Ben Solo leaned against the bumper of his rig, drinking the last of his coffee as he watched his partner, Poe Dameron, gobble down the last of a bag of Doritos. “That shit is going to kill you, Dameron,” he remarked, shaking his head and rolling his eyes as Poe balled up the bag and tossed it into a trash can before throwing his hands up in the air and proclaiming, “Three points! Yes!”
“Yeah, well, your fifth of whiskey a day habit is gonna kill you, Solo. Guess that makes us even,” Poe replied, his eyes looking out over the beach. This was their normal spot to decompress on a shift when they got some down time between runs. Life in Hanna City was always in motion, which meant they were busy for most of their twenty-four hour shifts. Luckily, they were both single, which meant that on their days off they could do whatever the hell they wanted. For Poe, that generally meant hooking up with whatever girl he’d been chatting up that week, and for Ben, that meant drinking himself into oblivion and sleeping.
Real exciting stuff.
Both their radios came to life at the same time. “Unit nine, unit nine, we have a MVA with water rescue at the junction of Highway 17 and Beach Drive. One female victim, CPR is ongoing.”
Ben eyed Poe, “C’mon, Dameron... another day in paradise!” he said, before hopping into the passenger side of the rig, keying up his radio as Poe got in and put the rig onto the road as quickly as he could, hitting the button to activate the lights and siren. “Unit nine responding to MVA. ETA three minutes.”
Rey was so pissed.
This was the third time this week that Jessika Pava had called off work, meaning that Rey, as the manager, had to work a double shift and close by herself. Tonight was pizza and movie night with her roomies, Finn and Rose, and she had a ten page paper due on the newest therapies for bovine cardiomyopathy due at the end of the week.
She was stressed to the max, it was her senior year of her undergrad degree, and if she didn’t keep her grades up she would never get into vet school.
Rose, of course, didn’t even have to crack a book to get a 4.0 in her engineering classes, and Finn – well, Finn was getting by. Rey knew he would make an amazing social worker when he was done – he had a passion for helping kids that had been in the same situation that they had been in.
Her phone started ringing in her purse, and Rey reached over to pluck it out. Her fingers decided to be uncooperative, however, sending her phone flying onto the floor on the passenger side of her car. “Fuck!” Rey shouted, slamming her palm into the wheel as she glared down at the phone.
Rey had always heard that at the time of your death you see your life flash before your eyes. She didn’t have much of a life growing up, though, so the only thoughts as her eyes went back to the road in time to see her car skidding towards the guardrail was of Finn, Rose, and a sincere hope that they would remember to feed Phasma, the Golden Retriever she had adopted in her sophomore year.
The car plowed through the guardrail, sliding down the embankment, the airbag deploying as the car hit the still frigid waters of Lake Hanna, glass from the shattered windshield raining down in the interior of the car like millions of rainbow razors. Rey’s vision turned red as blood started to run into her eyes, and a low moan escaped her lips as her eyes closed, her last thought being of Finn and Rose as she slipped into unconsciousness.
Pulling onto the scene three minutes later, Poe barely had the rig stopped before Ben had his door open, hopping out onto the side of the road as he surveyed the scene. The small subcompact car was resting in the water of Lake Hanna with just the top of the roof showing. Going around the rig to the back, Ben threw the doors open, grabbing his bag with the AED and everything he would need to treat the victim, not waiting for Poe to grab the stretcher before he was on the move, running towards where he could see the police, one of them doing compressions furiously on someone.
Ben had gotten halfway through medical school before he dropped out, and he knew damn well that time was of the essence when dealing with a near drowning. If the woman had sustained any damage to her brain, that would reduce the amount of time they had to act – and the fact that CPR was already in progress didn’t make her prognosis that great coming out of the gate. Still, it was his job to save lives, and as he got to where the victim lie, he pushed his way through the tangle of officers standing around, kneeling down next to the woman as he did a quick visual assessment of her injuries.
Looking up at the police officer pumping her chest, Ben growled, “Stop the compressions for a moment, let me take over.” The man complied, and Ben watched the woman’s chest, looking for the rise and fall that meant she was breathing. Seeing none, he proceeded to check the carotid artery on her neck, feeling for a pulse. Nothing.
Grabbing a pair of bandage scissors out of the pocket on his uniform pants, Ben cut the woman’s shirt open, quickly applying the patches for the AED as Poe made his appearance at his side. “Get the line started in her, Poe, we’re gonna need to push some Amiodarone stat.” Poe nodded, already working on finding a suitable vein in the woman’s arm.
After getting the AED powered up, Ben waited for the mechanical voice to give him the prompt to hit the button to deliver the shock to her heart, looking at Poe to make sure he wasn’t touching her. Giving Ben a slight nod to signal he was clear, Ben hit the button, watching the woman’s chest rise and fall as the AED delivered a shock to her heart. Reaching down, he checked her carotid once more, a small smile coming to his lips as he felt a pulse. It was weak and thready, but it was there, and before he could check to see if she was breathing again, she let out a wet cough, water cascading from her mouth and splashing on the ground.
“Poe, we need to get her on her side. I’ll hold her neck in place while you roll her,” Ben said, Poe already in motion, grabbing Rey’s side and looking up at Ben, who had his hands gently on both sides of her neck to hold it in place. “One, two, three,” Ben said, and on the count of three, Poe rolled her onto her side, both men watching as more water left her throat and another wet cough escaped her lips.
Looking around, Ben lifted his chin at the nearest cop. “You! Get me the backboard from our rig. It’s orange, hanging on the right hand side!” The officer nodded, turning and running back to the ambulance. Looking at Poe, Ben said, “Grab the c-collar out of the bag, let’s get it on her so we can get a line in her finally and get the hell out of here.” Poe retrieved the plastic collar a moment later, placing it around the woman’s neck and gently velcroing it in place after Ben moved his hands. The officer returned with the backboard, and Ben placed it under Rey so that they could easily roll her onto it on her back.
Poe set to work starting an IV, while Ben replaced the AED patches with one from the heart monitor in his bag, so that they could monitor her heart rhythm on the way to the hospital. Watching the small digital screen, he was happy to see that she was in a normal sinus rhythm now, and so he set to work taking her vitals, frowning as he noted her temperature. Looking up at one of the officers, he asked, “How long was she under the water?”
“Not long,” the man replied. “There was another vehicle behind her, a Good Samaritan went in the water and got her out within a couple minutes.”
Ben nodded. “Thanks, we’re taking her to Regency.”
Poe was getting the woman’s information from another officer, and Ben continued to monitor her, not liking the fact that she had also become hypothermic from the frigid water. Grabbing a metallic survival blanket from his bag, he wrapped it around the woman, adding several other blankets on top of it as well.
Finally looking at her face and really taking it in, Ben felt his breath hitch in his throat.
She looks like Sarah. For fuck’s sake.
Ben reached out, touching the woman’s face softly before tucking the blanket around her tighter.
“Alright, Solo. I got the girl’s info. Her name is Rey Sands, twenty-four years old. Cops got her phone, so they will contact her family. Let’s get her in the rig… you okay?”
Ben pulled his eyes away from the woman’s – Rey’s –face, looking at his best friend and nodding. “Yeah, I’m good. Let’s get her in the rig and to Regency.”
They loaded her into the rig quickly, the readout on the small screen telling Ben that her vitals were holding, and her temperature was rising slowly. As he settled into the small jumpseat next to the stretcher and pulled out the tablet to start charting the run, he felt Poe pull away from the scene, the siren and lights coming on as he accelerated.
Ben’s eyes kept going to Rey’s face though, and he ran a hand through his hair, closing his eyes for a moment.
So what if she kinda looks like Sarah? Don’t be a dumb fuck, Solo. She’s just another run, just another life you helped save.
Somehow, Ben knew that wasn’t true. Opening his eyes, he looked down at Rey, pushing a piece of blood encrusted hair off her forehead.
Just don’t die, okay? You need to live.
He was going to need more than a fifth of whiskey tomorrow when he got home, for sure.