Inside a moving caravan, Joan ran the underside of her long nails across the arm of her unconscious patient, (a water elemental who had suffered an injury in the battle). In its emptied state, the arm felt hard and smooth. However, along the lower half of the arm, she felt a slight bump where the fracture could be found. Assessing the situation, she got a grasp of the diagnosis and turned towards a group of four low-ranked medics who eyed her with such keen gazes.
‘Alright, I’ve had all of you analyse the patient yourselves. Could anybody tell me what type of fracture this is?’ Joan asked them.
With all the injuries sustained in the (Squadron W dubbed) Battle of the Path, she took it upon herself to educate those that never got the full training in the MBP for whatever reason. She didn’t regret doing so as it lifted a burden of duty on the capable as well as herself. That and she quite enjoyed teaching, something she didn’t expect when she first started.
‘Um,’ one of her students lifted his hands.
‘Yes, go ahead,’ Joan beckoned the answer.
‘Is it a displaced fracture?’
Joan shook her head.
‘Nope. It’s a greenstick fracture. The bone has cracked, but not all the way. Like trying to snap a vine from the rezah tree, the two pieces are broken but remain stuck together,’ she explained receiving a few faces of realisation in response. ‘For future reference, these types of fractures occur often in water elementals and snake bestials due to their softer bones. Juggernauts have harder bones and will more likely have comminute fractures because of this. But that’s not a be all end all rule, so you need to check each patient differently, understood?’
To her delight, all the students nodded and took her lesson to heart. Satisfied, she grabbed hold an extra-long nail, the size of half an arm, on her index finger and broke it off. The pain
‘Since this isn’t as serious a problem, all we need to do is set the arm using my nail as a support,’ Joan indicated with an encouraging smile. ‘I’ll demonstrate how to do that.’
But before she got a chance, another medic leapt into the caravan, surprising the low-ranked but not Joan. Her eyes narrowed in focus instead.
‘What happened, Florence?’ Joan asked.
‘We got a code nine-nine-two, patient ninety-two,’ the messenger replied.
‘Understood.’ Joan’s expression turned stern. She turned to the man who answered her question earlier, handing him the detached nail. ‘Juda, you know how to do the procedure. Teach the others while you’re at it. No need for anaesthesia as he’s already asleep.’
‘Understood, ma’am,’ Juda said.
With that, Joan left the caravan with the other medic, Florence, leading the way. She cleared her head. She couldn’t afford to be in any other mental state. Nine-nine-twos were always problematic. Anyone with an ounce of experience in the medical field would know the urgency of the situation and getting panicked helped no one.
‘Give details of the patient,’ Joan instructed.
‘Code nine-nine-two, patient ninety-two,’ Florence reiterated. ‘Name: Paul. Rank: E. Problem: A foreign object is visibly penetrating the patient’s stomach through the lower pelvic region. We attempted to remove it but the results were unsatisfactory. We require your expertise lest we risk the patient’s life. The patient is severely bleeding and will die within the next twenty to thirty minutes give or take. The cause is that the man has been previously punctured by a rogue stealth bestial’s claw in the battle. The first injury was through his stomach but we believe the claw has travelled and resurfaced causing a secondary and more dangerous issue.’
‘What type is he?’ Joan asked an instant question.
‘Ok, I will need to check the patient himself to be certain, but prepare for a surgical extraction. Gather size twelve nails, Opium, Diprivan (liquid), Ativan (liquid), Codeine (liquid), type AB Mage meat and type two hair.’
‘On it,’ Florence gave a bow before heading to gather the supplies.
Joan, on the other hand, headed towards the caravan where patient ninety-two rested in. It was easy to spot as the caravan was the only one that stopped moving and had a few support medics in wait both outside and in. Should could even see the patient sitting inside clutching his hip as if to hold the position until treatment came.
‘Right this way,’ one of the support medics instructed as she got closer.
She accepted the guidance, climbing into the vehicle to inspect the injury. From first glances, she could see the initial wound: a scabbed hole the size of a finger that penetrated the stomach. However, that seemed to heal nicely and didn’t prove a threat to the silent, but very awake, man. No, as Florence’s report said, the problem lied on the hip where a curved nail pushed beneath the surface of the rough, dark skin of the fire elemental like an iceberg.
‘Please lie down, back fully on the board,’ Joan ordered rather than inform the man. ‘I’m about to put pressure on your hip.’
‘Ok,’ he replied, his voice cracked in obvious pain. He lied down and tried to straighten his legs, but they only went part way. Joan stopped the man from going any further, avoiding any potential injury in the process, and began her observations.
Blood oozed from the wound as she pressed the skin. It felt swollen too. Never a good sign, Joan concluded, especially when –
‘Where is your Euler gland located?’ She asked.
‘Next to my left kidney, ma’am,’ the patient answered.
Same side as the wound. No wonder the others were having problems, Joan sighed internally, keeping her calm demeanour otherwise. With the organ that provided oil to the man in such close proximity, having the less skilled do the extraction risked the man’s ability to make flames. At least the other medics knew their limits.
‘How long till the equipment is ready?’ Joan questioned her juniors.
‘A few minutes,’ someone responded.
‘Ok. Listen to me, Paul. We are going to give you anaesthesia. It will feel a little odd at first, but I promise you that everything will be alright. You got it?’
The patient gave a nod.
‘Good,’ Joan carried on, turning to her medical team. ‘Do we at least have the sanitation available at least?’
‘Yes, ma’am,’ a medic replied, bringing a bowl of clear liquid.
Joan dipped her hand into the whole vat, scrubbing her nails clean, before she broke off all of her nails on the right hand, keeping the left’s intact. Then, she placed the broken nails into the bowl, ready for future use. They could regrow within the day, so she knew she could use them as disposably as he wanted.
‘Everything’s ready,’ Florence came into the caravan with a tray of drugs and equipment.
‘Wash yourself too and then we can begin,’ Joan instructed. She tied her hair in a tidy knot to avoid it getting in the way and reached for the stone bottles with the engravings “Opium” and “Diprivan”.
After dipping two of her left nails into the liquids, she syringed them up, turning pink as it did so. When they reached the half-way mark, Joan prepared the patient’s arm. She made sure to find the vein before injecting the two substances one by one (her nail turning white once more upon emptying). The man didn’t react at first. But, as the minutes rolled on, he succumbed to the effects of the drugs, becoming sleepy and unconscious.
‘He shouldn’t feel any pain now. We can begin,’ Joan instructed, handing out her right hand. ‘Scalpel.’
‘Here,’ Florence obeyed, placing a straight, sharpened nail into her hand.
Joan placed her index finger on the instrument, pointing the sharp side downwards towards the skin just outside the protruding nail. She cut around it, making a square, box-like shape. Blood seeped out of the fresh wounds, but two other medics placed their hands on the body and absorbed the mess. This support allowed Joan to peel away the flesh, revealing the innards of the mage, without too much issue.
‘Appears it is a class talon and has made contact with the Eulean tube with an incision of about ten millimetres depth,’ Joan inspected the situation. ‘Everything else is untouched, thankfully. Patient ninety-two will be able to recreate his flames, only if I commence a surgical removal and repair straight away which I will commence now. Please prepare a two by three by three of the substitute flesh and five strands of hair.’
‘Understood,’ Florence said, going to the tub of mage-meat to start the process.
Three tubes pronged out of the Euler gland, with one connected to the stomach and the other to the others towards the kidneys. But the organ in question was a shade of light yellow and, belonging to a low-ranked fire elemental, smaller and more rotund than those of the higher-ranked. Nevertheless, the heavy beats of the Euler gland meant Joan didn’t have much time. Yet, she remained calm. All her training in the MBP forced her to be in a state of tranquillity and a collective thought process. No room for worry. No room for doubt. No room for error.
‘Preparations are complete,’ Florence placed down a tub of unskinned mage-meat and hair.
‘Moving organs. Please clear the escaping liquids like usual,’ Joan ordered.
‘Yes, ma’am,’ the other support medics responded.
Joan shifted the stomach and other intestinal organs to give more room to operate on the Eulean tube. Blood and bodily juices oozed out of the wound and other places, but they were cleared out in a quick fashion by the supports. No harm done as expected.
‘Beginning incision around the base of foreign object,’ she told the others, calmness in her voice.
Switching to a smaller and sharper nail, Joan cut around the talon, making another box out of the tube. A larger stream of blood trickled out but it did so at an expected and non-lethal level. Easy enough for the support medics to clean up. No need for additional methods, she noted to herself.
‘Beginning extraction of both foreign object and flesh.’
The next step required her left hand. The nails she didn’t pull out acted as tweezers, grabbing onto the object with utmost precision. As careful as possible, she pulled out the talon out of the organ, along with the box she cut out of it, revealing the pinkish insides that were covered with an orange mucus.
‘No internal damage to the Eulean tube. Proceeding to stitching.’
Florence handed her the mage-meat of dimensions two by three by three millimetres and received the extracted claw in return. She then prepared a strand of hair, with a knot on end, and a sterile nail which Joan bit into with her sharpened incisors, creating a small hole for the hair to slip into. Using the three items, she started weaving the nail in and out of the Eulean tube, conjoining the substitute flesh and organ until they became one and the same.
‘Need fire,’ she instructed.
One of the medics brought a torch to her. She used it by holding a spare nail inside of it, heating it up for a few seconds, before she brought it out and pressed it against the edges of the stitches until she was satisfied.
‘Sterilisation complete. Moving onto external stomach.’
Like last time, she grabbed another nail and strand of knotted hair as, with the operation complete, she could close the entrance she made in the first place. She let the supports clean up the remaining excess fluids before she grabbed the folds of skin, stretching them close together to finish the job.
‘Operation complete,’ Joan announced a few stitches later. ‘Sterilise the wounds, clean up the instruments and carry out standard check-ups every so often. He can’t eat for a day until his body accepts the substitute flesh, but can drink water.’
‘Yes, ma’am!’ the others obeyed, some with faces filled with awe for whatever reason Joan didn’t pay heed to.
‘Then he is in your care. I shall retire for the day. If any complications occur, inform me immediately.’
With that final piece of information, Joan climbed out of the vehicle and headed towards the leaders’ caravan. Her body felt like collapsing as she breathed a huge sigh of relief. The down after the high of the operation always got to her. However, that sense of accomplishment after a successful one brought her back up. It’s a weird feeling, but a satisfying one, she thought to herself, a spring in her step.