Keeper: Doug Iannelli
Lt. Chance Boudreaux: Jared Fialkow
Saturday, December 20th, 1997, 0800 hrs. . .
Keeper: Like clockwork, as he has done every morning since you’ve been there, the CO has the staff gathered around the dining tables of the Exchange for the daily Captain’s Call. It is during these short meetings that the staff is kept abreast of new or revised DoN policies and memorandums, tasks for the day are assigned, and status reports are given concerning projects already underway.
Keeper: The recent uproar between Doty and Spacek has all but faded, each man seated or standing around the CO knowing better than to risk inciting the Old Man’s ire on such a bitter day.
Keeper: In his usual fashion, Cpt. Tauch flips through the pages of his clipboard with cigarette-stained fingers, bi-focals perched precariously on the end of his nose. With a final slurping sip from his coffee cup, he begins the meeting. . .
Tauch: (to Galloway) “What’s the status on the removal of the flighline storage tank, Lieutenant?”
Galloway: “Well, Pavliska and Fuller were out there all day yesterday with the dozers clearing the site. The ground’s pretty hard now, so it’ll be at least another full day till we have the top hull of the tank exposed. The cold’s slowing things down a little, sir. . . I was thinking we probably ought to keep the men indoors as much as possible taking care of other stuff until it warms up a little.”
Keeper: Galloway raises his cup to his lips, momentarily stopping to look at it’s contents. After a seconds hesitation, he puts it to his mouth to drink. From over the cup, he looks to you with raised eyebrows encouraging your support of his suggestion.
Boudreaux: “Captain, I agree. This cold can be fatal if the men are exposed for extended periods. Besides, the work’ll go slower if we have men out sick from the weather.”
Keeper: Tauch peers over his glasses at both you and Galloway, then glances slowly around at the rest of the staff.
Tauch: “Listen, folks. We’ve got less than six months to go until closing time and it isn’t going to be getting any warmer out there between now and then, so you might as well start getting used to it. We still have some major projects to complete before we can all put our paperwork in for Honolulu. I know it’s uncomfortable out there, but this stuff’s got to get done.”
Pavliska: “It’s alright, LT. The site’s pretty well protected from the wind by the hangars. We can probably get it exposed by close of the business day.”
Tauch: “Alright, then. Fuller, Pavliska, you two continue working on the tank. Doty, you get out there with them with a monitor and make sure the thing’s not leaking fuel vapor. Lt. Galloway will check in on your progress from time to time. If you think you’re going to need more hands, let him know.”
Keeper: The four men nod their assent with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
Tauch: “Pleasant, you and Gonzales get out to the tower and start pulling the rest of the non-essential ATC equipment. That stuff’s scheduled to go out on tomorrow’s transport. I want to make sure it’s ready when they get here.”
Tauch: “Sparks, get a deuce-and-a-half from the motor pool and bring it out there to ’em. I want the equipment stored and locked down in Hangar 2.”
Keeper: Pleasant nods his big, bald, ebony head silently over folded hands. Gonzales smirks at the thought of spending the day out of the cold and wind within the confines of the old control tower. Sparks just retains his usual, uninterested, expression.
Tauch: “Degrassi, start getting a supply list together and have it on my desk by 1200 hours so it can be called in in time to come in on that transport.”
Degrassi: “Aye-aye, Cap’n.”
Keeper: The CO, scratching notes on his clipboard, looks up at you.
Boudreaux: “What do you need me to do, Captain?”
Tauch: “Doc, unless you’ve got other plans, you and Spacek probably ought to go over the infirmary’s medical supplies; make sure we’re not short on anything there.”
Boudreaux: “Yes, sir.”
Tauch: “Coordinate with Degrassi to make sure I get a list of whatever you need by mid-day as well.”
Keeper: Tauch, looking between you and Spacek, pauses, curiously eyeing the edema that has begun to develop around the young man’s eyes and lips.
Tauch: “What the hell happened to you, Spacek?”
Spacek: “Ain’t nothin’, Cap’n. Slipped on some water in the shower’s all. Busted my damn nose an’ shit.”
Keeper: There’s a round of suppressed giggles from among some of the enlisted men. You overhear someone mention something having to do with bending over to pick up a dropped bar of soap. Doty remains stoic, looking down at the table before him, fingering the edges of an old issue of ‘All Hands’.”
Keeper: The Captain looks to you as if to gauge your response to Spacek’s story.
Boudreaux: “He’ll be alright, Captain. Nothing a little cold compress won’t help.”
Keeper: The CO nods silently, looking between Spacek and yourself, then to Galloway, who just shrugs.
Tauch: “Alright, who’s left? (looking over his clipboard again) Oh, yeah. McDermott. As soon as we’re done here, I need you over in the CQ. These guys are going to want their paychecks cashed for the card game tonight.”
Tauch: “Are there any questions?”
Boudreaux: “No, sir.”
Keeper: The rest of the men nod or murmur their responses in the negative.
Tauch: “Okay then, Sailors. Let’s wrap this up. Quittin’ time’s 1630 hours.”
Keeper: Tauch rises and moves to return his clipboard to it’s eyehook on the wall. As the rest of the men begin to stir into activity, you overhear Gonzales mumbling something.
Boudreaux: Can I make out what he’s saying?
Keeper: Something along the lines of “Who you callin’ sailor, ese`? I ain’t no faggot squid.”
Tauch: “Oh, wait. . .”
Keeper: The Captain turns, bearing the Duty Roster in his hands.
Tauch: “What unfortunate souls are scheduled to pull guard duty tonight?”
Keeper: Galloway, looking caught off-guard, quickly exchanges glances with you.
Galloway: “Uhhh. . . sir, we’ve already got that covered, I think.”
Boudreaux: I nod.
Keeper: The CO turns and nods knowingly.
Tauch: “Is that so, Lieutenant? Well make sure the Duty Roster reflects any changes to the regular scheduling.”
Keeper: Tauch tosses the Duty Roster clipboard to Galloway.
Galloway: “Aye-aye, sir.”
Tauch: (eyeing you all) “Gentlemen, if there is nothing else, that is all.”
Keeper: Zipping up his jacket, the CO exits the Exchange and heads back to the CQ, McDermott following him. The rest of the men also begin donning their cold weather gear.
Boudreaux: I turn to Gonzales.
Keeper: Busy covering his body in multiple layers of protection against the cold, he is oblivious to your attentions.
Boudreaux: (speaking very quietly) “You got a problem, sailor?”
Keeper: The man turns.
Boudreaux: “I said, do you have a problem, sailor?”
Gonzales: “First of all. I ain’t no fuckin’ sailor, ese`. I’m a Marine.”
Keeper: In the background, you overhear Galloway carrying out the CO’s orders.
Galloway: “Pavliska, Degrassi, you’ve got the gate tonight. Doty, you’re on perimeter.”
Boudreaux: “Ese`? That’s Lieutenant to you, Marine.”
Boudreaux: (turning to Galloway) “Do we need anyone else for guard duty tonight?”
Keeper: Galloway walks over, still looking at his clipboard between sips from his coffee. He looks momentarily to Spacek, awaiting your decision as to the whether or not the battered man is going to be up to serving out his sentence tonight.
Boudreaux: “No, Spacek’ll go another time. . . I was thinking our young Marine here might need some time to think and cool off.”
Galloway: “Well there’s always room on that ship, but if we keep adding names to the list, it’ll be ‘Saturday Night Solitaire’ tonight.”
Keeper: Galloway exchanges glances between you and Gonzales, then nods, sensing the undercurrent of your suggestion. Gonzales, seeing this, scowls and rolls his eyes back in overt disgust.
Boudreaux: “True enough. (looking back to Gonzales) However, he’d better watch his mouth. . . and his attitude.”
Keeper: Galloway feigns a look of incorrigibility, relishing in the moment as the cocky young Marine squirms while you vacilate over his plans this evening.
Galloway: “Aw, I think I could squeeze him in.”
Boudreaux: (smiling) “It might be a good night after all.”
Galloway: “Hey boss, you make the call. It ain’t my toes he stepped on.”
Boudreaux: “Well, in the interest of his health, I think some guard duty will do him some good.”
Galloway: (in his best Ricky Ricardo impersonation) “Oh Kay, Mayn. (turning to Gonzales) Congrajulacions, ju lit’l penis-wrinkle, you get to keep Doty warm patrolling the perimeter tonight.”
Boudreaux: “You need me anything else, LT?”
Galloway: “Nah. Just try and keep warm.”
Boudreaux: “That I can do. Well, I believe we all have things to do. . . Spacek, let’s get over to the infirmary.”
Galloway: “See you later, Chance.”
Boudreaux: “You too, Marlon. See ya’ at the game tonight.”
Doty: “Hey, who’s cookin’ today?”
Keeper: Galloway turns his attention back to the Duty Roster, tracing his coffee cup across the top sheet.
Galloway: “Looks like I’m up.”
Keeper: A few of the men moan at this revelation.
Doty: “Awww, pasghetti. . .again?”
Degrassi: “I wouldn’t exactly call dat crap he makes ‘spaghetti’.”
Galloway: “Hey, it’ll make a turd.”
Keeper: The remaining men begin to file out into the cold. Spacek finishes donning his parka and pulls his hood up, then fumbles with his gloves.
Boudreaux: I pull on my cold weather stuff. “Let’s do this thing, Spacek.”
Spacek: “Yeah, awright.”
Keeper: Buried beneath a mound of Gor-Tex, Spacek moves to the door.
Spacek: “After you, Doc.”
Boudreaux: I head out into the cold morning toward the infirmary.
Keeper: The initial shock of the cold wind is exhilarating. . . for about ten seconds. Then it really takes a turn toward the uncomfortable. Spacek stomps along beside you.
Boudreaux: “Damn I hate this cold! (looking to Spacek) Why the hell did you jump that big ox?”
Spacek: (shaking his head) “Old school shit, man. That motherfucker’ll never let me alone if I dont’s bow up to him sooner or later, ya’ know?”
Boudreaux: “Yeah. . . I know what you mean. Every now and then you’ve gotta let em’ know you won’t take their shit.”
Keeper: Walking south down Comstock Ave., you approach the infirmary. The medical facilities at Liberty leave alot to be desired, but, in your estimation, they could be a hell of alot worse.
Keeper: Located on the southwest corner of Comstock and Vale Dr., about 100 yards south of the Exchange, it, like most of the structures at Liberty, is of vintage World War II construction.
Boudreaux: (Oh, wonderful. . . I live in the base that time forgot. . .)
Keeper: The infirmary is a white, two-storey, rectangular wood-frame building with a pier-and-beam foundation typical of U.S. military facilities around the country before the Reagan era brought increased budgets and more modern amenities to the armed forces. It occupies about 2,500 square feet.
Keeper: Climbing the short steps off Valley Dr., you approach the main clinic entrance off Valley Dr. on the building’s north side; passing beneath the large plywood sign above the door bearing a red cross and the words, “Liberty NAAS MTF.” The sign, like the paint on the building beneath it, is beginning to show signs of longing for the days when sailors provided a fresh coat of whitewash and green trim annually. Paint flecks have begun to disintegrate in places and to peel away, revealing the faded layers beneath.
Boudreaux: “Well, Spacek? Shall we enter the Casa de Boudreaux and get the hell out of the cold?”
Keeper: Passing through the door, you enter the front portion of the infirmary which consists of a small, unused, reception area and waiting room, four small treatment rooms, and two offices, one for yourself and one for Spacek.
Keeper: The rear half of the first floor is the emergency care area, composed of two bays, each containing two gurneys. One bay is set up for trauma and the other for major medical emergencies. The old ambulance entrance feeds into this area from a ramp along the west side of the building. Outside that door, between the motor pool and the infirmary, is the old ambulance garage.
Keeper: The garage is a separate structure, situated at the end of a short drive running off Valley, and is currently housing fifty-five gallon drums of motor and waste oil from the motor pool.
Keeper: At the extreme rear of the first floor is a stairwell (sorry, no elevators here at Liberty) that is wide enough to accomodate a patient on a stretcher being carried up to the second floor, which functions as a rudimentary nursing ward. Ten beds are evenly spaced along the walls of the second floor, and they seldom see use. The medical supply closets and another lavatory are also located on this upper floor.
Keeper: Spacek follows you through the reception area and moves to his office, where he throws his jacket across the desk and sits down forcibley in his chair, wincing.
Boudreaux: I go over to his office.
Keeper: It is obvious to you that he has been masking some degree of pain.
Keeper: (Since you have already applied your Medicine skill to Spacek back at the Exchange, it is now just a matter of treating the potential problems you identified.)
Boudreaux: I lead him across the hall to one of the exam rooms and try to reset his nose; give him some NSAIDs for the pain and swelling. . . and if anything looks too bad, clean and bandage it up.
Keeper: Roll 1d3 for the degree of healing effected by these treatments.
HEALING roll for Boudreaux: (1d3) = 3
Keeper: You successfully reset the broken nose and apply a splinting wrap around the bruised areas of his ribs. Your assessment is that for the time being he’ll be okay, but it’ll be at least a week before he fully recovers from the beating Doty dealt him.
Boudreaux: “You’ll be okay, just sore for a week or so. Be careful. And next time. . . duck.”
Keeper: Spacek smiles weakly, standing to put his tee-shirt back on. Once redressed, he moves to the mirror above the sink to assess the damage. He takes a Dixie Cup from the nearby dispenser and fills it with water, swilling some of the liquid in his mouth before spitting it back out into the sink.
Boudreaux: “Still got all your teeth?”
Keeper: He makes an exhaggerated smile in the mirror, moving his head left and right to view his teeth from all angles.
Spacek: “Yeah, I think so.”
Boudreaux: “Good. I had a few run-ins when I first came into the Navy that weren’t very pretty.”
Keeper: He leans over the sink, filling his cupped-hands with water and splashes it on his face.
Keeper: What exactly are you doing at this precise moment?
Boudreaux: I’m observing Spacek, to make sure he’s okay. . .steady on his feet, etc.
Keeper: Spacek washes the water over his face, then grabs a couple of paper towels from the sink-side dispenser, drying his face with them. He then refills his cup with water and looks into the mirror again.
Boudreaux: “Well, as soon as you finish your drink, let’s go hit the. . .”
Spacek: (dropping his cup to the floor) “Whoa. . .shit!”
Keeper: Spacek recoils from the mirror, water still running in the sink. The Dixie Cup rolls silently in a slow arc across the floor amid the splash of its spilled contents. He turns to you, exchanging furtive glances between you and the mirror.
Keeper: Spacek moves back in front of the mirror, peering tentatively back into it.
Boudreaux: “What’s wrong?”
Spacek: “Aw, man. . . it ain’t nothin’. I just thoughts you were someone else for a minute. Jus’ my head, I guess.”
Boudreaux: I look into the mirror.
Keeper: Looking into the mirror, you see only the reflection of yourself beside Spacek in the shiny metal.
Boudreaux: “You sure you’re okay? Want to lie down for a little bit?”
Spacek: “Nah, Doc. S’awright. (smiles) You take a full-on from Doty an’ see if yo’ ass don’t be seein’ stars an’ shit.”
Boudreaux: “Yeah, that’ll do it to ya! Well, come on, let’s get this stuff done. Then we can both relax a little.
Keeper: Spacek takes one last long look into the mirror.
Boudreaux: I look Spacek over one last time and check the mirror again. . .
Keeper: His physical condition hasn’t altered since you examined him a few minutes ago, and he doesn’t appear to be suffering from any equilibrium problems. He just seems spooked. The mirror again only displays the normal reflection of the two of you and the exam room in which you’re standing.
Spacek: (again smiling) “Yeah, let’s get dis shit done so’s I cans gets a a few z’s ‘fore I go all Vegas on ya’ll’s asses tonight.”
Boudreaux: I head upstairs toward the supply cabinets to start going through the supplies.
Spacek: “An hey, Doc?”
Boudreaux: “Thanks, man. You a pretty cool dude.”
Boudreaux: (smiling) “You’re not so bad yourself, Julius.”
Keeper: The two of you spend the better part of the next hour moving through the infirmary and supply cabinets, Spacek following you about, clipboard in hand, recording the supplies you need to restock your inventory.
Keeper: By about 0945, you find yourselves up at the front desk going over the final list together. While double-checking to make sure you’ve covered everything, Degrassi opens the clinic door, pauses for a minute looking back behind him, then waddles in, closing the door and shaking his head. Placing his clipboard on the reception desk, he removes his gloves and lays back his hood, giving a curt nod to Spacek before turning to you.
Boudreaux: “What’s up, Degrassi?”
Degrassi: “Hey, LT. You’s got dat list ready yet?”
Boudreaux: “Just finishing it up now.”
Degrassi: (eyes glancing toward Spacek suggestively) “CO says ta make sure you’s inventory the controlled drugs, too. An’ make sure you’s got enough stuff for hyper. . . hypo . . .”
Degrassi: “Yeah, whateva. Make sure you’s got dat stuff, too.”
Boudreaux: (Have we checked the controlled drugs?)
Keeper: (That’s your call, Doctor. If you say you have, that’s sufficient for me.)
Boudreaux: “We’re just about finished here. Hold on two minutes while we finish double- checking the list.”
Keeper: Degrassi glances around the room and over his shoulder, as if to make sure no one’s eavesdropping on the three of you, then leans across the reception desk and speaks in a hushed, conspiratorial tone.
Degrassi: “Of course, if you guy’s want sometin’ else ta keep da cold outtya, you’s just let me know. (winks knowingly)
Boudreaux: “Here’s the list, Private. Tell the CO we’re fine on the anti-hypothermic equipment.”
Keeper: (rolling his eyes back in an exhaggerated fashion) “Man, ain’t you in enough shit wit. . .”
Keeper: Suddenly, the front door to the clinic swings open, blasting the room with an influx of cold air and wind. Pavlsika, panting, leans in the doorway. . .
Pavliska: “Doc! It’s Fuller! Come quick!”
Boudreaux: I quickly grab my parka and follow Pavliska.
Keeper: Spacek follows suit. Outside, you see Galloway struggling to pull the apparently unconscious form of Fuller from the rear of a Cut-V. Pavliska hurtles down the steps to assist him. Fuller’s face and hood are a bloody mess. Together, they begin to ascend the steps to the infirmary, dragging Fuller between them.
Boudreaux: “What happened?”
Galloway: “Fuck if I know! John says he just spaced-out! Drove his dozer right over the fuckin’ tank! Caved right in!”
Boudreaux: “Get him inside and into the trauma bay quickly.”
Keeper: The men drag the flacid man past you and quickly move to navigate him around the desk and down the hall to the emergency area. As they pass, Pavliska looks up to you, a look of guilt and concern on his face.
Pavliska: “He went right over with the dozer! Me and Doty pulled him out. . .I think he’s hurt bad, Doc!”
Galloway: (nodding in agreement) “I think this is pretty serious, Chance.”
Boudreaux: “Get him down to the trauma bay, quickly. We’ll figure out what’s going on back there!”
Keeper: The two men, with the aid of Spacek and Degrassi, lay the unconscious man down on one of the trauma gurneys. Spacek immediately begins to cut away Fuller’s clothing with a pair of trauma shears. He has a deep, jagged, six-inch avulsion encompassing much of his forehead and frontal scalp and is bleeding profusely; the crimson fluid coagulating in his already red hair.
Boudreaux: I check for a pulse and assess his breathing.
Keeper: Palpating his carotid pulse, you find it to be bounding and well exceeding a rate of 120. His is breathing, but his respirations are slow and shallow.
Degrassi: “Holy Mother of God. . .”
Pavliska: “I don’t know what happened! I was out ground guiding him, but. . . it was like he was yelling at something. . . he swerved the dozer right off into the tank!”
Boudreaux: Does he appear injured anywhere else?
Keeper: Upon completion of a cursory initial assessment, the head injury is the only obvious external wound.
Boudreaux: “Do any of you know if he was taking any drugs? Degrassi, did he happen to have anything illicit?
Degrassi: (surprised by your implication) “Hey. . .Doc. I don’t deal in dat stuff. . .”
Galloway: “Fuller?? Hell no. . .he’s a clean kid. Just a little fucked in the head over his ex. Fuck me. I gotta get on the horn to the CQ. . . let Tauch know what the fuck happened. Shit! I don’t believe this!”
Keeper: Galloway grabs the phone on a nearbut wall and hurriedly begins dialing. From across the gurney, Spacek looks up at Pavliska and Degrassi, both of whom are simply standing there, agape.
Spacek: “Don’t be standing there wit’ yo’ dicks in yo’ hands! Holt his fuckin’ head or somethin’.”
Pavliska: “Huh? Oh. . . right!”
Boudreaux: I examine the wound. Does it appear to have penetrated the cranium?
Keeper: Carefully moving the flap of skin back with gloved hands, it appears that his skull is intact, but the wound bleeds freely. Suddenly, Fuller’s respirations assume a marked change in character from slow and shallow to rapid and deep. Simultaneously, his arms contract inward toward his torso while his legs extend and become rigid. Pavliska moves to the head of the gurney and places both his bare hands around Fuller’s head, attempting to hold it still.
Boudreaux: Do I recognize this response? (to the others) “Get a bitestick in his mouth before he bite’s his tongue off! Pavliska, stay on his head!”
Keeper: That will require a Medicine roll.
MEDICINE roll for Boudreaux: (1d100) = 91 [failure]
Boudreaux: Oops, oh well.
Keeper: Your mind races through the mass of information concerning head injuries drilled into your head during medical school. . . decorticate posturing? . . . decerebrate? Which comes first? Fuck, I can’t remember!
Keeper: Spacek hands you a bitestick, then looks seriously at Pavliska who has once again focused all of his attention on the wounded man.
Spacek: (in a surprisingly calm tone) “John. . . you might want to put some a dem gloves there on. They’s alot a blood.”
Keeper: Degrassi moves to the nearby boxes of exam gloves and removes a pair for Pavliska, donning another pair himself. Spacek removes a B/P cuff from the wall and places it on Fuller’s arm. In the background, you hear Galloway heatedly describing the situation to the CO.
Boudreaux: Is he convulsing?
Keeper: No, not at this time. Only posturing.
Boudreaux: I examine his eyes. . . his pupils. Are they reactive?
Keeper: Peeling open his eyelids and flashing your penlight across Fuller’s eyes, you find his pupils to be equal and reactive, but constricted.
Spacek: “B/P’s 210/140, Doc. Stand by fo’ a rate. . .”
Boudreaux: How is his breathing now?
Keeper: It has begun to revert back to its former pace, slowing and becoming more shallow. Make another Medicine roll to diagnose that.
MEDICINE roll for Boudreaux: (1d100) = 29 [success]
Boudreaux: Yeah. . .
Keeper: You recognize the alternating breathing pattern as Cheyne-Stokes respirations, indicative solely of a closed head injury.
Boudreaux: (Damn, I wish I was farther on in my medical schooling. . .)
Boudreaux: Does he appear to be hypoxic?
Keeper: Spacek slips a pulse-oximeter onto one of Fuller’s clenched fingers, then slides crash cart over and switches on the old LifePak 10. After a moment, the pulse-ox LED displays a rate fluctuating between 160 and 180 and an oxygen saturation of 98%. After fumbling with the electrodes for a moment, Spacek gets the leads properly placed on Fuller’s torso. The monitor displays sinus tachycardia, so fast that the individual audio signatures seem almost like one, continuous, beeeeeeep.
Boudreaux: “We need to slow his heart rate down. . . and lower that B/P.”
Boudreaux: (What do we have in stock?)
Keeper: (You may declare the use of any common drug by name or simply state that you are administer- ing a medication for a prescribed purpose. It all depends on how detailed you want to get.)
Boudreaux: (Well, unfortunately, my knowledge is not that extensive yet.)
Spacek: “You want me to bag him, Doc?”
Keeper: All signs and symptoms thus far are indicative of a closed-head injury with secondary intracranial pressure beginning to manifest in decreased central nervous system function. The only exception is his accelerated heart rate, but that can be a late sign and you anticipate that that will soon begin to spiral downward. Then, with the Cushing’s triad complete (hypertension, Cheyne- Stokes respirations, and bradycardia), his brain will begin to suffer irreversable damage.
Boudreaux: (What do you do use to relieve ICP?)
Keeper: (A neurosurgeon with a bone drill.)
Boudreaux: (Do we have one?)
SILENT GROUP LUCK roll for Keeper: (1d100) = 12 [success]
Keeper: (You can damn sure make due. They can’t sue you for malpractice in the military anyway.)
Boudreaux: (Well, I may do this completely wrong. . .)
Keeper: (Yeah, you may. . .)
Keeper: Galloway hangs up the phone and returns to his position beside the gurney, anxiously watching you and Spacek work.
Boudreaux: “Spacek! Get me the drill!”
Keeper: Spacek looks at you gravely.
Boudreaux: “His injury is causing a buildup of pressure inside his head. If it is not released, it will kill him!”
Keeper: Spacek nods dumbly, then runs over to the trauma supplies and begins hecticly rummaging through it’s contents.
Boudreaux: (Any advice?)
Keeper: (Sure. All you have to do is drill a hole through the skull and allow an avenue for the fluid that is causing the pressure to escape. Of course, you don’t want to drill to deep or anything like that. . .hehe. It’ll require a successful Surgery roll.)
Keeper: Spacek returns with the bone drill. As he inserts a battery pack into it, Galloway pales. Spacek then nods to Pavliska to continue maintaining head and neck immobilization while he begins shaving an area on Fuller’s head.
SURGERY roll for Boudreaux: (1d100) = 22 [success]
Boudreaux: Damn! Oh well. . . YES!
Keeper: The shaking of your trembling hands accentuates the vibration of the tool as you slowly move it toward the right temporal region of Fuller’s skull, slightly behind the ear. With a sickening whine, the bit engages the bone, moving effortlessly through the thin layer of skin before it. After a moment’s resistance, the bit pushes. Withdrawing the tool, you observe a short, forceful, flow of red and clear fluid emerge from the resulting hole, which soon reduces to a slow seep.
SILENT SANITY CHECK for Galloway: (1d100) = 01 [success] Loss: 0
SILENT SANITY CHECK for Degrassi: (1d100) = 75 [failure] Loss: 3
SILENT SANITY CHECK for Pavliska: (1d100) = 14 [success] Loss: 0
SILENT SANITY CHECK for Spacek: (1d100) = 50 [failure] Loss: 2
Keeper: (You are one lucky son of a bitch, you know that don’t you?)
Boudreaux: (Yeah, I do. Why do you think they call me Chance?)
Galloway: (in a hollow voice) “CO’s on his way. . . Degrassi, you better get out there and make sure everything’s okay with Doty at the tank.”
Keeper: Spacek dabs the wound with guaze 4×4’s, then begins to spike an IV bag. Degrassi, feet rooted to the floor, just stares at the new orifice you just created in the side of Fuller’s head. But as the room is inundated with the sickly- sweet odor of cerebro-spinal fluid, he decides he’s had enough and, gagging, makes his way out of the trauma bay.
Boudreaux: “How’s his pressure, Julius?”
Spacek: “Pressure’s dropping, Doc. 180/90.”
Boudreaux: “Keep an eye on it. Hopefully it will stabilize.”
Keeper: The CO emerges from the hallway leading from the clinic area, McDermott at his heels. Looking up at the clock, you see that it’s just after 1000 hours. You’ve been working on Fuller just over fifteen minutes.
Tauch: “What’s the situation here, Lieutenant? How serious is he?”
Boudreaux: “Well, I just drilled a hole in his head, if that’s any indication.”
Keeper: The CO looks gravely at the supine form of Fuller, whose head is in the process of being wrapped with gauze by Spacek.
Tauch: “I assume this means he’ll need to be airlifted out of here. Can he make it till the C-130 gets here in the morning?”
Boudreaux: “We’re trying to stabilize him now, sir.”
Tauch: “Good, good.”
Keeper: Cpt. Tauch appears visibly shaken by this whole ordeal.
Boudreaux: “The pressure’s been released. We just have to see if the damage is temporary or not.”
Keeper: Make a 1d3 roll for healing effected by this meatball surgery.
HEALING roll for Boudreaux: (1d3) = 2
Boudreaux: (That was better than meatball. . .you’re just jealous that it worked!)
Boudreaux: (to Spacek) “Is there any change in his condition?”
Boudreaux: (Do we have a ventilator?)
Keeper: (Yes, albeit an outdated model.)
Spacek: “Well, obviously he still ain’t conscious. But he look’s like he’s doin’ awright, Doc. All his vital’s is returnin’ to normal ranges.”
Boudreaux: I begin to clean myself up in the aftermath of the makeshift surgery. (to Spacek) “We better put him on the ventilator and get a line going with some IV Keflex for the hole in his head and that gash.”
Keeper: Spacek applies a tourniquet to Fuller’s right arm and, after patting and swabbing the area with iodine and alcohol, attempts to insert the catheter.
FIRST AID roll for Spacek: (1d100) = 90 [failure]
Spacek: (shaking his head in disgust) “Damn, Doc. Da’ vein blew. You wanna do this?”
Boudreaux: “Okay, let me give it a shot.”
MEDICINE roll for Boudreaux: (1d100) = 41 [success]
Keeper: Wiping a second area on the same arm, you select a vein and insert the needle. In short order, there is a flash of blood and the catheter is advanced into the vessel. The IV flows good.
Boudreaux: “Sometimes those things roll on you or are just plain tricky. You did good today. Kept your head. We’ll make a damn fine corpsman outta’ you some day.”
Spacek: “Thanks, Doc. Dat was pretty freaky what you did wit’ dat drill.”
Boudreaux: “Just remember kiddies, don’t try this at home. I’m a trained professional. . .”
Keeper: Spacek smiles and returns to his duties. In a short period of time, you have Fuller intubated, connected to the ventilator, and receiving IV antibiotics. Spacek debrids the original wound and sews it up nicely under your direction. It is nearly 1100 hours before you feel confident that you have stabilized Fuller’s condition. He is now resting peacefully on the gurney, head swathed in bandages; breathing a nice regular rate with the assistance of the ventilator.
Keeper: The monitor reads a normal sinus rhythm at a rate of 88, and his blood pressure’s been steadily dropping down to normal ranges since the procedure was performed. The CO’s been on the phone in your office with CANG, Colorado Springs trying to coordinate the necessary medical support to get Fuller on that transport out of Liberty in the morning. The trauma bay looks like a bomb went off in it.
Boudreaux: Well, we can clean that up later. Had Fuller been acting depressed this morning? Where there any signs that he was really having problems?
Keeper: No, not inordinately so.
Boudreaux: I know that he’s been depressed at times. . . but did he seem stressed out about anything this morning at breakfast?
Keeper: No, not that you recall.
Keeper: The remaining men (Galloway, Pavliska, and Spacek) mill around the hallway and the entry to the emergency area. The infirmary is quiet again; interrupted only by the regular beep of the cardiac monitor and the mechanical hiss of the ventilator bellows.
Boudreaux: (to Pavliska) “John, did you see the accident happen?”
Pavliska: “Yeah, Doc. I was there. But I can’t really tell you much more than I already have. . . He was moving the dozer to start clearing the other side of the tank and I was out in front of him as a ground guide . . .”
Boudreaux: “Right. . .”
Pavliska: “Well, then he starts yelling about somethin’, and the next thing you know, he’s veerin’ off over the tank. That’s thing’s just made of reinforced aluminum. . .it can’t hold up to the weight of a dozer. I tried to stop him.”
Boudreaux: “Could you hear what he was yelling?”
Pavliska: “Nah. Between the wind and the diesel, no way.”
Boudreaux: “Could you see his face when he veered off?”
Pavliska: “Yeah, I guess. What’ya mean, Doc?”
Boudreaux: “How would you describe his expression?”
Pavliska: “I don’t know. When I say he was yelling. . .I don’t know if he was yelling trying to tell me something or what. He wasn’t really lookin’ at me like he’s supposed to. I just saw his mouth movin’ and his arms waving.”
Boudreaux: “Was there anything in the dozer with him?”
Keeper: Pavliska’s expression of guilt alters for a moment in response to you’re last question. He eyes you strangely. Tauch emerges from your office and listens in on the conversation.
Pavliska: “Come again, Doc?”
Boudreaux: “Was there anything in the dozer with him?”
Pavliska: “Nah, nah. He was alone on the thing. It was just like he seemed like he was. . . I don’t know. . . distracted.”
Boudreaux: “Hmm, there’s been some weird things going on today.
Tauch: “Alright. CANG’s going to have one of their flight medical teams on the C-130 when it gets here in the morning. (nodding to Fuller) Make sure his paperwork’s squared away for them to take with him.”
Boudreaux: “Yes sir, I’ll have that taken care of. (to Spacek) Spacek, what did you see in the exam room earlier this morning?”
Keeper: Spacek, busy policing the floor of the trauma bay for trash, looks up from his task.
Boudreaux: “Remember, before we started to work on the inventory, you said you saw something strange? It may be nothing, but then again it may all be connected.”
Spacek: “Nah. I just looked up in the mirror, thought’s you was someone else fo’ a minute, tha’s all.”
Boudreaux: “Who did you think I was?”
Spacek: “I do’ know, Doc. You just looked all pale an’ shit. Likes there was a light on yo’ face, or comin’ outta it. Obviously, they ain’t no light comin’ out yo’ face, so. . .”
Boudreaux: “Hmmm. Marlon? Have you seen anything weird today. Anything that made you double-take?”
Galloway: “Yeah. I saw you take a Black & Decker to Fuller’s head.”
Boudreaux: “Yeah, I guess that was a little weird. . .just checking. It’s just that Fuller’s a good kid. I don’t think he would have done something like that on purpose. . . so something had have been going on.”
Pavliska: “Damn, Doc. You work around heavy equipment like that long enough an’ accidents happen. Maybe that’s all it was, an accident, that’s all.”
Boudreaux: “You’re right. . . accidents do happen. I just don’t like having to take a drill to someone’s head. . .well, someone I like, anyway. I just want to know what happened. You guy’s just be very careful.”
Pavliska: “Okay, Doc. We will. Look, I want to makes sure Doty’s okay. That hot diesel’s been sitting in that pot fuel fumes. The wind probably took care of it, but that dozer’s gonna have to come out of there and I’m the only one with the certs to do it.”
Boudreaux: “That’s all I needed. Thanks for your help. Tell ’em Fuller’ll be okay. And be careful.”
Pavliska: (smiling again, for the first time in a while) “I will. Thanks for what you did. . . with Fuller and all. He’d a been in a world of hurt if we didn’t have you.”
Keeper: Pavliska grabs his watchcap, coat, and gloves and leaves. Once he is gone, Tauch sits down heavily in a nearby chair and exhales deeply. A look of deep melancholy washes over his face as he rubs his temples, staring blankly at the silent form of Fuller.
Tauch: “Christ, what a mess. We can’t afford to be any more short handed around here than we already are.”
Boudreaux: “Is that all you’re concerned about? One of your men almost died!
Tauch: “Nah. . .nah. I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just. . .”
Keeper: The CO looks up to check on whether or nor not Spacek can overhear the conversation. The corpsman is busily spraying a disinfectant solution on the blood that has dried on the rails and floor around the gurney. Galloway looks from you to the Captain with honest concern in his eyes.
Galloway: “Hey. . .Cap’n. It’s not your fault you know. . .it was an accident. A freak-ass accident.”
Boudreaux: (with more sympathy) “Are you okay, Cap?”
Tauch: (dreamily) “You know, when I got this assignment, I thought it was the last stop on the long train to getting my own boat. . . Now, I think maybe I’ll just put in my paperwork when we’re done here and take out.”
Galloway: “Sir, we’re the one’s out here ’cause we’re fuck-ups.”
Boudreaux: “That’s right. . . from here, you should be able to go wherever you want.”
Tauch: “No. . . no. . .I’ve made my share of mistakes. Wherever I went, it was always something.”
Tauch: “You know, there are guys I came in with all over the Fleets; running every kind of boat out there. . . God how I wanted my own boat. . . “
Boudreaux: “Shit, sir! Once you’re out of here, you can put in for one!”
Keeper: The CO rises, straightening-out his old khakis, and begins to don his jacket. From within one of the pockets, he fishes out a cigarette and places it, with trembling hands, unlit in his mouth.
Tauch: “I need a cigarette.”
Boudreaux: I give the Captain a quick once-over. Does he look healthy?
MEDICINE roll for Boudreaux: (1d100) = 27 [success]
Keeper: He looks extremely mentally fatigued, as if this whole incident has severely stressed him. Seeming to notice your concern, the CO swiftly reverts back to his usual, business-like manner.
Tauch: “It’s getting pretty near lunch time and we’ve already had a hell of a day. We could all use something to eat.”
Boudreaux: “Aye-aye, sir.”
Galloway: “Yeah. I better get over to the Exchange and get something started before I end up on Doty’s shit-list.”
Keeper: Tauch smiles weakly at Marlon’s attempt to lighten the conversation. Then, as if still in deep thought, turns and exits the truama bay.
Galloway: (nodding toward Fuller) “You gonna stay with him?”
Boudreaux: “I’ll help Spacek finish up here and join you in a little bit. (whispering) The Captain looks a little stressed. . .”
Galloway: “I think he’s just beginning to accept that the Navy put him out here for a reason.”
Boudreaux: “Yeah. It’s a shame. This place is screwing with us all. (to Spacek) Spacek, you getting hungry?”
Keeper: Spacek looks up from his current tasks, nodding.
Spacek: “Yeah, yo. I could do wit’ some viddles. What about Fuller?”
Boudreaux: “I’ll stay with him and keep an eye on him. I’ve got reports to write up anyway. When you’re done eating, you can cover him for a while.”
Spacek: (removing his exam gloves) “Awright. Let me gets some stuff together for you.”
Boudreaux: “Take your time.”
Galloway: “I’ll have one of the guys bring you something, then.”
Boudreaux: “That’ll work.”
Keeper: Spacek walks over and hands you a collection of several scraps of paper with hastily-written vital signs and other data on them. He shakes his head apologetically.
Spacek: “Yo, Doc, sorry. It was jus’ a little hectic an’ I never gots to any good documentation or nothing ‘cept to writes some vitals an’ whatnot on my gloves. This here’s copies of what I gots.”
Boudreaux: “Don’t sweat it. You did good. Now get out of here and enjoy your lunch.”
Spacek: “I also wrotes down the stuff we gonna need to order since dis shit wit’ Fuller went down. I’ll add it to the list and drop it my CQ on may way over.”
Boudreaux: “Thanks alot. I would have forgotten about that.”
Keeper: Spacek dons his coat and leaves, a distinct look of satisfaction on his face. Galloway smiles, and retrieving his coat as well, makes his way down the hall toward the clinic. About halfway down the corridor, he stops and looks over his shoulder to you.
Galloway: “Good work today, Doctor.”
Boudreaux: “Thanks. I just don’t like it when one of our guys gets so screwed-up for no apparent reason. . .”
Keeper: Galloway nods in understanding, then turns and continues on his way.
Boudreaux: I walk over and take another look at Fuller.
Keeper: He appears to be holding his own, all the diagnostic equipment reading within range. It seems disturbing to see the young man, closed eyelids glistening beneath a protective layer of petroleum jelly, comatose on the gurney in your infirmary. The adrenaline that sustained you during the touch-and-go moments little more than an hour ago has fled you and you feel the exhaustion that inevitably follows seeping into your whole being like an invisible weight. Beep . . . . . beep. . . . . beep. . . . .