Disclaimer: Hello, don't sue me. I don't own Digimon or anything remotely related to the topic except a few original characters and a certain plot idea to be implemented into this fic. As always, review or else I'll torture you to death with really lame jokes about plastic army men.
The room shook violently, plaster falling from the ceiling and dust caking just about everything. Crash's mane was busy being shaken out by the odd Leomon as I tried to work the door open. "It's stuck!" I shouted, pulling at the sealed hatch. "It won't budge an inch!"
"Then let me at it," Crash retorted, grabbing a blade from beneath his mattress. "Fist of the Beast King!" The stone door shattered into splinters, revealing other soldiers scrambling to get to their stations. Crash and I followed the pushing crowd and made our way to the surgeon's wing.
Sometime during the middle of the night I had woken to the rumblings of heavy bombardment upon our fortress. As I stood waiting for the wounded to come in, I tried to ascertain the situation. I needed a clear mind, free from worrying, so that I could perform my duty to the fullest.
We had been advancing on the Enemy's forces for some time in Yggdrassil, which meant that there were two possible explanations for the sudden attack of a hospital facility. Either the Enemy had sent troops to launch an offensive strike against us, or he was pushing us aside to make a way of escape for his forces. The latter seemed more the likely to me, and that meant that this attack was probably nothing more than a hit-and-fade attack.
"Right," I said to myself, ready to begin my work. The wounded had begun to come in now, moaning and many of them burned and bloody. "Bring that Strikedramon over here!" I shouted to an orderly. "And where's Sam?"
"Right here," she said, coming up behind me suddenly with her armor ready. "I have the sheers ready to go, Captain." I smiled, unwittingly. In the year-and-a-half that we had been in Yggdrassil, she had never once failed to call me "captain" in front of the subordinates.
We had the Strikedramon hooked up to the IV drip moments later and into an operating room. "Looks like third degree burns on sixty four percent of his body," I diagnosed, using the rule of nines. "He probably got caught in a fire-attack of some sort. Let's get this goo off him."
The Digimon was wide awake, though not feeling the pain. His violet eyes looked up at me and he tried to speak. "We were watching the gate," he moaned softly, barely audible over the din, "when they came in from the dark. They were all in dark robes."
"Quiet now," I tried to sooth him. He would be safe in here once we got his burns treated. "Who was leading the attack," I asked. That information could be the key to many of the casualties' survival.
"I don't know."
So that was that. I began clipping away the tattered and charred remains of his belt and trousers. Blackened skin had begun pealing away along with it, leaving raw flesh to be dealt with. This Strikedramon was going to have a difficult time recovering, especially given the increasing chance of infection.
"Blood clamps," I ordered, stretching out a claw to receive the item needed. I felt it slip easily into my claws, the cold and sterile metal feeling strangely alien to me. It always did when I was working on a patient that may not survive. But I began to operate anyway, moving as quickly as quality allowed.
In thirty minutes' time the Strikedramon was under sedation in a makeshift recovery room and the next patient was wheeled in while we sterilized the room once more. I gasped in horror as I saw the patient and growled angrily at the Enemy. I had had the privilege of dining with the Base Commander several times during the time I was Yggdrassil, and every time I saw him I was awestruck by the awkward dignity that he wrapped himself in.
That is until now, at least, when I saw him lying prone and in pain on the dolly being rolled in. The orderly who rolled him in filled me in on his condition, and told me that the commander had asked to be brought here for treatment. "He refused any pain killers we offered, too," the orderly told me, throwing a glance back at the commander.
"I must keep a clear mind to run this place and keep defenses up," he shouted, clearly hearing our hushed conversation. "Now get to work on me so I can get back out there!" I nodded to the orderly to get back to work and told Sam to grab the IV drips.
"I won't take it. Clear mind, Captain," he told me, looking up at me from the operating bed.
"I'm pulling rank, Commander," I bit out. "I don't need you squirming under the knife either. That's just a good way to get you killed." He told me to strap him down then tightly and to get to work without giving him any sort of drugs for the pain. "Sam, strap him in."
"Yes, sir," she said, grabbing the cords from a locker. "Looks like a collapsed lung and several broken ribs, Captain. We have to get this jacket off him and get the com rerouted in here."
I nodded once more and tore the commander's jacket away from him. "Tell the orderly to go have communications rerouted through here and through recovery room C-13." I had not turned from the commander yet, and he looked back up at me gravely, knowing what he was about to go through. "Sir, extreme pain clouds the mind as well," I warned.
"I've done this before," he told me. "Just have some faith."
"Yes, sir." And thus I began to cut him open to repair the damaged lung and ribs. The blood came immediately and I realized that he was hurt worse than we thought. "Internal bleeding," I muttered to Sam, who started the steps to clot it. "One of the ribs pierced the chest cavity and his liver. You take the bleeding; I'll work on the lung."
"Good," the commander wheezed as the orderly burst into the room to report that the com system had been successfully rerouted. "How long until dawn," he asked through the com. I briefly wondered what could be so important about the dawn and then dismissed it as a mystery to be solved later.
"Sir," I asked, "please try not to speak." He ignored me and pressured for an answer to his question again.
"Three hours," the commander repeated the voice at the other end of the com system. "Send up magnesium flares at fifteen minute intervals," he ordered. "That should hold them back until morning. We'll inspect the damage at that time and if we can possibly survive another night, we'll stay."
Stay? Was the commander seriously thinking of evacuating the hospital?Morning, though? I growled, trying to focus. I had already placed the supports that would keep the commander's lung from collapsing again, until it healed itself. Most of the work now revolved around patching him back up and getting his ribs splinted.
Robes! The Strikedramon said they had blended in with dark robes. "Commander, is it perchance a demon-squad?" I asked, setting up the internal splint. He growled an affirmative. The demon-squads were nasty and would pursue us until either all of them died, or we escaped their territory.
The drones that the enemy used were usually mindless, but sometimes he infused them with unholy spirits to create vicious, but intelligent monsters. "All done commander," I said, untying him from the table. He tried to move and winced in pain, then tried again and stood.
"Thank you, Captain," he told me, settling himself into a wheel chair to be rolled out onto the battlefield again. I protested his decision to go back out, but knew it would not change his mind at all. The commander was just too stubborn to back away from a challenge. "I'll manage," he told me as he wheeled himself out and down the ramp form the surgeon's wing.
Dawn came slowly as more wounded were carted in. Most of them were burn victims, though some were mentally paralyzed through some sort of nightmare infestation. It seemed similar to the patients we had to quarantine in Ea, reminding distinctly how close to the beast we were. None of them were saved, unfortunately. The treatment was still being developed in Ea, and had therefore not had been manufactured for actual use.
It was the start of a long list of names on the body count.
The commander had said it was supposed to be only three hours until the attack halted, but it seemed more on the lines of five or six. After he had gone back out into the battle I had seen him thrice more before the night was through, replacing the splint and support for his internals. I have to give him credit, though, for not abandoning the fight outside. It served to bolster the defense crews' morale noticeably. And by morning we were mopping up the remnants of the demon-squad that had launched the assault.
Currently, Sam and I were taking surveys of our patients as they recovered when we came across one of the mass recovery rooms that had a view into the courtyard. "Have those windows blotted out from the middle down to the bottom," I ordered, seeing that the once green fields had been turned to ash colored crematoriums for the enemy bodies.
No souls left in them, I reflected heavily, then shook the thought aside.
Our Strikedramon patient was recovering nicely. His bio-tank had stopped any infections that might have begun otherwise, and new scales were already replacing the dead flesh that covered more than half his body. The delirium of the night had left him unable to recognize either myself or Sam, and we conducted our rounds without incident. I don't think I could stand to leave someone I knew, not after Ea.
Once our rounds were completed we found ourselves in the officers' mess hall, dining on native wildlife. The mood was a somber one, even though we had defended our walls well enough (one of the walls had been destroyed, but was rapidly being rebuilt). Several of our chief physicians had been killed in the siege on the way to their duty stations, as well as several valued officers in the defense crew.
The damage the fortress had taken was minor, except for the breach in the wall. Four turrets had been destroyed, killing the crews inside, and the central food gardens had been torched as well. Thankfully, the base commander had asked for several months of backup supplies.
The real problem came from our recent lack of communications. The external com-rays had been one of the targets of the attack, presumably so that we would not be able to call for support. Whatever the case, the Enemy had done a fantastic job of blowing our com array to bits.
"Grey?" Sam asked idly from beside me. "Do you the rumors are true—that the war is almost over?" She slipped an arm around me tightly and I could tell that she hoped with all her might that it would be over soon. "I wouldn't mind seeing Muspelshiem again."
"I wouldn't mind seeing Kishar again, either.
The station rolled away from me as if on a track. Elder stood by silently, waving a large claw goodbye. It was a shame that no one else had come to see me off, but not unexpected. All of them had jobs and could not afford to take any time off from them, even for me.
After boarding the transport it had been a little bit of a challenge to get my bag into the overhead compartment, so I stuck it under the seat instead. The conductor smiled benignly, knowing where I was headed, though he made it a point to not talk to me. I suppose that it was his job to navigate, not talk, and that it required his full attention. Never mind the poor Agumon in the back who was leaving home for the first time.
I sighed and watched out the window. The navigator had worked the transport up to a terrific speed and the landscape flashed past me like a Thundermon on a caffeine high. Soon we'd be out of Kishar proper and on our way to basic. Finally the last of the outskirts and suburbs flew away behind us and faded into the horizon. For a long while I sat watching the farmland. Once in a while there would be another transport going the opposite direction and it would vanish as quickly as it had come.
I had brought very few things with me, mostly personal effects, so there was nothing for me to do but take a nap and hope that I would arrive sometime during my sleep. I had no such luck in that endeavor and by the time I woke up, the transport was still several hours out from the encampment.
So I waited, wondering when I would see my home again. Most likely I would die on the field or, worse yet, get myself captured and turned into a drone. The thought made me shudder. No, I wouldn't see my home for a long, long while.
"I wouldn't mind getting home again at all," I repeated, spooning a bite of something into my mouth. "You'd like it there. It's nice and warm in the summer and rather nice in the winter too… And Elder is the best cook you'll ever meet."
Sam snorted her sort of laugh and told me she loved me. I gave her my reply, followed by a quick squeeze on her claw. If there was one thing that could keep my mind off of home, it was her. "We'll be together after the war," she told me. "And if we're not, then more shame on us."
The meal was finished sometime later. Crash had taken the liberty of staying away from us when he saw Sam's arm slip around me, something I was glad of. But he once again resumed his position on the opposite side of the table when the commander meandered up to the front of the room on two crutches.
"Officers," he said, automatically commanding the attention each individual. "We're facing an enemy on the move, one that is cornered and extremely dangerous. Based off of what little information we have from the outside world, the Enemy has been beaten out of Yggdrassil and is on the offensive, trying to punch out a way of escape through our rear."
The commander paused, letting the information sink in. All of us had known that and he knew that we knew just as well. The review, though, was leading up to the real crux of the problem. "Much to our dismay and trouble," the commander continued, "the Enemy has decided to go right through our back yard. That was why he attacked last night, to take our defenses down. It is my guess that he plans on bringing the bulk of his forces through in the next few nights while our turrets are down."
"We're safe, then," someone spoke, the commander glancing at him. "If he just wanted our turrets down, then we're safe." I shook my head at him. That Digimon was ignorant of the Enemy's fighting style.
"He'll do as much damage as possible on his way through," I replied. If there was one thing I was sure of, it was that we needed to get some kind of defense grid in place before the Enemy had the chance to strike against us again. "He'll wipe us out if we don't have some kind of defense."
The commander was nodding approvingly now. He loved getting feedback from the rest of us. "And what do you suggest, then, Captain," he asked me. "You're quite right, but there is not much we can do."
"Mine field," I suggested, rather unthinkingly. "We set out a mine field and a line of auto-defense turrets. And of course we have plenty of men to defend the breach in the wall, which we're already hard at work in repairing."
"Or we could rig the place to explode," Sam added. "We evacuate, get as far away as we can, and then when the Enemy comes through we detonate the entire armory." Explosions were not quite out of the question, it seemed, as the commander had a thoughtful expression on his pointed muzzle. "They might even take this place as somewhere where they can base a campaign to take back Yggdrassil. If that's the case, we can blow most of their officers to bits too."
"They'll run a sweep of the entire complex," the commander objected, rather aversely. The thoughtful expression remained, however. "However, we can rig the explosives to be invisible to their sweep… Get an extra sapper team on the wall right away and a det-squad on the landmine defense and armory. We're leaving."
"Where to, then?" the earlier objector voiced.
"We're going to Yggdrassil proper," the commander told him gravely. "Order the evacuation and the transports out. The sick and wounded will be pulled by the Monochromon, and we'll want them well armored. Mobile turrets are to be attached directly behind the top hatch. Other beast Digimon will act as mounts for the humanoids to make all speed to Yggdrassil."
He stepped away from the center of the room and headed for the door. The rest of the officers (including myself) hurried after him to begin the evacuation and prepare for the new tenants of the converted concentration camp.