankle, while still giving some protection from Frick's emotions.
Katsura: Mr. Frick, may I examine your ankle?
Katsura shows her hands, without actually reaching for the ankle. Her tentacles are retracted.
Frick: Do whatcha gotta, Miz Kat.
Frick shuts his eyes to see if that helps, but it doesn't.
Katsura nods and approaches.
Nick: Mr. Frick, Kat isn't going to hurt you.
Katsura: I will examine first without unwrapping it.
Katsura drops hypoconscious and grasps the ankle in hands and tentacles.
Nick is a bit surprised at Kat's dropping her hold on him, but catches on quickly, and prepares to take up the support again when she decides to zlin.
Katsura is surprised that Frick doesn't appear to react to her use of her tentacles, and cautiously comes duo again. Leaning on Nick, and with a sense of extreme vulnerability, she extends her laterals above the bandages.
Nick watches Frick out of the corner of his eye, trying to guess how he's going to react.
Katsura zlins the ankle carefully, and decides on treatment. She retracts the tentacles and steps back.
Nick adjusts his support accordingly, to a general blurring that offers protection without messing up perception too badly.
Katsura: Mr. Frick, it is not a serious break. The bones have remained correctly aligned so it isn't necessary to set it. I will splint it and wrap it again, so it will be more comfortable. If you wish, I can also use channels' methods to reduce the swelling and speed the healing
Frick: Actually it was Frack who set it. So he did a good job, huh?
Katsura: He did a very good job of wrapping, although with the swelling the bandages would soon become dangerously tight. But I believe the bones never moved out of alignment.
Frick: Umm, does that mean you gotta touch me with those tentacle things?
Katsura: If you wish me to use channels' methods, yes. Otherwise, no.
Frick takes a deep breath and figures, in for a penny, in for a pound, and hopes the pound doesn't come out of him.
Nick: It will heal faster if Kat works on it a bit, but your long-term health isn't going to be affected either way.
Frick: Do it. The sooner it's better, the sooner I can get back to work on the house. Frack can't do it all.
Katsura: Nick, would you help Mr. Frick lie down, so his legs are supported?
Katsura figures it will be easier on the patient to be touched by a Gen man.
Frick: Oh, and Frick ain't my name, so calling me "Mister Frick" sounds kinda, well, dumb. Just Frick.
Katsura: Okay, Frick.
Katsura gets a splint and some suitable bandages from the supply cabinet.
Nick helps Frick lie down.
Katsura cuts the knot on the bandage and gently unwraps the ankle. She supports it in a less painful orientation with some small sandbags.
Nick stands by Kat's side, more or less between her and the majority of Frick's nager.
Frick opens his eyes and stares at the ceiling fixedly.
Katsura: It will help if you try to stay calm and think of peaceful things. My tentacles may feel a little strange on your skin, but it's important that you not move, because you can injure me.
Nick hopes that Kat will have the sense to make sure that Frick can't move before extending her laterals.
Nick: It won't hurt any. Just think about that nice breakfast you're going to have when we're done.
Frick thinks of a few days ago, when his worst problem was giving the house a new coat of paint. Now it needs to be disassembled and put back together from scratch.
Katsura grasps the ankle as tightly as she can without causing further pain, girds her loins mentally, cautiously extends her laterals, then applies them to the Gen's skin, gritting her teeth.
Nick modifies his "window" effect to allow her to work, and projects ~~ calm ~~, hoping to do something about those gritted teeth.
Katsura appreciates the ~~ calm ~~, but it has only limited affect on her tension. She's surprised how much fear she's feeling, and it's not from the Gen.
Nick shakes his head, and reaches to ~~ focus ~~ Kat's attention on the job at hand, hoping that will distract her from the things that could go wrong.
Katsura performs a breathing exercise, goes into healing mode and begins to work on the broken bone.
Frick keeps his attention on those ~~ relaxing ~~ days of yesteryear.
Katsura gradually becomes so focused on her work that her tension fades. She leaves the bone and begins work on reducing the swelling of the surrounding tissues.
Nick: See? Nothing to it.
Nick is addressing both Frick and Kat.
Katsura notes a tangible reduction in the diameter of the swollen ankle and adjusts her grip.
Frick is ~~ jerked ~~ out of his dreamland by Nick's voice.
Frick: Hey, that feels some better.
Katsura has done some work on the nerves, soothing them and reducing their tendency to send panicked messages of pain and injury to Frick's brain.
Frick unfortunately also notices the laterals on his ankle and the handling tentacles wrapped around his calf.
Frick: You don't gotta pin me down like that, though!
Frick tries to wiggle free, but of course his lower leg doesn't move.
Katsura withdraws her laterals at the first sign of a wiggle, and releases the leg.
Nick: Hey, hold still.
Frick: Oh. Sorry.
Frick thinks, "Now he tells me."
Katsura: It is necessary to hold your ankle steady while I work on it.
Frick: Okay, okay. I won't try again. Keep working on it -- or are you done already? ~~ concern ~~
Mendels, who has fled the kitchen area (and Frack) in search of a little peace and quiet, approaches the treatment tent once more. He hears raised voices and hurries in.
Katsura: Perhaps a few more minutes.
Katsura grasps the leg again, waits to make sure Frick is settled, the extends her laterals.
Mendels: Is everything all right, Hajene? ~~ concern ~~
Nick reaches his free arm out to halt Dr. Mendels.
Nick: We're doing fine. Careful, there.
Katsura: I am almost finished.
Nick is not able to be quite as fancy with his nageric work in assistance of Kat's efforts, since he has to spare part of his concentration for blocking Dr. Mendels' nager, as well.
Katsura is not happy about having the excitable Gen present, but she did tell the patient she would do a little more work on him.
Nick judges that giving Mendels the opportunity to watch a relatively simple channel's healing might calm his enthusiasm for watching more complicated sessions.
Mendels watches from the doorway of the cubicle. ~~ fascination ~~ fear ~~ curiosity ~~ courage ~~
Katsura would like to tell the doctor to stay where he is and stay calm, but thinks that would get both out-T residents upset. She cautiously enables healing mode, and continues her work. She isn't aware of the somewhat comical look of concentration on her big nosed face.
Nick has no intention of letting Mendels come inside the alcove.
Mendels sees the swelling of the ankle visibly diminishing. ~~ amazement ~~ curiosity ~~ Without conscious decision, he takes a step closer to see better.
Nick: Stay back, please.
Nick gestures for Mendels to return to the doorway with his free hand.
Mendels: ~~ startlement ~~ Oh, sorry. ~~ embarrassment ~~
Mendels backs up as far as the doorway.
Nick manages to field the startle pretty well.
Katsura figures that Mendels can only become more disruptive. She checks her work, pleased at the Gen's response to the therapy, and releases him.
Frick: All done?
Nick is ~~ relieved ~~ that it went so well, despite distractions, and that he can now focus exclusively on protecting Kat from the other Gens.
Katsura: Yes. We'll just splint it now. You should check that the bandages don't become too tight if the swelling starts up again. You don't want to cut off circulation to your toes.
Nick: Especially not in this weather. Frostbite is no fun.
Katsura: Yes. Be sure to keep your foot warm, and don't stress it too soon. It will heal faster than it would without the channel's treatment, but it will still take time.
Katsura is splinting and bandaging the ankle as she speaks. She hasn't done this for a long time, but skills learned in First Year are not forgotten.
Mendels watches with ~~ approval ~~ as the channel does a very professional splinting job.
Katsura: If you like, come back in a few days and if we are not too busy I or another channel can treat the break again. Or if you have other problems with it, come back.
Frick gets down from the table and tries putting weight on the bad foot.
Frick: Hey, no pain! ~~ surprise ~~
Frick walks about the tent.
Katsura: No, don't do that!
Nick: Don't forget that it's injured. Take it easy.
Frick: It feels totally okay, though.
Frick slows down a bit.
Katsura: You must rest it, or it will not heal properly.
Frick: Okay, okay. Where did you leave Frack? I'll scrape him up, go back home, and lie down for a while, okay?
Katsura: You want to work, to help Frack, but you must be careful or you will prevent good healing.
Frick: Gotcha. I'll lay low today and then start in easy tomorrow. If the house don't fall on us, anyway.
Katsura: Do not walk or put weight on it more than absolutely necessary.
Frick: Until when?
Katsura: At least a week until you can walk freely, and you must avoid anything that twists or bends the ankle for at least three weeks.
Frick: A week!?
Nick: It would've taken a lot longer to heal, without Kat's help. Right, Dr. Mendels?
Frick: Okay, you're the doctors. A week.
Frick figures at least he can help by telling Frack what to do.
Katsura: Frick, one thing I did was stop the pain. Pain is your body's way to tell you that something is wrong. Since your body will not tell you, you must tell yourself. If you overdo it, when the pain comes back it will be much worse.
Mendels: In which case it will be much longer until you can return to work.
Frick waves his hands over his head again, but doesn't yell this time.
Frick: Okay, okay, I get it. No getting up except to piss for a week. Frack's going to be real happy about this one. ~~ frustration mixed with acceptance ~~
Nick: Tell him it could have been a lot worse.
Katsura: I hope he will be happy that it is only a week, not a month.
Frick: Or two months. I'll make a point of that.
Katsura doesn't know how long a fracture like this would take to heal on its own. She's winging it.
Frick: Can I at least walk to the mess tent so I don't have to sit on my ass here till he decides it's safe to show up?
Katsura: I will ask someone to help you. Maybe we can find you a stick to use, too.
Nick: There's certainly enough scrap wood around, in the ruins.
Frick: Fair enough. Thanks, Miz Kat.
Katsura: You're welcome. Please tell other people that we helped you, and will help them.
Frick makes a "You betcha" gesture and finds a chair in the corner where he'll be out of the way for a bit.
Katsura: We will send someone to you.
Nick: With breakfast.
Frick settles down for what he figures will be a loooong wait.