Pleasure Island—Ch. 7
“Come on, it has to be around here somewhere...” Lucy was hunting around near the front lobby, or more correctly in the building near the pier. Near the entrance, so that people could be moved in and out easily.
What she was looking for was simple: salvation. Or at least her closest equivalent: a fully equipped hospital. A well-stocked first aid station would do, but she was betting there was a mini hospital on this island. It would be the least that Mr. Byerson could do for his ‘guests’. Not to mention his staff.
Unless those nanobots could fix everything?
Well, maybe they could, but Pleasure Island wouldn’t last long if they took over everyone who visited. So there would need to be at least emergency medical care for the guests.
Besides, hadn’t they told her there would be? That had been her recruitment offer: a chance to work at, possibly even head, the medical facility here.
It had sounded like a dream come true: here she was, just out of medical school, top two percent of her class, and they had offered her a job on a Caribbean resort as a doctor, maybe even the head doctor on the island. Or possibly the sole doctor on the island. It was a small island after all: they wouldn’t need much in the way of medical personnel.
To put a young and inexperienced doctor in the spot was ludicrous, really. But the recruiter had said they didn’t really expect any major emergencies often: just the occasional broken bone really, and if she ever needed to consult all they had to do was video conference. Her inexperience would not be a problem, since they were sure she knew what she was doing. And her youth would be an asset: she would not draw as much attention among the staff and guests.
Besides, they had said, it was hard to get a more settled doctor to move away from the big city hospitals.
More fool they, Lucy had thought. Now she had different ideas of who the fool was.
“Ah, there it is!” Lucy said under her breath, finally spotting a hidden staircase with a first aid cross on it. Probably not the main entrance, but good enough. Now to see if she could get in.
The door opened easily and noiselessly. Her steps on the concrete stairs were a little louder as she followed the signs down.
The door at the bottom opened as easily as the one at the top, exposing Lucy to the polished gleam of the island’s medical center.
It was impressive, but the entryway wasn’t what Lucy was looking for. She moved into the rooms beyond, pausing just a moment for a wry grimace as she passed the elevator doors.
She should have thought of that.
She did stop after the next door, just a moment, but not in amazement. No, Lucy stopped in the hallway, looking at the doors stretching out under the island compound, and wondered where to start, which way to go.
Deciding it didn’t matter, she advanced and took the third door to her right.
This was a simple examination room. Chairs, scale, that weird raised bed that every hospital carried, a few cabinets, a small desk; it could have been the same room that she had seen (and cleaned) during her internship. Or that she had visited since she was a baby.
Not what she was looking for.
She closed the door behind her, only then noticing the plaque on the door: “Room 5A”, and below it, in smaller type: “Examination”.
“Come on Lucy; Are you trying to be scatterbrained? First the elevator, now this!” The rebuke came out near silent.
Resolving to be more attentive to the obvious, she continued on, this time reading the doorplates. The examination rooms continued to till she hit a wall: the hallway turned left.
She paused a moment, considering the next door she came to: “Doctor’s Office”. It wasn’t that Lucy thought what she was looking for was in there, but it would be interesting to see what they had...
No. She didn’t want to know. The cost was too high. Better not to think about it; just concentrate on getting off the island.
The next door down was what Lucy was looking for, behind a door simply labeled: “Supplies”. Inside, in clearly labeled drawers and cabinets, was the first-response supplies. Gauze, cotton, antibiotics (internal, ointments, and fluid), splints, stretchers.
And in a freezer cabinet at the back: Plasma.
She opened it, almost afraid to hope. There they were, the 300ml bags, frozen solid, with the Red Cross seal still intact on them. She picked one up, stuck it in the microwave conveniently set next to the freezer. When it had thawed, she looked it over for any sign of tampering. None.
“Mr. Bryerson, this time you missed something.” Lucy said, well pleased with herself.
Now Lucy paused a moment. She was sure she could stay hydrated using the plasma, but the question was how to use it? Normally she would set up an IV, drip it directly into a patient’s bloodstream. That would be the best way to go about this, if she could trust the IV equipment. But could she?
Lucy found herself thinking of the nanobots as a pathogen: she supposed they could stay dormant, for a while, outside of water, but they needed water to be active. If that was the case, then Byerson could have coated the equipment with them, preventing what she was trying to do, while still keeping the (expensive) emergency supplies untouched. If the nanobots decayed over the course of a week, then there would be no problem with using the equipment afterwards. But Lucy couldn’t trust it now.
Which left only one, slightly grisly, alternative. She would have to drink it, straight.
She wasn’t sure if that would cost her water or not, net, but it should be close with pure plasma. If she dehydrated while drinking it, she might try the IV later, when it presumably would be safer.
There was a drawer with scissors. Lucy started toward it, then stopped. Better to be absolutely safe.
She tore open the bag with her teeth, spit out the plastic, then squeezed the bag to squirt the purified blood directly into her mouth.
It didn’t taste that bad. In fact, after a moment while she got used to the feel of the stream tingling in the back of her mouth, it tasted quite good.
She needed another: she must have been slightly dehydrated by the plane ride. An idea that had more resonance when Lucy couldn’t remember actually drinking on any of the flights here.
The microwave must be a high-end model: this time she hit the auto-thaw button and it took less than a minute to heat the next bag to blood heat. This bag opened easier, and Lucy decided plasma tasted better warm.
Her immediate thirst satisfied, Lucy headed out of the store room. She had decided she was curious about the office next door. Besides, it would be a good lookout point to guard her fluid supply. After all, she was going to be here for a week.
The office was amazing. The rest of the hospital area was sterile white or green, this room was dark wood hues. The desk was black wood, with the grain near-invisible in the polish. The desk chair was deep padded leather, matching the desk. The facing chairs’ leather was brown, and seemed minimal till Lucy tried sitting in one.
She could live here for a few days, easily...
Time to get her bag. She had a few changes of clothes, and some food. It would make her stay more comfortable at least.
Lucy shut the door behind her, hiding her refuge for safekeeping. She locked the door, then took a moment to look at the keys in her hand.
“Where’d I get these?” She looked at them a moment before remembering that she had picked them up out of one of the drawers in the desk.
Recalling where she had acquired the keys, Lucy then dismissed the moment of worry their appearance had caused. “Might as well lock the storeroom too.” She said to herself, proceeding to lock the adjoining door.
She took the elevator up, deciding it was probably closer to her bags, which she wanted to collect.
It was, but she had forgotten that the bags were in the center of the building. She had walked past alone earlier, but now there was a crowd. (If you call a half-dozen a crowd.) Mercifully, none saw her get out of the elevator. She waited for a moment, trying to decide how to get her bag without drawing attention to herself, then decided she could just walk up when the group broke up.
Lucy’s bag was by itself, a little behind the pile, near the chairs in the indoor section of the lounge/waiting area. A stray spot of sunlight filtering through the pool side doors helped her spot it.
It almost worked. No one paid any attention to her as she walked up to her bag, but her gasp of pain as she grabbed the handle spoiled the nonchalant effect Lucy had been going for.
There was a wisp of smoke coming from her hand.
Lucy stared at her suddenly sunburned hand, the bag still hanging from it, until she was shaken out of it by one of the girls she had been trying to avoid.
“Are you all right?” Lucy turned to the direction of the voice: in front of her stood a shape framed in blonde hair, with the red lips and blue eyes set against the smooth skin. A moment later Lucy realized it was one of the other girls.
“Uh, yeah, I’m fine. Just bumped my sunburn, that’s all.”
“That must be some sunburn.” This time the voice came from the side of her. The woman there was a brunette.
The thought passed through Lucy’s mind that Mr. Byerson had some good selection processes: everyone on the island was stunning.
Of course that was the point...
Time to get her mind back on track. Lucy knew she needed to say something. “Yeah, I’m not really sure what happened, but...” She showed the offending hand.
“Wow. How’d you do that?” The brunette asked.
“As I said, I’m not sure. I just forgot about it when I picked up my bag.”
The blonde broke in as Lucy tried to figure out some way to get rid of them. “You should get some treatment for that. I wonder if anyone here is a doctor?”
Lucy had to respond: “Well, as a matter of fact, I am.”
“Well, that’s lucky. I don’t suppose you brought your medical supplies with you?” The blonde asked, then added: “Oh, here, let me take that.” She reached to gently take the bag out of Lucy’s hands.
“Nope. No such luck. I just brought clothes.”
“Well, then we’ll have to help you look for something you can use.” The blonde shouldered Lucy’s bag, obviously ready to start looking.
Lucy sighed mentally. Well, at least it was just the three of them within hearing range. “Actually, I just found the island hospital. I was going to get my bag and hole up there for the week.”
Lucy gestured to the elevator. “Down.” She looked at her two new companions. Well, she could do worse. “Follow me.”
When the elevator doors shut, the brunette spoke up again: “By the way, my name is Thera, and this is Dulcie. I take it by ‘hole up’ you have some idea of how to avoid the nanobots?”
“I think so.” Lucy turned to face the girls. “But I’m not sure it will work yet, and I can’t do it for more than a few people. I was planning on keeping it to myself. No use in risking others.” A plan for how to handle these two was forming in Lucy’s mind. The nanobot-women had been avoiding the others so far, so if Lucy could get these two to drink something...
“But you think it will work.” Dulcie asked as they entered the waiting room.
“I think it is better than the alternative.” Lucy rebutted, leading the way into one of the Examination rooms. “It is a chance. I’m willing to try it, but...”
“You’re not willing to get anyone’s hopes up, and you don’t want to get blamed if you fail.” Dulcie set Lucy’s bag on the desk, while Thera sat in one of the chairs. Lucy sat on the bed, leaving the other chair (which Dulcie had blocked) to Dulcie.
“Something like that.” Lucy flexed her hand, wincing. “There’s a supply room down the hall. Could one of you go look for Aloe cream? It could be marked moisturizing or sunburn cream as well.”
“I’ll go.” Dulcie volunteered.
“Thanks. Oh, here, you’ll need the keys to get in.” Lucy winced again, taking the keys out of her pocket. “I have no idea how I got them in there without hurting myself.”
Actually, Lucy reflected I have no idea how I burned myself... But that wasn’t her main concern at the moment. She had bought some time, but she needed to think of a good way to get them to drink.
Lucy looked at Thera, thinking a moment, watching her green eyes. It would be easier if you would just do what I say. Lucy thought at those eyes.
“Just do what you say.” Thera said, dully.
Lucy’s start of surprize went unnoticed, by all save Lucy. She shook her head, unbelieving. “What did you just say?”
Thera was blinking like she had just woken up. “I didn’t say anything.”
“Yes you did... Get up.”
Thera followed Lucy’s impromptu order. “Sure, but you don’t have to be rude about it.”
Lucy was encouraged. A new theory was starting to wake in the back of her brain: something she wasn’t quite ready to face just yet, but it /felt/ promising.
“Look at me.” Thera’s head snapped around at the order.
Lucy mused that this could be fun... She caught Thera’s eyes just as Thera’s mouth opened to protest. The mouth stayed open.
Shut your mouth, Lucy thought at her. Thera’s mouth closed with a snap.
“Yes, I can definitely have fun with this...”
Obey me. Obey only me. Lucy sent over the mind link.
“I obey you, only you.” It seemed to work. Time for a real test...
“I hope this is it.” Dulcie said, as she entered. Lucy broke eye contact with Thera.
Lucy took the bottles of salve from Dulice. “These should be fine, but I think I’ve thought of something better.”
Lucy looked at Dulcie. So innocent, so sweet. She looked good enough to eat...
Lucy caught Dulcie’s eyes as Dulcie looked up to ask what Lucy had found. Don’t run. Come here; serve me.
“What can I do for you...” Dulcie murmured, gliding up to the voice in her head.
Just stand there. Lucy sent, giving in to the pulse at the back of her head that had just started to pound. She felt her new fangs slide out, then into the skin at the base of Dulcie’s neck.
It tastes so sweet... Was Pleasure Island’s vampire’s thought as she took her first drink.