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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Inara's prospects improve.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1149 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
The fact that Dr Ronson had brought her a medic’s uniform as a disguise, that they were making the journey to the clinic in a medical transport – how could Inara not be reminded of another scheme to get inside a medical facility that involved the pretence of being a medic? In the process of struggling against the thoughts and feelings that this coincidence brought up, she asked herself if it wasn’t true that no matter where she went, no matter how far, Mal would always be there, since she carried him so deeply inside her, in her soul.
But no, that didn’t make sense; it was nonsense. Just because she didn’t know where she belonged, or who to trust, felt herself to be pushed into some kind of edge, didn’t mean that she was like him, had become like him because of being with him, because more than that they were alike, always had been, so alike, and so suited –
Was this how he felt? When he was out there, making a living, was he always stomach-in-mouth afraid? She was afraid. There was no art in the way that Reavers came at you – they wanted to attack, consume you, and even as you felt it you understood your own fear. But – not to know who was seeking to harm her, or why, or how they might to try to come at her next – even the driver of the medical transport, who Dr Ronson clearly knew well and trusted – there was no way of knowing if the doctor wasn’t being tricked as she had been tricked herself.
She took in sights and sounds long familiar to her through the closed windows of the transport. Why had she come back? She should have stayed on Pity, Mal might have –
No. Any illusion that she had, right now, that she would somehow have been safer with him, was just that – an illusion. Another illusion.
She was lost, and quite alone.
They arrived at one of the capital’s main hospitals.
“This isn’t what I was expecting,” Inara said to Dr Ronson. “You said it was a clinic.”
“We’re doctors, we have patients, we need medical equipment. Where else would we be less visible?”
For the majority of the hospital’s employees, the end of the day was approaching: equipment and lights were being turned off, office doors locked. Inara and Dr Ronson travelled up to the eighth floor of the hospital in an empty elevator. Ronson glanced at Inara as, on the fifth floor, the doors opened and a man asked them if they were going down. She twisted her face away hurriedly, pretending to reach for an itch.
“Don’t worry,” he said after the doors closed again. “He didn’t recognize you.”
When, during their journey to Sihnon, they had planned how they would travel to the clinic without Inara being seen, both she and Dr Ronson had avoided the subject of exactly who it was who had harmed her. Though they had no reason to distrust each other – he was a part of the Pity outlaws, he saw her as a member of the crew that had uncovered Miranda’s secret – they had shared a reluctance to talk about anything that wasn’t directly concerned with her treatment to come.
She nodded. “We’re both in danger.” It was a question more than a statement.
Ronson glanced at her again, glanced away, pushed the button for the eighth floor unnecessarily. “We’re always very careful not to attract attention to what we do here.”
“Why?” It seemed best, more likely to bear fruit, to be direct.
“We don’t know who is behind this.” Inara waited for more. She wondered if he or his associates suspected the Companions Guild, did and didn’t want to hear that this was the case. “And we don’t dig. As long as we’re giving medical assistance to people who need it then we’re clear about what our motivation is.”
More direct: “Is this what led you to Pity?”
“Well. That’s a conversation, isn’t it?”
“I didn’t mean” – regretting her directness, since it seemed to have caused him a genuine feeling of awkwardness.
“I believe that what I do is important but I – it makes me uncomfortable to be important about it.”
“I understand.” She cringed inwardly at the very unaccustomed feeling of having put a foot wrong.
“And we’re here.” The doors of the elevator opened and they stepped into a deserted corridor. “I try to keep a detached view about the work of the clinic,” Dr Ronson continued. “But that’s not the only reason for my reticence. We are skirting the edges of legality in what we do and – well, Dr Edo can explain it more fully, when you meet her.”
The way that Dr Ronson greeted his colleague confirmed the impression that he had just given her: that he was at pains to keep his medical practices and his political views separate. Their hand shake - crisp, business-like – seemed to indicate that Dr Edo was of the same mind.
Dr Edo’s smile was friendly, self-deprecating. “I’m wondering if it would seem gauche to make a pretence of not knowing who you are,” she said to Inara. “And if it’s coarse to just blurt out that I do. So I shall just say that it’s a pleasure to meet you and I wish it was under other circumstances.”
Inara found herself too nervous to do any more than nod and smile.
“Now, if you wouldn’t mind undressing, I shall take a history and examine you.” Inara nodded again and looked at Dr Ronson. “Would you like Dr Ronson to stay?”
“Yes. Please,” Inara managed to say.
If Dr Edo had not been so gentle during the examination, and so kind, Inara told herself, she would have kept the promise she had made to herself not to cry. “It is to be expected,” Dr Edo murmured when Inara apologized. “Can I carry on?”
Again, with lips clamped shut, Inara nodded.
“You’re very brave,” Dr Edo said. “And best of all is that we can help you.”
“Yes. We can.”
Inara let out an audible cry, reached for Dr Edo’s hand. She clasped it very tightly and found herself swaying slightly as she wept. “We can help you,” Dr Edo repeated.
Inara tried hard to retain the details of Dr Edo’s explanation as she explained how she would be treating her. At the same time her mind sought once more to make an enormous shift: from the certainty of facing death to the possibility of having been permanently damaged, from that possibility to another: of being cured. Again, wanting to share the news, she thought of Mal and forced her thoughts away from him almost in the same moment.
“You understand, don’t you, that by carrying out this treatment without following the proper protocols I am breaking the law. And you are too, by accepting it.”
Inara remembered debating the ethics and procedures of Cellular Renewal Therapy while still a teenager. It was considered essential, of course, for a Companion to be prepared to enter into intelligent conversation on any subject that a client might consider to be important. And Ling-Ling! – Ling-Ling had been her debate partner that time.
“I understand,” she said. She knew that in each case the patient and their doctor had to apply for the Medical Court to give permission for the treatment to take place. It could take months for this permission to be forthcoming, if it was given at all, and for some this was not quick enough; society judged these individual disasters necessary, however, to ensure that CRT was not abused. If Dr Edo – a CRT specialist – was discovered by the medical authorities, she would certainly be imprisoned. “And I’m very grateful.”
“Come back in two days,” Dr Edo said, acknowledging Inara’s gratitude with a nod. “I’ll be ready to begin your treatment then.”
Sunday, March 7, 2010 4:53 AM
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Monday, March 8, 2010 2:40 AM
Monday, March 8, 2010 11:31 AM
Tuesday, March 9, 2010 11:35 AM
Saturday, March 27, 2010 5:48 PM
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