His voice is a low hiss. Shock. Anger. Disgust. This guy’s probably seen the results of more illegal dealings than anyone here. A whispered word of horror. About Anise.
“…….did you…do…this to her?……….”
The doc’s reaching for a syringe, going to stick Anise with it. Not with those shaking hands, he’s not. And not until I know what’s in it. No one’s going to hurt her anymore.
“Do what, exactly?”
He seems at a loss for words, his hands still trembling. His other hand makes a flapping motion at the screen for the scanner. Words seem to have deserted him at the moment. I have his hand pinned on the table, the needle dangerously close to her arm. She’s frozen, her breath quick. Stuck between us, my hand reaching across her chest to pin the doc.
I tap his hand, to get his attention to the needle he’s prepped. He looks down at it, puzzled, like he doesn’t know how it got there.
“For pain…….my god, she must be in so much pain……….”
All he can do is look down at her. Compassion. I take the needle from him. No way he’s injecting anything into her. Not until he gets his nerves under control.
“She doesn’t need you falling apart. Tell me now what it’ll be. She gets hurt because of your shaky nerves, I’ll kill you for it.”
That’ll either snap him out of it, or will make it worse. Best to find out now. Check out the needle. I’ve never been a hype, but it’s not rocket science. Inject her myself. Watch her every second, as she falls asleep. Keep a hold of her, to make sure. The surgeon’s nerves seem to have settled. Good for him, he might live through this after all.
He looks back at the screen. His hand raising his lighted glasses, to pinch between his eyes. Turning, taking them off, putting them on the counter beside him. Both hands go to his face, fuck, he looks like he’s about to cry. He must have seen everything here, at some point. He’s old enough, must be in his fifties. Said to be the best. Hard to find a decent surgeon when you don’t have legitimate ID. When you want no names. He sits at the console, turning the screen to me, beginning to explain what it shows. He doesn’t need to explain, not to me. It’s clear. He needs to explain it to himself, to calm his own nerves.
“She was…is…was?….a slave?”
He flinches when he says it, not because the word would offend him, I’m sure he sees his fair share. Must be worried about what I’ll do to him.
“She was. She isn’t now. You won’t use that word around her when she wakes up.”
“It’s a marker. With so many systems frowning on the slave trade, slaveowners started using chips to mark their prop….as markers. This one is different. It’s been attached to her spine, targeting the central nervous system.”
His hands again come up to his face. He looks at Anise, quickly looking away, jamming his eyes shut. His voice drops again, to a faltering whisper.
“I’ve never seen one quite like this. At this….setting. …how….how can she live like that?……with it set so high….how can she survive it…………”
It’s like I’m not even in the room. I haven’t let go of her, not once in all this. I don’t know if she’s aware enough to know I’m here, but I’m not leaving her.
“I need to know what’s been done to her. I need to know if it can be removed, without…killing her.”
His voice turns stony and cold. Filled with anger, a quiet seething anger, that I wouldn’t have expected from someone like him. Someone soft and well fed.
“I’ll take it out. One way or another, I will take that fucking thing out of her.”
His hands, now in fists. Moves to the comm system on the desk. I make a move for him, not sure what the hell he intends to do. He holds up one finger to me, pointing to me to sit. On any other day, he’d pay for it. But it’s today, and I need him.
“I watched you inject her. Do you have ANY sort of medical training. ANY.”
He hasn’t opened the comm yet.
“Enough to know where everything is, if that’s enough.”
His voice changes, all sunshine and light.
“Hi, Terry…. Yes, everything’s fine here. We’re just finishing up. You might as well go home now. No sense the both of us being stuck here……You have a good night too, bye.”
He switches the comm off, fiddles with something at the back, erases the conversation. Brings up the rooms cameras, shuts them off. Erasing that we’ve ever been here.
“Scrub up. Gowns over there…….I need help. I need a nurse, and I can’t have my regular in, she’s a gossip, and I don’t want anyone knowing about this. Anyone. So you’re it.”
He seems to have snapped out of it, all business again. I don’t take orders. Today, I’ll make an exception. IF she lives. If she dies, I’ll kill him. Laying out instruments, naming them as he goes. Expects me to pay attention. For her, that’s not a problem.
“I want the rest of it, doc.”
“You don’t miss much, do you.”
His voice, sharp and clipped, precise. Moves back to the console, turning, so that it can be seen while we both stand over Anise.
“Every bone in her body, with the exception of those in her spinal column and her skull, has been methodically broken, set and rebroken. Some of those breaks are……”
He shakes his head here, a wave of disgust crossing his face.
“…Some of them are from when she was maybe seven?…eight?”
Sigh. Fuck. “Yeah, she said she was sold at six or seven.”
“It’s been done quite deliberately. I suppose that’s obvious. Done to not …damage….her on the outside.”
“Fucker didn’t want to mark up his property.”
“I don’t know how she copes with that pain, on top of the pain being intensified tenfold with that chip……yes, tenfold.”
“She wouldn’t give the fucker the satisfaction of breaking her, not where it counted.”
He looks at me then. A cold hard light coming into his eyes. Not used to seeing that in civilians. He may be a doc, but it sure as hell isn’t all he is.
“A few hours in here, alone, and I’d show him what pain really was. I don’t know what you are when you leave here…I don’t want names, I don’t want to know….But you have the look of a man intimate with violence. She was a little girl, when those fucking breaks started. Just a little girl. Will he pay for that, do you think?”
“She killed him herself. Bastard sold her contract to someone else right before it, or she got passed along like a goddamned piece of furniture. Whoever has that contract now will die for it.”
“Removing the chip will be difficult in itself. But it can be done. Where it gets dangerous is in her bodies own defenses to pain. She has to be releasing what would surely be a lethal amount of endorphins, in order to deal with that pain. Once the chip is removed, it may be more than she can handle. It may be toxic to her. I can probably compensate for that.”
He’s talking, for the need to talk again. Starts undressing Anise. Gets me to help him turn her over onto her belly, covering her back up, exposing the top of her spine, where the chips are.
“Has she gone feral yet?”
“Reverting to an animal state isn’t uncommon, given the kind of systematic abuse she’s been subjected to. She may need help to find her humanity again.”
“Fuck, doc. That’s like the blind leading the blind.”
“And yet you clearly cared enough to bring her here, to threaten me with death in order to help her.”
“This brings me to another point. The scanners clearly show her as nearly blind.”
He’s injecting something else into her. I have no idea what it is. I’ve seen this kind of shit before. It never used to bother me. Now, every instrument he picks up makes me cringe.
“The damage is irreversible.”
He takes a look at me. My goggles have been off for all of this, the lights being turned low, so they won’t hurt her. The surgeon’s got lighted glasses, doesn’t need anything brighter to see what he’s doing.
“That very well might work. It may be the only option she has left. Her eyes are destroyed for day vision anyways.”
“You going to shine her eyes?”
“She shouldn’t have to be blind too. She’s had enough. No more.”
Flutter in my gut at that thought. Would she be okay with it when she woke up though? She’s a survivor. She’s lived blind for long enough.
“You’ll need to take care of her for a few days after this, she’ll be nearly helpless. Can you handle that? If you can’t, I can find a way to keep her here somehow.”
“I’ll take care of her.”
“I thought you might. Scalpel…….”
© 27 Jan 2006, 16:48