Mid-North Atlantic Ocean
The north Atlantic at winter is a very cold, harsh and unforgiving place to be. Today was no exception. It was a howling gale and the seas were very rough with a six to seven meter swell and wind force approaching the double figures. It was the late afternoon with evening not far round the corner. Not that you could tell. The grey skies and driving wind and rain made the ocean very dark and the visibility was down to only seven miles. This was somewhere you didn't want to be. If you had to be here, it would be preferable to at least be on a big ship.
In this formidable environment was a floating object. A man. He was floating face down as he wasn't wearing a lifejacket. He looked lifeless. The waves and the swell turned him over.
It was I, Michael Rickers. I was still alive. But it was quite clear that I wasn't going to be for long. Either I'd eventually drown or the cold would get to me.
I did manage to get back to sea, although this isn't what I had in mind.
There was nothing else in sight and by the fact that I was in the middle of the ocean in a storm, even if a ship came within meters of me, it wouldn't spot me. I would be completely hidden by the waves. The storm raged on and I was going to die, end of.
Something unexpected happened. The sound of a speed boat nearby could be heard. It comes closer and closer to my half dead body. It still came closer and closer as if it knew I was here. I still floated like drift wood. The boat came into view from the rain. It was a Chris Craft Stinger 390X sporting the name Cliffjumper. I got to within tens of meters of the me and it then started to circle around me as if were a vulture.
"Over there!" A voice of a young man shouted out over the sounds of the stormy seas and the boats engines. The person at the wheel was teenager Jack Darby wearing a thick orange anorak with the hood up and waterproof trousers. He was desperately trying to keep the boat in check from the wind blowing at it in all directions. He lined the boat up so he was down wind to the floating body.
"Get ready! I can't hold it for long!" He called out to someone else. A oversized hatch taking up most of the main forward deck opened out and out of it came the Autobot, Arcee. She climbed out on deck on her knees and searched the water and saw the floating body. Jack constantly adjusting the throttle and steering to keep the boat still, and was doing a good job. The body came next to the starboard side where Jack could see it. Arcee leaned over the side and reached out. She put a hand around the front of my body and lifted me out. She pulled me onto the deck and straight down the hatch below deck. She closed up the hatch and gave Jack the all clear. Jack turned the boat around and headed away from the scene of the rescue.
Down below Arcee pulled off my soaking wet white shirt, black trousers and black shoes. She got a big towel and dried me down and wrapped me up in a thick blanket and held me close to warm me up.
In the cockpit, Jack endured the wind and rain expertly riding the waves.
"How's he doing?" He shouted the question down below.
"Don't know!" Arcee called back. "He's core temperature is down to twenty three. It's a miracle he's alive at all. Radio base now. We don't have time to get to the arrival coordinates. We need a bridge right now!"
"Ok!" Jack picked up the VHF radio which has been modified.
"Base! This is motorboat Cliffjumper! How do you read?" He shouted into the radio.
"Motorboat Cliffjumper this is base. We hear you loud and clear" Came Ratchets voice through the radio.
"We need an emergency ground bridge now!"
"On it's way. Have you found him?"
"Yeah we found him alright! But it's not looking good! Arcee told me his temperature is twenty three!"
"We'll have the medical bay ready. Prepare for recovery. Usual procedure"
"Ok, copy that. Over and out" Jack replaced the radio and went back to concentrating on driving.
"Arcee! Prepare for recovery! This is going to be an interesting one!" He swung the wheel hard to port to face north with the waves hitting side on. Thirty meters in front the ground bridge portal opened up at water level. Jack lined up and went full speed. If he didn't the wind would blow him off course. The boat was being thrown all over the place. Jack still kept going. The boat went through the swirling wall of light at forty knots.
In the Autobot base Ratchet opened the ground bridge with everyone else keeping well away from it. Even the other Autobots. Ratchet had something at the ready to hold onto in case of a huge torrent of water. The portal opened and water came flooding in, going straight into the drains. The boat Cliffjumper came bursting through sliding along the floor. Ratchet switch off the portal and the current of water stopped. The boat still stood upright. Supporting struts had been built into the hull to protect the propellers for this very situation. Jack switched off the engines. When the water had disappeared enough down the drains the other Autobots came running up to the boat. Optimus opened the hatch and reached in and lifted Arcee out while she had a good hold of me. Elita was the first other Autobot. She was desperate to see if I was alright. She didn't like what she saw. I was lifeless looking, my body cold to the touch and very pale white. I looked dead.
Raff, Miko, June and Fowler went to the medical bay where Arcee carried my body over to. Jacked stayed with the boat, working with Optimus to put it back where it is kept.
Arcee laid my body on a hospital bed. Ratchet and June took over. June immediately checking my vitals. Ratchet connected up the monitors to me. The heart monitor showing a low, weak pulse. My body temperature was twenty three as Arcee said.
June was at a loss. She may have dealt with some hypothermia cases before, but nothing like this. She was out of her depth. She looked to Ratchet for answers. Ratchet thought hard and something clicked in his mind. He went to retrieve something. He came back with what looked like a sleeping bag with arms and legs. Only it was seriously thick and had lines going in it.
"We need to get him into this" He said.
They got me out of the blanket and slid me into this thing. Ratchet connected the lines into ports in the nearby wall and went to a computer and fiddled with it.
"There, that's all we can do for now" He said.
"What did we do Ratchet?" June asked.
"It's a water blanket which will regulate his temperature. Water is heated to a certain amount and is circulated around his body where we can control his core temperature. I've set it to match his temperature for now"
"Why can't we just put him next to a fire to warm up?" Miko enquired.
"Because Miko, if we did that it would kill him"
She looked blankly, utterly confused.
"I had a conversation with Michael before about the effects of hypothermia. He got me rather interested, so I did some research on it. Indeed I found it interesting. I read a study and it said that the human body can survive even when it's core temperature is below twenty degrees Celsius" Everyone looked amazed but still didn't see the point.
"But getting to the point. At this state his body has stopped pumping blood to his limbs and only around the vital organs. His brain activity is down to it's minimum, only the things such as controlling the heart beat and a few other things remain, the rest has stopped. His metabolism is at it's lowest. Basically his body has gone into standby. If we were to warm him up back to thirty seven. Blood would start pumping all around and things would start up again. However his heart won't be able to pick up the pace so quickly. As a result, his heart would overload, causing massive heart failure and he would die" He explained.
"So what do we do?" Raff asked. Elita was about to ask but was beaten to it.
"We will have to warm him up slowly. However too slow and eventually he would die from the prolonged exposer to the cold. Too fast and we risk causing his heart to fail. He will need constant monitoring, and not for one moment should he be left alone" He said.
"I'll stay with him" Elita said.
"I thought you would say that" Ratchet replied. "You do realise that when he wakes up, he won't be allowed to move his arms or legs, as that risks heart failure as well?"
"It would mean you would have to hand feed him"
"Ratchet, that's completely fine with me. I promised his parents that I would care for him as if he was my son" She said.
Ratchet nodded "Ok" He went off to help sort the boat out, there wasn't much else he could do now.
"What do you suppose happened" Arcee asked Elita.
She shook her head. "I don't know. When he last made a video call he said him and the third officer had noticed something strange. He didn't say what though. I could tell he was getting scared. I wished I was there for him" She began to sob.
Bumblebee and Arcee put a comforting arm around her shoulders. "Elita, he's going to be fine. He's been through worse. I know he'll pull through" Arcee said.
Elita shook them off and lowered herself so her chin was resting on the side of my bed. She looked at me in my unconscious state, stroking my hair. "What happened to you?" She whispered and kiss me on the forehead.
She stayed and continued to stroke my hair. Everyone else could sense that Elita wanted some time alone with me so they all quietly shuffled out.
"Why didn't you tell me what was going on?" She sobbed.