Tales from her Sickbed…

DayJob is nightmarish:  all the of the IV rooms are, politely, “in flux.”  “We’re all screwed” comes closer but we are all trying to KBO.

I was visited with Faustina’s next adventure last night.  What I found entertaining was that when I sat down in front of the computer, I saw this, first.  More Faustina and her legions next time.  I promise!


Henge returned about two hours later with more soft food for her sister-in-law.  She did not speak directly with Shandor but it was apparent from Dorina’s conversation that he was present to her aunt.  They seemed to think Faustina’s prognosis was trending toward the good but would need Dorina to dwell in the injured girl’s body for some time over night.

Henge shifted the large covered bowl she carried in her left to her right.  Inside was a sweet porridge of cream and crushed fruit.  If Faustina kept it down they might try some soft cheeses with her dinner.  She paused just before entering the maintenance and office building so close to the one functioning fission core at Oconee, recalling the summons she had received from her husband.  He had just left the hospital and was on his way at high speed to the barely-used airport and requested she meet him there.  I sensed his urgency and only asked what I should bring – which was nothing – and remained silent until the two of us and a pioneer-medic from the Society were aboard the two-engine prop plane, with two bags of Gary’s medical supplies in the back.  Only when we were airborne and on our way over the Smoky Mountains did my love break the news of my sister’s injuries to me.

“You take such risks, my beloved new sister,” Henge whispered to herself as she pulled open the door.  “To what end?  Are you still so young you think you need to prove yourself to your family?  To mine?”

Making for the stairs on her right, she completed her recollection as she carefully walked up the two flights, not wanting to spill the bowl’s contents.  Arriving in the Savannah area, Gary eschewed his usual one or two circles to see the lay of the land but headed directly onto final at had once been the city’s airport.  Even so, Henge could clearly see the forests and marshlands to the east and southeast were still burning from the rod’s drop.   Wheels on the ground her young husband taxied them to what looked like a small aid station at the eastern end of the main runway.  Having spoken to his sister’s legionaries by radio once they were in range, Gary knew that he – and Faustina – was going to need outside help.

“And that means your aunt, Dorina,” he told her in the clipped tone he used only when very worried.  “We’ll have to move Fussy back to the northwest and the reactor there.  I just hope she can make it…”

Next to the aid station, propellers still turning, Gary and Corporal Mahan, their pioneer-medic, set about tearing out the seats in the back of the plane, making room for Faustina’s stretcher, which was being wheeled over to them.  Her brain and senses being made differently than humans, Henge could see at once that her sister-in-law would not survive the flight.

“She’ll be in arrhythmia in less than a minute, Gary,” she called clearly as he was about to take one side of the stretcher.  “You need to start an amiodarone drip and have an AED on her for our flight back up.”

Mahan was already pulling meds from one of the two bags.  Not bothering with her burned left, Gary tied off Faustina’s right arm to raise a vein just as the medic shot an only recently-expired vial of medication into a 100mL bag.  In no time at all, Mahan had it spiked and ready.  He was surprised when Henge took it from him.

“You climb in and prep the AED,” she ordered, “my man and I shall pass her onto you.”

He nodded and turned away as Henge deftly inserted the needle into Faustina’s vein before helping to move her unconscious body into the back of the plane.  Gary ran around the tail to the pilot’s door while Henge sat onto one bag with another under her feet.  Without a word or look to his sister’s troops waving, he pushed the throttles to full and spun them about for immediate take-off.

“People say he is so cold; standoffish,” Henge muttered as she moved down the hall to where Faustina was.  “They cannot understand just how much he cares for us all… and how that drives him!”

She again paused in the doorway.  Her husband was talking softly with a local doctor, a Black man from the Caribbean who spoke with that typical lilt in his voice.  Henge knew that Gary was a race realist, as they all were, but not a racist.  So long as someone could do their task well, he would work with them.  Being a mix himself with a demi-human wife gave him a broader perspective than most had, post-Breakup.

“Thank you, Doctor Pierrin,” he said quietly with a nod.  “I may need to call on you in a day or two, if you do not mind?”

“Not at all, Doctor Hartmann!” was his congeneal reply.  “Oh, see now!  Your wife has come!  I leave the Princess in good hands!”

He left the room with a smile to Henge.  Gary was frowning again.  His wife set the bowl onto the credenza and moved into his arms.

“You cannot stop it, Beloved!” she whispered, nuzzling his neck.  “Greater forces than Faustina are at play here!”

“Just what – ” he began, angered.

“Did you bring for me to eat, sister?” Faustina mumbled from the bed.  “I’m hungry!”

“As you have just had a salutary lesson, younger sister,” Henge smiled, breaking away from Gary and retrieving the bowl while her man slid a stool for her to sit on, “life comes at you fast!  It’s best to eat dessert first!  Ahhh…!”

“Hoy!” Fussy smiled around the mouthful of fruit and cream.  “Fis il lilly gut!”

Knowing she would laugh herself silly if she looked to her husband right now, Henge contented herself with another spoonful and another, “ahh…!”

“After I’ve fed Miss Poor Manners, here,” she called over her shoulder, “I’ll see if I can scrounge us up some food, too!”

The spoon paused before Faustina’s closed mouth.  Her eyes had a faraway look.

“Scrounging,” the damaged young woman finally said softly.  “My Sixth Cohort is the best at scrounging!  They had to be!  Given how I marched them!”

She took the last sweet bite from the spoon and closed her eyes.  Gary leaned back onto the wall by the window as they settled in for her next story.

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