The rest of the trip went out without much of a hitch. Archie didn't hit anyone else, his transformation was under control, and Eli wasn't making any complaints. Although a quick glance gave away that she wasn't exactly the most coherent. Certainly not enough to be dealing well with the constant jostling she was being subject to- but at the end of the day who was really keeping count? Not Eli, that's for sure.
Archie only slowed his unyielding pace when he came upon the doors. And only then just enough to not blow them off their hinges. For all of his self described control Archie was unprepared for how quickly he came to stop just short of the automatic sliding hospital doors. He felt his weight shift and he knew that normally with he and Eli's combined weight it was very possible they could topple over. He braced and he was... fine. He had to remind himself that all things considered he wasn't
normal right now, and with the power and speed he had possessed in simply getting here it was no surprise that he could easily overcome his normal limits."We need a doctor right now! This guy's in really bad shape, I think he's been shot!"
He heard Amelia yell, her words bouncing around in his head uncomfortably. She was never
this loud before. He could hear conversations with perfect clarity down the halls, and the fluorescent lights of the building were almost blinding. He groaned in discomfort, blinking several times in an attempt to adjust his eyes to the sudden change of light.
Several doctors recognized Radvi's clothing and status as a security officer, and there was a sudden surge of activity in the hospital's entrance. Radvi was quickly taken from his current caretakers, with a multitude of healers. They had unapologetically shoved the group of students out of the way, desperately trying to impede or redirect the blood flow from the wound without starving the tissue and killing it. Three factors determine the extent of injury from a gunshot wound. One is velocity, or the speed at which the bullet travels as it leaves the muzzle. Another is frontal area, meaning the surface area of the bullet that strikes the target. The third is the distance the bullet travels before it is stopped—for example, by entering and exiting the skull of a middle-aged security officer.
The firearm was a medium-velocity weapon with a relatively short barrel. Its cartridges are small, carry little gunpowder, and travel less than 1500 feet per second. Nevertheless, they can create a hole three to six times the size of the bullet's frontal surface area, because the frontal area flattens and spreads as it hits the target. The nose of the cartridge decelerates rapidly at this point, but its center of gravity is located near the base, so momentum carries the bullet forward, tumbling end-over-end and leaving further tissue damage in its wake. Distance is a factor because air resistance slows the bullet. Increasing the distance between gun and target decreases the bullet's velocity, reducing its kinetic energy. Unfortunately, most victims are shot from close range—such as half the width of a standard conference room. Radvi had been shot from less than five feet away.
The ER staff move forward, expressions grim in their short assessment of the damage. Radvi was quickly heaved onto a gurney, healers working as he was moved, not stopping for even a moment as he was shifted. It was more and more apparent by their vigor that Radvi was hanging on by a thread. An older, portly gentleman that some might remember as Fry Owens, the head of healthcare, barked out orders for Radvi to be taken to surgery.
The bullet gets all the credit in a gunshot wound, but it doesn't work alone, especially when delivered at close range. Hot gases from exploding gunpowder and metal fragments from the bullet and the gun barrel are blasted into the body at the same time. The gases char the tissues, and the gun powder and metal fragments are deposited along the wound track. The edges of the entrance wound are abraded and haloed with a dirt ring caused by the bullet "cleaning" itself on the skin and surrounding tissue as it passed through. The wound may also be infiltrated with fibers from clothing or other refuse that were dragged into the body along with the bullet. He would need to be stabilized, and the wound would need to be cleaned and cauterized and shaved away to salvage what was left of who Radvi was. He was wheeled off, the whole ordeal being agonizingly slow, but having lasted only thirty seconds.
During the buzz of activity, two older women had taken Eli out of Archie's arms, one of which gives her a once over and nodding to her counterpart and disappearing in a different direction than Radvi had gone with Eli. The other lady held up a flashlight, quickly going over Archie's eyes with it much to his chagrin. He lazily swatted at the offending light, but realized quite quickly how spent
he felt. She was asking him questions, but he wasn't really listening. His eyes traveled to Amelia, Lynn, Keaton, and the rest of the group.
He felt the nurse grab his chin and force him to look at her. He didn't hear what she had to say, but he thought he heard the word hungry
He could go for something to eat, for sure.
A team of five agents went down into the woodland. Cara pinged the approximate location they were heading for. They all had their guard up, halfway expecting someone to jump out at them from the surrounding trees. But no such danger happened upon them.
“Up ahead, got three... scratch that, four people.”
They reached the spot where it all went down. The only people who were left were Natalie, Nicholas, Keaton, and Freaky-D. All just situated quietly, not quite doing anything so urgently. Upon seeing the faint glow of D’s somewhat broken helmet, the team felt a mixed sense of both apprehension and satisfaction. They didn’t know to what level D was involved with whatever had taken place during all those gunshots, but hey - a wanted criminal is a wanted criminal.
“Don’t move!” One of them called out as the team approached, four of them surrounding the still kneeling and hunched over Freaky-D. He showed no signs of intent to resist whatsoever, not even shifting his gaze towards any of the agents. With no fanfare, they stood him upright and cuffed him.
“Where’s the officer down who was reported?”
“You take him somewhere and find out what he knows.” The agent giving the orders said to the ones apprehending D. He then turned back towards Natalie, Nicholas, and Keaton. “And you three need to follow me off the premises and back to your dorms. Tell me what you saw along the way.”
Don't go around tonight, Well it's bound to take your life, There's a
December fifth began just like any other day, all things considered.
The Promise had cooled further in the winter phase of its annual four season cycle. The trees had lost their leaves and frost adjourned the leaves of the surviving bushes and other flora. It was brisk, that morning. The snow and ice melting into slush and wetting the greenery and dirt- but never disappearing completely as it crunched softly with the leaf litter beneath his feet.
Perhaps the strangest thing about The Promise was its lack of weather. Archie was used to weekly rain that, when it came down, came down in buckets that flooded the streets some and made puddles and muddied the dirt so that he had to be careful coming home lest he track dirt into the living quarters of the hulk he had occupied for most of his childhood life. North Carolina as a state was warm most of the year, but was far from immune to cold snaps that made the water far more biting and difficult to deal with than the rest of the year. Archie liked to imagine what the weather would be like today if there was any. Sure, it was chilly and all but would it be that clear kind of chilly? Or would it be a soggy, cloudy day that would make him want to huddle up and not leave his cot?
He wasn’t exactly sure what today would be, of course but he normally imagined that The Promise would have that clearer weather that shone like the bare sun overhead. He supposed that today, it would be a bit cloudy. No drizzle, but threatening with rain that would never come like an adult waving their finger at a small child.
He had tossed on a brown leather jacket and red flannel, some blue jeans and boots. A casual working man’s outfit. Functional by design, and it warded off the cold. It was nothing showy, as was his typical style. He had heard
that he was supposed to look on the nicer side today, but he couldn't find it in himself to care THAT much. Today new parahumans would be boarding The Promise for the first time, with older parahumans returning home for the first time in years to see real weather and do real things with their lives that didn’t have to do with school or power training. A part of him was excited, because that meant there would be new people that he had never seen before at all. The Promise had a fairly small student population and with how often he went on walks or went out for the evenings to get out of his tiny dorm, the more often he felt like he was seeing the same faces. That being said, he was almost certain his little incident on the first day would be brought up in some capacity. He sighed. Oh well, at least this year’s freshmen couldn't make any worse of a first impression than he did.
School had finished a few days ago for the semester, but the notifications that Cara had prodded him with at least once per day with had made sure that he did not forget about his last and only responsibility of the semester- to make sure that those coming received as warm a welcome as he did. He always found himself filled with easy mirth at that. He almost killed several people and was welcomed by a super criminal on day one. It wasn’t exactly the warm welcome that he would have hoped to receive, but at the end of the day he would give The Promise credit where credit was due- Hyde didn’t come out unless he let him out, and it was never boring.
The Cianwood coffee shop wasn’t too far away now, nestled right at the edge of a small shopping plaza facing a few courts that were often used for basketball and modified for tennis. A few younger people, kids around the age of 12 seemed to be drawing on the sleepy sidewalk with chalk. It had become a bit of a daily ritual for him to stop by and get breakfast there before heading to work at the ring’s elder home. It was a Saturday so he didn’t have work, but he DID still need to eat. This little area reminded him of home. In the good way, back when he was a kid and could take his brother’s bike to the local outdoor shopping mall and just enjoy the weather, He had found out about the coffee shop’s existence from the waitress he had spoken to the night he visited Lynn and discovered the body. "I don't know… I still think the coffee at the Cianwood Shop is better. Nothing is imported or stuck full of preservatives there; they grow their own coffee beans and make it all from scratch..."
He felt his phone go off in his pocket and unconsciously checked it. It was a message from Cara.”New arrivals scheduled to board at 1PM! Be at the Loading Bay or be square!
He checked his watch. It was 11:30AM.
One hour and thirty minutes left.