Chapter Two: Evie

“Dr. Evie, I’m telling you! I’m sick to my stomach. I think I’m going to die!” The tiny voice came from the floor of my office. I used the term office very loosely. In reality, it was a small corner of the refugee bay separated with dingy curtains pulled together from who knows what. I didn’t mind though. It was nice to have some semblance of normalcy.

I peered over the edge of my desk that doubled as an examination table. It was nothing more than a sheet of metal laid over two empty barrels. One of my regular patients, a child named Calixta, was curled up on the floor writhing in agony. It was a bit she played at least once a week, each time more dramatic and life threatening than the last. By now, I suspected she knew she couldn’t fool me. But she always tried. It was like a game. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it amusing. I looked forward to her visits.

“Calixta,” I said. “If your tummy is hurting as bad as you say it is, I might have to take out your appendix!” Calixta peered up at me through a curtain of dark hair.

“That’s fine,” she said, completely straight-faced. I couldn’t help but laugh.

“What are you trying to avoid?” I asked, walking around my desk to sit on the floor beside her. I’d tried to liven the space up with a dusty old rug but it didn’t help much. I could still feel the cold of the metal floor seeping into me.

“Miss Vidia is teaching fractions and I’m terrible at them,” Calixta mumbled. Vidia, the former mayor of Fraga, the city that I once called home, had taken it upon herself to continue the education of the children that now lived aboard the Vengeance. I couldn’t think of anyone I admired more.

“You’re always going to suck at fractions if you keep running away from them,” I replied, tucking a strand of hair away from her face. I didn’t know exactly what happened to Calixta’s parents, but they weren’t here. Same for many of the other children that made it to the Vengeance. We, the adults, all lent a hand in looking after them.

“Why do I even have to learn them? It’s stupid,” Calixta said, lifting her head from the floor and sitting up.

“Leena had to learn fractions,” I said. Leena was my ace in the hole when it came to Calixta. The renowned chemist all but adopted Calixta a few weeks ago after they survived being captured by the Xathi.

“She did?” Calixta said, curiously.

“She sure did. And so did I. Leena couldn’t be a chemist and I couldn’t be a doctor if we didn’t learn fractions,” I explained. Before Calixta could reply, the curtains of my office were pushed aside. A Skotan soldier entered. I quickly glanced at Calixta to make sure she wasn’t frightened. The aliens rarely came into the human area. Some still felt uneasy around them, but Calixta didn’t seem to mind. In fact, Calixta treated the aliens with more kindness and respect than some humans I knew.

“How can I help you?” I asked.

“General Rouhr requests your presence in the med bay at your earliest convenience,” the Skotan said. I couldn’t hide my surprise. General Rouhr ran things on the Vengeance but I’d never met him. I didn’t think he knew I existed.

“Calixta, please go to class,” I said, giving the child an affectionate pat on the head. I helped her to her feet and ushered her into the main bay. “And I’ll be checking with Miss Vidia to make sure you attended!” I called after her as she ran off.

“Lead the way,” I gestured to the soldier. He nodded. As we made our way through the refugee bay, most of the people paid us no mind. Some stared, still not used to seeing aliens on a regular basis. Others outright sneered at us. Even though we were alive because of the Vengeance crew, some people continued to hate the aliens on principal. Those were the people I treated in my office. They refused the clearly superior care in the med bay simply because it wasn’t human. I didn’t agree with their small-mindedness, but it gave me something to do.

I’d never been to the med bay, but I had to admit I was excited to see the sort of technology was used for treatment. I’d heard that it was run by a fully functioning AI that was decades ahead of the AI we’d developed here. I wondered if it was advanced enough for me to talk shop with.

“What does General Rouhr need me for?” I asked once we left the refugee bay.

“A strike team got into a scuffle out in the forest,” the Skotan explained. “Some hybrids got the better of them.” I’d heard talk of hybrids, horrible creatures caught somewhere between human and Xathi. Mindless slaves to the Xathi Queen. Most of the humans were kept in the dark about what was happening outside the Vengeance. After what they’d been through, many preferred it that way. Vidia often spoke with General Rouhr, offering knowledge of the towns. I got all of my information from her.

The med bay was a flurry of activity. Every bed was filled with soldiers in various injured states. One of them, a K’ver, definitely had a broken arm. General Rouhr, a battle worn Skotan, stood in the center of it with his fingers pressed into the bridge of his nose.

“You asked for me?” I said, approaching cautiously.

“Evangeline Parr?” He asked. I nodded. “Good. The med bay AI isn’t performing to its full capabilities. We deactivated several functions to conserve power since it wasn’t being used. Ironically, now we have need of those functions. You have the most advanced medical training of anyone on board. I was hoping you’d be willing to pick up some of the slack until the AI is fully functional once more.”

“Of course,” I said, looking skeptically at the wounded soldiers. “But my training is for humans.”

“How different can it be?” General Rouhr said with a slight smile. It took me a moment to realize he was making a joke. “You’re help is appreciated.”

“Where should I start?” I asked. I was anxious to work. Plus, this was a chance to learn more about the aliens I now lived alongside. Outwardly, aside from skin pigmentation and eye coloration, the aliens didn’t look very different than humans. Internally could be a completely different story.

“Some of my crew has already started patching up the minor injuries,” General Rouhr explained. “If it’s all right with you, I’ll have you start on our most severely wounded.” He pointed to a bed in the back of the med bay. Another Skotan was twitching in pain, though clearly trying not to. His skin was more vibrant than General Rouhr’s, likely indicating a younger age though he was not lacking in scars.

“I’m on it,” I said, hoping I didn’t sound nervous. The injured Skotan was huge. Well over six feet if I had to guess and very well built. I almost didn’t notice the thick crystal shard protruding from his arm. It looked like the spike when clean through the muscle. It must’ve been incredibly painful.

“Who let a human in here?” the Skotan said through a wince.

“General Rouhr asked me to assist with some injuries,” I explained. “I’m Dr. Evangeline Parr.”

“Rouhr must want me dead if he’s letting a human work on me,” the Skotan hissed.

“My mortality rate is one of the lowest on the planet, so you needn’t worry,” I said cordially, forcing a tight smile onto my face. “Looks like someone met the business end of a hybrid.”

“And here I was thinking I just ate some bad stew,” the Skotan snapped. I didn’t react. Pain made people lash out. I’d learned not to take rudeness personally. I picked up the data pad mounted next to the bed and pulled up his medical information. Apparently, his name was Sakev. I gasped at the sheer number of times he’d been admitted to the med bay. This guy was either the clumsiest solider in existence or had some kind of death wish.

“Okay, clearly you aren’t new to this,” I said, setting the data pad down. “Let’s get right to it, shall we?”

“No, I really want to keep the crystal embedded in my arm. I think it’s pretty,” the Skotan, Sakev, snapped again. I stepped away from the bedside, trying to hide my annoyance.

The medical supplies were organized by species. I quickly located an unused syringe and a vial of fast acting painkiller. I filled the syringe with the largest dosage I could give. With any luck, it would put him to sleep as well as numb the pain. This was the most exciting case I’d gotten since I came aboard.

I wanted to get it done in peace.

“This is more for me than it is for you,” I said, quickly jabbing him with the needle.

“What was that?” He demanded, looking between me and the needle sticking out of his good arm.

“Just a little something for your pain and my peace of mind,” I said with a sweet smile. His eyelids began to flutter closed. I watched his vitals at the painkiller carried him into a state of unconscious bliss.

“That’s why you shouldn’t be an asshole to your doctor,” I huffed as he drifted away.


Sakev is a work in progress. I’d love to know what you think! (and… Sakev is available for pre-order now!)


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