A nurse with broad shoulders was holding her down as she awoke to a seizure. "Haldondun," the woman was whispering, stroking Pyat's sweaty hair. The cantrils took a couple seconds to translate: Keep breathing. She felt her body become more still and was surprised by the calming effect of the nurse’s voice. The wires inside of her burned like they were filled with lightning, but her body stopped flailing, settling into the mattress. Pyat flashed back to her dream and began to hyperventilate. What was going on with these dreams?
"Haldondun," the nurse whispered, spreading her long fingers on Pyat’s chest. Her breath evened out. And as she did, she noticed that her body was in agonizing pain due to her fried wires. They must have defibrillated her, suggesting she had died. In reality, she felt completely healed except the dull ache where her body had been injured. She wondered if the Academy had been notified of her death. "You healed me?" Du laknadir mig? She looked up at the nurse. She blushed and shook her head.
"Laknirinn gerdi." The doctor did. "Hver ert pu?" Who are you?
"I am Pyat, who are you?" Eger Captain Pyat, hver et puy? Pyat said briskly.
"Nunna Björk," the nurse answered carefully. She was wearing a dark robe with a black corset covering her blonde hair. Her neck was clasped by a golden cross, which the nurse was touching with her fingers. Pyat tried not to scoff. She remembered learning about the world’s religions at the Academy, and how they had caused so much death in the before times. How anyone could still follow Christ left her wanting.
"Where is the doctor?" Pyat asked. Her cantrils finally caught up to conversation, translating immediately.
"Doctor Jóhannsson will be by as soon as possible," the nurse said as she hurried from the room, face somehow more pale than before. From below Pyat’s eyeline, she noticed a golden glow. She realized that the wires underneath her skin were emitting a faint light. She took several deep breaths, encouraging the electricity to dissipate into her muscles. Her ribs burned slightly, but at least they were not broken anymore. The Icelandic medical system was not as advanced as the one at the Academy, but it did a decent job. She tore the bandages from her hands and wrists, shaking them out. The smell of chlorine was overwhelming.
“Wēng, full body scan." She held out her palms and a purple light erupted from the cantrils. A minute passed until the light reentered the cantrils.
"From most serious to least, you have: one minor concussion in temporal lobe and three fractured teeth."
"Thank you, Wēng. Turn off all capabilities but translation."
"As you wish," the cantrils purred softly as they shut down. Pyat pulled the tubes from her arms and got up, stretching her arms above her head. A crackling erupted through the vertebrae in her back. She glanced around the gray tiled room. One wall was entirely glass, through which she could see the tumultuous city beneath her. Yet, the air inside was purified and cleaned so patients would not get sick from pollution. This was unnecessary at the Academy, which only used renewable energy.
Her bed was made out of a gray, metallic frame with a foam mattress on top that would alter based on personal preference. It was currently shaped to her thin, short body. A little metal table was set up next to her metal bed. An also metal tray sat atop of it, with a large red protein pill on top and a glass of electrolyte-rich water next to it. She popped the protein supplement into her mouth and downed the water. The protein supplement tasted bland, and the water had a hint of sewage, but her energy immediately spiked.
"What are you doing?" A voice asked from behind her. She spun around, facing a new yellow-haired woman. Pyat could not tell all these Icelandic women apart. Was there no immigration into this small territory? The woman was wearing all gray, including a gray collar covering her slim neck. The gray caused the blue in her eyes to look extremely bright, like the sky over the ocean. Her hair curled around her face and the corners of her eyes were lined, from sorrow or laughter, Pyat did not know. Or necessarily care. Her thin pink mouth was curled up in amusement. Her body was long and torso thick, curving down to large thighs and small feet.
"Who are you?” Pyat challenged. "And where are my clothes?” Her still energized wires made her feel like a thousand mice were clawing at the inside of her limbs. She dug her fingers into her cantrils until her thoughts calmed down. The doctor smiled.
"I am your doctor. I threw your clothes out. They were wrecked." Pyat stared at her. The doctor shifted uncomfortably.
"I need them," The words left Pyat’s mouth stiffly. She stepped toward the doctor as quickly as a hawk, slamming the woman into the wall. Pyat's right arm teetered at the woman's throat. Frustration crept into the blue eyes.
“Back down, you abomination!" The doctor snarled, hitting Pyat's chest. "I'll get you new ones, just get off!" Pyat let go, stepping away from the woman. The word stirred a tightness in her chest. Abomination.
“You are required to help me." Pyat fiddled with her cantrils. "Your government must provide me with funds so I can rest and prepare for my journey. I need supplies."The doctor pushed back the curling blonde hair from her face and tied it into a ponytail, oceanic eyes fuming.
"With what coalition? Can you show me some identification?"
Pyat breathed deeply and held out her palm. "Wēng, show Doctor Jóhannsson my identification." A hologram jumped out of the cantril. Pyat appeared, a stern expression decorating her face.
"Captain Pyat, Aerial of the Arctic Academy of Young Scholars," the cantrils' voice filled the room. "Year 26.2, Class Year 2191. Any citizen of the Alliance or Альянс must provide immediate shelter and assistance." Pyat closed her fist on the hologram. “An abomination, but one you must aid.”
"You know that Icelandia is not a part of the Alliance or Альянс," the doctor growled. She turned towards the door. Pyat grabbed the food tray off the metal side table and slammed it into the doctor's head. The doctor gasped in surprise and collapsed like a rag doll to the ground. Pyat had panicked, not trained for manipulation. She thought of Adeen, the Intera she had met before leaving the Academy. She would have known what to do.
Pyat figured the doctor would go straight to the Icelandic police, probably correctly. Knocking her unconscious definitely does not help. She looked down at the unconscious woman and stripped her. She found a syringe, took some of the Doctor’s blood, and shoved it into one of the many pockets in the robe.
Pyat darted through the hallways, adjusting the stiff, gray uniform of Doctor Jóhannsson. She kept her head down, moving swift as a feather around the multitudes of nuns, doctors and patients. No one looked at her twice. She ducked into a supply closet and rummaged through the supplies. She grabbed several pills labelled to heal concussions and pain medication. She took bone healers, nutrient supplements, and electrolyte water, shoving them into empty pockets. "Wēng, where is Doctor Jóhannsson's house?" The cantrils took a minute to respond. An image of another large building, practically identical to all others, appeared in front of her eyes. It zoomed in on a floor high up, then a specific apartment.
"76th Ást Street, Apartment 7367." Pyat pushed her way out of the closet and found the huge glass doors that marked the entrance of the hospital. She stepped outside, pulling the doctor’s shirt over her mouth to filter some of the pollution.
The polluted air choked her slightly and her concussed head swam. She needed to reach the apartment soon. "Wēng, is there public transportation to the apartment?"
"Yes. Stop here."
"Wǒ xìngjiāo," Pyat whispered under her breath, sitting heavily onto a bench on the corner of the street. She rubbed her fingers together, breathing deeply. A hover bus crept around the street corner and made its way to her bench. She took the syringe she had stolen and pushed the doctor’s blood into her artery. At least a dozen other people were standing next around the bench, though none of them would sit or make eye contact. They were too busy with their cantrils to notice her injecting someone else’s blood. Pyat internally shook her head in disgust. The bus arrived and the doors opened. “Welcome, Doctor Jóhannsson,” her ear implants chimed happily. Good, the bus thought she was the doctor. It rumbled forwards.
"Get off at Göng Street," the cantrils said. She swayed with the slow movement of the hover bus. It smelled like sweat and anxiety in here—she almost would rather have walked, or died on the sidewalk. Her stomach was queasy, like she had eaten something foul. Perhaps she was not reacting to the protein pill well. She reached into the doctor's gray bag and drank a bottle of electrolyte water. Then she popped an anti-concussion pill. She looked around her and noticed a boy was staring at her. Then, he seemed to recognize her face markings and she recognized his uniform. Icelandic Police. "Xìngjiāo," she cursed under her breath, but had nothing to cover her tattoos with. She slammed her hand into a button on the top of the bus, and it screeched to a halt. The boy tried to push through the crowd. She leapt over the people in front of her and fell out the open bus door. "Xìngjiāo, xìngjiāo, xìngjiāo," she whispered and began to run. Her ankle ached a little, but her head started to clear up. The drugs were working.
"Where do I go, Wēng?" She growled.
"Go straight, and turn left at the next intersection," the monotone voice answered. A red arrow appeared in front of her pointing left at a corner two roads ahead. She flew like the feather she was around the corner, sprinting as fast as her body would allow, wishing she was a Corra. She could hear the policeman behind her, though he was falling behind. She turned another corner when the cantrils did not tell her to. "Recalculating… recalculating," the cantrils murmured into her ears.
"Hurry the fuck up, won't you?" Pyat whispered angrily. Her body was starting to protest. “Increase adrenaline,” she shouted. She felt a rush like bees vibrating through her blood. She would not get caught by some Viriba wannabe.
"Turn left here," and she turned, practically colliding with a homeless woman.
"Sorry!" She shouted over her shoulder.
"Doctor Jóhannsson's apartment is straight ahead." Relief filled her entire being. She sprinted into the giant, black glass building. Doctor Jóhannsson was waiting inside.
"Xìngjiāo," Pyat spat. The doctor looked furious and grabbed Pyat's wrists. Pyat kicked her in the stomach and the doctor flew across the room, slamming into a wall. The doctor's back hit the wall harder than anticipated and the woman lost consciousness for the second time that day.
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