Killing Time OST – 8c – Cleanse

<< 8b – Cleanse

My muscles tensed for a second, adrenaline rushing through my system. As far as anyone but the black market was concerned, Alice was a doctor who had no fighting skills whatsoever. Blowing my cover wasn’t an option unless survival depended on it.
Half a second after the thought zinged through me, my brain completed its analysis of the cry. It wasn’t anger or violence; it was pain. Before the second ended, the crowd parted, revealing a pregnant woman slumped on the ground. Black foam coated her mouth, an unmistakable sign of her condition.
“Can you get her out?” Someone asked as I flew past him to get to the woman.
“There’s no time,” I murmured, my brain already half focused on the task at hand. I pushed aside the presumed husband. “Where’s the closest tech room?” I asked about. People remained silent; techno-surgery rooms had to be sanctioned by the state. People in the slums had no money for the required permit which equaled no legal tech room.
They didn’t trust me that much.
“Use mine,” Djeb answered from a distance. Moments later, the table I had used all afternoon was folded and turned into a makeshift gurney. Four men ferried the woman behind Djeb. I grabbed the husband’s arm and forced him to trot with me through the meanders leading to the tech room.
“What tech does she have?” The man looked at me, bewildered. I pinched his arm. “What tech did she get in the city?” I yelled.
Black foam meant tech intoxication, one thing on the long list of what could go wrong with implants, nanobots and enhancers. She bore no visible modifications which meant she had paid for some high quality tech outside the slums. Which also meant that the slums doctors couldn’t save her and we had no time to bring her to a city hospital.
“The uterus.” The husband choked back a sob. “She really wanted a child.”
Oh. My. Fricking. God. This was going to be a bitch. I couldn’t just take out the tech if I wanted to save both the mother and child.
“Where did she get it?” The husband stared at his wife and I had to pinch him again to get an answer.
“Everyone out!” I yelled when we reached the surgery room. My eyes roamed around the tables; the equipment was severely limited and I had no time to scrub properly. “I said out!” I repeated with an edge that sent everyone trembling.
I nodded to Djeb and he ran out. The men who carried the gurney wrestled the husband out of the room. Djeb was back with two of his people by the time my phone’s headset looped around my ear. I dialed Vexx’s number and pulled on some gloves.
“I’ll pay for your relocation.” I said to Djeb. After a second of reflection, he nodded. If he hadn’t trust me, if he hadn’t shared his installation with half the slums, she would have been dead for sure. Thanks to him, I had a chance to save her. That was worth something.
“Don’t tell me you can’t find the Z6WI8 motherboard,” Vexx grunted when he picked up the phone.
“Forget the toys. You need to hack in Aphrodite’s now!” I signaled for Djeb’s men to hold the patient down, the oily compound oozing out of the tech made her muscles jump. “Djeb, anesthetics.”
On his end of the phone, Vexx’s surprise morphed into understanding. The beeps and whistles of his computer soon told me he was on task.
“What am I looking for?” He asked, still typing his way into the tech company’s database.
“Uterus. Stand by for serial.”
I held the scalpel off the woman’s belly until Djeb shot it with the anesthetic. The woman’s eyes glazed with her darkened tears; the toxin was well on its way to take her over. I made an incision five inches under her left breast.
“Djeb, tell me you have two dialysis machines.” I looked up at him as I grabbed the water to cleanse the wound so I could see the serial on the smooth almost organic surface of the uterus. His clenched jaw allowed no speech. “Djeb!” I yelled with all the anger I could muster. He didn’t think I could save her.
“I have one and a half.” He finally said, snapping out of his grim reflections.
“We’ll make it work.” The blood and oil cleared enough for me to read the number. “Vexx, TWY-28491035” Beyond the translucent membrane, I saw the baby jerking in the oil stained amniotic fluid.
“Got it! The control panel is one inch under the belly button.”
Without a beat, I performed a second cut on the woman’s belly. Djeb rolled two dialysis machines closer to us, and then applied pressure on the wound I left unattended. As soon as I reached the control panel, I extended an open hand. Djeb tucked a connector into it. I plugged the device in the small universal – thanks the small favors – indentations and pugged my cellphone to it.
“Vexx, you’re up!”
Through my phone, Vexx hacked the uterus, forcing it to reset its settings without ejecting its content. It was the only way to stop the damned tech from doing its oil change while still inside the woman.
Meanwhile, I hooked the first dialysis machine to the woman. The pregnancy was too early and fragile for the baby to survive his mother so I had to save her.
“It’s reset!” Vexx announced. I switched on the machine to cleanse my patient’s blood. I hoped there wasn’t enough oil to clog the dialysis but if we were lucky we’d get most of it out and she’d pull through after a hell of a diarrhea.
“One last thing,” I said, pointing my phone’s camera at the dialysis machine Djeb counted as a half. “How to I fix this and make it clean amniotic fluid?”
“Do you have a techie with you?” I snorted but threw my headset to Djeb nonetheless.
Mechanic wasn’t my forte. While Djeb and Vexx paired up to fix the machine, I began sewing up my previous cuts so my patient wouldn’t bleed out. By the time I was done, the second dialysis machine hummed to life. I smiled and stuck the two oversized needle through the mother’s abdomen and into the uterus. Darkened amniotic fluid flowed to the machine and came back clean.
Soon, the woman stopped to jerk. A sigh of relief parted her lips and she smiled before drifting into an exhausted sleep. Time would do the rest.
I threw my gloves away and cleaned the blood splatter with the wet towel Djeb extended.
“We did it,” I sighed once my headset was back in place. “See you in an hour.”
I flipped my phone close, wondering if I would clean the bloodstains on it or buy a new one. It would be the twentieth one this year.

9a – Pattern >>


About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

15 responses to “Killing Time OST – 8c – Cleanse

  • Kahlie

    So strange, she speaks Vexx’s name on the phone where everybody can hear her. Is it an alias or a very common name or did she just leak important info? Namely, that she knows a hacker named Vexx.

    • Aheïla

      I sincerely didn’t think about that at all! It seemed natural for her to do so. She’s among black market people that she knows and trusts. *wonders off, thinking*

      • Kahlie

        This proves I have a paranoid mind.
        I’d never trust people who are sunk so low – and quite possibly – would do anything for money.

      • Aheïla

        That would be true in another setting. Part of why I love Lorelei’s world is that the “black market” isn’t a place for traditional criminals; it’s good people who just have no other way to survive but to go against the law. They didn’t choose it and they probably would rather be “good guys” but the rich and famous forced them down that path. 😉

      • Kahlie

        Laws might be unjust and they might not be criminal in the sense of murderers, thieves and crooks, however, if I was that poor and a substantial reward was offered for somebody I didn’t personally know – I’d turn them in to give my family a chance at a better life.

      • Aheïla

        What you say definitely makes sense though I think anyone in Lorelei’s world would think twice: they all band together against the rich and police themselves so someone being selfish would definitely be in trouble.
        Also, everyone thinks Vexx’s dead so there’s no reward or anything.

  • Sketching Girl

    I loved it! 🙂
    It’s original and different, and you’re writing hooks us wanting to know what happens next. Brilliantly written, well done!

    Can’t wait for the next instalment!

    • Aheïla

      It’s a peculiar writing structure, indeed but once you get into the swing of it, it feels more natural. This story runs a lot smoother than my previous one. 😉
      Thanks for the kind words!

  • Jenn

    Wow…a uterus? Shudder…I couldn’t imagine that.

  • mish

    This answers yesterday’s question : Are there any other sides to L , yet to be revealed ?
    I don’t think there’s anything else about L’s abilities/skills that will surprise me . She can probably accomplish anything she puts her mind to . 🙂

  • Sonia M.

    I liked it very much! This is my first glimpse at your story but I will definitely be following it.

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