Carl watched as Dizzy and Rico rubbed against each other again. The three of them had been assigned to pick up Gossard from an overnight stay in the hospital. A rare day for them in which their uniform was the casual green khakis, Rico and Dizzy had been flirting with each other. Again, Carl felt like an outsider.
Orders in hand, Rico approached the information booth to inquire of Gossards room. From yesterdays adventure in Little Butte, North Dakota, Gossards concussion was enough to keep him under surveillance.Dizzy had already mentioned how merciless she would be in teasing him. He was there to save the day, but .not really there. She laughed at her own joke. Rico and Jenkins exchanged grins.
As Rico returned from the information booth, Jenkins felt something familiar in a hospital hed never been to. Slowly, he turned around, trying to find the strongest direction of the psychic brush.
Hey, guys while youre busy getting Gossard, Im going to check something out. Ill meet you back out front.
Rico and Dizzy both were surprised.
Carl, you okay? Rico inquired. Dizzy reached out and touched Carls shoulder, her own blue eyes questioning him.
He nodded. Im fine.
Rico playfully swatted Dizzys arm. Lets go before Gossard figures out how to make a nuke using medical probes.
Dizzy smiled at Jenkins. All right. Well meet in the front, then.
As the two left in the opposite direction, Carl quietly strode down the corridor to the Psychic Ward. Without seeing them, he knew there were guards and cameras the deeper he went. Behind two swinging doors was a reception counter, with several guards in anti-psychic armor, and a nurse. She looked up when one of the guards murmured to her.
Id like to visit a patient.
The nurse glanced at the clock on the wall behind him. The trooper was in luck; fifteen minutes remained for visiting hours in the Psychic Ward.
Spitz. Private Spitz.
Are you friend or family?
Jenkins, Carl Jenkins.
The nurse was a professional: she guarded her anxiety well. Even Jenkins was unaware of her accelerated heart-rate. She punched in his name and sent it to a vault of information, more for her protection than anything.
Thirty seconds later, he was given access to visit Spitz. With a guard following him, Jenkins couldnt help but feel trapped. The ward was like a prison. No sounds were heard, and the corridors were starch-white and bleach-clean.
He let out an involuntary gasp when he entered the room of Private Spitz.
She was floating in a regen-tank. It was their first personal meeting, and she was asleep. There were circles under her eyes, and her skin, even in the tank, seemed pale. Her braided hair seemed like a spider-web that crowned her head as it floated in the tank. The electronic chart on the console in front of him counted down the remainder of her hours inside the warm goo.
She had been dropped off at the hospital since yesterday morning. He remembered telling her to run. He remembered her sudden rush of relief that she was safe.
And then he had bigger fish to fry.
If it wasnt always something else. In the little spare time he had, Carl and Spitz managed to communicate while she was in hiding. Most of the time, he was in Redwings office, biting his tongue or withholding his rising frustration that no one else felt ..or at least noticed the obvious signs of arachnid presence. If it hadnt been for Rico going to bat for him, Carl knew the outcome at Little Butte would have been vastly different.
He leaned his head against the regen-tank, and whispered a single world.
There was no answer. She was deep asleep. He dared not enter what dreams she envisioned; he hated trespassing without permission.
He remained there a few minutes more, palm against the glass. If anything, hed make an imprint on her mind. Finally, he turned around, and blinked in surprise at the guard that had been with him the whole time. Carl had forgotten he was there.
The two silently returned to the reception area. The guard took his place behind the console, and Carl left to regroup with his friends.
Back in the tank, Spitz moaned and tried to wake up. She felt as if she was needed. But sleep was so comforting, enveloping her in total darkness.