Jess breathed a sigh of relief as they loaded Mr. Jenkins into the ambulance. She turned, and gave his arm a gentle squeeze.
"You take care now," she urged.
He smiled at her, then settled back as she closed the door.
As the driver headed for the front, Jess put a hand on his arm. "Watch out– they've got blockades up all around 218th Street and 105th Avenue.
The driver nodded. "Thanks... be careful out there... things are getting pretty hairy."
Jess nodded. "You don't know the half of it!"
She gave him a wave and then headed back towards the bikes. "Dispatch... this is M1-7... clear."
"Copy M1-7 clear."
Jess lowered the radio and managed to get two steps close to her bike when the next call came in.
M1-7, be advised- we have a call of multiple injuries... with gunshots. 240th Street and 96th..."
Jess raised the radio and was about to respond when Tommy sat up.
"Hey! That's us!" He said anxiously.
Jess looked at him for a moment, unsure if he was joking or serious. As soon as she saw the men's faces she knew they weren't joking.
Lance's response confirmed her suspicions. "Probably the Bandits again. It'll be all be over by the time we get there though."
Jess spoke into the radio. "Dispatch... M1-7..en-route."
She put her helmet on and looked at the two men. "How fast can you take it?"
Lance grinned "Try us..."
Jess nodded and headed out with her two new companions following right behind.
Jess concentrated on the road ahead of her, all the time consulting the chipped in map. She mentally marked the map where they'd been stopped by the gangers, and any accidents she'd seen. She'd already given up on wondering how long things would be like this.
The darkened city reflecting back her emergency lights and the two bikes behind her became her reality. For now at least– this was the way things had always been. Jess slowed down only to maneuver around some of the more artistic displays of wreckage.
When they did find a wreck, Jess would check for signs of victims, but as always the scenes were deathly silent.
Some streets seemed perfectly normal, aside from the lack of lights, others looked more like a war zone then a neighborhood, while still others were patrolled by stern looking men and women armed for bear.
On those occasions Jess made sure it was clear that Lance and Tommy were with her, not chasing her. But for the most part– she was sure it looked like some sort of mad, post apocalyptic pursuit game with no real rules.
Jess was sure they were getting close and was about to signal a halt when she heard Lance's voice on the radio.
"M1-7... Jess... do you copy-- this is Lance..." During the pause she realized he'd been going up and down the frequencies looking for her.
"Lance, switch to 156.180."
Jess switched her radio to the specified frequency and waited.
"Can you take it dark from here?"
Jess looked around. "Probably– why?"
"With the city the way it is– they're going to know we're coming– the lights will only tell them direction."
Jess paused as she tried to understand Lance's concerns. Most of the time, as a medic, and even more so as a bike she wanted to be seen– wanted people to know and get out of her way. But this was an entirely different world and Jess understood. Flashing emergency lights now meant a target and or a potential threat.
It would mean traveling slower– but it hopefully meant getting there alive.
"I can– but I'm going to have to take it slower."
"Do you have low light?"
Jess looked through her visor and sighed. "Other helmet. Been working days...."
"Can you follow?"
Jess thought about it for a moment. "Still be slower, but faster than me leading if you've got low light...."
"Copy. Tommy– you get that?"
"Let's go then."
That said Lance took over the lead and Jess found herself in the middle with Tommy following her. Something in the way he moved told Jess that Lance had told him something else on a private channel. Probably that he was the rear guard.
By the time they reached 96th, it was clear that the battle had mostly been waged on 94th near 240th, and that battle was probably the right word for things. Casualties lay strewn over the block, downed bikers, gunshot victims– Jess scanned the area as she pulled in, not wanted to be mistaken for a threat– or potential victim herself.
Down the street, several people were loading others into a nondescript brown van.
"Citywide," she called out. "What do you have?"
Jess tensed slight as a teenager appeared from the side. She relaxed a little when she recognized his leathers as matching Lance and Tommy's. ‘Must be the neighborhood watch Lance was talking about,' she thought to herself.
"He's been shot," the kid told her pointing to his friend. Jess dismounted immediately and checked on the man. She grabbed her kit and drafted the boy into helping her.
Jess realized that the man was dealing with a sucking chest wound. She quickly cut open his jacket and applied a guaze/vaseline dressing. Taping it, she left one corner untaped.
When the man started to move, Jess quickly restrained him. "Relax hon," she told him. "You've been shot... I'm taking care of you... but you've got to relax... understand?"
There was a pause and then the man nodded.
Jess smiled. "Okay– help is on the way... I'm going to go check on the others okay?"
He nodded. Jess looked over at the teen. "You stay with him okay? If anything changes, call me."
He nodded then looked worriedly at his friend.
Jess tried to be reassuring but there were so many in need. She called in the scene and the man's stats– he looked like he was the worst– but there were still so many to triage– she needed more medics. She drafted several of Lance's people as she started a triage line. When the worst injuries had been taken care of... she started calling in the stats. They were going to need several ambulances.
She'd made her way to the end of the street and realized that most of the fighting had to have been concentrated where they'd arrived. Then she noticed. that were fewer wounded than there were when she'd arrived and that the van, and her chest wound victim, were gone.
Jess stood looking around. "What the hell!?"
"We've got someone who'll look after them," Lance explained in an even tone. "It's not far, and it saves us legal complications– you know... I'm sure you'll have to file a report, so we'll just leave it at that."
Jess gave him a worried look. "There was a sucking chest wound in there– and his buddy... looked like he might have had a concussion..."
"I know. Our people will take care of them. They'll be fine.... At least they will now. I'm not sure if the limited first-aid we have would have gotten him to the street doc..."
Jess shook her head. "But..." Looking around Jess realized that the van would probably get the injured the medical attention they needed long before the ambulances arrived– but it still bothered her.
"They'll be fine now, thanks to you."
Jess could tell Lance meant it, but it still bothered her. She called dispatch to let them know that someone had collected most of the worst cases, but they still needed help.
She continued to work on the injured, while several of Lance's people rounded up weapons and helped with the injured. By the time the truck arrived everything was pretty much under control.
Things got a little more complicated when the Star arrived. Jess noticed how quickly Lance's people managed to fade into the woodwork. Not that she blamed them judging by the Star's reaction.
They took pictures of every ‘victim' as they were loaded into the truck and requested a full write up from Jess. She was about to say something when she heard another call come through.
Jess looked around. "I've got a call– I'll write this up– after everything calms down...."
The officer looked at her and was about to object when he remembered the situation. He nodded and headed back to his vehicle as Jess jogged back to her bike. As she mounted she saw two officers leading a small clump of duct-taped gangers to another car. She shook her head and was about to leave when she saw someone move out of the shadows long enough for her to see him.
"Be careful," Lance called over the radio.
"You too," she answered, and then she was gone.
Return to Story Page