Part 2: Well This Looks Familiar

From the Story Arc: A Sistah's Burden

Previous Story in the Arc: Just A Typical Day by Gaia's Soldier (Thursday, July 21, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Part 3: Things must change by Gaia's Soldier (Friday, July 22, 2005)

(posted Thursday, July 21, 2005)

Aura groaned softly. Her head ached and the light hurt her eyes even though they were tightly shut. She slowly began to open them bit by bit, the bright light nearly blinding her already sensitive eyes. She panicked inside for a moment as memories flooded back to her, her eyes opening wide. Aura breathed a sigh of relief as she looked around then at herself seeing the pale green gown. The hospital. She was just in the hospital. She pulled the sensors from her chest in irritation and dropped them to the floor.

The tag on the monitor next to her said Crowne Memorial. Not that they didn’t look all the same. The off-white wall had a three-foot high bluish green stripe that lay flush with a gray tile floor. The cabinets that filled the small room were particleboard, painted that unsettling shade of green as the stripe, and highly shined metal. Aura leaned her legs over the edge of the bed, if you could call it that. The bed was a metal frame on wheels and the white sheet covered a thin mattress that was hardly worth bothering with since it gave little cushioning.

She looked up as the faded green curtains were pulled back and a middle aged black man in a white hospital coat walked in, a chart tucked under one arm. The light from the teleporter in the room gave his mahogany brown skin a strange cast. Aura met his eyes and smiled warmly. “Hey there, Doc Spencer. Fancy meeting you here.”

The doctor pursed his lips but couldn’t restrain a soft chuckle. His eyes were weary. She could see it through the smile now playing across his lined face. Aura wondered about that look and the premature graying near his temples. How much of it had been put there by people just like her. “So, Ms. Biko. Here you are with us once again. I have to tell you, my wife is getting more than just a little suspicious of us meeting so often.”

Aura chuckled. “Yeah, I know. Rough job.”

“And an intelligent young lady like you could choose no other safer career?”

She shook her head and closed her eyes, slightly amused. This was not the first time nor would be the last time the two of them would have this conversation. “You know my mind on that. The job sorta chose me. It’s what I’m good at.”

Doctor Spencer’s eyebrow rose and he opened the chart. “Hmm, that makes…seven times here just this week.” A sheepish grin crossed her face. “Not counting the trip to Lagrange and the two to Cygnus.”

Aura shrugged. “Get to miss the place after a bit I guess.”

He rolled his eyes. “You don’t stay away long enough to miss it. I am certain you are good at your job but a little sister like yourself shouldn’t…” The dark look that crossed her eyes just now shook him a bit and made him change the subject quickly. “Well it seems your impressive metabolism healed you shortly after you got here. You’ll want to have a friend bring you some spare clothes this time. Not much more than burnt scraps left of that uniform of yours. Really nothing to salvage.” A worried look of a father crossed his eyes. “You’re very lucky this time. Very Lucky.”

Aura dropped off the bed and her feet hit the very cold floor, causing her to grimace slightly. “The nurse at the front desk has probably already called for one from the contact number I gave her.” Opening the cabinet across the room marked ‘personal belongings’ she found she was correct. “Yep, just add it to my bill doc.” She sighed and pulled the bundle down. Normally she could walk away from a trip to the hospital with some major laundry to do and a few holes to patch. But after the last time she waited in an emergency room for an hour to get a hold of a friend to bring her a spare set from her apartment, Aura had said enough of that. In her file at each of the hospitals she had been to was the number to the uniform company who supplied her gear. A quick phone call and a swift delivery boy’s trip later, and all there was to do was remember to pay the bill.

The doctor stepped out of the room and closed the curtain to allow Aura to get dressed. When he came back she was lacing up her heavy boots. Doctor Spencer frowned. “So…your going right back out there?”

“Yep.”

“You know the reading on your vitals are quite a bit higher than are normal even for you. Maybe you should take a few days…”

“No!.” Aura took a deep breath, surprised at the sharp tone that had escaped her. “No, I can’t. My friend is missing and I have work to do. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate it. I just…I gotta go, doc.” Doctor Spencer nodded and watched her a bit sadly as she pushed past him and into the outer room.

Aura followed the well-worn gray tiles past the other rooms. The sterile smell of harsh chemicals that permeated this place made her nose sting and her stomach churn a bit. It always did. She reached the highly polished metal elevators and punched the button repeatedly. She was ready to get the hell out of here.

The same road of tile led her though the waiting room, full of chairs and tables made of pale wood and that same ugly green as the rest of the place. Aura muttered under her breath to nobody in particular. “Man these folks need to arrest whoever did their decorating, cause this is a crime.” She hated this place. She hated hospitals in general. She passed the front desk without a second glance heading purposefully to the exits.

Stepping out of the glass and metal doors into the evening air, Aura let out a long sigh. Her comm. buzzed and she smiled. Back to work. She wouldn’t have it any other way.