THINGS DONE: RUNNING FROM THE SHARKS
This is what REALLY happened after Jump the Shark.
Notices, Disclaimers, and other Administrivia:
1. The Lone Gunmen, Jimmy, Yves, Morris Fletcher, Schneider, Runtz, and any XF characters are the property of 1013 productions, whom, while they richly deserve not to own them, in fact do. I prefer to avoid lawyers in general, so I’ll say right here and now, they’re not mine!
2. Things Done is an OUTSIDE story of the universe created by Erynn and continued by Erynn and Sally in Things Undone. The timeline in this story is not the same as the one in Things Undone. In the Things Undone universe, Jump the Shark was just a stupid concept that never materialized. However, when I figured out that Carter & Company had no clue what really happened after JTS, I decided to write this. The characters of Sari, Devi, Muladharma, and Palin are all Erynn’s creation. Deborah, Mel Scarlett, Anndie, Ed and Fred, and Maggie Rose were stolen by me from some really terrific people I know and twisted, folded, spindled and mutilated into the characters they are by me. Any resemblances to their real life personae are probably accidental.
3. The narrator in this portion of the story is Mel Scarlett, who plays Frohike’s chickadee in the Things Undone universe.
4. No animals were harmed in the making of this story. A few computers were cursed at but none were thrown through plate glass windows. Thanks to The Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA for providing far too many meetings where I can let my mind wander off in ridiculous directions, to Professors Jake Lusis (genetics) and Rob Rainey (biochemistry) for allowing me to annoy them with idiotic questions, and for their patience in answering them, to the five people who read this thing in its raw incarnation, made suggestions, pointed out errors, and let me ramble on about ideas without ever once slapping me, and to Starbucks for providing rocket fuel when necessary.
5. I’ve said enough. Let’s let Mel Scarlett tell us what really went on.
I had a sinking feeling all that day at work, and I knew it wasn't the job, because it'd been relatively painless as days in trauma go. I managed to get off shift on time, and was hoping that my low mood was caused by that which happens in women of my certain age. I had decided on a bubble bath and few shots of Wild Turkey, and off to bed. Usually, that revitalizes me.
That, and the thought that in three months, Mel Frohike and I were getting married. I'd be moving to DC, and we'd get a place. I did indicate that I had no intentions of living in a decrepit warehouse, and he agreed that that would truly be the last time he ever let Mulder help him with a real estate deal.
Life had been good. Mark actually returned to school and was doing well, and Lisa was happily married and enjoying motherhood. I was about to put my house on the market. I couldn't figure out for the life of me why I was so low.
As I disabled the security system I heard the phone ringing off the hook. I was tempted to let the machine get it, but I managed to pick it up. If it was about my failure to clock out, which I do from time to time, I was going to tell somebody to do something that no proper Southern woman would ever even imagine of doing.
"Yes?" I answered, a bit abruptly.
"It's Deborah." The voice on the other end was equally crisp, abrupt. But that's Deborah. She completed her fellowship and was now a house officer at GWU. She didn't get there by not getting to the point. "You need to get down here."
"Oh God no. "What's happened to Mel?"
"I can't tell you about it over the phone, but there's a good chance it's going to be bad. I'm going to need your help, among other things."
"You say 'going to be bad.' What do you mean by that, dear?"
"We don't have time to talk. Just get here. I'm going to give you directions to the Sri Lankan consulate."
"Just listen, and get going."
I scribble furiously in my illegible script, hoping to the goddess I don't get lost. If I do, it'll be because I can't read my own writing.
"Okay. I'm getting ready to go."
"And Mel? You'd better not plan on going back home."
"What are you—"
"I'll see you in four hours. And make sure you're not followed."
And the line went dead.
I find driving relaxing, as a rule. Not tonight. If someone was following me, I couldn't tell. All I know was that I managed to screw up twice once I got into DC. Horrible city. Mel and I had planned to settle somewhere in the suburbs.
I finally locate the consulate. I was imagining something of a fortress, but from the outside, it looks like a large, well kept home. Until I got to the gate, where my identification is checked completely and my car thoroughly searched. Not that there's much to search through. I tossed in some clothes and cosmetics. That was the extent of it.
I'm ushered in, where I'm greeted by a young woman.
"Mel Scarlett! I'm so glad to meet you!" She embraces me as if I was a long lost friend.
"Don't mind her," the voice I recognize as that of Sari Thomas emanated from behind her. "She's like that with everyone."
"I'm Devi," the woman introduces herself. "We're glad you're here."
"Is Deborah here?"
Devi's face, formerly suffused with warmth, becomes taut. Sari's face is set in nervous lines as well.
"Deborah's in the survival shelter. She'll want to see you," Sari leads me along.
"Survival shelter?" I turn to Sari.
"All the consulates have them. Follow me. Devi, you've got the radio equipment all set, keep monitoring."
"Yes, ma'am." The younger woman tries to keep her tone light, but the warm greeting I received was the last bit of relaxation that I got from her.
We step on to an elevator, one not unlike the ones in the hospital, except that they have multiple doors. Sari takes me down in silence.
"There's an area for medical treatment in the event of attacks of any kind," Sari explains. "Deborah's in there."
Deborah is in a stark room and appears to be setting up what looks like a portable intensive care unit.
"You're here, thank God!" Deborah jumps up and hugs me, which is unusual for her. Deborah is a sweet girl, but she's never been overly warm. I wrap my arms around her and can feel the tension in her long body. "Sari, can you help us sort this stuff out?"
"Sure. Just tell me what to do and where to put things."
IV lines, Ringer's lactate, morphine, several varieties of antibiotics, defibrillator paddles, suture trays, saline-glucose solution…not to mention a whole array of pharmaceuticals and surgical instruments.
"Deborah, where did you get all this stuff?" I asked her.
"I work in a hospital, remember? I borrowed some things."
"You should have called me at work. I could have added to the kitty…although it seems as if you could open your own hospital right here."
"That's the beauty of having interns. They do what you ask and they don't ask too many questions since they think you're grading them on it." She studies the piles in front of her. "Not that they're going to have to worry about that much longer."
"What're you talking about?" I demand.
"What Deborah means is, we may have to bail out of here in a hurry. That means that we may have to come up with alternative employment plans."
What the dickens have I walked into?
"Did Mel ever tell you about Morris Fletcher?" Sari asks me.
"Was that the jerk that called him Sneezy?"
"That'd be him."
"You also know of their 'colleague, Yves Adele Harlow," Sari continues.
"Is that the one that Richard refers to as Hacker Bitch Barbie?"
"That's her." A note of jealousy creeps into Deborah's voice.
"She's in trouble," explains Sari.
"I'm afraid I'm still behind the curve here." I have a sinking intuition about this, but I need more details.
"Are you aware the guys are working on a biological warfare piece?" Sari asks me.
"Mel mentioned something about it." In very vague terms, I must admit.
"They've set up a meet tonight," Deborah explains.
"It's a long story, but let's cut to the chase in the name of time ," Deborah says. She tries to keep her tone clinical, but I know her well enough to know that she's as nervous as a fish on a hook. "Langly and I ate lunch today. We went out to Thurberville for it. He told me what's going down. He said…" I hear the tears creeping into her voice.
"It's very dangerous," Sari says, trying to keep the tears from overtaking her. "John didn't want us involved. None of them did."
"Basically, Langly had lunch with me…to say goodbye," Deborah is sobbing softly now.
"So did John," Sari says quietly, her tone quivering.
"And they thought we were just going to let it happen?" I say sharply, more than I'd intended. But it has the desired effect. Both women wipe their eyes and their nervous sadness is replaced by cold, fierce determination.
Deborah draws a hard breath. "Langly told me where it was going to happen. I have a lot of paramedic buddies. Hard not to be a trauma surgeon and not get acquainted. I…I made some arrangements with some of them."
Paramedics are good buddies to have. And fortunately, they are, as a rule, utterly insane.
"Whatever happens, they've promised to be near the scene and ready to go."
"What if they're interfered with?" It's always a possibility.
"Obviously you never met the Terror Twins," Deborah even laughs a little. "Ed and Fred. Twin brothers, in the flesh. Good guys."
"How'd you bribe them?" Sari inquires.
She snorts. "Same way you always bribe a paramedic. All it cost me was two fifths of Wild Turkey and a case of Sam Adams."
"I would have been happy to pay them," Sari breaks in.
"They didn't want money. They said they'd do it so long as I paid for happy hour."
Paramedics live for the rush. Up the stakes, amp up the danger, and they're salivating worse than Pavlov's dogs. That was the easy part.
"Deborah," I say quietly. "You know well enough that you can do your best work and still have a horrible outcome." I feel the tears rising in my eyes as I say that.
"Yeah. But don't ever let it be said that I didn't go down swinging." She turns to Sari. "You said you worked in a leper colony. How much do you know med-wise?"
"CPR, first aid, injections, wound care and debridement," she says, looking slightly uncomfortable.
"That's all good. Well, we're about to give you a crash course in some of the finer points."
I stare at the array of equipment around. "What about labs?" I ask her.
"Can't say I'm very comfortable about that. I've got one microscope and one portable centrifuge. My big problem is that one of the reasons I became a surgeon was because histology wasn't my strong suit." We both try to laugh, but it's a lame attempt. Still, whatever passes for humor at this point.
"I wasn't bad in that department." I always liked cell biology.
"I've learned to identify some things under the microscope. And our equipment was a lot more primitive than this at the ashram," Sari says simply.
"Cool. Well, you're about to become an expert," Deborah informs her.
Deborah shakes her head. "I don't know yet. That's the problem."
Sari doesn't seem to be squeamish. We teach her to bag a patient, using Deborah as our model, how to use the defibrillators, how to give an IV push. She seems to understand these things pretty well. Deborah instructs her on the oxygen controls. I do the pharmacology side and explain what the various and sundry drugs we have in our possession—quite illegally, I might add—do and what to give them for. About the only thing that gives her a bit of a start was is when Deborah explains how to put on a biocontainment suit. I have to admit that it gives me pause as well.
Around 7:30, we join Devi. The housekeeper has prepared a snack for us. None of us is hungry, but we force ourselves to nibble. The food is delicious and beautifully prepared—to me, it looks more like a gourmet banquet than a snack—but what we're really paying attention to is the radio that's been set up to establish and keep in contact.
I'm nibbling on a bit of tuna sandwich when we hear a familiar voice, that of John Byers, come over the radio. "We're in motion."
No one says a word. It's time to pay attention.
Go to Chapter 2