The man had entered severe shock, body going cold with increasingly delusional perceptions. Dr. Cromwell had seen a great deal in his time, first as a emergency surgeon and later as a battlefield “sawbones”, a title he held a certain fondness for, simply because he had never had to fully saw through anyone’s bones and amputate a limb before. Limbs went missing regularly in Tunisia, at Anzio, and all over the world, really. An arm gone was nothing new to Cromwell.
But to have an arm ripped out? That was a little different.
The wound was ragged, the bone pulled from its socket like it had been wrenched out in a machine. Cromwell had already enough trouble to staunch the bleeding as there was very little left to which a tourniquet could be attached, the patient losing far too much blood to quickly, and that was the real danger here. That, and the shock, of course.
“He can survive without an arm, right?” One of the guards asked, anxiously wringing his hands off to the side.
“Get the fuck out of my theatre.” Cromwell ordered, not bothering to look up from his work. The small operating room, probably built decades ago along with the rest of the bunker complex, could hardly be called a ‘theatre’, but that was what the doctor insisted on labeling it, and he was not one to suffer fools.
The guard was escorted out by one of the nurses, other orderlies bustling around with new packets of blood for the transfusion tree in the corner. “Thank God for O Positive.” Cromwell muttered as he applied another heavy bandage and began wrapping it.
“What is the trouble, doctor?” The speaker said from the entrance, where he was just stepping in. Cromwell still did not take the time to look up from his work.
“Can’t stop the damn flow, there’s nothing to stitch around it, nowhere to place a tourniquet. I have to sew the major veins up one by one and cauterize the rest.”
“Why can’t you sew something over the top?”
Cromwell grunted, wiping the back of his hand across his nose. “I need skin to stitch up skin, you bastard. The whole thing’s been ripped out, so unless you have some to donate real quick, I’m going to have to make-do with something else.”
The speaker looked like he was going to say something else, then thought better of it as another nurse pushed past to the other side of the room with a tray of tiny morphine shots, alcohol, and gauze. For his part, the patient on the table was largely unresponsive, breathing in ragged gasps in his inert state, the bottle of ether staying close at hand.
“If they would fund proper medical supplies, this wouldn’t be such a damn problem…” Cromwell muttered, working through now-oozing blood to suture the femoral artery closed after pinching it closed with a clamp. “What in God’s name took the bastard’s arm off, and where did it end up?” He asked, referring to the missing limb.
“You don’t need to know that, doctor.” The speaker said simply.
Cromwell finished his last stitch, slammed the needle back into a tray flecked with spots of blood. “For God’s sake, man! I’m the ranking medical officer here, yet you tell me nothing about the operations in this facility. You have mangled men, crushed bodies, and now missing limbs. I can’t mitigate risk if I don’t know what is going on.”
The speaker shuffled his feet, took a breath, said: “Your job is fix people. If people get hurt, you fix or bury them. That’s it.”
Cromwell snorted, turned back to his charge. “Then leave me to my work, sir. I’ve got a person to fix, though at this rate I don’t know if that’ll happen.”
The speaker left without another word, leaving the frustrated Cromwell to the rapidly deteriorating health of his patient.
* * *
“Has she become uncontrollable yet again? Even after a new batch of experimental treatments?” The balding man in a business suit which was too large dabbed a kerchief across his glistening pate, his face having become gradually more pale ever since the first example of Null’s violence over a week before.
The speaker paced the conference room, breathing through his nose in an exaggerated manner, straining to keep himself calm. “I have decided she is a liability, to be exterminated at the nearest convenience.” He deliberately coughed, allowing himself a moment to think in front of the room of investors and corporate owners. “This was a valuable stepping stone to great triumphs in the future. We have the research and infrastructure to try again with ease.”
The balding man stood up. “Is she contained?”
“It certainly is. She can’t escape from her cell.”
“Very well, but we won’t be furthering your funding any longer until you get this situation under control.”
The speaker paused his pacing. “Very well, so be it.”
* * *
Derek was no longer sure whatever it was behind the door was Infinity. He backed away with the rest of the guards as the beast within the cell slammed into the solid steel door once more. A large bulge was beginning to appear near the top, bolts and hinges straining to contain the force of the blows, concrete flaking at the edges.
“Abandon the cell block, trap her in this hall and gas her from outside.” One of the officers said, his voice trembling under the cacophony from the cell door.
It didn’t take a second coaxing for the men to break, albeit in an orderly fashion, towards the exit portals to either side of the hallway, which lead farther on the exit from the cell block proper. Derek stayed, slipping away from the rest of the guards unseen to remain with Infinity.
“Infinity.” He called through the tortured door. “It’s me, don’t you remember?”
Still no further response besides the rhythmic hammering on steel.
“I’m Derek and you’re Infinity.” He shouted, becoming more and more desperate.
Suddenly, the top of the door buckled, the hinges shearing through concrete, leaving the corner of the frame open. A hand appeared at the gap, bending the steel inexorably downwards. Derek moved out of the way, taking cautious steps backward down the hall. “Infinity?” He managed to squeak out.
With a huge hammer blow, the door exploded outwards as Infinity threw her entire body against it. The steel slammed into the opposite wall, deeply gouging the concrete from the impact. Slowly, the towering beast turned her head towards Derek.
“D-don’t you remember me?” He stammered.
Her face expressionless, Infinity advanced towards him.