A R N I N G
stretched and looked on the clock above the door: 21:48. Ouch,
I'm really late with the exams today. The boss will grumble
again. But what does he expect? I'm a gentech. I was never
trained as a physician. He had a look at the checklist:
1643453-BDC. Shane. He was the last one to be checked up
after the day's training. Okay, then. At least he's never made
trouble. Max pressed the buzzer to call the boy in.
This can't be true. Max looked again at the test results: blood pressure far too low, breathing flat and accelerated, pulse too fast and too weak, severe dehydration, nucleotid sequences stressed and slightly destabilized... Damnation! That's an A if I write it in his file. He glanced at the youth covered with a thin sheet on the examination table and checked the indicators above it not unconscious but sleeping deeply. I've got to find out why. Sawyer reached for the intercom. "Joseph, can you come over, please? It's urgent."
a loss of nearly two-thirds of his blood, Joseph." Sawyer
checked the saline drip again and opened it a little more. After
a while a BDC always started to expel the needles. Max knew he
had to get as much liquid as possible into the boy to correct the
dehydration before Shane's biodefenses pushed out the
Base Commander's Office:
was the grazing shot. Walsh scrutinized the surveillance
recordings and noted the exact time. And the grenade
explosions that followed took the actual combat to the
southwestern corner... Shane wasn't among the combatants there.
He must have stayed behind... Walsh collected his memories.
Killbane arrived there relatively late. Unusual, he's always
among the first. Joseph set up a time window and fast
forwarded through the electronic recordings. There! It's more
visible in this file. Shane got grazed, stumbled, and Killbane
knocked him off his feet. Walsh ground his teeth as he
observed Killbane stepping on Goose's back. Then he frowned. What
was that? He rewound, played it again. Killbane punched
Goose's side, right on the graze. That won't do that much harm
to a BDC. Walsh rewound again, zoomed in on the two and now
was able to see the sand in Killbane's fist.
burning pain of the projectile rushed through his side, the force
of it knocked him off balance and Killbane once again
whipped him off his feet. His face hit the ground. Sand and dust
nearly choked him as Killbane's foot pressed into his shoulders.
Goose felt the fist punching on the wound, felt thousands of sand
grains penetrating his flesh and Killbane's foot slamming down on
his back as the older ST ran on...
looked up at the sound of suppressed whimpering, saw that the
figure on the examination table was restless. The boy nearly
curled up, then twisted his legs in the sheet and turned round
without waking. The choked sound repeated. "I'm glad you
can't be dreaming." He sighed. "I was always angry at
Owen when he made your kind independent from REM phases. But
now..." He sighed again. "I hope he did a good job on
that. Your dreams wouldn't be any better than your life here is,
and daylight in hell is more than enough for anyone. Even for
those who don't know anything different."
The nameless pictures in his mind started again: ...the burning pain of the projectile rushed through his side...
must have been somewhere around here. The glider's lights
wandered over the sandy ground. There. Walsh looked at the
GPS indicator. That's the position where he got grazed. He
landed next to the trench and localized with his hand searchlight
the bloody spot of sand on the dam where Shane had been hit. The
light fell into the trench below him, illuminated another
larger area of darkened sand. Walsh slid down the steep
is from Shane, Joe." Sawyer looked up from his instruments.
"And it's full of sand grains. But no sign of bio defenses
being used on it." Max leaned back in his chair.
A: abandoned. An ST who is given an A isn't believed capable of fulfilling the expectations of the STP.
BDC: Bio Defense Carrier (a type of ST with powers like those of Gooseman and Killbane)
capsule: a layer of inactive cells meant to prevent a foreign body from migrating in the flesh when it's too small to be expelled by bio defenses. To prevent cancer-like overproduction of new cells being grown to replace the inactive ones (which are still in place) in the capsule, capsule tissue isn't replacable. To use a capsule means to accept a permanent loss of cells. (See also: "For an Eye")
y.a.d.: years after decant (equivalent to physical age)