Blood Work

Excerpt from Chapter 4 - Blood Work:

As soon as she walked in, she could smell the pungent aroma of diesel fuel and the sounds of metal being banged on with hammers and torn apart by saws. To her this sound made her feel just as comfortable as she would at home. "Hey Summer, long time no see!", a grizzled voice shouted close by. Summer looked to where the voice had come from, smiling as she saw the familiar and smiling face behind a great bushy beard owned by a very large man who was comically sitting behind a desk that’s somehow twice as large as he is that had always made Summer feel as small as a kitten whenever she was standing in front of it. "I know Marcus, been busy!" she replied walking towards the desk. "So, what’chya lookin’ for today? Must be something important if you gotta drag your pretty little self into my dump!" he says while chuckling. "Actually...", she begins, looking around to see if anyone is within earshot as she leans in close, lowering her voice. "You wouldn’t happen to have any discarded MedTech from one of the big hospitals, would you?" she asks in a hushed tone. He squints his eyes, almost suspecting her of something sinister before quickly leaning back and laughing whole heartedly. "MedTech? Pffft I got plenty of that crap laying around! Just head to the far back and follow the signs, can’t miss it! ’Course, doubt you’ll find anything useful for the kinds of things you usually look for, but be careful! Needles and toxic crap laying all around back there before it gets shoveled into the incinerator!" Marcus shouts, though sincere in his worry about whatever toxic materials may be in that area. "Jeez, no need to worry so much Marcus, you worry almost as much as my mother does!" she says with a laugh as he nods. "Can’t be too careful, especially with the big race coming up and people doing all kinds of crazy things to try and win!" he says relaxing in his chair. "No worries Marcus, and I’ll be fine! I’ll let you know if I find what I’m lookin’ for!", she says before heading through the building, waving to various workers as they wave hello to her as she passes by.

Exiting the other side, the pleasant aroma of machinery and fuel now once again replaced by that rank smell of garbage and rubber. Having little options and choices, she pulls her shirt up over her nose and floats upward, looking around the dump and remembering just how big it really is. Scanning the area and really wishing she had brought the helmet as the shirt could only prevent maybe 10% of the smell from seeping into her nose, she flies quicker throughout the dump, following the wooden and slime covered signs pointing to different areas throughout the dump. Finally after what seemed like hours (even though it was only 12 minutes) of searching, she found it: The medical dumping ground. All of the hospitals in Ravendale use their own respective municipal dumps for their medical waste, and this one was no different. Red bags with toxic warnings everywhere scattered among old ambulance vehicle wreckage and parts. She was thankful that she had brought her big yellow gloves, as a cursory glance alone would make anyone skittish of coming within 20 feet of the discarded red bags filled with who knows what kind of needles. She looked at all the various pieces of discarded metal and debris and picked one of the smaller piles to start with that had the least amount of red bags of discarded needles sticking out of it like a reverse pincushion. She could only lean down to pick up whatever debris she had her eyes on, not even close to feeling safe if she had knelt in the rubble. "Ugh, why did I not at least bring the leg parts of the suit?", she thought to herself. "Hang on a sec...." she said as she looked at the discarded husks of old and dismantled ambulances. She took out a few of the tools she had brought from home: a black marker, mini-tape measure, miniature laser cutter and of course what no handyman leaves home without, duct tape. Taking one of the husks out into an open space, she takes her tape measure and extends it from her upper thigh down to her feet, then placing it on the husk. A few lines with the marker and a few moments of cutting later, she fashioned herself some makeshift leg and knee plates so that she could kneel while looking for the battery. "Recycling at its finest!" she shouts proudly as she turns around and looks at the pile. Stopping for a moment as another idea sparked in her mind. "Ugh, knew I should’ve brought one!" she groaned at herself as she turned right back around to the now cut up husk. Some more cutting and duct taping later she fashioned herself a makeshift shovel so that she wouldn’t have to dig by hand. "240 IQ, can’t think to bring a shovel, ugh" she groaned to herself as she started sliding the shovel under a pile of discarded material.

Lifting it up and inspecting it, not finding what she was looking for, she heaves it to her side creating another pile. Lifting, inspecting, lifting, inspecting, feeling almost like a machine as she continued this process for what seemed like hours. Sweating up a storm as she shoveled the last of the first few piles she started on. "Argh! I’m never going to find that damn thing at this rate!" she shouted. Tossing the shovel down in frustration, letting out a sigh of disappointment as she notices a blue shiny object in the metal of the shovel, and looks in the direction of the reflection seeing a small silver metal capsule with a blue interior. "The battery! There it is!" she shouts as she looks to the small object up on top of one of the piles. "How did I not see it before?" she thinks to herself. Just as she begins floating to it however, one of the automated junk robots that’s been pushing piles of debris towards the incinerator rams into the pile holding the battery up, causing it to fall into it as the junkbot begins pushing it towards the incinerator. Her jaw dropped as she watched the pile being pushed, shaking her head and following the pile angrily, shouting out "Seriously!?". Her head looking left and right, trying to scan the pile as the junk bot pushes the pile onto a conveyer belt. "Crap! Where did it go!?" she shouts, looking at all the debris as it’s poured onto the belt like a kid dumping toys all over a floor. She gasps as she sees the small cylinder rolling down the belt towards the fire pit. "Oh no you don’t you little bastard!" she shouts as she dives towards the pill shaped object, grabbing it. "Ha! Got it! Uh oh..." she says quickly, noticing that as she’s been laying on the belt and feeling the heat as her body comes closer to the fire pit. Quickly floating up, clutching the cylinder in hand, she looks at all the debris being burnt up, breathing a sigh of relief. "Oh jeez, nearly got my butt toasted! Well, hopefully Marcus won’t charge me too much for this!" she says to herself as she begins floating towards the small office, discarding her makeshift leg and knee plates along the way.