[DVFP] Doctor to Doctor (J 4.3)

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June,
After coming into Depot and getting your crew situated, you head back to High Rent and sleep for a while with Rothschild, right? I assume so. Bee Bee comes with you? Beckett's not back yet, but hopefully she'll come 'round at some point.

It's late afternoon when you finally feel yourself. Rothschild's still out of it, and Bee Bee's zonked, too. When you head out to get some fresh grub from The Bar downstairs, you run into a woman in the hallway.
Fleece
It's Fleece, who is wearing a gauzy white top and pants. She sees you and her eyes widen. She moves over to catch up with you. She looks tired and a bit wan, but that's under a layer of steel resolve.

What do you do?

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    Well, I pressgang someone at the Garage into pullin' out the cushions from a little seat station in the trailer that I plan to rip out - now that I think of it I can make it into a little 'station' for Bee to work from in the apartment. Later.

    I'll snuggle in with Roth and sleep for a while as Bee hopefully catches some more rest on those cushions set up nearby.

    I could cook some of that fortified rice they sell to chum by the bag in Bordertown (I'm not too proud to eat it) but I take one look at the kitchen and think 'nah'.

    I'm not dressed in my best today - couple layers of deeply shirred black fabric to make a halfway stylish shirt, same with a pair of pseudo leggings I had to hand-sew. Could be worse, I guess.

    When Fleece spots me, starts headin' over, I stop to make it easy on her. What is she doin' here? If she was shoppin' for supplies, would she be in High Rent? Not sure what it is, inside her expression.

    "Fleece. It's been over a month, hasn't it?"
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    She moves up quickly, reaches out and puts her arms around you, hugging warmly and staying close. After the shock wears off, she speak low into your ear, "Thank gods you're alive, June!" She puls back, hands on your shoulders, looking in your eyes, "I'd heard you left The Irons, but I didn't know for certain. So glad you're safe. We lost so much when The Irons fell. to those fugging Fronters."
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    This is..well, confusin'..though I did leave the Irons in an awful hurry. I let her hold me, stiflin' any pained or awkward noises, resting a hand on her back for a moment.

    "I..what? Fell? Fuggin' hell, when did this happen??" Coldness weighs down on me as I try to think.
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    She reads the surprise on your face, "Farathoom, nobody told you. I'm sorry. It happened yesterday. The United Front, the promoks, sent an army down to The Irons and leveled the mines. We got advanced warning and everyone got out. Thanks only to Esco's road crew and Cinch, really. They were tireless, getting people out. It was tosky business, and I can't say everyone's in better straights because that's not the case at all." She studies you for a moment, "You made a noise when I touched you. Are you well? Where's your lovely suit? What's happened to you?" Her eyes show concern, but she's also analyzing you quickly.
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    I knew it, but I didn't know it. Someone went and flattened the Irons like a sack of crap. While that was happening, I was out raidin' UF's corpus cookie jar. Esco's road crew. Has he finally graduated from rubber-pants warlord to actual leadership? Lor'luva'duck that it took somethin' like this to bring it out of him. My expression is level and upset while I hear the story.

    "I'm glad you made it out yourself, Fleece. I'm sorry I booked it out so sudden, it was..well.."

    My reflex is to be a little embarrassed at bein' noticed for anythin', but I've also trained myself to be direct and non-defensive when the truth is less than good. This isn't just some shady 'how is your health, Miss Weaver?'.

    "I'm injured, and my suit's waitin' to be washed, covered in blood and grit and sweat as it is. I went head to head with Parcher. So to speak."
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    Her mouth becomes a thin line at the mention of Parcher. "It would be a violation of several oaths if I expressed glee at seeing that you went head to head with that thalldrap and came out on top. I can say I'm glad you're here. But you're not well." She lets go of you, then points towards the hall, "My gear's a few doors down. When was the last time you had a checkup?"
    What do you do?
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    "Glad to be here. I'd kill him all over again if I had the chance, and I've taken no oaths that would prevent me from sayin' so. There are other matters I'd speak of further, in private." I glance down the hall after her finger and nod. So she's in residence here? Interestin'.

    "Does the lice bath I got on intake for my sentence count? If so, a year and three months." I let Fleece lead me towards her room. "I'm lucky I've run into someone I can trust to do this right."
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    Fleece makes a low "Tsk" sound, but doesn't scold you, she wouldn't do that in this hall. She leads you to a smaller suite where she's set up all her gear and it seems like her own bed will serve as the exam table. She changes to her uniform quickly, moving into the bathroom to slip on the gown and mask.
    Once she gets dressed, she comes out, "No need to be shy, June. Strip down, please. Let's make sure nothing's wrong besides what already feels bad, ok?" She'll help you with your clothes if you indicate you need or want it.
    What do you do?
  • edited February 12
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    Her gear all gets a close, appraisin' eye from me. Not acquisitively so, but I'm curious what she's operatin' with.

    "Mm, that's quite prudent, especially with my lack of continuity with care." I shrug out of the loose shirt with ease. In this sort of setting I'm much less reluctant to reveal my body. Being naked in front of doctors was a fairly regular staple of my life outside. I shimmy half out of the leggings before seating myself on Fleece's bed and letting her help with the rest.

    No hat to hang today, either.
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    Fleece's gear is ninety percent homemade remedies and ten percent scavenged tech. She mixes her own oils, salves and poultices, and she has a deep knowledge of how to squeeze medicinal aid out of nearly anything. The scavenged tech is meticulously clean and well treated, if a bit worn from use. She's sharp as a tack, resourceful, and woefully underfunded and under-supplied.
    She quickly, but gently helps you out of the leggings, commenting wryly, "Don't think I've ever seen you out of a suit until today. I hope whoever you paid to clean it does the trick." She smoothly gets to work testing your reflexes with her hands, her most valuable tools. She checks your leg strength, makes a few nonverbal sounds and asks, "Have you suffered any decrease to your mobility? Do you have any pains in your legs?"
    She moves on to check your empty ports, touching around the areas that were once shiny and chrome, but now are wounds you have to watch and clean. Lastly, she checks your eyes, even pulling out a small scanner to check your artificial eye carefully. "Are you up to date on your firmware for this? I've got a relatively recent patch."
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    I do like what I see in here. It's a struggle not to grab something to sniff at it with curiosity.

    "Oh, if you think I'd outsource that to anyone else, you're mistaken. If I have to replace that shirt I might weep." It's funny how people think I spend jingle all the time. I mean, that's an illusion I lead people to believe. Still.

    I watch Fleece work with calm respect, my legs twitching under her grip. "I'm as mobile as ever. Some pains, when I push too long. The past couple days have been difficult, after Parcher's attacks and having to ride long out of UF territory."

    Damn Parcher, overheatin' so much of my metal. My eye sends me a few detail reports from activity that the scanner excites in it. "Oh, do you now? What's the iteration number? I'd gladly take it, but where have you gotten it?"

    I lean in to look into the glass of her mask. "In fact..talk to me about your surgical background."
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    "It's a four-two-six iteration. Based on their update frequency, it's a couple versions behind... unless they sent out an emergency patch." She jokes. What's an emergency patch nowadays, really? "I got it at market. Tum Tum's got a source for code, but he has to compile, or he has someone compile it. Honestly, I should vet it better, but I'm just one doctor. Take it or leave it, June." She offers it flatly because she doesn't want to cajole you into an upgrade that might not be perfect, but she does trust the data upon a cursory glance.
    You ask about her background and she meets your eyes for a moment, "Well. That's a question I haven't heard in a while. Usually its along the lines of, 'but can you sew it back?' or 'it's easier if I use my bare hands, why do I have to wear that protective gear?'." She straightens, moving over to a doctor's bag and rifling through it for an instrument, coming back with it to check your ears. She places her hand on your chin, turning your head and leaning in close to peer through the viewer inside your ear. "The Wipe took my credentials. I was a House doctor. I have memories of working in the Dregs, though. It could have been a goodwill effort from my House, but I tell myself I up and quit and ran down to the Dregs to help real people. It's the pretty lies we hold onto hardest, you know? I graduated University, some of my techniques are too honed to say otherwise. I have advanced degrees in natural medicine, atypical historical bioengineering, and a dash of extra-planetary mitochondrial enhancements, but I wager I have that because I was droad for some time. I'm older than I look."
    She moves to your left ear, "As for surgery? I'm skilled with a laser and a hacksaw. I've removed tumor buds on a microscopic level, and I'm dropped a man's useless leg into a bucket to replace it with something hanging in my closet. And I'm sure you're headed towards cybernetics, and yes, I'm versed in them, too. Five years out of date, but I can trace a schematic in my sleep."
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    "Hm, I'll take it but I'd like to audit the code myself and install it myself. As old man Marshall down the street used to say 'That's how they getchuh.'" I play up the rough earthen accent of my old neighbor, who I am not making up.

    I let her handle me with an uncharacteristic docility. I probably have some bleeding there, inside my ears. I chuckle at her caricatures of her most irritatin'ly foolish patients.

    "It does make for a beautiful story. I won't poke holes in it if you won't. Mitochondrial enhancements, though? Lordy sir, you were someone's groshing favorite to get that. It does you an awful lot of favors." I flirt, if only to lighten the mood.

    I nod at Fleece's surgical comparisons. "Most of what I have is self-maintainin', nanite housin' little independently chained units. Easy to install over time instead of all at once. Then all of the supplementary nervous channels, memory storage, power banks, vitals monitoring, feed monitoring..well, I'm not bringing this all up because of me."
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    On the subject of you testing the code, she accepts the precaution as logical, "Suit yourself. I'll drop the code on a mini-drive for you. Return the drive when you're done." She finishes the ear exam and turns to her small cabinet of pills, picking out a few to drop into a small bottle.
    You talk about what you have and she listens, interested and following all of it better than anyone has since you can remember. "Sure, right. You're not bringing it up because of you. This is some kind of interview, I take it? What plot are you hatching, June Weaver?" She sounds at least interested, if nothing else.
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    I nod at her request to have the drive returned, completely reasonable, and I don't even have to leave the buildin'.

    "Well, it's more like I don't like to make a trip for just one reason. I do still need you to help me keep my own implants from killin' me," I admit ruefully. "You run a solid operation, but you're under-equipped. You've got tzeng skills, and hard-won experience workin' field medicine in a terrible environment. I hardly have to 'interview' you."

    "I didn't just end Parcher, I stole his entire operation. I have a couple people who'll make good technicians already, and a large, unsorted inventory of cybernetics gear, parts, and so on. I'd like for us to be able to cooperate, refer patients between us, offer second opinions on cases, and so on."
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    The revelation that you took Parcher's operation doesn't shock her, since it makes logical sense why things would come to a head. She does make a soft sound of approval, though. "Esco's already looking to help me set up shop, and you'd like to have a bit of an association. If the cause for this new leaf being turned over wasn't so depressing, I'd say this has been an interesting day." She pats your shoulder gently, "We're done. You've got some injuries of which you're well aware, you need some maintenance on your implants that I can't do in one shot, but we've already started. And you need to eat and sleep better."

    Then she pulls off her hood, looks at you seriously and says, "Also, June Weaver, you need to stop smoking. If your penchant for danger doesn't kill you first, you're going to spend your final days with an ugly rasp and in terrible pain." She picks up your leggings and comes over to help you put your clothes back on.
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    "I would've visited the Irons to get this started with you." Feelin' quite like I'd rather, whether or not this is so much easier on me. Damn.

    "This wasn't a good week for either, but in my defense I think I consume more vegetables than three similar inmates." Just probably I forget to eat more often than three similar inmates. I sigh, somewhat in relief - no big internal bleedin' was found like I've quietly worried about for days, so I'll get better instead of worse.

    I take her assistance and her chidin' with a cluck of my tongue. "Fleece, your concern is touchin', it really is, but I fully intend to continue pullin' on trouble's braids, agitatin' the powerful, and lightin' up. If the world can hold such a violent disregard for my body, why can't I?"
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    You have been healed 1 Harm, you should be at 6 o'clock now.
    After she finishes with your leggings and hands your shirt, she gives you a wry look about that last statement, "I admire your spunk, June Weaver, it's derisan. And while the world may have a disregard for everyone in the DVFP, I'm sure there are some individuals who wouldn't mind some vinegar around from time to time. So please, eat those veggies and at least cut back on the cigars." She turns around to give you some privacy now that things are concluded.
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    I shrug my shirt back on with a grin and a short chuckle. "I haven't seen a cigar I could make my own in months. Since you're only givin' me the exact same advice I would in your position, I promise to resist cigars to the best of my ability."

    Fully dressed, I take up my crutches again and clear my throat a little. "Thank you. I'll be inventoryin' the haul for probably a few days. If you have any time not spent settlin' in here you're welcome to stop by the trailer, it's in the Garage. Anythin' we find in it that's more useful to you than to me, it's yours."
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    She offers a smile and walks with you towards the hall again, "That sounds like a groshing trade, June. I'll be by soon. Also, I may use your facilities to keep some of my items cool, perhaps. We can work out a fair trade for the juice." She holds the door open for you. "I'm so glad I ran into you." She pauses, then asks in a smaller voice, "I heard that Sierra is here. I, ah... know that her arrival and the trouble with Ziggy may have been a catalyst for your decision to leave The Irons. You should know she's not... she made a rash and poor decision in that situation, and I know it troubles her greatly. She's a. Ahem, she's a very special woman. So if you see her, give her the benefit of the doubt. If you could find it in your agitating heart."
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    "That sounds reasonable. If you can press oils I can think of a trade I'd find fair already."

    I nod amiably in the doorway, agreeing that it was good for us to meet. I'm about to amble onward when she mentions Sierra. I stop and lean in. My eyebrow makes a slow upward climb. The steely Fleece rendered uncertain in her words. I have mercy on her, though, rememberin' how impossible it is to be unaffected.

    "She wants me to teach her everythin' I know about the Feed. It's a challenge." That should sum things up for Fleece.
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    Fleece nods thankfully at the mention of oils. When you reveal that Sierra's asked you about The Feed, she's surprised. "Oh? Good. I'm glad to hear you'll teach her. She's resourceful and clever. I'm sure she'll be an excellent student. You've. Seen her lately? Since she came here?"
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    Oh my, she's got it bad. "She sings at The Bar, lives in one of the service rooms here, and she's helped me in one project so far as payment for her instruction."

    "She won't admit what she doesn't know, but we're startin' from the beginnin'. Hopefully she can control her haste to know. I'm worried she's vulnerable to a shyster if I don't pace it right."
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    Fleece doesn't have a defense for Sierra's vulnerabilities, but she does say, "I'm sure you'll work out a pace that serves you both well. I'll talk to her about listening to you." She closes the door and heads back down the hall.
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    "Thank you for the vote of confidence. If you can doctor with half the tools you need, I suppose I'll have to muster up and teach in the same conditions."

    I'm back off to get a meal myself, and one for Bee and Roth while I'm at it. Plus, I did start that cola whiskey, time to draw out the middle of it and see if it's any good.
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    You find some food, much cheaper outside High Rent, bring it back and have a quiet meal with Bee Bee and Rothschild. Bee Bee is now clean and surprisingly calm. She spends most of her time studying things. Not books, you're not sure if she can read, but she does look at your plants, how each leaf looks, how you have the racks and planters set up. She touches everything, and doesn't ask questions, just keeps moving around until she has some kind of understanding of how it works. How do you handle that? Prompt for questions, volunteer information or let her explore on her own?
    Rothschild leaves for a bit, then a half hour later, you hear her right outside the door talking to someone.
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    I eat and ponder durin' breakfast. I've got enough jingle to let our operation coast a bit further while we gear it up and build clientele. If we're not thrivin' on it in two months, I'll have to decide what to do about it.

    When Bee Bee gets to studyin' my garden, I support her exploration by explainin' things which are not tangibly obvious - names of plants, what I use them for. What I do with each plant and each garden system daily, weekly, monthly. "Gardenin' is an act of patience and presence as well as perseverance. It rewards us slowly, according to our luck and effort."

    When Rothschild's voice returns to the hallway, I wonder if it's someone givin' her a hard time..or maybe it could be Beckett, back from her hot doggin' with those gangers. I excuse myself from instructin' Bee Bee and head for the door.
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    You open the door, Bee Bee following. Please go here.
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