The Q'uvhot doctor was addressing members of his staff at a dry riverbed.
Ol'khor N'hiret was tall, handsome, with ridges that lay flat on both the bridge of his nose and his temples.
He was VERY buff, with brown hair down to just below his shoulders, a chestful of hair, and markings down his neck, arms, back and the right side of his chest.
“We came to this ancient riverbed to practice emergency rescues as if we were on an arid planet or moon.
”The reason the med evac shuttle's here is for show. However, in case anyone gets overcome by the heat, medical care will be readily available. There are bottles of water in there, plus a replicator that's programmed with the recipe for my favorite iced coffee!
“We all, myself included, get quite desensitized, and even lackadaisical, about emergencies and the immediate treatment of patients before they've arrived at the facility. We tend to leave that to our med techs.
”However, emergencies can happen anywhere and under circumstances we don't see regularly at our facility.
“On other planets, especially most unexplored planets, there may not be easy access to a medical facility. You need to know what to do in those situations.
”These exercises will hone our skills.“, Ol'khor said, standing by the mat they were all gathered around.
Suddenly they heard loud screaming above them. They looked up and saw someone hurtling towards them. A woman, judging by her screams, suddenly turned towards her right side as she hurtled towards the ground.
Seconds later she hit the mat with a blood-curdling scream, bounced off it into the air about four feet before finally landing on her face and front torso.
Ol'khor immediately ran over to her. She was breathing, but unconscious.
”Bring a cervical collar!“, he called out. Everyone stood there, shocked at what they'd just seen.
”GET OFF YOUR HUMAN ASSES AND BRING ME THAT COLLAR, AN INTRAVENOUS LINE, 4CC'S VICDO, A BACKBOARD AND A SCANNER!
“THIS IS NOT PART OF THE DRILL! THIS WOMAN'S SERIOUSLY IF NOT CRITICALLY INJURED!
”MOVE IT, HUMANS!“, Ol'khor shouted at them.
They all started running around getting him the items he wanted.
The young woman started regaining consciousness, screaming and moaning in utter agony.
“Help me! PLEASE help me!”, she begged, sobbing.
“What's your name, Ma'am?”, Ol'khor asked.
“Darcy. Darcy Cipriani.”, the woman said, moaning in pain.
“Darcy, I'm Dr. N'hiret. It's nice to meet you. Please stay very still. You've been seriously injured in your fall.”, he replied, gently putting a cervical collar on her neck.
“I'm going to do a preliminary scan and see what's going on. The med tech here is going to start an intravenous line in your hand and I'm going to administer pain medication to help get you more comfortable.”, he continued.
Ol'khor slowly waved a hand-held metal object over her. The med tech had the line in her hand within seconds. Ol'khor then administered the Vicdo into her line.
“Where's the river? I should've landed in the river, but I didn't see it anymore a couple seconds after my line broke. Where's the river? Where are my friends? What happened to them? Are they alright? Why isn't there a river here?”, she asked tearfully.
“Darcy, there hasn't been a river here in centuries. It dried up centuries ago, after the nuclear holocaust.”, he said.
“What?”, she asked, starting to move abit.
“Hold still please Darcy. You might have a spinal injury. I just gave you some medication to help you.”, he replied, gently squeezing her hand in reassurance.
“I'm sensitive to extra-strength vicodin and morphine.”, she said.
“Vicodin? Morphine?”, he asked.
“Yes.”, she replied.
“What happens when you have them?”
“I get inappropriate.”, she said.
“Well we certainly want to avoid that now, don't we?”, Ol'khor replied, smiling.
“I'm fully vaxxed and also got my flu shot last week! I never skip my yearly Covid booster! Covid can kiss my patootie!”, she said groggily, still moaning.
“Alright, Darcy. Thank you for letting me know. You should start feeling some pain relief very soon now.
”The preliminary scan confirms my visual and tactile findings. The bulk of your injuries are on your right side, mostly because you landed hard on that side before bouncing off the mat.
”You have a separation and dislocation of your shoulder, compound fractures of your right wrist and leg, and a surprisingly mild concussion. I expected you to have a much worse concussion than you do.
“We're going to get you in the med evac shuttle and take you to our medical facility for surgery and further treatment. I need to do another scan once we get there to see if there's any internal bleeding I need to repair.”, he said as she was taken on a stretcher to the med evac shuttle.
“Is this a helicopter? I didn't see any propellers on it.”, she said groggily as it lifted off the ground.
“Helicopter? No, this is a med evac shuttle. I assure you, Darcy. You're perfectly safe in here. I'm going to take some blood and run a chemical profile on you while we're heading there.”, Ol'khor replied, smiling.
“Something's definitely 'off' about her. Certain words she used are extremely archaic. Morphine, Vicodin, helicopters, or flu shot. Covid vaccines and boosters haven't been around or necessary for centuries.
“How could she possibly know about them? Even the humans here seem confused.”, he thought to himself.
Arriving at the medical facility, she was transferred from the gurney to a bed in the ICU unit. A silver pillow was on the bed as well as a silver blanket. Neither were made from cloth; at least not any cloth she was used to. It wasn't a cozy blanket, but at least her legs were warm.
A med tech stopped by and used a similar device the doctor had used. He used a different device, holding it a few inches above her chest.
Darcy was uncomfortable, but no longer in agony. She noticed that the med tech had the same ridges and tattoos the doctor had.
“You have the same tats as the doctor. I've never known two people with the exact same tats before. How did your nose and temples get hurt, if I'm not being too nosy?”, she asked him.
“Tats? I'm sorry. I don't understand.”, he said.
“Tattoos. These.”, she replied, pointing to his markings.
“Oh. These are my markings. All of us have them, along with our facial ridges.”, he said as the doctor returned.
Ol'khor looked at the scanner then said,
“You do have some internal bleeding, Darcy, as I suspected. Your liver's nicked and your spleen's torn.
”I'll fix your liver but, unfortunately, I'll have to remove your spleen. You Terrans and humans can live without a spleen but not the liver. You'll be fine, Darcy.”, Ol'khor told her, patting her hand in reassurance.
“Thank you. Oh! My phone and license! Where are they? I stuck them under my bra before I jumped. Did you find them?”, Darcy asked.
“May I?”, Ol'khor asked, pointing to her chest. She nodded slowly.
Gently reaching under her bra, he found them and gingerly pulled them out.
“Oh thank God I didn't lose them! I never go anywhere without my phone and ID!”, she exclaimed.
“If you look in the photo section here, bottom right corner, you'll find the last few pics I took. You can show them to the police to help them find my friends and the bungee jumping crew. Their cell numbers and emails are all in there.”, she said, pointing to the phone.
“Alright. Darcy, is the birthdate listed here correct?”, he asked, trying to hide his shock at what he was reading on her license.
Darcy Giada Cipriani was the full name listed on it.
“Yes. I fudge my weight but never my birthdate.”, Darcy replied groggily.
“Fudge?”, he asked.
“Fib. Tell a white lie.”, she replied, wondering to herself why he didn't know such a common phrase.
“Alright. Are the issuance and expiration dates correct as well?”, he asked.
“Yes. I just renewed my license last month. I got it done early.”, she said.
“Alright. These are the people you were with when your cord broke and you fell?”, Ol'khor asked, showing her the pictures.
“Yes. That's them with me in front. It's a decent selfie, I think. I sent them to everyone, posted the pics on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, tagged them, then did my jump.”, Darcy replied.
“Ok. I'm going to give you some anesthesia so you can sleep while we take you into surgery to fix you up. When you wake up we'll have a good talk about things. Is there anything you'd like when you're back from surgery?”, he asked.
“McDonald's sounds SO good right now! I'd love a double Quarter Pounder w/cheese meal, add bacon, and a diet Coke. Don't go to the one on Fourth and Main though. They over-salt the fries.
”If the drive-thru at McDonald's is too long, drive over to Taco Bell. I'll have 6 soft-shell beef tacos, cinnamon twists, and a large diet Baja Blast from there if you end up there instead of Mickey D's. Thanks!”, she said, starting to become very groggy.
“I think we can do that.”, he replied as he injected anesthesia into her intravenous line.
“Thank you, Doctor. You know, you're cute, a real stud! I bet all the ladies go crazy over your hunky chest hair and markings!
”YUMMO!”, she said as she drifted off to sleep, a lascivious smile on her face!
Ol'khor chuckled slightly, realizing the medication was relaxing her inhibitions as much as the pain medications Darcy had mentioned.
“I'd like you to research the things she called Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Find out what they were. See if any of the people in the pictures can be identified through facial rec. Also, do a search on Darcy and see if this date is truly correct.
”Find out anything and everything you can on her via ancient records. If what this card says is true, we need to know everything about her so we can safely help her.”, he said, handing a med tech her phone and license.
“Also, find out what the hell bungee jumping is. The harnesses we took off of her have a name on them. It looks like possibly a business name. Find out everything you can about them; when they were in business, their owners, financials, etc.
”Find out what the hell McDonald's, Taco Bell and Mickey D's are too!
”Nurse Talmadge, are the results from her chemical profile back yet?“, he asked.
”Yes doctor. We just got them back.“, she said, handing him a small-screen.
Ol'khor took a good look at what was on the screen. His eyebrows furrowed.
”Well, she's definitely human. Her chemical make-up, however, is slightly different from any human or even Terran make-up I've ever seen before. Alright, I'm going to go fix our guest up. Hopefully we'll have more answers at that point.“, he replied, handing the small-screen to Nurse Talmadge.
He changed into surgical scrubs and headed into surgery.
Seven hours later, she came out of surgery. She had a drain hanging from her abdominal incision to remove her spleen and repair the laceration on her liver.
Her wrist was in an air cast. Her leg and wrist were held together by pins and rods, and were heavily bandaged.
Darcy's shoulder had been repaired and was in a compression cast and sling.
She was groggy and uncomfortable but awake when she returned to her room. He'd decided to keep her in ICU for the time being due to the extent of her injuries, as well as her odd chemical make-up.
He'd done some checking and found out about the meal she wanted. He ordered it for her from a facility restaurant, and ordered one for himself as well. The meals would be there shortly.
”Your surgery was a success, Darcy. Your liver had a small laceration, but I sewed it up. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, your spleen had to be removed.
“Your shoulder's fixed but you need to move it as little as possible for the next several days. Your wrist and leg are held together by pins and screws. You're going to have a long but successful recovery.
”Your meal should be here shortly. It took abit for me to figure out what you wanted. I ordered the same for myself so, if you don't mind, I'll be joining you for dinner.
“The Lambdan restaurant didn't have the drink you wanted, so I got you a different brand of carbonated drink. It's the equivalent of it. I hope so anyway.”, he said, smiling.
“Oh alright. Thank you.”, she replied.
“Darcy, I've got some questions. I hope you can clear some things up for me.”, he said as their food arrived.
Ol'khor cut her sandwich in half for her.
“I hope they made your meat round with cheese and bacon correctly. They were going by an ancient recipe.”, he said.
“Ancient recipe? What do you mean? I just had McDonald's yesterday.”, she asked, looking at her meal which he'd placed in front of her on the bed tray.
“That's one of the things I want to ask you about.”, he said before taking a bite of his sandwich.
“You called these something totally different than what they're called here. Your license says your birthdate is 2/27/2000. That's got to be wrong. It's impossible for that to be your birthdate.
”If it's correct, especially the year, then that means you're not 28 as you said. It means that you're actually 828 years old.“, he said.
”No. I'm 28. What are you talking about...828 years old?“, she asked.
”Darcy, what year is it?“, he asked.
”It's 2028 of course. Vice-president Kamala Harris just won the Presidency. We've finally got a woman in the White House! What year do you think it is?“, she said.
”It's 2828.“, he replied.
”No flippin' way! Shut the front door! It can't be!“, she exclaimed.
”I'm afraid it is, Darcy. Tell me about your jump please.“, Ol'khor said.
”Well, my first jump went well. At one point I did feel abit lightheaded and dizzy, but that finally went away. I figured the dizziness was because I was upside down.
“After I was back on the stand, the others did their jumps and then it was my turn. That's when I took the selfies of us and posted them on all my social media accounts.
”Anyway, after posting them, I stuck my phone back under my bra, then waited for my signal to jump. You never jump until they give you the signal!
“I got my signal and jumped. Once the cord was all straightened out, instead of it springing me back, it broke! I was plunging towards the river below and screaming.
”That lightheadedness and dizziness came back. Everything seemed to be moving farther away instead of closer. Even the river seemed to be moving away. I kept going faster and faster. It seemed like forever! I was screaming and praying.
“Finally I saw the ground get closer to me. I kept screaming and tucked my head under my arms. I turned towards my right side. I'm left-handed. I knew I was going to hit, and hit HARD, and wanted to protect my head and left side as much as possible.
”I remember hitting hard then bouncing until I finally landed on my face and stomach. I remember the horrible pain of hitting the ground and when I finally stopped bouncing and landed. Everything else is a blur. I do vaguely remember talking to you there, on our way here, and before my surgery.“, she replied.
Merci pour la lecture!
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