Private up in flames

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May 15, Y110 || @Leonard McCoy
Follow-up to: Dark Eclipse

There was something horribly familiar in watching everything fall apart. Lelouch’s lungs ached, his muscles lead, the side of his chest a throbbing wreck, but he had no opportunity to listen to his body’s protests. Hiding was not an option when the seekers had the technology to see through concrete and the tenacity to chase rats out of hidey holes. The only thing he could do was run, a desperate ploy given that his hunters had both superior firepower and technology. It was a probability game – the unspoken agreement between the group was to scatter, to believe in the odds that maybe one would escape.

Probability-wise, Lelouch’s chances were not good. He knew this, knew that he was the slowest target. And yet somehow the chaos had worked in their favor – the Peacekeepers didn’t have time to order prioritized targets based on chance for success. But that meant they’d chosen randomly, that they’d followed after the others. With each step, Lelouch regretted. But he could do nothing now, nothing but run and hope like hell that his continued freedom was the most valuable outcome here, that he could do something if the others were not so lucky.

Even the thought of that bad end was enough to make his heart skip a beat.

Perhaps it wasn’t just that thought. A few hundred meters and Lelouch was forced to stop, panting, collapsed with his back against a hunk of concrete that had fallen free of a building during one of the quakes. Lelouch’s vision spun behind the mask he wore, and for the first time he noticed the spiderwebbing crack in the glass. Still, he grit his teeth, wincing as he prodded at his right side. When the first concussive blast had hit and knocked him prone, Lelouch had felt something crack, but with the ringing in his ears and the fuzziness of his thoughts, he hadn’t much registered what or where. Pain was not unfamiliar; this was not his first injury on the battlefield. But never had he felt so alone, so utterly helpless to the whims of his enemies.

As he lay slumped, panting, heart hammering, he was vaguely aware of a figure approaching. If it was a Peacekeeper, he had no means to fight – even Geass would be useless if he couldn’t form words with his sandpaper tongue.

As unconsciousness threatened to close in around him, Lelouch’s last coherent thoughts were desperate: not yet, not yet, not yet.
 

Leonard McCoy

Star Trek
Posts
36
Location
Elysium
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Carma
Age
42
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He/Him
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Human
Occupation
Doctor
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Divorced
Peacekeepers were bastards.

That was a mantra that Bones kept repeating in his head, time after time after time. They were just the foot soldiers of authoritarian powers content to squash those they disagreed with by sending their government-funded thugs with military-grade weapons to chase them into corners and shoot them dead or have them taken into custody to be jailed, their lives stripped from them. Peacekeepers were bastards. But...normally, Bones didn't have to deal with them quite so much. Not nearly as much as the Overcity. Here they were fewer, far less regulated, and so it was more like encountering the odd feral rat. Unpleasant, but somewhat uncommon.

Today they were teeming in the streets.

Bones had been given an advisory - something big was going on, what with the happenings of the moon which..well..he didn't quite understand, exactly, it had been a mess he'd entered into the world a bit late to fully grasp the context of, but all he needed to understand was "some folks tried to fix a problem and the result of it was that they were targets of the government". That told him absolutely everything he needed to hear. That and...the fact that those folks- the ones that weren't jailed- were fleeing to the Undercity, here, and getting hunted down like dogs.

Bones wasn't one for warfare. He was a pacifist by nature and wouldn't raise a hand against another living being if it was within his ability not to. But he also couldn't just hide out in the clinic, either; not when there were people in genuine need. People who were fugitives now, hiding from the law. So, he'd taken his phaser, grabbed his tricorder, stuffed a bag with supplies and hit the streets.

He followed the sounds of shooting, trying to see if he could find any of these folks himself, before they were rounded up. But he was stopped in his tracks when something caught his eye. Or rather, someone.

The person was tall and thin, wearing some absurd sort of costume, and a badly cracked mask.

More importantly, he was injured.

Something in Bones was immediately both suspicious and alerted to the person's predicament. He clearly wasn't a Peacekeeper, and by the state of him had clearly been in some sort of altercation, possibly with them. But the costume also...seemed somewhat suspicious, almost like a kind of cult-esque disguise. But that wasn't for him to judge.

He had his first patient. Bones stepped toward them, kneeling down in the rubble, letting his bag slip down to his side. He could see that the person was breathing, by the rise and fall of his chest, erratic though it might be. It was hard to tell if he was conscious, though, but...it was better to assume that he was, than he wasn't.

"I'm a doctor." He let that be the first thing the person would hear, if indeed he was awake. "I'm going to take a look at you. Lie still if you can."

He took his tricorder out of his bag, calibrating it for a human patient. He couldn't see the man's face, but he had to start with what he could see. And for all the strangeness of the outfit, he looked pretty human.

@Lelouch vi Britannia I mean cult leader is close
 
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The echoes of adrenaline kept Lelouch’s eyes open as he watched the figure loom closer and closer. With every step bringing them nearer, Lelouch struggled for something resembling clarity, some fire with which he could forge the semblance of a coherent plan.

There was rubble all around him, some pieces small enough to heft in one hand, but he’d never come out victorious in hand-to-hand combat with a peacekeeper, even at his full strength. He’d still have to rely on his mind, foggy though it was. There was something distressingly quiet about the way his inner critic, the internal voice that scrutinized his every word and plan, seemed to have faded into obscurity. His thoughts were scrambled with every heartbeat that wracked through him. Perhaps he could fake some kind of distress, gesture to the mask, and if the peacekeeper removed it, perhaps Geass…

Lelouch began to chew his tongue, desperate for the ability to form words when the time was right. He only needed one, maybe two.

And yet, when the figure knelt in front of him, he was not immediately dragged to his feet. His hands remained unshackled at his sides. Belatedly, he realized that the figure was not clad in the usual uniform of peacekeepers. Why, then?

Lelouch registered the words a beat too late. Doctor. He was already working to try to get to his feet, struggling against the drag of gravity, before he realized the next words were instructions. He sank back into a stupor then, uncharacteristically compliant because he did not have the energy to be any other way.

Settling, he watched the man from behind the burnished glass of the mask, still breathing as though every gulp of air was hard-won. In his childhood, he’d once been invited along on a hunting trip with a pair of older half-siblings, and at the end of the day, they’d come back to one of their traps to find a rabbit. Their quarry was hardly a glorious prize – wide-eyed and breathing hard, it was pressed against the back of the cage. When his siblings were arguing about who would claim the kill, he’d sprung the rabbit from its cage.

He had, not long afterwards, learned that mercy was not so common a practice.

“Why?” Lelouch croaked after a beat. “Why… help?” He swallowed, is tongue feeling like one of the chunks of concrete all around them. In a more strained voice, he said: “They’re coming.” The implication remained unsaid: if they find you, we’re both as good as dead.
 
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Leonard McCoy

Star Trek
Posts
36
Location
Elysium
Alias
Carma
Age
42
Pronouns
He/Him
Species
Human
Occupation
Doctor
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Divorced
The voice that eked out of his patient was...younger than what Bones was anticipating. Not a child's - certainly not - but most definitely young. And also uncertain. If indeed he was part of the movement that was currently under fire from Peacekeepers, then he had every right to be suspicious and question a would-be "doctor" approaching him. Bones lowered his tricorder, a small scowl on his face. It was...probably better not to poke at him with that while his patient still wasn't sure what his intentions were. He was struck by that soft why help, wondering just what sort of world this young person was used to that help was strange to him. But then, what he blurted after...

They're coming.

It didn't take much to guess who "they" were. If the Peacekeepers were on his tail, that did change things a bit. Giving him a checkup here suddenly became dangerous. Bones clipped his tricorder back, narrowing his eyes at the slinky feller. "Why? Because I'm a doctor." he repeated simply, offering no further explanation than that. In his own mind no more was needed. The objective of a doctor was to save lives, after all. But...there was a problem they were going to have to deal with. A medic wasn't especially useful if he was incarcerated, after all.

"But I hear you. I catch your drift, this place isn't exactly hidden, so..." He frowned, looking over his very definitely unfit-for-running patient. "I get the feeling you can't run or walk like that. Don't need medical equipment to know you got a bum leg. If I give you my shoulder, think you can lean on me? I'll take you back to my clinic. Nothing official, I'm not affiliated with those folks, but I ain't a hack-saw degenerate either." He thought a moment, then crossed his arms. "And no funny stuff outta you. I know where your pressure points are. Try to pull a fast one and I'll put you under for sure."

It wasn't much a threat, but he wasn't gonna leave this kid out to dry. Whether he wanted it or not he was getting medical care. But he figured it was best to let him know he wasn't exactly ending up in bad hands; neither some paid-off doc in the pockets of politicians or the sleazy type that butchered his patients cause he couldn't afford real equipment. Better to build a sort of rapport here and now.
 
Posts
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‘Because I’m a doctor.’

The stranger said those words as if they explained everything, as if the word ‘doctor’ was synonymous with ‘philanthropist’. Lelouch’s experience was… not that. Britannian doctors, though outfitted with the best technology available to them, were not resistant to Britannia’s devotion to St. Darwin, and thus empathy was not so commonly prescribed. He still remembered the cold, white-and-fluorescent stain of the hospital where Nunnally had been treated after their mother’s assassination, the way the staff’s attention had dwindled once it became clear what her outcome would be. During the days of the Black Rebellion, Lelouch had managed to enlist the help of a number of back-alley doctors trying to the right thing. Two or three had turned out to be planted by Britannia’s anti-resistance forces – and so Lelouch’s mistrust for the profession had been positively reinforced.

But strangely, this man failed to strike him as a liar or a Britannian spy, or even a threat. Perhaps it was his wounded state that caused his paranoia to abandon him. He almost laughed.

Though his heart was still beating in his throat, Lelouch processed the man’s string of words, instructions, and veiled threats. Already, he’d accepted the reality of the situation: he wasn’t going to be getting out of here on his own any time soon. And staying here was a surefire way of getting himself captured or killed. If he was to survive, to somehow regroup with Euphemia, Suzaku, and Rolo, he had to move. His routine disdain for accepting help would only make this situation that much worse.

And so after a moment’s deliberation, the mask bobbed, nodding. “Very well. I accept your terms,” he acquiesced with a sandpaper tongue. Perhaps he would have appreciated the doctor’s words more were he not nearly incapacitated. Lelouch wouldn’t be the one to start any problems at least, but he wasn’t beyond Geassing this doctor, if it came to that. ‘Pressure points’ seemed an odd threat, but putting himself at the mercy of a complete stranger was already a daunting enough prospect.

Still, he couldn’t have this stranger thinking he was completely vulnerable. Unconsciousness would probably be the only thing that would keep him down. “I can make it. How far?” he asked, making an effort to rise, thinking that would help mask the severity of his condition. But as he wedged himself against the rubble, he began to tremble. Suddenly weak, he fell back to sitting. And then, begrudgingly, he held out an arm, the most overt way Lelouch would ever deign to ask for help.
 

Leonard McCoy

Star Trek
Posts
36
Location
Elysium
Alias
Carma
Age
42
Pronouns
He/Him
Species
Human
Occupation
Doctor
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Divorced
Yup, he was dealing with a 20-year-young hotshot. Bones only had a sigh in him, watching the damn fool try to pull himself up on his feet despite that bum leg only to stumble back onto his rump. Young men were all idiots, the lot of them. At least this one didn't try to stand a second time, having learned his lesson. Bones rolled his eyes and scoffed, mumbling something about damn young kids under his breath before reaching out first to take hold of the forearm reaching toward him, then using his other hand to steady the guy as he rose into a supported stand. He was...incredibly light, almost worryingly so. For someone his height he was unusually thin. But now wasn't the time to worry about that, there was worse to take care of.

"Bout two blocks from here. Now just ease up a bit here, you're dead weight if you're tense..." He wasn't in the mood to talk gentle; the guy was willing to cooperate but obviously wasn't happy about it, and he needed that attitude to change fast. He slung one of the kid's arms around his shoulder and went to grip around his side, careful with where he was touching. Couldn't be sure, but the kid was built like a twig; he didn't want to risk bruising a fractured rib or anything like that. At least now he could get them walking.

"How conscious are you? I gotta focus on getting from point A to point B. Don't know if there are any peacekeepers on the tail, but they can't be far. I don't got any weapons, so we're gonna have to avoid them as much as possible. Don't know if you can be my eyes...but if not, I need you to at least try to cooperate with me here. The more you work with me, the faster I get you out of their sight and the less likely it is for us to be arrested. Now let's go."

Bones tried not to think about how there were...probably more, out there. Probably kids, too, cause it was usually kids that got caught up in this sorta stuff. Once he had this guy taken care of he'd go back to survey the situation, see what was left. If there was anyone left.

@Lelouch vi Britannia Feel free to move them along as much as you want!
 
Posts
87
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18 (+1)
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he/him
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Ever the actor, Lelouch suppressed a wince as the doctor propped him up in a standing position. He felt almost like a marionette, and he loathed the feeling quietly. Ultimately, it would do no good for him to bemoan his situation – energy spent complaining would almost certainly be pulled from the energy he was using to stand. Lelouch had a feeling that he’d be subjected to a much less dignified extraction if he actually fell into a useless heap on the ground.

The fact that he assumed the doctor wouldn’t just leave him there was left unexamined for the time being.

Lelouch’s concentration was oscillating. The mask almost served its purpose too well, both shielding Lelouch’s face and muffling the sounds around him. Or perhaps that was simply the ringing in his ears. He heard some of the words spoken to him and processed even less. Something about two blocks, tensing up… unfortunately, Lelouch couldn’t tense up. Once he was securely supported on the doctor’s arm, he went almost full limp noodle, wobbling at the knees.

Still, he understood the gist: cooperate. Walk. “I’ll be fine,” he said, very clearly not fine. Like a marionette puppeted by a complete novice, Lelouch walked. Or rather, shuffled. Pitifully. He at least made an effort of lifting his feet so that his legs wouldn’t catch on any of the rubble. Even obscured behind a mask, it was clear that he was concentrating. At the sound of shifting rubble, he would pause and perk up, his breath catching for a moment while he listened, head swiveling. Though the doctor was unarmed, Lelouch was not – a handgun was tucked in his boot for good measure. Not that he could use it in his current state. Regardless, the peacekeepers never manifested.

If Lelouch had been more lucid, the absence of the peacekeepers probably would have been more concerning to him. ‘If not here, then where are they?’ To keep himself moving, he had to believe that the tactical retreat for his team had been a success – as if the retreat had been any part tactical and not entirely desperate.

Two blocks was a long way through rubble and fault lines, longer still with a mostly-incapacitated companion. Lelouch didn’t know how far they’d traveled. Whatever destination the doctor had promised seemed like a far-off impossibility. Perhaps he’d dreamed it. “You being a doctor doesn’t explain it,” he said after shuffling in silence for a time, his voice efforted, his mind about ten minutes in the past. “You said it like that was the answer, but it’s something else.” Whatever else ‘it’ was, Lelouch didn’t elaborate. He was back to concentrating on the ground in front of him, listening to the wind hit the dust on the street.

Lelouch didn’t know how long it had been, or how far they’d walked, but finally, they stopped. Swaying, Lelouch looked surveyed the area around them. “This will do,” he declared, as if his opinion actually held weight, as if he wasn’t looking at a half-ruined street in the middle of a city built on a broken moon. Upon getting the words out, Lelouch's knees promptly buckled.


@Leonard McCoy I didn't want to describe the clinic without you but consider them there (or at some other location of your choosing it's all good). Also forgive my wonky dialogue, Lelouch is referring to Bones saying "Because I'm a doctor" in case that's not clear!
 

Leonard McCoy

Star Trek
Posts
36
Location
Elysium
Alias
Carma
Age
42
Pronouns
He/Him
Species
Human
Occupation
Doctor
Alignment
Chaotic Good
Relationship Status
Divorced
As Bones did what he could to take the weight of his rather thin patient to help him walk, he reminded himself that certainly this was not the worst scenario he had faced. Not back home, and not since arriving here. The boy was irate and stubborn, but he was sensible enough to at least cooperate. If only out of absolute necessity, since it was clear that he couldn't walk on his own. Bones had to wonder exactly what a skin-and-bones boy in a mask thought he could accomplish in resistance to a force that was heavily armed and arresting protestors en masse. More than likely he was a riled-up kid who felt the need to help somehow, but lacked the resources. Bones could sympathize with that, and even if he had a mind to talk the kid down from getting back in the thick of it, he respected the effort all the same.

The trek was slow, and from time to time there were moments that it almost sounded like someone was on their tail. Even so, no one showed their faces. Bones was very much aware of what that meant, but tried not to let it bother him. He had his wits about him; he could help this kid get up and out of danger and then when he was in the clear....see what he could do about the rest that the Peacekeepers hadn't put behind bars.

It was with that thought in mind that he was suddenly addressed by his irate patient, who it seemed was talking about some unknowable it. He gave no explanation to what he was talking about, or what it was, only that he was upset that something something being a doctor wasn't an answer, there was another reason for..."it". Bones sighed heavily, narrowing his eyes as he kept them moving forward.

"Son, if you're addressing me, you're going to have to be clearer what you mean. I'm a doctor, not-"

Because I'm a doctor.

He chuckled humourlessly. "Well I'll be damned." He let a moment of quiet follow, even as he tried to rationalize his thoughts. Truthfully, there was nothing rational in his reasoning; the very opposite, it was his humanity, pure and simple. He narrowed his eyes as he started down much more familiar streets. They weren't far now.

"Way I see it, if you're a doctor who doesn't help people...or refuses to help, because of politics or religion or a difference in beliefs...then that's not a doctor. Me...I see someone who needs help, and you damn well bet I'm gonna do it, damn the rules and regulations. That's why I helped you. Now stop talking, you're only wasting energy."

He wasn't about to have a philosophical debate about what constituted being a doctor with a delirious teenager. But not damn minutes later, the kid was suddenly swaying, making some last ditch effort to sound like he was okay before collapsing. Bones pressed fingers to his temples, sighing heavily as he looked down on the kid. Fortunately they were only a few shy steps out from the front door of his clinic. But that did mean he had to get the brat back on his feet, or....carry him. He narrowed his eyes.

"I'm your doctor, and I get to decide where I treat my patient. You're getting proper care, which means you get to take the last few steps into my damn clinic. If you can't do that, fine, but then you let me pick you up. And don't you dare get on me about pride, I don't have the patience."

He paused, then thought for a moment, relaxing a little bit.

"Scratch that. If you can wait where you are, and stay conscious, I'll wheel out one of the biobeds and put you up on that. It'll be a little more awkward getting you inside, but it's better than nothing. So just...tell me if you can stay conscious. I'll only be a minute."

He supposed it might be a bit confusing, given that...they were in front of what looked like a shite old warehouse. It was cheap for the space it gave him, and at least on the inside it had the makings of a clinic. He always kept at least two biobeds right out by the front for cases like this - emerj transport wasn't common, but having them right there was vital when his patients couldn't move.

Now it was just left to whether or not the kid would trust him.

@Lelouch vi Britannia Yeee gotcha! TBH it doesn't look like a proper clinic so this works XD
 
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Lelouch once again found himself on the ground, which was becoming a pattern that he found both annoying and humiliating. He’d been prone to bouts of weakness and the occasional fainting spell as a child, a fact that had been swept under the rug lest it become a factor in Britannian royal family internal politics. A blood pressure disorder was a manifestation of weakness, or so believed Britannia. Lelouch did not prescribe to Darwinism – the very notion set his blood boiling – but notions of maintaining appearances and not allowing any to see any signs of frailty was carved into his marrow.

He didn’t have much of a choice here.

To save some face, Lelouch managed to prop himself up against the nearby wall: half-laying, half-sitting, all-leaning. Not the most elegant arrangement, but he worked hard to make it seem like he was comfortable, like his last spill was merely a fluke and he was choosing to maintain his current vantage. He knew the doctor could see right through it.

From his position on the ground, Lelouch considered his options. He could walk himself in, which seemed less and less possible with his current predicament – it seemed he had truly reached the end of his strength. He could allow himself to be carried, which was somehow worse. Or he could cling to consciousness from his position on the ground and maintain some semblance of dignity.

The doctor couldn’t see Lelouch’s expression behind the mask (it was very definitely a scowl), but he would be able to see Lelouch nod his assent. “I can stay conscious,” he warbled out. “Not standing is just… easier.” Not his most convincing performance, but it would suffice. Whatever a biobed was, it was probably better than the ground. Probably.

At this point, he could hardly find himself in a worse position: injured, alone, probably the easiest target on this rock. If the doctor hadn’t pressed some nefarious advantage yet, he probably wasn’t going to. Whatever grief the man gave him seemed purely practical and hardly conniving, which was not something Lelouch had expected of a stranger, but was grateful for nonetheless.


@Leonard McCoy | sorry for the delay! feel free to skip ahead however much if you want to get them into the clinic and such
 

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