FRONTIER Doctors Without Borders

Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Shay Lockley, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. Shay Lockley

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    Infirmary - New Tycho Station

    "So you get the patient to rest their hand over your shoulder, whilst you apply traction downwards. At the same time you're trying to give the proximal muscles around the shoulder a firm massage, in order to get them to relax. Otherwise they'll remain in spasm, and you won't be able to reduce the shoulder back into the socket."

    Shay fought the urge to intervene, and instead watched as the intern proceeded with following his instructions. It was a reliable maneuver to reduce a dislocated shoulder without anesthesia, but only if done with proper technique.

    "You need to get pretty up close and personal with the patient," he suggested. "Sit a little further towards him, and make sure your traction isn't too forceful."

    It took only a few minutes before their patient let out a small cry of pain, and the joint clunked back into place. The contour of the shoulder went from showing an odd, angular appearance to its usual smooth outline.

    "Very satisfying for all of us," he nodded at the patient with a smile. He turned over to the intern, "Well done. Now all he'll need is a sling, and an outpatient appointment with ortho. Make sure the laughing gas has worn off before you discharge him."

    He wandered out the cubicle and tried to remind himself what his next task was. Working in an emergency department meant a hundred simultaneous tasks with a constant stream of interruptions. He liked it that way. Before he knows it, it'd be the end of his shift.

    He was just about to make his way out the door when he heard his name being called. Turning around, he saw Emma - the department director. Always with that odd smile of hers. She wanted something from him.

    "Yeah, what's up?" Shay walked back in, pulling gently on the straps of his backpack.

    She led him into her office. He'd been in it before, but each time he would be impressed at how big it was, and rather opulent. A few overstuffed chairs, paintings on almost all walls, a single formal bookcase of serious leather tones.

    And as if she'd read his mind, she said, "So the folks with bigger offices at Intercolonial Health are hoping to offload some more of our staff over to the new colonies beyond the Slow Zone. A few of these places have expressed interest in acquiring more services, and you'll be going as part of the next batch of staff to rotate through to one of the systems. Remuneration's pretty good."

    She chucked a pad over towards him, and it clattered gently over her desk. Straight to the point as always, Shay thought as he picked it up. He knew he'd eventually be shipped off from New Tycho to one of the colonies at some point, he hadn't thought it'd be this early.

    "Hmm," he said. "When will we be heading off?"

    "On Monday. You've got the weekend off to get your things sorted. You still up for this?"

    "Yeah," he said, staring at the screen and scrolling down over its glass surface with his finger. "Which system?"

    "Providentia. I believe you've worked for them before? Guy who runs the place... I think his name's Buttersworth."

    @William Buttersworth
     
    #1 Shay Lockley, Aug 9, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  2. William Buttersworth

    William Buttersworth Director of PS&E, Captain of the Revenge

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    Providentia Freighter: Capella - Approaching Providentia Gate - Providentia System - Frontier
    The Capella was one of Providentia's seven remaining "Work Horse" Freight Liners, originally one of ten, the other three had been permanently grounded as the foundation for Providentia Prime's first city, Nassau. It was a unusual design for a freighter, while it kept with modern shipbuilding techniques of "put the drive at the back and the rest on top of it", the Capella was painted bright orange, its hull shined with recent detailing and upgrades, the logo of Providentia Freight Lines proudly displayed on the prow of the vessel. It was all part of showing that Providentia was open for trade, that it was capable of looking out for itself in the face of the Sol Coalition.

    Still, even though the fledgling system was doing comparatively well compared to most, it was not free of Sol yet. It still needed professionals, industry experts, scientists...doctors. So the Capella had been sent with special instructions for its next run to New Tycho, it would offload its cargo of mined uranium and other rare minerals, load up on essential supplies such as soil, bacteria, colony materials and the like but also ferry a contingent of medical personnel back to the settlement.

    "Providentia Gate Control, this is the Capella requesting clearance to transition." The bridge of the freighter was quiet, there was not much else to say. The crew had done the same thing twice a month for the last two years, it was entirely routine and it took less than thirty seconds for Gate Control to transmit their clearance. Soon after, the four epstein drives at the rear of the ship kicked on and pushed the Freighter through the gate.

    On the other side, the Capella continued on its course, heading towards the centre of the strange pocket dimension known as the Hub to some, the Slow Zone to others. Either way, Captain Ernesto Samperi found that it gave him the creeps if he stared too long at its blank, murky edges. He usually busied himself with other routine tasks during this time, using the freighters powerful sensors to gather intelligence on the area, what vessels it contained, which systems had the most traffic and any activity surrounding the colossal station at its centre, New Tycho.

    Hours later, the Captain was still in his seat watching New Tycho draw ever closer, until it eclipsed everything behind it. The station was massive, its huge drum section containing millions of cargo containers from across the frontier, ready to be distributed to other colonies or sent back to Sol, and its nine rings, three for docking, three for habitation.

    The station loomed closer and closer...until the helmsman announced their docking approval had been received. "Prepare for hard dock in three...two...once..." The freighter shook and groaned as large clamps on the docking ring latched onto the ship, holding it tightly as dozens of umbilicus' extended from the station and connect to its hull. Almost immediately the cargo within the vessel began to be offloaded, whisked away on magnetic rails.

    "Alright everyone you know the drill. We have 24 hours before undock. Don't get into too much trouble, and make sure you're all looking presentable for our guests. They will be spending several weeks aboard with us on the return journey, so make a good impression," the Captain said as he unbuttoned his fleet uniform and put on what was commonly known as a Hawaiian Shirt, apparently named after an island chain back on Earth.
     
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  3. Shay Lockley

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    Providentia Gate

    Shay squinted his eyes against the glare of light streaming into their transport vessel. He wasn't sure why the interior of the passenger cabin had to be kept so dark - there was probably a good reason, just not one he could think of right now. Likely to do with operational safety during docking, or something along those lines.

    The Capella was a large ship, a moderately-sized transport freighter. That also meant it carried a fair number of passengers, with Shay and his medical team comprising only a smaller proportion of everyone on board. The rest were business people, engineers, scientists, etc. He gathered not many were tourists, though a few were likely to be new permanent settlers.

    With the large number of people waiting to disembark, and with Shay seated one of of the rows at the very back, the queue had taken a solid ten minutes before he himself finally reached the exit. One of the attendants nodded at him with a smile, bidding him farewell. He took the brief second to smile back, as keen as he was to escape from the confines of the ship. The moment he was out, he could smell the subtle difference that contrasted recycled air from fresh planetary air, even if Earth's atmosphere had become sorely trashed in some places.

    He speed-walked with the other passengers across the terminal, a horde of them, as if trying to outrun each other to be the first at baggage collection. Then another race towards customs clearance, which Shay found to be a little loose compared to UN border control. More queues, before he was finally free to depart the terminal and find his way to his connecting flight, the final destination being Providentia Prime itself.

    Three hours, he thought quietly to himself. Enough time for at least a coffee, he reckoned. Maybe even some food.

    @William Buttersworth
     
  4. Youssef Davila

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    Docks - Orbital City Builder - In Orbit Over Providentia Prime - Providentia System - Frontier​

    Youssef stood still, with his back straight, staring at the arrivals and departures board in the main docks thoroughfare of the Orbital City Builder. He straightened his tie and made sure his suit was neat and tidy, first impressions were important. The massive shipyard and space station was a hive of activity with dozens of vessels arriving and departing at any moment. Providentia Security, the unofficial military of the system, had finally caved to pressure from the newly formed civilian government to allow the OCB to be used for civilian use as well as military. The great shipyard was after all, the largest single employer in the system, building ships and refining minerals from the planet below.

    This change meant the OCB's population nearly doubled overnight, and Youssef's normally quiet section of the station was full of people. Familiar, children, travelers, soldiers, shipbuilders...It was chaotic in a way, but Youssef knew it was all a carefully choreographed dance by the AI that ran much of the station. The chaos had a pattern, and that reassured him.

    His eyes scanned the display until he found what he was looking for. A transport was en-route from the terminal at Providentia Gate. The vessel was burning at a casual one third g, and had been underway for almost a month. His job was to meet with a team of medical experts guide them to a dropship, and get them orientated on the planet below. He had done it a dozen times before, each time going slightly better then the last. He shuddered thinking of the very first time, a bunch of unruly Earthers had climbed off the transport and immediately tried to start fights with the locals. Their credentials made them immune to most punishments, but that did not stop Youssef from knocking one of them out for assaulting a waitress in a nearby bar. He had seen them down to their new post, the planets first mine, and had never seen them again.

    Things were going better now, the kind of people they were bringing in from Sol were of a better calibre than violent miners. Lawyers, doctors, economists...They were much more polite. His eyes narrowed as the board highlighted the transport he was looking for, it was due to dock any minute now. He waited patiently outside the gate. Through a nearby window, Youssef watched as a transport entered the dock and was latched onto by a dozen docking arms. The vessel slowed gracefully to a halt, and moments later was connected via a dozen umbilici. Soon after people began to stream out of the nearby doorway and head to the nearby security checkpoint. Youssef checked his terminal, looking at the faces of people he was meant to rendezvous with.

    Through the crowd spilling out into the thoroughfare, he spotted one and raised his good arm to catch their attention. The person raised their eyebrows in response and began pushing their way through the crowd towards him. When he arrived, Youssef extended his hand, the Earther shook it. "My name is Youssef Davila, I am your liaison, and representative of the Providentia Government for this part of the journey. Please gather your associates, we will be departing for the surface shortly." Steadily a group formed behind this man, which Youssef identified as Shay Lockley, via his terminal and waited patiently.

    Satisfied everyone had arrived, Youssef tapped into the local PA system via his terminal and used it to artificially amplify his voice. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Doctors and Professors, experts in your field, welcome to the Providentia System. I am your guide, my name is Youssef, please feel free to ask me any questions during our time together. It is my job to see you all safely to the surface and to see that you are orientated correctly. Once we read the surface you will all be assigned a liaison of your own. For the time being, please follow me."

    Youssef turned and started off down the thoroughfare towards the priority docking bays. After passing through a checkpoint he stopped to look out the window at the vessel they would be riding to the surface. It reminded him of a brick, like the ones they used to make buildings out of back on Earth. It had four massive thrusters mounted to its sides and was held in place by a large clamp. "Please proceed onto the dropship in an orderly fashion. Your seat assignments should be displayed on your terminals."
     
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  5. Shay Lockley

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    It was after customs when Shay had made his way to the restroom, turning off to the side as he walked in so that other disembarked passengers could step past. Thankfully the place did not reek the way some other spaceport restrooms did. This massive station was fairly new, and constructed with designs meant to accommodate civilians.

    Shay made his way to one of the sinks, shuffling the weight of his rucksack further over his shoulder as he leaned down. The stream of water ran over his palms, which he then cupped to splash over his face. Then a quick glance at the mirror - and for a brief moment he thought he saw himself from five years ago, when he had first left Earth for the Belt. He'd grown his hair out again, its wavy and heavy lengths swept off to one side, cradling the border of his rather boyish face. His appearance hasn't changed much, but almost everything else about him seems to have.

    He reached out for the small hand towels available off to the side to dry his face and hands before leaving, finding himself back with the group of about 50 other colleagues from Intercolonial Health. Other doctors, nurses, paramedics, lab techs, researchers, physiotherapists, other allied health staff... There was at least one representative of practically every health profession in the group. Enough to run a small hospital - almost.

    "All right, gather up," Shay said, trying to raise his voice enough so that their group would all hush down and listen. Somehow he'd been casually appointed as the frontman to represent all of them, even though there were other medical staff with higher credentials than him. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that he was ex-UNN, but that was ages ago. Either way, he hadn't refused the position.

    Once the group was settled, Shay's attention was caught by a dark-skinned, rather thin man. Well-presented, with a proper suit-jacket and tie. Yet there was something beyond that veneer pointing to a life that had endured its share of violence and brutality. For Shay, the man's right upper limb was immediately recognisable as a robotic prosthetic - even when largely hidden under the sleeve of the jacket and gloves.

    "Mister Davlia," Shay nodded after being introduced.

    He heard a few quiet groans from the crowd once Youssef had made his announcement - likely from complete exhaustion after having spent a month trapped inside a ship, and now that they were finally on steadier ground, not even given a few hours to rest. But other than that, there weren't any further protests. Soon the group was queuing up again to board their connecting flight.
     
  6. Youssef Davila

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    Once everyone was aboard, Youssef pulled out his terminal and let the dropship crew know everyone was ready. A moment later, the lighted flashed yellow, accompanied by an alert tone. "Please take your seats. Landfall to commence in thirty seconds" announced a calm, robotic voice. The alert tone continued as Youssef walked down the rows of seats, checking each person's belts. Satisfied no one was going to come loose, he sat in a position towards the cockpit and strapped himself in.

    Opposite him, the Doctor he had spoken to briefly before was seated, a miserable expression on his face. "Don't worry Doctor, this is the last leg of your journey, it will be over before you know it!" The Doctor opened his mouth to reply but was cut off by three loud alert tones and a flash of red lights. A moment later Youssef's stomach felt like it was being forced up into his chest as the dropship released from the underside of the station, plummeting to the planet below.

    Youssef looked out a nearby viewport as it changed from the black of space to red, orange and then intense yellow and white as the vessel continued to fall down into the atmosphere. A wreath of flames engulfing it as the friction from the atmosphere heated its hull as an intense roaring filled his ears. The dropship groaned and creaked, Youssef's teeth chattering as the shuddering grew steadily more intense. This carried on for several minutes until, as quickly as it had started the roaring ceased, and the fierce light and heat of dropping through the atmosphere subsided. Replaced with the soft blue of Providentia's sky.

    They still continued to freefall; the straps over Youssef's shoulders holding him safely in his seat. He looked across at the Doctor from earlier and noticed him gripping the straps of his harness tightly. "Almost done Doctor!" He called out, as he attempted a comforting smile. As they continued to fall a steady whine began to build in volume, "all hands, prepare for deceleration," came an announcement over the PA. A moment later, he was slammed into his seat which hissed on pneumatic rails to absorb much of the impact. The whine was replaced with another roar as four thrusters outside the dropship ignited, slowing their descent.

    The g-forces steadily decreased as the ship's braking burn brought them down gently onto a flashing landing pad. With a jolt and a quick alert tone, the vessel same to a stop. "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the main settlement of Providentia, Nassau," Youssef announced as he unstrapped himself and walked over to a control panel. Hitting the door release, he was greeted with a gust of cold, fresh air.
     
    #6 Youssef Davila, Aug 14, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  7. Shay Lockley

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    Shay had not enjoyed the descent at all. He never liked atmospheric re-entry. It was like an eternal downhill ride off a rollercoaster, except at speeds far greater. The entire time his abdomen pushed up against his diaphragm, making it difficult to breathe. Most other passengers seemed to have gotten used to the sensation of constant free-falling after a minute or so, but for Shay it was a horrible experience that lasted for too long.

    But of course, eventually, it all ended. Not without a bang, as the sudden deceleration felt like the seat underneath him slammed upwards, sending an uncomfortable amount of force up his back. The straps he wore over his shoulders felt suddenly loose, before they tightened again after a brief lag.

    They queued up again in preparation to disembark.

    The wind was stronger than expected sending Shay's hair flying in all directions. He held his head down as if that might help shield him from the air current. The cold hit him quick, and his skin shivered underneath his clothes.

    Shay made his way down the steps and onto the landing platform. The sole of his dark brown Chelsea boots was finally in contact with proper ground, and he shifted his heel slightly to feel the satisfying

    "Almost done, but not quite yet. Presumably another short trip to the hospital?" he asked, once he made his way closer to Mr Davila.

    He and his group of healthcare staff had been told they'd stay at residential quarters immediately adjacent to the hospital. A new, small pre-fab building courtesy of Intercolonial Health. Hopefully they'd get the evening and night off to rest, before being thrust into a rapid orientation the following day to get their bearings at their new workplace.
     
  8. Youssef Davila

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    Youssef waited until all the newcomers had disembarked before walking down the ramp of the dropship himself. As he set foot on Providentia, he crouched down on one knee and planted his palm firmly on the surface. The critical part of his brain insisted on reminding him that the elevated landing platform was not the actual surface of the planet, but he didn't care. Setting foot on his new homeworld was a sacred experience for him, and he performed the same action every landfall he made.

    Standing up, he straightened his suit out and waved casually at the pilots in the dropships cockpit. They returned the gesture as the dropship's engines began to spin back up, increasing the already turbulent conditions on the platform. He continued along the walkway behind the stream of people, making sure to keep an eye on everyone. Usually, this was the point that stragglers tended to get lost, so took extra special care, even rerouting a couple of civil drones to keep an eye on things.

    The landing platform was one of a dozen, each with dropships landing or taking off. They extended out the side of a long, horizontal structure with many buildings and structures fanning out from beneath it. Newcomers might have thought it was a large, flat and wide building whereas, in reality, it was the port side of one of three massive freighters which had landed permanently at the settlement. Out of it extended large gantries, full of cargo containers, building supplies and raw materials and surrounding it, on the ground, the city of Nassau was forming like the roots of some great tree.

    "Welcome to Nassau Spaceport. Please proceed to the double doors at the end of the platform. All non-citizens must submit to biometric identity checks." The message was repeated over loudspeakers as the group made their way towards a set of doors. Behind them, the dropship emitted a high-pitched whine as it lifted off the pad and thundered up into the sky. Ahead, large double doors slid open with a groan revealing an expansive indoor space that stretched for hundreds of metres in each direction.

    Youssef followed the group in and nodded as various other liaison officers met their experts and took them off to offices and booths to carry out their orientation. Soon enough it was just the Doctor from earlier, Shay, standing in the vast hall looking lost. Youssef sidled up beside him, a thin smile on his lips. "Doctor Lockley, I am your liaison, please, follow me." Youssef lead Shay straight ahead and into a small room with smoked glass and motioned for the Doctor to take a seat. "This will not take long," he said, pressing several buttons on a terminal embedded in the wall.

    With a hiss, a robotic arm descended from the roof and stopped at Shays head height. At the end of the arm was a camera node consisting of several lenses and LEDs. It stared at him for a moment before emitting several flashes of light and a variety of boops and whistles. "And we are done. The biometric scan is approved; please follow me."

    Youseff left the room, motioning for Shay to follow him. Outside, the hustle and bustle of the freighter seemed to grow as they passed through various security checks and scans until before long they stood at the edge of a busy thoroughfare. Youssef looked left and right, looking at the vast throng of people extending in each direction, "this is Nassau," he stated, Shay leaning in to listen. "Almost one hundred thousand belters, all learning to adapt to living on a planet." He started forward, pushing through the crowd while making sure he did not lose Shay.

    "In just two years we have expanded out from inside of this freighter. What began as three basic medical bays on each ship have now expanded into fully-fledged hospitals." Youssef turned and began to move with the flow of people, "your assignment is to the hospital of this district. We have strict quarantine controls, as you would have noticed on your way here from New Tycho. Many diseases that affect other colonies have...thankfully...not occurred here."

    He stopped briefly at a food stand, motioned for two items and waved his terminal near a payment facility. The vendor handed him two burrito shaped foodstuffs, and he gave one to Shay, before taking a bite and continuing down the thoroughfare. "We have found that a significant portion of the population is reacting poorly with the local ecosystem. Our bodies have not adapted to the biosphere of this planet yet, and unfortunately, it is playing havoc with our medical system." He took another bite of the burrito and turned down another corner, ahead, in large blue volumetric letters, the word HOSPITAL glowed.

    Soon, they arrived at the entrance and stood there for a time, finishing their burritos. "This is your assigned facility. Do you have any questions before I take you to your lodgings?"
     
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  9. Shay Lockley

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    Shay wasn't quite sure how he might describe it to someone else, but this man sure acted like a robot. Brusque, direct, straightforward, to the point. Hello, newcomer - here are the rules, this is where you'll be, any questions?

    He also found the biometric scan a bit odd. He wasn't quite a fan of the robotic arm coming so close to his face. Couldn't they simply place an adequately wide-angled camera on the wall? But then again, he wasn't a security expert, so he kept what were probably ignorant opinions to himself.

    As they proceeded out of the checkpoint and further into the periphery of this small city, he young doctor had become quite intrigued with the way the entire place was set up. Not that he could actually see the entirety of the city, of course. With over 100,000 people as permanent inhabitants, he was sure the settlement was rather large. The maze-like thoroughfares seemed haphazard, but everyone else seemed to know where they were going. There were proper walkways, roads, new buildings.

    He shook out of his reverie when he heard Mr Davila spoke to him again.
    "Umm," he nodded, before quickly shaking his head instead. "No, not right now." Shay was sure he'd find out more about the hospital from new colleagues once he actually starts his first shift. All he could really think of right now was getting some rest at his new accommodation, which should be close by.

    @Youssef Davila
     
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  10. Youssef Davila

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    Youseff nodded once and then motioned for them to continue down a path to the left of the hospital. The thoroughfare was wide enough for two cars to pass each other side by side and still allow space for pedestrians, however currently it was crowded with vendors and people. Various smells wafted around as stalls selling street food and snacks cooked on makeshift ovens and grills. "We have not yet regulated much of the markets here, they have sprung up themselves and for the time being things are fine as they are," he stopped outside a narrow apartment block tucked in next to the hospital block and the outer hull of the freighter.

    "This is your building for the time being. As you get settled, options for other lodgings will become available," he walked over to the buildings door which opened automatically. Inside, the familiar smell of pressed bamboo and plastic laminate filled the air, the building had obviously been hastily constructed and one of the lights in the lobby flickered. "Your personal effects have been brought to your room, this way," he motioned to an elevator which opened with a chime and walked in. Shay followed, and for a few moments they stood awkwardly in the tiny space as it rattled up the shaft.

    With another chime it came to a halt. Youseff slid the door open revealing a hallway, thankfully this one was fully lit. Youssef would have to talk to the maintenance team about first impressions, having broken or partially functioning lighting in a brand new apartment block was not a good look, especially for medical professionals imported from Sol. They stopped outside a door marked 11B. "This is your apartment, you will find that water is not restricted, air is obviously free and food can be ordered on your terminal. Do not concern yourself with paying, it is covered by the government for the time being until you receive your first wage payment."

    The door unlocked itself after Youssef tapped at his terminal. It was a nice enough place, everything within was prefabricated, but it offered a astounding view of the cavernous hall of the freighter and the miniature city being built within. "You have been assigned a work shift in fifteen hours. If you are comfortable with this, please approve the request on your terminal and simple enter the hospital at the designated time. Is there anything else you require?"
     
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  11. Shay Lockley

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    Shay wasn't one to complain about his living arrangements, and he wasn't about to get started. The accommodation jointly provided by Providentia and Intercolonial Health was, of course, not at luxury standards. But for Shay it was more than good enough.

    A place to sleep, occasionally eat, maybe read a book. Although built through the external hull of a decommissioned freighter, the interior was refurbished well enough to resemble an actual living space. The young man ignored the flickering lights, assuming them to be nothing more than minor issues that will eventually be fixed.

    What he loved the most, however, was the view. Not an outdoor view, but an incredible vantage point of the small - yet complex and growing - civilisation sheltered within the walls of this freighter. He could imagine the same was occurring outside, likely at an even grander scale.

    His mind had been so busy taking in the view that he almost failed to listen on when Youssef spoke again.

    Shay wondered how it is that this man knew what his roster was like. He hadn't even been able to access it himself. Perhaps it'd be a good idea to check his terminal and see if his inbox was overflowing. He'd hate to be late for or miss his first shift entirely.

    "No, not really," he said. But just as Mr Davila was about to leave, he curiously asked, "So... who runs this place? The city, I mean."

    @Youssef Davila
     
  12. Youssef Davila

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    Youssef stopped at the door and turned back, a smile on his face. "Beltalowda run the city, kopeng mi," he grinned and walked back across the small room to the window looking out at the massive interior of the freighter. All along its edges, small buildings and apartment blocks were being built. Some stacked from prefabricated materials, others being 3D printed by large robotic arms. "Everyone here gets a say in how the city is run. There are five districts, and thirty representatives. The representatives are voted for yearly by the general population...This representative council then communes with the Core...the AI that used to run New Providence Station. The AI makes most of the decisions, but the council makes the decisions human. It is a strange system to govern with, using a machine intelligence to run a society...but it has served us well so far."

    He turned away from the window and went back to the doorway. "It is best you get some rest, you are scheduled to begin at the hospital tomorrow, and half of your work hours will be with me, aboard a skiff. We are heading out to the fringe settlements where I have recieved troubling reports of our people having issues with the local ecosystem. It should be an eye opening experience for you. Good evening Doctor." He bowed out of the room, leaving Shay alone.
     
  13. Shay Lockley

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    Having spent he past five years on Earth meant Shay had been long out of touch with Lang Belta. By now he'd completely forgotten what 'kopeng mi' meant, and decided not to question it.

    "Huh, a democracy?" he said in response to Mr Davila's brief and superficial description of Providentia's form of government. But the man didn't respond to that, instead suggesting for him to rest up in preparation for what sounded like a big day tomorrow. The man then promptly left.

    Fringe settlements? Ecosystem?

    Shay had no idea what use he'd be with regards to ecosystems of any kind. He was a medical doctor, not a biologist or ecologist. Surely there are scientists they'd recruited who'd be more suited to that area? Then again, maybe he was in fact part of a science group and would act as some sort of medical/paramedical attachment.

    Details were scant - nothing about who else was coming, what the exact plan and schedule was, where they'd meet up. It seemed as if they liked vagueness and obscurity, or were the type to offer information and technicalities at the last minute. Shay didn't like that.

    --------------------

    19 hours later

    Very last minute, Shay thought to himself as he pulled the shoelaces tight over heavy-duty boots. He'd been given some serious-looking gear: a black jacket with a few bright-orange stripes at various parts, a multi-pocketed vest to carry any equipment he required, dark blue trousers, backpack, and of course those boots. He could probably camp out several nights with all this stuff. Hopefully they weren't actually going to do that.

    The first half of the day had been busy. Orientation to the hospital, or more specifically its emergency department. He'd been impressed with it, like most things newly-constructed. Some of the equipment were old, but not really that old - just not the fanciest or most up-to-date machines. Still absolutely workable nonetheless. Adequately staffed and equipped. A few key people he'd met - the department director, the in-charge nurses, other doctors. And then a quick glance at the waiting room found only a moderate number of people, which was a very rough indicator of what bed capacity was like at this hospital. Not overcrowded, which was good. At least not yet.

    He rushed out the ambulance entrance, where transport was waiting, to take him to the edge of Providentia. There he met Mr Davila again, no longer in a suit jacket and tie, along with a few other members of their afternoon/evening expedition.

    @Youssef Davila
     
  14. Youssef Davila

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    Youssef stood next to the skiff, inspecting their cargo as a automaton loaded it onto racks located on the outside of the vehicle. It wasn't quite the size Youssef had requested but it would do for now. It could fit six people and two more on stretchers, but today it was only him, the Doctor and the Pilot. As the ambulance entrance doors parted and the doctor walked out, the four rotor engines of the skiff spun up, changing from a low rumble to a high pitched whine, the earmuffs Youssef wore activating when the sound reached dangerous levels, immediately drowning the sound out.

    "Greetings Doctor," Youssef shouted over the roar, "we must depart at once, please take a seat!" He took the man's luggage and placed it on the automaton nearby, which dutifully loaded the items into the cargo racks before retracting into the side of the craft. The Doctor climbed in, followed by Youssef, who handed him a pair of hearing protection also. He checked the Doctors safety harness before strapping in himself and giving the pilot a thumbs up. With a jolt the skiff lifted off from the landing pad jutting out the side of the freighter and turned towards the boundary of the city.

    From their vantage point they could see all three of the massive freighters, the representative building under construction, and much of the city now springing up in between them all. Youssef smiled casually as he saw the Doctor marveling at the settlement, at least thats what he hoped that expression was. Soon after, the vehicle picked up speed and left the settlement behind, soaring over great forests, grassy plains, lakes and coastal habitats, in the distance an imposing mountain range loomed with snow capped peaks.

    The skiff reduced its altitude steadily until Youssef felt like they were mere metres from the ground. His expression breaking into a grin as they raced over beaches with great waves breaking and crashing against red sand. Here and there he spotted aquatic creatures swimming under the vehicle, trying to keep up, some occasionally breaking the surface and letting out curious squawks before splashing back under the waves. As they continued on, the skiff took a turn down a river delta which weaved through dense jungle and swampland until coming to a gradual halt above what appeared to be a floating settlement.

    [​IMG]

    They landed on a makeshift helipad and climbed out of the skiff, the whine of its engines decreasing as the rotors spun down. A woman was there to meet them, the familiar OPA tattoo around her neck visible, as well as several on her face and arms. "Wa koming gut," she said, extending her hand which Youssef shook. "Mi name Youssef Davila, council representative," he said placing his hand flat on his chest. The lady smiled, giving a hand gesture for thanks. "Mi associate is Doctor Shay Lockley, here to xep with your nasunte." The woman shook the Doctors hand and turned to walk down a rickety plank walkway towards the small settlement.

    The settlement itself wasn't much to look at. A dozen prefabricated buildings, welded together with steel girders and covered several shade structures of varying colour. "Surprised mi, when we hear of an inya comin to xep, did nat tink many were on de planet," she said leading the two men into a building. "The government is importing talent from all over," Youssef replied, looking around the space. It was a basic infirmary, a couple of ancient looking autodocs beeped and hummed next two three beds, each occupied with a person. The Doctor walked over to inspect them. while Youssef continued to talk to the woman. "What's wrong with them?"

    "Mi not sure, they went out on a boat...fishing...or exploring...I can't tell with the younger ones...but they come back three days ago and lost consciousness not long after. Autodocs can't find a reason."

    "We here to xep, kopeng mi," Youssef said, turning back to the Doctor.
     
    #14 Youssef Davila, Aug 29, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  15. Shay Lockley

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    Shay hardly had a briefing - if any at all - with what their expedition was about when he boarded the skiff. He was just told that they needed to depart immediately, and so he took his place over one of the seats in the small cabin.

    The short flight didn't take long, and gave Shay an opportunity to really see how vast this city had expanded. In only a few years, or at least he was told, the settlement had grown to become a proper conurbation, with its own central district, surrounded by various other residential and commercial areas. But soon such a view was replaced by greenery, crossing the sharp demarcation between Providentia and untouched nature. Various landscapes swept underneath as they flew further.

    At one point Shay turned away from the window and reached for his backpack, unzipping it and going through its contents again. He hoped he'd packed enough, but then again he had little idea how long they'd be away from the city for. 'Not long' was what someone else other than Youssef had told him. He wasn't sure how much that information could be trusted.

    They landed, and Shay was greeted by a lady with an OPA tattoo.

    Of course he recognised that tattoo. He'd seen enough of them five years ago. Almost everyone around him had one, some more than one. Clearly this woman still carried OPA loyalties, and Shay wondered if he'd soon be known as the one who evaded Captain Buttersworth, leading to that man's demise. Five years ago - perhaps they've forgotten, since there were better times to look forward to. Belters were no longer suffocating at the hands of Earth and Mars. Or at least a lot less so.

    Her handshake was firm, genuine, confident. His own grip was less sure of itself. A quick, informal greeting, and then he was led to the settlement's small infirmary.

    Not much of a medical facility, Shay thought to himself as he stepped in. Basic equipment and supplies, from what he could see. At least they had auto-docs, as much as he hated those things.

    Three patients. Lethargy was what he could observe. Not so much completely unconscious from what he could gather, as they shuffled their positions on the bed occasionally, one even letting out a weak groan. Their skin pale, movements sluggish.

    "Anyone else who hadn't gone out on their trip fallen sick?" he asked, not wanting to get too close. He presumed the answer would be 'no', but he had to check. He had no idea what he'd be dealing with.

    @Youssef Davila
     
  16. Youssef Davila

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    The woman stepped over to one of the beds and put a gloved hand on one of the patient's forehead, sweat beaded and rolled off as the person laid there with a pained expression on their face. "No, just these three. Went out towards that structure near where the swamp meets the coast, the camera from their boat showed them go inside for almost an hour then they came out, stumbling...confused."

    Youssef pulled out a large tablet sized terminal, laid it next to an autodoc and began tapping on it. "We will need that recording ma'am, as well as the location of this...structure." As he spoke, the terminal paired with an autodoc and ran several automatic tests, one being a scan for protomolecule contamination. It took several minutes, but came up negative. "We know...at least they have not come into contact with Builder tech, it must be some sort of infection from the local wildlife." Several odd results did appear in the results however, large populations of bacteria were detected...replacing the patients gut flora at an increasing rate. "Have you tried antibiotics? Or Phage therapy?"

    The lady nodded solemnly. "Those were the first procedures the autodocs suggested. Whatever is inside them...didn't only slow down from when we started the therapies, it sped up...their temperatures spikes, blood pressure too...we didn't want any of them to have a stroke...so we stopped the treatments, but they're just...in this coma like state."

    Youssef set his pack down on a nearby table and unzipped a compartment. Inside was a mean looking rifle broken down into several pieces. Youssef rapidly assembled it, scanning his thumbprint on a pad next to its trigger. The weapon activated and pulsed with a blue light. "Doctor, I believe we must investigate this structure. Would you like to accompany me or stay with the patients?"
     
  17. Shay Lockley

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    "Come with you?" Shay said, his eyes widening. He hadn't quite expected to be travelling directly into a spot where people had unexpectedly fallen ill. Especially if there was any chance that this may be an infectious disease of some sort. They were, at the end of the day, on a completely foreign planet.

    But then he remembered why it is that he decided to leave Earth once again. Like an itch that could never be satisfied, he needed to explore. Surely the doctors here were competent enough, and would've done their best to investigate what the cause of the illness was. He also felt reassured that the therapies they've commenced were been exactly what he would've done, despite not having looked into all the details.

    At the same time, these Belter doctors seemed to rely heavily on auto-docs... That alone was a red flag in Shay's mind, but he didn't bring that concern to light, not wanting to sound elitist or confrontational.

    "Are you sure that's a good idea? You're not worried about falling sick, like them?" Shay asked Youssef, pointing over to one of the patients.

    @Youssef Davila
     
  18. Youssef Davila

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    Youssef set his rifle down on a nearby surface. The moment he took his finger off the fingerprint scanner, the blue pulse slowed and after a moment, went out. The man shrugged off his backpack and paid it next to the weapon, unzipping two more compartments. The backpack made a slight buzzing sound before unfolding itself like a lotus flower made of canvas and zips, small servos built into it decompressing its contents.

    Out of the compartment, Youssef pulled two bright orange packaged and set them on the ground. Pressing a small blue button on the top of each, they too began to unfold and inflate until moments later, two full sized hazmat suits were laid out in front of him. "We wont be going in without any protection Doctor. Suit up, we will take the skiff over to where beltalowda got sick."

    After some effort, both men were zipped up in their hazmat suits. Youssef slid a canister of oxygen into the back of Shays, and asked him to do the same for his own. "This should give us enough air for at least three hours. We can always unzip after we leave the structure, but better safe than sorry." He left the room and made his way to the skiff which began to spin up its engines seeing the two hazmat suit clad men awkwardly navigate through the small settlement towards the landing pad.

    Once aboard, the aircraft immediately launched up into the air and banked hard for the coast. The settlement rapidly fell away into the distance as the odd blue-purple colour of the ocean approached. As they followed the swamp, a river began to form which spread into a delta as it approached the coast. Near the centre of the delta was the structure in question.

    It wasn't natural, but at the same time it did not bear the same resemblance to other Builder ruins scattered across the planet. It looked much like a broken flower, with large ten metre high arches of stone extending from its centre out into the swamps around it. It's centre couldn't be seen, obscured by several intersecting arches and curved walls, but the path the sick settlers took could be seen leading directly into the odd landmark. Youssef signaled to the pilot to bring them down.
     
  19. Shay Lockley

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    Shay watched quietly as the structure came into view. Some sort of ancient, massive complex of several layers, on top of which stood ginormous arches of stone that overlapped each other. The pattern reminded him of the way the inner ear's semicircular canals connected with each other, and he wondered what this structure was once used for.

    [​IMG]

    Flying over the abandoned remnants of what may have been a primordial civilisation, Shay couldn't help but stare with awe and curiosity. He had so many questions flowing through his mind, finding it difficult to stay focused on what the purpose of their trip was.

    After several flyovers, the pilot found an appropriate spot to settle the aircraft onto the ground. Shay and Youssef emerged from the passenger cabin fully donned in their clunky, protective suits, their boots landing on wet, muddy soil.

    Shay looked ahead towards the ancient structure. The direct path seemed less than straightforward, with vegetation, shallow swamps and boulders blocking the most direct route. They'd have to find some other way around, which meant having to climb around in these suits, whilst carrying their backpacks and other equipment.

    He turned to Youssef, suggesting the other man take the lead. He was the one with the gun, after all.

    @Youssef Davila
     
  20. Youssef Davila

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    Youssef was focusing on the sound of his breathing in the bulky hazmat suit. It dominated every other sound, except for the. metallic click of the air supply as it sucked in spent air and filtered it. In front, the Doctor turned around and motioned for him to lead the way into the strange structure ahead of them. He nodded with his fist, using the old style of belter hand signals to communicate before realising the Doctor was an Earther and would have no idea what he was doing. "Doctor, you see me do this," he nodded with his fist again, bobbing it up and down, "it means yes." The Doctor responded with the same gesture and grinned. Youssef smiled and stepped past him toward the path into the structure.

    As they moved along the path he became aware of the complete absence of any local wildlife, even plant life stopped at the outer boundary of the structure. As he stepped past the outer wall, he thought he felt a distant vibration through his feet, but dismissed it as moment of paranoia. The structure was imposing and the light steadily decreased as they made their way further in. Youssef kept a. firm hold of his rifle, and after a few minutes flicked the flashlight attached to its barrel on. They continued along the path, passing through more and more of the structure and underneath its great arches.

    "We should be almost at the centre..." he said, looking at the terminal mounted on his forearm. "Temperature is dropping fast, looks like there is a wind current moving through these pathways all leading towards the centre...if we follow the main current...it should. take us there." The continued, slowly and cautiously, not wanting to snag their hazmat suits on the rough rock walls of the structure.

    After a short while, they reached that Youssef assumed was the centre. Surrounded by dozens of smaller, increasingly more intricate archways was a ramp leading down underground. "Looks like we are going down there Doc," Youssef motioned, turning around to face the Earther. The man was pale, his eyes fixated on the ramp leading down into the darkness below.
     

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