The Healing Arts - Part 2
JP/Collab from @Xandrya
Thank the Buddha. The cast was gone.
Yuri cooperated as Alana positioned his arm on the treatment table. “I’ve got a little money,” the first mate offered to China Doll’s resident medic. “Not sure what a place like this costs, but I’m glad to put some coin down for both Abby and myself.” He smiled at that moment. “She walked out of here pretty as a picture, Alana. Amazing work.”
Shaking off his remark about payment with a smile, Alana placed the device directly over his arm, the small light shining green once it was positioned in the right spot. It took a quick scan of the arm, a 3D rendering materializing on the screen showing the break. “I’m more than happy to help the crew, no coin needed... Benefits of knowing the right kinda people.” She stepped to the side, switching on another setting which would start setting things in motion.
“I’m glad for that.” He craned his neck to view the screen past Alana’s shoulder. The 3 D imagery was remarkable. His arm had been mapped entirely, allowing the doc to delve through layer upon layer until she could view the fracture itself. Even to his untrained eye, the break was obvious. “Then maybe you’ll let Abby and me buy you drinks when we get to Pelorum?” He smiled. “And yes, we’ll let the captain come along…”
"Well who can say no to drinks..." She glanced at him before the machine began its work. Yuri's arm would first be anesthetized, then the fixing would take place. The procedure was nothing overly complicated, it would simply consist of a special type of material being inserted in the correct spot to speed up healing right from the time of insertion. "What about you, you bringing anyone...special
?" Alana would see his reaction, whether he’d bring up Edina. She was slightly curious after Abby had mentioned the possibility of them two as a couple. So Abby’s right,
Yuri thought to himself. The rumor mill is up and running...
“Got someone in mind?” he teased.
"Just wondering, is all..." Alana shrugged her shoulders, smiling innocently. "Cal and I ain't a secret no more; the cat's outta the bag. But I didn't mean to pry..." she added with cheeks slightly reddened.
“Hey,” he laughed, “if anybody’s got the right, it’d be the woman who pulled me out of the drink and patched this arm.” Yuri gave the doctor a smile. “I could ask Edina, I suppose. Then again,” he yielded a mischievous chuckle, “she’s just as apt to turn me down. After we’re away with our refugees, I’ll work up the courage to ask her.” Alana’s blush hadn’t gone unnoticed. The pleasant smile remained on his face as he added, “What do you think, Doc? Would you put a good word in with her for me?”
Nodding, Alana exchanged glances with Yuri. "She's a pretty one, and personally I think you two would make a great match. But I'll make sure to pass on the message, see how she feels about it." Alana then took a step back, watching the machine. "You'll feel a tingle now and some pressure, but you shouldn't feel much pain." There was a brief glow, then the whirring from the device being set in motion. "You barely escaped the grasp of death, I think you owe it to yourself to at least ask."
The first mate nodded agreement. “She and I were out together last night. It was actually for the current job, but I think we both enjoyed the company.” He could feel the tingle as it spread throughout his arm. Yuri didn’t find it to be overly painful. Instead, the sensation reminded him more of having slept atop the limb overnight. “I can feel it working,” he said. “So, last night, Edina and I were out to learn a few things about getting our new passengers out.” His voice dropped to near whisper, barely discernible above the machine’s whirring. “We found out how they track blackout zone captives.”
As the systems healed his arm, Yuri described both the nature of the tracking system, and the crude method of implanting chips. “Right about here,” he tapped his left bicep, just short of the shoulder. “I saw them implant a little girl.” His face darkened with the memory of the child’s pain. “So here’s our plan, Doctor. Once we get them aboard, we need you to extract the tracking chips from their arms. Captain’s git Sister Lyen rounding up volunteers. They’ll swap clothes with our people, and we’ll tape the chips to their arms to wear back through the scanner.
“The trick,” he hadded, “is to avoid damaging the chips when you extract them.”
Her heart hurt upon hearing about the methodology in dealing with the passengers. It made Alana realize just how needed she and the crew were to these people when they execute this job of theirs. She listened to Yuri as he went on about the idea they had in mind and her eyes were a little saddened after hearing it all. "That's a mighty fine smuggling plan if I ever heard one. I can remove the implants with no issues. As far as the chips, I'll surely do my damn best to get 'em back to you all working and in one piece. As of now, I only foresee a problem if there are complications with the patient. At that point, I'd rather something happen to the chip and not my patient. I'm sure you more than understand."
He hadn’t thought at all there might be complications to removing a chip beneath the skin. Then again, he’d only seen a disinterested guard fire it right into that little girl’s arm, and from a distance, at that. “I do…I think I do,” Yuri nodded unconvincingly. Another reason why I should stick to machines,
he ruefully considered his options. “The trick to this, doctor,” he responded slowly, “is that each chip has its’ own registration code that gets read by a scanner at the checkpoint. It’s recorded when folk exit the blackout zone, and again when they return. If we don’t show up with an exact match for each chip, that’ll alert the guards.”
His mind raced. It was too late to change the basic plan; as soon as his arm was mended, he and Hook were all set to meet the Sister and a dozen or so Anabaptist workers to begin the day long ruse of collecting and cleaning bricks. The Sister also had her volunteers showing up this afternoon. He thought he had it all worked out. Silly of him not to consider the anomalies of the human organism…
He needed a technological Plan B, and he needed it quick. I should talk with Sam,
Yuri silently added to his checklist as he replied, “yes…I do. Just hadn’t factored that into the plan.”
"All fine and dandy, I simply like to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Never quite know what you're dealing with without a proper history...allergies, blood thinners, etc. Highly unlikely, but not impossible."
Smart move with the chips. Of course, that's the route to go with tracking hardware, and were she in their shoes she would have done the same. Alana checked the progress on Yuri's arm, and it looked like the treatment was going quite beautifully. She could tell he had some thoughts going on in his noggin, but of course, with something of this magnitude who wouldn't. "We'll do right by those folks, Yuri. I'm sure everything will turn out alright."
Alana was hopeful; she had to be.
“So,” he thought out loud, “I hadn’t conjured the chance a chip could be destroyed when you remove it.” But there was that truth, plain as day. He knew the doc to be careful and precise. Her treatments were both deliberate and exacting. But now that he thought about it, even cautious hands can slip when holding a scalpel. Durak,
he chided himself in his native tongue. He had just a few hours to resolve this.
“it sounds like I need to get a few of those chips for backups...and a way to read or program them…” His brow furrowed ruefully. “Wish I’d thought of that sooner,” he looked up at the doctor. “That one’s tough…I know I could get RFID chips and reading gear from any business supply house…but these? Designed to be forced through the skin? I mean we won’t be doing that…the chips we get from our passengers will just be taped to our volunteers’ arms, but…I don’t know. Dr. Lysanger, have you ever had to deal with tracking chip implants? Any ideas where I could get something like that?”
"Unfortunately, logistically-speaking I'm of–"
The machine beeped, prompting Alana to look down at the screen. Apparently the fixing was going great with progress up to 50%. Good, halfway there. She then cleared her throat.
"Like I was saying, logistics is not my strong point. Sure, I've dealt with tracking chips before and I can perform the job you've described, but that's as far as my knowledge goes..." She then looked pensive, as if trying to remember some piece of information. "I do...I have someone I may reach out to and you know, probably get the answers you're looking for. They're trustworthy enough for me to ask them such a favor, and they owe me one. So tell you what, once I'm done here, I'll grab my cortex and hopefully have some good news for you. How does that sound?"
“Shiny.” For his years of working with ships’ systems, biotracking chips had never entered his study. Yuri knew the basics…RFID was RFID, after all, and any reader/programmer should be able to latch right onto a chip’s registration code. But those chips were simple, designed for parcels and cargo, not to be jammed beneath a person’s skin. Adding the fact that this was a government operation gave chance that one more layer of complexity might be lying in wait. “I’m due for a little cortex time, myself,” he admitted, “but if you’ve got someone who can help, I’d be grateful if they make this little challenge go away.”
"Your challenge is my challenge..." Alana cracked a half-smile, eyeing him momentarily. For a quick second she felt a little helpless being unable to provide him with any type of answer, but the reasonable side of her quieted that down. She couldn't help what she didn't know, after all. "We'll get this sorted out, promise. Just like we'll sort out your arm."
With that, she checked on his progress once more. This last portion would take longer, so naturally the process would slow down.
“And you’ve got no idea how glad I am for that,” the new first mate chuckled. “The mechanic work can be a handful for two good hands, but one?” His expression lightened. “I’ll tell you true, Doctor, if that girl we brought along hadn’t jumped in to help with the wrench turning, I’m not sure I could’ve pulled it off.”
"Well count your lucky stars the timing was perfectly right on that one... One-armed Yuri just doesn't roll off the tongue all that pretty, so you know I'd no choice but to fix ya right on up back to your prior self." She smirked with the statement, looking him in the eye. "And I don't know how the captain would feel with a one-armed mechanic aboard his ship."
He watched the treatment of his arm take place, the warmth accompanied by a mild tingle as the bone within steadily knitted itself back together. “Not sure how he’ll feel without one,” Yuri avoided laughing or movements as he spoke. “He’ll have to give me a new nickname,” he observed.
She chuckled, "He shouldn't have an issue with that...he's Cal after all. I'd be surprised if he doesn't
have a nickname for everyone in the Doll."
A low beep broke Alana's attention away from Yuri. The screen display indicated they were entering one of the final phases of the treatment. Good.
They were interrupted by a light tap at the door, soon opened by a fresh faced Abby. “Hey Yuri,” she said, “now I’m fixed an’ all, “I’s wonderin’ if I could go pick up beddin’ an’ stuff fer the folk we’re carryin’?”
“Well, I don’t know,” the first mate cast a sidelong glance toward Alana. “Did you get our doctor’s permission to be out and about?”
“Uh,” the girl’s face kinda deflated, “no. No I didn’t. Powerful sorry, Alana,” she’s near fidgetin’ in tha doorway. “Can I go? Promise I won’t do nothin’ moonbrained.”
Funny man, that one. "It seems as if Yuri loves giving ya a hard time..." Alana smiled at Abby, "I didn't have doctor's orders for ya to stay put after the procedure so technically you're free to roam as you wish...as long as you don't overexert yourself, dohn ma?" The last couple of words were spoken in a slightly more serious tone.
Abby’s smile come roarin’ back. “Yes, ma’am!” she nodded all emphatic like. “Jest pickin’ up some blankets an’ stuff!”
"And you, mister," she turned her attention to Yuri, "it may be karma possibly doin' its job but you won't be as lucky as Abigail. You're gonna be on light duty for quite a bit longer so I hope you're not easily bored."
He couldn’t help but notice a certain mirth in Abby’s eyes as she watched him on the receiving end of a classic “Alana” lecture. “Well that’s perfect, Doctor,” Yuri reacted smoothly. “My part in today’s caper is to wear a nice suit and play the sophisticated client. I won’t be lifting anything heavier than a coin pouch.”
“Nice suit?” The deckhand’s jaw dropped. “Yew mean yah actually boughtcherself some proper clothes?”
“All by yerself?”
“Ms. Wyman helped me.” Yuri pretended not to notice the knowing look in the girl’s eye as she traded glances with the doctor. “Keep receipts for any supplies you get,” he cautioned her. “Captain won’t pay without seeing receipts…copy that?”
“Copy!” She smirked. “See yah back on tha boat!” In an instant, Abby was gone, makin’ tracks fer tha door an’ tha city outside.
The thought of teasing him crossed her mind when he referred to Edina as "Ms. Wyman". It was a little too formal, regardless of whether he was only being polite. But Abby was around and even then, it simply wouldn't be right.
"A suit, huh? Not quite what you'd expect to see on a mechanic but then again, we all gotta clean up once in a while." Another notification. Progress was now at 75% and judging by the looks of it, everything was going smoothly. Were it not, one of the first signs would be Yuri squirming in pain, though that'd more so depend on his tolerance level.
Considering his ragged appearance since coming aboard, Yuri couldn’t help but laugh right along with everyone over the thought of him…him
...getting all gussied up in a fine suit. “I tried to convince her that a shirt and tie would look good with my coveralls,” he quipped, “but she was having none of that.”
"We're almost through now, how are ya feeling?"
“Not bad,” he answered. “A little discomfort, but I read that the rapid knitting of bone can be a little off putting…like people whose old fractures might ache with a change in the weather.” The words took him back for a moment, to the time when he’d broken the arm. Funny,
Yuri thought to himself, I still can’t remember the exact moment.
Though his engineer’s mind had settled on the moment when the dying ‘Mick’ hed ejected him through a ventilation shaft, that particular memory was little more than a blur when compared to the eternity of being lashed to the ship’s crew dining table, soaking and chilled through as the waves towered all around him.
A pensive Yuri possibly reminiscing about the good ole days. What exactly, she wasn't quite sure. Alana simply stared, her head slightly cocked to the side. He was lost in it, his expression not cluing her as to whether the thoughts in his head were good or bad.
As he thought on that calamity and the improbable rescue that had brought him aboard China Doll, Yuri considered again Alana’s use of the word ‘karma.’ He wasn’t one for mysticism, but he could definitely agree with the old assertion “what goes around, comes around.” This boat and crew had gone out of their way to save his life. Now, he had the chance to square the cosmic balance by helping them save forty more. If a ‘weather arm’ was the price of his salvation, Yuri Antonov could still barely comprehend his good fortune. “Good,” the thought escaped his lips. “I actually feel pretty good.”
She grinned. "Good, that's the best outcome we can hope for. I'll be back shortly" Her voice was low, almost as if she were afraid to wake a sleeping baby. Alana then left him to his own devices, walking away and out of sight to get a start on some paperwork prior to their departure. He'd probably appreciate the space to himself, deal with whatever was going on in his head if anything at all.