Chapter 1 rewrite of "night fire" 100% new writing...
since I'm in rewrite mode, very slowly...there is a couple of pages...if anyone wants to comment, feel free.
The medical bay was silent and felt abandoned. A single stasis chamber was lit, the rest darkened and empty, where a young woman floated in peace. Inside the tube’s zero-g environment, her hair flowed in many directions.
A single orderly approached the chamber, a pocket computer in his hand. Ordered to record the woman’s vitals, he had watched over her all night. Two days ago the medical staff had taken custody of the stasis tube. Since then he had watched her vitals slowly drop, and he was worried.
The stasis field’s soft blue light shone on his uniform. He despaired at the information he was entering. She was dying. Why couldn’t they do something? The Brass would let her die while they tried to make up their minds!
The orderly never heard his friend walk up behind him. He nearly jumped when his friend touched him on the shoulder. Couldn’t he have said something at least?
“Still watching her?” his friend asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “At this rate, she will die before anyone does anything.”
“Watch what you say,” he friend warned. “Have you forgotten about the new monitoring equipment? Rumor has it the bugs can read lips now.”
He sighed at the comment, and pursed his lips. Of course he had heard the rumors, who hadn’t? However, the woman was just so pretty…why would anyone want to let her die?
“I’ve heard the scuttlebutt,” he said. “The lunchroom chatter says she’s some real bad-ass. That she did a number on some guards back on Necko.”
“That isn’t a rumor,” his friend said. “I had a friend on the ship that brought her in. She said that she took our four men by herself.”
“I wish the Old Man would make a decision before she dies.”
He grunted as his friend punched him on the arm. Damn, he had forgotten about the monitoring devices again! The cloak and dagger that Doctor Matthews kept the medical staff under got annoying. Between him and Rear Admiral Reyes, they had everyone scared to open their mouths about anything!
“Come on,” his friend said. “Let’s see if we can get these rounds done.”
Doctor Matthews entered the quiet medical bay. He had put off seeing the young woman in his care for long enough. In his many years of experience, he had never seen such a human body in such a mess. Sometimes he wondered why he continued to be a doctor. Every time he made an advance in medicine, the weapons designers would make more efficient weapons.
Damn the regulations, he thought. He worked to place his new security code into his pocket computers. Mindful of the devices in the room, he kept the curse he felt from his lips. With the invention of the newest bugs, the walls truly had ears. Couldn’t the damn spooks just relax one time?
He frowned and sighed as his patient’s information appeared on the screen. The women’s vitals weren’t good. Each hour that Reyes wasted on his decision, the worse the woman’s condition got. At the rate that her vitals slid overnight, she would be dead by the artificial morning, only hours away.
Matthews approached the lone active stasis chamber. Its soft blue light was a contrast to the darkened tubes around it. In the pocket of his white coat, was an old-style ballpoint pen. It served as a combination good luck charm, and stress relief.
He pulled the pen out of his pocket, and started to chew on it. The plastic and metal flexed on his teeth as he looked at the woman in the stasis chamber. While she floated in peace, unaware of the people around her, it hid the real reason she was there.
Her arms were a God-awful mess. The deadly darts had ripped her muscles to shreds, the bones in her limbs shattered. He wanted to shrink back from her, and cry in sympathy for what had happened. The damage that she had endured was far beyond anything he had seen in his long medical career. And given his many years of service, that was saying something.
His lucky pen came close to the end of its life. He let his eyes trail down to her legs, and rage formed in the pit of his stomach. Thank God for the pen, he thought, otherwise he would give words to his rage. With all the bugs in the room, the Old Man would know exactly how he felt.
While the damage to her arms had been extensive, what happened to her legs were light-years beyond that. Tiny pieces of muscle held the shattered bones together. Nothing made Lewis Matthews madder then the waste of a perfectly good woman.
He added new notes to his computer. The rebuilding he had in mind would be extensive, and it would give her capabilities a normal person didn’t have. All he needed was the green light from the Admiral.
The lucky pen managed to survive the trip, and he placed it back into his pocket. He bit back a growl as he struggled to enter his new code in again. If the damn spooks had common sense, and he wondered if they did, they wouldn’t keep making him learn another code!
He examined the schematics for the cybernetic bionics he created. Powered by a fusion reactor, the limbs would have more then enough power to last her lifetime. His estimates had them giving the young woman a two hundred percent strength increase over her biological parts. If they all worked right, then it would be very interesting to see her run.
Now If only the Old Man would give me the green light, he thought.
Rear Admiral Reyes liked shining his boots. He found it to be something that helped him think, and he had plenty to ponder. Two decks below his quarters, he knew was a dying young woman. He had personally been down to see her earlier in the day.
While she floated peacefully in the grip of the impersonal stasis tube, he wished he could find peace. She seemed to be a perfect fit the their experiment. However, with the scant amount of information his agency had on her, he had doubts. What if she went berserk with one hundred million credits of his equipment in her? Who would be able to stop her with the enhanced abilities she would be given?
He placed a small block of polish on the toe of his boot. With a small, hand-held laser, he melted it onto the leather. He started to buff it out with a small cloth. What to do?
We haven’t had much luck looking for a subject, he thought. Everyone we’ve found has had some sort of defect in his or her character and psyche. If I let her die, then so might the future of this program.
He looked at the mirror shine, and sighed. The decisions were the worst part of being the man in charge. There was no one else who could make the call, and he felt the weight of it on his shoulders.
With his boots shined, he placed them on the floor. He picked up his pocket computer, and read the vitals on it. The time for making a decision had come, and he would roll the dice.
“Reyes to Matthews,” he said.
“Matthews here, sir,”
“Tell me something Doctor: Is there a way we can control her if she ‘gets off the ranch?’”
“Yes, sir,” Matthews said. “We can implement a remote shut-down code into her central processor.”
“Okay then,” he said with a sigh. “You have a green light.”
He killed the connection and pulled his boots on. As he laced them up, he thought about the decision he made. One hundred million credits of black book funding would be placed in this woman, and he hoped it worked out. It sure as hell would be interesting to explain to Fleet Command what happened if it didn’t!
You need to be logged in to comment