II

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Paeosfu woke up in a chilled chamber and to the soft whirring of the machine piecing her legs back together. As viaete drained from her open wounds, tubes connected near her core pumped more into her system. She blinked groggily and looked to her right. Past the tinted shield, she saw doctors shuffling around with robots in tow, patients moving toward the exits, and worried friends searching the bay for familiar faces. The medical bay always sprung to life after a mission no matter the size. Some like to hear the survivor stories before the rest of the unit. Others enjoyed watching the machines tear Tayans apart and put them back together. A handful actually wished to see an acquaintance, a friend, or even a lover recovering to near or full strength. 


Admittedly Paeosfu was often part of the first crowd. She justified the visit to learn possibly more about missing Tayans. On occasion she’d glean some leads, but most of the time she would hurt over the situations the rebels found themselves in. They were fighting a war against gods. The longer they fought the more they’d lose. 


“See? It’s true. Even gods do bleed,” a disembodied voice warbled into her dome. “You’re living proof!” Her capsule was sucked into the wall and away from the public eye. She coasted along rails until her chamber rolled to a stop. The cover ceased its chilling and pulled away, leaving Paeosfu exposed to even colder air. The robots continued to piece her together while another wormed onto the table. 


“And to have the pleasure to operate on a god?” The doctor laughed heartily, “Let’s just say I, Daya, am honored.” She leaned in with a large smile on her light brown, freckled face. Her shiny brown curls bounced just above Paeosfu and had a sweet scent to them. The princess wished to move away, but her body was unresponsive. 


The doctor continued with a sing song voice, “The Tayans in the kingdom will be jealous if they weren’t so worried about your safety.” She looked down at Paeosfu’s legs. “Thankfully it doesn’t seem like you are in any danger. You’ve only sprung a leak and parts of your legs shattered.”


Daya straightened up. “We had issues with you changing to your 2D form on multiple occasions, but we programmed the robots to work a little faster to keep up.” She had touched her pointer fingers together and smiled. “It was interesting to observe really. Your body would recover a teeny bit after you returned to your normal self. It would then fall apart! After each transformation, your recovery time shortened until your body simply gave up and permitted the professionals to take over.”


Paeosfu was wondering why she felt exhausted. So her body could phase even when she wasn’t conscious…Interesting.


The doctor hummed and the machine beeped. “Ah! The robots are almost done! Once they finish, I’ll reconnect you with Tayavon, and we’ll see if everything works fine.” 


The brown-haired Tayan glanced at her robot assistant scanning her body and nodded. 


From the projected readings, Daya deduced, “Your vitals stabilized. That foreigner’s treatment helped the fluctuations. Had they not interfered, you would have been a core too,” she chuckled, holding her face. “Then I suppose I would be the only doctor to hold a god’s core in my hands! Oh, how delightful.”


The princess narrowed her eyes at the doctor. Whether the Tayan forgot how close she was to the Fourth whose core was ripped out by the Third Ruler or Daya was well aware and wanted to make a point, the excitement about holding another core—her core—was distasteful. 


As the robots made the final attachments, the Tayan allowed her fingers to fall down the side of her face, her neck, and to the center of her chest before holding her hands in front of her. “Ah. That would be truly delightful,  but having saved a god would be much more rewarding. So you will live, Princess. Live for me, the rebellion, and all of Tayavon!”


The operation robots retreated into the pod, and Timoti cleared his throat. Paeosfu looked over to the field medic dressed head to toe in layers of clothing. She suspected he was wearing at least two gloves beneath his medical ones like how he had a face mask over the scarf about his mouth. His body was different from theirs. 


Tayans welcomed the cold with bare skin. It kept them from overheating or worse from spontaneous combustion. Timoti’s body would start shutting down, or he’d become ill. At least according to him, that’s the reason for why he preferred being a field doctor than working in the medical bays. 


Seeing him here surprised her.


“Three other patients have woken up and require your attention,” he said, pressing something on his digital read out and sending the information to the robot on the table. The vitals’ windows were reduced as the patient list appeared on the screen. 


The Tayan swiped it away without sparing a glance. 


“I have my way of doing things,” Daya grumbled, folding her arms. “The princess is my priority. If Fourth Princess is not on a path to total recovery, Third Ruler may send a recovery team. Who knows what damage they’d cause to headquarters?”


Paeosfu twitched on the table. The numbness was beginning to fade.


“You were only going to check to see if everything reconnected, right?” Timoti asked, stepping closer to the table. “You can leave your R-isk with me, and I—”


“What do you want with Fourth Princess?” the doctor asked sharply.


“I want her to be better. Same as you,” he answered without missing a beat. “You will still be giving me orders through your R-isk. I’d be using my hands, but it’ll still be your brains,” Timoti continued.


The Tayan stepped between Paeosfu and Timoti. 


She had drawn her scalpel. 


“You only helped her because you were the only doctor on the scene. Now that there are multiple Tayans who can help her, we don’t need you to touch her or anyone else,” she spat, pointing the weapon toward the foreigner.


“I-it’s okay,” Paeosfu croaked as the relaxant wore off. Surprised at her own voice, she continued, “H-he just wants to help.” She looked at the little one-eyed robot reporting her stable vitals. “The R-isk will report if anything goes wrong, right? I…I’ll be fine. I can’t have others suffering anymore because of me.”


The doctor looked at Paeosfu. Seemingly ready to compromise, she sighed and lowered the blade. 


Inviting her R-isk to climb up to her shoulder, the doctor tapped the side of Paeosfu’s dome, and the shield went up. 


“I’ll check in on you after I see the others,” she said stubbornly, her voice again distorted. Daya said nothing to Timoti as she moved to greet the other patients and sent Paeosfu back to the main hall.


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