Mira snaps her fingers, and they hear the whine and clunk of power armor from across the hall. An older woman, cigar clamped between her teeth, stomps into Mira’s office wearing the same sort of hellish suture suit that St. Maria used on Imogen all those months ago at Our Lady of Perpetual Agony. Imogen’s eyes go wide. Through a cloud of smoke, the new arrivals asks, “Yeah? Whatcha want, Mira?”
“Could you check on this dear one? She’s hit her head quite nastily, but she’s done us a good turn. I’d appreciate it so much if you could—uh, let me word this carefully—help her feel better. You don’t need to ‘take care of’ her.”
“All right. Come this way, sweetheart,” the medic coughs out. She leads Imogen and Lilly to a dimly lit surgery. Imogen is grateful for the low lighting, partly because of how sensitive her eyes are right now but also because it hides how filthy this room is. “So, what happened to you? Got some venereal disease?”
“Are you sure you’re sober?” Imogen asks.
“You sure you want to get help or not?” the medic growls back.
“I smacked my head.”
“Wait, what? You smacked your head?” Lilly asks.
“When we landed. You sent me careening into a counter, you did.”
“I’m sorry. That was dumb,” Lilly apologizes.
“Eh, she probably deserved it anyway,” the medic grouses.
Lilly stands up straighter. “What?” she demands, growing defensive of her partner. Nobody deserves a knock to the head. Well… maybe some people do, but not Imogen.
The medic shrugs dismissively. “Eh, most of us have done something dumb at some point, and you deserve a knock to the head when you do that.”
“That bartender does,” Lilly says under her breath.
“What was that?”
After another coughing fit, the medic grabs a flashlight and shines the bright light in Imogen’s face, muttering to herself at the response. She tells Imogen to have a seat so they can strap her in. “Strap me in!? What are we strapping me in for?”
“Hey! Hey! Who’s the doctor?” the medic counters, as she rifles through a drawer. “Here, bite down on this,” she adds, as she presents a wooden rod.
Imogen backs away. “We’re not amputating anything here!”
“Oh, you don’t want the lobotomy?”
Lilly normally leaves medical matters up to Imogen, but she can see how concerned her partner is growing. “I can hold you,” Lilly offers, giving Imogen an alternative to straps.
The medic agrees to this. “You done knocked up your head, right?” she then says to Imogen.
“Aye…” It still does not follow that she needs to be restrained for any reason.
The medic then rattles off a list of treatments. She has a variety of drugs to administer, some of which will cause cerebral swelling as a side effect. To relieve that, she plans to drill a small hole in Imogen’s skull. With the extra details, Imogen consents to the procedure. She would never do this herself—certainly not to herself—but the approach sounds like it should work. And quickly, too. Lilly looks at her questioningly, and Imogen nods. She is willing to undergo the treatment, provided the medic first sterilizes the equipment within Imogen’s view. As much alcohol goes down the medic’s gullet as onto her tools. She offers Imogen a drink from the whiskey bottle as well, and Imogen takes her up on it. “Now you hold still, and you hold her,” the medic orders.
Lilly wraps her arms around her partner, holding Imogen’s head steady in a lock. After a few injections, Imogen loses any sense of feeling at the surgery site. She can hear the whirring of the drill and feel its vibration, but there is no pain. Once the swelling goes down, the medic mends the hole in Imogen’s head and slaps a bandage over it. When everything is over, she reaches into a drawer and then presents Imogen with a lollipop. “There you go, squirt.”
Imogen accepts the candy, and Lilly releases her hold. Then the medic hits Imogen with one more surprise shot, and the black edges to her vision finally clear completely. Imogen gives her head a shake and everything seems to be fine.
“Now what about you?” the medic says to Lilly. “Anything wrong with you?”
“Nope!” Lilly replies hastily.
“You sure? You look a little too tall.”
“Too tall for what?”
“Ah! Good point.” The medic laughs, which turns into a cough. She lights up another cigar. “Now you two take care. I don’t want to see you in here again.”
“Neither do we,” Imogen mutters as she and Lilly leave the hazy room to return to their ship.