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FIC: The Price of Love 6/?

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  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    The Price of Love 6/? For disclaimers, etc., see part one. Author s Note: Finally, we re into the medical drama part of your standard Khaki fic. My favorite.
    Message 1 of 1 , May 27, 2001
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      The Price of Love 6/?

      For disclaimers, etc., see part one.

      Author's Note: Finally, we're into the medical drama part of your
      standard Khaki fic. My favorite. :-) Technical information from
      the USDA Strychnine Pesticide Fact Sheet.

      *****

      "Jeanie?" Logan's voice, filled with desperation and near panic drew
      me away from my preparations as he and Rogue entered the lab. At a
      quick glance, neither of them seemed symptomatic, but that could
      change quickly.

      I'd donned level two biohazard gear thanks to Scott's warning and was
      ready to treat them. It was basically the standard surgical attire
      except for a long-sleeved plastic jumpsuit to cover my scrubs and a
      face shield to protect my skin from any poison remaining.

      "Over there," I said pointing at the privacy screens I'd set up in a
      corner of the room. "Take everything off, get any remaining blood
      off your skin, and put on the hospital gowns."

      They obeyed without one clever quip or comment, and that more than
      anything underscored how seriously they were taking their predicament.

      When they emerged, I pointed them to the beds I'd summoned from the
      floor. I had blood kits waiting by each bed. I needed to take
      samples from both of them to get some sort of idea of the type of
      poison I was facing. Logan refused to lay down on his bed. Instead,
      he helped Rogue onto her bed and stayed by her side, touching her
      shoulder where the thin fabric of the gown protected him.

      "Logan, I need to examine both of you,"

      "Her first, Red," he responded, his voice brooking no arguments.

      "Ok, she's first, but you're next, Logan," I answered, my own voice
      just as strong.

      I drew Rogue's blood without any problems, but a few minutes later,
      when I was drawing a sample from Logan as he sat next to her bed, she
      started to shift uncomfortably.

      "The lights," she mumbled, clumsily pulling her arm up to try and
      cover her eyes. Her movements were jerky and uncoordinated.

      Logan immediately stood up, ignoring the fact that I still had a
      needle in his vein. I quickly extracted it so he wouldn't injure
      himself and turned my attention to Rogue as well.

      "Marie," Logan asked. "What's wrong? What about the lights?"

      "Too bright," she whined, her voice rising in pain.

      I psychically adjusted the light level while Logan settled a hand
      comfortingly on her shoulder. She flinched away from his touch,
      wincing like she'd been burned. She was starting to sweat, a fine
      sheen developing on her face.

      "Rogue, what is it?" I asked. "Can you tell me what your symptoms
      are?"

      "Everything hurts. Don't talk. Don't touch," she gasped out through
      gritted teeth.

      Her heart monitor started beeping more rapidly and then her whole
      body stiffened, every muscle tightening.

      "Jean, do something!" Logan demanded, his voice frantic with worry.

      Rogue arched up off the bed and started convulsing so violently that
      I worried she might fall off.

      "Hold her down," I ordered Logan as I ran to the supply room for soft
      restraints.

      I'd only used them once, when a young mutant boy had come into my
      care. Mark was a telepath who'd spent the better part of three years
      in an insane asylum before coming to the mansion. He'd been
      manipulated by the voices in his head to hurt himself and the
      restraints were the only way to protect him from harm until the
      professor could reach him. Just the thought of what he'd had to
      endure made me shudder to this day.

      Since it'd been years since I'd used them, it took me over a minute
      to find the restraints. When I came rushing back into the room, I
      was greeted by a horrifying image. Rogue was lying quiet on the
      medical table and Logan was slumped over her, his bare hand still
      touching her forehead.

      I screamed something unintelligible as I used my power to throw him
      off of her. I couldn't let him touch her for one more second. Logan
      collapsed to the floor bonelessly, seemingly lifeless. I never
      should have left him alone with her.

      As I levitated his body up to the table I'd prepared for him, Scott
      burst into the Med Lab with a small, thin woman in tow.

      "Jean, she's the one who..." he started to say, then he stopped when
      he saw Logan and Rogue, both unconscious and unmoving.

      "Put her in the quarantine room," I said, not even looking up from
      Logan's body.

      I summoned E.K.G. pads from the nearby heart monitor and quickly
      hooked him up. His heart was beating rapidly, almost twice the
      normal rhythm, but he wasn't breathing. I mentally floated an
      intubation tray over to his bed and quickly tubed him, starting the
      artificial respirator.

      Once he was temporarily stabilized, I checked on Rogue. Her heart
      had slowed down to a normal rhythm and she was breathing normally.
      From everything I could tell, she was unconscious, but otherwise
      unhurt.

      Scott returned from the quarantine rooms in the back of the lab just
      as Logan started seizing. His body stiffened and his claws shot out,
      then he started arching and straightening, slamming forcefully into
      the bed.

      "Scott, those restraints," I shouted, cocking my head in the
      direction of the leather bindings I'd abandoned on the floor. I was
      using my body and my telekinesis to hold Logan down and it was barely
      working. I couldn't keep him still for long. We attached the
      leather chest strap first, cinching it down on his chest when he'd
      straightened out during the seizure. With Logan's chest held down
      and his body taut, it was easier to get the other straps into place.

      It was only after we'd gotten his body securely fastened that I
      realized Logan was in danger of something far worse than just falling
      off a table. His jaw was clenched shut so tightly that he'd clamped
      off the ventilator tubing. He wasn't getting any air.

      "Dammit!" I shouted, trying to pry his jaw open with my hands and my
      TK. It didn't work. The brain can only last four to six minutes
      without oxygen before irreparable damage occurs. Logan'd been
      seizing for about two minutes, and I had no idea when he'd stop.

      Diazepam! I could administer it intravenously to stop the seizures.
      Leaving Scott by Logan's side, I hurried to the drug locker and flung
      it open. Grabbing an I.V. kit, saline bag, and a bottle of diazepam,
      I went back to my patient.

      The seizure was affecting every muscle in his body. Even the muscles
      in his face were twisted up in a tight smile. His eyes were wide
      open, almost bulging, and the pupils were so dilated that I could
      barely detect the hazel color. I couldn't tell if he was awake or
      unconscious, but I hoped he couldn't feel what was happening to him.

      I immediately found a vein in his straining arm and set up the drip,
      administering a little more than would be called for in a human
      patient, but not too much. Rogue had absorbed his powers, so he was
      temporarily weakened, but there was no way to tell how much of his
      abilities she had permanently acquired.

      The seizures stopped as quickly as they'd begun, Logan's body
      collapsing into complete relaxation. His jaw was still locked
      closed, but there was enough space to maneuver the tubing out of his
      throat.

      I pulled over a tracheotomy tray and set it next to his bed. When I
      placed my gloved left hand on his neck to tighten the skin for my
      scalpel cut, the muscles in his neck jumped. He was tied down well
      enough to allow for the minor surgery, however, despite how difficult
      his flexing muscles made the procedure. Finally, almost five minutes
      after the start of his seizure, I had established a more secure
      airway for him.

      Still, it was only a temporary solution. I had no idea what kind of
      poison he had in his system or how to treat him. Blood studies would
      take time that he might not have. With his metallic skeleton, I
      couldn't risk him going into cardiac arrest. I might not be able to
      bring him back.

      Scott had been there the entire time, watching as I worked on Logan,
      but I'd been too busy to acknowledge his offers of help until
      now. "Scott, get on my computer, the medical database, and look up
      these symptoms for a poison."

      I waited while Scott got a pen and notepad. "Sensitivity to light,
      sound, and touch. Tonic and clonic seizures. Pupils dilated. Eyes
      wide open. Got it?"

      "Got it," he replied.

      Even with the seizure medication, Logan was twitching. It seemed to
      correspond to the sound of my voice, but I couldn't be sure. The
      heart monitors and his ventilator were also making a lot of noise in
      the room and the twitching didn't stop completely when I'd stopped
      speaking.

      While Scott searched my comprehensive database, I changed gloves and
      walked back to the quarantine rooms to find the mutant who had
      started all this. Why she had attacked Logan and Rogue and how she
      had gotten on the mansion grounds in the first place were questions
      foremost in my mind, but I pushed them aside. My patient couldn't
      wait for me to satisfy my curiosity.

      "How do you treat it?" I asked without preamble.

      She looked up from her crouched position on the floor in the back
      corner. Her face was so pale and sharply lined, she looked almost
      like a cadaver, like a warning of the death she brought to others.

      She didn't ask me what I was talking about, she just answered, "You
      don't. They die."

      I wasn't about to accept that death sentence. "There has to be a
      way."

      "No one's ever figured it out," she said, her raspy voice slightly
      tinged with regret. "They die too fast."

      I couldn't believe that. How could this woman kill without trying
      everything in her power to find a cure for the next time an accident
      happened?

      "Jean?" Scott's voice called to me from the main room. "I think I
      found something."

      I left our pitiful captive behind to see if Scott's search for
      answers was more productive than mine.

      "Venom tell you anything?" Scott asked as he surrendered the computer
      chair to me.

      "Venom? That's her name?" I asked, settling into the chair. When I
      saw what was up on the screen, I forgot any curiosity I had about our
      mysterious intruder. "Strychnine?"

      "Yes," Scott answered. "It has the same symptoms."

      I examined the information. "It takes much larger doses to produce
      these reactions with skin contact and the activation time is 15 to 30
      minutes. So, it's looks like we have a fast acting strychnine
      derivative on our hands."

      Treatment. I scrolled down the page only to find that there was no
      treatment medication for dermal exposure. All the medications had to
      do with oral exposure to the poison. As I scanned paragraphs of
      suggesting gastric lavage and ipecac, I found a piece of information
      that I could actually use.

      "In poisoning by strychnine," the article began, "the patient must be
      kept absolutely quiet, no noises should be permitted, nor should even
      a draught of air be permitted to strike the body."

      Of course, Rogue had been so sensitive to touch and light before the
      seizures began. Logan is still twitching despite the I.V.
      anticonvulsants. Maybe if I got him into a quiet room...

      "Scott, I need your help," I said, rising from the computer station
      and going back to the supply room for a stretcher.

      "Ok," he said, following me as I gathered the things I needed.

      Scott and I released Logan from the soft restraints. Even though he
      was still jerking a little, there was no danger of him falling
      anymore. I TK'd Logan onto the stretcher and spent a few moments
      detaching him from the fixed machines and transferred him to the
      portable heart monitor and ventilator. I pushed the stretcher while
      Scott rolled the ventilator behind us.

      I had just gotten Logan hooked up to the more permanent equipment in
      his new room and had switched the readouts to silent alarm when I
      heard Rogue's blood-chilling scream from the main room of the Med
      Lab. "LO-GAN!!!"

      *****

      TBC.
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