‘My leg, my leg, MY LEG!’ screams one of the marines. I’ve just finished tying the tourniquet on his leg, pumped him full of Vicophene. Another few seconds, and he’ll…
‘My lepphhshssssss’ he says as he loses consciousness.
If he were the only one screaming, this would be peaceful. But he’s not.
‘Dammit, new guy!’ someone behind me yells as I wheel the marine I’ve just sedated closer to the wall. ‘Get him out of the way, and grab another one!’
The head doctor, Cones McBoy runs past, wheeling another marine, this one silent, in front of him. I catch a glimpse of the marine as they go past. He’s missing half his throat and one eye.
The AutoDoc for him.
I should back up a bit here. I should go back, tell you about the flight up, about how I gaped as I looked out the shuttle’s windows at the Endeavour floating above, the SS Gregory, my new home. I should go back, talk about meeting my coworkers and my boss on the landing dock, about shaking hands, learning names. I should tell you about the party they threw later, about the music and the drinks and the drugs.
But I can’t. I can’t take the time to reminisce about any of that. I’m way too damned busy!
An Idris, the UEE Jayz got hit by Vanduul, hit bad, and we’re the closest medical ship. Which means we’re on call. We’re at the edge of UEE space, pulling injured soldiers off a ship the Vanduul just wrecked, and they could come back to finish us off at any moment, and again, I don’t have time to think this way!
There are patients to save.
I’m a doctor now!
I trained for years, I know how to use all the most advanced technology. I know how to use an autodoc, and a hand-heal, and stimpaks and medkits. I even know how to increase regen speed for bio-enhanced soldiers.
But right now, the operating room is full, so here I am, in a hallway, sticking patients with Vicophene, trying to at least stop them all from crying so loud.
‘Hey, hey new guy,’ The voice comes in clear, overpowering the moans and groans from the dozen marines scattered around the cramped hallway. The mg.EarWorm implant does a great job of connecting all the medical personnel on the Endeavour.
Sometimes too good a job.
‘Hey, new guy, Brad here,’ the voice comes through.
‘Go ahead, Brad,’ I say, Vicopheneing another soldier. I’ve only got four doses left on me. I’ll have to go get more before I can fix the rest of the soldiers.
‘Okay, so, here’s a good one.’ Brad starts. I don’t know what he’s about to do, but damned if I don’t have time for it.
‘So, two humans, a Vanduul, and a dog, they walk into a pub.’
I stop tying the tourniquet I’m working on, wondering if I heard him right. He takes my silence as assent to continue his joke.
‘So, the humans sit down, and they order a beer, and they turn to the Vanduul, and say, hey, Vanduul, what’ll you have?’
Another soldier dealt with, stabilized till he can be pulled out of the line, fit into the autodoc. Bradley keeps talking.
‘So, so, the Vanduul, it picks up the dog, and it bites its head off, spits it out, and starts drinking its blood, right? And one of the humans goes, and he’s yelling, he’s like, Noooo, Bruno!’
What. The. Fu…
‘And the Vanduul looks down and picks up the dogs head, and it looks at its nose, and and, you know what it says?’
At this point I’m looking up and down the hallway, wishing there were someone else around. Is anyone else on the channel with us? Is anyone else hearing this?
And more importantly, what’s wrong with this guy?
‘So, so, it looks back up at the humans, and it goes, dog nose no blue, dog nose brown! and goes back to eating.’
‘Wow, Brad, that is…incredibly inappropriate right now’ I say, not knowing what else to do.
‘That’s what the second human said!’ Brad replies, laughing uproariously.
‘Okay, Brad, it’s official. You are literally the worst.’ I say.
No sooner are the words out of my mouth than I wish I could have them back.
A voice comes on in my ear.
‘Crew, this is a ship-wide broadcast. Emergency stations. All non-essential medical personnel to combat positions. We’ve got a flight of Vanduul incoming. Nine at least. Scythes and Voids. We will assist the UEE Idris in holding them off.’
Now for the big question.
Am I essential personnel?
I really have no idea.
Join us next week to find out if James is essential personnel in Episode 4: huh, guess I’m essential afterall!