This story is dedicated to laloga. My many thanks for the wonderful reviews.
P.S.: I don't own anything. The whole kit and kaboodle belongs to George Lucas and he won't share.
Looking out over the crowded assembly hall that was supposed to be a first aid station, Kix thought 'the mess' would have been a more appropriate term for the place. In every sense of the word, he thought, grimacing as he watched one man, his left leg and right arm in a cast, trying to feed himself with what was obviously his off-hand. At least Kix hoped it was, because otherwise that man needed an exam to see if his inner ear had sustained any damaged. He was getting…well, Kix actually wasn't sure what the man was eating. It was grey and sort of liquid with bits of brown mixed in. But whatever it was, precious few of it was actually surviving the trip from the bowl to the man's mouth. Most seemed to jump ship – or spoon – somewhere in between to land either on the bed, the floor, or the prone man's chest.
Kix cast helpless eyes on Coric, but the older medic seemed as stunned by the chaos as he was. This was most definitely not GAR country.
Drawing a hand through his regulation cut, Coric blew out a frustrated breath. "Kripes, where do you start?"
"At the beginning, where else?"
The strange voice made the two troopers jump and they both quickly whirled around, hands automatically reaching for their blasters. That's the problem with not wearing your bucket, Kix thought. Anyone can sneak up on you. But since they had been assigned to work with the local relief groups in what was once more Republic territory, the two medics had decided to leave their buckets clipped to their belts. As a sign of courtesy.
The speaker was a woman, perhaps in her mid thirties. A Human, she had curly brown hair tied to a knot at the nape of her neck, a cat-like face with high cheekbones and a pointed chin. She was as tall as they were and regarded them with eyes as blue as the stripes on their armor.
He gaze dropped to their holsters, where the medics hands still rested on the butts of their blasters. "Planning on doing some aggressive organization, boyos?" She asked, her voice a laconic drawl.
Kix felt himself color and quickly withdrew his hand. Coric did as well, though his expression was more sour than embarrassed
"You shouldn't sneak up on a soldier, ma'am." He said, his voice dropping to the authoritative pitch of a sergeant. "We could have hurt you."
"Could ya know?" She drawled, and Kix saw her lips quirking up in a smile, while her lids dropped halfway over her eyes. To Kix, she looked like a cat that had spotted a juicy clawmouse.
"Well then, if you'll excuse me, soldier." And she practically purred the last word as she made her way past Coric to face the noisy crowd of wounded and helpers. Kix wondered what she would do now. Eat them perhaps, since most of the people in the hall were running around like headless nuna.
Putting two fingers between her lips, the woman let out such an ear-piercing whistle that Kix had to clap his hands over his ears in protest. He saw Coric wince and take a step back even as the entire hall went silent.
Hands on hips and feet slightly apart, the woman took a good long look around the crowded hall and then started barking orders.
"Alright yens, time to clean up! Can't find our blessed ankles with both hands in this mess. I want those beds in neat rows, equal distance between 'em. There'll be a lot of walking and I want to do my walking without banging my shins. You there!" And an imperious finger pointed at a group of youths, lounging in a corner. "What are ya waiting for, to grow roots? Make yerselves useful. There's a load of pots in the kitchen that need washing. Once you've done that, fill 'em up with hot water and plenty of grog and start distilling glassware."
The finger moved to the next group, this one made up of teenage girls. "And you. Stop that fussing. No one gives a bantha's backside how you look under the mud. I want splints! We got enough broken bones here to decorate a gundark's den. Get to what's left of the greenhouses and gather all the poles you can find."
Her next victim was a woman, occupying one of the beds closest to the door. "And you! What's the matter with you? I don't see no bandages, I don't see no blood. What? That?" And she waved a dismissive hand as the woman pulled up the sleeve of her shirt to reveal a glistening coat of bacta spread over a burn. "Listen, unless you're bleeding all over the carpet I don't want you in a bed. Get yerself a spot by the wall. And this goes for everyone!" And she raised her voice to an even more impressive level. "If you can stand, then you can walk. So walk yerselves to the wall and park your behinds. Beds are for lying down and recuperating, not being lazy!"
Kix was absolutely fascinated as he watched the woman mobilize her troops, bringing order to a mess that he had thought beyond solving short of an air strike. He was so fascinated in fact that he practically jumped out of his skin when she turned her flashing blue eyes and jabbing finger on the two clones.
"And you, you still here?"
"Ah, yes ma'am." Coric said, clearing his throat to cover up his own startled reaction. Having that finger pointed at them, both medics had automatically come to attention, like rookies before a training sergeant. "We…ah…we were sent to help. By the Republic."
The woman raised one sardonic eyebrow and Kix figured she was thinking the same thing he was. She sure doesn't look like she needs help.
"I see," she finally said. "Well ain't that generous. And trust me boys, we thank ya from the bottom of our bomb craters."
"Ma'am," and this time Kix took the initiative. "I don't think you understand. We're medics with the 501st. Both Sergeant Coric and I are experienced in treating combat injuries." He hefted the pack on his shoulder, trying to sweeten the offer further, remembering from Saleucami that the easier you made it for civilians, the more willing they were to accept you. "We even brought a few supplies."
She looked from one to the other, taking them in with careful consideration. "Well, if that's so, then I guess I could find some use for you. But ya better be forgetting this ma'am stuff quick-smart." She told him, waggling her expressive finger right in his face. "The names Korinna and I'm the doctor in these here parts. The only doctor, mind. So my word is law and you's better be remembering that, or ya'll get a firsthand demonstration of my skills with a scalpel and a rusty saw."
There was only one possible response to a threat like that, so both men clicked their heels together and gave Korinna a crisp salute.
"Sir, yes, sir." They said in unison. Kix only realized their mistake when he saw Korinna's eyes narrow and the nostrils of her long nose begin to flare.
"What'cha just call me?" She asked, voice low and the drawl more pronounced then ever.
Kix swallowed and saw Coric go pale. If he'd thought Grievous was scary, then Korinna was downright terrifying.