Mission of Mercy (poetlore and dunruffle)

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Dunruffle

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#1


The year is 2782, Humanity has expanded beyond Earth and into the depths of space. After the initial age of expansion, human kind has populated many different star systems thanks to hyper light drive technology. These systems were eventually united under one power, known as the Alliance of Democratic Systems. For many years the A.D.S flourished with peaceful advances in technology, medicine, and exploration. But as with all civilizations, peace did not last. In the recent decades, the outer systems have begun to rebel against the Alliance. The common outcry is that the outer systems are not given as much priority in trade, protection, and rights as the inner systems. While the Alliance tried its best to placate the masses, it was only a matter of time before something happened.

The event that started the revolution occurred in 2768. An Alliance frigate had cordoned off a space station suspected of dealing in illegal goods. A star cruiser attempted to flee the cordon and was therefore destroyed. It was only after the investigation was it found that the ship was a medical cruiser transporting sick miners in need of critical care. All 250 lives on board were lost. This sparked a huge wave of protests and violence against the Alliance. Eventually resulting in several outer systems to secede from the alliance and form the Confederacy of United Systems. 14 years later, the Alliance is engaged in a bloody war with the Confederacy.

The Andromeda:

Allegiance class Assault Cruiser
"Designed to operate independently or as logistics support for full scale planetary invasions, the newest assault cruiser from Chiang Heavy Industries is unparalleled in performance and cost. The Allegiance outperforms all competitors in the same tonnage range with a five star defensive rating, more than 40 1350mm warhead launchers in a single broadside, and vastly expanded cargo capacity for extended planetary incursions."



Klaxons blared and lights flashed as the cruiser Andromeda disengaged from warp speed. What had once been roiling lights and blackness was replaced by the starry expanse and a large vibrant planet below. Suddenly the hangar became a hive of activity. Dropships and starfighters were prepped for takeoff as engineers and flight crew double checked and tested the machines for flight. Troopers led by commanding officers jogged to briefing rooms as pilots donned flight gear. Pallets of ammunition, ordinance, and supplies were pushed across the floor by loader robots while intelligence officers compared reports and notes while walking to their offices.

Landing lights flashed in rows as several ships rose from the planet and glided into the hangar, touching down gently as their landing gear flexed and hissed to support their bulks. The ship ramps opened as medical personnel and orderlies rushed to assist the troopers and medics unload the stretchers of the injured. Those that could walk were assisted by the flight crew as they hobbled, limped, or hopped their way off of the transports. Hovercarts designed for transporting injured arrived and the stretchers were loaded on quickly and efficiently. Soon the hovercarts loaded with the injured and dying floated off to the medical wing.

The medical wing was a scene of organized chaos. Orderlies rushed about helping the injured to waiting areas as nurses prepared the operating tables and rooms for use. Surgeons donned their masks, scrubs, and gloves as they were disinfected in the clean rooms. Soon the medical bay was filled with the sounds of people pain, terse orders from surgeons, and shouts from nurses as they tried to help. One doctor broke away from a man that had his leg blown off from a landmine and swiftly walked over to a command console. Entering his entry code, the surgeon sent a message to the lead doctor. "Doctor Brandford please report to the medical bay as soon as possible. We are overcrowded and understaffed, our facilities are not meant to deal with frontline combat injuries. We are requesting your personal assistance as soon as possible."

PoetLore PoetLore
 
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PoetLore

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#2
Cassandra Brandford sat at her desk and was putting in status reports on the last few patients they had from the last wave of casualties. She had her hair pulled back in a thick braid and was tapping a pencil as she worked. She didn't have to write things down but she found it therapeutic and calming. She finished the last entry and sat back in her seat stretching her arms over her head. Dressed in her usual garb, a pair of blue scrubs and darker blue non-skid shoes, she didn't look like the seasoned, experienced surgeon and head doctor that she was. Upon being offered this position as head doctor, she'd been informed that she had been their first choice and she'd been honored to know it. Still, she was coming to understand why they wanted someone young, this was rigorous continuous work. She was going to grab something to eat, but that idea was nixed by the alarms sounding the arrival of ships in the medical bay.

She saw the flash of a communications alert and heard the voice informing her that medical bay was overrun. She was not surprised, but that didn't make it any less frustrating. She looked up from her desk and started to shout out orders to her crew here in the internal sick bay. "We have heavy casualties incoming. Harrison and Biggs, you will come with me to medical sick bay. Mason, Point and Graves, have every available bay ready and waiting for any criticals and if I send someone, keep them stable until I can get here."

She grabbed her scanner, a box of gloves, and a mobile surgical bag and headed for the door. She didn't look but she knew Harrison and Biggs had done likewise and were on her heels. They were well trained and a very elite medical unit and she was quite proud of them all. She almost ran to the medical bay and when the doors slid open she was dumbfounded by the sheer numbers of people crowded in the small area.

She didn't ahve time to look around for who had placed the call, she scanned the room and send Harrison one way and Biggs in another and she made a beeline for the man, that she could tell was going to bleed out without immediate assistance. She stepped up to the man who'd stepped on the mine and pressed her fingers together on his femoral artery and pinched off the flow of blood there. Her brown eyes met the young man's, "I am Doctor Brandford," she said, "Can you tell me your name?" she asked. Her eyes left his as she switched her right eye to scan mode and checked him for any internal damage. She didn't curse aloud but she wanted to. He had a ruptured spleen and a puncture to his diaphragm from a snapped rib. She looked around for another pair of hands.

"Can anyone break free?" she called out to those around her immediate area. "I need an assistant."

Dunruffle Dunruffle
 

Dunruffle

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#3
The young man was obviously in pain as he blearily looked around as he occassionally shook in agony. "M-m-my name i-is Bran-Brandon. Oh god it hurts!" He laid his head back down and gritted his teeth as he clenched the sides of the stretcher. A young private rushed over to Cassandra and saluted her. "Um..private Lee, Doctor. I was assigned to help as needed. I only have basic first aid training but I am ready to assist."

The moans and cries of pain and suffering filled the med bay as the last of the injured were brought in. A soldier carefully made his way through the mass of people and stood next to Cassandra. "Doctor Brandford, situation report for you. The amount of injured is beyond that of the capacity of this ship's med bay. These people were the ones stable enough to survive the trip up here. There are many more down on the planet that are not strong enough to make the trip up. Command has requested that you report to the field hospital planetside. The doctors there are overworked and understaffed as it is. Report to the hangar with whatever supplies and personnel you need when ready. Look for the pilot with the red helmet, he will be your ride down." The soldier gave another salute then left the medical bay.
 

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#4
Cassandra looked at the private and nodded, "Thank you Private Lee," she said and guided his hand to the part of the soldier's leg where she was manually clamping the femoral artery. "Keep that closed," she said letting go only once she felt him get a good hold.

She smiled then at the soldier, "Brandon," she said softly, "I'm going to take good care of you," she said and covered his hand with her own."

She looked up at the other soldier and listened to his report but her gaze quickly returned to the man lying on the stretcher. "Acknowledged," she said to the one giving the report, "Once I triage this may, I will return to the main medical bay and gather what supplies we can spare and report tot he hangar."

"Ok Brandon," she said softly, "I am going to put you to sleep, and then you will wake up feeling much better." She reached into her bag and picked up an assimilator and held it up to his neck. Instantly he fell asleep and she went to work at fever pitch. She first cleansed and then cauterized the stump that was left of his leg. She needed that bleeding to be staunched. She looked at the Private, "Private Lee, this man is in need of surgery. I am going to take him up to the medical bay once I finish here. Stay with him and watch his breathing. He's got a punctured lung and spleen. If his breathing changes alert me at once."

She left him with the heavily sedated man and then moved from patient to patient throughout the bay and she smiled at each patient, and asked each of them their names. She might be known as a hard woman, but her patients would never see that side of her. Her bedside manner was always full of compassion and kindness. It took nearly two hours to see everyone, but she did inf act see every single patient. She returned to the private and grabbed the stretcher, "He goes up first." she said. She started waking at a brisk pace back to the main medical bay.

"Harrison," she called out upon entering, "Surgical bay 1," She pulled the stretching into the bay and then looked at the private, "Private Lee, this is Lieutenant Harrison. Harrison, take him around and give him as much supplies as we can spare, blood, antibiotics, sutures and equipment." Harrison nodded and the Private followed.

She looked up and saw Graves, "Graves," she said, "Assist in here." She motioned to transfer the patient to the surgical platform and then covered him with the containment capsule. She sterilized the patient within the capsule and then slid her hand through the gloved ports of entry. "Punctured lung and ruptured spleen," she said in her normal matter-of-fact manner. She spent about thirty minutes repairing his body internally and checking for any other bleeding before she withdrew and left him in grave's capable hands. "There are 5 others coming up here, but you all can handle them. I am going planetside to help in the field hospital."

Biggs stepped forward. "Ma'am," he said, "I would advise against that."

She lifted a brow, "Noted, Biggs. You are in charge here until i return. We are at capacity now. I will deal with those on the ground." She nodded to the private and Harrison who were just finishing up the task she'd given them. "Time to take a ride," she said and started tugging on a cart full of supplies. "Once these supplies are on the shuttle, Private lee you return the medical bay and help where you can. Harrison you will be with me on the ground. Make sure you bring anything you need."

Harrison nodded and started pushing a cart. He wasn't someone who ever needed much, which was why she had chosen him to go along. he wasn't the most highly trained member of her crew, but he was unflappable and capable.

They loaded to shuttle and looked for a man in a red helmet, "You are our pilot?' she said by way of introduction, "We are ready to head planetside."
 

Dunruffle

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#5
The pilot looked at his flight log pad and nodded. "Alright ma'am, lets get you loaded. We are also flying a few intelligence spooks down so we might have to wait for their snarky asses." He helped Harrison load the cart onto the dropship and secured it. "I trust you have been on a dropship before? Strap yourself in, the planet is in the middle of a civil war and we might attract some flak on the way down." A group of three intelligence officers arrived and silently got in and sat down. "Alright, looks like everyone is here."

The pilot climbed into the cockpit and started the engines as the ramp closed shut. The hiss of stale air being pumped through the ship sounded as the airtight vacuum seals ensured that no oxygen would leak out in flight. The engines whined as the pilot cleared his ship for exit while the landing pad rotated the ship to face the exit. A few moments later, the ship lifted off and flew out the cruiser towards the planet. The first few minutes were uneventful, but when they hit the atmosphere there was turbulence. The ship shook as it broke through the stratosphere and soon the ride smoothed out as the land spread out below them. Through the small portholes in the sides, one could see the dull tan landscape as they descended even lower. Suddenly the ship jerked to the side and dropped in altitude as clouds of black flak erupted around them. "Welcome to Titus everyone." The pilot cheerily spoke through the intercom as he swerved and dived through the enemy anti-aircraft fire. The sound of shrapnel pinging off the hull caused one of the officers to nervously test his harness as another one puked into a barf bag. The last officer simply sighed and closed his eyes as they descended. Suddenly the flak stopped and a large city emerged on the horizon. "This here is the city of Tumpin, currently held by us but the rebels are always trying to gain a foothold."

Flying over broken skyscrapers and gutted buildings, they arrived at the forward operating base. A ground crew member with light sticks guided the ship to a landing spot and with a thump they touched down. The ramp lowered and let in the dry arid breeze as the officers unhooked themselves and briskly walked out the ramp. A sweaty portly man jogged over and have a weary smile to Cassandra. "Doctor Brandford? My name is Leon, I am the local administrator. Welcome to Tumpin, or whats left of it."
 

PoetLore

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#6
Cassandra checked off the items as they were loaded onto the shuttle. She wished it could have been more, but the Main Medical bay had to maintain a certain level of supplies. With a sigh she boarded and strapped herself in, "I have," she replied to his question. It had not been during combat but she had indeed been aboard a drop ship before. had he asked, she would possibly have informed him it was her favorite because usually you got to feel the air and the ride. She didn't mind choppy bouncy flights.

She sat with Harrison, who silently strapped himself in and then sat with his hands on his knees. Harrison was a very large man, and it always shocked her how well he was able to handle tiny instruments with those huge hands. She watched the three intelligence officers board and gave them all a nod. She didn't remark, but had to work hard to hide her smile at the barf bag, and testing the straps. Harrison never blinked she didn't think.

Once on the ground, it seemed as though the three intelligence officers couldn't wait to get off the shuttle. This time she couldn't hide her smile and even Harrison was grinning a bit. She looked up when she heard her name, "Yes," she replied when he spoke her name, "Thank you Leon," she said and extended her hand, "It's a pleasure to be here. Is the field hospital far?"

Harrison was already unstrapping the supplies and putting everything on the cart they'd brought along. "We have supplies and equipment, as much as the Andromeda could spare."
 

Dunruffle

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#7
Leon eagerly shook her hand and waved for a young boy to join them. "This is my apprentice Arlo. He may be young but he has a genius level IQ, perfect for handling administrative duties." The boy shyly nodded as Leon patted his head. "Arlo go help with the supplies." The boy nodded and went over to Harrison. Finding a heavy backpack, he lifted it up with ease and put it on. Leon smiled proudly as he led Cassandra out to a transport. "I consider him like a son I never had. He was born on a mining planet with heavy gravity, hence his strength for his size. I picked him up and he has excelled in his studies and tasks. He may be a little shy and quiet, but I think that is part of his charm." Getting onto the transport, Arlo helped Harrison load the cart on then took a seat next to Leon.

The transport rumbled to life and began trundling its way into the city. "Right now our main field hospital is in the old stadium. The main hosptial was hit by a mortar attack and we lost many of our good doctors and nurses. We have been relying on any personnel we can find. Luckily the organization Doctors Without Borders sent us some specialists so we caught a break there. Most of the patients we have are combat related injuries, but some of them either have some sort of illness or need special medicines. We are very grateful to have you here Doctor Brandford." The transport came to a stop at the gates to a massive stadium. The perimeter had been fortified with various barriers, guard towers, and razor wire. A pair of guards came out with bomb detecting equipment and after a quick scan waved the transport through. The transport parked in front of the main entryway and Leon stood up. "Arlo can show your man where to put the supplies. Let me show you around."

Walking into the stadium, they were greeted by a mass of humanity. People were camped out in bleachers and various stands as the main floor area was dominated by the makeshift hospital. Anti-bacterial tents covered the arena as generators provided a constant humming backround noise. The injured and sick laid on stretchers and beds, attended by various medics and nurses. "As you can see, we have had to make do with what was available." He led her down into the arena floor and guided her into a massive tent. Inside, a bank of monitors, datasheets, and communication equipment dominated on side. On the other, a row of desks were staffed by administrators as they talked with refugees. In the middle, a large holotable was surrounded by various medical personnel as they exchanged notes, compared data, or simply slumped in chairs as they tried to rest.

"This is the command center, any questions or needs you have someone can help you with." Leading her back out, they walked past rows of operating tents then entered a vacant one. "This will be your operating room. Anti-bacterial scrubbers keep most of the germs out but it is not as good as a sterile medical bay. You have the basic operating table, medical scanners, and tool drawers. Any specialized equipment you will have to get from the depot." As if on que, Arlo led Harrison inside and helped him set down the supplies. He then have a nod to Cassandra and Leon then dissappeared out the tent. Leon rubbed his hands together and looked at Cassandra. "Alright any questions or concerns?"
 

PoetLore

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#8
Cassandra smiled at Arlo and nodded, "hello," was all she managed before the boy skittered off. She listened attentively as Leon spoke and conveyed a lot of information that she needed, which she was grateful for. Sometimes you ahve to pry information out of people like they carried the key to life itself. She made note of landmarks and conditions as they rode in the transport, and nodded to Leon when it was appropriate. "I'm very glad to be of assistance, Leon," she assured him, "I intend to help as much as I can, including training your people if you would like me to." She was glad to see the security measures at the entrance, but gave them no other thought.

Once inside the stadium the enormity of the situation hit home. This was definitely a field hospital in every sense of the word. She had hoped there would be at least one actual sterile room, but that was not going to be the case. Her mind immediately shifted to extra precautionary measures that could be taken to overcome the less than ideal conditions. She watched Harrison go off with Arlo, confident that he would see to the supplies they brought with them, and she followed Leon.

"I see you ahve refugees as well as military personnel within the stadium," she noted, "I'm glad i won't be breaking any laws by helping them. I tend to deal with patients, and not their affiliation." He informed her that this was her main information center and she looked at everything with a nod and then followed him out again.

He showed her to what he termed as her operating room and she again looked around and made note of how they could improve and enhance the space to be more functional. He asked if she had any questions or concerns and she nodded, "You mentioned sicknesses," she said glancing at him, "Are any of there tents being used for containment? Or could they be?" she asked. "The doctors what were sent here from Doctors without Borders...how long can they stay? Is there someone who has been here long enough to give me an accurate assessment of the patient need levels across the entire hospital?" She was firing off the questions she'd been forming the whole time he was showing her around. "Sorry I tend to core dump...you have been very helpful and informative, but now I need a medical team member to fill me in."

She gave Harrison a nod in the direction of the operating table and he knew what that meant, and he began loading it up with her surgical tools and supplies.
 

Dunruffle

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#9
Leon nodded along to Cassandra's questions and stroked his chin. "Luckily we have not had any cases of virulent diseases. As cold as it may seem, those with advanced illnesses perished in the hospital. We have had some common cases of various bacterial infections and such, but nothing along the lines of any pandemic level threats. Those that do have an infection of some kind are kept in a seperate area. As for the Doctors Without Borders, they have been here for around a month now. They are supposed to have a new roster of doctors arriving within the next week to replace the first ones. As for patient needs, we have divided the field into seperate parts. One part is for disease treatement and containment. Another small part is for pediatric services. Another is used for non-critical injuries. And the section you are in is the critical care section, this is where the worst cases come. For a more detailed report you can go to the admin tent."

Arlo got a call on a pager and tugged on Leon's shirt. Leon looked over at the pager and sighed. "Sorry, a problem has come up with someone stealing supplies. Let me try to find someone to help you." Suddenly a booming voice echoed across the tents as a large man in combat gear seemed to be ready to fight a large orderly. "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN YOU CANT GIVE ME PAINKILLERS?! I AM A COMBAT MEDIC! NOT SOME DOCTOR'S BITCH THAT HAS TO SIGN A FORM FOR EVERYTHING." The two men seemed about ready to come to blows and Leon rushed over to push the two men apart. "GENTLEMEN! That is enough! Erik I implore you not to antagonize the staff, he is simply following protocol. Now if you need painkillers you can have some from the depot. The orderly smirked as the bearded soldier growled. "Fine..." The orderly walked away as Erik grumbled and turned to leave as well. "Actually Erik I have someone for you to meet." Half dragging him over, Leon gestured to Cassandra. "This is Doctor Brandford from the cruiser Andromeda. She has been sent to help us." Erik looked her up and down and rolled his eyes. "Great, another fancy pants doctor. I keep saying we need combat doctors. Not glorified clean room surgeons. She probably has never operated without a sterile environment, pressure sealed unit, or five other assistants." Leon simply smiled and patted Erik's shoulder. "Now now Erik." Turning to Cassandra, Leon gestured to Erik. "This is Erik Riktof, probably the most experienced combat medic on this side of the galaxy. He has been here ever since our forces were deployed to fight the rebels. Ask him anything you want, now I must go." With that, Leon and Arlo scurried away, leaving Cassandra with a glowering Erik.
 

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#10
Cassandra was very glad to hear they had their field hospital set up by generalized areas of need. That would make things much easier. She was also glad to hear that the worst cases were being sent to her. That is precisely what she would ahve requested, and more than likely insisted upon. He received a page and she nodded, "I can manage, attend to your business. I've already kept you longer than I should have, I'm sure."

Before she finished speaking she heard a loud voice cursing out an orderly. She lifted a brow and watched as the whole episode unfolded and just quirked a tiny sideways grin at the man's assertions. He was used to getting his way, and she had to believe he was good at what he did to ahve garnered such high praise from Leon. It seemed obvious to her he was used to people being intimidated by him, sadly she had never met anyone who intimidated her.

"Well Mr. Ritkof," she said giving him the same up and down assessment he'd given her. "Allow me to disabuse you of a few of your immediate assumptions about me. I have had extensive training in combat surgery, and I ahve served in similar situations to this on five other occasions. I prefer the sterile environment, for obvious reasons, as I'm sure even a combat medic would given the opportunity to have one at their disposal. There are ways to decrease contamination levels without the machines. If you are hoping to intimidate me by standing there all superior and scowling at me, you will ahve a hell of a long wait, because I've dealt with your kind so many times my head hurts. I am here, get over it."

She turned and went to her personal supplies and grabbed a vial of liquid pain killer and a syringe, as well a large bottle of oral pain killers. "I'm not sure what you need, but take these. I've already taken up your precious time, I'm sure I can get the information I need on my own. No need to bother yourself." She handed him the bottles and sterile syringe, "Perhaps you would be wise, Mr. Ritkof, to consider that someone might be a good ally before you push them away with your scowling. Have a good day."

She turned on her heel and left him without another word. If he chose to stay, she'd ask her questions, if he didn't she'd go to the command center and start pulling up whatever charts they have and making a list of immediate cases to be handled today.
 

Dunruffle

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#11
Erik grinned as Cassandra berated him and handed him the painkillers. "Well looks like we finally have someone who can handle themselves. You have no idea how frustrating it is dealing with doctors who come from first class medical schools and have never set foot in a less than sterile operating room. And these painkillers are for the boys who are not going to make it. I am not allowed to put them out of their misery so the best I can do is make them comfortable before they die."

Pocketing the painkillers he leaned against a pole and watched Cassandra. "So what was your last combat deployment? And getting sent out of your ship doesnt count. I mean actual up to your arms in blood, no clean instruments, honest combat medicine." Looking around he sighed. "We are lucky these Doctors Without Borders people showed up. All the other doctors did not know how to work outside of a professional hospital setup."

A young man who could have been no older than 18 showed up and saluted Erik. "Sir! Do you have the painkillers? Martin is about to go into convulsions if we dont give him something to sedate him." Erik handed the boy the bottle of pills, "have him take two of these. They should help some." The boy saluted the ran off. Erik sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Never gets easier seeing kids like him here."
 

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#12
Cassandra turned back from Harrison and regarded the other man with skeptical eyes. Was he being honest? Or was he merely trying to ease her ire? After a few moments of watching him she decided he was too tired for false anything, and she well understood that condition.

"I can handle myself, Mr. Ritkof," she assured him. "My last off ship assignment was at home actually," she said, "before I headed off world. There was a huge earthquake, and then looting and chaos. The unfortunate thing was the onset of so many kinds of viral infections. That was a different kind of combat, but it was just as intense. before that I was part of the medical team that was on the front lines of the intercontinental war, I was in Africa, the heaviest battle area." she watched the boy come in and get the pain killers. She frowned when he said what and who they were for. She turned to Harrison who already had three vials of medicine to hand her. She grinned at him and nodded, "thank you Harrison."

She handed him those as well, "This is my own personal cocktail for what you need. It will ease and sedate and it you give just a bit more than the 2 MG. it slows respiration and heart function, however you did not hear that from me. It is a pain killing sedative." her eyes met his and there was a look there that he'd realize said, if he ever DID say what she'd just said, she would deny saying it. "And no...nothing ever gets easier."

She watched the boy leave and then looked at Ritkof, "Any chance you can tell me how many criticals are here? I need to know how long I'll be at it today. I was told all the criticals were being sent to me here, but not how many that might be."
 

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#13
Erik shrugged and walked over to a console that was inside the operating tent. "This console here is connected to the admin station so mostly anything you need is on here." He typed in some things then list began filling up the screen. "Looks like there are five critical cases that need immediate attention. A head shrapnel case, two amputations, a major burn victim, and one that got exposed to poison gas. You can choose whichever you want first then the orderlies will bring them to you. You need an extra hand or are you and your man fine alone? I am only offering cuz I am off for the rest of the day."
 

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#14
Cassandra watched as he pulled up the files and nodded, "Much easier than going back and forth to the other tent." she said with relief and approval.

She gave the list a bit of thought, "Burn victim first. Best to handle that case before there is a lot of contamination in here." She looked at him, "How many hours were you working before this break," she asked with a raised brow, "Or do you want to make me prove what I've said by watching first hand?" there was a half smile on her lips as she spoke this last. She'd done exactly that to more than a few people who'd claimed they had this or that knowledge. It was never wise to try and make yourself sound important to her.

She looked at Harrison who just nodded, "Have a seat Ritkof," she said turning the chair around for him. "I may need to ask where something is, but you need to rest. Doctor's orders...at least for the moment."

She selected the burn victim on the list and set up the order for him to be brought to her operating room. She hesitated to call this an operating room, but since that's what they were calling it, she did as well. This was a triage unit at best, but, she had used worse things, so she was grateful for it. It wasn't long before two orderlies appeared with the burn victim.

She glanced at the chart she'd pulled up and then made her way over to the patient. "Hello Private James," she said with a warm smile and a soft voice. "I am Doctor Brandford and I'm going to be taking care of you." She blinked and her eye went into scan mode and she looked up and down his entire body. This poor man had been just waiting, with no treatment for hours and hours.. Her gaze met his again, "You don't have any broken bones or internal injuries, so that's a good thing. I am going to give you a powerful sedative so that you will be asleep while we tend your burns. Just relax.." She said as she injected the same cocktail she'd given to Ritkof into Private James.

it didn't take long to take effect, about 5 second and then she and Harrison went to work. They had been working together long enough that the big man almost always knew what she needed before she asked. "His right side is worse," she told him, "You start on the right, it's just going to need cleaned and then the salve," she said and he went to work. She took the right side and began to lift layers of dead, charred skin from the man's body. It was slow work but it was necessary. She kept the area irrigated and then places mesh bonding artificial skin over the areas. "Good thing you thought to bring this skin, Harrison," she said as she carefully applied it and then moved to the next area. It took over an hour to get the skin grafted to the burns, but then she started to wrap the areas with moistened gauze to keep pressure and germs away.

She moved over to the screen and highlighted the head wound and added that this patient was done and needed to be sent to recovery with instructions for when and how to change his dressings and to inform her of any fever or redness.

She turned to Ritkof then, "You do HAVE a post op area?" she asked before she hit send.
 

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#15
Erik watched appreciatively as Cassandra worked. Watching her and Harrison closely, he nodded as they finished. "Well you do seem good at what you do I will give you that." When they finished he walked over and inspected the dressings. "Pretty good job, I usually just treat the burns for until they get here. He is lucky to have you work on him."

Looking up he nodded as Cassandra asked about a recovery area. "Yes we do. We have modified the locker rooms to handle the worst cases. Disinfectant cleansers, sterilization sweeps, the whole nine yards. The rest are put in the recovery tent, its that big one in the middle. It's not as good as the locker rooms but its better than nothing.

The orderlies came and took away the burn victim and soon he was replaced with the head injury. The notes said he was hit by an airburst mortar and the shrapnel pierced his helmet and some shards were stuck in his skull. Erik looked over and frowned. "Ah I can tell an airburst mortar victim when I see one. See how the shards are in the top of his skull? An airburst mortar fires a shell that explodes above head height and rains shrapnel down below. Not that good against buildings or vehicles but deadly against ground troops. Even if they are in a foxhole they are still vulnerable."
 

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#16
Cassandra just nodded to the praise, "He's lucky Harrison had the forethought to grab the artificial skin. He'll heal faster, with less pain, and I won't ahve to graft skin from elsewhere, saving him the additional surgeries. Harrison is a good medic," she said with a smile to the man, "My right hand most of the time. I was busy tending the arrivals in our medic bay, while he gathered everything." He said they had a sterile room and she was glad of it. When the orderlies came she called over at them, "To the locker room area please. He's an infection risk."

She was reading the screen with the patient information when she heard Ritkof speaking about the shrapnel. "Well...weapons of warfare are meant to injure...and kill. Our direct counterparts..." She moved from the screen and over to the unconscious patient. She was glad he was already unconscious because she could just begin working without all the bedside manner. She blinked again and scanned his body, "Nothing broken anywhere else, just the head injury and that laceration on his arm there. He must have put his arm up..." she said, "Can you clean and suture that Harrison?' she asked as she blinked and her eye intensified her vision like a microscope. She grabbed the tweezers and pulled out the smaller pieces first, so as not to lose them when she worked on the larger pieces. She was quick and focused and no longer carrying on any kind of conversation.

After about a half an hour she was left with the last two pieces that were actually through the skull entirely. She carefully clamped onto the first piece and tugged gently and it came right out. She let out a relieved breath and then did likewise on the second but it wasn't as cooperative. She used a spreader to give her a little space in the wound and the last piece came out with a few more gentle tugs. She scanned the area again and saw nothing but flesh and blood and then she began to close all but the last hole. "I'm going to leave this in case there is swelling." She said and began to wrap his head in sterile gauze with gentle care. She pulled open a drawer in the table and pulled out another air syringe and injected him with a sedative and an anti-inflammatory.

She took in a deep breath and moved to the screens and updated his chart and poked the first amputation. "He'll have to go to the locker room as well." she said to the orderlies and waited for the next to arrive watching Harrison cleanup the table and disinfect it.

"Can I safely expect this to be a daily thing?" she asked. "I only just arrived in the area, so I haven't been briefed yet about the heaviness of the fighting or if there are any occasional lulls in the aggression. How long has this conflict been ongoing?"
 

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#17
Erik watched and shrugged when Cassandra asked him about the daily routine. "It varies from day to day. Some days the worst we have is someone getting sunburn. Other days this placed is at max capacity and you can expect to work 12-14 hour shifts. Those days are the ones that really test your fortitude." Erik reached into a pocket and pulled out a cigarette. He placed it between his lips but did not light it. "Don't worry about me smoking up the place. I am trying to quit. This is sort of like a half measure to stop me from actually lighting them. Plus they taste terrible so i will eventually start associating bad taste with smoking. Some shrink that passed through here said it might help. Hell if i know."

When Cassandra asked about the war, Erik sighed and leaned back in his chair. "Officially the war here has only been going on for about 8 or 9 months. Unofficially, this place had been a powder keg just waiting for a spark to set it off. This planet is one of the fringe territories, so there were already people grumpy about the trade situation and political weakness. Then the confederacy started sending in propaganda people to start turning the populace against the federation. It sort of worked. It basically split the population into two halves, federation loyalists and confederacy rebels. Eventually the rebels started acts of terror and sabotage against the government. That started about a year and a half ago. The local defense force tried to put a cap on it but for every rebel cell they destroyed, two more popped up. It came to a head when the confederacy snuck in troops and then launched a surprise attack on the capitol. From there full out war broke out and the loyalists called in the federation. The problem is that this planet is a mining planet, so there are tons of old mines, caves, and tunnels for the rebels to hide in. Also the confederacy regularly sneaks in supplies and weapons."

Erik rolled the cigarette with his lips and looked up at the evening sky. "What command is trying to do is find the rebel leader here and take him out. He is a confederate general in their regular army and he was sent here to take command of the rebels and organize them. What started out as untrained insurgents has been turned into a well trained and disciplined fighting force. Without his guidance, the rebels will fall apart and the federation can wipe them off the map. Its all good on paper but in real life its been impossible to get a fix on the general's location. One big fuckin wild goose chase..."
 

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#18
Cassandra listened to both his take on the war itself and on the easiest way to quit smoking. "I hope the suggestion works," she said of the tip about quitting, "You'll live longer, and that is good for me, since there is an obvious lack of good personnel here." She grinned and then stepped over to the table again when the next patient arrived. Harrison wasn't taking any down time, but was cleaning the disinfecting the utensils, tools and table between patients in an efficient no nonsense kind of manner. He had yet to speak, but that was normal for him. When he DID speak people took notice, and it was often accompanied with a shocked expression that he'd done so.

The man on the table was yelling at the orderlies to put him down and let him die. They'd strapped him to the stretcher so he couldn't really move but he was thrashing about like a wild beast trying to fight against his bounds. She stepped up to him and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder, "Sergeant Leonard," She said in that soft calming voice, "Please relax. I am Doctor Brandford. I will be taking care of you."

"I don't want taken care of," he said, "I want to die. I'm no good this way. I can't return to my unit. I can't return to my former life. Why won't you all leave me alone and let me die?"

She tipped her head, "What was your former life?' she asked.

He looked surprised that she'd replied in such a way and frowned, "I'm a Tactical training specialist. I have no other training except military and they won't use me now. There is nothing left." His eyes misted up and one lone tear fell and ran down the side of his face into his ear.

"I see," she said, "What If I were to tell you the Harrison there was a double amputee like yourself?"

Harrison scowled but he did not speak. The man looked at Harrison and frowned, "I wouldn't believe you."

Harrison gave the Sergeant's head a whack and in a very deep voice said, "Apologize to the doctor, boy."

Sergeant Leonard blinked and frowned, "Sorry Ma'am," he said and then looked back at Harrison, "It's true?" and when Harrison's hand lifted like he was going to whack him again he said quickly, "ok ok ok.

Meanwhile as this exchange took place, Cassandra scanned and examined the man's legs. They were a mess and the quick medic fix to stem the bleeding was a mess as well. But, the man hadn't bled to death so it was effective if not practical. she looked back at him and lifted a brow, "I can assure you, there are ways to make you function with little change to your ability. I do agree that they won't allow you to return to combat, but to training, I would ahve to think that would indeed be possible. The military hates to lose expertise. The only way to know for sure is to try."

He looked from one to the other and let out a slow breath, "Ok Doc work your magic."

Harrison looked at Cassandra and nodded. She smiled, "I have to ask two questions. Would you agree to implants? Or would you prefer a prosthetic? And two, Have you eaten today?"

He looked shocked at her question, "I can't afford implants," he said, "And no."

She waved a hand, "If you want them, I ahve them. No worries about the cost."

He blinked, "Seriously?' he asked, "Then yes I want them but how?"

She lifted a finger to her lips, "Harrison and I make them in our spare time. He's a genius and he gave me the nod. he chooses who we give them to, not me."

The Sergeant looked at Harrison and frowned, "Why me?"

Harrison didn't return the glance that deep voice just boomed out of him, "You said sorry."

Cassandra grinned, "We ahve to knock you out for the surgery, ready?" At his nod she injected him and he was out and she went to work on the stumps preparing them for implants. It was delicate intricate work to isolate the nerves, blood vessels and to fuse the bones to the implanted metal. it took about three hours in total but his body seemed ready and willing to accept the new legs. He'd ahve a bit of therapy necessary to get used to the way they were going to work and for his brain to send signals but he'd be fine she felt sure.

she went back to the screen and updated his chart and son the orderlies were back, "He can go to the regular recovery tent." She had highlighted the next case and was waiting for that patient to arrive, it was getting late but she wouldn't stop for the night until every one of those cases was handled.

"So," she said once again addressing Ritkof, "How long have you been here?" she asked pressing her hands into the small of her back. And....we are obviously going to run out of implants here...Harrison there is going to need a place he can 'shop' for electronics and metal...anywhere around town that would be good hunting?"
 

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#19
Erik have a small grin as Cassandra eased the sergeant's fears and offered him the prosthetics. "Good on ya doc. People dont realize that for some people the military is the only life they have. For some they cant reintegrate into society because their brains have been hardwired for combat. Others because they have no other marketable skills. He seems like a tough bastard, I am sure one day you will run into him and see your work pays off." He grimaced and took out the now soggy cigarette and tossed it in a waste bin. "Blech." He grabbed his canteen and took a swig before answering Cassandra's question.

I have been here since the regular forces got deployed. I am a SOG, part of the Special Operations Group. We have been hunting the general for awhile but with no luck. Damn frustrating." He looked over at Harrison and stroked his beard in thought. "Hrmm...I know refugees here often go out scavenging for supplies. I am sure if you bartered with them they could supply you with what you need. You could also try your luck with the quartermaster. He is a grouchy old bastard but you may be able to pry some leftover electronics from him if you sweet talked him."
 

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#20
Cassandra just smiled, "I know what it's like to have one calling," she said with a shrug, "And...my brother had a horrific accident when he was 17. He fell into the thresher and his legs were literally shredded. He had a similar mindset to Sergeant Leonard there, but a doctor offered him implants and it changed everything. So two doctors shaped my future, the medic who helped me chase down my mother's murderer and that doctor who gave my brother back his life. I'm in the healing business not life planning..."

He said he was a SOG and she lifted a brow, "It's never good when those anagrams spell weird things," she comments offhandedly. "So you actually go out on combat missions with the regular troops." She said with a contemplative look on her face. That's brave, and commendable, given your skills."

He said they could barter with the refugees or haggle with the quartermaster. She just grinned when Harrison huffed slightly, "Listen here you," she said to Harrison's back which was shaking with unheard laughter, "I COULD sweet talk if I had to...possibly."

Harrison turned around and lifted a brow and crossed his arms over his chest and gave her that look. "Prove it."

Cassandra made a face at him and somehow resisted the urge to poke her tongue out at him. "I could...probably...if I HAD to...luckily for me I can barter much easier." She looked away from the smug victory expression on Harrison's face and back to Ritkof. "I am...not particularly known for sweet talk, unless you are a patient, and even then...not so much." She admitted, "Still...because I am good at my job, people choose to help me." She shrugged and drew in a long breath as the next patient arrived. "I've always rather envied those girls who could look at a man and snap their fingers and have them swooning. Not a skill I ever learned."

She and Harrison went to work on the second Amputee. Corporal Davis was missing his right arm and leg leg below the knee. She offered him the same option but he declined. "NO offense ma'am," he said, "But I don't trust machinery as far as I can throw it. i'll take the prosthetics." She nodded and went to work preparing his arm and leg for that purpose. She didn't ahve to put him completely under, just heavily numbed the areas she was working on and carried on a flowing very normal sounding conversation, considering what she was doing. She found out he was married with his second child on the way, and listened to him talk about his lovely wife and daughter with a glowing smile and happy expression. "Guess my dad is going to get his wish, after all," he said when she was finishing up.

"Oh?' she asked lifting her head from the last stitch, "what's that?"

"To join his law firm," he said with a shrug, "The desk job is calling loud about now. Truth is, I didn't realize how hard it would be to be this far away from my family. Pay was good and the idea of being a hero was appealing. I'm a lucky guy. I have a good family waiting for me, and I am going home alive. Thanks Doc."

She just smiled and patted his good shoulder, "My pleasure Corporal."

He gave her a sheepish smile, "And Doc," he said, "I know plenty of guys who would fall at your feet if you flashed them that killer smile. Just sayin'.."

She chuckled, "Thank you," she said smiling at him, "That's sweet of you to say."

She moved over to the screen and edited his chart and highlighted the next and last case. The poison gas. The orderlies arrived again, "Main recovery please." And then waited for the next patient to arrive. She rubbed the back of her neck and rolled her shoulders. She gave Ritkof a glance, "How's the food here?" she asked realizing she was going to need something to eat soon. "Though I'd probably eat cardboard before long."

Harrison threw a supply box at her with a grin, "Very funny..."