CHAPTER 22.5

Approx. 3500 words

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015   SJ

Chaos in Delta Pavonus:

The Hospital Incident

 

written by  SJ

 

 

    Lana Lyu LaFong sat and studied the map to Cambridge and the surrounding area for almost thirty minutes, well after Melinda’s team had left for Angora City. She wanted to match as much of the town to her memory as she could: the northern part of town, where the hospital was, the eastern part of town with the college, and the southern area, residential and commercial. In her younger years, while at the college, she remembered going into town a number of times with friends. But, usually, if she had even more than one day off, she would return home to be with Annie. Thinking about it, she sat depressed.
    She had started out studying the map to see if she could find a likely place for that prison, thinking it could be very close to Cambridge. But, it was no use. To have any chance of finding it, she’d have to wait until her Ops shuttle got here so she could do hard-structure scans.
    When Bull and Gannon came in, her mood was restored. She told them to get ready--we’re going to college.
    ******
    Cambridge College was located about one kilometer from Cambridge, to the east. As Lana and her team looked at it from a distance with binoculars, it was obviously not a college anymore, the rain forest already starting to reclaim the land around it.
    There were two roads that went into and through the college, then into town. Lana and her team avoided those roads and made their way through the jungle, then into the college.
    As they walked through the campus, it was obvious the college had been abandoned for almost a year. All the buildings were in poor condition, and they had been looted of almost anything and everything that could be useful. Even then, she remembered different places: buildings she took classes, the cafeteria she ate lunch with friends, even the baseball diamond where she got beaned.
    Once they had finished with the college grounds, they examined the other roads: One of the main roads led to the hospital, which was unguarded, and one of them led to the residential/commercial side of town, which was guarded by a small sandbag barrier and two guards.
    They followed the first road staying behind the tree line on the north side. In a short time, in the distance, they spotted the hospital, a few cars parked, and a couple people walking around, but, so far, no guards.
    This time, Lana decided to go as herself, not as Jane Ashigawa. After the capture of Dandelot, it was doubtful that anyone NEW showing up in a town was going to be overlooked, and very likely, detained on sight. Lana, Bull, and Gannon still wore their civilian clothes, only this time they put on their boots, and Lana had her tan blouse buttoned. As for weapons, they simply wrapped them up loosely in some clothing, doing so, mostly, as to not to frighten any civilians.
    The hospital wasn’t very large as hospitals go, taking up approximately a one hundred meter square area. The bulk of the hospital was only one story, except for the administration building, which was two stories. In back, to the south, was the warehouse for hospital supplies, right next to the parking lot.
    They walked casually, keeping their eyes open, Lana in front, until they reached the front door. Inside, there weren’t very many people, very few in fact, even for a hospital this size. In the waiting room, there were no visible patients and the hospital staff seemed reasonably at ease. The main hallway went all the way down to where Lana could see a back door. She decided to go in by herself, sending Bull and Gannon around the sides, look around, then come in from the back door, which seemed unlocked when she saw an orderly come in from there.
    Lana wondered if she could recognize any of the hospital staff that helped her escape. But, the event drew a blank. At the front desk was an older lady, the receptionist, who looked at Lana carefully as she walked in. Normally a receptionist would’ve said something like, “may I help you.” But, she sat and stared at Lana, waiting, almost like she knew something was wrong.
    Finally, Lana spoke. “Did you hear what happened in Dandelot?”
    The receptionist nodded, then just sat and waited; but, her mood became a little more serious, almost frightened. Lana was about to tell her not be scared, but then remembered that it was possible the hospital could be bugged, maybe even have surveillance cameras. Then, from the hallway, a man appeared; he looked like a doctor. He made a shush sigh with his finger then waved her to come. She followed him to an office, where he closed the door.
    “We can talk in here.” The doctor spoke, but not loudly, almost whispering. “I heard about Dandelot. I was hoping someone would come here, but dreading it.” He looked her over, hoping. “Are you one of those people?”
    Lana spoke as she exposed part her submachine gun. “Yes, I am. Tell me, are there any of the Matriarch’s guards around. I didn’t see any. I sent two of my friends to circle around outside the building. I told them to come in from the back door once they’re done.” She got out her phone.
    “Don’t use that.” The Doctor warned right away.
    She shook her head. “They can’t monitor this phone--”
    “So you guys are here from outside the District?” His eyes became wide.
    “Yes.” She nodded. “Actually, we’re from outside the solar system...Space Marines from Camp Cheyenne--”
    “So the Marines are coming in?” He was surprised.
    “No. We can’t do that yet. We’re basically just tourist that have gotten involved in the rebellion.” Then Lana spoke into her phone. “Hey, guys, where are you? Is it all clear out there?”
    Bull answered. “We’re in back...on our way to the door.”
    “I didn’t see any CDA guards.” That was Gannon.
    Bull again. “I think we scared a couple nurses. They just ran in through the back door.”
    The doctor sighed. “I think I know who they are. I’d better go signal them.” Then he left the office; outside he began waving his arms, then giving hand signs for them to come, but to act normal.
    “Is this place bugged?” Lana started to ask.
    As the doctor sat down as his desk, he answered. “They’ve got the lobby, the examination rooms, and some of the offices, all bugged. They’ve got cameras pointing at the lobby door and back door.” He sighed. “They probably saw you coming in.” He looked her over. “Whether you look suspicious enough to send someone over here, I don’t know.”
    Lana was already on the phone. “Hey, guys. Don’t come in the back door.”
    “If you want your guys in here, when my nurses get here, I’ll send them around to administration. They can unlock a door for them there.” The doctor offered.
    “We’re right at the back door.” Gannon replied.
    “You don’t want us in?” Bull asked.
    “Wait outside a moment.”
    Once the nurses arrived at the doctor’s office, he explained to them who Lana and her team was, then sent them around to unlock a door. Lana told Bull and Gannon about the open administration door, then to follow the nurses to the office she was now in.
    Meanwhile, the doctor had more to say. “There are three soldiers that come around here three or four times a day...a woman with two big guys carrying shotguns. The woman--she is NOT normal. There’s something mentally wrong with her. She comes in scowling at everyone daring anyone to look at her the wrong way. She took away one of my nurses several days ago and I haven’t seen her since.” He sighed and looked at her submachine gun. “I’ve been hoping someone would come in and help us. We all heard Franco’s message about Dandelot. That woman came in after that and started screaming at everyone. She has this small caliber pistol. I thought for sure she was going to kill someone. Then she got a call and left. I think that saved us.”
    “Do you know when they come?” Lana asked. “What time of day?”
    The doctor had two phones. He held one up. “When this phone rings, it means they are on their way.” He shook his head and repeated. “She has these two big guys with her. So far they’ve never hurt anyone, but they do everything she says.”
    At that moment, Bull and Gannon came into the office, then closed the door.
    Lana gestured at the two Marines. “Are they as big as that?”
    The doctor was impressed, but had to answer, “yeah, almost.”
    Lana quickly explained to her team about the woman and her two bodyguards. When the two Marines unwrapped their shotguns, the doctor needed to mention. “If you use those weapons, the Matriarch’s guards over on the other side of town are going to hear it though the listening devices they have here. They’ll come.”
    “Do you know how many there are over there?”
    “No. We aren’t even allow to go over there at all.” The doctor answered simply. “The staff here all live nearby. About a year ago, they began suspecting hospital staff of helping to sneak people out of the District. Eventually, even those people had to get out. Thankfully, we got all of our serious patients out and over to the Lambsall Rehab Colony in the north. We only have a skeleton staff left here.”     
    “So all those staff members that helped people escape got out okay?” Lana wanted to know.
    “We think so.” He looked at her. “Why?”
    Lana looked down, then up, not really wanting to remember about that time. She explained about the time she lived in Dandelot, then about being arrested and sent to some prison...then about the hospital staff helping her to escape.
    The doctor slowly smiled at her. “Now you’re back.” His eyebrow raised. “And as a Space Marine. I’m happy to hear that at least one of those people the hospital staff helped is back to help us.”
    “Are any of those people left?”
    “No.” He shook his head. “They all got out a long time ago. In fact, almost none of the original hospital staff is left here. Most of us are from the surrounding small towns that are now abandoned.”
    “Were any of the staff members from that time taken away?”
    “I’m not sure.” The doctor shrugged. “I wasn’t here at the time.”
    “My Aunt was taken away about a year ago.” Lana was eager to ask. “I think she was taken to the same prison I was taken to. Do you know of a prison around here...or have you heard of one?”
    He shook his head. “No...I always thought they were taken to that island the Matriarch is on. They say it’s some kind of fortress.”
    Lana frowned, thinking. “If we can find that prison, we’ll be able to rescue everyone that’s still alive there.”
    “You think your Aunt is there?” The doctor surmised, then answered his own question. “I see why you want to find it. But, I’m sorry. I don’t have any idea--”
    Just then the doctor’s phone started playing a gloomy tune. He sighed. “That woman and her bodyguards are on their way.”
    “Which way do they come?”
    “Main road, from the south.”
    Lana had a plan. “Okay. I’m going to go out the way I came in.” She looked at Bull and Gannon. “You guys go out the administration door and meet me in front of the building. We’ll head out to the west, then scout the southern part of town from there.”
    The doctor quickly pulled out a card, holding it out for Gannon. “Here--this key card opens every door in the hospital.”
    Lana wrapped up her submachine gun and started out the door. Bull and Gannon were already on their way.
    ******
    Lana and her team ran west, then found some foliage to hide in as they watched the hospital from a distance. And just like the doctor said, a woman with two men, carrying shotguns, strutted slowly across the parking lot and in through the back door of the hospital. Then the three Marines left.
    The southwestern part of town looked abandoned. Lana quickly found an empty, run-down, two-story, building and used it to scout from.
    A few people still walked the streets, some using cars to go about their business. She spotted the CDA building with two guards and two security guards, like in Dandelot; but, these security guards were not armed, their task appearing only to watch the monitoring devices located in the back of the building. However, here in Cambridge, there were more soldiers, at least ten located in two groups of five.
    There were four main roads leading into the southern part of Cambridge. Each of those had sandbag barriers and two CDA guards, the one on the eastern part of town fairly distant and isolated. All total, she counted eighteen CDA guards...not counting the woman and her two bodyguards.
    Once she had taken enough pictures, she headed back, wanting to check in on the hospital staff before returning to her rally point; there, she and her team would be picked up by a shuttle once they had called.
    Lana and her team remained together as they made their way to the back of the hospital, staying out of sight, their weapons unwrapped and ready. Any actions they took, had to be silent and covert. But, she was hoping the woman and her two bodyguards had finished their business and had left. Looking down the hallway, she saw no one.
    From there, Lana led Bull and Gannon around to the administration door, unlocking it. Even though everything looked okay from the back door, she wanted to confirm it with the doctor. After making their way down the hallway, she peeked around the corner, to the right. No one was there, the lobby empty except for the receptionist.
    With Bull and Gannon close behind, she walked to the doctors office. Seeing him inside, she was about to tell him she just dropped by to see if everything was okay, but the look on his face told her otherwise.
    “Who the hell are you?” A female voice yelled from one of the examination rooms. Inside, a woman wearing dark grey fatigue pants frowned, staring at her. On her dull red shirt, in the upper right corner was a patch with an emblem on it, like she had sewn on one of the armbands.
    Then, on Lana’s left, she saw the woman’s two bodyguards appear out of another examination room; but, they didn’t get far. Bull and Gannon were already on them, a noisy brawl ensuing.
    Lana aimed her submachine gun at the woman. Further back in the room was an open medicine cabinet with a very frightened nurse standing there with some medicine bottles in her hands, obviously being forced to put them in a nearby box. There was also a door in the back of the room, where Lana motioned for the nurse to leave, which she did quickly.
    Out in the hallway, and in the next room, the crashing and bashing of a loud melee was heard clearly, sometimes knocking plaster off the walls. As Lana kept her submachine gun pointed, the woman began to look familiar. But, then the woman spoke first with her own recollection.
    “YOU!” The woman pointed at Lana. “I know who you are. You’re Lu-Lu!” She spoke the name nastily, with contempt. “You lived in that building with...you’re mother. I remember her.”
    “Where is she?” Lana became desperate. “Where did they take Annie?” Anger began taking control. “Tell me where she is, damn it! Where’s that prison?”
    “I killed your mother.” The woman spoke bitterly, bragging, then becoming irrational. “I killed her yesterday...like I’m going to kill you today--”
    Lana fired, and continued firing bullets into the woman’s body until she flew across the room and into a gurney, a bloody mess. She emptied half the clip before stopping, smoke coming from the silencer.
    The noise of the brawl had subsided. Gannon showed up to see what had happened, looking at the woman on the floor, the smoking submachine gun in Lana hands, the rage on her face.
    His eyes wide, he had to ask. “God, LuLu...what happened?”
    She didn’t answer right away...
    “Easy, LuLu.” Gannon tried to calm her down.
    “She told me she killed my mother.” Lana was still angry.
    “She told you she killed, Annie?” Gannon needed confirmation.
    Lana suddenly started showing remorse. “She was just spouting off nonsense. She said she killed my mother yesterday, which she couldn’t have done.” She sighed; this was the first time she had killed someone, another human being in cold blood, with anger. “She said she was going to kill me. I thought I saw her move her hand, but...”
    Gannon put one arm around her. “It’s okay, LuLu. You had to do it.”
    “You won’t get any complains from me.” The doctor spoke without reservation. “That woman was a menace. She’d taken drugs from here before. She was going to take what little we had left this time.”
    Then one of the woman’s bodyguards flew out of the other room, his head crashing heavily into the wall, putting a hole in it. Bull stepped out and pointed his finger at him. “Stay down and don’t get up!” The big Marine had a couple bruises on his face and a slightly bloody nose. He looked at everyone and spoke. “These guys just wouldn’t quit.”
    The doctor quickly stepped over to examine the unconscious bodyguard. “I think this guy has a concussion. He’s not getting up anytime soon.” He looked at the two Marines. “I know that machine gun had a silencer on it, but still, you guys made a lot of noise. You’re going to have to get out of here real soon before any more guards come.”
    Gannon turned to look for Lana, finding her next to the dead woman using her phone/scanner. She stood up and looked at Gannon, her eyes wide. “She has Chaos Worms in her brain!” She showed him the scan. From there, Lana went over and checked the two men, but, surprisingly, found them clear. At that time, however, the other bodyguard began waking up...but was not violent.
    The man sat on the floor wondering were he was, what had happened. He didn’t even remember the fight. It soon became obvious they couldn’t leave him here. They told him he was in danger an that he needed to follow them.
    The doctor then repeated. “You guys have to get out of here!”
    “How about that guy?” Gannon pointed at the still unconscious bodyguard.
    “I’m going to have to take care of him.” He sighed, seeing the Marines worried. “I’ll keep him sedated.”
    “What are you going to say happened here?” Lana was concerned. “What will they do to you--”
    “I’m going to tell them the truth. Rebels came in and shot the place up.” He pointed strongly at the front door. “Now, go!”
    Lana hesitated at first, then remembered, handing the doctor her phone, explaining to him again that it couldn’t be monitored and that it had a silent ring, a way to stay in contact. Then she and her team quickly got ready, Bull and Gannon now carrying two shotguns each, the third man willing to go with them. They needed to get picked up fast, Lana making the call on the run, briefly explaining what had happened and an alternate pick up place.
    They ran at a steady pace down the north road until they hit a bridge. Behind them, no one was following...so far. They then took off northeast as quickly as they could through the jungle. Looking back, it still seemed like no one was following. However, Franco wanted them to get a little further away before picking them up after such as ruckus at the hospital. He said if they kept traveling northeast, they’d end up in a small abandoned town; he’d have the shuttle waiting for them there.
    However, when they arrived, the shuttle wasn’t quite there yet, on its way. The buildings around them were abandoned and open, empty of almost everything. But, in one drawer, Lana found something.
    When she showed Gannon, he asked, but then recognized what it was. “What did you find? A bag of marbles?”
    She nodded. “Annie and I played marbles a couple times.”
    “Hey, Bull! LuLu found her marbles.” Gannon hollered, joking.
    “Ha!” Bull joked back. “Just when we thought she couldn’t get any smarter.”
    She chuckled a little, then put them in her pocket as she spotted the shuttle coming in for a landing.




 



 

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