Ambulance takes what is left of her to one of the best hospitals in the nation. Knows it the best, good friend manages it. Has managed it for a long time. He had gotten most of his upgrades there; goes there for routine maintenance as well. This place could take the mess of her body and put it back together. No advantages added though, just back to the way she was before. He didn't quite trust her decisions. In the waiting room, he has time to think.
Thinking about the possibility of one's own death is hard. Doubly so when you're not supposed to die. But accidents, sometimes planed, happen. Besides, his blood-line was doing well, he could use a little help. He just needed to figure out which would be the best. Which of his blood would become a Sentinel.
Jesse looked down at the mangled girl through the observation window as the doctors worked to put her back together. Getting reinstated as the Director for the hospital was easy, a very detailed and contrived story about her sabbatical through the African War Zone (with the help of some friends there) in make shift hospitals did the trick. Her own blood, Clarisse, was still coping with the offer, she had accepted but the shock didn't really hit until the next day. Jesse walked out of the upper room and into the clean hallways, putting her hands in her coat pocket, she'd missed the feel of the long white coat these past few years. She'd had herself aged just slightly, putting a few lines around her mouth and eyes, placing her in her mid-thirties with a hint that she'd seen more than someone that age should have. Patients, she'd learned, seemed to be more comforted by the slightly aged look of a doctor than a fresh young face, especially ones sitting in waiting rooms wondering what's really going on behind those white double doors marked ER.
She'd left Shane in charge when she went off to get close to Clarisse, she'd seen trouble coming back then. She was good at that, seeing trouble on the horizon. She stops in her office and picks up a manilla file - the old fashioned kind made of wood pulp and fastened with a piece of string, it had a very aged look to it, as if it had been in use for a very long time. It held the most recent of a centuries worth of medical records, upgrades and repairs. The last sheet was a Death Certificate. Jesse tucked the folder under one arm and left the office. Shane was waiting in the hallway.
"We need to talk." He said, his voice low. She opened her door back up and motioned for him to go in. He did so, taking a seat on the long real leather couch. She sat on the edge of the oak desk, a fixture in whatever hospital she'd run since he days in back-alley ripper clinics so long ago. It showed the use. "Well?"
"You aren't going to approach him and suggest it are you?"
"It's the perfect time, she needs to be rebuilt anyways."
"He's made the choice, she's to be put back with real flesh, not made into some.. some God of some kind." Shane spat, running his hand through short black hair.
"Gods? Is that how you see us? We're NOT Gods Shane, we're helpers, protectors, anything but Gods." too many years in the medical profession had driven that fact into her, she'd had to many people not make it to even pretend to be anything but human.
"Look, I don't want to debate with you.."
"Then why are you here? I've seen this before, she's smart, she'll figure out it wasn't an accident. She'll do research, she'll look and she'll want revenge."
"We can watch her. Stop that." Shane argued, cutting her off.
"She can get away. It's been done already." Jesse brandished the folder, "Paul is dead. Gone. An Angel died by a rifle wound to the skull, removing it entirely almost. I only got an ID off the body by his old Military code etched into his skin like a dog tag." She was angry now, her deep blue eye becoming bright with rage, "You know who did it? His own family, Blood. Killed by the one he spent the most time protecting. Killed by his own prejudice and his own belief that he was a God!"
"She became one of us, like us, more enhancements than a battalion of soldiers and pure determination."
"How did she?"
"I'm looking into it. But I can't blame her. We've gone to far, we've become to protective and we're getting out of control. You know what the Angels want?"
"What?" He was slowly shrinking into the couch, Jesse's temper was stuff of legend. From the days she'd spent running a back alley clinic patching them all up after the latest botched run.
"A war, they want to hunt her down, make an example of her and then take over our network."
Shane just stared at her dark blue eyes, riveted to them.
"They don't like the idea of their supremecy questioned. Andrew has already agreed to help me stop this. But it's not enough. We're not enough."
"Fresh blood. We've seen more than any other person on the planet, we're the living embodiment of 'been there, done that'. Like you, we think we're Gods. BUT WE ARE NOT GODS SHANE!" She yelled, he jumped and a picture on her desk fell over, the window rattled a little. She was losing her temper, the last time she lost her temper she kept the receiving end in a vat for a week before putting him back together.
"Ok, Ok. Calm down." He was standing now, arms out in a defensive posture beseaching her to relax.
Jesse took a deep breath. "Sorry," She rubbed the bridge of her nose. "So much can be avoided if we'd just think a little bit. If we take that girl and do something, not just put her back. Show them that they're not little children who need supervision. When did we stop believing they could take care of themselves? We didn't have anyone watching us, we made it all on our own. Look how far we've come and we still act like petulant children in a sandbox. Only the castles we make and wreck are real people, real lives, real emotions."
"What do you want to do?" Shane relaxed, more relieved she wasn't yelling anymore than interested in her plan.
"Taking some of them, some of our charges, great-grandchildren, even our grandchildren if that's what it takes. Build another network. Another level with a new perspective. Someone to watch us, we need rules Shane. I've already talked to my own choice, she's thinking it over. I'd like to find Cara, talk to her before the Angels try something stupid. She already knows what it's like under our grip. And now we have a third, some else who's life was directly affected by our own prejudice and pride and mistakes. It's not our place to choose for them." She stood, "Now if you'll excuse me I have to go now." She walked out of her office leaving Shane sitting on her ancient authentic black leather couch. the couch still had the darkened spots of long worn in blood stains from being used as a makeshift operating table through the years.
She was stopped once by a senior member of the board at the elevator, "Is everything all right?" She looked at him, he was not a Sentinal, just another sixty year old who looked twenty. "I mean, we heard, well - everyone heard, you yell..."
She smiled her warm smile of reassurance, perfected with over a hundred years of experience in talking to worried patients, "Everything's fine. Just a little discussion with my stand in." Her voice like soft silk, she walked past him and to the elevator.
She pressed the button to go down to the waiting room, where a man was waiting to hear the status of his great-granddaughter who was being pieced back together just now. A man she herself had put back together more times than she could count. Her station amongst the Sentinals was an interesting one, she was their doctor, their friend, their lover on occasion and even mothered a few of them when they most needed someone's shoulder. But now she needed to be more, she no longer wanted to be the one to just put the pieces back together, she wanted to help keep them from falling apart to begin with. She wanted to add protector to her long list of duties to the Sentinals. And she needed their help to do it.
The elevator opened and Jesse's heels clicked on the shiny linoleum floor as she walked over to the brooding figure sitting on the couch in the middle of the room, a room almost empty at two in the morning.
This story is Copyright © 2001 Gordon Feiner.