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Indoktrination

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If Medic was ever thankful for any aspect of his Scottish teammate’s constant insobriety, it was that it made him a refreshingly compliant patient compared to the rest of the RED mercenaries. The doctor quickly drew his syringe from the dark skin of Demoman’s arm and peered at the sloshing blood inside the vial. He pushed his glasses studiously back up the bridge the nose as Demo stood up from the stitched examination chair.

“Don’t get too excited ya Quack,” Demoman ordered, pulling his white undershirt back over his forearm. “That’s my blood yer fiddlin’ with.”

“Please Demoman, zhis is purely for your benefit. Do you think I get some sick satisfaction from simply plunging needles into people?” Medic asked.

“Yes,” the Scot said bluntly with a blank stare.

“Hmph, I’m a qualified practitioner of medicine you know.” The doctor said as he turned towards the dove perched upon the nearby cardiogram. “Isn’t zhat right Archimedes?” Medic ran a gloved index finger across the top of the bird’s head and offered it a sweet smile.

Demoman rolled his eyes and fumbled his feet towards the door, clutching the frame as he passed through it.

“Vould you like to hear zhe the results of your blood alcohol content after I run zhe tests?” Medic asked.

“No thanks Laddie, I’d rather not know,” Demoman called back, his voice echoing from the adjacent waiting room.

“Good,” the German said to himself. He strolled over to the sink and hummed as he dumped the Scot’s blood into the drain beneath the running faucet.

---

“No... numbness?”

“I’m afraid not Heavy,” the doctor apologized with a sigh. He wiped a damp dish towel several times over the length of his bonesaw. “It seems RED must have suffered some budget cuts. No anesthesia, fewer proper surgical tools...” He lightly picked at the fleshy bullet wound in Heavy’s arm with the flat side of his saw. “Well, no time like zhe present!”

Heavy shrieked as the saw’s teeth grinded and tore at his skin. Sweat beaded down his face as he watched the doctor so casually sever his arm open as if the man was carving a stuffed hen.

“Just a bit farzher...” Medic reassured, but the words were barely audible over the distracting, squishy slashes of muscle and sinew.

Heavy heaved in a deep breath as a piercing thud bounced through out his body like sonar.

“Ah, zhat’s the bone!” Medic said. Blood flung across Heavy’s face and torso as the doctor ripped the saw from his patient’s arm. He casually tossed the blade over his shoulder towards the empty instrument cart behind him. It missed, and slapped the tiled floor with several clangs.

Gritting his teeth, Heavy felt the doctor’s bare fingers wriggling inside his mutilated arm, brushing the bone and igniting more pain than he believed he had in his entire body.

Medic’s tongue was peeking out through the side of his mouth as his fingers fished throughout the meat and muscle of his teammate’s arm. He paused as his thumb passed over a slick, prickling piece of metal. “Aha!” The doctor wrench his hand up and held a mangled, reddened bullet in front of the bright overhanging lights.

Heavy breathed several exhaustive, relieving breaths and laid back into the seat.
“See? Zhat wasn’t so bad!” Medic said, and gave an affectionate pet to Heavy’s damp cheek with his cleaner hand. “Now it’s only a matter of sewing you back up!”

---

A set of knuckles feverishly pounded the other side of the door. Medic continued to casually rinse the ash from his hands. The doctor enjoyed washing his hands. It was therapeutic for him.

“Dammit Doc, get your ass up! I don’t pay you to sleep around all day!” Soldier barked from outside.

Medic shook his hands over the sink and turned off the faucet. He glanced out his window at the rising 7 AM sun and smiled at it before pacing over to his office door. “Soldier, you don’t pay me at all,” Medic said as he opened the door.

“Don’t get smart with me with your fancy-shmancy setamics!” Soldier said, drilling an accusing finger into the doctor’s chest.

“Semantics,” Medic corrected. He didn’t flinch, and maintained his blank stare into the gunmetal gray of his teammate’s helmet (specifically the area where he suspected the man’s eyes were).

“I said not to get smart! Now fix me up!”

“What seems to be zhe issue, Soldier?” Medic curiously propped his chin up on his index finger.

“I’ve been attacked! That’s the issue, fritz!” Soldier slipped his arms out of his jacket and threw it onto the floor. He turned around, revealing a wide blot of red on his white sleeveless shirt just above the right shoulder blade. “I woke up with THIS. There is a filthy spy in the base and he MUST be rooted out!”

“Mein Gott. Inside my office and let me take a look.” Medic ushered the feverish Soldier into the office and retrieved his glasses from the top of his desk.

Soldier slowly pried the shirt from his back. A clump of it had stuck to the fresh wound. The commando tossed the shirt onto a nearby open cabinet door.

Medic peered into the laceration. It definitely looked like a botched back stab attempt, and a myriad of minor cuts were scattered across his back. “Hmm... I zhink I know just the zhing.” The doctor returned to his desk and pulled a large, silver staple gun from the top drawer. “The RED budget cuts have been more severe zhan I imagined, so this vill have to do.” Medic pinched each side of the knife wound closed, and applied the cold metallic head of the staple gun to Soldier’s skin. The American flinched.

“Wait Doc, what is tha-GAAAAHHHH MY FLESH!” Two fresh lines of blood trailed down Soldier’s back as the doctor reapplied the staple gun further along the gash.

“Hold still, Soldier,” Medic said just before plunging a second staple into his back.

About twenty seconds and eleven more staples later, Soldier felt confident that at least half of his body had gone totally numb just from the pure exhaustion of feeling so much pain. He stood up straight and wiped his forehead with his seemingly weightless hand. He wracked his brain to remember whether the sensation was more similar to having a stroke or having a heart attack.

“Very good Soldier!” Medic congratulated with a heavy pat on the back. “You’ll be good as new in no time!” He reeled back his arm and beamed at the results; Soldier’s back was considerably bloodier now than when he entered only a few moments ago. Medic admired the weight of the staple gun in his hand. What a magnificent tool, he thought.

Soldier stumbled towards the cabinet where he’d deposited his shirt. He pitifully tugged at it with waving, drunken arms until it came loose, and then stared blankly at the bloody cloth with glassy eyes like he’d completely forgot what it was used for. The commando wavered back towards the office door shirtless. “Need to... catch that... damn spy...”

“Ah yes, zhe enemy spy,” Medic agreed. He nonchalantly put the bloody staple gun onto his desktop. “Be sure not to use respawn!” the doctor called out to the exiting Soldier. “It’s simply not natural to rely on, you know!”

---

“Not natural? Truckie, please tell me you’re kiddin’.”

“Ain’t nothin’ to kid about, slim,” Engineer said. He absentmindedly scratched at the tall, wrinkled bandage wrapped around his neck.

Sniper was afraid to ask about the murky stains seeping across the bandage; it definitely wasn’t blood. “So yer gonna sit there and let that sicko grind yer body against a cheese grater till yer just some bleedin’ shavings on his office floor?”

“You don’t understand pardner,” the Texan said. His shaking hands struggled to bring his cup of steaming tea to his lips.

Sniper averted his gaze from the sorry sight, and panned his head around the center of the mess hall where the rest of the team, sans Medic, were grouped together. Heavy was slowly eating tiny spoonfuls of chicken broth with his left hand. His right arm was hanging limply at his side. Pyro sat next to Spy, gently spoon-feeding him some gray colored mush like he was tending to an infant. Spy’s unusually bare hands were covered in blisters. Even Demoman was sitting with them, feebly waving an amassing pack of flies away from his fully casted arm.

“Sniper, he’s helpin’ us,” Engineer reassured him. He interlaced his fingers to keep his shaking hands from rattling the tabletop.

“Whatever mate, you do whatever you gotta do,” Sniper said. He stared into his coffee cup, and did his best to ignore his teammates. “I won’t have a part in it.”

“You’ll turn around pardner, I promise. You’ll see.”

Sniper didn’t respond, and he didn’t look up from his coffee. He felt like some kind of immortal vampire, staying the same age while all of his friends were withering and dying pitiful, embarrassing deaths.

Eventually, Medic entered the cafeteria, and greeted everyone softly and with a modest smile, and addressed everyone as his “dearest patients.” Engineer limped away from Sniper to join the rest of the team. They all centered around the doctor at the long dining table in the middle of the room, and listened to him comment on their conditions and injuries. He scheduled their next appointments and procedures, and they all hung vitally onto each of his words.

Sniper sighed and left the cafeteria, abandoning his warm cup of coffee. He paused and looked back at everyone as he opened the door to leave. No one noticed him.