Response to the "ER" challenge. The challenge requirements were:
Either Luke OR Vader has been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. The only hope of survival is the cooperation of a close family member, who must donate something organic (e.g. an organ, blood, tissue, bone marrow etc).
The fic can be set before Luke knows Vader is his father, if you so wish.
The fic must feature:
1) Luke and Vader
2) at least one real medical fact about the type of donation you have
3) in true tv medical drama style, a scene where a bunch of doctors run along a corridor pushing an emergency stretcher, and yelling medical jargon at each other.
- bonus points if you can make this scene credible.
Medical Technician Xil Qualar stormed down the corridor flanked by two medbay assistants. He snatched a medical chart from the stick-like fingers of the Verpine who hurried along at his right, his taloned toes scratched at the durasteel flooring. The Verpine's antennae twitched in annoyance, but he remained silent as the Omwati doctor scanned the notes quickly without breaking his stride.
"What is the patient's condition?" Xil asked, his intense blue eyes still studying the chart.
"Patient has suffered from a massive dose of Quilar venom..."
The Omwati doctor stopped in his tracks and stared at the Verpine, his pale blue skin faded to a near white; his eyes reflected a mixture of horror and morbid curiosity.
"Kai," Xil whispered to the Verpine, "When... when will he arrive?"
Kai's fathomless black eyes stared back betraying no emotion, "Momentarily."
Xil nodded, tucked the chart under his arm and ran down the corridor.
Xil felt his pulse quicken when he saw the patient strapped down to the gurney being tugged out of the emergency escort. As soon as the hovering form was free of the vehicle, Xil sprung forward and pressed his stethoscope against the victim's chest. He jogged along side the stretcher as it glided into the medbay and down the corridor.
"How long ago was he infused with the venom?" Xil demanded.
"About thirty minutes ago," a desperate voice said from his elbow. Xil started and glanced to his side to find that a young brunette was keeping pace with the stretcher right next to him. He was about to protest her presence when he recognized the tear-streaked face.
"Your highness!" he gasped, nearly tripping on the feet of the emergency response tech in front of him, "Were you with him when this occurred?"
She nodded, clasping the prone figure's hand. "Please, this can't be happening, I can't lose him too!"
Xil dismissed the princess' added comment; he didn't have time to think about it. "I need an IV here, stat!" he yelled, "This patient needs anti-venom!"
"It will not work!" the insectoid insisted from across the gurney, "The proper cocktail must be produced."
Xil shot a dirty look at Kai, "I am well aware," he snapped, "however until we can obtain access to a clean sample of his blood, we must give him something to help him hold onto life... and sanity."
"What do you mean?" Leia's broken voice cut into the argument.
Xil glanced down at her, a serious expression on his soft features, "The Quilar's venom contains a hallucinogenic component, if he falls too deeply into the coma that the poison induces, then his brain may lose its rational functionality."
Leia stopped dead in the corridor and watched with wide eyes as her best friend vanished into the emergency operating room. She could hear the technicians screaming orders at each other until the door swung shut behind them.
And then there was silence.
When the patient was as stable he could be without anti-venom, Xil sent Kai out to find Princess Leia. He'd searched every possible record and had found, much to his dismay, that Luke Skywalker had not once, in his three and half years of service, submitted a blood sample.
There was no uncontaminated sample available.
Unless they found a close family member to donate blood for the anti-venom cocktail, Luke Skywalker would be locked in a perpetual nightmare and die when his brain shut down from the shock.
He hoped against hope that the princess could provide a name of a donor.
"Luke's an orphan!" Leia cried hysterically. She could not believe this nightmare. First Han was frozen in carbonite and sold off like some piece of commodity art, and now Luke... He was stuck in a comatose-state; trapped in unthinkable nightmares that would eventually terrify him to death—literary.
The Omwati doctor sat across from her; an unreadable expression masked his face, but she could see desperation in his eyes. He reached out and took her hand.
"We'll take a sample of his blood; the genetic structure is still intact. We will search all available data, Alliance and Imperial alike."
Leia raised her head and looked at him in shock, "But how...?"
"My assistant, the Verpine, he was once a slave on an Imperial starship. I don't know what you know of the Verpine, but they are technological junkies. During his... stay there, Kai was able to access networks of information and enter a code that would allow him in from any location. It's risky, but if there's a match out there, there's a good bet that the Empire would have it on file."
Xil shifted his gaze away from the princess, his blue eyes radiated discomfort, "My... my father was in the service of Grand Moff Tarkin in the early years the Empire," he looked at Leia with what looked like guilt to her, "In the days when people believed that the Empire would bring peace and order. He worked rather close to the Grand Moff and there were whispers of the name Skywalker. He never found out who this Skywalker was... but..."
Leia shook her head and grabbed his arm, dragging him up from his seat, "A hunch is enough for me, doctor! Let's see what we turn up!"
Leia found her eyes glued to Luke's face as Xil and Kai extracted the small blood sample from Luke's arm. She crossed her arms over her chest, trying not to squirm.
"Wh... why do you need a blood sample from Luke or a family member for this..."
"Anti-toxin cocktail," Kai finished for her.
"The venom infects the red blood cells. It slowly rewrites the genetic data, changing the hemoglobin concentration." Xil glanced up and noticed the bewildered look on the princess' face. "Oxygen levels," he explained, "as the hemoglobin levels decrease the brain functions slow and become overwhelmed by the hallucinations that are brought on by the venom. The combination of the two completely shut down the body; resulting in fatality."
Leia nodded stiffly. This donor search was their only chance. Would they find a long lost relative of Luke out there?
Kai tapped his long, clawed fingers on the desktop as the computer scanned through the millions of Imperial data files, searching for a match to the blood sample he had provided. The patient was slipping further into his coma by the hour and everyone in the medbay was beginning to believe that Luke Skywalker had simply come out of nowhere. But Kai could not accept that his computer couldn't find a match. Out of the billions of beings in the galaxy, one of them had to share blood with this boy—
The computer chimed at him.
Kai's black eyes stared at the screen as a file popped up, exposing a simple string of information. The Verpine leapt from his seat and charged down the corridor. He skidded into Luke Skywalker's room, scratching the floor and walls with his claws. He hissed through his mandibles, "A match. A perfect match."
Xil stood dropping a datapad from his hand, "What?"
Most of the information in the file was locked under strict classification. Xil, Kai, and Leia pushed this disturbing development aside, they would deal with that when it came. Kai was able to hack through enough barriers to find a contact number.
"I can send a message," he rasped, "but we'll have no idea who we're sending it to. I can't guarantee that the owner of this blood sample will receive the message."
"Do it anyway. Give them the coordinates of a deserted system. I'll take Luke there on a shuttle and rendezvous." Leia said.
Xil shook his head, "That is far too dangerous."
"We can't send the coordinates of the base to an unknown Imperial, but we don't have time to play message tag. We need that blood now."
Xil was silent for a moment, thinking, "Very well, but I will accompany you."
"So will I," Kai chimed in immediately.
"No, I can't let you endanger yourselves too."
Xil shrugged, "And I can't let you take a patient out of my custody."
Leia blinked at Xil's cold logic, "Very well. Send the message; then we'll go prep Luke and a medical shuttle for departure."
The cold expanse of space lay before him dotted with the profiles of Imperial warships. He watched as the massive fleet ordered itself in relation to the ship he gazed out at them from: the Executor.
The Dark Lord of the Sith turned away from the viewport, "I will be in my quarters," he remarked to the Executor's admiral as he strode by. When Vader finally reached his quarters, he looked again from the viewport out at the gathering starships. Their stark surfaces gleamed with the light cast from the system's sun. This was beauty. Power: ordered and harnessed.
His eyes were drawn to his desk where a small light flashed. He frowned. Moving to the desk he sat, frowning still at the offending flashing light. He slapped the console to call up the message. It was text, not hologramatic, and sent through the holonet databanks; one of his spies would never communicate with him via such an insecure line. So, he began to read.
I was not able to find your name in the databanks where I found this call number, so I am contacting you out of faith, my situation is desperate. My friend is suffering from a massive dose of Quilar venom and needs an anti-venom cocktail made from untainted blood from either himself or a close family member. We have no sample from him, so we searched the databanks to find a match—and we found you. According to our computer, you are parent to my friend.
Vader sat bolt upright.
I don't know how this is possible; he thinks that he is an orphan. Please, meet me at the coordinates enclosed. You are our only hope. I will have a medical shuttle with only myself, my friend, and two medical techs on board. Please help us.
Vader stared at the screen for several moments. He thought he could hear the sound of his own heartbeat. Then he slammed his fist into the comm. unit.
"Milord?" the shaky voice of the admiral returned.
"Sent a message out to the fleet telling them to remain here until we return; set course for the coordinates that I'm transmitting to you."
There was an uncertain pause, then a hurried reply, "Yes, Milord, right away."
"Send the head medical technician to my quarters immediately."
"Ye— Yes, Milord."
Leia was staring out of the cockpit viewport, she could no longer hide the fact that she was trembling.
"You need rest," a soft voice spoke behind her.
Leia gasped and turned to find Xil standing in the hatchway, looking down at her. He looked otherworldly with his willowy silver hair and pale blue skin, but it was his eyes that mesmerized Leia and calmed her; those eyes that looked like blue fire.
"I'm sorry," she said, her voice shaking, "you startled me."
Xil moved slowly and sat in the copilot's seat, he leaned forward and looked at her, concerned, "Then it is I who should be apologizing, I did not mean to frighten you."
Leia waved it off and looked back out the viewport.
"You carry a heavy burden with you," Xil spoke softly, "to truly help the people you care about— you must first care for yourself."
Leia looked back at him, her eyes full of tears, "There were three of us. Three perfect friends. But then I did the unthinkable and fell in love with one of them," she choked slightly holding back a sob, "He was frozen in carbonite by Vader a few weeks ago..."
"Yes, I know of it. And Luke lost his hand."
Leia nodded, "Luke hasn't been the same since, but he's still been here. But now... now, I might lose him too."
"If we make contact with this donor, the chances of saving him are very high."
"If we make contact!" she spat bitterly, "Who knows who's going to receive that message! I mean, what kind of parent lets their child grow up thinking that they're an orphan! Or maybe the file isn't even current! Maybe that person is dead!"
Leia stopped and looked at Xil who had suddenly gone very pale.
"I think I know to whom we sent that message, your highness."
Leia turned her head and followed Xil's gaze out the viewport.
The Executor was hanging in space before them and a TIE escort was heading straight for them.
A/N: It was kinda bugging me that Leia is a close blood relative and they didn't find her as a match. I had Kai check the Imperial databank first, and it happened to find Vader's file before Leia's and they didn't continue the search. That's how I'm justifying it to myself; I hope it works for you too. We do what we must to make it an L/V.