Teaching Medicine at the Alpha Site
“Ok, I’m going to hold this open. I want you to get in there and make a small incision.” West twisted his wrists, increasing size of the small hole. The pretty blonde woman beside him lent in, lines of concentration etched across her face.
“I can never get this right.”
“Which is why you’re doing it. Come on – he won’t last forever.”
The maddening beep of the heart monitor seemed to grow louder for Dr Voss as she carefully reached forward with her scalpel, gentle easing towards the muscle wall. “Nearly there…” The beeping seemed to slow – her hands were shaking too much for this – she couldn’t get the right angle – this sort of surgery was well beyond her…
West leant in slightly and dropped his voice. “You can do this. Just relax.”
Relax! A man was might die if she did this wrong and he was telling her to relax! Voss closed her eyes for a moment, struggling to regain control of her ragged breathing.
She forced her eyes open, determined that she wouldn’t fail in front of Dr West again. She reached forward and–
The flap of the medical tent burst open and a figure in a white labcoat hurried in, causing Voss to jump nearly out of her skin. She quickly withdrew her hands, but not before accidentally cutting through the stomach wall. A cloud of noxious gas blew into her face, causing her to turn away and focus on not retching. West blinked and pulled a face but held his instruments in place.
“James, they’re at it again.” The figure, Dr Janet Fraiser, rushed over to the table. “You’ve got to come and stop it. There is going to be blood this time.”
“Little busy here Janet.” Maintaining a maddening aura of calm, Dr West looked up at Fraiser. “Helga, you’re going to have to pin that incision closed.” He glanced at Voss who had just about regained control of herself. “Are you ok?” “Yes, sorry.” She shot a glare at Fraiser and shifted her position, deliberately moving closer to West so they were practically touching. Fraiser bristled, then lent over and peered into the hole.
“Your devotion to the practice dummy’s wellbeing is admirable, but there is a good chance the stomach acid would be eating something vital by this point. Anyway, I’m sure he’d happily give his life to stop two real men killing each other in some kind of idiotic testosterone-fuelled brawl.”
“Can’t you ask Colonel Brickman to sort it out?”
“Brickman? If he knew there was a fight going on he’d be organising the betting.”
West grimaced and released the flaps. The synthesised skin fell back into place. “Never a dull moment. Dr Voss, please have the techs deal with this dummy. We’ll pick this up again later.” Fraiser coughed and gave him a meaningful look. “I mean tomorrow.” West continued smoothly. “Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a problem to sort out.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow then Dr West.” Voss gave West a dazzling smile. West nodded and turned away, heading out of the tent and missing the dark look Fraiser gave Voss. Voss smiled sweetly back and the two locked gaze for a long moment before Fraiser turned away and hurried after West.
Outside the sun was setting, bathing the camp of the alpha site in a red glow. It had the making of a beautiful evening; warm, dry and peaceful. Peaceful, that is, apart from the shouts and crashing emanating from the far end of the camp where a few dozen of the inhabitants had formed a rough circle and were shouting at the pair fighting at its centre. More than three quarters of the circle were Jaffa, tall and heavily built. The rest were human, blond with blue eyes and Germanic features. In the centre, one of the combatants was a tall Jaffa, heavily muscled and even more heavily scared. He currently was standing behind his opponent with his arms wrapped around the much smaller man with blond hair and piercing blue eyes who was wriggling in his grasp, trying to break the hold. The Jaffa in the crowd jeered, chanting “Ta’voc! Ta’voc!” as he crushed the figure. Meanwhile, the Germans were hurling abuse at Ta’voc and calling support for Spiegel, their fighter.
Ta’voc smiled savagely in triumph as he felt his victim’s struggles slowing. “You have insulted my people too many times, little man” he growled into Spiegel’s ear. “I think it’s time to shut you up permanently.” Spiegel didn’t respond but suddenly went limp, causing Ta’voc’s grip to slacken slightly. Quickly driving his head back into Ta’voc’s face there was the sickening sound of breaking cartilage as he flattened Ta’voc’s nose. A twist, a stamp on the instep and he was free – quickly stepping away and circling behind the disorientated Jaffa.
Ta’voc roared and shook his head to clear it as Spiegel leapt forward and punched him several times rapidly in the kidneys. Ta’voc span round, throwing a wild punch and Spiegel danced back out of reach.
“You’re not fit to clean my boots, let alone capable of defeating me in combat,” Spiegel taunted Ta’voc, “and your feeble race had better learn its place when dealing with us.” He stepped backwards and a German at the edge threw him a staff, sharpened at one end. Spiegel twirled it in his hands and advanced on Ta’voc who backed away. “One less of you will make the place smell much nicer.”
Spiegel quickly stepped in at Ta’voc, whipping the staff around in an arc. Ta’voc ducked the initial strike, but was caught on the back of the legs by the return blow. He tumbled to the ground and quickly rolled out of the way as Spiegel brought the point down where his midsection had been moments before. Leaping to his feet, Ta’voc roared his anger and charged at Spiegel, reaching for him with his long arms. Spiegel brought his staff around, catching Ta’voc in the head but the Jaffa’s momentum carried him through and both fighters went down in a heap, Ta’voc underneath with his hands around Spiegel’s throat and Spiegel on top punching Ta’voc’s at face with all his strength.
Suddenly, the screeching sounds of electrical discharge cut through the roar of the crowds and the circle was lit up blue by a pair of Zat blasts. Ta’voc and Spiegel were struck by the shots and hurled apart, lying on the ground twitching as the electricity caused their muscles to spasm. West walked from the edge of the crowd to the centre of the circle, glaring at those assembled.
“Enough. I’ve had enough.”
The Jaffa quietened down but one of the Germans shouted out. “You don’t know what-“
He didn’t get any further. West turned and shot him, the blue bolt catching him in the throat. He dropped, muscles twitching.
“I don’t care what happened here. It will not happen again.” West didn’t even bother to raise his voice. The assembled crowd was now totally silent. “Take them and go back to your enclaves. If you can’t be civil, at least be apart.” A tall Jaffa with a silver hawk embossed on his forehead stepped over to West. They locked gazes for a moment before the Jaffa inclined his head in a polite bow. He glanced around the circle and gestured at the downed Ta’voc. “Jaffa! Kree!” The Jaffa moved in and picked up their comrade and carried him away. The Germans moved over to their fellows, glaring daggers at West. He turned his back and walked over to Fraiser at the edge of the clearing.
“Happy?” He handed her the Zat. She pulled a face. West sighed. “It’s only some of them. Most of the Himmilites gave up on their Nazi beliefs a long time ago.”
“I just wish General Rimmel could control the rest of them.”
“Well, I’ll talk to him about that. Again.” West and Fraiser turned back to the camp.
“But not today.” Fraiser stepped close to West’s side. West put his arm around her.
“No, not today.”
Together they walked towards the great fire pit at the centre of the encampment. West looked at the setting sun. “You know, this place was much calmer last time I was living here. Before we introduced a second group of homeless refugees. If we’re going to do this kind of thing a lot we’re going to need a lot more sites than this one.”
At the fire pit, there was a commotion. A great beast, something like the boars found on Earth but much larger, was being staked out and skinned by a crowd of Jaffa. A pair of marines was watching, looking faintly unwell. At the centre of the crowd stood Amo’c, holding a swathe of the creature’s fur as someone moved underneath cutting it away from the flesh. Nearby stood Adolf Spengler, looking pleased with himself. Amo’c hailed the approaching doctors. “West! Doctor Fraiser! We have been successful in out hunt!”
West and Fraiser exchanged glances. West nodded at the moving shape. “I have a horrible feeling that I know who that is…”
With a flourish, the hide was thrown aside and out climbed Jenny Spengler, speckles of blood covering her face. She handed her blood covered knife to a Jaffa and grinned triumphantly at Amo’c. “I told you I could do it!”
“Indeed. Your cousin has killed and you have skinned. You are now a true hunter.”
West stepped away from Fraiser and towards the carcass. “You know, as the successful hunter you now have to bathe in the blood of your first kill.”
Spengler jumped and looked round. “Sorry Captain, I didn’t see you there.” She paled, “You’re not serious? About the bathing?”
“Of course I am. With the eyeballs floating in it, of course.” Jenny started turning a faint shade of green. “And you have to wear the head as a hat.” Adolf sniggered and Jenny rounded on him. “You can stop laughing! I can never tell when he is joking! You should try going through one of his ‘basic’ survival training courses!”
West grinned. “Well, you survived. And passed. Anyway, you got your own back when you blew up that Deathglider in my face. So you shot this did you Adolf?”
“Yes sir. Amo’c showed me where it was. I took it down.”
Amo’c had discarded the skin. “It was an impressive shot. A single bullet to the head at range. He is skilled.” Adolf flushed at the praise. Amo’c looked at the Zat in Friaser’s hand. “Captain West, why is Doctor Fraiser armed? This pig is quite dead.”
West sighed. “Another fight. I broke it up the fast way.”
Amo’c nodded once. “It seems some of these Nazi’s believe themselves a superior race.”
“It’s only those stuck in the past. Most are just like the other misplaced human tribes we come across. There are only about a dozen troublemakers in their camp of hundreds.”
“Nevertheless, I believe this place will be more peaceful when they have moved on.”
“You mean like before? Long evenings of sports, barbequing these dire pigs and watching terrible old movies? Plus the occasional duel with no chance the combatants would actually kill each other?”
“That is indeed what I meant. It was a pleasant time, although I am glad we are now making a contribution to the galactic war.” Amo’c looked thoughtful. “West, do you have any books? I am grateful to Major Baracus for lending me his collection but I am nearing the end of them. I desire to learn more of Earth culture.”
West pulled a face. “I’m not sure how much you’re going to learn from the Back To The Future novels. I can have a look, but I didn’t bring many books with me this time other than a pile of medical textbooks for Helg-.” West seemed to sense Fraiser’s eyes boring into the back of his head, “I mean Dr Voss.”
Amo’c lowered his voice. “Dr Fraiser does not seem to approve of your instruction of Dr Voss.”
“Well, Dr Fraiser also doesn’t want to teach her herself. Someone has to.”
“I do not understand her hostility. Dr Fraiser is usually a friend to everyone she meets.”
West coughed. “Why don’t you ask her about this?”
Amo’c nodded. “Very well. I shall assist in the preparation of this pig.”
Amo’c moved to help the other Jaffa skewering the pig on a giant spit. Other Jaffa were busy lighting the fire pit and stoking the blaze. West headed over to where Fraiser was helping Spengler clean off the last of the pig blood. “Lieutenant, have you heard anything from Major Baracus? He should have returned today.”
“Yes sir, we received a message from Actoria. Major Baracus is attending a diplomatic function and will be extending his stay for another few days. He says you’re to hold the line like a marine.”
West sighed. “Does anyone else think he’s just avoiding Colonel Brickman?”
Fraiser smirked. “I’m fairly sure you’re not supposed to say things like that James. Anyway, you seem to get on well enough with him.”
“Brickman likes me because I am a good shot with a rifle and I have a better kill record than Major Baracus on his own team. I understand there is some kind of rivalry back from their time together on SG-14.”
Spengler walked back over to Adolf and West and Fraiser moved over to the fireside, sitting down together on a log.
“Didn’t Brickman invite you to head out with the new SG-14 for a … what was it?”
“A boy’s night out in the forest. Yes he did. A ghillie suite, a silenced mp5, a FRED with a generator, a barrel of fuel and a crate of booze. We roll out, massacre a load of wildlife and cook it over a fire created by digging a big hole in the ground, chucking in the barrel of fuel and shooting it until it explodes. And we drink the booze.”
Friaser grimaced. “And when is this wonderful event?”
“Later tonight. Major Baracus was supposed to be in charge whilst he’s gone so I guess that particular joy falls to me. Fortunately, I’ve already had to decline due to prior commitments.”
Fraiser raised an eyebrow. “Commitments?”
West put his arm around Fraiser who laid her head on his shoulder. “Well, what with work I haven’t seen you outside the infirmary for a while.”
Fraiser looked up at the setting sun and smiled. “You gave up a night with the boys to see me?”
“I gave up a night’s heavy drinking with Colonel Brickman.” West shivered. “Even if I took Amo’c’s symbiote along, I don’t think I could survive that.”