With painkillers in their body and the cold pack on their snout, TO wasn’t in nearly as much pain as they thought they would be in. When the bleeding stopped, the Medical Officer brought TO some sanitized wipes and allowed them to clean themselves up.
Blood everywhere. All over their hands.The wipes were stained blue. It was fine.
They felt sick.
“Your coloration is a little off.” The Officer commented as they examined TO’s snout. “Though, I don’t believe that you’ve lost nearly enough blood to cause any problems.”
“Slightly nauseated.” TO admitted. “It is nothing.”
“Potentially swallowed some blood from the injury.” They said carelessly as they finished their work. They gestured to a nearby pail on the floor, “If you must vomit, do it in that.”
“And you can dispose of it yourself.” They said as they walked back to their office just off the exam room.
“Understood.” TO said. They took up their water bottle and took a few small sips; somehow, they felt like if they ate or drank something that they might feel a little better. It wasn’t just the stomach ache though; they felt wrong, and they didn’t know why.
They wanted some water, and some food. They wanted to be with GiDi and TO. They felt like some company would make them feel better. Even if the Medical Officer just decided to work in the exam room, TO thought that that would make them feel a little more at ease.
It was getting close to the second meal when one of C12’s assistants brought an injured synth into the medical bay. At first, TO was excited; They would have company, and maybe they could ask this injured synth what happened in training. They wanted to know if DH had been disciplined for hurting them or not. If this synth was from the same class then maybe they would have information.
When the synth was brought to table next to TO, it was clear that they would not be getting any information.
Q10 allowed the assistant to help them up onto the table. They hadn’t even noticed that TO was there yet as they were clutching at their arm and hissing in pain with every small movement. The assistant called out, and the Medical Officer ran in from their office.
“What happened?” they demanded.
“Dislocated shoulder.” The assistant said, “Possible chance of muscle damage.”
The doctor nodded. “I see. Hold them.”
The assistant did as they were told, holding Q10 by their uninjured shoulder. The Medical officer took Q10’s injured arm in their hands and roughly pushed it back into its socket. An awful cry of pain was ripped from Q10’s throat - lasting only a moment but it seemed to echo in TO’s head for ages after- and then Q10 simply hunched over, holding their arm close to their body as they shook.
“That is all.” The Medical Officer said to the assistant, “You can leave. I will finish treatment and then send them off.”
“Understood, Officer.” The assistant said as they turned to leave. Wordlessly, the officer turned and went to the cupboards to gather supplies for whatever treatment they intended to give to Q10.
It took a moment for Q10 to stop shaking, to look up and around and take in their surroundings. They noticed TO for the first time then. Their ears pinned back, and for a moment they looked like they were going to say something, but instead they looked away as their ears flushed blue.
At least Q10 knew better than to bother them.
TO looked away, their eyes darting about the empty walls, listening as the Medical Officer looked around. The Officer set a few things on the counter, then went into their nearby storage room.
Q10 and TO were alone. For a moment, TO worried that Q10 would now say something- probably make a comment about TO’s nose, or even a comment about GiDi.
They were silent. The room was too quiet. Still, even though it was Q10, TO was happy to have someone around; even the unfriendly company that normally put them on edge seemed to make them feel more normal. TO didn’t understand why that was.
After another moment and a fierce debate against their own common sense, TO cleared their throat. “Does it hurt?”
“Yes.” Q10 hissed, still not looking at TO.
“Sorry about that.” TO said.
“I thought you wanted to be left alone.” Q10 snapped, their ears pinning back.
They did. They wanted to be left alone. They also hated the awkwardness of the silent room, and they couldn’t get the sound of Q10’s cry of pain out of their ears.
They also wanted information.
“Simply curious as to what I have missed from being here.” They said as carefully as they could. They wanted to sound as though they were feeding a simple curiosity instead of desperately wanting to know if DH was ok.
Q10 didn’t look at TO, but after a moment they said, “grappling.”
“Were there many injuries.”
“Yes. No others needed medical attention.”
After what seemed like ages, the medical officer returned with a small syringe. They set their things down and got to work, putting Q10’s arm up in a sling, then injecting their shoulder with the substance from the syringe. Once the Syringe was held up to the light and TO could see its contents - a blue-green liquid- they realized that they had seen it already in the production labs. PQ12 called it the Accelerator, but it was properly known as the Healing Response Accelerator. For minor physical injuries, it would make the healing time faster so that a synth could get back to their normal duties sooner.
It would increase the healing pain though.
Once it was all administered, the Medical Officer went back to the counter and displayed a file in the air before them. Even from where they were, TO could see Q10’s proper number across the top. The Officer didn’t bother to read any details, they just scrolled until they found another, larger number near the bottom of the file: 62.
TO frowned, then looked away quickly before anyone caught them looking. They hadn’t meant to peek at another synth’s records, they were just curious. They quickly glanced back to the Medical Officer to see if they had noticed. They hadn’t. They were looking at the label for what TO recognized as the painkillers that they had been given earlier.
After a moment, they put the painkillers back into the cupboard before they came back to Q10.
“You’re done.” They said. “Go on. Your vocational training isn’t physically demanding, so you’re fine for that. Rest your shoulder. You will be assigned alternative combat training tomorrow, and back to a normal schedule after that.
Q10 nodded and pushed themselves off the examination table, wincing in pain as their arm was jostled. They left the medical bay quickly, and as soon as they were gone, the Medical Officer went back to their office.
Alone in the quiet room once more, TO could only wonder why Q10 hadn’t been given any pain killers.
The Medical Officer gave TO their second meal just before they themselves left the medical bay. TO had never seen an Officer in the cafeteria, and they assumed that perhaps the Officers ate in their offices. Clearly, that was not the case.
TO sighed and looked down at their food.They had hoped that they’d be able to go to the cafeteria to eat, so that they could find DH and GiDi, but they had been given instruction to stay in the medical bay. It was fine, they told themselves. DH was fine. DH wouldn’t be punished for ‘accidently’ hurting TO. There were plenty of other synths who got injured in combat training, and nobody had been punished as far as TO knew.
No. DH was fine. They knew that, it was just a bit of effort to actually convince their mind of that.
The anxious knot in their stomach was just starting to loosen, and TO was thinking that they might be able to eat when the door slid open and GiDi burst into the room, followed by an amused looking DH.
“Are you ok?” GiDi asked as soon as they saw TO. They rushed up to them and put their hands on TO’s cheeks, turning their head so that could see the injured snout. “Ohhh, TO, your snout is all blue and swollen“
DH flushed and looked away, “I didn’t mean to hit them so hard.” they insisted, “I just-“
“It’s fine.” TO said as they put their food to the side. “Are you both alright? Nothing bad happened in Physical Training?”
DH shook their head. “C12 held me back and asked me what had happened. I told them what the medical officer said about eye strain and working in the lab. They seemed unconcerned.
TO breathed a sigh of relief. “I was worried you might be disciplined,” they said. “For injuring another synth.”
DH gave a nervous chuckle, “Well, so was I, honestly.” Their ears flicked back with guilt as they looked aside, “I didn’t want to say anything… But now that it’s fine, I don’t mind saying I was a little worried. C12 said it would be hard to punish me for this, given their own training methods lead to injury on a daily basis.” They passed GiDi a plate of food, and it was only then that TO realized that they had brought their meals with them.
They didn’t know why they were surprised by that, but they were. It also made their heart feel like it was swelling up to know that they had gone to the medical bay to eat with them.
”But you’re not seriously hurt?” GiDi asked, looking closer at the swelling nose. They tilted their head at TO, “When DH said you’d be here the whole day, I thought you must be really hurt.”
“I don’t think anything is actually damaged” TO said, “But I’m to stay here for the day and rest my eyes.”
“When DH said you weren’t going back to the lab today, I honestly thought that something really bad had happened,” GiDi said quietly. They sat next to TO on the examination table and started eating, their ears twitching incessantly. “Though… I suppose it’s a good thing that you’re not going back?”
“...You want to know what happened yesterday.” TO said, unable to suppress the smile that GiDi’s terrible attempt at being subtle brought to their face. Even if it hadn’t been for GiDi’s terrible subtly, TO knew that if they had seen GiDi react as they themselves had, then they’d want to know exactly what had happened. They would want to know who hurt them. Even thinking about it made their ears pin back slightly.
“DH said I shouldn’t ask.” They said, their ears flicking down. “They said you’d talk about it when you were ready, and -“
“It’s ok.” TO said. “I’ll...” They glanced aside, their ears burning with shame. “It’s stupid.” They said, “I shouldn’t be this affected by-“
“Stop that.” DH said as their ears pinned back. “You’re allowed to feel whatever you feel.”
Were they? TO wasn’t sure. They felt like they could feel what they wanted, so long as it didn’t interfere with their work, and This reaction to the dissection was causing a lot of interference. This was how synths got corrected and reprocessed, wasn’t it? The warnings of C12 and PQ12 rang through their head. So long as they did their work, they’d be fine.
They took a deep breath, and started telling GiDi about the dissection. They were grateful that DH had already heard it, because instead of listening, instead of being shocked or surprised, they just sat next to TO with an arm over their shoulders.
Bio: A writer and Illustrator with scenes to show and stories to tell