Since neither she nor Lilly know much about explosives, Imogen heads inside the clinic to ask if they have any people with the appropriate skill set. Maria had said many of the patients were former soldiers, and it is also possible some of the staff might be technically inclined. Imogen finds Maria whistling as she washes her hands at the sink in the surgery room. A patient lies anesthetized on the operating table. As far as Imogen can tell, the sawed-off foot sitting on the stainless steel medical tray next to him was perfectly healthy, though possibly one toe was stubbed. Imogen feels a little ill. She turns away from that sight to face Maria. “We need to talk seriously. Your clinic’s under some threat.”
“I know our finances aren’t the best, but I’m sure we’ll get past that,” Maria says reassuringly.
“I’m not talking about your vespene bills. I’m talking about the local infestations outside.”
“Local infestation? What do you mean?”
“You mentioned to us that you had a patient that you’d successfully treated—”
“Yes. We have multiple patients we’ve successfully treated over the years.”
“Well, one of them’s been keeping an eye out on the area near here, and it seems there’s a bit of a hive nearby.”
“Zerg? Here? Are you sure it’s not just hydralisks who have been released for the hunt or something?”
“It’s worse than that. Your fellow out there has got a plan to make some sort of bomb to collapse some tunnels. It’s not finished, though. We were wondering if anyone here on your staff or any of your patients might have specialized knowledge, maybe in demolitions, that could lend a hand.”
Maria’s eyes go wide. “Oh, no no no no! All these men are out of service. They can’t be pressed back into that violent lifestyle. It wouldn’t be healthy. It would interfere with their treatment,” Maria objects. “I fear some of them might regress significantly. A few are already so on the edge… you can never be sure… if they’re going to make it at all.” She opens a cabinet and pulls out a bag of cookies. “You’re under a lot of stress. Here, have one,” she offers, jarringly grandmotherly.
Imogen eats a cookie to be polite (and to not upset the woman with the bloody hacksaw). Then she asks if any of the workers would know anything that could help, but Maria says that demolitions training is not common for medical personnel. Imogen shifts the topic to evacuation, which is something the medic has not prepared for. “I wish we’d had more warning,” Maria laments.
“See what you can do about making your patients transportable while I make a few calls,” Imogen instructs.
Maria looks at the perfectly-good foot she just removed and mutters, “That’s going to be a little bit difficult.” She sighs. “Well, it’s still fresh.” She picks the foot up along with some needle and thread, then resumes whistling as she turns to the patient on the table.
Feeling the cookie rise back up from her stomach, Imogen excuses herself to see if any of her contacts can help with defense or evacuation.