Disaster Strikes: Episode 9

Mendels has finished shifting the patients willing to be seen by a channel into one side of the main medical tent. He nods his thanks to the last of the crew who helped set up the Simes' portable treatment room and to the two orderlies who've moved the first patient into it.

Anderson thinks that was a pretty pissin' poor job of moving someone around who's stuck in a bed, and hopes things are going to start going uphill from here, as they could hardly be much worse.

Mendels has been feeling oddly cheerful since his donation an hour or so ago, and is very much looking forward to observing the channel at work.

Mendels: All right, Hajene, we're ready for you.

Katsura looks to Nick, trying to look strong and optimistic. Actually, she's rather tense, afraid of being Genslammed.

Nick is sticking close to Kat's side.

Anderson doesn't know what's wrong with him, except It Hurts. He was pulled out of a nice warm house that had unfortunately collapsed on him. He suspects most of the damage was done by the pull-him-out crew.

Nick: Relax. If you're afraid, they'll think there's a good reason for them to be afraid, too.

Katsura follows Dr. Mendels into the treatment room. She starts to open her retainers, rather clumsy with inexperience.

Nick: Here, let me.

Nick works the latches on the first arm, and eases it open.

Katsura extracts her arm, and offers the other one.

Nick is glad that pre-warming the retainers by the stove, and wrapping them in insulating fabric, appears to have worked.

Katsura: [Simelan] I really appreciate your help with these shendi-fleckin things.

Nick: Part of the job description.

Nick works the other arm loose, and stores the retainers carefully in his satchel, where they should stay at least a little warm.

Nick: What's wrong with our first client?

Mendels: (softly, so patient won't hear him) Patient is suffering from abdominal injuries and crushed right leg. We will probably have to amputate the leg at the knee, unless there's something you can do. Assuming he survives the other wound, that is.

Katsura cautiously comes duoconscious, braced for the impact of the patient's pain. She's relieved that he's heavily doped.

Nick is helping quite a bit, as well.

Mendels moves closer to observe.

Katsura approaches closer, glad of Nick's effective support.

Katsura: Good morning, sir.

Anderson isn't so pissin' heavily doped he can't hear every word of this. And nobody's taking off his pissin' leg, either.

Mendels knows, realistically, that under his care this patient is unlikely to last another day. That makes him a good test case for what Katsura can do; there isn't really a lot to lose.

Katsura: I'd like to examine you now. I'll be using my tentacles, but you're perfectly safe with me. I'm a channel, and I'm sworn never to harm a Gen.

Katsura hopes she's come up with a reassuring line of patter.

Nick stays close to Kat's side, and tries to look harmless.

Katsura smiles reassuringly and slowly extends her hands towards the Gen's belly.

Anderson lowers his eyes.

Anderson: [very hoarsely] This gonna hurt?

Nick: Nah. You won't feel a thing. Close your eyes if you like.

Nick's Genlan is colloquial and unaccented.

Anderson has expended too much adrenaline already to react much.

Anderson: Whatever.

Anderson closes his eyes.

Mendels wonders whether to be more specific about the patient's injuries, or wait and see how much the channel can perceive for herself.

Katsura gently draws back the sheet and applies her Sime-hot hands and tentacles to the Gen's abdomen. She's quite nervous about extending her laterals, since there's no way to protect them in this position.

Katsura: I'm going to apply my laterals now. They may feel a little strange against your skin.

Nick offers ~~ encouragement and confidence ~~ to his support.

Anderson doesn't react physically or emotionally.

Nick also adjusts to give his signature "window".

Katsura extends her laterals and concentrates. What a mess. The patient has significant bruising not just to his skin and muscle, but to several internal organs.

Mendels observes with ~~ fascination ~~ . He hadn't dared to look too closely at what was happening during his own donation, so this is his first good look at live tentacles.

Nick is, of course, blocking most of Mendels's nager from Kat's perception.

Nick: [Simelan] How bad is it?

Katsura: [Simelan] Badly bruised internally as well as externally. Some internal bleeding that's stopped on its own from a small rupture of the liver. I can do quite a bit for this -- no necrosis or infection.

Katsura concentrates and enters healing mode, stimulating selyn production and encouraging the bruised organs to heal.

Anderson listens to this pissin' gobbledygook with utter uninterest, but does feel The Pain beginning to retreat just a hair. Maybe the pissin' drugs are kicking in.

Nick switches languages.

Nick: You're in luck, fellow. This is something Kat here can help.

Anderson says nothing. We'll see.

Nick puts an arm around her, that being less threatening for many out-T Gens than touching her tentacles, while being almost as effective.

Katsura stops after a short time. There's more work to be done.

Katsura: Sir, your internal injuries have begun healing on their own, and I've done some work to speed that process. You'll find that your urine is dark brown for a few days at least. That's your body eliminating the blood from internal bleeding. Don't worry about it, but be sure to drink a lot of water to help your kidneys.

Mendels stares in ~~ amazement ~~ . So quickly?

Katsura: It will take some time for all this bruising to clear up, and it will continue to hurt you, but less each day.

Anderson: Thanks, Doc. Leg?

Nick: We'll look at that next.

Mendels: ~~ eager ~~ and ~~ hopeful ~~

Anderson: No cuttin'! ~~ fiercely protective ~~

Katsura covers the patient, and then lifts the sheet over the leg.

Anderson's ~~ pain level ~~ doubles.

Katsura's heart sinks. The bones are broken in several places, but the serious problem is the torn skin and muscle, already necrotic and infected.

Nick blocks Anderson's nager, obscuring his window.

Nick: [Simelan] It doesn't look good.

Katsura: [Simelan] It might be possible... if only we'd started work on it when it was fresh....

Katsura, nonetheless, extends her laterals over the wound, without touching it.

Nick: [Simelan] We didn't. And if you spend all day trying to heal it anyway, the rest of the patients won't have a chance at your services. He can probably survive losing his leg, now that you've got his insides somewhat straightened out.

Mendels: The patient is a farmer. If you can save his leg...? ~~ hopeful ~~

Katsura: [Simelan] At home, we could save it. It would take a lot of time and effort, and the leg would never be full strength, with all that muscle ruined....

Katsura remembers to keep her emotions off her face.

Nick: [Simelan] At Sat'htine, you aren't the only First Order channel in miles.

Nick is doing his best to ensure that Kat is looking at this rationally, without letting her distaste for surgery or her knowledge of what might have been done if things were different interfere.

Katsura: [Simelan] Yes. You're right, Nick.

Katsura gently covers the leg.

Nick offers ~~ sympathy and respect ~~ for Kat's decision.

Mendels: Hajene? ~~ curiosity ~~

Katsura: I'd like to discuss this case with you, Dr. Mendels. Sir, I'll come see you again in a day or two if I can.

Anderson: Piss on that. Do I keep the leg or not? ~~ anger resentment ~~

Katsura would like to tell him it's up to Dr. Mendels, but it would be unprofessional. However, she'd rather not try to describe the situation to an angry Wild Gen.

Nick: Sir, if Kat had seen your leg a few days ago, she could have healed it. Now, in these facilities and with the staff at hand, we can't save it.

Anderson grits his teeth and decides it isn't worth yelling; obviously these people aren't gonna help.

Katsura is relieved that Nick handled it in a way that didn't cause the Gen to hit her with a blast of rage.

Mendels steps outside long enough to send in the orderlies to move this patient out and the next one in.

Katsura waits until the patient has been moved out, then turns and leans against Nick.

Nick wraps his arms and nager around Kat.

Katsura closes her eyes and tries to relax.

Mendels: The necessities of triage, Hajene. At least he'll live now?

Nick: He should at least be a better candidate for surgery, if he agrees to it. We might be able to help the wound heal afterwards.

Katsura: Infection has set in with all that necrotic tissue, but you knew that.

Mendels: The only reason I hadn't amputated already was that I didn't expect him to survive the day anyway.

Katsura: I think you can save the knee?

Mendels: I should be able to leave enough of a stump below the knee to fit a wooden leg to.

Katsura: Good. Poor man.

Nick: He's got a decent chance to survive, now. That's more than a lot of others have.

Mendels: Indeed.

Nick looks at Kat, letting her feel his ~~ concern ~~.

Mendels doesn't bother to mention that one of the comatose burn patients died while they were setting up the treatment module.

Nick: Are you ready for the next patient, Kat?

Katsura: Yes, I am.

Nick: What have you got for us, Dr. Mendels?

Mendels: The next patient is actually a bit of a puzzle. I did surgery on him day before yesterday, and he wasn't all that severely injured in the first place. But he seems to be getting worse, not better.

Katsura: What were his injuries?

Mendels: He was originally brought in with some cuts to his upper right arm. He came through the surgery just fine, but... well, take a look.

Katsura is confused -- what kind of surgery is necessary for cuts to the upper arm on a Gen?

Katsura: Pardon me, Dr. Mendels, but what surgery did you perform on this Gen?

Mendels: I had to pull out some bits of plaster before I stitched it, but I'm sure I got them all.

Katsura wonders about her medical Genlan.

Nick: Well, let's take a look at him, and see what we can find.

Mendels would, under other circumstances, be rather proud of the neat suturing job he did: six stitches to one cut, three to another, two to the smallest

Katsura: Oh, please tell me the patient's name, so I can call him by it.

Mendels: Jackson.

Jackson is entirely conscious and would sit up if he could use his arm to push up with, but he can't.

Jackson: So you're the Sime?

Nick: This is Hajene Kat. I'm Nick Reckage, her assistant.

Nick prefers that designation to "Donor" when working with out-T Gens who find the idea of donating upsetting.

Katsura: Pleased to meet you, Mr. Jackson.

Katsura has a flashback to her childhood, when early Genlan lessons included phrases like this.

Katsura: May I examine your arm now?

Jackson: Sure. Just be careful, huh? As you can see...

Jackson shows Katsura his arm, which is swollen to the diameter of his thigh.

Katsura nods.

Katsura: I'll be using my tentacles, and it's important that you not move while I'm doing so.

Jackson cracks a pained smile.

Jackson: Not what I had in mind.

Katsura smiles in what she hopes is a reassuring manner and gently takes the man's forearm in the same grasp as a transfer hold.

Nick checks briefly for Jackson's reaction, then opens a "window".

Jackson ~~ winces ~~ with the pain.

Katsura zlins carefully. It's what she expected -- the selyn transport conduit was severed, and unusually, didn't rejoin on its own. Selyn has backed up in the tissues, and the arm has "panicked" -- it's become swollen and painful.

Nick is ~~ steady and confident ~~.

Katsura releases the arm.

Nick: [Simelan] Is it an infection?

Mendels: ~~ inquisitive ~~

Katsura: [Simelan] No, the selyn transport conduit was severed and didn't rejoin. I can fix that then just drain off the selyn in a normal donation. It will heal before he's high field again.

Katsura, in her relief, has forgotten that for these Wild Gens, there's no such thing as a "normal donation".

Katsura: Good news, Mr. Jackson, I can heal this for you easily.

Jackson nods.

Jackson: What's needed?

Katsura: I'll repair the damaged selyn transport conduit, then take a normal donation to drain off the selyn. It will heal long before you're high field again.

Mendels: ~~ alarm ~~ skepticism ~~

Katsura suddenly realizes that too much of that was in Simelan, and turns to Nick for cultural interpretation.

Nick, at least, was prepared for the alarm, and manages to block a lot of it.

Jackson shakes his head.

Jackson: Say what?

Nick: There was a cut nerve that didn't heal right. That swelling is because the selyn in your arm can't move. Kat can heal the nerve, but the selyn -- and the pain and swelling -- won't go away very fast on its own.

Mendels: Hajene, are you sure this is necessary?

Nick: No, he could just live with his arm swollen to twice normal, I guess. It wouldn't kill him. At least, not very quickly.

Nick is using the word "kill" in its proper Genlan usage.

Mendels wonders, with a horrible sinking feeling, whether the Simes' whole offer of help was just a complex plot to get selyn from unwilling citizens.

Katsura: [Simelan] I better let you find out if donating is against his religion. Maybe it doesn't count if it's for medical reasons?

Katsura has learned about this religion thing Wild Gens have, but doesn't really understand it.

Mendels mentally kicks himself for his own gullibility.

Mendels: Jackson, you don't have to agree to this. ~~ protective ~~ hostile ~~

Jackson: Look, Doctor Whoever-you-are, I'm in favor of whatever it takes to get this arm down. If you got no treatment for it, I can't blame you for that. If they do,

Jackson uses his other arm to point at Katsura and Nick

Jackson: let them go for it.

Mendels nods stiffly.

Mendels: As you wish, then.

Katsura: Mr. Jackson, I will take both your arms like I did the right one, and then I will make contact with our lips. I will hold this position for a few minutes while I repair the injury in your arm, and remove the cause of the swelling.

Katsura hesitates.

Katsura: This includes what we call a general class selyn donation. I hope you have no religious objection, since it is for medical reasons.

Jackson: And that's going to fix my arm? ~~ incredulous ~~

Nick: Yes. With the extra selyn gone, the swelling should go down in a few hours. You can have the good doctor remove those itchy stitches, too.

Jackson's eyebrows go up.

Jackson thinks about it.

Jackson: You guarantee this is safe?

Katsura: Yes. I am a channel. I am sworn never to harm a Gen.

Katsura is glad it's safe for the Gen, if not necessarily for her.

Mendels: ~~ painful honesty ~~ I donated earlier this morning, and as you can see, I'm quite unharmed.

Jackson: And how fast is "not very fast"?

Nick: Weeks, if you're lucky. Months, if not. Never, if you're unfortunate. It's hard to tell, with nerve injuries.

Jackson looks at Mendels to get his opinion.

Mendels shrugs.

Mendels: It's your choice. I don't understand enough of the channels' methods to advise you.

Mendels is afraid this reply is cowardice, but he doesn't want to flatly forbid a treatment that might, after all, work, and almost certainly won't cause harm.

Jackson: But you agree on the weeks to months part?

Mendels: ~~ reluctant ~~ Since I wasn't able to diagnose your problem, I can't say. The stitches, at least, would be in for about ten to twelve days.

Katsura wishes the doctor weren't projecting his own fears of donation onto the patient. She thinks Jackson would have agreed long ago without Mendels' all too apparent reservations.

Jackson rolls his eyes.

Jackson: [to Kat] Do it.

Katsura moves the stepstool normally used to help patients onto the examining table to behind the head. This is an awkward position, but for a patient who can't bend his arm, it's one of the better ones. She steps up, bends over the Gen, grasps his arms gently but firmly, and extends her laterals.

Katsura: This will take a few minutes, please try not to move.

Nick: Might as well relax and enjoy a nap.

Jackson tries to relax, but napping is out of the question.

Nick settles into an appropriate level of ~~ support ~~, watching Jackson carefully for any adverse reactions.

Katsura steels herself for the worst, makes the fifth contact and zlins rapidly but thoroughly. She goes into healing mode and induces the cut ends of the conduit to grow the few microns necessary to appose, and causes them to fuse. She's pleased that selyn flow starts up, slowly at first, increasing towards normal speed. She rapidly but cautiously drains the Gen's GN-3 level and releases him.

Nick: There, see? The swelling is already going down a bit.

Jackson: Frankly, no.

Katsura notes that the arm no longer has the shiny, tightly distended appearance it had minutes ago.

Jackson twists his head to look at his arm without moving it.

Jackson: Well, I guess it is better at that. Still feels like hell, though.

Katsura: Now I will heal the cuts for you.

Mendels leans forward to watch this part.

Nick: Please, Dr. Mendels, give her some room to work.

Mendels backs away.

Katsura extends her laterals over the lacerations and heals them from inside out without touching them with her laterals.

Mendels watches from a few steps away as the cuts mend before his eyes. ~~ amazement ~~

Jackson continues to watch until Katsura is finished, then lets his head loll back on the cot.

Katsura: I think your arm will be back to normal size in a few days, but it will probably be sore a little longer than that.

Katsura is overestimating somewhat. Better the patient be pleased than disappointed.

Mendels isn't sure whether to apologize for doubting, or remain skeptical about whether the donation part was necessary.

Jackson thinks he may be feeling a bit better overall, not just in his arm, but figures it's just a matter of being given the good news.

Jackson: Thanks for your help, guys. [the names escape him]

Nick: You're welcome.

Mendels calls in the orderlies who remove the patient.

Katsura: [Simelan] Nick, do you want a break? You don't zlin tired, but I don't want you to exhaust yourself.

Nick turns to Kat.

Nick: It might not be a bad idea to take a short break, if only to answer the good doctor's questions.

Mendels is, indeed, bursting with questions.

Nick also thinks it wouldn't hurt to give Kat a few minutes to realize, on an emotional level, that she can handle these "Wild Gen" patients.

Mendels: I've got a pot of hot coffee going in my office, if you'd like to join me there.

Katsura: Nick, the retainers.

Nick looks at Kat, then Dr. Mendels.

Nick: Dr. Mendels, it would really be more comfortable for Kat if she doesn't have to wear those retainers. Perhaps we could stay here?

Mendels: I'll fetch the coffee, then.

Mendels slips out of the insulated space,

Nick takes advantage of the momentary privacy to assess Kat's condition.

Nick: How are you holding up, working on these Wild Gens?

Katsura: I'm afraid of them. It doesn't take much to slam me, and they have no concept of what they can do to me unintentionally. But once I start working, I'm all right, mostly.

Katsura takes Nick's hands.

Nick is ~~ Donor steady ~~, a nice change from their patients.

Nick: You should be leaning harder. It will help.

Katsura: I don't want to tire you out. It will be another very long day.

Katsura relaxes into the safety and comfort Nick offers.

Nick: I'm fine. I've worked a lot longer, and in worse conditions.

Katsura figures Nick is fine so far, but Gens have their limits. She doesn't want to abuse him like others have.

Katsura: Nick, you're doing very well in supporting me. I don't know how you can read me so well.

Nick slips his hands down Kat's arms, offering a transfer contact.

Nick: Here, let me try a couple of things.

Katsura wraps her handling tentacles around Nick's arms.

Katsura: Go ahead.

Nick starts experimenting, looking for the best way to steady Kat and increase her confidence in her ability to handle these difficult patients.

Katsura relaxes, enjoying the rising-field characteristics of his beautiful nager, but then starts worrying about their upcoming transfer.

Nick: Kat, this isn't going to help if you keep dwelling on negatives. Relax.

Katsura nods, does a breathing exercise, and tries to enjoy the present without thinking of the future.

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