Pitch Black

by Brooder

8:00 PM


            "I can't believe this," Brooder said, applying another bandage to the injured motorist.  "How long has it been since we left?"

            "About 5 minutes," Sandy answered, swabbing the cut of a second motorist.

            The pair had left Sandy's apartment only to walk directly into a car accident.  Luckily, Sandy had brought her medic bag with her so the duo was able to do some minor first aid until further help could be sought.  But things were looking bad for Brooder getting home.

            "What about your friends," Sandy asked.

            "Can't be helped.  Hand me another sterile pad.  They know that I can take care of myself.  I'm just worried about my son doing something stupid to find me."

            "Son, huh?" Sandy asked, glancing at him.  "So you're married?"

            Brooder stopped his work for a moment.  When he looked at Sandy, the sadness was almost overwhelming.

            "Not anymore."

            He said nothing else and went back to his work.

            After a few more minutes of cleaning and dressing, Brooder finally stood up.

            "They should be good to go now," Brooder said.  "They should be able to make it to a hospital."

            "Should be able to," Sandy agreed.  "Where to next?"

            "Further into the city.  I'm willing to bet that a lot more people are injured and the medics are probably seriously overwhelmed."

            With that, Brooder picked up his utility bad, which Sandy had thankfully retrieved while he was unconscious, and began walking toward the city.


            Brooder turned to see another resident of the neighborhood running toward them.

            "Walking ain't gonna do you any good," the man said.  "You gonna need some kind of wheels."

            "Car's no good," Sandy said.  "The traffic is going to make it almost impossible to use any of the roads downtown."  Brooder nodded his agreement.

            "I know," said the old man.  "I got something better."


            Five minutes later, Brooder and Sandy were flying toward the center of town on a big bad Blitzen.

            Brooder expertly piloted the motorcycle through heavy traffic, keeping his eyes open for anyone that might be injured and in need of medical help.  While looking, he nearly missed an oncoming car that was swerving violently.  Luckily, he was able to veer clear of the car just before it smashed into a nearby building.  Brooder slammed on the bike's brakes and turned back to the accident.

            "Oh frag," he said when he saw the blood on the driver's side window.  "This one might be messy."

            "Get over there," Sandy said.  "I'll bring the kit.  And be careful opening the door.  His head may be resting against it."

            Brooder moved to the car.  Taking a look through the front window, he could see that the driver was not leaning against the door like Sandy had feared.  Instead, his head was rolling back and forth against the steering wheel.  Brooder slowly opened the driver door.

            "…wife.  Gotta…check my wife…" the driver was saying.

            "Mister.  Are you ok?" Brooder asked.  "Mister, I need you to look at me if you can."

            The driver slowly lifted his head to look at Brooder.  His eyes were definitely not in focus.  Blood flowed from a large gash on his forehead.  Brooder cringed as he watched the blood flow around a data jack.  Head injuries were always bad for people with cyber in their heads.

            "Please…check my wife," the driver said.  "In the back.  She's….pregnant…"  He then passed out, banging his head against the steering wheel again.

            "Dammit!  Sandy!  Hurry with kit.  This guy's hurt bad.  He's got cyber and he's bleeding from a gash in his head."

            Sandy moved next to Brooder.  She began to look over the man while brooder moved to the back of the car.  The man's wife was securely buckled in place.  She looked a little bruised, but ok otherwise.

            "Ma'am, are you hurt?" Brooder asked.

            "Just sore," the woman replied.  "But I've started going into labor.  We were on our way to a hospital."

            Great! Brooder thought to himself.

            "What I wouldn't give for a radio right now," Brooder said out loud.

            In response, a portable radio was placed into his hands.  Brooder looked at Sandy who gave him a little wink.

            "I work at a clinic, remember," she said.  "Never know when I need to call for Lone Star or an ambulance.  Dispatch should be on channel 3.  It's the emergency channel."

            Brooder chuckled.  He was meant to have met this woman.  That much was obvious.

            "Dispatch, this is an emergency call.  Over."

            "This is citywide dispatch," a voice responded.  "This channel is for medical and police emergency personnel only.  Clear this channel."

            "I have an emergency," Brooder replied.

            "I repeat.  Clear this channel or Lone Star will be notified."

            "Right," Brooder said, not in the mood for political crap at the moment.  "Like they have nothing better to do right now.  Listen up.  This is Army Spec Force 1st Lt. Phillip Duvall requesting emergency medical assistance.  I have an injured motorist with head cyberware.  His wife is currently in labor.  I have a clinical nurse assisting but I am not equipped to take care of anyone with cyber.  Now are you going to help me or not?"

            "Hold one," came the voice.

            Brooder was seriously hoping that the deal he had made with the feds was in place.  The deal allowed him to use his spec force rank and privileges in times of emergency without obligating him to the army.  He was willing to bet that right now his credentials are being checked.

            "Lt. Duvall?" the voice over the radio asked.  "This is dispatch.  We apologize for the delay.  We are ready to roll a medic to your location.  Where are you?"

            Brooder relayed his location to the dispatcher.

            "Ok.  That's good.  We've got several units not far from your location.  Stay on this channel and we will contact you.  Copy?"


            Brooder moved back to the vehicle.  Sandy had gotten the driver's bleeding under control.  The wife was still in semi-panic.  She was breathing normal now.  This probably meant that she was still short of actually having the baby.  Brooder hoped, at least, that was the case.

            "Sandy," he said.  "I got a hold of the city dispatchers.  They are going to send a unit over as soon as their free.  This is beyond us and this kit."

            "I know," she replied.  "But it's worse.  This guy is totally non-responsive.  He gives pain reaction, but I've got nothing otherwise.  This could be really bad for him."

            Brooder shook his head.  He couldn't figure out what he was doing.  He was a soldier.  A shadowrunner.  He wasn't a medic.  This was not something that he did on a daily basis.  Luckily, having Sandy made things easier.  He could take care of the minor stuff and let her handle anything worse.

            "Lt. Duvall.  This is unit M1-7.  Do you copy?"

            Brooder snatched the radio from his belt.

            "I copy, M1-7," he replied.  "Tell me you're on your way."

            "Roger that," the female voice said.  "I'm 60 seconds out.  What's the situation?"

            "Two motorists.  Male norm.  Mid thirties.  He has a bad head laceration and a datajack.  Unconscious.  Responsive to stimuli.  Female norm.  Early to mid thirties.  Pregnant.  Currently in pre-labor.  Unknown how long left.  No obvious injuries.  Over."

            "Not bad, Lt." the medic said.  "You've done this before."

            "Not by choice," Brooder said, meaning it.  "But I know what to do in an emergency."

            "All right," the medic said.  "I think I see you now."

            Brooder turned toward the siren he had heard building.  Coming toward the accident was single motorcycle with emergency lights.  He would make out the female medic driving.

            "Sandy," Brooder said.  "Help is here."

            The motorcycle pulled to a stop beside the accident.  The medic dismounted the bike and grabbed her kit.  As she knelt beside Sandy, she removed her helmet.  Brooder smiled.

            "We have to stop meeting like this, Jess."


Copyright 2002 - R. James.

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