A Bloody Mess Pt. 3: Second Shower

Everyone knew Doctor Cody for his eternal grin, positive attitude and good nature. The enormous man never failed to brighten anyone’s day the moment he entered the room. Few had seen him in full emergency mode, however. Only those that had witnessed such a spectacle recognized his brutal military training and his astute leadership skills. Tonight was one of those rare occurrences.

“Don’t waste time yodeling!” he barked as Tragedy and Roach carried Sy into the med bay. “Put her in the shower! Roach, go grab all the mineral water from the canteen you can get your hands on! Tragedy, for heaven’s sake, get as much of that stuff off her as you can! And do NOT turn on the water if you don’t want to kill her and yourselves along with her!”

Tragedy and Roach put Sy up against the wall of the shower. Roach actually reached for the tap when Tragedy slapped his hand away. “No water, idiot!”

“Right! Right. Makes you forget how much we rely on the taps, huh?” Roach said with a halting, uncomfortable chuckle. “I’ll run to the cantina. You towel her off.”

As Roach left the room, Tragedy grabbed a pile of towels and frantically tried to get as much of the red goop off of Sy as he could. He went slightly red himself when he got to her chest and apologized awkwardly. Sy made a kiss at him and chuckled weakly. She was fighting to stay awake at this point. Cody walked into the bathroom carrying a large syringe. “You need more nanites, and you need them fast,” he growled. “Tragedy, don’t stop what you’re doing. Sy, this goes into your heart, and it’ll hurt like a bitch. No time for better.”

Sy nodded and gritted her teeth the best she could. Cody laid his arm across her collar bones and held her against the shower wall, the red water leaving streaks on his white coat. “One…” he said, and she closed her eyes. “Two!” He swung the syringe down, the needle piercing her chest mercilessly. It felt nothing like the gunshots. She hadn’t even felt those until she noticed them due to sheer adrenaline. This was a red hot poker of agony that penetrated her to the core. She screamed in pain, her tiredness momentarily banished by a fresh jolt of adrenaline. As it turns out, it wasn’t just her own. “This shot comes with a healthy dose of epinephrine,” Cody said. “If you pass out, your chance of survival cuts in half. Works better than a double espresso.” But most of his usual humor was missing from his voice.

Sy felt the rush spreading from her chest. It made it easier to keep her eyes open. It also made her more aware that Tragedy was now vigorously toweling her inner thighs. She tried to make a smart remark, but couldn’t get more than a croak past her swollen tongue. “Don’t speak,” Cody said immediately, and grabbed around her mouth with one massive hand, forcing it open. “You must have ingested some water. Blood can’t get out your tongue. Whatever this stuff is, it’s a coagulant.” He immediately stood up, still talking as he walked to the door and dragged in a small kart. “Nanites are confirming that right now. They’re starting to generate anticoagulants. But you need an extra shot of those, because…” He pulled a thin syringe with a long needle in a plastic baggy from a drawer. “...if you get clots in the brain, you’re dead. Tragedy! Tilt her head away from me and hold her steady!”

Tragedy obliged without a word. As Cody approached Sy with the needle, Roach suddenly appeared in the door opening. “I got water!” In each arm he carried two gallon-sized boxes of mineral water. “Be ready with it in 12 seconds!” Cody barked. He slid the needle into her neck. Sy could feel it sliding through her muscle tissue into the vein, but the adrenaline was preventing her feeling the worst of the hurt. When he depressed the plunger, it hurt far more than the insertion, and she almost felt like she was going to pass out from the pain. “Stay with me, Syiandra!” Cody removed the needle and put a self-sealing patch over the injection point, which had immediately begun dribbling blood. “I am not done with you! Roach, the water!"

Roach set the boxes down by the doctor's feet. He quickly grabbed the first box, popped off the cap and commanded: "Head forward! Roach, clippers!" Sy obliged and leaned away from the tile wall. She yelped as the icy water was poured into her neck. Roach's apologetic voice came from somewhere outside the bathroom: "All the water was in the cooler." Cody sighed. "Hot would have been better, but we work with what we have." Pinkish water pooled around Sy and ran into the drain.

Roach reappeared in her peripheral vision as he handed something else to Cody. A buzzing sound began beside her. The doctor said: "I apologize for this, Sy, but right now it may be your hair or your life."

Sy knew better than to protest. She didn't have the energy to do so in the first place. Her eyes closed, and the tears went unnoticed as they mingled with the cold water running down her face. As she felt the clippers moving across her head, her thick dreads fell to the floor with wet slaps, coiling together like blood-covered snakes. Her head felt progressively lighter as the rushed haircut neared its finish, no longer weighed down by the mass of soaked strands.

She shivered violently as Cody began pouring the second box over her head, with Tragedy washing her newly-bare scalp. "Get clean towels ready, Roach!" Cody snapped. "Soon as she's clean we're putting her in a bed!"

It took almost 10 minutes to completely clean the red water off Sy's body, and by the end of it her teeth were chattering. The swelling in her tongue was starting to go down, especially after she rinsed some of the cold water, and if it hadn't she was sure she would have bitten it to shreds. Tragedy had to go through the entire ritual of toweling her off once again. When they were done, Cody simply picked her up and carried her out of the bathroom.

Sy gasped as Cody pulled the blanket over her. "Warm!" she said. He simply nodded. "It's an electric blanket. Cold exacerbates blood clotting. Your blood needs to flow as warm as possible right now, young lady! The nanites are dissolving any clots inside your veins as fast as they can find them, but every bit helps." He'd put the bed in a half-sitting position. "Are you starting to feel a little better as of yet?"

"A li'l," she nodded. The loss of her hair left a knot in her stomach, but the feeling of passing out had dissipated. She still barely had the energy to speak at all, but as the room was settling into silence, she found her whisper was more than enough. "Owe you twice now, doc."

Cody waved it away. "Physicians are not owed, it is our calling! But I must tend to my other patient now, or tragedy may find Tragedy before long." Seeing her shocked face, he smiled reassuringly. "Tragedy is Alpha. His blood is of a different persuasion. He will likely not feel even a smidgen of effect from the coagulation agent, but I must be certain! You may now sleep if you will, Sy, though the epinephrine may keep you awake until the morning. I will monitor the status of your health, but I think you may be clear of the worst."

Sy managed a wan smile while the doctor stood up from his bedside stool. "How bad was the worst, though?"

As he stood over her, Cody rubbed his chin and looked pensive, but a shadow seemed to hang over his face. "I will be forward with you," he said. "Had you arrived 10 minutes later, a fatal embolism would have been almost assured. You may wish to thank Tragedy and Roach tomorrow. For now, you must rest." He turned to go, then spoke over his shoulder: "For what it is worth, a buzzcut is not a bad look for you. But I am sorry." And with that, he left the room, leaving Sy to contemplate how death seemed to have passed her by a second time.

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