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I Have Loved The Stars Too Fondly To Be Fearful Of The Night

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Tyco Station. The Belt.

August.

The clinic was busier than normal today. This meant that August and everyone else working there was spread thinner than normal. Which, under the best of circumstances, i.e. a fully stocked and up to date clinic with a staff that was fully trained, fed and rested, they would have been able to easily handle but this wasn't this best of circumstances, this was Tycho. A station on the belt which as a general rule was never a place where the best of circumstances seemed to occur.

August was going back and forth between three different patients. She was finishing the stitches on a kid named Kai when the com sparked to life. "August, Fred needs you at the docks. We've got injured incoming," came the female voice of Fred Johnson's second in command, Drummer. August clenched her jaw in annoyance and continued her work. She directed one of the nurses to what medicine the kid needed and had moved onto the broken arm of one of the five Black Sky members who were currently in the clinic. The Black Sky and some other OPA faction had gotten into a scuffle. Black Sky had gotten their asses kicked and come limping to the clinic to be patched up. The genius she was currently attending to thought, despite his recent loss, that he was a badass and right before she reset his arm, kept asking her out for a drink. He stopped when she reset his arm.

The com crackled again, with the same voice, sounding slightly more annoyed "August."

"Kinda in the middle of doing my job right now," she responded while putting the cast wrap over the guy's arm.

"Last time I checked, part of your job is listening to your boss..."

"Damnnit, I'll be there as soon as I can." She looked around frantically until she made eye contact with the other medic.

"Go," said the older man, Ted, "I've been around here long enough to know how to hold down the fort."

"Sorry," she grumbled with an apologetic grimace before grabbing her med bag and rushing out into the busy corridors and heading to the docks.

-----

"Alright, I'm here your highness, now what do you want?" she said with a mock bow as she caught up with Johnson and Drummer.

"We've got some guests coming, and I suspect they'll need some medical attention." 

She rolled her eyes. "Oh?"

"Trust me, this will be important."

"That line is getting old," she grunted as she set her bag down on the ground and sat on one of the shipping containers. She and Drummer exchanged a look. She'd rarely seen Johnson this...eager she supposed was the word for it, but also nervous. She racked her brain to think of who this important "guest" could be and all she could figure is it certainly wasn't a Belter. It wasn't that Johnson didn't care about Belter's, he wouldn't be here if he didn't, but sadly Belter's rarely had anything to offer other than maybe some intel or boots on the ground. They didn't have the money that Earth or Mars had that opened doors to something that would make Fred react like this. That being said August didn't have the clearest insight on the inner machinations of the OPA. She was from Earth originally, at least, and eventually found her way out onto the belt for more than a few reasons but largely as a way to escape her old life and the people in it.

A few minutes later the docking clamp locked onto the ship they apparently were waiting for. "Wait for me here," Johnson said before walking onto the bridge. "You know I could be helping people instead of waiting around for you," she called after him in a tone that was somewhat teasing but also carried a note of irritation.

About fifteen minutes later Johnson came back and gestured for her to come aboard. She wasn't sure what she was expecting but an MCRN gunship with James Holden and his crew was not it. But it did explain why Johnson had brought a welcome committee. He was trying to woo them, either to get them to give him information or get them to do something, possible both based on what she knew of Johnson.

There were four people on the ship. Three men, all Inners, and a Belter woman. The ones from the broadcast she'd seen a few weeks ago that had spurred endless amounts of gossip and conspiracy theories. They were all that was left of the Ice ship that had been blown to bits...and then the Mars Flagship that had suffered the same fate. Either they were saboteurs extraordinaire or the most unlucky bastards off all time. Even before they showed up at Tycho's doorstep the station had been abuzz with theories about them: who they were, what they were doing and why. For fairly obvious reasons a lot of people were trying to convince themselves that they were secretly OPA operatives because that would mean that the OPA had a plan. Based on her observations of the OPA the last few years, however limited, she didn't think that was the case.

The crew seemed to view her with suspicion as she entered, Fred Johnson looming next to her. Considering what she knew about them, little as that was, she figured it was fair that they'd be a suspicious lot.

"This is August. She's one of the top medics on the station and more importantly, I trust her to be discreet." She didn't miss the pointed look Johnson gave her then, which she interpreted as a message that she should not be contributing to the station gossip after this was all over. "After what you've been through I want to make sure none of you are going to die on me. If there is anything you need during your stay here please let me know," with that Fred Johnson turned on his heel and strode back through the bridge. Leaving August, much to her annoyance, among the strangers who made it clear from their facial expressions that they didn't want any help. The Belter woman spoke first.

"We've all checked with the med-doc it gave us the all-clear. And no offense but being trusted by Fred Johnson doesn't count for much in my book."

August chuckled, "That's fair but look I'm not here to try to get in your business, just let me do my job and check your vitals, make sure nothing's off and I'll get out of your hair."
The Belter looked like she was going to argue when the man of the hour, James Holden, chimed in, "Can't hurt." The Belter and Holden exchanged loaded looks and then she shrugged and walked back over to a computer.

"Alright well seem like it would make sense to do this in the med bay?..." August said tentatively.

"Follow me" Holden gestured. Once in the med bay August ran her scans on Holden and was surprised when nothing came back. "How the hell did you survive two shipwrecks without a scratch?"

"I got lucky....others weren't so..." while he spoke she noticed the bags under his eyes, they were so dark and hollow he almost looked like a character in a horror movie or a cartoon.

"Are you sleeping okay," she asked while casually re-checking the data from the scans.

"What?" After a beat, he added, "As well as I can."

"You've been through a lot. A lot of trauma. I'm no psychiatrist but physical health isn't the only thing you need to take care of. Without your brain, your body's not much good." She said with a kind smile, which to her surprise he returned.

"I'll keep that in mind," he said before heading out of the med bay and waiving the next person in. The next guy was also definitely an Earther. She flipped through the charts until she found his picture and name. A voice in the back of her head made note of the fact that he was "extremely fucking hot", but she shoved that thought away, she at least wanted to act like a professional even if she didn't always think like one (or act like one off the clock).

"You must be Amos?" she asking while glancing the information up his previous med doc scans.

"Yup," he said in a flat affect as he sat down.

"Says here you broke your leg?" She asked while trying to gauge his reaction. Where the Belter, Naomi, had seemed suspicious, and Holden welcoming, Amos seemed to be totally neutral, unnaturally so.

"Yeah, when we were leaving the Donnager." He said, still emotionless.

"Mind if I check it out?"

"Do what you gotta do," he replied. She knelt and rolled up his pant leg. She took the med wrap off it, it was Mars tech so it was significantly better than what she had used on the OPA kid earlier today, and it had seemed to get the job done, she hadn't noticed him limping at least.

"What happened?" She asked as she scanned the injury.

"Got shot while getting off the Mars ship." His response was like a soldier reporting on something very routine. Which it wasn't. Any of it. What led up to getting shot. Getting shot and blowing out your leg in an escape, and yet he acted like it was nothing. Holden seemed like he'd been through hell, this guy on the other hand...

"Hm...any pain when you walk," she questioned while checking the bone.

"Would you be able to do anything if there was?" His response caught her off guard, she supposed Fred's endorsement had only made her seem less trustworthy.

"I could try. But you didn't answer my question."

"It's fine," he said after staring at her for a moment. She was checking the scan and surprisingly it looked pretty good.

"Would you tell me if it wasn't?" She raised her eyebrow in question.

"Cap says you're okay so, yeah." His face was expressionless which seemed strange to her, she tried not to dwell on it, like she told Holden, the psych end of things wasn't her bag.

"Alright well, I guess the Mars med-tech did the trick. My medical advice: stop getting shot at." She smiled at him but he didn't react, just seemed to assess that she was done,
got up and walked out.

It was certainly a weird interaction but she shrugged it off and continued with her check-ups on the two other crew members of the Rocinante.