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First, Do No Harm (R - Language, Violence, and Gore)

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Foreword as a Transfer

This story is an ongoing one revolving around the Character Mharren and was originally written while on Ravenholdt-US. This story is imported from The thread was started in October of 2009. The footnotes have not been included on the TNG version.

(This story contains gore, substance abuse, descriptive and foul language, anatomical nudity (READ: not erotic in nature)

by Mharren » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:38 am

Mharren Sil'Orah



“Sit still!’ Mharren shrieked, shaking the needle and suture thread at the undead male before her with the curved forceps[1,2].

“Hey, hey , hey!” He protested, crossing his hands in front of his half-closed face to shield himself from her. “You’ll put someone’s eyes out.” He said matter-of-factly. He shook a thing, leathery finger at her.

Mharren scowled, her shoulders slumping and her gloved hands falling between her legs. She felt the first snaking twinge of heightened pressure in her left temple. A headache was incoming, she was sure of it.

“Mr. Morrister, I’m not sure how better to explain this to you.” She said brightly, her patient smile belied the frustration that swelled beneath her skin. “If you move...the sutures get all...” She searched for the word. “Zig-zaggy.”


“Zig-zaggy.” She nodded at him and moved towards his face, raising the needle driver. She was closing up a torn line of skin lateral[3] to his right eye socket. She’d already repaired the muscle beneath (so his smile no longer drooped on one side as if he suffered from some undead palsy[4]) and was having a devil of a time with the dry, papery tissue of his face. It kept tearing.

“Hold still.” She said, and pressed her fingers to his face, holding the skin in place while she selected a wash bottle from her tray. She squirted some of the foul fluid on the laceration and the tissue that surrounded it, she looked over the top of her glasses and then blew on it to dry it faster.

“That smells worse than I do.” He protested. She spared him only the briefest of glances.

She peered over the top of her spectacles again, her brow furrowing. She tapped the skin and was pleased to note that it was more plump and much firmer. She palpated[5] the tissue again before proceeding to drive in the needle, releases, and then pull it through the opposing lip of tissue.

Drive, release, pull.

Drive, release, pull.

Several well-placed, tightly knit stitches later, and Mr. Morrister had a brand new (or at least newly repaired) smile. She asked him to try it out for it and the result was pleasing, if somewhat grotesque. He left her cottage with many thanks to which she replied modestly and impatiently. She took off her gloves as she stood in her doorway nodding at the last of his thanks as he tottered down the cobble-stone path back towards Brill.

Takes all kinds.

She stepped back into the cottage and locked the door, tossing the soiled gloves in an old wooden box that served as a trash receptacle. She fixed herself some tea and returned to her procedure room to clean up after herself. She wondered – as she always did when cleaning – if any of the undead aspired to be nurses, and if so, how much one would cost. Heavens, what she wouldn’t do for an extra set of hands.

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by Mharren » Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:02 am

"I can't say that I'm remarkably interested in such a contract" Mharren said absently, her chin in her hand and her elbow on the battered surface of the table she and Elgin Morann were sitting at. She wasn't looking at him, but rather watching the decrepit barmaiden on the other side of the tavern. She tended do that a lot; just watch other people.

"You know Missy, some more patriotic - if you will - individuals might see your lack of interest in such a contract as having too much interest in the Alliance's best....interests."

Mharren rolled her eyes around to peer at Elgin Morann. She extended the middle digit on the hand that held her face. Elgin Morann chuckled. She rolled her eyes back to their previous position and visual orientation.

"Well Light be damned Missy, I thought you would at least assure me that your living heart lies with the Horde!" Eligin Morann chuckled again. Mharren ignored him and shifted her jaw from side to side, still watching the Barmaiden. She had a remarkably balanced gait for a woman with a crooked spine.

Elgin Morann leaned over the table and lowered his voice. "I can't even get a rise outta you anymore Missy. You know as well as I do that we don't much care what the Horde thinks or whats in it's overall best interests." He picked a long-unhealed gash in his left cheek with one thoughtfully dabbing finger. "You know we don't care where your loyalties lie. Your own kind might, but not us. Your not one of us so your loyalty means little to us anyway." he assured her and retreated back to his previous distance.

"It's simple Missy. Very simple. You your thing." Elgin Morann picked up the unsigned contract parchments and began reading through them while he spoke to her. "You know, get out your gadgets and what not, pull some volatile whats-it's off the shelf, get a fresh box of needles and knives and other....stuff...and go to work on the poor sap we dump on your slab!

"The Apothecaries will give you whatever you need, you'll have plenty of 'subjects' and you'll have all the privacy in the undead world to do all that perverted, outlawed, crimes-against-the-living sort of crap you've always wanted to."

Elgin Morann pushed the parchments across the table again. The corner of the roll nudged her elbow. She ignored it.

"That particular job description doesn't really jive with my qualifications, but thank you for the offer." She said placidly and finally looked away from the barmaiden to push the papers back across the table to Elgin Morann.

"How does it not jive with your qualifications? You have to be a physician to do this job!" Elgin Morann protested. He pushed the papers at her again.

" have to be insane to do this job." She pushed the papers back towards him deliberately. He glared at her. She smiled at him.

"You have to be clinically savvy to do the kinds of things were asking and actually be successful at it. Any moron with a pair of pliers and a few thumb-screws can torture someone. But getting someone to talk, to give it up, to spill the beans, takes class and it takes brains."

Elgin Morann shoved the papers towards her forcefully, she moved to return them but he resisted. "This is a research position as much as it is a service position. You'll start off with cadavers in research and development, you may or may not go on to live specimens."

"I'm not interested." She said forcefully.

"Perhaps not, but what you would be interested in less would be finding yourself back in Silvermoon practicing under some half-wit aristocrat who would never let you forget what you did. Believe me Dr. Sil'Orah, that is where you will find yourself if you don't prove to be useful to us and useful in a manner that we decide."

Elgin Morann pulled a fountain pen from inside his robe and handed it to her pointedly. She looked at the pen, then at him, and then snatched the pen from his skeletal hand and ripped the papers from his hold. She signed her name angrily and dotted her signature so hard the pen tip passed through the parchment leaving a small puncture in the contract.

She stood up and draped her cloak over herself and moved to leave. Elgin Morann collected the parchment and his pen and stared at her signature with seemingly much satisfaction. Mharren headed for the door.

"You might just come to enjoy yourself...once you stop being so rigid." He said loudly. She stopped and spun around to glare at him. He met her gaze evenly, a self-satisfied smile present on his blueish lips.

"Think about the work...not the ethics. Do something for yourself for once."

Mharren turned again and left the Tavern.

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by Mharren » Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:23 am

"So much for cadavers[1]..." Mharren mumbled to herself as she ran one gloved finger down the parchment that was spread on her work tray. It's ends were held flat by a steel kidney dish[2] and a spare set of forceps[3], respectively. She was used to filling out patient charts but not used to filling out 'detainee processing records'. She supposed it was basically a long, detailed death certificate that remained in a state of 'in progress' for however long it took to either get what was wanted out of the prisoner or to kill them.

"Don't even worry. I don't think this one even really has anything to say." Mharren looked up from the parchment, peering at the speaker from behind her surgical mask. The Forsaken Surgeon stared back at her and shrugged apologetically. "I think this one is practice."

Mharren looked back down at the processing form, reading what little information had been provided on the female Dwarf that lay on the slab in front of her. The other surgeon moved around the table, heading to the intravenous[4] lines and began to fidget with the set up. He continued to speak to her.

"Sometimes they give us practice detainee's. Sort of like a quality assurance test..." He trailed off and stopped, looking up towards the top of the chamber. He held a syringe in one taloned hand with a blunted sharp on it. "I suppose its also for research."

Mharren watched him as he took one thread of line in his free hand and held it delicately like a silken ribbon.

"You see what you'll find out is that it's all about balance. Balance is key. If we get prisoners who know things to fess up, well then that is wonderful and we are doing our jobs. But if we get prisoners who know nothing fessing up to things that aren't true...well that puts a little post-sectional, professional introspection in order." He grinned, the skin on his face pulled taut as the muscle that served the expression tugged at the leathery tissue.

"I can't be sure this one is practice...but I do believe that it is. Mainly because this is your first Head and I doubt they would give you a real operative to make all your little blunders on."

Mharren said nothing and took her finger off the parchment. She selected a fine, steel wire that was perhaps thirty centimeters in length and of a rather small bore. It was flimsy in her hand but she knew it was durable. She took her place at the slab and tugged down the stained sheet that covered the Dwarf.

"Remember to maintain aseptic technique[5]...part of processing is not letting them die by some fluke accident like infection." The Forsaken Surgeon warned her. She nodded and used a set of forceps to soak a bit of sterile gauze in some brown disinfectant fluid. She washed the upper chest of the dwarf in long, unidirectional strokes, painting a brownish band from armpit to armpit.

"This particular technique that your doing, this one is pretty useful for keeping the pressure on. Establishing a baseline of consistent, intolerable misery is also key to successful processing. But you can't make them so miserable that they disintegrate completely. You have to maintain balance."

Mharren held the hollow steel wire with both hands, placing the sharpened tip on the meaty nub of flesh than spanned the armpit down into what became the breast. She looked to the assisting nurse who sat at the head of the slab, monitoring the dwarf's life signs. The necrotic[6] nurse nodded that it was alright to proceed.

She pressed the wire into the skin on a forty-five degree angle. When an inch or so had been consumed she then flipped the direction of the angle from downwards to upwards and brought the end up through the surface of the skin again some inch and half from where it entered.

"Just like doing a quick a patch job on a pair of pants. Inward, upward. Inward, upward." The surgeon instructed mildly. He was leaning over the dwarf, the crown of his greasy head almost touching hers. She noted that he hadn't put his mask over his face and had only left it dangling around his neck. His breath was hot and pestilent.

"That's it...all the way across. make the punctures on the exhale. You see." He pointed to some of the first sections of tissue. "...see how it stretches when she inhales. As the chest wall expands it pulls each section of threaded tissue tight. This will be very painful for her."

Mharren completed the first wire and moved on to the second, threading the line approximately one inch below the first. The little alternating bands of flesh and surfaced wire bled each time the Dwarf exhaled. With her face as close as it was to the surgical site Mharren could see the little flesh bands tightening and straining each time the Dwarf inhaled. The surgeon was right, it was going to be maddeningly painful for the Dwarf when she woke up.

When four wires were in place she sutured the hoops at each end deep in the skin so that the Dwarf would not be able to pull the ends lose and un-thread them. Whenever the Dwarf breathed the sensation of a painful, foreign object in her chest would be renewed. It would be agonizing.

When she was done she dropped her bloodied tools into the waiting kidney dish and stood silently at the slab. The surgeon looked pleased with her work. he nodded silently to himself as he inspected the implants.

"This is very good. You see, this is why we need an actual physician to do this work. The gore fiends and the prosectors[7] just muck it up." The assisting nurse asserted that this was, in fact, a true statement.

The surgeon returned to his full height and inhaled deeply, as if inhaling the first breath of fresh air in the morning. "Let's wake her up shall we?"

He finally placed the blunted end of the syringe he had been holding into the intravenous line at one of its ports and injected the contents. Mharren instinctively stepped back from the table and eyed the restraints. she supposed it was instinct, as she knew what was to come.

As the Dwarf came to, so came forth a rising bellow of anguish and fear. It started deep inside the sleepy depth of her lungs and erupted from her mouth as her panicked, bleary eyes flitted back and forth. She shook her head from side to side in a rabid manner. Her flaccid lips sprayed saliva in arc about her head and Mharren squinted away from it, raising one gloved hand to protect herself.

"I'd say your wires were well placed, wouldn't you Doctor Sil'Orah?" The surgeon laughed loudly over the frenzied Dwarf. Mharren looked to the nurse who smiled passively at her in professional approval.

"Well done! Well done you sunny little elf!" The Forsaken Surgeon clapped and leaned over the Dwarf. "And now Doctor Sil'Orah...I will show you how we chat with such unhappy, unfortunate sorts as this."

The Forsaken Surgeon put on his mask and then held out his hand for Mharren to assist him.

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by Mharren » Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:02 pm

Mharren sat up on top of a narrow canvas cot with her legs out in front of her and crossed at the ankle. Her hands lay limply in her lap, a stained and raggedy towel clutched in her right hand. She stared down at the towel, seeing it’s bloody splotches both fresh and failed to wash out. It seemed that that all manner of linen in the surgical quarter (a subterranean section of the Undercity both intertwined and below the Apothecary quarter) were recycled and rewashed until threadbare.

Mharren lifted the towel and wiped firmly at her cheeks and neck again. More blood came off. There was less now, but she couldn’t seem to get all of it off. She would have stripped and headed for the wash basins, but she was due back in her surgical chamber shortly and there didn’t seem to be any point in getting clean only to dive back into the impressive amount of fluid and clotted detritus that a single living being could provide. She wiped her brow again.

Each surgeon and prosector was afforded a small, closet-like room in which a cot, an overhead shelf, and a candle-lit lantern were provided. The small stone room was warm but not welcoming and the ceiling was a dark metal grate. From where she sat on her cot she could have reached out to her right and laid the flat of her hand on the belted wooden door. It was a spiritually barren sanctuary, but sanctuary from the horrors of the ward outside none-the-less.

She could hear the heavy, plodding footfalls of a large individual outside in the hall, an Orc or a Tauren. She knew there was a Tauren prosector on staff, though that had surprised her. Dissection and body disposal did not seem a likely occupation for such a sage-like people as the Tauren.

Takes all kinds.

She laid her head back against the stone wall and looked up at the bottom of the overhead shelf as a heavy knock came to her door she inhaled and closed her eyes, closing her fist around the bloody towel she held in her lap.

It was time to go back to work.

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by Mharren » Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:39 pm

"I wanted to be a Doctor more than anything in the world. More than life, or love, or my own liberty to pursue any of the above. All I wanted was to look into the darkness and to know what to do. To be the one offering a hand to be held, not the one seeking such a hand in the blindness of despair.

I wonder now if the darkness is not something one does not look yonder into, but such that one look out from it. If I cannot offer a hand of guidance, perhaps only a hand of company. We walk in the darkness together to what we see outside of it, to what could be.

What-could-be is like the shadow of a mother long lost, the taste of the lips of lover now gone. We can pursue it from our places of loneliness, full knowing we cannot catch it any more than we can catch smoke in the palms of our hands. But we continue to try. Perhaps it is for lack of knowing what else to do.

There is meaning in futility."

- Mharren Sil'Orah

Mharren closed the cover of her diary, her hand lingering on the smooth leather of its front. She stared down at her hands, wondering again why she penned any of her thoughts, any of her humble observations on life. She had once thought that she did these things in hopes that someone would read them. In hopes of offering a reluctant confession that she was desperate to resist giving.

Not anymore. Now she believed she penned these things because there was no one else to put them, no cerebral corner left to shove them into. Was she mad? She didn't think so. Introspection on the subject of madness - she had been told - negated the presence of madness itself. But it was so like medicine to rely on such a seemingly brilliant observation when in fact it was little more than clever wording. Little more than elusive smoke.

She placed her diary to the side of her desk and dragged her fingers down her face. The office space she had been afforded in the surgical quarter was shared with two prosectors and another physician, a veterinarian actually, a physician of animals.

Mharren was weary of veterinary physicians, she always had been. They were detached folk, un-empathetical and scientifically zealous. They were far more astute in the cold empirical aspects of medicine and where a regular physician might doubt his actions, a veterinarian was quite sure of his. Mharren's weariness was both cautious and admiring.

The veterinarian was a quiet, deadly woman. A high-bourne with cold blue eyes and dark mahogany hair. her name was Danalinarah Min'Arah; a name too rhythmical to ever forget. Mharren had yet to fully meet the woman as Min'Arah had been content to turn up her nose at the fiendish blood elf she shared her office with and ignore her.

She pulled the leather tie from the back of her head where it kept her black locks from spilling over her shoulders. She shook out her hair and replaced the restraint. She had just bathed and the heavy, loitering bulk of wet black hair that sat snugly on the back of her neck was somewhat maddening.

A brief knock came at the door behind her desk and as she turned to face it, to permit entrance to the knocker, the door opened and the tall, skeletal form of the undead surgeon to whom she had been assigned entered.

Dr. Howard-Phillip Glinn had been a notable physician and medical educator in life. He had practiced in Stormwind, as well as Lordaeron. He had presided over many young physicians and had seem to lose only his ethical orientation upon waking, for he was still just as brilliant, still just as savvy, and still a presumptuous guide to those younger and less experienced than he.

Howard-Phillip Glinn was remarkably tall and must have been a staggering sight in life. He was still a staggering sight, though not due to any handsome stature but due to his deathly appearance and head of thick, tangled back hair.

He took the seat in front of her desk, the one reserved for patients and colleagues and other callers. He crossed his legs at the knee and folded his hands in the lap of his white surgical robe. He smiled at her knowingly in the way an observative mentor might when he knows his apprentice is troubled. This in itself troubled her, for that was exactly their situation.

"You keep a diary." He stated. Most would have addressed such an observation as a polite question, but Glinn merely stated his thoughts. "Are you a poet, or do you merely find it hard to sleep at night?"

Howard-Phillip Glinn fixed her with a keen stare, one patchy eyebrow cocked higher than the other. Mharren placed the palms of her hands on the desk top and looked down at her fingers.

"I find it hard to do a lot of things" She said and balled her hands into fists. Howard-Phillip Glinn sighed and nodded his head. He readjusted himself and pulled his seat closer to her desk. He leaned on the table, propping his chin in one hand and looking down at her placidly.

"Your current assignment has hardly been as long as a week. From the bags under your eyes and the avoident disposition you have towards me and your fellow colleagues, I would venture to guess that such psychiatric disturbances are new for you."

Mharren looked up an glared at him sharply before recovering herself and looking back at the table-top of her desk.

"How long has it been Doctor, since you gave up the ghost of hope?" he asked. She looked up at him and sneered dismissively, leaning back in her chair and pressing her palms into her eye sockets.

"I didn't say I had." She assured him firmly. "Besides its none of your business if I'm battling with any demons or skeletons in my closet."

Howard-Phillip Glinn tapped his talons on the table top, still peering at her as if he expected more. She let her hands fall away and glared back at him.

"It does matter Dr. Sil'Orah, in fact it matters quite a bit. Your mental status will determine how well you perform your duties." Mharren scoffed at this.

"Really? I should think a broken psyche and plethora of deviancies borne of a broken soul would only aidme in my current occupational objectives!"

Mharren chuckled ruefully and Howard-Phillip Glinn sat silently, waiting for her to finish. Finally Howard-Phillip Glinn spoke.

"I think you will find, Doctor, that all that good inside you needs a darker doppelganger[1] to sustain itself. We are only ever one of two possible states, two possible extremes of manifestation that we could be at any one time. Do you know why your here? Why we wanted you?" he seemed almost to spit his last word at her as if it were offensive. She shook her head silently.

"Because you are so damn good, so goddamn ethical and fair, so much so your own colleagues shun you as a traitor and an unbalanced nuisance, that you must have one deep pit of oppositional anti-matter in that shining, balanced soul of yours!" His voice had risen to a shout as he spoke and she withdrew from him, almost cowering in her seat.

"You think the sick and the depraved are without moral fortitude. Let me tell you Mharren that a sociopath[2], a truly unethically bound individual, is no monster to that of the man whose heart bleeds each time it relishes in the suffering of his fellows!" He was standing over her desk now, yelling at her as he might have a student who failed to comprehend a basic expectation.

"You cannot empathize[3] with something if you cannot place yourself in it's position. You cannot truly hurt someone anymore than you can truly help someone if you are guided only by your own point-of-view!" He lowered his voice to a firm, and intense tone.

"Because you can empathize so deeply you will feel all that your subjects feel and when you can feel their pain you can make it worse and worse and worse because you know how bad it is in that golden moment it is happening because your black and virtuous heart beats in the same cadence as theirs!" He snapped his fingers in front of her face.

"Because you take no pleasure in hurting them, you can hurt them the most." He said softly. He withdrew, and swept out of the room, leaving her to take her breaths quickly before disintegrating into tears.

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by Mharren » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:35 am

Someone in the level below the Surgical Quarter was playing a piano. It was slightly out of tune but the delicate strokes of the fingers which played it assisted the piece in retaining its somber sense of heart ache.

Mharren turned in her seat and picked up the scalpel again. She held the section of skin that she was interested in with a pair of rather long forceps. With the scalpels blade she severed the thin, fatty tissue that held the skin to the sinew[1]. It was delicate and tedious work and she wished to be finished. It was mindless though, and that gave it some desirability.

Earlier Dr. Howard-Phillip Glinn had asked her casually if she knew what a head-in-a-stick was. She had answered that she had, conscientiously stopping herself from cringing visibly.

She set the scalpel down again and pick up a flat-edged prob. Sometimes the tissue was too delicate and sticky to warrant the use of an actual blade. Often the skin could be teased away from the body with a much blunter object.

When she had accompanied Howard-Phillip Glinn into the surgical chamber to assist with his human female prisoner she had looked about for a pike or other long stick on which he would impale the woman's head, but had found none.

The woman had been heavily drugged and Howard-Phillip Glinn had instructed Mharren to give her a stimulant[2] in order to wake her from her drug-induced stupor. It seemed to Mharren the woman had been given many drugs during her stay for she threw up promptly upon receiving the intravenous stimulant.

Mharren had gone to fetch an anti-nauseant[3] but Howard-Phillip Glinn had stopped her. She had explained that the woman would not be apt to speak if she was fighting off nausea and would be still more silent for any vomit that might obstruct her mouth, but the forsaken surgeon had insisted.

Mharren picked up the scalpel again. She needed to cut around the external aspect of the ear on the corpse. Skin that was tightly adhered to cartilage was not worth saving and removing the ear would simply take too long.

Howard-Phillip Glinn had asked the woman is she had known what a head-on-a-stick was, but the woman had been too disoriented to say anything. He had sat her up on the table and had Mharren hold her shoulders from the front of the slab while he stood behind. Mharren had watched over the woman's shoulder as he selected a short, flat, double-edged blade from his tool tray and began palpating the woman's spine.

He had used his fingers to landmark[4] the anatomical points on her back the same way Mharren might have while administering a spinal tap[5] or an anesthetic[6] injection to the spine. When he had found his mark he has turned the blade flat and driven it sharply in and then up into her spine, bypassing the bony plates of her vertebrae and severing the cord itself.

Mharrne stopped skinning and set down her tools, sitting slumped over the corpse and listening to the morbid pianist below. Her black bangs hung in her face. The linen mask felt hot and she pulled it down to hang around her neck. She put her elbows on the table and her face in her hands, not sure if she would cry or scream or laugh.

The woman had contorted and her legs had gone limp. Her bladder had released and as Howard-Phillip Glinn has swiftly removed the blade she had twisted, trying to turn and grab her wound. But she had lost her balance and fallen over on her side, her lower body limp and unresponsive.

She had looked at Howard-Phillip Glinn with surprise and questioning and he had shrugged.

"Not quite a head-on-a-stick, but any higher up and she would require life support. Maybe a Torse-on-two-busted-pikes." He'd said matter-of-factly and then tossed the flat blade into a bloody kidney dish. He had left Mharren to install a urinary catheter[7] and sew up the wound. When he had left she had sedated the woman; her sobs had tickled uncomfortable emotions within Mharren's soul.

The pianist concluded his movement and Mharren remained still. He progressed through two more full pieces before she removed her face from her hands and returned to work.

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by Mharren » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:56 pm

"I suspect that on my death bed - if I am afforded such - that I may look back on my acts of kindness and altruistic aid with a bitter disdain and doubt, for I will wonder if I stood amongst the pestilent knaves in their hovels because my heart sought to shield a flame of goodness, or if I did so because there was no other as bitter and apathetic as myself to do so.

"Will I spend my final moments unsure as to whether my motives for the times now present were as pure as they seemed to me when they passed?"

- M. M. S.

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by Mharren » Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:05 am

"We're not so good with the Living Doctor, as you know by now we spend a lot more time concerned with other avenues of medicine." The Forsaken nurse spoke quickly with an air of casual conversation that would have seemed out of place in a hospital but was quite fitting in the dreary confines of the Surgical Quarter.

"What other avenues of medicine?" Mharren hissed as she marched down the narrow passage behind the nurse. "Medicine is about the preservation and maintenance of life."

The nurse opened her mouth to speak but was silent. Her sharp inhalation of breath taken for the words that did not emerge caused the flame of her candle to flicker before her.

"We don't practice medicine here." Mharren spat as she shouldered herself past the nurse into the darkness of the passage ahead.

"Doctor you'll need a lamp up ahead! There are no lights down here!" The nurse had stopped when Mharren had rudely proceeded past her. The light from the nurse's candle faded while her voice became louder, amplified by the narrow tunnel.

"Fuck be to your lamp!" Mharren shouted back over her shoulder angrily. She proceeded down the passage at a faster pace than before. She dragged the tips of the fingers on her right hand along the wall as she proceeded, counting off the belted wooden doors they skipped over. She knew the room number she was headed to and didn't care to spend a moment longer in the presence of the apathetic nurse when her only motivation for doing so would be to gain the assistance of her candle light.

She had been in her dormitory trying unsuccessfully to sleep when the nurse had come calling at her door. She had pulled Mharren hastily from her room, speaking as she lead her to the old decrepit lift and took her further below the Apothecarium.

Mharren hadn't slept but she had been somewhat un-alert from the waking rest she had managed for herself. It had taken her a few moments to fully rouse herself and piece together exactly what the nurse was saying.

A patient that had been begun processing two days prior had complained of feeling faint. When the night-nurse assigned to her floor had later assessed the patient she had been poorly coherent, unbalanced, and markedly insolent.

It was not uncommon for patients or prisoners or subjects - or whatever one preferred to call them - to complain of such things or even to display aberrant behavior and psychiatric dispositions. They were, after all, being interrogated and tortured while in custody.

What had prompted the night nurse to alert her superior - the nurse that had fetched Mharren - was when the patient had lost consciousness and proceeded to seize.

The nurse had not had the patient's file on hand and in fact had not even assessed the patient herself before fetching Mharren so Mharren had little to go on besides a guess that the patient - a female - had reacted poorly to something given to her while in custody.

It was common practice in the Surgical Quarter to male only gross estimations when administering pharmacological agents. Charting was poor and Mharren had come to suspect that the nurses and attendants got to playing physician and pharmacist while the actual holders of those titles were not around.

She was reminded of something that had been said to her the previous week when she had attended a soirée hosted by the other members of the Dawn of Ruin, the organization with which Mharren had allied herself.

A Forsaken man had introduced himself as Henry Tiller. He had seemed to be a rather close friend of her own friend, Manora, or rather Manni, as she was now called.

They had been idly chatting about amputation, infection, and the various remedies for such complications with a rogue name Liavis and the Executors Right Hand Woman Koshii, when Henry had made the passive comment that in his experiences with amputations he had not much been concerned with sustaining his subject's lives after the procedure.


And wasn't that just the way of the sociopathic Forsaken when they were on-task; fuck be to the consequences, they had shit to do.

She suspected that whatever was wrong with the patient she was about to assess, it would likely be the result of such a mindset as possessed by her Forsaken colleagues.


Mharren stopped at the door she meant to find and sought the iron handle. When she opened the door she was momentarily surprised to see two ghoulish nurses on either side of the wooden gurney on which the female patient lay. The nurse whom had fetched her had not told her the patient was a gnome.

The nurses had hung two lanterns on the iron wall mounts at the head of the bed. The glass panels of the lanterns were tinted green and their bright emerald flames cast the sparse room in an unreal glow that was dreamlike in quality.

One of the skeletal nurses was drawing medication from a glass vial into a syringe. When Mharren had entered they both turned expressionless faces towards her.

"Don't worry Doctor, we can put her down we-selves." The nurse with the syringe assured her. They both turned back to the patient, silently dismissing Mharren.

Mharren advanced across the room quickly, thrusting out her right hand and rudely snatching the half-filled syringe from the nurse on the right-hand side of the patients gurney. The nurse stepped back and shouted in protest. "Hey then, what you doin!?"

Mharren thrust the syringe into the face of the nurse. "What is this?" She demanded forcefully.

"What you think it is?" The nurse on the other side of gurney hissed her. Something liquid bubbled in her necrotic throat.

Mharren snatched the vial out of the nurse's hand and read the label. "Laudanum? Laudanum[1]!" She threw the bottle aside onto the bed and shot out her arm, grabbing the nurse by the throat and forcing her back up against the wall.

"There are more than a hundred-and-fifty milligrams in this goddamn syringe!" She threw the syringe against the wall where is shattered. "That's more than enough to kill a full-sized human adult!"

"Hey then!" The other nurse cried, rushing around the table to intercept. Mharren looked back and fixed her with an angered glare and holding out one palm to stop her. The nurse froze and then slowly backed up towards the door. She shook a talon at her as she did so.

"Now you done it Missy...oh now you done it." She said, shaking her head from side to side. The nurse Mharren held against the wall clawed at her grip but her strength was feeble.

"You wait 'till Master Surgeon Glinn finds out what you done. He'll wear your little livin' head like a hat just like he were Garland bleedin' Green, he will!"

"Get out." Mharren demanded sternly. The nurse turned and hurried from the room. She had no doubts she was on course to alert someone as to what the naughty, icky, little elf had done and Mharren didn't much care. Glinn might question her about this incident later but he wouldn't much care if she'd pissed off any of the Undercity's treasured nursing staff. She knew that much about him anyway.

She turned back to the nurse and brought her own face close to hers. Did a physician order this patient euthanized?[2]" She asked. The nurse shook her head, indicating that no such order had been given.

"Then it wouldn't be wise to go ahead and kill a patient that could very well be required to be alive by it's processing physician or the goddamn enforcer that brought t in, would it?" The nurse nodded.

Mharren released her grip and turned to the patient, speaking as she did so to the nurse. "You'll assist me with this patient Nurse. In fact, assisting me as I require you to may be the only thing that saves you from me injecting the rest of that vial of Laudanum into what remains for your black, withered heart."

She looked up at the nurse who stood against the wall, clutching her throat. "Are we clear?" She asked.

The nurse grinned and then coughed before standing up and straightening her nurse's whites. "Clear as day, ma'am."

They got to work.

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by Mharren » Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:01 am

Mharren sat in the stiff wooden chair set before the large desk of Dr. Howard-Phillip Glinn. She sat with her feet apart and her arms hung down between them, the fingers of both hands intertwined with one another. Her back was bent and in her current position the loose locks of her black hair hung down over the sides of her face and in front of her eyes. She looked at her boss silently.

Howard-Phillip Glinn was hunched over a folder of documents which she knew to be her own personnel files. She had never examined the collection of papers the Undercity had arranged regarding her but from this sitting with Glinn alone she had noted that not only were customary information papers present, but also copies of her academic work from her schooling. There were also documents stamped with the seal of the Silvermoon Rangers, no doubt copies from her military file and whatever the Sin'dorei government had felt fit to include in that past filing folder when she had belonged to them.

Howard-Phillip Glinn peered down his longish nose through his fragile-looking spectacles as he skimmed through whatever documents had caught his interest. He did not speak to her and had not done much more than welcome her to his office and insist that she sit down in the last twenty minutes that she had been there.

She had assumed that he had called her to him that morning to discuss what had occurred the night before with the Gnomish patient and the two night nurses whom she had tussled with. He hadn't appeared angry at all but cheerful and welcoming. He had reminded her so much of a delighted professor that she had wondered if perhaps he had called her there for another reason. As it stood she wasn't sure. She only waited silently, wringing her hands together restlessly.

When Howard-Phillip Glinn finally spoke he did so softly and pointedly without looking up from the documents under his examination.

"Have you slept?" He asked simply, setting aside one paper and moving on to the next.

"No sir, I haven't." She answered quietly.

"When did you last sleep?" He asked, still reading over the documents. He seemed both absorbed in his readings and highly aware of her at the same time.

She thought for a moment before replying. She hadn't slept much since taking her post with the Surgical Quarter. When she had traveled out of the Undercity and back to her cottage near Brill in the Tirisfal Glades she had found being home intolerable and had remained only a single, restless night before returning to the Undercity.

"I'm sorry sir, I have slept, in the technical sense, out of pure exhaustion the night before last. I confess I have had little sleep other than the exhausted variety since I arrived here."

Howard-Phillip Glinn did not reply immediately but instead frowned at the papers he was reading for several moments. "And last night's occurrence did not permit you any sleep of any variety I presume?" He asked.

So he did know and this was his way of leading into the questioning process. She took a moment to compose her answer before speaking. "Sir, I was with the patient for an extended period of time. I was due in the operating theater promptly before sunrise this morning and when I had finished with the patient last night I did not feel there was sufficient time left in the night to sleep, sir." She swallowed and looked down at her hands.

When she looked up she saw Howard-Phillip Glinn peering at her with his black eyes over the golden rims of his spectacles. "You're quite good at that 'sir' business, aren't you Sil'Orah?"

She inhaled uneasily and looked away for a moment. "I suspect that is a product of your time in the military." He continued. She met his gaze and nodded.

"Does it displease you?" She asked. He shrugged dismissively and turned his attention back to the paper he held in one taloned hand.

"Of course you weren't there nearly so long as your peers, were you?" He asked.

Mharren opened her mouth to speak but he continued on with another question as if he hadn't asked the first at all.

"Do you have little ones stashed away somewhere Sil'Orah?" He asked, setting down the page he was reading and facing her. He folded one hand over the other on top of her file and peered at her with his head cocked slightly to one side. To her he looked less sinister than usual and more inquisitive.

"No sir, I don't." She answered.

"Why not?"

"Because I never paired-off, sir."

Howard-Phillip Glinn pursed his dry lips at her answer. "Well, your not yet elderly by any means Sil'Orah. You are in fact-" he consulted a page in her file, "-Still a young adult, if I understand the age groupings of your kind."

Mharren gave a sideways nod and shrugged. She hadn't often given much thought to her current place along her progression through the average life stages of a female Sin'dorei.

Howard-Phillip Glinn sat back in his chair and observed her a moment. He pointed at finger at her briefly before sitting forward again and resuming his previous position. "You know, that's the interesting thing about the living." He said.

Mharren waited for him to clarify and when he didn't she spoke. "What's interesting, sir?"

"The apathy." He said, enunciating the word clearly with his dead tongue. "The lack of concern, the inattentiveness to introspection. You exist in a state of emergency at all times, every second dying a little more, coming to the end of your experience with existence."

Mharren blinked at him.

"And you don't care so much. You don't care so much at all." He added. "In fact you bring about a certain amount of suffering and abstinence upon yourselves. You do this, I think, because you believe there is always more time, more time to indulge, to sort things through, to pursue what you really want to pursue. More time not to suffer."

"I'm sorry sir, I'm afraid I don't understand." She said. In truth she thought she did understand what he was getting at and while she was sure Dr. Howard-Phillip Glinn had seen and understood more of life - and death - than she ever would, she had to confess herself quite uninterested in being mentored by him.

"No. Of course you don't. I doubt you've given it much thought. You're little more than a young adult, not so long ago an adolescent. A staple of youth in all races is arrogance, be it in the form of patriotic bravado, superficial learnedness, or in your case...premature bitterness and the cheap sort of wisdom that comes with it."

"Sir?" She held her hands tightly together between her calves, not daring to break eye contact with him. She had come to regard individual interactions between people as power struggles, be they between friends, relatives, enemies, or other relations. She disliked interacting with people because of this very thing. Constantly dueling others was tiring and Mharren preferred to spend her energies elsewhere.

"I had children in life Sil'Orah. I had many actually. I had two wives, the first of which bore me three sons before her death unsuccessfully birthing a fourth, and the second of which bore me five more assorted sons and daughters."

Mharren waited silently for him to continue. he was mentoring her now for sure and she didn't see why it was necessary. She was no longer a student of medicine or science, nor was she a young doctor with a tender new commission who needed guidance.

"When I was alive I thought of conquests. I thought of goals and paid little attention to the processes that delivered their attainment to me. I built an empire of my own while contributing to the empire of Stormwind. I believed firmly in all that I did and even more so in where I was going. I believed in a means to an end."

"Sir, I'm not sure what your trying to tell me, but -" Mharren was cut off by a swift raising of Glinn's palm.

"I assure you Sil'Orah, I am getting there. That cheap wisdom of yours would blossom if you practiced patience."

Mharren nodded and was silent, resigning herself to the lecture and no longer sure if she was being lectured for a given purpose or just lectured in general.

"I have stood at the deathbeds of many a man, woman, and it their first time to lay there or their second. I have yet to witness the testimony of a dying man that was not coloured in regret, exculpation, and damned if they aren't all swallowed down with further attempts at conquest!"

She knew what he meant for she too had stood at the bedside of the dying. Many physicians restricted themselves from their patients and more often than not death was reported to them by a different witness such as a nurse. Mharren had made a point to be present at the deaths of her patients wherever was possible.

Some had claimed no regrets when they confessed their assessments of the lives they had lived. She had long considered the possession of peace at one's death to be the truest and most important attainment in life that one could acquire. To be still and content at the end of it all was, in her opinion, a humble desire that she felt all men were entitled to seeing realized.

"They leave instructions in their place, demands or advice or last words. Even at the final moment, even if they don't internally wish to keep on living, they wish to keep on affecting."

Howard-Phillip Glinn took off his spectacles and folded them before slipping them into the inner pocket of his surgeon's whites.

"Is that so wrong sir? After all as organisms do we really no anything else but affect and effect?" She asked sitting up more and flicking her head head back to get her hair out of her face.

Glinn regarded her silently for a moment, a smile creeping over his lips. "That is astute of you Sil'Orah. Though I venture to guess that being astute is the gift the higher divine bestowed upon you."

Mharren looked away for moment and spoke softly. 'It's not so much of a gift, sir." She said.

"It is a subtle gift, one that I suspect is more often seen as a curse. But that is the paradoxical beauty of gifts Sil'Orah, they are curses."

She beheld him silently, twisting her fingers together again.

"Anything that is not a curse cannot be a gift. What is a child but a great goddamn curse upon all aspects of your life? Consuming, inescapable, un-removable curses are what gifts are. Yours has made you very good at what you do, but it has also made you quite bad at what others do, am I wrong?"


"Your not good at this." He said and moved his finger back and forth in front of him to signify the space between them; their interaction as it were. "I suspect your connections - and I am confident you have had them - haven't gotten much closer than this, have they Sil'Orah?"

"I'm not sure what you mean." She really didn't , for she didn't consider herself close to Howard-Phillip Glinn in any sense other than the spatial.

"People, Sil'Orah. I'm talking about being close to other people. Giving of yourself while accepting from others. You don't have children not only because you haven't 'paired-off' as you said, but because you could never be so close to anything as a child, let alone a husband."

"And you could?" She asked with a hint of spite and juvenile frustration. She disapproved of this as soon as it occurred. She did not like to be criticized for her reclusiveness anymore than she liked other people knowing that she disliked it. In fact, she disliked anyone knowing that she disliked anything. Dislikes and likes were not weaknesses per say, but they could be exploited as such. Mharren strove fervently not to be exploited.

"I was." He said, patiently.

"I apologize." She said hastily, looking down at her hands. They were purplish from being wrung so badly.

"You are very good at being a responsible, idealistic physician Sil'Orah. But you are very bad at being a person. Furthermore, you hate it."

She closed her eyes at this. His observation was itself quite astute and it pained her to hear a judgment she herself had made in the past verbalized by another. She did not desire to be so translucent.

There was silence between them for a time that she was sure was chronologically brief but seemed very long to her. When he spoke again it was more business-like and less philosophical.

"I am required to speak with you about what occurred last night." He said, shutting her file and uncovering one below it. He opened the cover and flipped through a few pages.

"I imagine that if I asked you whether or not you believed in Euthanasia you would give me a rather twisted answer that would be somewhat too impressive to be a practical reciprocation of my inquiry."

"Probably, sir." She admitted. He smirked and spared her a brief, mirthful glance.

"I see from your charts and those of the patient's primary physician that your diagnosis of 'Pre-existing pancreatic infirmity' was correct. You are to be commended in assessing the patient anew rather than merely accepting Dr. Brixon's incomplete admission papers as fact."

He fixed her with a look and smiled at her. 'You don't put much stock into the testaments of your colleagues, do you?" He asked. She gave a lack-luster smile and nodded her affirmation.

"That has gotten you into hot-water before. hasn't it?" He asked.

"Yes sir, it has."

He nodded to himself as he consulted the patient chart again. "Well, Brixon is displeased with you. No doubt his pride has been hurt. I imagine, however, it will be injured more severely when he is informed later that the appropriate endocrine fluid needed to treat the infirmity was found in the gnome's belongings."

Mharren smirked to herself. She had surmised earlier that Brixon had failed to process the gnome's admission correctly and that he his gross lack of attention had resulting in missing an obvious condition.

"It is good that you arrived in time to stop the ward nurse from euthanizing the turns out the enforcer assigned to that prisoner is far, far, far from done with questioning her."

"May I ask sir, if I may, why those nurses felt that they were of sufficient authority to proceed with such a final procedure without the blessing of a physician?"

"You may." Glinn nodded and sat back in his chair, folding his hands in his lap. "The ward you were summoned to last night, is one of four wards - floors in fact - where prisoners go when they are finished in processing."

Mharren hadn't known this, and while she was glad to know that, she was not sure what a ward distinction had to do with Euthanasia protocols.

"Like any Flesh-Factory, if you will, we don't always have all the room we want in the wards we want. As a result, prisoners still in processing sometimes end up on the terminal wards - which is where you were last night - when there is no room on the processing wards."

Mharren inhaled slowly, understanding what he was getting at. She herself had not processed a patient with Glinn yet that had lived long enough to need warehousing on a terminal ward. Truth be told she had not even considered what would happen to a patient that had survived processing. Glinn had thus far either lost the patients during the procedures or had granted them what he had promised them; death if they confessed.

"Due to Brixon's poor handling of this particular patient the nurses on the terminal ward were not aware that they were housing a prisoner still in processing."

"But I was summoned to intervene." She protested with some confusion. Glinn held up his hand to silence her momentarily.

"They are required to report to the charge nurse who is required to report to you. The ward nurses assumed that the charge nurse knew it was a terminal prisoner and the charge nurse assumed they knew it was not a terminal prisoner. The ward nurses did not actually expect her to consult you, and they certainly didn't expect you to respond to the floor."

Mharren nodded. It was an understandable mistake. If one found anything to do with killing people who were torture victims understandable.

"So they are allowed to make that call on the terminal wards then?" She asked. Glinn nodded. "Why not just terminate them all, rather than house them in the first place?" She asked.

"Various reasons that fall outside of our niche in the Surgical Quarter. Do not forget that you are in the Undercity and that this is not a hospital, nor is it even much of a mad-hospital if you will. This is a processing facility and those bodies don't just go to some drawer in a chilly chamber nor do they end up stacked on a pyre the second and fourth weeks of every month."

Glinn initialed three separate points on a the current page in the patient's chart. "Some of the researchers are there to study infection, necrosis, psychiatric pathologies...lord knows what else. And when they are done, there are the reanimators, the pathologists, even the prosectors we work with up here go down there to deal with the left-overs."

Glinn looked up towards the ceiling, thinking. "In fact I think Herbert East was granted the requisition rights to the corpse of this particular prisoner." He tapped the patient chart. "When it dies he will he use it in his reanimation studies."

Mharren didn't know who Herbert East was, but she didn't think the addition of that fact served any greater purpose than to illustrate how common it all was.

"On a terminal ward it is the senior attending nurse's call to terminate a patient before scheduled conclusion should a medical emergency such as arrest occur."

He looked up at her and sighed. "It is unfortunate that no one explained this to you. But lucky for all of us, especially Dr. Brixon, that you didn't know that and did respond to intervene."

Mharren wondered if it had been particularly lucky for the gnome. In retrospect it would probably have been better to put her down the night before rather than keep her alive for whatever was being done to her at that very moment in a processing chamber somewhere downstairs.

"Now you noted in your chart that the nurse was going to administer Laudanum and that you confiscated the bottle yourself. what did you do with it?" He asked.

"It's still in my office sir. I meant to tender it to the apothecary later this morning."

Glinn waved this away, frowning. "Keep it. If you don't start sleeping soon I suggest you use it."

She stared at him, feeling really stunned for the first time during their conversation. Laudanum was a poisonous analgesic that had been rather strictly controlled in Silvermoon. She had assumed it was just as regulated in all of the Eastern Kingdoms.

"If it's favored by addicts, it must have something in it with kick." Glinn said, chuckling to himself as he continued to initial the charts. "And if that doesn't work, you will come back and see me." He looked up and smiled at her brightly. It had the effect of being rather unsettling.

"Sir, I don't require a physician, I assure you."

"He continued to smile at her. You will. Of that, I am sure." And with that, he dismissed her.

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by Mharren » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:45 am

"We felt you would be the best Physician on staff for something like this." The nurse that spoke leaned over the station's desk. Her skeletal hands were folded casually over one another and she smiled down at Mharren pleasantly, as if she had paid her a rather kind comment.

Mharren looked up at the women from where she sat at the desk. "...because you just don't really concern yourselves here with matters of the living. I know." She said, unable to keep all of the sarcasm she felt out of her voice.

The nurse's smile faded slightly and then she grinned. The warmth in her expression was replaced with chilly disdain and - Mharren noticed - not a complete lack of amusement.

"The closest we get to giving birth around here is waking up in a tomb surrounded by corpses." The nurse said and then fixed her with an overly bright smile. She then departed, leaving Mharren to the patient chart and her own bitter brooding.

The prisoner was not exactly a prisoner in the sense that the Undercity's surgical quarter was used to. She had been collateral damage in the arrest of a Silvermoon official who had been charged with some form of treason not only against Silvermoon, but against the Horde.

As Mharren understood it, the woman in question was the officials wife and the child she was soon to birth was not her first, though how many children she had born was not known to her records.

She had been sent to the Undercity due to her medical status since some magistrate had not felt that a penitentiary was fitting or that the medical staff within one would handle the 'problem' accordingly.

Mharren studied the last of the admitting physicians notes. They were sparse and woefully incomplete. The woman had apparently refused to speak orcish, though there was no doubt that she was able to. While Howard-Phillip Glinn was one amongst Undercity's learned crew that did speak Thalassian, the admitting physician had not.

Her pregnancy had been determined to be in the conclusive phase of the third trimester and while her due date could not be determined it had been estimated by the admitting physician only to be 'within a fortnight'.

Mharren closed the chart and left the nursing station, heading down the dark, tepid hall towards the room in which the patient was being held. Much about the woman's identity and personal life had been omitted from the file. She suspected that while a detailed biography rarely accompanied an admission, that in this case so much had been left to the imagination because of some request made by the enforcers in charge of her.

Mharren entered the woman's room, closing the wooden door behind herself. The nurse that was present did not need to be told to leave, but instead made haste of her work and quickly departed.

Mharren did not speak until the nurse had left, choosing instead to stand back in the corner with her arms crossed, watching the woman silently. The woman herself had watched back as silently as she.

Mharren did not recognize the unnamed woman but the elf before her held the air of one with average breeding who had recently ascended. Her eyes were the fel green that was common amongst her people and her hair was long and the colour of burnished copper. She watched Mharren severely from behind the rise of her enormous belly on top of which she lay a calm, patting hand.

"What shall I call you?" Mharren asked several moments after the nurse had departed. The woman blinked at her silently.

"You are not Forsaken?" The women asked, ignoring Mharren's question.

"That much is obvious. Though your name is not." Mharren replied, brandishing the woman's file at her passively. The women didn't not drop her eyes.

"Danalinarah. I suspect you do not need my surname, nor that your superiors wish you to have it." She snapped with the pleasant overtones only the aristocratic and spoiled seemed ever able to saturate their speech with.

"Your first name will suffice, Danalinarah." Mharren had not spoken her native tongue in some time, it felt familiar and yet alien. "You did not reveal to your admitting physician much of what I need to know."

"Then you are my Doctor now?" Danalinarah asked, she did not seem surprised, nor did her question seem to be more than a statement in disguise.

Mharren nodded silently and strode towards the bed. She noted as she did so that the woman - Danalinarah - was bound to her bed with the thick leather restraints used one violent and unruly patients. The lengths were long and the buckles little more than snug, but they were present.

"Do you know when your a due to deliver?" Mharren asked as she looked down on Danalinarah. She took the woman's wrist gently with her thumb and two forefingers, finding the delicate pulse that beat there.

"I have not seen my own physician in some time for her was killed last month. My husband and I have trusted in the midwife to birth this child." Mharren looked at her blankly and then let go of her wrist. The woman's pulse was fine.

"That's not what I asked you." Mharren said and stood back from the bed, looking down expectantly at the bloated Sin'dorei that lay before her.

"Soon..." She said feebly and finally she looked away from Mharren. Her composure had faltered and she struggled to regain it. It was a moments war and it was won but Mharren had seen it and Danalinarah had known that she had seen it. When she faced Mharren again the confidence there was exaggerated.

"I don't know exactly when. It feels as if it will be soon. I dream at night that it will be very soon." Mharren nodded mildly. Normally she would have smiled, offered some comfort in her own composure. But he felt no desire to lie to this woman in the slightest about what their level of confidence could be between each other.

"I just received you as a patient. My work is not - and never has been - in the field of obstetrics and it has been a generous portion of time since I have delivered a child. Let us be plain in that I will be honest in that I am no confidant you should trust, nor am I an advocate in which you should place any hope. I don't know what the men above wish for you and your undelivered child and I may not know and sooner than you yourself find out."

The woman gulped and her eyes lost much of their steely composure. she ceased to pat her belly and her muscles seemed to have become rigid.

"The midwife was a healer, a cleric. She intended to deliver while relying on magic. I don't sense any magic in you." She spoke with a more feeble and humble tone. She spoke more like a patient than a prisoner.

"Magic is not my way. And it will not be the way that your child is brought into this world, for however long he might stay here."

The woman looked down as a tear fell from her eye. She inhaled a shuddering breath before looking back up at Mharren with glistening eyes. "You do speak plainly." She said simply, looking none to happy about it.

"Perhaps, tomorrow, you will speak as plainly with me when I return to perform a proper gynecological exam. Until then, my advice - as useless in these circumstances at it may be - is to rest and be ready to receive me in the morning."

She left the woman alone and did not looked back when a muffled sob escaped the woman's lips. With the nurses she left only the request that they summon her promptly should the patient - Danalinarah - need her in the night.

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by Mharren » Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:08 am

"I would ask if you must insist on looking so serious all the time. But I fear it would be rhetorical, wouldn't it?"

Mharren looked up from the reference tome she was consulting and shrugged at the senior surgeon who had spoken. Dr. Howard-Phillip Glinn sat on the other side of the small physician's lounge that doubled as both an eatery and basic laboratory. Since the undead had little fear of sanitary hazards they were no longer in the practice of separating work and ingestion as the living did.

"It is not the result of conscious effort...the way that I appear, sir." She looked back down to the tome, picking up where she had left off. Her place was marked by the tip of one over-washed finger. The nail - despite multiple scourings - was still stained a brownish red. She knew it was from iodine, but she couldn't help but associate the stain with blood.

"Do you not even enjoy your work?" Howard-Phillip Glinn asked. He was shelling walnuts and crunching rather loudly on their contents. If she had not become such a monolith of passivity and tolerance, it would have annoyed her to the point of leaving the room.

"I did...and I do, sir." She turned the page. The bond was thin as tissue paper in the way that large reference texts sometimes were when the publishers were cheap and the contents of only marginal importance.

"Then what are you currently enjoying, Sil'orah?" Howard-Phillip Glinn asked from his place across the room.

"I am reviewing the procedure for a cesarean delivery[1]." The crunching of nuts ceased and she spoke before he could jump in. "When I last delivered a child I was in school. At the time a longitudinal[2] incision along the midline plate of the abdomen was used to gain access to the uterus, and after-which, the neonate[3]. It would appear that in recent years a transverse[4] incision superior to the crown of the bladder has gained favor amongst surgeons due to the lesser extent of blood loss during the delivery."

There was silence for a moment and she dared to hope that he would resume his crunching and she would be permitted to continue with her studies. Her own meal sat away from her immediate area; she had not eaten enough of the thickening soup for one to notice she had been at it at all.

"I have requested that Herbert East requisition four pints of blood before next week. Her blood type is not rare and he should have no trouble collecting the volume required." She added.

"You expect complications then?" Howard-Phillip Glinn finally asked. He tossed another nut into his mouth and the crunching resumed.

"She is not as young as her admission papers had led me to believe. When I examined her this morning I found that the child is a Frank Breech[5]. her history also revealed that she has birthed before, which is, as you know, a concern."

"Are you planning to deliver in this manner then?" He asked, shelling more walnuts and sprinkling their shattered shells into an ornate bowl.

"No. But I wish to be prepared in case of complications." She turned the page and examined the anatomical plate that dominated the back of the previous page.

"Have you determined the sex of the child?" Glinn asked.

"No. And her pre-natal care was limited." She narrowed her gaze as she studied the plate[6]. She knew from school that there was a manner in which a physician could manipulate a breech-positioned child into a more manageable position through direct handling...but she had yet to find it in the only obstetrical and gynecological text she owned.

She wondered now if the technique had been one of those clinically-known techniques that never made it into endorsed medical literature but remained the trade-secret of the practicing physicians. If that were the case, Miss Danalinarah was out of luck for Mharren was not about to reach up inside the woman to her own elbows and start prodding the undecended fetus. At least not without a map.

"Did you ever fulfill a rotation in Obstetrics?" Howard-Phillip Glinn asked. He seemed to have gorged himself sufficiently on his walnuts and had moved on to an unmarked flask.

"No sir, I didn't. Not beyond that which was required of me, at least in the pursuit of my license."

"If I did not know you, I would say I was surprised. In my experience an abnormal amount of junior medical professionals - be they physicians or nurses or other underlings - come to the profession in hopes of working with children, in particularly infants."

Mharren turned the next page. She knew what he was talking about. She had moment of silent relief in which she momentarily was not listening to Howard-Phillip Glinn as he spoke. She had found was she had been looking for and hastily penciled in brackets at the beginning and end of the relevant passage.

The Loveset Manoeuvre was not what she had originally thought it had been. The technique did not involve actually repositioning the entire fetus - something she had inspected was impossible, if not far too advanced for her.

Should a breech-positioned child be further complicated by having their arm extended above their head the manoeuvre allowed the delivering physician to rotate the backwards child by its pelvis so that the arm came down across the face and under the chin, which would then permit delivery since the mothers pelvis was never wide enough to accommodate both skull and arm.

"Mharren?" She looked up, startled slightly by his use of her first name. He looked at her silently a moment, his chest rising and falling and his black eyes very still. 'Why were you unattracted to the specialty that your gender finds so enticing?"

He did not appear to be curious about what her answer was, though she did not doubt that he had been before he'd realized she was not listening to him. Now he merely awaited an answer, one that she would have to make impressive enough to make up for her having not paid him her undivided attention.

"People often said that it was more a tragedy when a child died, for they had their whole lives ahead of them. I don't value a child's life anymore than I do an adults, be that adult young, old, or long-past his due date. I don't believe there is a fluctuation in the worth of any one person. No one chooses to be born and we are not entitled to life. We die when we die, be that in the womb or many generations after we have left it."

He studied her for a moment, favouring her with one eye over the other. He remained silent.

"My belief in equality keeps me from being appreciated in a ward where the patients are considered to be extra-special. When you remove the fallacy that children are more precious than adults...then paediatrics is just boring."

He was silent a beat longer before a grin curled his lips and he chuckled deeply. He shook a finger at her. "That's why your so good at all this. Your just fair to a fault, Sil'Orah, fair to a fault."

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by Mharren » Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:26 pm

Mharren looked down at the newest patient they had brought her. This man was Kaldorei, a taller, bluer cousin to her own kind. Currently he slept, sedated by the Howard-Phillip Glinn before she had arrived.

"Again they don't tell us much, except that this one is a seasoned spy out of S1:7 and that he has not only survived our interrogation techniques in the past...but that he has escaped Undercity."

Mharren jotted down the readings from the bedside apparatuses and made notes in the fresh chart regarding the prisoner's appearance. Howard-Phillip Glinn was adjusting the gravity feed on the prisoner's intravenous line. When he was satisfied he beckoned to the nurse to hand him a syringe. He bit off the top and inserted the point directly in the prisoner's carpal[1] catheter. When he had injected the fluid he dropped the spent syringe into a shielded waste bin.

"Mharren delicately pulled down the patients sheet and blanket, resting the folded fabric across his pubis. She gathered the fabric of his gray gown in he free hand and pulled it up to his armpits. She looked up at Howard-Phillip Glinn who looked mildly impressed. The patient's torso was littered with scars.

"Did we do this?" Mharren asked. Glinn shrugged and grinned. "Seems possible" he said.

Mharren put the gown back and recovered the patient. She then moved to the bottom of the bed and pulled up the covers, revealing the elf's feet. One was badly broken with lacerations and marked deformity.

"What happened there?" Glinn asked, leaning on the patients bed and peering across his body as if to read the chart Mharren held. She flipped through the pages to the admission slip. "Run over by a siege vehicle."

"That will have to come off, me thinks." Glinn said and tapped his temple as if the conclusion had been particularly bright.

Mharren bent over the mangled foot and snorted in the air around it. She wrinkled her nose and pulled back. She nodded at Glinn. "It's starting to cheese." She said, wafting away the foul stink.

"This will put back my plans for the evening." Glinn said as he unrolled his sleeve and headed for the door.

"I'll do it, sir." She offered. He stopped and looked back at her, then down at the elf's foot. "Yes...that is your specialty isn't it?"

Amputations were not her specialty per say, but she had performed enough of them to bet she was the more experienced in the room. Glinn nodded and left her with the patient. When she had finished her assessment she rung the nurse to prepare the surgical chamber. She would have his foot off before dinner.

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by Mharren » Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:00 am

"When were you planning on seeing me about that?" Howard-Philip Glinn asked, inclining his chin towards Mharren's hands. She looked up from where she was writing the fresh patient's chart. A member of the Dawn had been injured and she had reported in Orgrimmar to attend to his leg.

"See you about what?" She asked, pulling the satchel containing the mace-spike that Elder Shaman Sabaal had gotten embedded in his thigh towards herself. Howard-Philip Glinn was leaning against her desk, the edge cutting into what little buttocks he had left. His arms were crossed and he looked down at her over gold-rimmed spectacles.

"Your hands Doctor...the tremor in your hands." He said patiently. He smiled down at her, at the skin near the corner of his mouth crinkled with the assumption of the expression.

Mharren looked down at the satchel and untied its drawstring, shaking out the rusted spike and holding up to examine it through her own spectacles. Even as she did so her fingers trembled and the spike quaked. It was a mild tremor, no more severe than the tremor one might incur after ingesting too much of a stimulant, but it was noticeable to the watchful eye.

"Your not my physician, sir." She said as she estimated the length and girth of the spike and recorded the values in Sabaal's file. The undead physicians were not in the habit of record keeping, particularly for non-scheduled services. But record keeping and charting had been long-since ingrained in Mharren and she recorded everything, even if she thought she would never see the patient again.

"I may not be your physician Sil'Orah, I may not have the hands that caught you as your emerged from your mother's bloody gateway of life, but a Physician is a physician, and he is physician to all." She glared at him. He nodded towards the spike as she replaced it in the satchel.

"Were you the physician of the one your pulled that from?" he asked, his eyebrows high on his forehead.

"He is one of the Dawn of Ruin, he is my responsibility." She tied a black ribbon around the leather satchel, signifying to the cleaners that it could be disposed of and that a Physician had verified its status as waste.

Howard-Phillip Glinn stood up and leaned over the desk, his arms still crossed over his decrepit chest. "Your sick, Sil'Orah." He hissed with a smirk on his face. 'And physicians are the last to admit to being sick." He added, smiling widely now.

She pushed her chair away abruptly and stood up from her desk. "I am well aware of my condition Dr. Glinn and if your concern is for my work then let me assure you that my malady is transient, non-degenerative[1], and fully manageable." She said sternly, her chest rising and falling dramatically. Glinn stood back slowly and let the smile fade from his lips.

"What is it that is wrong with you?" he asked. One talon tapped on the arm it was half-tucked under. His chin was raised so that his black eyes looked down on her over his cheeks.

"It is a neuromuscular[2] condition associated with the long-term consumption of a neurochemological drug used to treat chronic melancholy[3]. Extra-pyramidal symptoms[4] are well documented in elven psychiatric medicine and if the issue concerns you I suggest you consult the racial-specific texts. You will find those in the library." She added the last with a terse tongue and pointed towards the door, motioning rudely for him to leave.

Glinn chuckled and shook his head. He shook at finger at her as if chastising her and glided out of her office. It took her moment to calm herself before she sat down at her desk, holding her hands out in front of her.

While she had had the tremors for some time now, he had likely only noticed - as had she - that they had gotten worse. She would need to remedy the problem. Aggressively.

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by Mharren » Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:31 am

Mharren unscrewed the tiny black cap on the five-dram[1] bottle of tan-coloured powder and shook a few dozen grains[1] onto the web of flesh between her thumb and first finger. She lifted it to her left nostril and closed the opposing one with her free hand. She inhaled the tiny powder pile and tilkted her head back as was habit for her while snorting compounds.

Her eyes blinked rapidly and a bitter gooey taste and texture developed at the back of her throat. She forced herself to swallow several times before plugged her nose and inhaling with her mouth shut, forcing any left overs in her nasal canals into her sinuses and onto the soft mucous membranes there where they would be absorbed into her blood stream.

She reflexively twitched and shook her head twice before wiping her eyes and forcing herself to swallow again. She dropped the small glass vial into the breast pocket of her surgeon's linens and placed her hand on the door handle to Danalinarah's room.

When she entered she saw the bulbous pregnant woman standing up near her bed. Her hands were in the small of her back and he bare feet were arched into tip-toe on the bare, stone floor. As Mharren entered and shut the door behind herself Danalinarah gave her wan smile.

"Don't you think some sunshine would be good for my baby?" She asked Mharren, letting her hands drop away from her back and then hoisting herself back into bed. The elven woman was characteristically short.

Mharren took a seat in the only other chair in the room, what might have been visitors chair in hospital or clinic. She supposed it was sort of a visitors chair, the enforcers would certainly visit this woman and stay long enough to want to sit. Mharren herself sat in it when she came to visit the woman and talk with her.

Mharren crossed her legs and opened Danalinarah's file on her top thigh. "It would...but this isn't a hospital." Mharren said as she skimmed over the notes made in the chart by Danalinarah's nurses. She initialed them each, signifying that she had read and approved them before folding her hands in her lap and giving Danalinarah her full attention.

"No...and I don't see why I am a prisoner. Even if my husband is guilty of his charges I am merely his wife." Danalinarah said with a hint of venom. It was the same each day when Mharren visited her, the woman talked to her as Mharren more than a mere physician, as if her opinion mattered, and it did not.

"As I've told you before Danalinarah, I can do nothing to help you in your legal and political strife. I can only ensure the birth of your child is handled correctly and the management of yourself is done to the proper standards." Mharren said in a polite and patient tone.

'But you can listen to me! You can listen to my trouble and talke with me!" Danalinarah shouted, pounding her fists down on the blankets once for dramatic effect. Mharren recoiled slightly and then adjusted her spectacles.

"I can listen...but what good will that do you?" She asked honestly.

"What good won't it do me?!" Danalinarah asked, her swollen breast heaving. "I am alone in this terrible place about to have a child and I do not know where my husband is or where my other children are. I do not know what they will do to me or my child when I am done here! I want a friendly ear if not a friend at this awful time, and your a doctor, a leader, a civil guardian and you are telling me in that cold detached tone that it would do me no good for you to listen to me!" She shouted angrily. Her face was alive with the passion of her protest.

Mharren took off her spectacles and folded them before placing them in her breast pocket. She felt them collide gently with the small bottle she had dropped there earlier.

She looked at Danalinarah for a long moment. It was, in fact, a physicians place and responsibility to provide therapy, to serve as advocate and trustee to his or her patient. She did not consider what she did in the Undercity to be the practice of medicine, but Howard-Phillip Glinn had made an unwittingly good point earlier in her office.

When was a physician not a physician? When was his duty ever set to rest? And to whom was he not a physician, if he was, in fact, a physician? Being a physician wasn't something that you did, it was something that you were.

Mharren shut Danalinarah's file and placed it on the floor beside her. She could feel her pulse quickening and the blood vessels in her body constricting. A warmth had spread over her and she knew her judgment and mood were impaired, but she didn't much care.

"Tell me then...what is it you wish to talk about today?".

Danalinarah spoke.

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by Arelexian » Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:08 pm

Memorandum for Record.

To the Office of Clandestine Medical Operations, Undercity.

RE: Captivity of Citizens deemed Sin'Dorei and Thalassian.

From the office of the High Justice, Silvermoon.

This is an official notification that I am reviewing a very unorthodox situation that has arose in your operations. The file is incomplete at best and as such, it would lend ear and eye to the belief that something is amiss. I will be conducting a full oversight as to the adjudication of one Danalinarah. I will be planning an actual correspondence with this Danalinarah in accordance to all appellate conditions. This inquiry is official in nature and will be executed the due diligence it deserves.

Æ'Rel Exian, Sunfury

Justicar and Blood Knight

Silvermoon, Quel'Thalas

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by Mharren » Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:49 pm

Mharren pressed the head of her stethoscope to left of the medial line of her chest, plugging the bell with her index finger. The sound of her own heart beat rendered in thunderously clear tones directly at her eardrums never ceased to have a somewhat hypnotic effect on her.

She let the head go and took the ear buds out of her ears, letting the metal rest against her neck as she bent over her desk where the thin line of tan powder had been neatly arranged in a thin, linear pile.

She dragged her cheek awkwardly up the surface of the desk with one hand to her right nostril. She didn't have anything handy that could serve as a cannula to facilitate her attempts at insufflation[1] and when she sprung back up from the desk she had to wipe stray grains of the powder off her mashed left cheek.

She reset the stethoscope, slipping the head through the V-neck of her surgeon's whites and listened.

"Tachy...tachy....tachy-tachy-tachy-" She began to chant under her breath. The normal heart rate for an adult female was between sixty to eighty beats per minute. She listening carefully to hers, tapping the toes of her right foot against the floor with each instance of ventricular systole[2].

She'd had a habit of listening to her heart since she was young and had first been interested in medicine and had received her first stethoscope. She had come to be intimately familiar with her heart over the years and had come to view it as a sneaky and hyperactive little twerp that had a tendency of beating much slower than however fast it had been going before she starting listening to it every time her brain registered that she was listening to it. A beat or two after she pressed the head to her chest, her heart would slow. But even now...

"one-hundred-and-eight beats per minute!" She announced to her empty office, scribbling the number on an piece of paper below the reading she had taken half a gram ago which had been a respectable, but not nearly dangerous, eighty-three beats per minute.

She slapped her open palm down on the surface of her desk, staring blankly across the room with a slackened jaw. She was overly stimulated in all capacities and yet she knew she was in a sort of clumsy, twitchy, slow, stupor of sorts that seemed paradoxical to her heightened arousal.

She blinked hard and listened again for a while, mentally dissecting each contraction and release, her ears hypersensitive to any alterations in the beat.

She had begun to have extra beats several minutes before her last insufflation and grinned with an empty face and no real humor as she listened to it skip again still.

The muscles in her back contracted, pulling her backwards and holding her there for a split second. When the contraction released her shoulders slumped forward and her fingers lost their tension, letting the head of the stethoscope droop into the folds of her shirt and away from her chest.

She sat there for several moments, held up by nothing but her position in space with one hand slung in the neck of her shirt. She was very aware of the acrid smell of her perspiration. It was alien to her natural stink in times of exertion and in her minds eye she could see the drugs seeping our of her pores like fetid water from a sponge.

She rolled her eyes and slowly her body came back on line. There was a deep, hollow-feeling of stress in the center of her chest and an empty growl in her stomach that seemed too close to her mouth; a growl she could taste and roll around behind her teeth.

She counted her heart beats again and scribbled down the number: one-hundred-and-eleven. She well enough over the safe limit.

She let herself droop forward and shot her hands out against the edge of the desk to stop herself from falling into it. She stared at it a long moment as if it had offended her.

She stretched her jaw as far as it would go and slowly ground it from side to side, listening to the grotesque clicks under her left ear where her jaw wasn't quite as attached to her skull as it should have been.

"Kicked when I was a kid." She said through a wide open mouth which distorted her words. She snapped her mouth shut and waited.

She blinked and had a hard time lifting her lids again as her vision became speckled with not-quite-there-yet black spots and her temples tingled deep inside her skull.

True to the pattern of a calm before a storm, she had a stilling moment of sober clarity in which her eyes went wide and she inhaled sharply.

'I'm gonna have a heart attack." She said numbly, teetering slightly form side to side.

Her body lurched forward and her left cheek smacked into the desktop. The beating in her chest was incessant and she knew it would give soon and short out from the overwork she had put it through.

With her last sharp intake of breath she blew away the rest of the powder and was surprised that her last thought before the blackness was a queer one.

What will she name her baby?

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by Mharren » Sat Oct 31, 2009 8:15 am

It was the bucking and collapsing feeling in Mharren's chest that finally succeeded in pulling her up from the depths of unconsciousness. That and the incessant feeling like she needed to cough to clear the heavy irritation in the back of her throat.

She woke up on her back, with her upper body raised at a forty-five degree angle. She rocked her head from side to side and raised her left hand to rubs her eyes. As she did so she became away of a tugging in the crease of her elbow and registered it as an Intravenous line.

I made it.

It was a simple thought, but it was true. She was not alarmed as she pulled her hand down her face and felt a tube taped across one cheek that terminated in her nose.

Her fingers were clumsy but she managed to pick at the adhesive and pull at the tube. She retched and gagged as the tube came up and when she pulled it free and tossed it on her abdomen, it released a spray of foul-smelling slime.

Her throat felt both too wet and too dry and she retched again, sitting up enough to vomit some formless liquid over the side of her bed and onto the floor.

It took her a few moments to catch her breath and to be sure she would not vomit again. As she raised her eyes the thoughtful gaze of Howard-Philip Glinn met her own.

He was seated in an armchair against the wall of her room with his legs crossed and a folder of papers in his lap. They stared at each other for several moments and he spoke as she sat fully up to face him.

"Some would say that whatever led you to believe that life was no longer worth living...was not nearly enough to make that true." He said plainly. She wiped her mouth.

"I wasn't trying to kill myself." She said. Her voice was rough and she forced herself to swallow what saliva she had in her mouth to lubricate her throat.

Howard-Philip Glinn cocked his head to one side, still looking at her with the same unrevealing gaze he had when she'd first noticed him.

"You gave yourself heart failure...what else could you possibly have been trying to do?" He asked, an air of sarcasm in his tone.

She laid back down and covered her face with her hands, grimacing behind them. "I was just...I was just being stupid." She offered in her defense.

There was silence and she wanted him to speak, to say something that would lead her to conclude that he was at least not still staring at her as he had been. She kept her face covered.

"You died, you know." He said finally.

She let her hands drop and rolled her head to look at him, unsurprised and oddly unimpressed by the information. He nodded at her, as if to reinforce what he'd said.

"Only in the clinical sense." She said, not sure why she felt like she'd been caught doing something stupid by her parents and was pointlessly trying to cast herself in a better light.

"I managed to bring you back." He said.

"I thought you looked like the Lich King..." She cracked with an aggressive, sarcasm she hadn't intended. He did not reply.

"How much trouble am I in?" She asked.

"None. Who is ever going to know?" Glinn replied, shrugging. "At least now, you technically belong amongst those of us who have died before." He smirked at her but she felt no relief in his humour.

He stood up and strode to her bedside where he stopped at and looked down at her with his dead, black eyes. He had the look of a concerned physician as he took her pulse and then pressed the back of his hand to her forehead and cheeks.

"You will rest for now and then we will talk more about this later. You are not yet ready to go back to work."

She nodded her submission to his orders and folded her hands on her stomach after pushing the extracted gastric tube aside, not caring that it was soiled.

"For now I must see to this inquiry by the High Justice of Silvermoon." he waved a folded piece of parchment in the air before handing it to her.

"It seems that care about how we treat your pregnant patient." He leaned over her as if to tell her a secret. "And we can't have them deciding that we don't care, can we?"

He stood up and raked a hand through his stringy black hair before offering her a half smile and leaving the recovery room. She opened the letter and read it over and sighed.

"I hate to break it to your Justicar...there isn't any aspect of that particular situation that isn't amiss."

She fell asleep again with little trouble.

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by Mharren » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:50 am

"You look ill Doctor." Danalinarah's musical voice wafted down upon Mharren from where she worked, bent over between the woman's tanned thighs. She looked over the top of her surgical mask, over the edge of the sheets draped across the womans knee's, to find the pregnant woman smiling down at her.

Danalinarah was without the makeup application customary to the faces of well-bred women in the Sin'dorei culture. Her copper-coloured hair was frazzled and looked as if it had had no better a brushing than that which can be provided with a raking of the fingers. The crown of her head was shiny with grease where the hair was parted and the roots disappeared into the thin flesh of her scalp. Her hands were folded casually on her large belly as she looked down at Mharren who quickly ducked between her legs again.

"Really? How can you tell?" Mharren asked as casually as she could. She had one of her hands inside Danalinarah almost to the mid-hilt of her forearm and was currently fingering her way through the front presentation of the cervix[1] to gauge how much she had dilated.

"Your eyes...they are dark. The sun does not shine through them." Mharren rolled her eyes where Danalinarah could not see her. She estimated that little more than an inch had opened during the early labour, it was the same inch she had found over an hour before. It seemed that Howard-Philip Glinn had been successful in halting the unwanted labour in its tracks. Still, it would not be long before permissible labour occurred.

"The other Doctor...the dead man. He said you'd had an accident when I inquired after you." Danalinarah continued. Her tone was pleasant and conversational, as if nothing so alarming as labour had occurred in the last five hours of her life.

"You went into labour and you felt inclined to ask after your missing physician?" Mharren asked with doubt in her voice.

"Yes. If it's all the same I would much prefer warm, living hands to be the first one that touch my baby than cold, dead ones." Mharren looked over the sheet again and found Danalinarah looking down at her with a smirk. Mharren felt the corner of her own mouth jerk up involuntarily beneath her cloth mask.

If I wasn't your Physician I'd probably like her. Mharren thought before slowly beginning to withdraw her hand and arm. The secretions within the woman had formed a rather tight seal around Mharren's invading limb and it created a suction that resisted her withdrawal.

"That's an unpleasant feeling." Danalinarah said from above. "Somewhat like a very large, very thick bowel movement from stale bowels." She mused.

Mharren couldn't help but chuckle at this description. For a well-bred woman Danalinarah was remarkably blunt and sincere. "If I tore it out of there I fear it might bring your innards with it." Mharren said, and they both chuckled.

When she finally pulled her slimed hand free, the woman's orifice closed with a rather rude sucking noise which prompted more laughing from both women.

"I don't envy you, Danalinarah." Mharren said as she motioned for the assisting nurse to wipe Danalinarah clean and replace her undergarments.

Mharren went to the nearby wash basin and removed her gloves before soaking and scrubbing her hands and forearms vigorously.

"The other man...before he said it wasn't time for my baby to come...." Mharren turned as she scrubbed to face Danalinarah and show her that she was listening. "When he pulled out his own hand...he said my child was a boy."

Mharren faltered in her hand washing for only a moment, before recovering from the surprise. Howard-Philip Glinn had not shared that particular detail with her when he'd brought her up to date on Danalinarah's condition.

"Can you confirm that, Doctor?" Danalinarah asked with hope in her voice.

Mharren shook the excess water from her hand before accepting a fresh towel from the assisting nurse and mopping her hands sand arms.

"The position that your child is in, where he is..." She searched a moment for the colloquial words that would best convey to Danalinarah what Mharren meant to communicated. "...sitting down, almost cross-legged, in between your hips...would place his genitalia right at the mouth of the birth canal...I suppose that while Dr. Glinn was assessing your dilation he might have investigated further inside you and perhaps noticed what might be ... a penis."

She tossed the towel into a laundry bin and set her hands on her hips. Danalinarah's face had lit up at what she believed to be a confirmation that she was in fact going to fire a male child out her snatch within a few days.

"I didn't investigate that far..." Mharren began and the woman's smile froze but still appeared hopeful. "I can't confirm what Dr. Glinn told you." She offered apologetically. Danalinarah still smiled.

"I think he's right." She said, nodding to herself. Mharren's shoulders slumped as she watched the woman begin to convince herself in the way that patients - people - often did when their hearts were set upon something and they had come to be used to that setting.

"I am going to name him William." Danalinarah announced, rubbing her belly absently. Mharren forced a piss-poor half-smile. She had never been particularly skilled at false social niceties.

"Thats a human name." Mharren said, unsure of what else to say and noticing that the nurse cast fiendish gaze at her. It was a comment that could have been construed as insensitive by some.

Danalinarah nodded. "Yes. My husband was fond of humans." Mharren looked away, not wanting to know anymore. If it was true, then Mharren suspected that Danalinarah's husband's love of humans may have landed Danalinarah in her current situation.

And whatever unfortunate situation he has found himself in.

The door opened and a nurse that commonly assisted Howard-Phillip Glinn entered, looking a bit winded, as if she had been running.

"Dr. Sil'Orah...You are needed down below...In Herbert East's"

Mharren fixed Danalinarah with a kindly, reassuring glance before instructing the assisting nurse to ensure she was well taken care of and then following Glinn's nurse out of the room.

"What is it?" Mharren asked, pulling her mask from her face, finally.

"The Dark Druid...the Alliance Doctor...they found her!" The nurse said excitedly, picking up a rushed pace.

"Who?" Mharren asked, breaking into a jog alongside the decrepit nurse.

"Dr. Malanori Stillwater!" The nurse cried. "They found her!"

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by Mharren » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:29 am

Mharren looked up at the towering ice form. If she hadn't known better she would have thought it an elaborate and expensively commissioned ice sculpture. The prosectors had chiseled and melted away much of the ice on the top of the figure, enough to see what was trapped inside at least.

The woman within was clad in impressive armour with what looked like a feathered headdress atop long, forest green hair. A green butterfly was painted across her eyes and her lips were either painted a dark purple, or had frozen that way in the cold. To her chest she clutched a small child whose face was buried in her clavicle, one small toddler's hand was balled into a fist and rested under the woman's chin.

The woman and the child were Kaldorei, Night Elves, and they were both entombed in ice. When Glinn announced to Mharren that the child was the woman's - Malanori Stillwater, that is - son, Mharren felt it was an un-needed confirmation for both Malanori and the child seemed to have been frozen halfway through converting to tree-form.

Malanori was a dendritic from the midline of her abdomen down and her son from his hips downward. Their bark seemed to be intertwined as one while their bipedal forms remained separate, though close together. The odds of being frozen mid-transformation seemed astronomical to Mharren and she looked to Howard-Phillip Glinn with a gaping jaw.

"Who is she?" Mharren asked, a little breathlessly from both her rush to the prosector's lab and her awe at the frozen figure. It was beautiful in a sad, cold way.

"I suppose I ought not to be too surprised that you are unfamiliar with her Sil'Orah. Stillwater has been inactive for a long while now...long enough that we all believed her dead."

"She is." Mharren breathed, motioning towards the ice column within.

Howard-Philip Glinn nodded as he stood with his arms crossed over his chest, looking up at the ice column with something like satisfaction and intrigue.

"She was a rebel of the Alliance who led a band of like-minded allies against the horde, and in particularly, the Forsaken. She was cruel, sadistic, and as unlike a tree-hugging druid as one might find possible to imagine." He scratched his chin absently as he took in the peaceful, dead face of the woman he spoke about.

"I believe you may even find that she has some history with that woman you run with...that elf." His gaze went away for a moment, lost entirely in the dead druids face. "...Manni Kel'Tana." He breathed finally.

Mharren was started for a moment and Glinn faced her. "Yes I know she changed her name, but really, 'Manni' without a last name change does little to hide her true identity." He waved away Mharren's attempt to exculpate Manni.

Mharren looked back at the druid as two prosectors on ladders chiseled away at the ice, lost in their work.

"She was found in Icecrown along the gully that leads to the Argent Vanguard. She and her son were found in a small cave, more of a cutaway in the mountain really, frozen in ice that had filled it. It seems a flood of some kind had come down the gully while they were attempting to take shelter and were unsuccessful."

Mharren slowly walked around the ice column, her arms were slack at her sides and her feet seemed to shuffle. The laboratory was dark but light from above landed on the column, casting a bright, icy light of its own which caused Malanori's column to sparkle. It looked so much like a piece of art that Mharren felt some pity knowing they meant to dig the woman out and melt away the ice that held her.

A drill started and a cascade of fine, icy powder fell down over Mharren. She looked at Glinn who stood nearly on the opposite side. He was watching her.

"Why is she here?" Mharren asked, looking back up at the column and shielding her eyes from the flakes before looking back at Glinn for his answer. "She's dead...why bring her here?"

"She was particularly pesky to Lady Sylvanas, and when she was discovered the high Lady desired she be brought here, anatomized publicly, and then fixed in formalin to be showcased in the Lady's hall.

Mharren felt her chest tighten at Glinn's words. He cocked his head to the side and narrowed his gaze at her. "This bothers you?" He asked.

She looked back at the frozen druids dead face, as much to contemplate her silent death as to look away from Glinn. She did not answer him.

"Sin'dorei physiology is most like that of Kaldorei, you will consult with Herbert East and his prosectors on this project." Glinn continued.

"I don't want to." Mharren said before she could stop herself. She resisted the urge to clap a hand over her mouth as she stepped back from the column and looked towards Glinn.

Glinn chuckled and strode towards her, placing a taloned hand on her upper arm and leaning close to her.

"You will...consider this to be light duty while you recover from your heart attack.' he sneered at her and then patted her reassuringly before leaving her with the prosectors and the dead druid.

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by Malexa » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:14 am

((At the moment Mharren overdosed.))

Malexa did not understand what was happening. She had watched Mharren do what she did. What she did recognize was that at this moment a life hung in the balance. She screamed.

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by Malexa » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:24 pm

Malexa didn't trust Glinn. Then again, she really didn't trust anyone or anything, not even the metal in her head. Shadows hid things, at least as well as corners, boxes, doors, and damnable doctor charts. Nervous eyes darted about, peering around the leather straps helping to hold what was left of her skull together. Head trauma had killed her once and given her complications ever since.

The hand holding her own medical file was bordering on a shade between white and pale green, depending on the light. When it wasn't clenching a dagger, it twitched and sometimes shook. The creepy Forsaken doctor had, for reasons known only to himself, transferred her care to one of his subordinates. The woman nervously adjusted the dark green mop of a wig on her head with her free hand.

There was nothing wrong with Malexa. Nothing at all. Nothing she knew about, certainly. Because if she knew, then there would be something wrong with her. Unless she didn't know about what was wrong with her. Or could be wrong with her. Something waiting to strike her down that had no need to hide in the shadows. Nothing was wrong with her at all.

A note attached to her file simply read "Panphobia, a vague and persistent dread of some unknown evil."

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by Mharren » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:25 pm

Mharren studied the illuminated diffraction plates[1] on the wall before her as the senior understudy of one of Glinn's fellow surgeon's blabbered on and on beside her about the images.

"It seems obvious that the cause of death - original death - was some sort of blunt trauma to the frontal lobe." The understudy extended a talon and traced out the front aspect of the skull, the forehead, just in case she had spent her basic anatomy classes with her face glued to her ass and not the lecture material.

"Only minimal, crude, reconstructive measures have been taken. The patient is even using external leather bindings to her face together." The understudy scoffed at this, as if a hideously held-together undead were an abominable thing to imagine.

Mharren's eyes flickered down to the left hand corner of the first plate where the name of the patient was stenciled in negative; Malexa.

She remembered Malexa from a casual encounter in Brill. The forsaken woman had been agitated, distressed, and highly distracted. If she had been alive at the time of their meeting Mharren might have written her off as just another nut job in need of some strong antipsychotics. But it wasn't that simple with undead, their bodies were held together by magic, not natural physics and chemistry.

Mharren had given the woman a mild prescription for a sedative tonic that would sooth her and had referred her to the Undercity to see a physician. It seemed that her referral had gone first through a general intake physician, then to the understudy's senior surgeon, and then to Glinn, before finally landing back in her lap.

As circumstances would have it, ms. Malexa had walked in on Mharrens heart attack and had been the one to alert the other physicians. with any luck they had kept the details of Mharren's collapse silent, but one never knew with Forsaken staff.

Mharren sipped absently at the icy berry drink she had been nursing during the understudy's presentation to her. For a consultation she hadn't consulted her on much, but finally he turn her to with an expectant look on his pallid face and asked "How much of her abnormal behavior do you think we can attribute to the cranial damage?"

Mharren continued to sip her drink and looked back at the plates. The damage was severe. Parts of the skull plates themselves were missing, perhaps embedded in the brain tissue beneath after whatever thick bludgeon had cracked the crazy bitch on the head and killed her.

"Doctor?" The understudy implored. Mharren released the straw from her mouth and said simply "Sippy Drink" motioning with her chin to the blue slush drink she held in her hand. 'Shhhhhh". She added.

What a pain in the ass that must have been, waking up dead and decimated. Was there any injury that precluded a recently dead individual from joining the ranks of the walking dead? What if the individual had had their arms and legs blown off? Would a truncated corpse wiggle it's way to the undercity to be embraced by its fetid new kin?

Mharren shuddered and furrowed her brow. The mental image was comical and yet gut twisting.

"Doctor?" The understudy ventured again and Mharren faced him, taking exaggerated pulls form the drink and making the loudest, rudest sucking and slurping noises that she could, wide-eyed and conveying her immaturely-communicated message for the twat to shut the hell up. He scowled and withdrew.

She slurped and studied the plates, occasionally consulting the patient's chart and making a note in her own copy of it. When her straw no longer delivered delicious frozen drink to her mouth and made only hollow, dry, sucking wheezes she set down the cup and scribbled on a form in the patients file.

She stood up straight handed the open file to the understudy. He took it from her with a little trepidation and glared at her before reading what she had written.

"Exploratory brain surgery?" He asked, sounding shocked. 'isn't that a bit reckless?' He seemed aghast at her recommendation.

Mharren began to back up, tossing her empty drink cup into a waste bin and picking up Danalinarah's file as she moved towards the exit.

"What? It's not like that's a big deal with you people. Just whip off her wig and dig the fuck in there, see if you find any of those missing bones." Her backside met the door and she jutted backwards to open it. As she turned and stepped into the hall she called back her conclusive statement.

"If she agrees and you find them, then put them back and send her to me!"

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by Mharren » Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:49 pm

((Note: Many thanks to Malexa for giving me some god-mod privileges. I hope this is to her liking! Sorry about the draft status, banged this out between classes and will clean it up later. cheers! - M))

Mharren stood behind the glass in the observatory bay of the surgical theater. Her arms were crossed over her slight breasts and her bangs hung in her eyes as she looked down at the scene below.

Malexa, the forsaken with the traumatic head injury, was in surgery in the pit below. The understudy, a man named Tavington, was the surgeon. He was standing behind the chair that Malexa had been fixed to in a upright position. He held out his arms as his nurses gloved his hands and ensured they fit to his specifications.

Malexa was conscious, as was customary for brain surgery and from where she was seated she was able to look up at Mharren in the observatory bay. The leather straps that had criss-crossed Malexa's face had been removed and even Mharren, who had now spent a considerable amount of time amongst the forsaken, found the woman's disfigurement disturbing.

She offered a slight smile to Malexa and placed the palm of one hand on the glass as if to touch her. During the pre-operative preparations Malexa had been agitated, insistent that Mharren shouldn't let the others touch her brain, that they would lose it, and then what would she do. She had pleaded with Mharren not to let them cut her.

Mharren had offered the agitated Forsaken woman what comfort and assurances she could, promising her that it wouldn't hurt and that no one would lose her brain, or any part of it. She had explained that they were actually going in to find pieces of her face and head that were missing and stuck inside her brain, so really it was a mission of finding, not a procedure of losing.

As the surgeon and his operating team prepared below she could hear Malexa's distracted, paranoid babbling and her heart tugged a little behind her chest.

"Take my blood, take my brain....take it and use it, take it and lose it. Wash your hands, hands...the little things, the little things with the teeth and feelies....gonna getcha...getcha....get me...gotcha..."

Malexa had been restrained, but even so she wiggles and twisting in the chair, grinding against the leather belt straps that held her. The tips of her finger nails skittered across the armrests and tapped out erratic tattoos of agitation and distress.

The people below went on about their business as if Melaxa were not there, as if she were not awake, and certainly as if she were saying nothing. It seemed a common staple of rudeness amongst people, especially medical care professionals, to ignore that which irritated or disturbed oneself. Psychiatric patients were perhaps the most extreme on both fronts, and as such they were silenced by a tacit, unanimous decision amongst physicians and nurses to pay them not courtesy.

"Gonna take it....steal it....sell it!" Malexa lashed out at a nurse who attempted place an intravenous line. She gnashed her teeth at the nurse who merely retracted and then placed the catheter anyway, keeping herself back at an arms distance.

Malexa's eyes were wide and she rocked back and forth from side to side, teetering almost against her bonds. her jaw was clenched and her speech was with peppered with inarticulate mutterings.

Tavington looked up at Mharren, his face hidden behind his white linen mask. She nodded, as if it had been her place to give the motion to proceed.

A mass of metal pins, blocks, and bits was rolled over towards Malexa. The headpiece of the alien, crude looking instrument was affixed to long ergonomic arm which allowed the nurses to slide the face-piece under Malexa's chin from the front.

"My teeth!" Malexa's voice began to raise as the heavy metal head piece closed in around her head. She struggled violently as two male nurses worked together to pry open her jaws and to insert the bite plate into her mouth. Even from where Mharren stood far above the whole indecent, aggressive event, she could see tears running from the corners of the forsaken woman wide, wild eyes.

Her protests were not longer articulate as the metal bite plate permitted her to do little more than blow air across her lips. They locked her into place, immobilizing her skeleton from the shoulders up. Her fingers skittered at a blur as they began inserting the guide-pins into the various bones that made up Malexa's face and skull.

Varous gauges and both gross and fine calibration were made to the sterotaxic[1] headpiece which would place Tavington's drill and the subsequent probe in the precise location on the precise trajectory that had been ascertained from Malexa's diffraction plates.

When the drill started Mharren was at first surprised to hear the whine of the blade climbing higher and higher, and yet bottoming out with a health dose of bass. She cocked her head to the side, listening with her better ear at a better acoustic orientation. It wasn't the drill...

She stepped closer to the glass and the looked down trying to see passed the sets of hands hovering over the peeled-back section of scalp on Malexa's head. Her eyes fell to Malexa's hands and saw that they were pulled back and off the armrest, the fingers flexed into claws. Her toes were pointed inwards and her feet rolled in wards with the ankles out.

Something is wrong.

Mharren hammered on the glass. 'Stop! Stop it now!" She slapped the glass panes with her open palms, the flat surface stinging her flesh. "Stop now!"

Tavington looked up from his drilling as did his nurses and released his finger on the drill. As it wound down the strangled scream of Malexa could be heard.

Mharren pushed off the glass and rocketed out of the observatory, taking the steps down to the theater two at time. She blew past a set of nurses and elbowed past the guard situated outside the theater's floor entrance.

In the few seconds it had taken for her to barge into the operating theater Tavington and his team had already figured out something was wrong and he was demanding that they take Malexa's head out of the sterotaxic.

"No!" Mharren interrupted, holding up both of her hands as she hurried to the chair where Malexa's body was pulled taut in a mass contraction. She pushed a nurse away as Malexa began to aspirate some viscous fluid that Mharren didn't care to take the time to identify.

"She can't feel any pain!" Tavington shouted in protest, his eye bewildered and the drill still in his blood-soiled hand. "Why is she screaming like that? She can't feel it!"

Mharren pushed past him and his anesthesiologist and dug into the drug bin, finding a vial of barbiturate and drawing an appropriate dose into a fresh syringe.

"It's not pain." Mharren said through grit teeth as she went back to Malexa's side and injected the contents of the syringe into the catheter the nurse had placed. Almost instantly Malexa began to jerk, the jerks subsiding into twitches, and the twitches subsiding into stupor and sedation as the drugs took effect.

The theater was silent as Mharren disengaged what parts of the sterotaxic that she could and checked Malex'as face. She pulled her lips apart and saw that she had broken two teeth. She looked down Malexa's slackened body and saw the tell-tale puddle of dark wetness under her gown and spilling onto the floor.

She looked up at Tavington who still looked dumbstruck. He gesticulated at her for an explanation.

"She had a tonic-clonic seizure." Mharren said simply, absently rubbing Malexa's wrist in a comforting fashion.

"What do you want us to do then, Doctor?" Tavington asked, his voice taking on a tone of sarcasm and defiance. "We can't operate on the frontal lobe without being able to communicate with her. If we continue she could end up a vegetable."

Mharren thought for a moment, looking between the instruments, Malexa's pale hand, and the blood on the floor. This was one of those moments where she was unlikely to make the right decision due to their being no right decision, but it was also one of those moments where one had to be made and while she could defer to Glinn, he would make whatever decision she would have made.

"Your just taking out foreign bone particles." She inhaled deeply, squeezing Malexa's hand as she spoke. Finally she looked at Tavington and spoke with as much immovable decisiveness as she could.

"Forget the precision tools, go in by hand, get them, spare everything that you can. Cut through scare tissue to reach your destination if you must, spare whatever tissue you can."

She squeezed Malexa's hand tightly as she looked from Tavington to his nurses and then back at Tavington again.

"As you wish." Tavington said with an uncharacteristic flair of one bloodied hand. he was more than pleased she had somehow screwed up. Mharren didn't share his assessment, brains were tricky things and an undead brain infused with magic was unpredictable at best. What was important was removing the bone pieces, and if it meant that Malexa couldn't quite count backwards from ten anymore or tell the difference between parallel and non-parallel be it.

Before she left the theater she leaned down near Malexa's ear and whispered to her, even though she would not be able to hear it. The nurses scowled at Mharren as she spoke softly to Malexa.

"Whatever will be better than what it was before. I'm still trying to make some of the fear go away."

She stood up and addressed the operating staff. "Make sure you dope her with hypnotics during and after. There is no need for her to remember any of this."

She left then but did not return to the observation bay. Instead she sought out Glinn, half-ashamed that she felt she needed his validation.

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by Mharren » Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:06 pm

Mharren absently twirled her quill between her fingers, sitting slack in her chair and cast back from her desk. She had been staring a ventilation grate in the base of the wall across from her desk, listening to the ticking and chittering noises of the rats within.

She had gone to counsel Malexa earlier in the morning. They brought the woman out of an artificially-induced coma that had been performed to keep her intracranial pressure down. Mharren herself was not entirely versed in the process, but it seemed that Tavington had been and he had handled putting her under and bringing her back up.

They had recovered several shards of skull from the left temporal and frontal lobe of Malexa's brain. Tavington had been able to diagram what nuronal bundle fibers had been severed and the extent of scar-tissue/ He'd also proffered an estimation that Malexa was missing perhaps 0.5-3.0% of her total brain mass....mass that was unaccounted for at the time of surgery.

It seemed she'd lost a piece or two at the time of the injury. By now the little Malexa-bits would have been gobbled up by scavengers or rotted off the back of whatever blunt object had collided with her head.

The quill fell from her finger and she sat motionless. The click of the tender of object hitting the tiled floor seemed loud and after the impact, the chittering of the rats stopped.

Broken a little from her daze, her eyes rolled back towards her desk where she had been combing through literature on hyperphobia and paranoia. Such states could result from either an observable organic abnormality or an intangible psychogenic one. In Malexa's case there existed a very observable organic abnormality...namely the hole in her head.

But it was possible the woman had suffered psychiatric abnormalities before her death and before the injury. As it was Malexa had offered nothing coherent to Mharren about her past. It was almost impossible to speak with the woman since she would become highly distracted by the first tangential opportunity in a conversation to obsess over a possible mundane threat.

She was not only brain-damaged, but hyper vigilant...almost in the manner that patients who suffered from psychiatric alteration after sustaining a traumatic experience. She was jumpy, highly reactive, overly-aroused, and in and constant state of...looking out.

How much of her paranoia and phobias were related to the brain injury, and how much were psychogenic? It would be hard, maybe even impossible to differentiate between the two if a difference did exist.

Mharren had kept her on an aggressive course of sedatives and anti-anxiolytics[1], in effect disabling Malexa's fear-response on the endocrine level. She was still hyper aware of transient threats, but she did not have the capacity to respond in a fearful, violent, or openly distressed manner. She was far too drugged, and with the HPA-axis[2] essentially taken off line, she would be capable only of know she was afraid of something, but not of feeling the fear itself.

When Mharren had gone into talk to her Malexa had been just as disorganized but had spoken up at her from her recovery bed with a dreamy, involuntarily contended smile on her disfigured face. Her movements had been slow and she drifted between sleep and consciousness on a fluid course. Mharren could not say for sure, but it may have been the first truly restful period in Malexa's unlife...since her real life.

The door to her office burst open and Howard-Philip Glinn hung inside on the handle. He was dressed in his surgeon's whites (which were stained with fluid) and his mask was pulled down around his neck. He fixed her with a black, steely glare that said "Guess what...."

"What?" She asked, shrugging and moving to stand up.

"She's having that baby." He said, enunciating the words carefully to her.

Mharren stood up and began to grab her things, picking up her mask and stethoscope along with her cap. "What her dilation?" Mharren asked as she tucked her hair under the cap.

"Dilation? She isn't. She's stuck." Glinn grinned at her and Mharren paused. "Cesarean?" He suggested with a bigger clown-like grin.

Mharren hurried past him and headed for the operating theater.

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by Malexa » Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:49 pm

"This is nice," thought Malexa. The forsaken woman slowly opened her heavy eyelids. It was hard to think. Struggling to do so, she noticed that her sluggish train of thought seemed to be unexpectedly staying on its tracks. She found herself tucked into a clean and tidy bed.

Normally this is when the screaming and thrashing would begin. Malexa had no idea what could be sharing the bed with her under the blanket and sheets. She found herself oddly not caring. Her limbs felt like lead when she tried to move, so she decided to lay there instead.

Her eyes looked around the small room. It was mostly empty and almost passed for cozy. There was a lack of furniture and hiding places. There was only the bed, a small table, several low burning lamps along the walls, and a plain chair.

"Where is the elf doctor?" she wondered. As far as she could tell, Malexa was alone. She almost drifted off to sleep when she noticed the bag hanging from a slender pole by the bed. There was a tube running from its bottom and her gaze followed it to a needle in her arm.

At first, this did not overly alarm the forsaken. This was someone ringing the bell once for service at the desk of a hotel. "Who put that there? What's in it? What's it for?" The questioning thoughts began coming faster and Malexa's eyes began to dart about the room. The service bell was now being hammered repeatedly by someone getting annoyed. Her fuzzy head began to ache, vainly trying to process the sudden flood from her senses.

Malexa shut her eyes tight and gritted her teeth from the effort of stilling her mind. She was dimly aware that something felt different with her bite. She made herself relax. "I'm relaxed?" she mused. "The surgery?" The woman couldn't remember anything after they strapped her into the operating chair. There would be questions, many of them, but later after she had rested.

About to fall asleep, Malexa's thoughts turned to Stratholme. She wished she knew where her knives were as she passed out.

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