Second Medical Opinion


megan_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Second Medical Opinion
Synopsis Ygraine wants to make sure she's doing all for her people that she can do.
Date November 12, 2011

Bannerman Castle

It’s only the middle of the afternoon, but it already feels like a decidedly long day… and one with no end in sight. Within the past working week, Ygraine has helped to avert an apocalypse, been shot and irradiated, broken the space-time continuum (but only briefly!), and crossed a full military perimeter twice. Then she found herself responsible for her own little batch of sick and wounded - and got to watch Graeme start to manifest the horrific symptoms of severe radiation poisoning.

But in some ways, this afternoon has been tougher.

It is thus with a distinct air of weary determination that she approaches Megan’s domain within Bannerman’s Castle. Clad in expensively custom-tailored leathers - black and midnight blue - that are now battered and dirty, the Briton moves through the corridors with the aid of intermittent applications of her ability: quite willing to step onto wall or ceiling and crouch to let others pass with more urgent or bulky packages, she nonetheless makes sure that she’s in the proper orientation and on the conventional surface as she reaches the doorway. There, she pauses to survey the scene… and to try to locate the lady in charge.

The redhead in charge is not hard to spot. She is lanky, dressed in BDU combat pants that are clearly her own and not borrowed, a well-broken-in set of combat boots that likewise appear to be military-issued and not borrowed, and a black T-shirt. With her hair yanked up and pinned to the back of her head, she is the epitome of efficiency in the room she has set aside as a trauma unit. At the moment, as Ygraine looks around the door, she is just finished a rebandage on an arm. There are several people in varying states of injury — the sick are kept in a separate room.

Leaving her current patient, Megan strips off her gloves, drops them in a can, and pivots toward the doorway. “What can I do you for?” she asks in a business-like tone. And then she registers who she’s looking at. The smile is faint, but definitely welcoming. “Did you bring me more people to look at or are you just popping in?” Because she knows Ygraine doesn’t stick too close to the Ferry folks so much anymore.

“Mid-way between the two,” Ygraine answers - her own smile lop-sided but definitely there, one hand lifting in greeting. She manages to resist the urge to prop a shoulder against the door-jamb, lest she find it too hard to right herself again. Instead, she takes one step into the room to mutely affirm her intent to stick around at least briefly, if wanted.

“I was wondering about trading a little nursing assistance for some advice. I figured you’d be busy. Wholly unqualified, but… former professional cyclist. Bandages, I know my way around. So while I’m here, if you want, I can keep my hands busy. Especially if I can get a long-distance consultation while I’m at it. I do have some medical cases - but stashed up in Boston. Alive, stable, and… I figured it was better to avoid further overloading things here, if I could manage it. But double-checking what I’m doing would be very welcome. And I might even sneak in the comment that it’s a pleasure and a relief to see you in one piece, too. Each familiar face I find here is welcome.”

Megan’s smile widens slightly and though she doesn’t quite relax, there is an easing of her shoulders. Advice she can do — too many more injured in here? That could get a bit troublesome. “Sure, come on in.” Glancing back, she asks, “Fran, would you mind?”

One of the women on the other side of the room simply waves Megan off, and so the redhead moves toward Ygraine. “Consult is easy enough. It’s really good to see you all in one piece as well. This place has been a madhouse this week with everyone finally getting back.” Shaking her head, she has a furrow to her forehead. Word on those returning from Alaska has been almost non-existent. Except for what little Brian has already said. She hasn’t pressed for details from him because … well, he’s seeing enough bad things with his alternates, but also… there’s not shit she can do from here. “Tell me what you’ve got and I’ll be happy to tell you if I think you have alternatives to what you’re already doing,” she invites, gesturing Ygraine out into the hallway. “Sounds like you have your own hands full — no need in me taxing you further with this stuff. We’re pretty much okay for the moment.”

Ygraine gratefully ducks her head, moving out into the corridor as indicated. Up close in such a confined space, she’s… a little aromatic, as might be expected for someone quite so travel-stained as her leathers presently are. Awareness of that is perhaps why she posts herself directly against one wall, leaving as much room as possible for Megan to choose her own spacing.

“Three people. Plus one Great Dane, who is thankfully in perfect health, it seems.” The Briton musters a faint smile of gratitude for over-sized small mercies, before sighing softly. “The one you’re likely to be directly aware of is Tamara: she… our own little group had a very light time of it in the Ark. I believe that was thanks to Tamara guiding us through the whole thing, to get us to where she needed us to be. Precisely one shot was fired at us in the whole thing: it clipped Tamara’s arm as I was getting her out of the way. Hit me squarely in the back… and this time, I was wearing advanced ballistic protection. I’m not even bruised, really. And the wound to Tamara’s arm was a simple clean-and-stitch: I’ve seen far, far worse from cycle crashes.”

Another sigh. “Sadly, she overtaxed herself to a truly extreme level. She collapsed as soon as we got the blast doors open to escape, and didn’t wake up. She might have done so by now, but I’d be mildly surprised. I… left on the 10th, to break through the perimeter and get into New York, and try to reopen contact with anyone else who got that far. Alia, in particular. I managed that, and am ‘plugged in’ to her communications again, as an aside - if you need to contact the other technopath on the Underground’s side, or through her anyone she has in her address book, I can arrange it. But I’m rambling. Sorry. My brain feels like mush.”

Shaking her head, Ygraine waves a sheepish apology. “So. Tamara’s in a coma - probably: I’ll be reconnecting the guys in Boston to Alia’s network this evening when I get up there, but till then I can’t get updates… There’s been no conventional head-trauma. No seizures. No known cranial problems. I’m ninety-nine percent certain it’s “just” a matter of massively over-doing it with her ability. Is there anything I should be doing beyond trying to avoid bed sores and dehydration? Ruling out the obvious things that require taking her to a hospital, of course.”

Megan listens to the rundown of relatively mild injuries, but Tam’s unconsciousness definitely seems to bother her. “I know that there are…. additional potential problems when you’re talking about telepaths and precognition and what have you,” the nurse says slowly. “As with most things brain-related, there isn’t a lot of consensus on what ‘just’ overtaxing an ability will do, since HOW the ability works almost certainly has an impact on which parts of the brain can be affected.”

Biting her lip, though, she simply shakes her head. “Coma is pretty far outside my wheelhouse here, Ygraine,” she admits. “It sounds like you’re doing the only things you can, for whatever that’s worth.” Her tone is apologetic. “I wish I could be more help than that. For all we really understand about those kinds of abilities, the thing that makes her HER isn’t even in her body anymore. I just… can’t even begin to guess.”

Ygraine nods sympathetically. “I know. And I’m sorry for asking, but….” She spreads her hands in a helpless shrug. “I figured that I was doing about as much as I can. And since the group up there are well beyond the reach of the mayhem in New York, and just outside it on the outskirts of Boston, we’re free to move somewhere we can do things like open up net connections and check medical textbooks in public libraries. But being here… well. Partly it was just an excuse to come in and say hi to you, I admit. Familiar faces attached to people in one piece are… very welcome indeed, right now.”

“But, umm, yeah. Who next? We’ve got a medical doctor with us up there. But he’s one of the Institute scientists, and is seriously injured. I trust him pretty much completely for his own treatment, but I don’t want to put full faith in him when it comes to advising on treatment for anyone else. He got - literally - stabbed in the back. He’s stable, but I’m not looking forward to having to move him long-distance. But we need to, almost as soon as I get back up there. We can’t stay that close to the war-zone Boston’s becoming.”

“Other than him, there’s Remi. Who’s one of those telepaths who over-did it with her ability, that you were just talking about. Her migraine had lasted two days without sign of abating, when I left - but she’s conscious, coherent, and ambulatory. If unhappy about at least two of those. I think the Ferry were aware of her: Remi Davignon. Ballerina, heiress, unfortunate run-in with two Sylars in one night, then being kidnapped by Varlane…. She wound up in hiding with Endgame.”

“The last member of the group’s someone who might have gone under Ferry radar: Graeme Cormac. Superhuman endurance is his ‘thing’. We all got a hefty dose of radiation while in the reactor room - but Graeme walked right into the reactor chamber to pull out one of the Fournier twins, who was fighting a losing battle to stop it going critical. Turns out that his ability lets him survive that level of radiation poisoning, but… dear God, do I never want to see those symptoms again. I left on my road-trip once he was able to see and stand and keep down a little food. I’m pretty sure that so long as we can keep feeding him more than the rest of us eat put together, every meal, then his body should be able to repair the damage. But I think that whatever his ability’s having his body do, it’s beyond any conventional medical help.”

Megan flinches visibly at the words /radiation poisoning/. “That’s a hell of a way to suffer.” She shudders. “Yeah, sounds like his ability will have to deal with that one. Although you might inform him that perhaps jumping in there after the Fournier girls wasn’t so smart,” she comments drily. Shaking her head, she adds in a tone dry as the desert, “Of course, if any of us fucking did the smart things, we wouldn’t fucking be here, would we?”

There is a roll of her blue eyes at Ygraine over that, and the cadence of her last sentence gives away a good bit of time spent with a Brit — /fucking/ was just as much a normal adjective to him as /blue/. Megan sighs. “I appreciate that you thought to look in,” she tells the younger woman. She never expects people to, really. “Where are you taking you little band of merry survivors?”

“Out West,” Ygraine answers. She pauses a moment, offering Megan a mildly quizzical look. “Have you been picking up some foreign idioms from somewhere…? Sorry. Ah, yeah. We’ve got a fall-back meeting site. Somewhere far out of the way, where we should be safe to rest up for a while. I can tell you if you want a location, or not mention it if you’d rather not - whichever you prefer. And I’d offer to take some of the people here with me… but I don’t know what I’m riding into in Boston, tonight. Nor how many others’ll make it to the site, from Alaska or elsewhere. But in time, we might be able to ferry some people out there, if need be. In the short term… I took the liberty of giving Lynette some of Graeme’s stash of emergency cash, to help cover any supplies you can find for sale.”

Another low sigh precedes a rueful little hint of a smile. “I spoke to Brian, earlier this afternoon,” she says softly. “I… can understand why he’s not giving full updates, except to those who specifically ask for them. But knowing what I do, well: it does mean I now get to be the bearer of tidings - good and ill - for everyone else I meet who doesn’t have access to the Briangram network. Still… rather that than what I suspect you’ve had to deal with here. I’m finding my makeshift collection of four patients to be more than stressful enough.”

Foreign idioms? Megan looks puzzled by the query. Her brain is derailed trying to sort out what she just said that would prompt the question, and the she laughs. “Nah,” she replies, “Just channeling an old friend, I suppose.” Lost friends have been very much on her mind of late, What with so many more people being hurt and killed and the likelihood that a great many more could be as well. There is a weary sadness to the older woman — she looks like a soldier who has seen war for a long time.

“The supplies will be most welcome, and for the moment don’t tell anyone your location,” Megan says quietly. “There will come a time when it could be used as a fallback. Better that it’s kept safe under radio contact only for now.” She sighs.

“I’m sorry that you’ve lost friends,” she tells Ygraine sympathetically. “Brian tells me that we had a lot of injured, and it’s going to take them a few more days to get here. I’m grateful the casualty list isn’t bigger. But it doesn’t make it hurt less.”

Ygraine nods, venturing a rueful little smile. “Thanks. I really don’t want to give you the impression I don’t trust you, but… I know all too well that information can be dangerous.” She grimaces, then shakes her head as if trying to clear it. “But, ahh, yeah. Lynette has a cell provided by Alia: calls on it should be secure, and Alia can get in touch with us. I’m also going to pick up a radio as we travel, so Noa can reach us as as well.”

Leathers creak quietly as she rather tiredly shrugs once more. “I… yeah. Most of our people made it out of Alaska. So long as you don’t count Brians as people, of course.” She grimaces. “Some of those who made it out did so in one piece. And a handful of people were rescued. So… overall. Yay. We half-saved the world there as as well as under Cambridge. But… I now know that I’m carrying around literal last words and final gifts for people, along with the good and bad news. I was really hoping that I could dodge that responsibility, I admit.”

Her expression is sad for Ygraine. “I’m really sorry that you’re in that position. Being the one asked to handle that is tough.” Megan offers a simple squeeze of Ygraine’s arm through the leathers, seeming not to notice any aroma. “Take it for the mark of esteem that it is that you were entrusted with something so valuable. Trusting someone to make sure your last wishes are followed? We are usually afforded few people in this life to trust that much.”

Patting Ygraine’s arm, the nurse steps back. “I don’t think this will be the last we see of one another, Ygraine. So keep your head on a swivel, okay?”

Ygraine’s look is unashamedly sad - the openness of it perhaps as simple a mark of her trust in Megan as could be offered, while the arm-pat was accepted with a hint of bashful gratitude.

She nods, conjuring up the ghost of a smile. “Yeah. Yes. I very much intend to see you again. And other people here, but… you and Lynette and a handful of others remind me why I signed up for The Sailing Club, back in what feels like a different life and a different world. If I can ever help, let me know. Please. I might be out of reach, or caught up with a coma victim or something… but do feel free to ask. Honestly. If I can, I’ll try to find some way. It’s what I signed up for, after all.”

“I appreciate that, Ygraine,” Megan replies. “I… don’t know what’s going to come at us next, but I hope that you will definitely keep in contact. We as an organization?” Her blue eyes slide away and her expression shows uncertainty. “It’s not what we set out for it to be at this point. I… might take you up on that at some point.” The admission is difficult. Megan’s ties to the Ferry are deep and strong, but there’s a weariness to her not just physically but clearly mentally as well. And she’s clearly a little uncomfortable at having opened her mouth and said that. She may be more tired than she’s let on.

Ygraine hesitates a moment, then steps forward - one ungloved (and recently cleaned) hand reaching out with the intent of lightly touching Megan’s arm.

“I never quit,” she says softly. “Just… found myself hung out to dry. I… honestly, I don’t know what anyone has been getting told. But I was one of the two sources for the intelligence about the supposedly-posssible rescue of Scott and of Judah Demsky. They fed slightly different information to each of the two of us, so that they could use the Ferry’s response to see if neither of us spoke, if both of us did, or which of us to hold accountable if only one of us did. I… pretty quickly figured out that there was all too good a chance of it being a trap. But for Scott and for Judah? I had to pass it on.”

Her leathers protest in a weary little groan as her shoulders shift in another shrug. “Then I asked for help, ‘cause if it was a trap, I was screwed. If it hadn’t been meant as one but they figured out where the leak might have come from, I was screwed. I… literally, I heard nothing back. And that, pretty clearly, wasn’t The Sailing Club I first heard Grace talking about in oh-eight. It wasn’t the one that had non-combatant British history professors as valued members; or you or Scott choosing how it treated its members. So I stopped asking and turned to another option I had, and went underground outside the Ferry.

“But I kept doing supply runs, and tried to stay in touch with the people doing the stuff I signed up for. And now I’m glad I can put some resources at your disposal. And Lynette’s, for that matter, with the cash and the way of contacting Alia. Endgame… I don’t run it. And it’s pretty near the end of the game it was designed to play. But a bunch of us are going to stick together, and we’re pretty damn effective. When we’re not broken. And even now, some of us are still in working order. So… if you need us. Call me. Now or in future. The Ferry were a big part of the reason I kept coming back to New York after things went utterly insane in oh-nine. You guys gave me a reason to believe that there were people trying to fix things - and that you stood a chance. And that I could help.”

There’s a long moment where Megan’s jaw simply firms slightly, the only indication that something Ygraine has said bothered her. When her blue eyes come back, however, there is gratitude. “Although it turned out to be a trap, Ygraine, any chance to get our people out of there was worth the risk to us. And I’m grateful that you took the personal risk to bring it to us. I’m sorry you were treated so fucking badly.” And the rage that flashes through her eyes is vivid. But the redhead’s demeanor remains calm. “That is not what we built — turning our backs on anyone is not what we do.”

She has nowhere to put that anger, and instead Megan just pulls in a slow breath and lets it out. “I worked with Richard Cardinal for a time,” she comments. “Can’t say I knew the man, but Fedor thought extremely highly of him and I think the others in Chicago Air did as well… so that says a lot to me. I’m glad that he and his team were able to help you when you needed it.”

“They actually brought me in as an intelligence analyst.” Ygraine sounds bashful to the point of apology, self-consciously running a hand over the portion of her braid visible above the collar of her leathers. “Which probably means they were desperate… but it certainly won them a lot of goodwill from me. Quite apart from the whole ‘giving me somewhere to hide from the Federal government and Humanis First, and a chance to hit back’ thing.

“But yeah: I’m with you on crazy notions like treating people as if they matter. Which… is in large part why I’m here on the Island, rather than zooming on past to reach Boston as soon as possible. The little band of invalids up there are my direct responsibility, in a way no one here is. But there was no way on Earth that I wasn’t going to stop in, see what I could learn, and find out if I could help. I… just wish I could do something tangible. The most tangible aid I can offer - well. It’s an envelope of cash, and a cell phone or two. Some music recordings, I suppose…. Sorry. Rambling again. But the offer of help absolutely stands. Heck: if you’d like one of Alia’s anonymous cell phones, I can certainly give you one. I could see there being some sense in having a back-up.”

Megan grins at the self-consciousness. “It sounds like you did a phenomenal job for them,” she assures the other woman. There’s a moment where the redhead hesitates, perhaps seriously considering the offer of emergency cell phones. And she nods slowly. “You know… it can’t hurt.” If nothing else, she’ll hand it to Ben when he gets back so that Special Activities can contact whatever remnants of that team are out there if we ever need them.

Ygraine actually wiggles slightly, clearly touched by the praise and clueless as to how she should respond to it, save by blushing. She clears her throat, then undoes the angled zip on her jacket, so that she can delve inside - producing a slimline little “burner” phone, easily concealed. “Here you go. I don’t have any other spares on me at the moment, but you’re welcome to have this one. It’s known to Alia, so calls on it should be secure: I trust her to know what she’s doing in setting it up, and she can secure a digital connection she’s personally monitoring. I’ll add what you need, to call her, me, and Lynette That’s currently as far as the network extends - but Alia will be able to get hold of anyone I give any of these phones to, as long as she can access a signal.”

Megan takes the phone, looking down at it with a slow sigh and a nod. “I’ll keep it safe.” She looks up at Ygraine. “You should go ahead and get out of here, Ygraine… travel is hard and you have people who need you.” She tucks the phone into her pocket and says quietly, “Godspeed.”

“I’m thinking of heading up to the battlements for some fresh air, and some quiet - or as close to it as I can get - for a bit. But I certainly do need to get going before much longer.” Ygraine sighs, then forces her hands, at least, into motion as she secures her jacket once more. “Take care of yourself, too. I know you’ll take care of everyone else” - she nods towards the infirmary - “but do remember that you can only do that if you’re still holding together, too.”

A rueful grin quirks the corners of Megan’s lips. “You sound like a few people I know around here.” Her job is one that is never done, but the redhead nods slightly. “I’ll catch a combat nap in a bit, and probably in a day or two, I’ll be able to catch some real sleep before the other teams make it home. I promise, I’ll be fine.” She looks… amused, perhaps?… that other people keep trying to take care of her when it’s her job to care for them. “Be safe on your way back. Send word, if you can, that you got there safely.” She turns and heads back into the room she’s using as a sickbay. “I’ll see you soon, Ygraine,” she tells the brunette without looking back.

There’s a momentary burst of low-pitched laughter, before Ygraine replies. “I’ll send word, I promise. And I truly hope so.” She fights off the urge to prop herself against the wall, instead cracking a grin and raising a hand towards Megan’s departing back. “Sleep well, when you get the chance!”, she calls after the medic, before turning and setting off in search of height, sunshine, and at least a little dose of quiet.

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