Killing Time OST – 24a – Remission

<< 23c – iBroker Souls

Vexx warned me that he would keep me sedated for a while after the surgery to give my body time to recuperate. We argued quite a lot about how long that medical coma should last. I won. And woke up with a migraine of legendary proportion and a body that felt like I forgot to use my safe word to stop the guy cranking the torture rack.
I should probably learn to listen to Vexx when he growled the first syllable of my name.
My adrenaline spiked when I realized I couldn’t open my eyes. Cautiously exploring my face, I realized a wide bandage was wrapped around my head and over my lids. Why didn’t Vexx warn me about that? Was there any complication?
“I’ve been ordered to wrestle you back to bed if you try to sit.”
My brain analyzed the voice instantaneously. The whole personnel file of the guy talking to me popped inside my skull; Captain Benjamin Louis Murray, also known as Chief Bulk. His list of recommendations littered the hollow of my eyelids with sparkles.
“Oh! Head rush!”
“Hell! I only had half your tech implanted over three months and the pain ruined my mood.” He chuckled.
“How come you’re on babysitting duty? Isn’t it Deb’s birthday today?” It felt weird to know so much about the guy. Stalker weird.
“Got my file in there, huh? The other guys insisted on me telling you you’re crazy.”
It was a nice way to put it – both the reason he was forced to work on his daughter’s birthday and the fact that I was an aberration. I shouldn’t exist as I was and if any of the guys doubted it before, my body’s adaptation to the insane surgery convinced them otherwise.
The real answer to my question intrigued me, though. Gabriel was probably strategizing which, given our timeframe, couldn’t be put on hold. Vexx and the two nurses should have been enough to watch over me without too much strain.
Did Eliot clear Ben to know my real identity because he was afraid I might be violent after the surgery?
“Can you get Vincent and Gabriel?”
“Already beeped them. I’m to stay and assist you if you puke.”
My stomach wanted to kill me but I refused to be sick. All the new perceptions messed with my system; I mentally thanked Vexx for shutting off my eyes. I heard his steps a minute before he walked in; I would need some time to adapt to the increased hearing too. Gabriel followed on Vexx’s heels.
“Hello,” Vexx said softly. I recognized his voice but, apparently, whatever search engine I had in my head didn’t have it on file. As soon as I thought his name, however, my brain pulled his file and triggered a weird internal alarm system. Gosh that file was ugly when you looked at it with intelligence agency’s eyes. “How are you doing?”
“Ask me again after you’ve told me how to turn off the automatic Google function.”
I heard a ruffle of fabric. “I’m reaching for your right ear,” he murmured. I’ve never heard him so tender and caring. When I was in emotional chaos, uneasiness and annoyance layered his attentions. This was different, more confident and more knowledgeable of the pain and how to ease it.
A finger hooked a strand of my hair and pulled it out of the way. Another pressed against the bone behind my ear. A shiver went down my spine. The finger tapped I.A.D. in Morse code before leaving my skin.
“Intelligence Agencies Database,” Vexx said. I could remember that. “I tweaked it so that once a file has been pulled, you need to actively think about that person to consult it.”
“I can update it remotely to only open files that satisfy a set of criteria; danger level, physical characteristic, etc.”
“It also searches by fingerprint.” Gabriel sounded tired, like worry kept him awake while I slept. Vexx hid the same nuance behind the professional doctor-patient speech.
I inhaled, each smell blooming into a richness I had never known. Vexx had explained the main features he added to my body – and I hadn’t paid attention all that much – but experiencing them was something else.
All my perception of the world was changed and I wondered what that new skew said about me?
“I’m okay,” I lied. It didn’t matter. I just had to be stubborn for two weeks. “If you forget the splitting headache and the railroaded body.”
“I’ll examine you, alright?”
I nodded. His warm hands peeled off corners of the sealant covering each of my wounds to confirm everything was healing properly. He gently pressed my muscles to test reaction and pain, questioning and guiding me all the way through. At some point, I heard Ben leaving and Gabriel taking his place in the squeaky plastic chair by my bed.
“Everything’s better than normal.” Vexx unrolled my pants over my shins. “You’ll be able to return to training as scheduled.”
“By then, I’ll have the materials you requested,” Gabriel added.
I grabbed the men’s hand, reaching for them with precision despite the blindfold. It surprised me though I had been warned my capacities would decuple with the tech.
“Thank you, guys.” They squeezed my hand synchronously if unbalanced in strength; Gabriel feared I might break. “When can I see again?”
“Once you get rid of the splitting headache.”
I smiled. “That’s probably a good idea, Doc.” Annoying as it may be, my blindness kept me from managing my new visual input, which now featured integrated night vision, laser sight, thermo-imagery and all that jazz. Each option was a pattern of blinks away. I memorized them before the surgery but wasn’t all that eager to try them out.
I didn’t want to try any of it out.
I let go of Vexx and Gabriel’s hand before my tension inadvertently crushed their fingers.
“Your appetite should return in a couple of hours.” Vexx scribbled something.
“Okay.” I took a deep breath. The next step would hurt like hell. “Let’s flex those muscles.”
Vexx and Gabriel argued with me for fifteen minutes, insisting that I waited for my sight to return before I tried anything else. Vexx didn’t growl the first syllable of my name so I insisted to have my way. I wanted out of this mess.
And I always handled physical pain best.

24b – Remission >>


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

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