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Man Down. Medic!

Posted on Sat Aug 1st, 2020 @ 11:00pm by The Narrator & Alison Bliss & Karen Dawson MD & Noah-Jade True & Daiyu

Mission: The Milk Run
Location: Hera - Serenity Valley (some distance from the original location)
Timeline: Day 12 - Late Afternoon

Despite the lack of engine noise from within the Echo, Kai didn’t hear the shuttle land. There was only the blood, the slow beating of Noah’s failing heart and more blood. Slippery fingers fought to stem the flow, an intent gaze tried to see the skin beneath the physical carnage and with every second she could feel the body beneath her growing cooler.

“Noah…” She whispered. “Doc’ll be here soon. Stay with me...”

"I'm not leaving," Noah muttered, but there wasn't too much conviction behind it. He glanced around the room at Kai and Daiyu and Alison, focusing on Alison. He had known her longer than he had known the other two women.

It was clear to see as the shuttle had flown down into the valley, drawn here by Alison’s signal, that there had been some serious damage done. Scorch marks marred the Firefly's rear end and smoke still faintly drifted out of a hole in hull of the Fortune’s Echo as it nestled in that hidden corner beneath the wide rocky ledge.

"Can you tell me his vitals?" The doc asked over the shuttle's comm as she attempted to dock the shuttle in a most precarious way.

Karen had gotten the S.O.S. message almost an hour after the incident, so the best the crew could do was temporarily stabilize Noah.

Alison was back in the infirmary with the radio redirected here, via intercom. She was watching Kai trying to stop the bleeding but it was just too much. They bandaged what they could but the bleeding wasn't stopping. Alison could only guess what was going on.

Turning to the radio, Alison pressed the button to talk.
"His temperature is down, heart beat is very high, we didn't measure it but it is something like twice as normal." She said over the radio. "He is constantly bleeding and we can't stop it." She added as an afterthought looking at Noah-Jade. As their eyes met she made two steps toward the engineer and put her hand on his shoulder.

"I'm docking now with food supplies," Karen said, mostly to imply those not doing anything, needed to unload. "Set up a dextrose/saline combo. One-thousand M-L push and I'll be there in a minute... Source the crew for an alternate bank, if the plasma fridge in the infirmary doesn't have his type."

She was already unbuckling her belt and pulling off the dusty outer layers of her clothes before she completed the locking phase of the docking procedure. "Also, pull out a set of scrubs for me, if you don't mind. Bottom, far-left cupboard."

Karen grabbed her messenger bag and the walkie, then darter off the shuttle in her blue tank top and boy briefs toot-sweet, leaving Jacob to pick up the slack.

"Don't talk magic to me." Alison barked into the radio as she moved to do as Karen told. She had only vague idea what Karen was talking about. Dextrose and saline... that was easy. The rest was not. So she fumbled around a bit and picked from bottom, far-left cupboard scrubs. She sighed unable to do more.

"She's asking if anyone's blood type O," Kai said, as she kept trying to stitch up the length of Noah's worst gash. "Doc's coming, Noah," she whispered. "You can make it."

There were two pints of O- in the plasma fridge, Karen knew. But at this point, as she came down the stairs of the cargo hold and ran straight into the infirmary, she knew almost instantly by how white Noah was, that it might not be enough.

"Right..." Karen took two deep breaths as she rushed to put her scrubs on. Then she smiled at a very weakened and groggy Noah. Sedating him in this state was truly the best call Kai made.

"Kai," Karen spoke calmly as if this sort of situation was an everyday thing, then took control of the situation by holding the sponge. "I think Noah will want a nice cozy blanket."

She looked to Kai as if to imply, He's in severe shock, but spoke as if she were a concierge that was concerned with a customer's stay.

Kai frowned darkly, but complied and went to grab a blanket from the lower cupboards across the room. She maintained the unhappy scowl on her return, handing the woollen item over for the doc to use as she so wished. "Here you go," Kai noted sullenly, but her gaze sought Noah's rather than Karen's, and the younger woman didn't bother to try and hide her fear for the engineer.

Once Kai had done her part, Karen looked to the woman with so many scars and gently pointed to the locked cabinet. "5-4-6-8 is the combo for the narcotics cupboard. If you don't mind, I need the Bozraphine. I think Noah would agree he'd be mighty comfortable if he didn't feel anything I poke, yes?"

A short sigh ensued, but Kai did as she was told and rallied back to the cause with a resigned nod. "It's bad," she muttered to herself.

Karen smiled down at Noah, her voice and presence letting him know he was safe in her hands. All the while she ignored the reality of the situation, at least for the moment.

Noah turned his head away at Karen's smile. He never trusted doctors who smiled at him, or talked like he wasn't there. His parents talked like that in front of Paul. "I got O positive," Noah added with a quiet murmur. Did he catch something about blood types? It was hard to hear. "My dad tested it. In case my sister needed." Did that even make sense? Whatever. It was too much effort to say it again. As much as this sudden hospitality scared him, he heard about a blanket, and he decided he would like a blanket. It was cold here.

Alison moved to the side and then toward the exit, not to get in the way. She stopped there watching everything happening. She knew it was late. Very late. She hoped though that Karen, now here, would patch up Noah-Jade, even though the engineer was in the bad shape. She saw similar cases back in the war but this wasn’t the war. She slowly inhaled the smell of blood and infirmary watching and waiting for good news.

Karen began to work. First applying a sheet of cellophane on the abdomen to force a cloth around Noah's belly wound. Then she began numbing several places of the leg so she could cauterize.

It was all just too much damage though. There were so many bad factors of sedating Noah, that keeping him awake was his best chance. But even so, awake and feeling/seeing an open flame scorch-close your open wounds was almost inhumane. No local would take even half the pain away to that sensation.

This is a Code Black, she heard her inner voice say.

"Hand me the cauterization canaster... looks kinda like a blowtorch and fire extinguisher rolled into one," Karen told to Alison as she ignored the voice. In wartime, yes. She would put this patient aside.

Not today, she thought silently to herself.

Alison nodded moving back into the room. Unlike before, she knew very well what Karen wanted, she saw that in use many times. Too many times. Moments later, she reached out, offering the item to Karen.

"Here." She said firmly. Alison face was neutral, she was aware how serious the situation was but she was not showing it. Karen needed support, Noah-Jade needed faith. She had both. "You are doing fine, Karen."

"Thanks," Karen nodded and then gave Noah a very genuine, sympathetic expression. "I can't treat your belly wound until I stop the bleeding on your leg, Noah... And the fastest and best way to do that, is to scorch-shut your cut. So I need you to be still as I do that."

"Okay." Noah responded with one simple word, eyeing the device that Alison just handed off. Honestly, he wasn't sure he could do anything but be still. His attempts at sitting up earlier had proved futile.

Behind Noah's head, Kai stood, stalwart and silent. At his single word of acceptance, however, the young woman placed both her hands firmly on his shoulders and leant forward to push down on him with more weight. There was no sense in lying, not in Kai's mind, but that didn't mean walking away. "I'm right here, Noah," she told him. "I'm not leaving."

Noah's shoulders tensed at Kai's touch, seemingly more concerned about that than the cauterization. He furrowed his brow in confused discomfort. "Nobody's leaving," he said simply. "We're stuck."

"Yeah, without you in the engineering, we are unlikely to fly anytime soon." Alison replied moving into Noah-Jade's view. "So no dying, understood?" She looked right into Noah-Jade eyes.

Karen reached for the protective shades on the tray and spoke aloud, "Everyone look away."

Without preamble, she turned the flame on and began a careful line down the wound. First by making sure all cloth was cut or pushed away from the flame. If Noah was screaming, she had already tuned it out.

It's too much damage. He'll bleed too much internally before you can get to it.

Karen ignored the logic. A team of five surgeons could get this win, she knew. But she was a team of one, and then a few medical techs - at best.

"Someone get a bag of plasma on this line," Karen ordered quickly once she saw Noah's complexion grow paler. Full well, she knew to use any plasma was a waste of resources.

Noah could smell the cauterization more than feel it. That was the part that concerned him. Had he broken his spine? Had his body already given up on him, given up on telling him about the pain... He didn't want to think about the fact that he was dying, but he wasn't dumb, not even in this state. His eyes widened. What would happen afterwards? He wished he were religious, so he could picture a heaven for himself and Paul.

As Karen gave her ministrations to Noah, all Daiyu could do was stare and watch. The sight of blood, the smell of charred flesh, the sweat of death... All of it made her eyes glaze over, putting her into a waking catatonic.

"Alison!" Karen instantly called to the only other useful person in the room, since Daiyu seemed lost in her own PTSD trauma. The doctor had no time to treat the crazy woman's issues, so she pointed to the plasma fridge to get Alison's attention.

"I need the plasma," Karen prodded once more and went back to cauterizing the gash on Noah's thigh and leg. She was almost a third-the-way done.

Alison moved to grab a bag of plasma and prepared it for use. "Here."

"Thanks," Karen spoke hurriedly when Alison hooked the bag of blood on the line. At this point, the doctor was more focused on keeping Noah awake than being pleasant.

Two-thirds the way done with Noah's massively long gash down his leg, was when reality finally caught on. Karen had stopped the bleeding, using the cellophane.

Visually, beyond the shiny see-through plastic, she could see massive purple skin forming around the wound as it gradually expanded. Karen cut the flame and made a gentle prod of Noah's stomach.

Those vibrant, confident eyes instantly turned sad when she looked upon Alison, then back to Noah. Karen fought hard against the tears forming in her eyes. Mourning and grief was for the patient's family. Not her.

Quietly, Karen went to the medicine cupboard, unlocked it, once more, and pulled out a fast-acting sedative. Best she could do at this point was send Noah to the afterlife in peace, feeling no pain and suffering.

"Got something to help with the pain in your tummy, Noah," Karen promised before she injected him. "Anything you need us to do while you sleep?"

"Sleep," Daiyu muttered. "Blood. So much blood..." Her entire body shuddered so hard it bordered on convulsing. "Blood sleep!"

Karen glared at Daiyu with much annoyance. Her crazy talk did nothing but agitate the situation.

"I stole..." Noah muttered, his eyes darting back and forth but not resting on any person in this room. "A locket... from the ship." He didn't want to die a thief. It was getting harder and harder to think, but he was thinking about Paul. He didn't think he'd go anywhere after death. Just darkness. But Paul was always the optimist and for Paul's sake he had to die good. There wasn't much he could fix, not much he could give back at this point, besides that.

Alison sighed and put a hand on Noah-Jade's shoulder briefly before she made a step back and looked at Karen. It was down to her to make the grim announcement.

Karen watched Noah's face turn white ash. His chest suddenly stopped rising. The doctor picked up his right wrist and felt for a pulse. After 10 seconds, she shook her head and began to unhood Noah from the IV line.

"He's gone," Karen spoke quietly. Her voice was a muddle of suppressed emotions waiting to spill out. But she would not let that happen. Not now.

Noah's body needed to be cleaned and prepared for burial. That was the least she could do for him.


Once Karen pronounced Noah dead, Daiyu completely lost it and began screaming at the top of her lungs with her hands clutched over her eyes. Somewhere amidst the screaming one might discern the word "no" repeated over and over again.

Alison hugged Daiyu, holding her face toward her chest with one hand and reached out and put the other hand briefly on Karen's shoulder, squeezed it, and then took it back to gently brush Daiyu's hair.

"It's all right. He didn't suffer." She said with an ashen tone.

Kai gently closed Noah's eyes, her movements slow, her form silent at the head of the infirmary bed. She neither flinched, nor spoke as Karen called it, or as Daiyu screamed, simply leant over and regarded the barely deceased engineer. He was cool to the touch, blood loss paling his skin, but he still looked like Noah. And all Kai could think of in that moment was that someone out there needed to know. His family needed to know.

He did suffer, she thought. And it definitely wasn't alright.

At first Daiyu's trembling was merely at witnessing Noah's demise, but it soon shifted toward the comforting physical contact from Alison.

"Bù xíng," she said, pushing away from Alison like a house cat threatened with water, "āi yā! Zhēn tăo yàn! Bùyào pèng wŏ!"

Alison was sad but now hearing Daiyu became even more sadder. She simply turned away and left the infirmary not even looking once at Daiyu.

She'd have told them it would all be alright, if she'd believed that herself. But Kai said no such thing. In the moment where everyone seemed to be losing their minds for good reason, she was the cool voice of logic and reason.

"We need to get help," she said, her voice loud in the room. Help and the two men they'd left behind. "I'm gonna take the shuttle. Who's with me?"



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