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Clinic Files

 
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Sira
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:46 pm    Post subject: Clinic Files Reply with quote

Saturday March 3rd, 2018

It was a little over a year since Sira had opened up an official clinic down in the "gypsy" camp. They didn't call themselves that, of course. Few of these people were from earth, few had even heard of earth, but the name had been stuck in her head since the moment she'd seen them. First impressions and all that. They had seemed this rag tag, random collection of nomads who seemed to have found each other from across the multiverse.

She'd thought it was odd how similar they all seemed. Was it just that movable peoples all traveled in wagon caravans, and so they all looked so alike? But the more she got to know them, the more she learned about the individual groups. A year and she was able to pick out who was from where based on the way they dressed or talked. It was just as important to be sensitive to their cultures here as it was on earth. They were rich and diverse all of them.

Out the windows of the wagon that served as her clinic she could see the preparations being made for the spring return. Many in the camp still lacked permanent housing and followed the seasons. Most lived in tents and some only possessed what they could carry on their backs. Even within the safety of the bigger camp there were groups that set themselves apart from the rest. The camp had rules, its own police system, and even a small council. It was so much more than it seemed from the outside. Not that they let many outsiders in.

A knock on the door pulled her from her reverie a heartbeat before it opened. In stepped a great mountain of a man, tall, broad, barrel chested. Gawain, a knight in name and a bear in human flesh. As ever he greeted her with a smile. "Hey doc, where do you want the last of the boxes?"

Sira turned to look over the small space. It was more than enough for what she needed, but with all of the inventory for the coming season it felt cramped. It was going to take at least a couple of days to put everything away just how she liked it. That was an odd thought. By this point in her career she should still be elbows deep in a trauma ER, not settling into private practice. That was for her twilight years after she'd put in her time in the war zone wracking up experience and a nice pension. They were going to move out of the city to somewhere quiet after...

"Doc?"

Her thoughts had dragged her away from the present for long enough that the big man was staring at her with a little concern. She smiled at him, but it was something of a wince. "Just stack them over there," she pointed vaguely towards a small stack that had already formed, then got back to sorting through the bandages she had been putting away until her reverie had kicked into full gear.

"Looks like you're getting ready for a battle," Gawain quipped when he returned with the boxes to stack on the others. "This has to be enough for a couple of years."

Sira glanced around and shook her head. "This will hopefully last until the middle of the summer if I'm lucky."

"That's it?" The big man looked around incredulously at all of the boxes.

"Mm," she confirmed with a nod. "It takes a lot more than you'd think to keep a community this size healthy. More than I realized."

He watched her a short while before replying. "It's good work, though, right?"

She smiled. One of her rare genuine ones that lit up her eyes.

"The best."
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Winter 2013

The sound of gunfire echoed down the empty streets. Sira dropped into a crouch and tried to look every way at once. She couldn't see the shooter--or what they were shooting at--but it sounded close. Maybe a few streets away? She could see the building where she had been squatting. Just a quick sprint and she could... Another shot rang out and she dove for the nearest alleyway. That was much closer than the last and now she could hear yelling.

Her heart was pounding. This was hardly the first signs of violence she had seen since coming to this strange city, but to be so close? She ducked behind a pile of boxes and tried to make herself as small as she could. Meals had been few and far between, so small was her default setting. Still, if she could see the street, the street could see her. She cowered and she prayed.

"Which way did that rat go!?"

That voice was at the mouth of the alley. She didn't need to see them to know there were three. The tangle of their angry thoughts pounded at the back of her mind. Her fingers dug into her thigh as she tried to push the intrusive emotions away before they could take over her.

Then a fourth mind appeared at the other end of her alley. Dread. Pain. Death. He'd been hit and he was dying. Fear is a powerful emotion and Sira could feel this man's fear to the very core of her being. She shouldn't. She should just stay there and be small and protect herself. But her mind was made up already.

The chasers scattered. You go that way. You take that alley. I'll wait here. So three became one. Much better odds, she thought.

His back was to the alley and he was scanning the streets. What luck they hadn't tried this way, but how could she have known? It was too late from the moment she shifted from behind the boxes and exposed herself. He heard the quiet scrape of the soles of her sneakers against dirty pavement. It didn't matter. She struck quick like a snake.

That he was a man and not something else was her luck as well. She'd learned her talents didn't work as well on non-humans. His surprise at seeing her helped, too. What the.. The thought didn't even get formed into words on his lips before Sira was on him. All she needed was an inch of flesh and she took a mile. All she needed was to grab his wrist above his gloves.

The flood of thought and feelings was always the hardest. The feeling of this isn't me invading her mind. The Agency had given her plenty of practice at quieting it quickly. Her first instinct was to tell him to freeze. That was odd, too. The blankness that followed such a simple command. She filled that space and released him.

He blinked a few times and then he was off running. Away. In the wrong direction. Shouting: "This way! I got 'im!"

Sira retreated into the shadows and waited for the other two to pass. If her luck kept up they'd keep running clear across the city after their pal. She wasn't counting on it, so she turned and ran herself. To the other end of the alley where danger was probably waiting for her all the same.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

December 2017

"It's a wagon, Gawain."

Sira stood shivering in the falling snow to stare at the squat box sitting atop a pile of junk. Maybe all of those boxes helped give it stability. It wasn't nearly as loud as many of the other wagons in camp, this one all brown shingles. Muted, compared to the bright colors many of the others sported. The big man stood at her shoulder grinning like an idiot.

"Come have a look inside," he urged and did one of her biggest pet peeves. Touched her without asking. She flinched when his big hand came in contact with her lower back, but she said nothing and she allowed him to steer her up the short steps into through the french doors. There was a curtain she had to sweep aside, to keep out the cold she guessed, and then she was inside the small space.

There wasn't much to see. To the right there was a large platform bed taking up most of the space. She guessed it might have been a little bigger than a queen, not quite a king. All of the windows let in a flood of natural light.

To the left there was a built in table and a stretch of counter space. A little stove, a little heater. It was a quaint little space. Sira turned to Gawain, ready to tell him for the millionth time she wasn't moving to the camp, but he spoke first.

"See, the bed comes out easy. There's plenty of space over there for an exam table, right?" His broad gestures swept the far right of the wagon. "And you'll lose a little light, but we can take out that set of windows for cabinet space. Build 'em right out the side of the wagon." He turned to gesture down the left. "This table comes up easy, see? It's not secured, and you probably don't need that stove over there. We can take that out and put in a sink, I know you'll need a sink, and put some barrels outside for fresh water..."

His words faltered when he saw the look on Sira's face. She had a hand pressed to her lips and the corners of her eyes were tight. "Hey, I know it's not perfect, but I thought that it..."

"No." Her abrupt word stopped him in his tracks. She was shaking her head. "You're going to make me a clinic?" There was a tremble in her voice.

"Well, yeah, Sira. You said it'd be nice to have a solid space when you come down, and this summer we're expecting at least another thirty people to move in. We could use you." He sounded hopeful.

She looked around the space like she was seeing it for the first time. After a while she drew in a shaky breath. "Okay."

Wagon pictures from here
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Early Spring 2013

A week after the last snow had fallen was when Sira moved into her new apartment. Third floor, second from the corner, with big south facing windows in the bedroom that were flooded with the mid-morning sun. She stood in a pool of light warming her back while she looked over the open space. There weren't any boxes full of things waiting to find their place in this new home, because all of her possessions in this world fit into a single duffel bag which she'd left in the hallway. She wanted to appreciated this space before it changed.

It wasn't very big, but that didn't matter to her. It was just her, why did she need a lot? It was a little bigger than a couple of studio apartments she had looked at and she had be willing to pay a little more for the addition of a little space for walls. Was that too much to ask for? At least a partition to separate her bedroom from her kitchen? After all, the kitchenette was so small in this place, too, that she would be standing in the living room to cook. There was hardly any counter space and she imagined a movable island that could go just over there... And there was no way she could have a table and a couch, but she was fine with a chair to read in. Maybe she could throw a bookcase up over there, it wouldn't be enough space but...

Her shoulders shook as she drew in a slow breath. She needed to slow down. Enough space for what? The books she was never going to see again? A collection that was in part irreplaceable. She didn't have so much as a single book to warrant so much as a single shelf, much less the floor to ceiling cases she'd needed at home.

This is just a place, she thought. Could this city ever be home? This world?

She took a few steps forward and pressed her shoulder into the edge of the partition wall that had cost her extra. Maybe she could put up a pocket door. Or a curtain. Shouldn't there be a door or some kind?

"Sira! Hey Sira!" The youthful voice dragged her eyes up from the spot on the floor she'd been staring at to land instead on the freckled face that had appeared in the doorway. Cal was out in the hallway still where she'd left him and her other help when she asked for a few minutes. The flame-haired boy swore up and down that he was eighteen, but she knew he wasn't a day over fifteen. She was glad to see so much color and life in his face that had been missing the night they'd met.

There was need for both haste and silence as Sira raced down the alley. The former she managed at the sake of the second, she'd later swear her footfalls pounded against the asphalt as she strained to reach the other end. She desperately searched the shadows for where the hurt man could be hiding. He must have heard her. His fear was her fear.

At first she flew straight past him. Where he was huddled up next to the dumpster the shadows were too deep for her eyes to penetrate, but when she neared the opening onto the street she knew she had gone too far. She stopped short and had turned to track back when she heard it. The soft scuffle of a body trying to become small like she had just moments prior.

"It's okay," she called out in just above a whisper as she crept towards the sound. "I want to help."

A flash of silver made her pull up short. A thin blade no longer than a hand extended out of the shadows held by a small, blood covered and trembling hand. Sira held up both of hers in a pacifying gesture. She hadn't spoken these next words in months. It'd been as long since they last mattered: "I'm a doctor."

"D-doctor...?" She nodded and tried to smile reassuringly, but something puzzled her about the voice. "You don't look like no doctor."

She didn't. She'd gone as far as to rip the patches from the sleeves of her military style jacket and she'd found a pair of jeans to swipe, but they were both a little large and not the cleanest, besides. None of that mattered at the moment. There was shouting coming from the way she'd fled from. "Yeah? Well I'm not trying to shoot you." The ire she felt bled into her tone. "Can you walk?"

He'd heard the shouting, too, and now Sira could see him. He'd sat forward enough that the wan light filtering down the alley was enough that she could make out his face. Her heart clenched. He was so young. And he wasn't looking at her, so she took her chance.

A swift kick knocked the knife out of the kid's hand and before he could protest too much she grabbed his arm with both hands. The kid was taller than she was, but almost as light, and so she only had a little trouble hauling him bodily to his feet. "Run!" She hissed at him, hoping that he could manage the command.

Behind them the shouting grew louder and the kid didn't need any more encouragement. They ran.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monday March 5th, 2018

"What do you mean, you fell into a frozen lake?"

Sira didn't pause the long smooth strokes of the stiff bristled brush she was running down Rain's flank. It had been a few weeks since she had ridden the Walkaloosa properly. He made the journey south much easier, but between all of the snow and the cold, she'd chosen to leave him stabled. And she was still feeling a stiffness in her body from her time under the ice.

Still, she tried to make it down to the stable several times a week to care for him, even though there was always someone there to do it for her if she couldn't. He was her horse. He deserved to feel her hand. To get walked by her when the days were really bad, a short ride around the homestead when it was better.

The weight of Mercy's dark eyes eventually pulled her head around to calmly return the other woman's stare. A count to twenty and she returned to the grooming. "It was only for a minute," she lied smoothly. She wasn't sure how long she had been under. "There was no lasting damage."

If there was one thing that Sira liked about the ex-cop it was the fact that she didn't push. She didn't dig for information. She didn't need to.

"Your healing factor has increased." It wasn't a guess. The taller woman's tone was confident in her assessment. "This worries you."

She let out a quiet breath. "Of course. Things are changing."

"As they must."

The brush paused. Rain blew out a discontented snort when the attention stopped and the silence dragged on.

"Have you heard anything about a new drug on the streets?" What must one do with an uncomfortable topic except to change it? It was a skill Sira had mastered since coming to Rhydin. Clearly it was a good one, because Mercy didn't answer her straight away.

"I thought you were fully ensconced in your camp," she said, just as evasive. It made Sira nod.

"So it's very new." As she spoke she moved around the horse to get his other side. The Walkaloosa shifted a little in place and leaned into the new few stokes. "I need the money, Mercy. I won't ignore calls."

The other woman shifted from her lean against the wall. "Don't go looking for trouble, Sira," she chided as she left the stable.

Sira's only response was to hum a low note.

She is trouble.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Early Spring 2013 continued

"Doc, you're doing it again." Another voice, this one deeper and older than the kid's, belonged to the other man waiting on her whims. Garrett Knight had more patience than Cal did, he wasn't bouncing on his toes in the doorway like the other, but Sira could tell by his tone that his was starting to wear thin. The hirsute man stood behind the youth posed with his sleeve drawn back to indicate the time, but his charcoal black eyes were fixed on her. He had a way about him she didn't quite trust. Not that she had much of that left.

Sira sighed. "Yeah, I know." It wasn't like her to get lost in her own mind. It hadn't been like her. Then it became the only escape she had. She gestured for the two men to come on in. It was okay now. She could tolerate the invasion of near-strangers into her space. It hadn't been her idea at all. If she hadn't mentioned to Cal during his last follow up that she had been looking for a place she probably never would have found the apartment, and she certainly wouldn't be watching the two lumbering in under the weight of boxed up, do-it-yourself style furniture.

She shifted out of the way to allow the two to carry the boxes right into the bedroom space. Bold lettering in Swedish proclaimed one set of boxes to be a bed, while the others a dresser. They'd come in larger boxes that they discovered were too big to fit in the elevator and too big to make the corners in the stairwell. The two argued a little over which box belonged to which set as they set them down. Despite her protests that she could put the furniture together all by herself, once the box spring and mattress were inside the pair ignored her to do what they insisted was their manly duty.

That left her free to carry in the one thing she demanded they leave to her. The duffel bag. Wasn't it pathetic? Just a small thing pushed out of the way up against a wall, that sagged in the middle when she picked it up by the straps because it wasn't even close to being full. Three tee shirts, two pairs of jeans, and a wool coat. Other than the pair of sneakers on her feet those were the only things she owned. It didn't bother her that it was all second hand. Didn't bother her that they fit poorly. It bothered her because none of it felt like hers.

It was light as a feather and heavy as a rock as she carried the bag through the small apartment into the bedroom space. Three people and all of the boxes meant she was goose stepping and picking her way to the closet so she could drop it inside. There were no shelves, no hangers, no way to tidy up, but that was where her things belonged. In her room. Maybe in time her feelings would change, but for now it was a hollow gesture that she felt was necessary.

The two were arguing over which particular screws were called for on the section they were working on when she turned with the intention of leaving the room. The machismo she was certain was all for her sake cloyed. Garrett was a near silent mind at this distance, but Cal had noisy emotions. A strong projector. He had been good practice for her unfettered mind as she built up walls against the intrusion. The marketplace was only a couple of blocks away. Garrett had mentioned a tea shop she wanted to check out.

A spot of blood stopped her.

Both males had shucked their coats. Cal had on a short sleeved shirt exposing bandages that she herself hadn't applied. There shouldn't have been bandages at all, she had told him to leave the wound open to the air now, but there shouldn't have been a spot of blood, either. "Did the stitches rip?"

"Huh?" Her question had interrupted. "Oh," the young man glanced at his arm and shrugged. "Nah, I took 'em out." Sira made a frustrated noise.

"Why, Cal, would you take your stitches out." She asked with both palms pressed into her eyes. "I told you I would take them out for you when it was time, which it isn't yet."

"Garrett told me you did a good job," somehow he made this sound like a bad thing, "and it wasn't even going to scar!" The big man tried to suppress a chortle and tried to look busy with the furniture.

Sira was ready to ask what was wrong with that when it dawned on her. Here was this young kid involved in some serious business who wanted to look tough. His baby face wasn't doing it for him. "What's the use of getting shot if you don't have a scar, right?" She knew she'd got it right when he lit up. "Much better than letting people know you thought you were going to die because you got grazed by a bullet?"

Now Garrett had to stop what he was doing, which involved applying the wrong tool to the wrong part, to crumple into laughter. "He was crying!"

Poor Cal deflated. His shoulders rolled in and he ducked his chin towards his chest. In that moment he looked exactly his age and not the one he pretended to be. Her heart ached. A kid like this never should have been involved in dealings like that.

"That was a scary night," she reassured him and before she could think better of it, she patted him on the shoulder.

The memories weren't her own. She had never come face to face with the three men. They hadn't pushed her around demanding she leave 'their turf'. It was Cal who had stood his ground, who had goaded them to lure away into what was supposed to be a trap. Who had accidentally gone the wrong way because he'd been so nervous. The moment she'd touched his shoulder, unbeknownst to him, he shared them.

She withdrew her hand like she had been burned. The kid didn't notice, but Garrett had. "Come on. I have some glue in my kit. It'll help prevent an infection, but it won't heal so neatly." Cal allowed himself to be ushered out of the way and Sira ignored the weighty look Garrett had fixed on her back.

Some days she regretted helping the kid. It wasn't always good to be known.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Late March 2017

"Chicken?"

Sira squinted at the middle-aged woman who was seated on the stool in the exam room. It'd been finished for about a month, and everything still look polished and brand new. But here was this Old World matron wrapped in clothes that looked like they'd been stitched together from a hundred different scarves in the middle of all things modern. Offering her cheek-in, not in payment for her services, but as she'd found out they all thought she was too skinny and wanted to feed her. Constantly.

"No, thank you, Mother Violca," she said with her best polite smile fixed in place while directing the woman to the door. "The ones I have already produce too many eggs for me to keep up with." Before she had learned to say no. No one in the camp needed to know she gave them to Mercy to add to her coops.

The woman was undeterred. She patted Sira on the arm. "You come dinner. Work too much." Another sentiment shared by many in the camp, who worked to the rhythm of the sun. The camp was crawling into the industrial age, inch by inch, with the addition of a small generator that powered the main hall, Sira's little wagon, and soon the market pavilion. There were many days she worked long after the sun was down and she'd get several knocks on her door with the same offer.

"Kem come home." The woman was unrelenting even as Sira got her down the stairs. "You meet. You like, Kem. Girls like Kem."

"I'm sorry, Mother Violca, I have plans for dinner already." This Kem wasn't the first son that they'd tried to introduce her to. Trying to explain that she was in a relationship only worked for so long. It didn't help that they sensed her discontent with Braz like a bunch of sharks scenting blood in the water.

She eyed the small group of women collected on her benches and wondered how many of them were here to see her for treatment... and how many were there to feed her or set her up. The clipboard hanging next to the door was blank as it always was. Why she even bothered she didn't know.

"Next?" She called out and a dozen pairs of calculating eyes focused on her.

It was going to be a long day.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Present day

Almost a year ago to the day, Sira had stood on the steps of her wagon and watched as a fresh caravan spilled into camp to get ready for the spring. At that time she had just missed the spring equinox, which meant she had missed out on the gifts of spring.

Another year and she was still adjusting to their pace of life. It was slower. It was in tune with the ebb and flow of seasons. There were times she missed the bustle of the city that never slept. Then there were moments like this that she appreciated the peace.

There were baskets piling up outside of the clinic filled with the signs of the new season. Growth. Rebirth. They gave her early flowering daffodils, crocuses, and others she didn't even realize bloomed so early. There were bulbs and shoots and other things for her to plant, that no matter how much she tried to protest little grew around her shady home, they piled on her anyway. Someone had started building planters out of old barrels, because she said wouldn't it be nice to plant some flowers around the clinic? And over there where in the summer there would be a nice spot of shade for Rain someone had installed a paddock just big enough for him.

Now she was trying to not protest too much at more gifts people pressed on her. Shawls, scarves, and jewelry. And the eggs! Many were just plain, but some were dyed and decorated in intricate patterns. When she told them she hadn't known to get gifts for them, it was their turn to protest. Or worse, try to set her up. She wasn't even sure being wed would stop that.

After applying the correct amount of platitudes to the newest well-wisher to visit, she escaped inside the little wagon clinic in the hopes that being less visible would discourage more from arriving.

Inside there wasn't much to distract herself with. There was no inventory to take, no patients lined up, so barring any accidents with the move ins, she was free. Free to think far too much about a man. Funny how a year ago her thoughts were every bit as distracted with a man and his troubles, but at least she'd been dating Braz.

"Don't get too involved with them troublemakin' types."

How many times had she heard that, now? It hadn't made a difference before. She didn't need Whisper's subtle warning that came after, either. Completely unreliable. That was for sure. Unreliable. Unpredictable. Except when it came to infuriating her. Showing up looking like hell just to let her know he was okay. Quickly pissing off just about every person in the city she actually liked. And as always, leaving her feeling mixed up and confused as ever.

A sharp knock at the door pulled her out of the past and crashing into the present.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Present Day

One, two, one, two. Left, right. Left right.

The punches came in quick succession, aimed low at rib level. Sira kept up the lightning paced jabs, dancing light on the ball of her feet to never shoot from the same place twice, until just that right moment when she dug deep with feet planted at the right moment and lead with her hip. The straight armed blow landed with a satisfying slap of leather on leather. The heavy bag lurched away in an errant sway and she met it again with a flurry of strikes when it came back to center.

Sweat trickled down her face, down her back, as she faced down her tireless opponent as if it could retaliate. She struck hard, merciless, but pivoted and moved. Anticipating where a return might come from. In for a low one two three combo and ducking out like a counter had been aimed for her head while her hands were down. She kept her gloves up in between each attack and her footwork loose while she calculated each new burst of motion.

She got in one more flurry of jabs before the timer behind her went off to indicate the round was over. Breathing heavy she paced away to her 'corner'. The practice gloves she had on were flexible enough that she could pluck at the thin material of her tank top to pull it away from her sweaty skin. There was no relief from the heat in the glass walled nook where the bag hung. It was partially closed in with blinds up for privacy or observation as needed. The big fan above wasn't enough to keep her cool. The glass around her was fogged up and she still had two more rounds to go.

"You look gassed."

The gravely bass voice was one she hadn't heard in person in some time. Sira eyed Garrett where he lingered in the doorway while she took in a mouthful of water. It wasn't very cold, but refreshing, and as much as she wanted to gulp down the rest of the bottle she made herself spit it into the waiting bucket. Having a belly full of liquid was just asking to puke during a heavy training session. There was only seconds before the chime was going to go off again. She didn't need to look at the clock. She kept count in her head.

"I'm fine," she lied. It had been months since she had done any serious training. Her arms felt like they were made of rubber and her hands were lead weights that weighed a million pounds. Even so, she had them up and at the ready when the timer went off to indicate the next round.

Three minutes on the clock instead of two. This time instead of going in for the quick shots she played it from the outside. More evasive. Carefully picking her shots and making them count. Powerful strikes this time, body level, intended to break down a defense and create an opening. Every fourth strike was followed up with a head level shot when she planted her feet and dug in with her toes. Full body hits that would likely drop the most stalwart of fighters if it connected. Nose breaking, neck snapping force slammed into the bag which gave an impressive shudder.

"What's his name?"

Sira didn't let up. She didn't let herself be distracted from the swaying bag. One bad punch could leave it lurching on an unpredictable path that would throw her whole rhythm off. There was a minute left on the clock. She needed to focus. Garrett took advantage of his captive audience to go on.

"Because the last time you threw yourself into training like this it was over a guy." He held up both hands in defense. "Not that it's any of my business, but..."

Bad timing. The buzzer went off and with a sharp pivot Sira was changing the course of her last punch. The turn killed most of her momentum, but she hit one of his upraised hands with enough force to send the man reeling and clutching his hand in pain. He swore and checked it quickly for broken bones. "That bad, huh?"

"It's nothing," Sira spat out as she paced and tried to regain control of her breathing. A minute was all she had to catch a last wind to make it through the last round. She picked up the water bottle to give her face a quick spritz and then scrubbed her face dry with a towel. The third she'd gone through already.

This time the hairy brawler was smart enough not to press the issue. Sira couldn't see the wry expression on his face, because she had already squared off with the bag again. All too soon the timer went off again and she didn't waste any time.

This last round was no holds barred. This was the culmination of each round prior, where she put all the skills she had been practicing together as if this were truly a fight. She didn't move like she had the time to think about what moves she needed to make, because every second counted. Every second she wasn't striking was an opportunity that her 'opponent' might have to push her into the ropes.

Sira's strength wasn't in the power of her strikes, it was in her speed. Against a bigger opponent her only hope was to stay on the offensive and wear them down quick. Against someone her size she needed to be smart. She treated that bag like it was a mix of both.

By the time the timer went off for the last time she was out of energy. Her swings were wide and wild. Her strikes heavy and slow. Had this been an actual bout she would have been down within the first thirty seconds, but against the bag she went the distance. Kept on moving until the very last second, when she stumbled backwards until her back hit the glass.

Garrett watched her impassively from his spot at the door. Just outside the door now, as to not risk being in the path of her ire again. He raised an eyebrow when it looked like her gloves were smoking. He chose not to address that when he spoke. "A couple of kids died last night. Wasn't nothin' anybody could do. Heard they'd been taking that stuff hard."

Using her teeth, she undid the lacing on one glove and tore it off her hand, then quickly undid the other. The gloves were definitely smoldering when they hit the ground, probably saved from burning because they'd been so damp with sweat. The tape on her hands wasn't so lucky: It'd been scorched to the point that parts flaked free. She was relieved to see the skin underneath was unscathed.

"I'm going to look into it." She declared as she bent down to clean up her mess. It all went into the waiting bucket to all go in the trash. "What is this stuff called? I need a sample to test."

"Look, doc, you shouldn't get too involved." Garrett knew he was barking up the wrong tree before the words had left his mouth. He scrambled to go on. "You should focus on a treatment, I mean. That'd be a big help." He tried smiling. It failed to cool the heated look Sira was giving him. "...They're calling it 'pixie dust' on the street. There's at least a couple different kinds... Tinkerbell is the one that's going around. Sira, just be careful?"

"I can't promise that, Garrett."

She brushed past him. If he hadn't move she would have bumped him out of the way with her shoulder. Nine rounds with the bag had left her body exhausted, but her mind was still racing.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saturday March 24th

Sira's expression was grim as she got ready for a battle she was ill equipped to fight. She donned her armor and applied her war paint with the knowledge that she was about to willingly throw herself into a melee. There was no walking away unscathed. One last buckle fastened and she took a step back to examine herself in the mirror.

None of it was her. Not the dress, not the shoes, not the heavy handed makeup. It was a disguise. A good one, she hoped, because not only was she looking to play a part, but she would just die if anyone recognized her. Didn't she have a reputation to preserve? The stuffy, prudish doctor. With the mien that screamed stay away and don't see me.

There was nothing about that outfit that agreed. It drew the eye. The short, tight fitting skirt highlighted legs honed by years of daily runs. The cascade of strands of beads spilling down what at first look would seen an open expanse of skin neck to navel. Sheer overlay showing off the shape of her body. There was misdirection there, too. The dress was a well crafted illusion made up of clinging, skin-tone material, that on close inspection was opaque enough for church. The star on her chest was invisible, so was the phoenix inked on her thigh, gone under thick hose that'd also keep out the chill on an early spring night. Or was it almost morning already?

The inspiration for her madness had come during the early hours of the day before. Still fueled with ire and alcohol after a night spent possibly the worst pair in Rhydin, she rose after just a couple hours of sleep and no where near enough time to sober up. That wasn't a problem. It took the edge off and made the trip through the shadowy places on the docks easier. Helped her to navigate past doors and prod out the answers she was looking for. The slim pickings that was information that none of the usual channels seemed to know.

No one had any and no one knew where to get it. She could feel the greedy anxiety of people who knew they were losing money to some newcomer encroaching on their turf. The competition to find it first was steep, and she should have backed down then. Instead she pushed and someone got careless, left themselves open to her gifts. Samples were finding their way into clubs and raves. A trickle, not a flood, not all at once. Someone passing them out had to know where they were coming from, right? Sira knew one of the clubs rumored on 'the list'.

It had crossed her mind to give Cianan a call. Everything she knew about the drow told her he wouldn't be happy to find out drugs were making their way into his place. The Underground wasn't quite the meat market other places were. It was classier, but at the end of it all, it was a nightclub, and a pretty popular spot. She'd give him a heads up. Once she'd had a chance to check it out for herself, of course. That was the whole reason why she was just getting ready at a quarter to eleven to be there when the excitement was reaching its peak. The inn was her launching point, though the room she got ready in wasn't hers. Hunter never minded her closet being raided.

The clock struck midnight just as Sira stepped through the doors, bypassing the line of people waiting to get in. A quick skim of the people outside told her there was nothing she was interested in there. Inside the crowd had reach max critical and it made her hesitate. The noise from the music, the press of bodies, the stench of sweat and booze. People were up dancing hip to hip, pressed in at the bars several deep. Even with her best shields in place, emotion ran so high within the club it trickled through. If she wasn't careful she was going to be saturated with it.

Before her nerves could get the better of her she dove right in to join the crowd at the bar. She endured bumpings and jarrings as she worked the ebb and flow to get closer to the counter. Over the din she tried to engage with people around her who were lamenting the difficulty of getting a drink, but managed no conversations. When she finally made it to the bar, the bartender was too busy to give her any more attention than the time it took to make her a vodka and cran. This had been a bad idea. What was she thinking?

Then there came a cheering from the dance floor that overwhelmed the rest of the noise. It pulled her attention from trying to probe the bar out that way in time to catch what looked like an elaborate light show. Except she could tell instantly that this wasn't lasers or some other in house trick. The aurora borealis of color was too pervasive among the whirling bodies to be possible. Sira abandoned her glass on the counter top to throw herself into the fray.

Out on the dance floor she almost got swept away. She got pulled this way and that when this person or another tried to pull her into a dance. Men, women, all caught up in the music and excitement wanted to draw in more. And more. The closer she got to the light show the worse it got. Someone grabbed her from behind, strong arms wrapping around her hips, bright laughter in her ear. He didn't mean her any harm, this crowd was benign, but it took her too long to slip free. All she got was glimpses of a pair of girls who were the source of the glow. The duo were living strobes spinning amidst the rest who seemed dull in comparison. If the lotus tattooed on one of their shoulder's hadn't been particularly highlighted she would have lost them when the short-lived effect wore off.

She made a frustrated noise as she fought through the crowd to where they'd been dancing, but they were gone. Frantically she searched the area and all she came up with was anonymous merrymakers in every direction. There it was. Out of the corner of her eye she caught a lotus making its way away and she pressed after it. In her mind she told the crowd go away and so caught up in the chase she didn't realize that the dancers parted more easily than before. Then she was free of the floor and she'd lost the pair again. No. There they were, headed into the ladies' room. Perfect.

She must have looked a fright when she burst into the restroom, because one girl who was drying her hands on her way out got one look at her and got out of dodge. There hadn't been a line waiting for the stalls, and it was just her luck that the girls had gone in there to 'freshen up'. Too busy in the mirrors to notice her lock the door.

They looked so normal and so young. A fleeting question in her mind asked if they were even old enough to be in the club, but that was another issue entirely. They were a mess, laughing, a tangle of limbs as they tried to sort out whose purse was whose. Who had the vial? Where's my lipstick. Oh my god, did I lose a lash? Would you look at my hair? They didn't even notice Sira was there at first.

"That was some party trick." She stepped up to the row of mirrors to fish out her own lipstick out of her clutch. The girls stared at her and giggled.

"Wasn't it so cool?" "That was the first time that happened." "Last time I just made sparks." "Oh my god, I thought you were going to set the car on fire." They stumbled over each other as they spoke. "Have you tried it yet?" The bleach blonde asked, clutching on to a small eye dropper bottle.

"No. That's..." Sira paused to make it seem like she was thinking. "That dust stuff? I heard it's quite the experience." It was a risk to push so quick, but she couldn't help herself. "Where'd you get it?"

Luckily the girls just giggled. "Our friend scored it for us." The brunette gave a coy, smug look. "He knows a guy." Cool by proxy. It was an effort to not roll her eyes, but she somehow managed while carefully dabbing at the corners of her eyes.

"Got any left?" How she kept her voice so calm she didn't know. Her nerves were on fire. She tried not to notice the two look at each other in silent debate. And look surprised and pleased when the blonde held out the dropper bottle.

"We're supposed to share," the girl said with a pout. She wasn't happy to give up her supply, but something kept her from holding out. "One drop in each eye."

Sira's smile didn't touch her eyes when she took the bottle. She looked down at it quick, turning it to get a peek at the poison green liquid inside. There was maybe four drops worth left. They watched her, clearly expecting her to take her dose and give it back, but no. She had a few more questions.

There was an impatient line piled up outside the door by the time Sira left and two girls in a daze left inside.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Present Day

The way the tea leaves swirled through the dark, over steeped water was almost mesmerizing. Waterlogged crumbles dancing with the shifting currents to never sit still. Here they'd drift peacefully and there they'd be dragged into a violent whorl of a eddy as Sira shifted a limb restlessly. It was hard to sit there peacefully in the tub when there was so much doing battle within her being.

Pain was the only thing that got her into the strong tea bath to begin with. Her skin had been reddened like she had been laid out in a blazing sun until she was a shade below "boiled lobster". The night prior had been pure agony as she struggled to slowly cool her heated flesh from the blaze it had been. It was very tempting to just go find that frozen pond and toss herself in, but she knew that would only make things worse.

It was the first time she regretted the lack of a bathtub in her house. She'd had to call Mercy to bring up a large enough tub for her to fit herself into. The heavy metal trough was cramped, but it worked. Getting the woman to leave after she caught sight of her had been a whole other trial. All she wanted was peace. Not that she found it in her soak, but it was at least doing wonders for the burn.

A half an hour she forced herself to stay submerged up to her her shoulders, and she regularly dabbed the liquid onto her neck and face, and used a cup to dampen her scalp. Already the intensity of the burn had waned and her skin didn't feel as tight as it had. If every last inch of her skin wasn't effected it might not have been so intolerable.

Stupid. It was an utterly stupid thing for her to have done and she knew it even as she had done it. But there had been too much fire and it had been spreading. That had been her fault, too, but it had worked. She closed her eyes and winced as the memory of burning flesh--serpent--and wood swelled in her mind. The fear of facing an enraged gorgon that struck without warning and for no reason she could see. The rush of drawing on the fire to decimate the snakes born from the monster's blood.

The exhilaration of pulling the flames into herself to quiet the blaze.

She'd done it before in her practices. Other times when she had tried to put fire out, she instead pulled its heat and energy in. It felt natural that way. Her attempts to extinguish had mostly made the fire spread more, but to take it in was somehow right. The fire was a part of her. Each time she had done it, though, she had burnt herself. Her body just couldn't contain so much energy. And those times it had been small flames. Usually just her hands were burned and not her whole body like this. Stupid. It had been really stupid.

If her ability to heal hadn't grown as much as it had over recent weeks, she was sure she would have killed herself. Something had changed after her time under the ice.

The sound of her phone ringing pulled her out of her thoughts. And out of the tub. She'd been in there long enough. Hopefully she wouldn't have to do another soak, maybe she could get away with applying it with bandages, but she wasn't holding out hope on that. The dark liquid from her bath dripped down her naked body as she reached for a towel. Nice white towel that she was likely going to horribly stain, but she didn't care. The basin was set up outside on her deck where she hadn't cared so much before about being bare. With much of the pain having ebbed away leaving the anxiety of having too much energy prickling under her skin, she was more self-conscious even out there in the middle of no where.

Wrapped in the towel, but still dripping, she reached the phone just too late to catch it before it stopped ringing. By the time she saw who had called a couple of texts came through.

GK: Got a live one.

GK: Not talking.

GK: Could use your 'special touch'

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

August 2012

"He doesn't know anything."

Sira stared down at the zip-tied man kneeling in front of her with a flat, dispassionate look. His face was beginning to swell and blood trickled from a badly broken nose that he received while he was being captured. There was no reason to be concerned with his injuries. He didn't have long left in this world. He returned her stare with fear in his eyes. At first there had been hope, when they said to 'bring in the doctor', but he quickly realized that she was no healer.

He'd put up little resistance to her intrusion on his mind. Maybe he thought it would help insure his future. She had dug deep for something that might have been of use, but he lacked the knowledge they needed.

"You sure?"

Jared Grint was in charge. He was a tall, lantern jawed with a buzz cut and no sense of humor. Certainly no love for a woman invading his company, especially not one they had to babysit. He'd been against bringing Sira through the gateway at all. He wasn't convinced that the program had worked. More than once she'd caught a stray thought aimed at her. He thought she was a creepy, emotionless robot. The corner of her left eye twitched and finally she broke eye contact with the dead man.

"You missed them by a day," Sira went on in a monotonous drone. "They knew you were coming. He doesn't know who tipped them off, or where the shipment went. He wasn't involved with the heist."

Grint swore and delivered a swift kick to the man's ribs. Poor guy was just a low-level lackey watching what had turned out to be an empty warehouse instead of a stockpile of weapons. Sira was there to find out how they were stolen in the first place. She had seen the footage of the crates just vanishing. Magic.

This place was full of it. She could feel it in the very air creeping along her skin. From the moment she left Earth she knew they were somewhere different. It was almost as unpleasant as being with the group of stressed out, angry paramilitary men armed to the gills and itching for a fight. She wasn't going to feel bad about giving it to them. But she felt bad for the man at her feet.

She waited for the right moment to spring her trap. It had been a month in the works, planting this seed and that thread. They had treated her like a tool to be shaped and honed. In doing so they gave her the tools to craft her freedom. Her part in this was over, so she waited there like she was supposed to with her hands clasped demurely awaiting her next set of instructions. A robot indeed.

It was just her luck that Grint wasn't just some brash war monkey. He was barking orders to his men and he must have sensed something. Their eyes met and she knew she had to act. There was only so much she could bend before she actually broke. So she yanked on her puppet's strings with all her might and prayed.

With a roar the man on the ground surged to his feet and barreled into the soldier who had been just that hair too lax to actually be caught off guard. Sira untangled herself from his mind even as the first bullet pierced his body and it was almost all over right there. His pain was her pain in a brilliant blossom of agony in her chest that sent her reeling off balance, which pulled her out of grabbing range of the man who was supposed to be her babysitter on this trip. He lunged and she caught herself in time to swiftly kick him in the side of the knee. Not hard enough to break it as she had wanted, but he went down and wasn't able to aim at her.

There was no time to think about her next move. She hurled her mind at the solider she'd been working on building a connection with from the moment there was a whisper of a rumor that they thought she might be ready soon. Ready for the field. At this distance it was a wing and a prayer that it would actually work, that she could get into his mind to begin with. She'd never done it without eye contact, but his surprise must have helped.

More shots rang out from that high powered rifle. Kevlar vests only work so well under a barrage of bullets shot at close range. Her babysitter went down and she was on him as soon as her puppet switched to another target. She came up with his gun and she turned to add to the spray of gunfire. A sharp pain sliced through her arm and she didn't know if it was her pain or his, but she didn't stop firing until there was no one left standing.

She expected there to be some sound when she lowered her gun. Groans, cries of pain, something. The silence was deafening. Were they all dead? Her eyes scanned the bodies littering the floor. None moved. Then there was a strangled noise and she turned towards the man who she'd made kill his own.

His limbs shook. She could see him fighting against the iron clamp she had on his body, and now she noticed the rush of agony. He'd been hit by one of the flurry of shots the others had managed to get out. Dully, she was aware of her own pain. He had been hit in the side. She'd been hit in the arm. Straight through, she thought. Hers, not his.

She picked her way over to him, pausing at the bound man to offer him a silent apology. They would have had her wipe his mind and let him go. Now his blood stained the warehouse floor. But the solider needed her attention now.

"It was an ambush..." She wove him a new reality of what had happened.

Then she left a free woman with blood on her hands.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Present Day

Restless energy burned through her still. It was a dull, slow burn in the pit of her belly, spreading through her limbs until it prickled in the tips of her fingers and her toes. Staying still as she had for the past day and a half was no longer an option. Not that she had been very still at home. Contained. Sequestered. Poor Bryn had kept guard over her ceaseless, mindless pacing that she hadn't been able to limit to her house. She'd roamed out into the woods, not dressed for the temperature in jeans and a tee shirt, moving in a more and more errant orbit around her house until she realized she had broken free of the draw of safety and found herself drawn down a familiar path. She knew these trees, these rocks, that these sights would give way to open skies and the twinkle of lights in the distance. The city called to her with its sweet siren's croon. A spider in its web calling to a fly. She hadn't the wherewithal to deny it. So with a mind abuzz with erratic thoughts, and a coin in her pocket that felt like a million pound burden, she found herself approaching the inn.

Somewhere in her mind she realized that it was near freezing out. Her body didn't notice. Exposed skin didn't pebble in the cold air like it should have. Had it actually been as warm a night as it seemed to her, she probably would have found it as unbearable out as she had her house. It was tempting to keep to the streets, to continue to pound pavement until she had burnt off the rest of the energy swirling inside of her. Hell, she could probably run to the end of the world and keep going with how she felt, and that wouldn't be enough. But flight wasn't in the cards and when she lifted one foot to place in front of the other, it was to continue up aged wooden steps, and cross creaking floorboards, to push in through a door that had probably swung a million times and could weather the rough shove she gave it with no trouble.

It was too hot inside the inn. The blaze from the fireplace washed over her and was enough to trigger a hitch in her step, but not enough to make her falter off her course. She was at least going to make it to the bar. Then behind. Then into the cooler where she wanted to stick her whole head in. That she refrained from doing when she went for just a simple bottle of water. Alcohol was a temptation that she could turn herself away from. She hardly need to add that fuel to the fire. No need to shift from smolder to inferno. Bottle in hand she fled the bar and headed for the windows. She needed air.

There was no one inside to disturb with the noise of the chair she dragged over to the window so she made no effort to quiet it. The inn itself certainly wasn't going to mind another scuff or two, right? Scars had a way of buffing themselves out by the time a new wave of patrons showed up. At the window she checked the lock to make sure it was open before jamming the palms of her hands into the top of the casing and shoved it open. First just a couple of inches, then she really put her back into it and had the thing at least halfway open. She sank onto the sill and drew in deeply the night air spilling in.

She should probably be glad for the quiet night. The memory of chaos from a couple nights prior weighed heavily on her thoughts. It was easier to keep her eyes cast out the window, watching the night than to look over the empty inn. Fewer surprises came slithering through the doors when you watched. If she had a second set of eyes, she would have them trained on the alley door. Did trouble working like a pot of water? Watch, and it'll never boil? She toyed with the bottle of water, rolling it between her hands and making no move to open it for a drink.

Trouble comes in all forms. For Sira it was the quiet sort of simmer where there was something she needed to know, something she needed to fix, something needed doing, but she was powerless in that moment to accomplish anything. Had she hoped that Aiden would come strolling down that street, whistling, with that stupid, manic grin of his? Absolutely. It had been a guess, a safe bet, that the gorgon had been looking for that pain in her ass. If it had showed up at the inn, where else could it have gone? Could it have had sisters like in the myths? Or more? Or other minions that had walked straight out of the scrolls of Grecian lore. Between that serpent monster and the hellhounds, she was starting to think that a certain someone was about to disappear from her life again. She chewed on those thoughts with as much fervor as she worried her lip between her teeth.

A metallic taste blossomed in her mouth. Her teeth had struck gold and now her lip was a bloody mess. It was enough to jar her out of her reverie that was a mottled mix of future and past. None of it very productive. None of it doing anything about the feeling she couldn't dispel. The quiet inn wasn't going to do it for her, so she got up from the window and started for the door. A half dozen steps away she realized the window was still open, and she turned back around to slam it shut so hard it rattled in its frame. Satisfied with the violence she'd inflicted on the inn she paced for the door to head back out into the night. She pointed herself towards north and home.

She had reached the trees that said she wasn't far from home when a wave of nausea came over her. It was so powerful she doubled over and heaved, emptying the contents of her stomach onto the path. She had only picked at food since burning herself, but she was shocked at the volume that spewed past her lips. Black, burning ash that scraped her throat raw on the way out and smoldered where it hit the ground. Again and again, spasms wracked her body until she was certain she didn't have any organs left inside, and she found herself struggling to spit out the last dry granules clinging to the inside of her mouth.

She was glad for the water she hadn't drank, but thought to carry along. Using it she rinsed her mouth out again and again, but she couldn't get the taste of burning out. Her throat was too raw to swallow even sips of liquid and her stomach protested the attempts. Still gasping, and coughing, she stared down at the black pile on the ground. It radiated heat hot enough that she worried it might spark a fire, so the last of her water got poured over it.

With a great deal of effort she straightened and forced herself to get moving. Suddenly the excess energy she felt was gone, replaced by a deep seated fatigue, and worse yet: the cold had crept in with its icy fingers clamping around her bones. It was a miracle she managed to trudge the rest of the way through the dark woods to find her way home without breaking an ankle. Before, she could see through the shadows of night. By the time she stumbled through the open doors of her house she felt weak as a kitten.

She didn't remember getting to the bottom of the circular stairs, but that was where she woke to a whimpering Bryn licking her face. Light flooded in from above telling her it had to be at least midday and the pain in her side said she had to have fallen.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

April 2012

Liam stared up at the tank with a stark expression of displeasure. His arms were crossed over his chest and the toe of one very expensive dress shoe was tapping rapidly against the lab's floor. The technicians in the room worked in panicked silence least they draw his ire, so the cavernous room was silent except for the mechanical beeps of monitors and whirs of the apparatus keeping his wife alive as she floated suspended in the murky water.

Sira was almost unrecognizable. Her face was obscured by the breathing mask, and she had so many wires connected to various parts of her body it was a wonder she had so much bare skin left to show. The two piece suit they had gotten her into barely preserved her modesty while allowing the various diodes and ports to be attached unimpeded.

She looked so small in there. The stasis chamber had been developed to contain someone much larger than she, but she'd lost a good deal of weight since he'd last seen her. A little over a month since they'd brought her in. It was just like her to in her stubborn need for control to go on a hunger strike. They gave her nutrients intravenously to keep her alive and more or less healthy. If she didn't relent soon they would have to give her a feeding tube as well. He should have ordered it from the beginning.

"Her vitals signs have held steady for the last two hours." Said the nervous white coated man standing to his side and a little behind.Dr. Jansen. It was a wonder that his clipboard wasn't shaking, but Liam also knew there wasn't enough information on those two pieces of paper to warrant how many times the man flipped back and forth.

"What. Happened." Two words, spat out from between clenched teeth. His fists were clenched so tightly he was going to draw blood with his nails digging into the flesh of his palms. "Do you have any idea how much that equipment cost? Do you? Burnt to a crisp."

Now the clipboard shook. "We, ah, we believe that... the ah, last round of shocks may have... triggered a... a change."

Liam turned from the tank. "What do you mean, a change?"

Jansen waved a hand to get Liam to follow, because he couldn't manage to stutter out a 'this way, please', then all but ran into the adjoining observation room. Anything to get out of the freezing cold stasis chamber, surely.

Liam followed hot on his coat tails, already going through a list of names and punishments in his mind. The room, like the tank, had been meant for another purpose, that was hastily taken over by various lab equipment shoved where ever it could fit. Jansen stepped right up to a lighted board showing three different DNA panels. He was no doctor, but he could easily tell the three didn't match. Not even close.

"This," the doctor pointed to the first slide, "Was the first sample you provided to us two years ago. It's fairly unremarkable." He tapped on the next slide. "This is the sample from after... from after the 'event'." Liam narrowed his eyes even though the man had stopped himself short. That was from after Sira's miscarriage about nine months earlier.

"As you may remember," the man went on, "It's significantly different. We thought the sample had been seriously degraded but it was consistent with sample from when Ms. Doe first arrived." Everyone in the facility knew who Sira was. Stripping away her name was apart of the program. "It still appears human, but there are unusual markers. Now the last sample is from a few hours ago."

Liam stepped up to the board. The colored lines stark against the black meant nothing to him, but he scanned them anyways. The building blocks of life. So many secrets could be told if only you could read them.

"Some viruses can shift DNA a bit. We know that during our evolution, ancient viruses impacted the human genome of today. But... I've never seen anything like this." The doctor shrank under Liam's sudden, heavy gaze.

"What exactly are you saying? That my wife has some virus?" He hadn't called Sira that since this all began. "Does that mean you can treat it?" The tiny flicker of hope died with Jansen's next words.

"No, Mr. Moyer, that's very unlikely. It's more like, this was lurking in your... her DNA, and we just... woke it up."

Liam closed his eyes tight. He knew better than to hope for that.

"Can you put it back to sleep?"

This time the doctor nodded. "Using AVRs and the cryotherapy, we can keep the genes suppressed. It may even aide with the cognitive restructuring." A fancy way of saying brain washing.

"Good. Will she remember anything?"

"Oh, no, that's highly unlikely. The amnesia experienced from the ECT alone would take care of that, not to mention she was heavily sedated."

Liam gave the man a flat look. "Not so sedated she couldn't set the treatment room on fire." Killing several people and burning down a whole section of the facility. "Let me know when she's awake."

"We'll keep her in the coma for maybe another day and then slowly thaw her. Her pulse and temperature are still higher than I like." The man hesitated. "Will you... see her? She asks for you."

"No. Just keep me informed." Liam walked away.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Present Day

"I'm not sure what we're supposed to be looking for," hissed the big, burly man standing next to Sira. Gawain was doing his best to look stern with his arms cross over his chest, while she asked all the questions of the salesman as they looked at row after row of RVs.

"Don't worry about it," she replied quietly. "You're just here to make him nervous." The salesman was hovering nearby, but not quite close enough to overhear them. The weedy little man was wringing his hands nervously. At first he'd been excited about the 'couple' that had shown up with the intention of buying. Then he realized he was dealing with Sira and not her male companion, and boy did she have a strict list of needs. He'd grown less and less helpful as the day stretched on.

There had been three so far that almost met all of Sira's requirements. The one they were looking at now was only five years old, was big enough for all of the equipment, and the interior wouldn't need much renovation. Unfortunately it had been left idle too long, and needed a lot of mechanical work before it would run. It had space for a large enough generator to power the equipment, but it'd have to be parked, hauled out, hooked up somewhere to use. The last had enough juice, but no where enough space. And the only one that fit both requirements was out of her budget range.

"I bet if you got in his head," Gawain said to her, "You could get him down on the other one."

Sira shot him an annoyed look. "You know I'd never use my... I'd never do that. Besides, he's a demon. Wouldn't work."

He grinned at her and shrugged, then turned and squinted at the salesman who looked ready to pop out of his skin. "That guy? How you even know?"

For the umpteenth time she opened up the door and stepped up the sideboard into the cabin. She tested eyed the hinges as she swung the door a few times and messed with the latch. It would need a sturdier door. A good lock. Maybe some sort of bar. "I can't feel him," she said absently. Sooner or later she was going to have to make a decision.

"You said there's lotsa types you can't read." Gawain went to kick the tires for good measure. Just to feel a little less useless.

"Mm. Non-humans are always tricky, even when I can read them. But there is always a difference in the..." She waved a hand, grasping for the word she'd been looking for. "Silence. It feels different." Gawain was staring at her, so she sighed and went on. "Like were-whatevers. They are sort of snarly. Vampires are always this pure, dead air, but other types of undead, sometimes there is this faint echo. Demons have this chaotic edge. Some of them." It was her turn to shrug. "I don't get it right all the time, it's just what I've noticed."

The big man nodded along. "...So, have you made up your mind?"

"Yeah. I want the first one." She stared at where the weedy man was still waiting for them. "I think you should have a conversation with him."

A couple of hours later they walked off the lot, Sira carrying a folder with all of the paperwork declaring her the owner of her first ever vehicle. She had paid more than she had wanted to, but Gawain had been successful in negotiating a nice rebate and a few extra perks.

"That was fun. Wanna grab some lunch?" Gawain patted at his stomach and started to lead them one way.

Sira shook her head, with an apology ready on her lips. She frowned at something unseen in the distance, then shook her head again. "So long as you don't mind me working while we eat."

"Nope, not allowing you." He started to sling an arm around her shoulders and stopped a quick flash of a look and retracted it. "You need to relax, take a break, stop working yourself to death. What's wrong, anyway?" He slipped that question in like a pro and grinned at the scowl he got in response.

"Nothing is wrong."

"Something is wrong," he retorted quickly. "What's his name?" His eyes widened when he caught a subtle shift in her expression. "By the gods, I was joking! Now you gotta tell me."

"It's nothing, Gawain. Leave it."

"Look, you know how many sisters I have. I'm really good at this." He put on his most sympathetic expression. "He's a real jerk, you know. You deserve way better. You should be treated like a princess."

"I said it's nothing," she snapped coldly, stopping in her tracks. Before Gawain could say anything she turned and walked away.

"Go back to dealing with your own petty ****."

It'd be so much easier to do just that if he didn't keep popping into her head.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

June 9th 2018 5pm

Bad ideas. Sira was great at following through on bad ideas. Especially when everything seemed to be going wrong. The clinic was fine, so busy some days she didn't know when one ended and the next began. It was everything else.

In the fading light of day she stood staring down at her roses which were dying. They had been doing so well and it was almost as if overnight they decided to start wilting. The pattern on the leaves said they'd been hit with the mosaic virus, but how did it take over so quickly. She'd lose the whole arch. She'd have to start completely over.

The chains holding up the swing in the arch's bow had snapped on one side. It was where she had intended on spending the last hours of daylight reading, but now her plans dragged against the ground.

She turned to stomp her way back down the length of her pond, glaring at nothing at all. Her ire was all internally focused.

Back in the city there was an RV she could barely drive, sitting idly, because now she wasn't sure she'd be able to convert it into her mobile lab. The upgrades it needed ended up being outside of her budget and she wasn't going to ask Lexius for more money. The equipment she had put on hold was now on back order. Not for the first time she toyed with the idea of just cancelling everything and giving up. Give the money back. She hadn't spent any of it yet. Gawain had joked about hauling the RV to camp and converting it into a house. It didn't sound like such a bad idea now.

She passed through the doorless archway and slipped down the spiral staircase, turning out into the living room to stop by Bryn's bed and ruffle his ears. Good old Bryn was reliable. Faithful.

With a sigh she straightened and continued around the circular hallway. She tossed her book on the couch as she passed it, then wandered down the dim hallway to her bedroom. She had every intention to get changed out of the things she'd worn to sunbathe in earlier, the cover up over the bikini even though no one was around to spy on her. But then she saw the flyer she'd picked up the day before on her way through the marketplace. It was brightly colored advertising the most ridiculous of things: Foam party.

How crazy, right? A mountain of foam so vast people get lost in it as they dance and cavort. Apparently duel, if she read the flyer right, which wasn't something she was interested in. Really, she shouldn't be interested in it at all. It was a recipe for utter disaster. Nearly unavoidable to slip and slide and bump into people.

But... it wouldn't be her first time. One corner of her mouth quirked up as she remembered Michelle and Dana and the rest of their friends falling all over each other, laughing, and having the best time of their lives. It was while Liam and she had been broken up, and it was the very first night she agreed to go out. They never did manage to convince her to start dating again before he came back sniffing around, but she'd been fun again. More herself than ever before.

A version of herself she lost in a black van and months of torture.

Stupid. She reached out to grab the flyer to crumple it up. But sitting right there was an eye dropper vial where a couple droplets worth of strange, almost luminescent green liquid sat inside. Too little to test properly. That much she had confirmed. Garrett had been trying to get his hands on more, but the dealers had proven slippery. All the more with the Watch being so hyper vigilant.

Her hand hovered near the bottle, fingers stretched out and ready to take it into hand.

What if...?

Bad decisions are bad. Sometimes Sira just didn't care.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

February 2012

The knife cut smoothly. The flash of red oozing from the torso surprised Sira enough that she jumped and almost dropped the sharp implement. The crowd around her had a good laugh at her expense.

"You guys! Come on..." But she laughed too through her complaints. "Who did this?"

A man in green scrubs in the crowd raised his hand. "All me! Isn't it great? It's strawberry flavored."

Sira looked back down at the cake. It was the Operation man on the outside and apparently vanilla cake and strawberry ooze filling inside. She shook her head and laughed again as she finished carving out the first slice to plop onto a plate. The crowd cheered and someone took over to slice up the rest to divvy out. Soon everyone had plates and forks.

"So how does it feel, Dr. Moyer, knowing that in twelve short hours, you will officially be done with the indentured servitude that is residency?"

Dr. Masters was holding up his fork towards her face like it was a microphone. The aging surgeon was dressed and ready for a tour in the OR and armed with the warm smile she'd come to rely on over the past four years. He had been a patient mentor.

"Well, Richard," it was still odd calling him by his first name, "I am looking forward to finally having a decent paying job so maybe I can pay off this soul-crushing debt before I die." They had a good laugh at that.

"Excellent, I understand they offered you a very nice package to stay on in the ER." He tipped his head a little looking puzzled. "I thought Liam was doing well working for his father, though. The news makes it sound like they're robbing the country blind with that last contract they landed." He watched her keenly as he took another bite of cake.

"It's more than I had hoped for, really," she confessed with an embarrassed smile. "Especially since they knew I'd have taken pennies to stay in the city. Liam is..." She faltered, brows knitted together. "The money is all tied up right now. I'm probably going to dip into my inheritance for a little longer until he sorts things out." With her eyes fixed on her plate where she was moving around crumbs with the tines of her fork she missed the older man's concerned look.

"And have things gotten any better since...?" No matter how gently he asked, the rift that had formed between her husband and her since the miscarriage still ached. It burned inside Sira every time she thought about it.

"He's been away a lot more. It's for the best. Being busy helps." She tried to smile.

Luckily just then someone stuck their head into the break room. "Sorry to break up the party, but multiple buses on route, shooting in Edgewood park. Multiple GSRs." And that was enough to cause a flurry of action as people jumped to fill their duties.

Sira was pulling on her coat when Richard took her by the arm. "Listen, Sira. This summer there will be an opening in my fellowship. It's yours if you want it."

Her smile was surprised and pleased. "Really? You want to drag me out of the trenches?" She laughed, light and easy. "I'll think about it, thank you."

Unfortunately she never got the opportunity to give it any thought.

--------

7 am. It had been a terribly long night. Ambulance after ambulance had flooded into the bays and they were slammed for the entire shift. Sira loved each and every moment of it because it kept her heavy mind too busy to worry. Liam was finally going to be home after a two-week business trip she didn't even know about until she caught him leaving with his bags.

She'd cried. They'd fought. Do you even love me anymore? He'd left without a goodbye kiss and they hadn't spoken since.

His plane was supposed to land early evening. With luck he'd be home in time for dinner and Sira wanted to have a beautiful meal on the table. She'd bought a new dress, she'd do her makeup, she'd light candles. Maybe, just maybe things would be alright. She stepped through the hospital's rear entrance so preoccupied with thought she barely noticed the unfamiliar faces in the parking lot. The hospital was big enough that she couldn't possibly know everyone, but no one had access to that lot if they weren't an employee.

"Dr. Moyer?" The voice came at her from the side, a little behind her. Positioned so she had to turn her whole body to look at the man in what looked like a security outfit of some kind. He had the look of a military guy, clean shaven, high and tight cut, rigid posture. And cold, cold eyes.

She had her mouth open to say something that never got a chance to come out. Faster than she could think black fabric was descending over her head and pulling tight into her throat, strangling and silencing her all in one go. More hands were on her twisting at her arms and then she was moving. Then she was being heaved and she found herself dropped on the hard metal floor of a van. She heard shouts before the door slammed shut and the van lurched forward with squealing tires.

She wasn't going to be home for dinner.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Summer 2013

Sira was bloody from finger tip to elbow, with more splatters of thick ichor dotting the front of her apron and the plastic shield covering her face. It was times like this that she felt more like a butcher than a doctor, and at this very moment less like a surgeon than she needed to. The body laying on the table in front of her was relying on her training and expertise, not weak complaints about long ago her surgical rotation was and didn't care that she never even started her fellowship.

This man had come to her because he didn't want to die.

"Clamp here," she said sharply to the red-haired youth who was playing her assistant. "No, right there where the blood--better." Unlike her, Cal had absolutely no place in an operating room. As he was the only of her choices that hadn't gotten queasy at the idea of seeing his friend cut open, he got to play the part. The back room of a warehouse wasn't an OR anyway. She'd learned you did what you had to in this city.

Her scalpel pierced the next layer fascia so she could retract the tissue to get a good look at the organ underneath. As good a look as she could get. Inside the human body is utter darkness. Holding your hand up to the light so your can see your bones through your skin might give one the mistaken impression that somehow light passes through all of us. It would have been so much help. Hopefully the bullet she was looking for was about where she expected it to be.

"Find it yet, doc?"

That was the man on the table who was fully awake. Sira couldn't remember what his name was and it wasn't important for her to. She flashed him an annoyed look. "Stop moving."

This surgery was difficult enough without him squirming around. She knew he felt no pain, because she didn't allow him to. He had to be awake because there were only so many systems she could control at once and anesthesia would be far too risky. An X-ray machine would have been an absolute luxury. A sterile field kit and her own abilities would have to be good enough.

Carefully, she eased her hand into the now open cavity to feel past the pancreas, mindful as she went of any internal damage. It wasn't just with her fingers that she searched. She knew where the bullet was supposed to be because she knew where he hurt. Fine tendrils of thought tangled with his nervous system, his veins, to locate where it was. But oh did she sigh when her fingers hit something hard lodged into the smooth tissue.

"Get ready to cauterize," she told Cal as she carefully shifted the organ within its cavity so her eyes could see what she felt. There was the flash of metal. Another pair of hands would have helped so much, but with a stroke of good luck she managed to grab another clamp to remove the bullet with a delicate hand. The boy was quick to jump in with a tool not meant to be used on human flesh, but would have to do, to zap the sources of fresh, dark blood.

From there things were much easier. It was all knitting flesh back together and ensuring that he wasn't bleeding anymore. It was sanitizing the wound and covering it with thick, padded gauze, then a layer of elastic bandage wrapped around his torso. Barbaric was what it truly was, but it would work.

"You need to get plenty of rest," she warned the man whose name she'd never know. "I want to see you in a week, not any sooner because you busted your stitches."

It was too bad that after all that he was stabbed to death a scant two days later.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friday September 21

It had been Sira's intention to make her way home, but after dinner she found all she had the energy for was to make it back to the inn. It wasn't very late. It wasn't like she'd had too much to drink--that mop water they'd been served with dinner was pretty potent, but she hadn't drank very much. Because it tasted utterly awful. It was because her stomach was churning in a way that had nothing to do with the strange burrito she'd sampled.

She held it together until she'd gotten inside the room. Not her room, which was cluttered with medical supplies she needed to inventory for the fall, but Hunter's. The hacker must have been through town recently, because there was a whole new pile of clothes in the corner that hadn't been there the last time she'd borrowed her friend's room.

Just inside the door, just after closing it behind her, she collapsed against it and let go the breath it felt like she'd been holding the whole walk home.

'Where something dress-like' he'd requested. So she had worn not a dress, but a pale, pale blue skirt paired with a white camisole, and a white cardigan over the top with a pale, pale pattern of flowers and swallows, like a very faded Chinese silk painting. She'd felt a little overdressed when she showed up to the 'mexidwarf' fusion restaurant, but maybe it was all worth it when he'd told her she looked foxy? That wasn't the first hint of butterflies in her stomach, but it definitely was when they turned up to eleven. After all, who in their right mind would ever expect her to do out on a date with...?

No one. But it had happened. And actually? It wasn't that bad. The food was barely edible, the drinks may have been cleaning fluid, but spending the evening just the two of them? Way more than she had ever expected.

Not that the night hadn't been full of ups and downs. She managed to get herself away from the door so that she could go raid the dresser for something she could sleep in. Most of Hunter's clothing barely counted as such, but she could do with an over large tee shirt. She stripped out of her clothes to get changed, avoiding looking at herself in the mirror so she couldn't see her blush.

The kiss. It lasted for maybe ten seconds? If that, before they were interrupted by their inattentive and rude waiter. It wasn't that he'd kissed her. It wasn't that she'd wanted to kiss him at that very moment, it was the moment they'd had before. A raw moment, truths laid out bare, emotions shared. She had said yes to the date on an impulse.

'What was your most irresponsible decision?' he'd asked. She'd almost laughed it off and said 'going out with you'. Instead she told him about trying the Pixie Dust. Instead of being some stupid, crazy, and wild moment shared it had twisted into something else.

Maybe she'd said the wrong answer after all.
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