The Big Sandbox

From the Story Arc: Lovers and Heroes

Previous Story in the Arc: Zach Marlowe: Privyet Eye Pt 4 by Bestial Boy (Tuesday, November 01, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: A Blue, Blue Christmas by Bestial Boy (Tuesday, January 17, 2006)

(posted Saturday, January 14, 2006)

The Muzac was playing “Green Leaves of Summer” as Belladonna Aura waited nervously in the anteroom of the office of the Dean of Paragon City University’s Medical School.

”There’s a new program for Healers like you, Bella,” Doc Douglas over at Chiron had said. “You need to look into it. ‘Licensed Practical Physician,’ it’s called, to make you a real doctor. Gives you credit for you real-world experience. Lets you test out of a pile of the nonsense of the Bachelor’s Degree. You’ll probably end up Licensed right away, and have a full unrestricted MD in less time than you think.”

How many times had she lamented, “I’m not a doc, just a paramedic!” How many times had she fumed over delay because she had to send someone to an MD for a simple scrip? The business with getting Saviour pregnancy tested…with diagnosing John…

John…if she had been a real doc, there would have been none of the maneuvering to get him tests. If she’d been a real doc, she could have ordered them.

Then there was the legal aspect. In a court of law, it was stretching things to claim patient/physician confidentiality if she was subpoenaed. It hadn’t come up yet, but Bella hadn’t helped defuse as much as she had by not being proactive.

So. A week of tests later…here she was in the Dean’s office, waiting to hear the results. She felt pretty good about the tests, actually, though she had been pretty sure she was going to crap out on most of them. When she just sat down and had a pencil in her hand, it turned out it was amazing how much she actually knew.

Or…in some cases…how much Flame had actually downloaded into her brain….

”The knowledge is permanent,” Flame said serenely over Bella’s feeble objections. “It is as permanent as anything learned from books. So how is it differenr from something learned over time? It is the fact that you have the knowledge, and the practical experience to apply it, that counts.”

That had been months ago, before this program ever came up. When Flame had become able to access her special connection with the Infinite and the Heart of All Time through John, the three of them had begun every-other-night hourly skull sessions where Bella got the memories and knowledge of—former—physicians downloaded into her head. Mostly it was practical information, actually. It had been unnerving at first. But after a while, she had gotten used to it. And frustrating, because of having to hold back and not use what she knew.

Zach was all in favor of this, and in the right way, not pushing her, but making it very clear that he thought she was more than good enough, smart enough, ready enough.

And every doubt that she had ever had about “really” knowing this stuff had been erased when she sat in that tiny room and filled out test after test after test and her confidence grew with every page filled.

“You can go in now, Miss Parker,” the receptionist said, and gave her a wink. “I’m not supposed to say,” she whispered conspiratorially, “But it’s good news.”

The Dean stood up when she came in. She was wearing her suit, her informal version of the CCCP formal uniform, rather than a hero costume but face it, it was hard to disguise the auras, the glowing eyes, the blue skin and hair. Or the face of GammaBars. He shook her hand and his eyes twinkled.

“Bella, good to see you in person. You do realize that you’re probably going to be asked to now approve your sponsor’s product as a doctor as well as a spokeshero, don’t you?” he said without preamble. He grinned. “Oh yes. ‘Hero tested, doctor approved,’ I can see it all now.”

It took a moment for that to sink in. “Doctor a—“ She blinked. “I passed? I passed?”

He laughed. “You are one of the first five Healers to be licensed as Licensed Practical Physicians, Bella Dawn Parker. In two years, after a specially designed series of courses here at the University, you will be a full MD, unrestricted. I have your enrollment form right here.”

Two hours later, she left the offices, her course schedule in hand, her fees paid, a list of books and supplies to buy, feeling dazed and giddy with happiness. There were all sorts of restrictions on this new title of hers. She couldn’t perform surgery. Every decision she made would be double-checked by a board of full MDs at Chiron. Her scrip-writing would be under close scrutiny, and she was not allowed to practice anything but aura-healing on non-heroes except in extreme emergency. The AMA was on the fence about this. There were plenty of doctors who objected (none in Paragon, though). These first LPPs were going to be under a microscope, and she more than the others because of her association with the CCCP.

But.

But.

In two years, she would be completely unrestricted, no different from any other doctor out there, needing only board certification to practice anywhere she wanted.

And for now?

Now she was Bella Dawn Parker, LPP, MD.

Doctor.

((Bella just got the Doctor badge fir healing. This is my rationalization for wearing it.))