Cyrus had never cared much for hospitals. At least the clinic he’d managed to find on this foreign planet — or rather, the clinic he’d thrown himself into like a madman — was hardly the image of mild terror one might expect. The clear glass medical building appeared pleasant, clean and quiet this evening. All was well. Until he burst in, out of breath, and all eyes turned onto him.
Ignoring the startled looks of a dozen waiting patrons, he advanced toward the main desk, immediately meeting the eyes of the curious receptionist.
“Hi, I need help,” he began, short of breath. “The captain of my ship was wounded and it got infected. Badly infected. He’s got a fever of 105 and he’s completely delirious. We knocked him out with some sleeping pills, but we don’t have the right treatment and we don’t have a doctor aboard. Please, I can’t get him here. I need someone to come with me. The ship’s just in the north dock, not far. We can pay.”
The receptionist heeded his plea with an intent, steady gaze; if she was startled by the panic in his voice, it did not show. But even this could prevent him from further panic. But no, he couldn’t lose it. Not today, not now. Not while he was, technically, acting captain of the ship. Especially not while the real captain was out of commission. He could panic later. For now, he just needed his brother back on his feet and their ship back in the air and on its way.
Unfortunately, the captain’s injuries weren’t even the worst of their current mess. The crew was in the middle of what was supposed to be a very quick pass through alpha cluster space where they weren’t particularly welcome to begin with. He’d pushed the poor old ship as fast as she could go to get out of Exymerian territory, but he wasn’t willing to risk leaving him untreated for the amount of time it would take to reach friendlier skies so he’d had to settle on Vescent. Thankfully, Corra had dug up some drugs that had knocked their patient out cold so he didn’t have the chance to argue as the ship landed. The plan was to get to a clinic, get some treatment and then get the hell out as quickly as possible. Ships like theirs weren’t appreciated in a place like this. She marred the scenery, to say the least. Not to mention the potential kinds of people here who might take great pleasure in bringing in the Society’s most-wanted vessel and its crew. As beautiful as the watery city was, it was, to them, as bad as Satieri itself and Cyrus wanted out immediately.
So it was with great haste that he’d departed the ship, navigated the docks and made his way through the cobblestone streets of the city he’d never been in before. Thankfully, no one stopped him along the way. No passers-by paid him much attention at all. His mind ran faster than his feet as he dodged through the moving crowd of people in the main square and, at last, spotted the glowing signage overhead: Unity Health Emergency Care.
Now, he simply had to resist losing his mind, though the receptionist seemed only mildly perturbed by his presence, a furrow in her brow.
“Of course sir,” she replied evenly, glancing away only to type into the console keyboard at her fingertips. “Right away. However, Unity Health no longer treats off-worlders, so I am putting you in contact with the docking bay nurse station. First I need your last name, and then the name of your vessel — ”
“Name of my…” Cyrus repeated in mild horror under his breath. He could only imagine what would happen if this receptionist typed the title of the ship into her console. No chance in hell he could let that happen. “Why do you need that?” he demanded, a little too hotly. “Can’t you just send me a doctor?”
“I’m afraid that’s planet-wide legislation, sir. Now please, have highly-qualified personnel down at the nurse station to aid you, we just need documentation — “
“He doesn’t need a goddamn nurse,” he growled, unable to contain himself now. “He probably needs a surgeon. And you can preach to me your laws all you want, I’m not leaving here until you give me one, got that?”
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you t–”
“Look, my captain is dying right now, I don’t have time to argue with you about legality, I need you to–”
“What’s the problem here?” a curious female voice broke in.
Looking sharply to his right, Cyrus expected the appearance of a security guard, but what he found, instead, was a pale brunette woman dressed smartly in doctor’s uniform, standing on his side of the receptionist’s desk, a bag hanging over her shoulder, her eyebrows raised faintly at him as if he were only mildly interesting and not, in fact, attracting the attention of every soul in the waiting room. She looked far too young to be a true physician, but nonetheless, the receptionist addressed her hastily, “Doctor Adler, he says his captain is ill, but I tried explaining how we can’t just send a team of doctors to an unregistered–”
“What happened?” the doctor continued, apparently more interested in him than the receptionist. “Your captain’s hurt?” Just as he made to explain, she cut him off, “I’m a trauma specialist, I can help. Take me there.”