Linaeus Thorburn, Hospital Clerk
Posted by: Christopher G
Date: March 8, 2017 08:29AM
Hey so over on the facebook page we got into a conversation about some of the practical implications of a military with a rez bed. This wound up triggering my need to write a Fan Fic for one of the Ondrej dead listed in the Vertigo AAR. I then roped Thomas into editing my terrible grammar. Seriously I can't thank him enough for helping me to polish this. Anyway for your consideration.
Linaeus Thorburn, hospital Clerk
Everything about Magnus Linaeus Carina Thorburn screams that she is a dangerous woman. She has the physique of a Greek god. Her presence always commands the room’s attention. If she whispers, you listen. That's the kind of person you become after surviving years as an elite Ondrej commando. It’s a dangerous life, though, and the service to her nation had sent Thorburn to the bed many many times. The decision was made, above her head and despite her protestations, that she would be transferred to the rear. To a hospital unit.
It feels like an insult. Lineaus Thorburn has to go back through basic job training along with newly minted Fostrums to learn how to push paper around a desk. The instructors are cold with her, and the other trainees are terrified by her rank. Fostrum Kelly in particular struggles to say more than two words to her at a time. Thorburn didn't get to where she is by belly aching, though. So she just toughs it out. A few weeks later, and her training as a medical clerk are complete. She and Fostrum Kelly of all people get sent to the same unit.
At first they aren't quite sure what to do with Lineaus Thorburn. Her rank alone affords her certain privileges, but the hospital is rather short staffed. They need everyone to pull their own weight right, and Thorburn doesn’t know her job. Not yet. So they stick her some place where she can't do much damage, behind the reception desk for family medicine. She sits there answering the phone, giving directions, and signing people in for their appointments. Thorburn enjoys every moment. She’s doing her small part to make people well again. It’s a good change of pace. She sleeps better now. Thorburn loves every chance she has to comforting a scared child with a lollipop or a stuffed animal. Nurses start asking if Thorburn would mind sitting in when they have to give children their shots.
By now Thorburn has learned enough that she doesn’t need to sit at the reception desk. She still does though. Likes being in the trenches with her grunts, she says. One day Thorburn comes back from a coffee break to find Fostrum Kelly being yelled at by a red faced Rymaus. Thorburn sits down calmly at the desk, and shoots the Rymaus a look. Just a look. You can hear a pin drop. The Rymaus leaves. Lineaus Thorburn finds Fostrum Kelly much more talkative after that.
It doesn’t feel hard for Thorburn to make friends with her coworkers anymore. She isn’t Lineaus Thorburn, former commando, in the hospital. No one pries in to her past deeds. They can’t be that blind to what she is. Yet, they seem more than happy to let her be just Lineaus Thorburn, hospital clerk. She’s thankful for that. Thorburn writes a thank you letter to her old commander for getting her transferred into the medical system.
A few of the other officers are concerned by Thorburn's familiarity with the lower ranks. Her familiarity breeds fraternization they say. She is undermining the authority of her rank. Fostrum Kelly and Linaeus Thorburnseem are particularly close knit. The commanding officer crushes these whispers before they grow. He does have a quiet word with Lineaus Thorburn. Despite keeping an eye on the Lineaus, he never finds cause to bring the issue up again.
The war starts to make itself felt more, and more. The number of hospital beds filled by those coming back from the front grows. Training is stepped up. Then comes the news. The hospital staff is being deployed to the front. There is a whirlwind of activity. Training to finalize. Equipment to order. Inventories to take. Thorburn starts spending more time at the shooting range. There she get to know the other combat veterans in the hospital. There were more than she realized.
The day comes. The staff trade in their gleaming building for a tent city in a field near the front. There are no more children worrying over injections. There is still crying. Thorburn is still good at easing suffering. It carries on like that for a long time. Sometimes the bodies they bring in are GDF. Thorburn feels the fire burn in her belly whenever she sees those damn uniforms of theirs. The fire doesn't burn quite so hot after she listens to one of them crying out for a parent.
Sometimes things are busy, sometimes things are quiet. Thorburn always seems to be a rock. Always there to help steady her colleagues as they fight to save lives in the middle of a war. Fostrum Kelly finds Thorburn crying once. Kelly doesn't say anything, just sits holding Thorburn until she's stopped crying. They never talk about it. They never need to talk about it.
In the middle of one night the hospital is told to relocate. Things are frantic. Patients have to be shipped out, facilities shut down, and packed up. It is organized chaos. Everyone is pulling together thought, and they're on the road. Whispers are starting to spread. Gibson. They're deploying to support an assault on Gibson. Thorburn finds the other combat veterans, and gathers them all in her transport. They spend the rest of the movement together.
Then Thorburn finds herself, and the rest of Task Force Vertigo at the gates to Gibson. The 20th Artillery Star needs it's hospital unit set up now. Everyone is too busy to be scared. The shelling is constant. Bodies keep pouring in. Thorburn seems to be in a dozen places at once. One moment she’s donating blood to keep a soldier alive. The next she’s checking in with the security element. She’s hounding the supply section for critical medicines. She’s taking a moment to feed a patient too badly injured to feed themselves.
Finally the shelling stops. The flow of injured slows. They say it’s victory.
They are wrong.
A wave of bodies comes crashing into the hospital. They almost falter. Almost. Magnus Lineaus Carina Thorburn isn’t anywhere to be found in the hospital. She’s in a foxhole with a rifle. All of the combat veterans are. Fostrum Kelly, and the others not too busy tending to the wounded join them. The veterans try to tell Kelly, and the other greenhorns to leave. The greenhorns refuse. As much as the veterans want to protect the hospital the greenhorns want to protect the veterans.
There isn’t anymore time to argue. The robots are here. It’s hell. Rounds sing out through the air. Blood stains the ground. Thorburn is a dozen places at once. She’s laying down fire here. She’s carrying the wounded to the casualty collection point. She’s hurling grenades there. She’s scavenging ammo from the dead.
They are on the verge of being overrun. The charges are almost set. It’s time to retreat. The greenhorns go first. A few of the veterans trickle out. There is an explosion. After that nothing comes.
There’s talk of Magnus Linaeus Carina Thorburn getting a medal. There’s talk of a lot of people at Gibson getting medals.
Fostrum Kelly is requesting a transfer to the commandos.