Nathan and Haakon get first aid
Approximately 1700 words.
22 September, 1.148612 Myr BCE
Abiquiu, New Mexico
Jump jeebies sent daggers of pain slashing into Haakon's tortured flesh. He clenched his teeth and forced down the sour trail of vomit that burned the back of his throat. He hadn't reacted this way to a time jump in years.
An arrow through his shoulder burned as if it were a white-hot steel rod. Where did that come from? He couldn't remember being shot. That must explain why the jeebies were so bad.
With a grimace, he elbowed his way to a sitting position. He struggled out of his blood-soaked jerkin and fingered the edge of his wound. The broken haft of an arrow protruded from his flesh, and dried blood crusted the edge. An angry welt swelled around the wound, and it was hot under his fingertips.
Another wave of nausea struck. He swallowed gulps of air and tried to stop the room from its slow rotation around him. It looked like the arrival room in all the standard pre-fab refuges that Timekeepers kept scattered throughout pre-human epochs: an octagonal room with a polished black tile floors white walls, fluorescent lighting, and minimalist decor. This one had a single wall hanging, a Georgia O'Keefe print of that mountain she always painted. The one in New Mexico, near Los Alamos. Thoughts slogged like molasses in his brain. What was he doing here when he needed medical facilities?
A lean stranger lay in a pool of vomit next to him. Memories seeped back. Scarborough. Vikings. A cave. That was it. He'd fled to a level three station in Iowa, but the Vikings had somehow managed to follow him. Then the blasted controls at the level three weren't standard and wouldn't take the setting for Chicago Control. So he'd chosen a pre-set and come here.
Maybe the skinny guy could help him. Nathan, that was his name. A physics student. Just what he needed--a geek. Except that Haakon remembered that he'd run into a hail of arrows to rescue him. Gutsy fellow.
He kicked at the guy's twisted body, but he didn't respond. Shit. That wasn't good. Jeebies wouldn't kill him. Probably. They'd jumped over a million years, though. That was big leap for anyone, especially a newbie. Jump jeebies could throw the uninitiated into shock, or worse.
Haakon gritted his teeth and tried to ignore the stink of vomit. The guy needed help, that was clear. The emergency med kit was in a cabinet built into a wall, less than three meters away. He could see it. It sat there, just inside the glass doors, less than a foot above the floor. He tried to stand to go get it, but his legs wouldn't obey. His hand slipped on a puddle of blood from his wound and his cheek slapped against the cold floor.
He could use the kit himself.
If you can't walk, then crawl.
Panting, he made his way across the room. White-hot agony seared his shoulder. Cold sweat chilled his body, and a trickle of blood dribbled from the shaft of the arrow, leaving ruby droplets on the floor.
Just a little farther.
There. Now what? Rest. He'd rest for just a moment, and then he'd get the kit.
Coughs wracked his body and the haft of the arrow scraped against the tiles. He must have passed out. How long? He glanced back at his companion. He was still all twisted up and not moving. Shit, he's whiter than snow on a raven's back.
Haakon struggled to a sitting position and fumbled with the latch on the cabinet. The door sprung open, and he pulled the med kit off the shelf. He managed to open the lid and pulled out a nanodoc injector, about the size of a ball point pen. He pressed it against his thigh and pushed the trigger on top.
The tube emitted a little chuff, and his leg tingled. Warmth immediately spread up his limb and expanded into his core. Breaths came easier, and agony from the arrow seemed more distant. He injected himself a second time just below where the broken end of the arrow emerged from under his collar bone.
Another jolt of strength pulsed through him. He'd pay a price soon enough, but he had to take care of what's-his-name. Nathan. He held a third nanodoc injector between his teeth and crawled back to the man's supine form.
The guy's skin was cold, and he didn't seem to be breathing. Haakon hoped he wasn't too late. He injected nanodocs in Nathan's thigh and held his breath.
Haakon's throat tightened. "Come on, guy. You can do it. Don't die on me."
Nathan's body spasmed and exploded in hacking coughs. He folded like a pretzel and gagged. A trickle of thick, yellow vomit splattered from his mouth to the floor. Another seizure gripped him and his back arched.
The foul odor roiled Haakon's stomach. Saliva flooded his mouth and he swallowed desperately. If he threw up, he'd probably pass out again, and he couldn't do that. Not yet.
"Come on, Nathan. You're going to be all right." Please be all right.
Just as suddenly as it started, the seizure ended. Hacking and spitting, Nathan unfolded to a sitting position, wrapping his arms about his knees. His eyes rolled in his head like billiard balls as he took in the refuge.
"Mrrphh...Where the fug...fuck are we?" His voice sounded like he'd been gargling razor blades.
"We're in a refuge. We'll be safe here. The Vikings won't be able to follow us." Haakon wanted to keep his voice calm and reassuring, but he couldn't stop the quaver that weakness forced on him.
At least Nathan was going to be all right.
"What happened to the cave?" Nathan stared at Haakon and his eyes widened. "Jesus, man, you look terrible. We need to get you to a hospital." He scooted over the floor and peered at Haakon's wound. "You've bled all over the place. Does this dump have a phone? I've lost mine."
Haakon's mouth quivered with a faint smile. "I think we're a little far from a hospital to do me any good. If you can get me to a bed, I can talk you through what needs done."
Nathan brushed a tangle of blond hair out of his face, leaving a crimson trail across his forehead. "You need a doctor."
Haakon bit his lower lip. He placed his hands on Nathan's shoulders and tried to stand. "Help me up." The nanodocs must really be pumping him full of endogenous morphiates. His shoulder didn't even hurt.
Nathan jumped up, wobbled for a moment, but then steadied himself. He lifted Haakon to his feet. "I don't think it's a good idea for you to move around."
Haakon was inclined to agree, but he'd be more comfortable in a bed for what he needed Nathan to do. "There's a bedroom through that doorway." He pulled Nathan in the direction he'd pointed. "Get me there. Then come back here and get the med kit." The room was swimming again. He hoped Nathan would be up to doing what was necessary.
"I still think we should call a doctor." Nathan all but carried him into the bunk room. The lights automatically flickered on. The crisp sheets and white pillows heaped on the matching king-sized beds were about as inviting as anything Haakon had seen in months.
He collapsed onto the surface and winced as the arrow's point, still protruding from his back, caught on the surface. "Get the med kit, okay?" He sat back up, hunkered over.
Without a word, Nathan ran from the room and returned with the kit. He plopped it on the sheets, opened the lid, and then turned to face Haakon. "What's next?"
"There should be latex gloves in there. And a spray bottle labeled liquid skin. Put the gloves on first."
Nathan snapped the gloves and place and then pulled an aerosol can from the kit. "You want me to spray this on your wound? Man, you need more than that."
Haakon tensed. "You're right. The nanodocs are already trying to eject the arrow. I can feel it. But they can't do it by themselves."
"Nanodocs. I injected us with them." His shoulder writhed in agony. "Look at the arrow."
Nathan stared, and his eyes bulged. "It's wiggling. Are you doing that?"
"No. It's the 'docs. They're tiny robots. But they can't push this out by themselves. It's too big. They need help. Your help."
"Tiny robots? Where'd you get them?" He stopped at looked at Haakon, his mouth agape. "They need my help? I'm not pulling that arrow out."
"I'll die if you don't. There's no time to get help, and the docs alone won't be enough." He stopped to gasp for breath. "Grab the end sticking out my back and pull it the rest of the way through. Be quick--it'll hurt less that way. Then spray the skin on both the front and back wounds."
"No way, man. I'll kill you."
"No, you won't. I'll pass out, maybe for a day or more. I'll need more nanodoc injections. That's those things that look like ball-point pens. There're instructions on how to use them. Give me one every three or four hours, and I'll be fine."
Nathan frowned, but he checked his wristwatch and nodded. "Got it.:"
A wave of dizziness made the room spin, and Haakon groaned. "We need to get that damned arrow out of me. I can't stay awake much longer."
Nathan chewed on the side of his mouth. "Don't die on me, man. I'll kill you if you do."
"I won't die. Promise."
"Here goes." Nathan steadied him with a solid grip on his good shoulder. "On three. One, two, three!"
A scream ripped at Haakon's throat. Pain seared through him and his body twisted in revolt. But Nathan was quick and relentless. The arrow rattled to the floor.
The liquid skin was cold at first, then burned like fire. Blackness narrowed Haakon's vision. He collapsed back onto the bed. But he had one more thing he had to do. "Nathan." A whisper was all he could manage.
Drops of blood had sprayed across the Nathan's handsome features. He really was good looking, not a geek at all. But now concern pooled in his eyes as he leaned over Haakon and stroked his hair. "Rest. You're one tough dude."
A laugh rattled into a cough. "You too. I'm losing it." He paused to suck in some air. "Whatever you do, don't go outside, okay?"
"What? Why not?"
His head fell back into the pillow. He summoned the last of his strength to whisper, "Saber toothed tigers."