" Lucy, there's a head injury in Three. Homeless, possibly crazy." Mark Greene handed her a chart. " Work him up and then come get me."
Lucy Knight began thumbing through the file. Dr. Greene was giving her an easy one. Some guy jumped by a street gang outside of a pharmacy, mostly lacerations and bruises. Access the wounds, access his level of awareness, and get the bed free.
Sometimes being a doctor was just like doing a paint by numbers picture. Except that there was a lot more vomit.
Still, when she stepped into the exam room, she was pleased that her homeless, possibly crazy patient was sitting quietly on the edge of the exam bed. Sure, he was holding a bloody rag to his forehead but he was bleeding so that was normal. He wasn't muttering an angry manifesto, and most importantly he didn't appear to stink at all.
Homeless people weren't usually so well groomed either, but the young man seemed neatly dressed. His dark curly hair was very short, and he was clean shaven. Arab appearing, or maybe Greek. She wondered if Dr. Greene had even read the file. Maybe, she thought darkly, its some sort of test. Knowing her luck, the guy didn't even speak English.
" Hi. I'm Lucy Knight. I'm a medical student and I am going to stitch up that laceration and ask you a few questions." Please speak English, she prayed. This will go so much easier if you speak English.
He looked at her. "I'm bleeding. Some kids beat me up and asked me where the towel for my head was. I don't understand what they meant. Then, when I was just trying to get back to where I left my raptor, so I could fly back to base and the others, a police officer made me come here."
Damn, Lucy thought. Attractive, English speaking, and crazy. It figured. " Let me take a look at that. I'll get you fixed up and then we'll talk."
Mark Greene wanted to smack Lucy Knight across the face. His headache was back, his father was at his house, gamely dying of lung cancer, and the last thing he wanted to deal with was her inability to handle things. " Lucy, did he say he wants to hurt himself?" he asked as he followed her to the exam room.
" No, but he does want to leave so he can go to his spaceship, Dr. Greene." Lucy said earnestly.
Mark looked down at the file as he strode into the room. " Are you Felix Gaeta?" he asked the young man sitting on the bed.
" Yes," the young man said. " I'm not crazy. I think your student misunderstood…."
"You don't have any urge to harm yourself, do you?" Mark waited.
" No, not at all." Gaeta seemed taken back.
" But you are planning to head to a spaceship once we let you go," Lucy added helpfully.
" I was hit in the head," the patient said earnestly. " I don't know what I was saying."
Great, Mark thought tiredly. " So if we let you leave, you're not going to cut off your genitals and take poison, thinking that there's a spaceship in the Hale-Bopp comet that will take you away, right?"
Gaeta looked at him, aghast. " Why would anyone do that???"
Mark rolled his eyes. " Do you have any id, Mr. Gaeta? Anyone that you can call to pick you up?" Because the guy didn't seem to be raving, and was well kept. Lucy didn't make things up, but the man had been hit in the head during a mugging. Maybe he was a little delusional, but he seemed harmless enough. On the other hand, the last thing he needed was a mental patient walking out and getting killed. The hospital had enough lawsuits and he was tired of Kerry Weaver riding his ass.
" I was robbed," Gaeta said helpfully. "And I'm… new. In the city."
" Right…" Mark sighed. " Do you have a place to live? A job? Insurance?" At each the young man shook his head. " Do you know where you are, Mr. Gaeta?"
" Chicago." Gaeta said easily. " And this is a hospital and I think you're assessing my stability. I assure you, I have no wish to harm myself."
Seems normal, Mark mused, but… " If I let you go, if I don't place you on a psych hold, where will you go?" Because being well groomed meant a caring relative somewhere and Mark wasn't up for another lawsuit.
"Um… away from here?" Gaeta rubbed his head. "Your student gave me a pain killer, it's hard to think."
" Yeah, ok. Lucy, call psych. Mr. Gaeta, it could be that you've just been hit in the head a little too hard, but I can't allow you to leave until we have you assessed by the psychiatric department. Besides, you're concussed. Don't worry about the bill, this is a county hospital. Just lie down and someone will bring you some dinner. We're going to keep you for the next few hours. Make sure everything is all right." He turned to Lucy. " Call the cops and the usual places. Someone's probably missing him."
"I'm not mentally incompetent just because I don't have ID," Gaeta protested.
"Psych should be down in an hour or two. If you continue to be responsive and alert, they'll sign you out." Mark handed the chart back to Lucy. "You know the procedure."
The guy seemed harmless but better safe than sorry. Not that he really cared that much. He had a Valentines date to worry about that was less than 24 hours away.
Felix Gaeta sighed. He had screwed up big time. Not only had he messed up the mission by getting assaulted, he would be late to the rendezvous and empty handed as well. He was supposed to purchase as much of what the Earth people called "over the counter drugs" as he could and bring them back to the Galactica. People were desperate for any medicine and they hadn't cracked how the Earth societies worked hardly at all. It was easier in the United States, since they weirdly spoke the same language, but just figuring out the money system worked, and manufacturing the counterfeit money…. They weren't ready to get "prescription" drugs, they didn't know enough. He had been chosen for the first mission because he was considered clever enough to not slip up and look where he was. Waiting for the shrink to decide he was crazy.
And he still didn't know what a towel head was. It couldn't be good. All he had done was walk by the young people and he had been attacked. And robbed, and if they had learned anything from the planet's teeming wireless broadcasts, it was that a person needed money on earth. So when he finally escaped the hospital, which was a screaming bedlam compared to Cottle's sickbay, he would be returning empty handed.
Since he felt fine, he got up and went to the door of his room and peeked out. He had his clothes, although the thieves had relieved him of his warm jacket, so if he did leave, it would be very cold. The young medical student had taken his shoes as well, no doubt to keep him from leaving. So far it was working. Jacketless and shoeless was no way to be in Chicago. Chicago was very snowy, and dirty. In a lot of ways it reminded him of New Caprica.
Fewer Cylons though. He fought down the sudden shudder. We found Earth and things will be all right, he told himself. It was just disappointing that Earth was such a mess. The people of the fleet were desperate. Which meant he needed to get back to the hidden Raptor and at least report in. The Raptor was nicely stealthed and Earth technology wasn't great, although they seemed to spend a lot of time focused on wireless entertainment. The Raptor made pick up once a day, and he was likely to miss the next pick up for supplies. When he got back, he was going to suggest changing supply sites to somewhere warmer. Like Hawaii. Hawaii looked very nice on the wireless.
It would be so much easier to escape if he was in Hawaii.
Still, Earth people, especially the American Earth people, were similar enough. Doctors wore white coats, nurses didn't. Sick people were everywhere and he made a point of trying to avoid them. The very last thing he wanted was to bring some deadly plague back to the fleet.
He carefully wove his way through the crowded hallway and reached the front desk. Nurses were there and doctors. He had been to hospitals before. This one was a chaotic mess, but that was nothing to him. He dealt with chaotic messes all the time. Earth was very different, but he was certain he had spotted a kindred soul at the desk.
"Excuse me," he said to the dark haired clerk that was wearing an outfit even a group of solicitors from Picon would have considered whorishly inappropriate, " I've been waiting for several hours for a doctor to decide whether I'm insane or not. Is it possible for you to give me an eta on when this is actually going to happen?"
" What? Are you late for the crazy people convention at the Ritz?" the woman snapped.
He hadn't learned much from working as a political aide but he knew how to handle her. He leaned over the desk conspiratorially. " If I say yes, would that make things go any quicker?"
The desk clerk eyed him, and then smiled slyly. " No, but you're funny. That means I won't have security haul your ass back to your room and tie you down." She looked at her nails, which were adorned with a variety of colors. Then she looked at the board. " Which crazy person are you? Crazy, came in with a headache and freaked out, crazy talks to dead people, or crazy thinks he's a spaceman?"
" I'm not actually crazy," Felix said with a touch of pique.
She looked him over. " You're not dirty, and you're not screaming. You're crazy spaceman in room 3."
"I have a name," he said.
" Yeah, Felix. It's on the board. I'm Randi, your doctor has left for the day, and if you piss me off, you'll be waiting for the next two days. Now go back to your room and be glad there's no dead bodies in there, because we're kinda backed up. It's gonna be a while." After a moment, she seemed to relent. She handed him a can of soda pop and a heart shaped piece of paper. " Here. Happy Valentine's Day. I'll have someone call psych for you. Now go away."
He did as he was told, wondering as he looked at the card what exactly Valentine's Day was.
Lucy hated the days when Dr. Carter treated her like crap. That was just about every day they worked together lately. Soon, she told herself. I'll be a doctor soon. It was February and soon she would be an intern. Hopefully. And hopefully not an intern under Dr. John "Asshole" Carter. For now she just wanted to get through the next shift. She was clearly on the shit list, and she was positive that there was something wrong with Paul Sobriki. Something other than meningitis.
She went to the front desk. " Randi, I need Mr. Sobriki moved to room four. And I need a psych consult."
"Yeah yeah," Randi muttered as she leafed through a magazine. " I'll call but if they didn't come down for Spaceman Spiff yet…. They're backed up."
" Is it really wise to call a crazy person Spaceman Spiff?" Abby mused as she looked at her own charts.
" Have you seen his real name?" Randi muttered. " Felix Gaydar… Why not just name your kid Flamer Homo. Spaceman Spiff is an improvement." She rolled her eyes. " He was at the desk whining earlier. I gave him a coke but I think he needs to be fed and watered if we don't want him to start killing us with his lazer gun."
Lucy sighed. She already felt bad that she had gotten the man held for a psych consult. It was possible that he had just been confused from being hit in the head. Still, he was concussed and he had no id and no place to go. There were worse things than being stuck in the ER.
" I'll grab a dinner for him," she said briskly, hoping she sounded confident. " Just don't forget to move Mr. Sobriki. We need the room."
She went down to the cafeteria and made a tray. Everyone liked cheeseburgers, fries, and macaroni and cheese. She added a chocolate pudding after a moment of thought. Everyone liked chocolate and she suspected poor Mr. Gaeta might need some cheering up.
Unlike Mr. Sobriki, who was probably still angry about the painful spinal tap.
Everyone liked macaroni and cheese though, and she was pleased to see Mr. Gaeta inhale his meal like he hadn't had food in years. Hospital food really wasn't that good. It made a part of her angry. Homeless or mentally ill, someone clearly kept the man scrubbed clean. That meant he was being cared for, but his reaction to getting a hot meal was completely at odds with his appearance. Bastards, she thought darkly, she had seen that sort of thing before. Rich families locking up an obviously schizophrenic man in their home, keeping him from treatment and decent meals…keeping him clean for appearances of course, but not caring otherwise. No wonder he was running the streets with no id and no money.
It made her miss Doug Ross. He would know what to do. She didn't. She was positive that Carter would dismiss it as simply an oddity once Mr. Gaeta's family showed up to claim him but… she was convinced that something was wrong. A crazy person, even one from an institution, wasn't normally that excited over mac and cheese made with grade Z ingredients.
" I can get you some more, if you want," she said as he cheerfully wiped the plate with the bread provided.
He looked up, as if suddenly aware of what he was doing. " This is just fine. More than enough. Everyone has been very nice, but really, I would like to leave. I could walk up to the psychiatric department if that's necessary. My head hurts but other wise I am competently fine." He smiled pleasantly.
" That's against regulations," Lucy said after a moment.
" Right." Gaeta sighed. He seemed impatient. " Could I get a magazine? Or a book? There's 356 tiles in the floor and 28 ceiling tiles. There's also 38 switches on all the devices in here. Now that everything is counted, I'm a little bored."
Uh oh, Lucy thought, obsessive compulsive. Still, not violent, doesn't smell bad, and very polite. She had worse patients. " I could find you something. We don't have a lot…"
" I like National Geographic," he said easily. " Maybe something with Hawaii in it? Hawaii seems nice. Have you been?"
" No," she said after a moment, " But I will see what I can find." Nice, she thought, and cute. Too bad he's either crazy or soon to sue her for holding him against his will.
It was Valentine's Day and she was working. Randi Fronziack wondered just what god she had pissed off. Crazies and screamers and parents with dead kids. Ten dollars an hour was not worth the view of Luka Kovac's ass. Not lately.
And she really didn't need the looks coming from the angry black woman coming up to the desk. " What the hell do you want?" Randi snarled.
The black woman glared haughtily at her with surprisingly light colored eyes. " A police officer directed me here. Have you seen this man?" She held out a photo that had obviously had the corners clipped off. Yup, Randi thought tiredly, that was Spaceman Spiff all right. A Trekkie, along with being a crazy, or maybe a Babylon 5 fan judging by the costumes he and the black woman were wearing in the photo. The head Vorlon must be missing them both, she thought snidely.
" Yeah, he got beat up earlier by a street gang. He's in four." Randi stood up as the woman immediately turned and began to briskly walk away. " Wait a minute. You can't just go see him. Who are you?"
The woman looked at her darkly. " I'm Anastasia. Anastasia Dualla." She turned and walked away.
" Wait! Wait…" Randi leaped over the desk, a cool move she didn't dare make when Dr. Weaver was there to bitch, and grabbed the woman. " I need a little more than that, bitch."
For a moment, Randi thought she was going to get the opportunity to smack the bitch down. Then Dr. Carter stepped between them.
" What seems to be happening here, Randi?" Carter asked, using that snide tone he had. His boyish face seemed to light up when he took in Dualla's rather exotic features. " Is there a problem?"
It figures, Randi thought. " She didn't show ID. She wants to see the crazy in four and she has to show ID." Because there were security and privacy procedures and while Spaceman Spiff didn't seem like a mafia don, she was the one who would get sued if this Dualla bitch opened fire on Flamer Homo while he was drinking a coke.
" Here's my ID," Dualla said haughtily. She handed over a driver's license. Then she turned to Carter and batted her eyes. " I was looking for my brother Felix. I think he may have been assaulted." She showed Carter the picture. Randi almost whistled. Whoever the hell she was, she knew how to work a man.
Of course, Dr. Carter was kind of an idiot. He smiled at the woman. " Your brother should be fine but we are waiting on…. Randi, why haven't we discharged him?"
Oh Christ, Randi thought. " Spaceman Spiff is concussed? And needs a psych consult?" I get ten dollars an hour for this, she thought darkly. " And look at her! How is he her brother? She's African-American and he's… Christ, I don't know what the hell he is, but he doesn't look a thing like her. And they don't have the same last names, either!"
Carter looked at Dualla. She smiled winningly. " We have different mothers. Clearly there's been some sort of misunderstanding, but I do appreciate your concern. Is there a reason you want a psychiatric exam? I assure you, my brother is very normal."
Carter looked over her, to the board. It was obvious to Randi that he was struggling to remember just what the diagnosis had been. " He was a little confused when he was brought in. He could probably be signed out without the consult if you are related…."
" And if you show proof that you really are related and proof that he actually has a home and gosh, some insurance paperwork would sure be nice to see," Randi snapped.
Dualla glared at her balefully, and then went back to working Carter over with her rather masterful eyefuck. " Tell you what, why don't you give me a list of the paperwork I'll need, and I'll contact my father. And… if I could see my brother?"
Bitch, Randi thought darkly.
Lucy watched as Carter let the black woman enter Mr. Gaeta's room. She wasn't surprised. Randi was just being territorial, and a little bitchy because the black woman was lovely and clearly working Dr. Carter. Lucy wasn't surprised in the slightest. Carter liked women, and she wasn't fool enough to think that she could get him into trouble over something so petty.
Besides, she needed to know if she was dealing with abusive caregivers or not. Room Four led into Room 3, and they were clearing a trauma there so she could discreetly listen in. It helped that the blinds were only partially closed.
" What in the name of the gods happened to you? Dammit Felix, I was worried! Hell, even Col Tigh was worried." The black woman seemed concerned.
" Look, Dee, I was knocked out. Some kids… I didn't know what I was saying… I was awake but unconscious, you know? I misspoke and I could barely think and now they think I'm crazy."
" Good!" The black woman, Dee, paced around the bed. " The last thing these people need to know about is the fleet, and that we're moving among them." Um what, Lucy thought worriedly. The fleet?
" The doctor I saw this morning said I have a concussion," Felix said easily. " I haven't said anything about our situation since then. Look, I don't think they mean any harm. I think they're just worried that I don't have ID and no one to pick me up. I haven't even seen a doctor since this morning, but they did take my shoes so I can't leave without getting frost bite." He chuckled. " There's a medical student. I think she felt bad. She brought me dinner and magazines to read. It's like a vacation."
" Except that you can't stay here, sir."
" No, really? I don't want to stay… It's a zoo here. Like being in sickbay only there's an ongoing serial show." Lucy heard Felix chuckle again. " My doctor? Is having an affair with a surgeon. The nurse with the curly long hair? Is pregnant by a pediatrician who as near as I can tell left this hospital because he euthanized a child with some horrible disease. There's a doctor called Dr. Weaver who apparently makes Col. Tigh look like… a kind loving man. I haven't seen her yet, but I have to say… that's scary. There's an attractive doctor from an un-American country who is flirting with the nurse who is pregnant. That's Dr. Kovac. He's very attractive. You should make a pass at him. He's much better looking than Dr. Carter."
" I'm married, sir." Again with the sir, Lucy thought. More than the weird paranoid talk, that concerned her. Because this Dee person clearly bought into whatever fantasy that Felix Gaeta believed. "Besides," Dee added, " I don't have time. I need to report back and get your information properly falsified so we can get you out of here. What happened? I know you're more careful than this than to pick a fight. You're not Kara Thrace."
" I don't know…. Some kids… They said things I didn't understand. The police officer said it was a hate crime but… They called me a towel head. They didn't cover that in the mission briefing."
" That is new. I thought we covered all the unfamiliar insults. Must be because you're not as pale as the average Caprican. All right, you need to stay here until we get more paperwork for you. I told them I was your sister and they don't really seem to care as long as I bring paperwork and money to pay for your treatment."
" You're my sister? We don't look a thing alike."
" I was thinking fast. I had to flirt with that doctor to see you. The desk clerk is like Cottle."
" Oh, that's Randi. She is a convicted criminal, according to the rumors. She gave me a soda pop."
" We were all warned about that stuff, sir. It's addictive."
" No, try it. It's like ambrosia only it kicks like coffee."
There was a pause. " Oh gods, that is good."
" Tell the admiral we have got to add Coca-cola to the must have lists. Seriously though, this place isn't that great. The guy in that bed there? He thinks I'm trying to steal his organs. He's mentally disturbed and no one seems all that concerned. They were sticking needles in his spine, and they were doing it to figure out whether he was crazy or just sick. I don't know that I could handle that."
"Aren't you the guy that stared down Starbuck in the launch tube airlock?"
" To be fair, I did cry."
Lucy stepped away from the door when Dee began to move towards the door. She had heard enough. Her patient was seriously disturbed… but he and his "sister" were also strangely disconnected from American society. Disconnected in a way that made next to no sense. They frankly weren't white enough to be confused Amish people who had never had cola beverages before, and yet at the same time, they both spoke like well educated people, like people who understood technical things.
They spoke like people who came from a more technical society, who just didn't understand the culture. They also spoke like military people. Which meant it was a shared psychosis….
Or that they were from a fleet. A space fleet. Only a space fleet would need an airlock. Lucy frowned. This was probably not a discussion to have with Dr. Carter, she decided after a moment. But then, how can I figure it out?
He thumbed through the magazine and tried not to get angry at the sick man in the bed next to him. He was irritable himself for being stuck in bed all day, he still had a headache, he wanted another coke, and he was getting very tired of listening to his roommate rant. " No, I already said that I wasn't interested in your organs at all. Believe me. I'm perfectly happy with my own organs."
" You fucking bastard! You space bastard!" snarled the man. " I'll kill you!"
" There's a line already formed on that," Felix said dryly. " Up in the space ship. And frankly you're way at the end. I'm sure by the time it's your turn, I'll be just so much space dust." Of course, it was morally wrong to tease the mentally ill, but it was getting late. Dee really should have been back already unless she ran into huge problems with documentation. And even Cottle never made him wait this long for anything. " Tell you what," he said cheerfully. " I'll go check and see where our psych consults are. Maybe have someone bring you a sedative."
The atmosphere in the hallway was still chaotic. Earth people apparently enjoyed guns just as much as the colonists did, he mused as several bloodied bodies were hauled by. It was time to try the desk clerk again, he decided. Because there really was something wrong with the man in his room.
" Excuse me," he said, " I was wondering…."
Randi looked up and rolled her eyes at him. " Christ, not you again."
" I'm not Christ," Gaeta said pleasantly. " I'm Felix Gaeta? We spoke earlier? I'm crazy spaceman in four? You gave me a can of soda, and a card with a heart."
" Yes, I get it. I'm sure in crazy spaceman world, that means I married you." Randi snapped. " Look, we got dying people everywhere. The idiots in psych know you're waiting. Go back to your room."
" Actually, I was wondering if anyone was aware that the gentleman in my room believes that I am trying to steal his organs. He threatened to kill me. Maybe he needs a sedative?" He tried not to sound angry. It was busy, he could tell, but it was almost eighteen hours since he'd been pulled off the street. And he generally took death threats seriously.
Randi snorted at him. " Right. And you went to medical school where?"
" Hey!" Felix felt himself being spun around, only to find the medical student Lucy glaring at him. She grabbed him by the arm and pulled him into the hallway near the room he'd been consigned to. " You're not fooling me!"
"What?" Standing up while looking at her, he realized that he was a good bit taller than her. That didn't happen often. Petite, blonde, and obviously caring, coupled with fiery spirit, exactly his type. Which just frakking figured, Felix thought. As if he could just invite her back to the Galactica for a hot romantic date in the supply closet.
She pushed him up against the wall. " You're lying to me," she whispered harshly. " I overheard you and your pretend sister. You're from outer space. You both are, and there's a fleet, and you're gathering supplies. Is this some sort of invasion?"
Think, he told himself. " I'm not from outer space, I'm from…. Canada." Canada was the cover lie. In case there were questions about odd terms and verbal quirks.
" Right…. Maybe if Canada is hiding behind the moon, just like your spacefleet." Lucy thrust a small hand held computer into his face. " Look, NASA has had all of these weird sightings, and when I use my astronomy program to calculate the trajectories of these objects AND when I add in the unusually high tides being caused by the presence of a large aircraft carrier sized vessel hiding behind the moon…. You're not from Canada. You don't even sound Canadian."
He took the tiny computer from her, marveling not only at its size but at the data cheerfully streaming on its small display screen. And the data displayed was startling. Startling because a medical student with next to no time had somehow calculated the exact position of the Galactica. " Where did you get all this information?"
" Off the internet." She smiled. " You may not realize this, being new to Earth, but there's more on the net than just fetish porn. So, tell me about the mission. I want to help you."
" No, you don't understand. No one can know this," Gaeta warned. " It's not safe."
Lucy nodded agreement, and struggled to hide her growing excitement. I knew it, she thought. I knew he wasn't just a nut job. " Look, I want to help. Don't worry, I'm cool about different cultures. Let me guess, you guys don't want to reveal yourselves because our culture is so primitive, there might be mass suicides. And the aliens. There are aliens aren't there?"
He put a hand to his head as if trying to hold back a headache. " No, we're not much more technically advanced in most areas. And there's no aliens. We're… kind of on the run."
" From oppressive forces of a dark empire? Killer robots? Intelligent dinosaurs?" It had to be something. " Look, you're on the run. You must need doctors. I'm almost a doctor."
" Ok," he said quietly, " could we maybe discuss this somewhere more private than this hallway? Perhaps we could go shout at each other on the roof?"
" That sounds like it would be private, but really, it's not. Let's go in your room. Mr. Sobriki won't mind. He's schizophrenic. We need a psych consult to confirm it but…."
" So he'll just live here from now on, I understand…." He hesitated at the door. " I am positive I left the lights on. You know, he was threatening me."
" Crazy people do that," she said, pushing him in. But it was rather eerie in room four with the lights off. She flicked the switch but the lights didn't go on. That was odd. Fluorescent lights didn't blow. She looked up. The bulbs had been removed.
" He's not in his bed," Gaeta said nervously.
" You want my organs, you little bitch!" roared Sobriki. Lucy didn't even see the man until he leapt at her. Gaeta deftly stepped front of her, taking the tackle head on and toppled to the floor, struggling with the crazy man. Lucy saw a flash of metal, and realized with horror what Paul Sobriki had. The knife that they had used in the staff room to cut the awful looking blue cake. The butcher knife…
" Knife! He has a knife!" she shouted.
" I know! Get help, gods dammit!" Felix shouted back from the floor. Lucy ran out of the room, just dimly aware of the thumping loud music blasting through the whole ER. Who could help? Security was a joke, and Dr. Kovac was no where to be found, and Dr. Carter would just ignore her. She spotted Dr. Weaver limping to the desk and ran to her.
" Dr. Weaver! One of my patients is attacking another with a knife!" As soon as Lucy said it, she realized just how ridiculous she sounded.
Weaver looked at her. " For god's sake Lucy, call security! What room is it?"
"Room Four!" Lucy said. Weaver ran down the hall, surprisingly fast for an older woman that needed a crutch to get around. Lucy was relieved to see Gaeta step out of the room. He was holding his arm and blood was seeping from between his fingers. The butcher knife was in his bleeding hand.
" I choked that guy out, but he's probably going to wake up. He cut me pretty good. I think I need stitches." Before he could say another word, Dr. Weaver lifted up her crutch and swung, bashing him into the wall.
" Dr. Weaver! That's the one who was being attacked! He must've disarmed the other one." Lucy knelt down to the already unconscious man's side.
Weaver poked him with her crutch. " Really Lucy, you need to be a lot more specific when you give reports. We do get a lot of crazy people here."
This, Dr. Kerry Weaver thought darkly, was why holidays suck. I'm not even into work for two minutes and I am already filling out a damn incident report. " Why was this patient waiting eighteen hours for a psych consult anyways? Dr. Carter?"
John Carter gulped nervously. " Mr. Sobriki was a suspected case of meningitis and Mr. Gaeta…. I never even saw Mr. Gaeta. I thought he just had a hold because he was concussed."
" We are going to get our asses sued over this." Kerry muttered.
" Maybe if you hadn't hit the nice patient in the head with your crutch after he disarmed the crazy guy," Abby said cheerfully. Abby Lockhart was just glad that she hadn't been involved in any of the evening's chaos.
" And where the hell did Sobriki get a ten inch butcher knife?" Kerry shouted. " Will someone please explain to me why in God's name we have a butcher knife in the ER?"
" I think we were using it to cut cake in the lounge," Carter said weakly. "For the party."
" Well, that's just great. No wonder psych won't come down here for consults. Has anyone called the damn cops yet?" Kerry glared at the assembled doctors. " Where the hell are these patients?"
" Pysch took Mr. Sobriki for evaluation." Randi chimed from behind the desk. " Lucy took Spiff to X-ray to make sure you didn't actually cave his skull in. And getting him stitched up from you know, the stab wounds."
"Shut up, Randi!" Kerry tossed the charts on the front desk to the floor. " Let's all just hope that our patients can't afford good lawyers. Get back to work, get the damn patients out of here and someone find that damn butcher knife before another patient gets ahold of it."
" Well, that's certainly heartening." Kerry spun around to find herself facing two men. The taller man was white haired, and casually puffing a cigarette. He at least appeared friendly. The shorter man, with darker hair, terrible skin, and a large, almost strangely sexy mustache, glared balefully at her.
The smoker harrumphed as he took a drag. " I hate sick people, I really do." He was obviously the one who had spoken just seconds before. He held out a photo that had been cleverly cropped to look octagonal. " We're here to claim this young man."
The darker haired man's narrowed. " He's… my son." He seemed to choke on the phrase.
Kerry looked and then passed the photo to Randi. Randi nodded quickly. " Yup, that's Spiff." She gestured to the two men. " I dunno about Dutch there," she said as she pointed to the white haired man, " but yeah, Lt. Castillo here could be Spiff's dad. I'd get some id though. I so don't buy that Carter's jungle fever princess was Spiff's sister."
" Spiff?" The white haired fellow blew a smoke ring at Randi.
" I have id," growled the other man. " I'm Bill Adama. I understand you think my… son, is crazy? Because he was hit on the head and got confused?" He managed to make that sound somehow ridiculous and appalling at the same time. " I brought my doctor, Jack Cottle. Just in case you felt medical supervision was necessary."
" See, I'd like to know why Spiff's last name is Gaeta, his sister's last name is Dualla, and your last name is Adama," Randi said.
Kerry wanted to kick her. At this point, if the man just wanted to haul his son out of there without litigation, she didn't care. He had the look of a snarling bear. It wasn't smart to poke snarling bears. " Shut up, Randi," she hissed. " Why don't you two gentleman take a seat? Randi, go fetch Lucy and get an update on Mr. Gaeta." To the two men, she added, " I'm afraid there's been a little bit of an incident with another patient."
" With the butcher knife," Cottle said. He took another drag. " He's not dead is he? We've come a really long way just to pick up a damn corpse. You're running a real zoo here.
Kerry knew she had to get things back under control. " You're not allowed to smoke in here." She reached up and plucked the cigerette out of his mouth and flung it to the floor. Then she put it out with her cane.
Cottle smiled, withdrew a pack of Marlboros, shook one out of the pack and put it in his mouth. " I've got a carton of these suckers." He lit up. " I can go all night."
Kerry threw up her hands. " As soon as he clears X-ray, he can sign out AMA. IF you two have id."
Both men smiled and began emptying their pockets of driver's licenses, passports and sundry other items.
" I'm coming," Lucy said. " I'm almost a doctor. I know our culture. You people need someone to tell you what you should say and do."
" My head hurts," Felix groaned. " Why am I always the one who gets hurt? I always try to do the right thing and it always ends with someone kicking me or hitting me or tying me down in an airlock and hitting me. Getting cut is new though." He continued grumbling as he tried to button his shirt.
Lucy pulled him into an embrace and kissed him on the lips. " You saved my life. He was going to kill me. That makes you the best date I've had in years. And you're pretty cute…. For a spaceman from Canada."
Despite himself, he returned the kiss. " You brought me dinner. That's almost a marriage proposal where I'm from. And you didn't hit me. That's the best date I've had in years."
Lucy laughed in his arms. " It can get better. You probably don't know this… but Earth girls are easy. Randi told me your dad is here to pick you up."
He shook his head. " My dad is dead and buried about three hundred light years from here. Let me guess, older fellow with a mustache, scary as hell?"
" Looks like that guy on Miami Vice, right?" At his blank stare, she smiled. " See, this is why you need me. Now, I'm going to explain how you get out of here with no questions asked." She explained.
" Does that really work here?" he asked after a moment.
"Trust me," she said, her eyes sparkling.
Felix made a point of walking as normally. He did feel a little off, but not that off. Sure enough, Admiral Adama was glaring down the redhaired doctor that had beaten him with her walking crutch. Dr. Cottle was lighting up a cigarette for the desk clerk. All right, he told himself, it's time to pretend to be Gauis Baltar.
" I want the names of each and every one of you!" he shouted. " I have been held against my will, I've been assaulted, and I want names!" He strode over to Adama, and inwardly prayed that the admiral wouldn't get too mad. He leaned in and whispered. " Play along sir." Loudly he said, " My father is a lawyer!"
Adama eyed him, and then turned around slowly, looking each medical professional in the face. " Yes," he growled. " I am a lawyer. A good lawyer."
It was almost amusing to see everyone in the room pale.
" I'll escort you to your father's car," Lucy said, and she hauled him out of the ER and into the cold street before she collapsed into giggles. " Oh wow…." She said between laughs. " I know he's not your dad but that… that was a thing of beauty." She hugged him close. " So where's the space shuttle?"
" We've got some Ford Broncos rented." He couldn't help it, he started laughing as well. It had been a long time since he had laughed.
Adama and Cottle stormed out. " You want to tell me what's going on, Lt.?"
" I was assaulted. Ms. Knight here wants to come with us. She's almost a doctor, and she assures me that she can help us navigate the culture." He made a point of stifling the giggles but it was hard. " I didn't ask for anyone to get prosecuted… Throw me a bone, sir."
" I am so on board with this!" Lucy said excitedly. She smiled winningly at him and then at Adama.
After a moment, Adama shrugged. " A doctor, and pretty… You could do worse, Mr. Gaeta. Let's go."