The Light That Failed Pt 7

From the Story Arc: A Fine And Private Place

Previous Story in the Arc: The Light That Failed Pt 6 by Bestial Boy (Sunday, October 09, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: The Light That Failed Pt 8 by Belladonna Aura (Sunday, October 09, 2005)

(posted Sunday, October 09, 2005)

“Zach. Stop.” Natalya expected a macho reaction from Zach, and he had provided on, in true form. She didn’t blame him at all. In her heart, she longed to be at Bella’s side, as if holding the girl’s hand would somehow stop the mysterious malfunction of her innards. But she knew that strong-arming the doctors would distract them from diagnosing her problem.

“No way, Nat. I have to be with her.” He continued to drag the doctor down the hall towards the X-Ray lab.

“Wait, comrade.” This little piece of the situation, she would control. “Please.”

Zach paused. The word sounded so alien in Red Saviour’s mouth. Nurses and attendants skittered past them, casting sideways glances at the metahumans.

“Now is not the time,” she said slowly. “We must distinguish between our desire for reassurance and Bella’s medical needs. Our presence there does no good, only makes more patients. Let them focus.”

He blinked, twice, and released the doctor. The man adjusted his glasses.

“Comrade Doctor,” Red Saviour said, “forgive us. We are accustomed to enemies we can punch. Helplessness is new to us.” The other heroes stirred, uncomfortable at the admission.

“Understood,” the doctor said. “I have a radiation team on the way now from Chiron. My lab tech says that the radiation levels emitting from your friend haven’t dropped off. Until we know why this is happening, we can do little more than give her pain medication.”

“You mean, you’re going to let her die?” Zach croaked out the words.

The doctor held up his hands, a little afraid of the bereaved mutant. “No! We’re going to do everything we can. But the lead lining of the X-ray lab can barely prevent her from shutting down the entire hospital. If that happens, dozens on life-support will die.”

A silence settled over the cluster of heroes. Commie Cowgirl had been thinking only of saving her comrade, but in this modern world there was no safe place to treat a patient whose condition disabled medical equipment. Victoria Victrix, with her magical healing spells, could only forestall the inevitable.

The doctor wiped his forehead. “I’m doing what I can, ma’am, but I have to think of every patient here. If the Chiron team can’t quarantine her effectively, you’ll have to move her.”

“Where?”

His silence spoke volumes.

“Oh God,” Zach whispered.

“Your magician friend will need to be decontaminated soon, too. What little we know about magic healing” – he looked uncomfortable at the phrase – “tells us it can’t address serious radiation contamination. She needs to leave that chamber in ten minutes.”

Natalya shook her head. “She won’t do it.”

“Then I have another dying patient on my hands. Those suits can only handle so much radiation. The Chiron team will have to stagger their shifts, and run decontamination as they go.” He glanced back down the hallway. “We’ve never dealt with anything like this before. ”

The fear in the man’s voice chilled Natalya. It was the tone a medical professional reserved for a natural disaster… or an unnatural one. She was eleven, watching the television and crying as her papa held her. The images of the dead at Chernobyl flickered through her mind again.

And then she remembered a conversation she had with Bella, and a promise she made that had niggled in the back of her mind for the last hour.

“Nyet.”

“Excuse me?”

Natalya spoke the most painful words of her life. “You will not treat her.” Her vision blurred with tears; she fought to hold them back, to stay steady.

“The Chiron team –“

“They will help us evacuate her safely,” she said, feeling increasingly remote from the conversation.

Everyone protested: little Thahn Ha turning up the volume of her translator to be heard, Djinni growling at her about being inhuman, Soviet Wing in shock… she kept her eyes on Zach, wishing for telepathy, wishing he could have been there the day Bella made Natalya promise never to risk anyone’s life treating her condition.

I must be strong for Bella, one last time.

The objections faded into white noise as she held Zach’s despairing gaze. His face broke apart, piece by piece. His eyes begged for hope. Her tiny headshake spoke directly to him: we are going to lose her.

Zach turned away, defeated. She raised her voice: “Davay, davay! Preparing for evacuation.”