Angie rushed into the prep room to find Derek scrubbing his hands furiously. Before Angie could say a word, Derek turned and asked, "Where are Franziska and Miles?" Angie closed the door behind her and said, "They're in the observation booth." As Angie scrubbed her hands and prepared the operation tray, she asked calmly, "What is going on, Doctor?" Derek wiped his hands dry, and held them up. "I am not sure." Derek snapped the latex gloves onto his hands, to insure sterility. Derek continued. "I went to check on his condition, and he was out cold. After lifting the blankets, I saw that a pool of silver liquid was on the bed. It must have come from the rectum. His vital signs were dropping quickly, so we have to go in there and figure out what the heck is going on." Angie finished applying her gloves. She was extremely confused at the notion of a pool of silver, but decided to move onto a different question. "What are you planning, Doctor?" Angie queried as the two started for the operation room. Derek responded, "Well, I didn't have time for an MRI, so I am going to try the stomach, and go from there." If this was Derek's first surgery, Angie would have objected to the notion of Derek cutting into a body blind, but she knew Derek had the skills. She could trust him. Derek donned his surgical gear, and turned to Angie. "Let's begin the operation."
On a cold surgical table, Manfred laid unconscious, breathing heavy gas to keep him knocked out, unknowing of what was to be done to his body. Miles and Franziska watched from the booth in silence, praying that Manfred could make it through. There were still many unanswered questions that only Manfred could answer. Derek knew only a life was on the line. But Miles and Franziska, even Angie, knew so much more was at stake. Derek wiped Manfred's midsection with the antibiotic, and without breaking concentration on the body, Derek held his left hand up towards Angie. She had worked as a operation assistant long enough to know exactly what Derek needed. She placed the sterile scalpel gently into his hand, and Derek slowly cut the body across where the lightly colored antibiotic had left a streak for Derek to follow. After the cut, he carefully placed the clamps to hold the skin open. Before Derek was the stomach, although it was no bigger then his two fists side by side, it was as big as a continent for Derek, for Manfred's body had become Derek's world in that operation room. At first, there seemed to be no problem. The stomach seemed healthy enough. But Manfred's vital signs were still low. Puzzled, Derek decided to make a slight incision into the stomach. Right then, a small puddle of silver liquid oozed from the stomach. It was an odd sight, but Derek had seen weirder, and much worse. Derek, focus still on the stomach, said, "Angie, get me the stomach pump. If we can rid of the liquid now, while he's open, then we should have to time to…" but Angie's sudden gasp and shocked eyes interpreted Derek's planning. The puddle of silver disappeared, as it seemed to go back into the stomach. Derek was equally shocked when his incision sealed itself.
This was a new GUILT strain. No doubt about it.
Derek's worst fears were true after all. Derek shouted, "Angie, the pump! Now!" Angie dashed from the table to retrieve the small device. Derek focused back onto the stomach, which was beginning to inflate at an alarming rate. This GUILT had a mind of its own, and it was set to blow Manfred's stomach like an overly inflated balloon. Derek wasn't going to risk bursting the stomach by slicing it open again, so he quickly grabbed his syringe, to try and get any of the viscous fluid out. Derek got the needle in, but before Derek could pull the plunger back, the liquid pushed the needle back and out of the stomach. Angie got the machine set up, ready to move the tube into the stomach. Derek instructed, "Cut the blinds to the observation window!" Angie knew the only thing that could mean. "Yes Doctor." She replied, and triggered the switch to block the observation window. Miles and Franziska were taken back, confused as to why they couldn't watch their father's operation. But ultimately, they did nothing, for the door to the room was locked, and there were no controls to open the window. A tear trickled down Franziska's eye, praying that everything was alright.
Derek had very little time. He knew using his ability was dangerous, and if anyone knew, the ramifications would be great. But Derek had no choice. By closing his eyes, he imagined the star. He had learned how to pull off the technique without drawing in the air, but his glowing right index and middle fingers and the fact he was the only thing moving indicated full well that he triggered the Healing Touch. He quickly got to work, moving the elongated tube through Manfred's nose, and down into the stomach. The near living silver fluid wouldn't stand a chance against Derek's speed. He deactivated the Touch, and started the machine. Immediately, the stomach deflated to a normal size as silver liquid poured into the pump's reservoir. Derek sighed in slight relief that Manfred's vitals started to stabilize. He closed Manfred up, but Derek had the feeling that this GUILT hasn't been defeated. Angie monitored the pump as she wheeled him back to his room. Derek opened the curtain, and clicked the intercom. "Your father's stable, you can see him soon. Sorry we had to close the curtain on you guys." he said with a serious tone. Franziska had long held her composure. Equally stern, she responded, "Well, thank you. Keeping him stable is all we can really ask for." After some silent nods and thanks, they parted.
Derek scrubbed his hands harder then ever. Wild thoughts were running through his head, frustrated thoughts of what felt like hopelessness. With everything going on in Manfred's body, he knew everything was futile. Organs dead, GUILT, and Manfred's ever worsening condition; everything was adding up to show that he had very little time left. Derek exited the washroom and saw out the window. The sun was setting. Derek looked at the sparkling sun set, and felt his stomach sink as he thought, "He'll never see the sun rise."