The carnage was over. The shattered remains of medical drones lay strewn about as if a hurricane had torn through them. Arody knew that something far more terrifying had obliterated them–the Templar Thal Vadam. Her eyes were glued to the monitors while defensive software was streaming through cyberspace to secure the networks governing Cerra Manor’s important systems.
Lord Reginald was convulsing violently on the operating table, blood spurting out of the wound in a spray of crimson. After several minutes his body lays limp, a calm feminine computer voice stating repetitively, “Patient in critical condition. Emergency care requested.”
Ameriya handed Templar Vadam a fresh pitcher of water, “Go ahead and take it, pour it in, so I can see what I’m dealing with.”
The Templar asked, “The wound?”
Ameriya nodded to the armored Templar, then turned to Katerina, “If I can’t get a BSL V(N) suit, two options. Just scan and clone jump or hit him with an EM pulse and try to knock out the nanites.”
As Vadam poured water into Reginald’s wound, clearing away blood and loose pieces of gore, Katerina asked, “Sounds like it’d be hard to get that suit?”
“I don’t know if they have one or not.”
Arody sighed. Communications with the medbay had been choppy at best, so even though the full inventory was at her fingertips, there was no way to help the capsuleers and templar. She gasped at the sight of the wound once it was partially cleaned by the water–a mess of anatomy. Arody dared a closer inspection, zooming a camera into view. Shimmering metallic specks were on the edges of the wound. Her fears were confirmed with Ameriya’s observation.
“The nanites are repairing the damage, but that might not be a good thing.”
“What would that be bad?” Katerina asked.
“Well, they might be rebuilding it how they want it to be.”
“And there’s no way to tell?”
Ameriya shook her head silently.
Katerina sighed, “Do it, then.”
“Stop the nanites.”
“If I do that, he might die. My professional advice is to flash scan and have him wake up in another clone.”
“If I may offer a suggestion,” The Templar ventured in a voice that was cautious despite his obvious physical superiority.
“Of course,” Ameriya turned to him, her tail flicking just a bit.
Templar Vadam pressed a button on his suit, which opened a compartment, “I have two types of nanites. One repairs damaged tissue. The other can wipe a body clean of nanite infection, mainly anti-Sansha.”
Katerina nodded, “Worth a try, I suppose.”
“Go for it!” Ameriya squeaked.
Arody watched the Templar take a syringe and inject it directly into Lord Reginald’s wound. The atmosphere was tense. She imagined that the smell was horrendous–between the burning rubber and wires from the corrupted drones to the blood and gore from within the ICU. She wretched a little at the thought–the reason why she would never go into medicine.
“I feel really stupid for not thinking of countering nanites with more nanites.”
Reginald bucked involuntarily, his eyes shooting open momentarily. Templar Vadam looked to a number of sensors and monitors built into his suit to gauge the progress of the anti-nanites.
“I feel really stupid for not thinking of countering nanites with more nanites. I feel like a fucking moron.”
Katerina laid a hand on Ameriya, “No one else did. Don’t judge yourself so harshly.”
Ameriya nodded, then asked in a somewhat defeated tone, “Thal, do you have med scanners on that suit? Are they cleared?”
“I do. Hostile nanites are ninety-five percent destroyed. He’s getting stable.”
Arody was no doctor, so as the scene unfolded from her view of the medical bay monitors, she could only think in layman’s terms. From her observations, it seemed as if the nanites effecting repairs on Reginald’s body were hastily retreating to his brain, pursued by Templar Vadam’s anti-nanites. She shuddered at the possibility that Lord Reginald would have lasting brain damage. What would it be like to be manipulated by something so small?
“I have one more syringe,” Vadam told Ameriya.
“Keep that for yourself,” Ameriya said, before bombarding the Templar with questions, “Where ca I get more? Also, you have medical nanites to help repair damage, right? Can you give him some?”
After Thal had agreed and injected Reginald with additional nanites, Ameriya nodded, “Okay, come on out.”
“We need to destroy the book,” She said as Vadam exited the containment field. She looked over towards Katerina as she picked up a medsafe container, “This might be bad, but it might be worse if we do nothing.”
Katerina nodded, “I was just thinking that.”
“Should I do that?” Vadam chimed in.
As if she had expected him to, Ameriya stated, “Thal, can you put the book in here? And then dump it in a fusion reactor. It doesn’t have to be a fusion reactor, but something two thousand absolute degrees, at least.”
Vadam nodded, dutifully taking his quarry out of the medical bay. Arody expected Reginald to give into additional convulsions, but instead he lay peacefully, his condition actually stabilizing.
He awoke after some time, offering a weak first word. A part of Arody knew what that word would be, but she was happy to see her prediction confirmed. She lay back in her seat, resting her head on her hands. What a night.