He had his brain, but most of his lungs was gone.

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A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental

Chapter 23

Branford Cooper was not getting up.  Angus and Skeeter stepped forward.  “Go get an EMS team, Skeeter.”  Angus said with urgency as he knelt next to Brad.  He observed slight chest movements, but there were no other signs of life.

The EMS team in full gear put Brad on a liter and loaded him into the back of the ambulance.

“I’ll go with him, Skeeter, so, you can follow in our vehicle to Brackenridge.”  As soon as he was in the back of the truck, Angus said to the technicians.  “This man is FBI.  He has been working on these brainless body cases since day one.  He might have been exposed to whatever this is early-on, without even knowing it.”

The EMT checked Brad’s eyes.  The pupils were still light-reactive.  “He’s got a heartbeat, but it is very rapid.” the EMT announced.  “He still has a brain, or most of one.  His eyes are light-reactive and his pump is working good.”

Angus stared down intently at his friend.

“What is it?”  The EMT was curious.

“I’m thinking.  He has worked on some cases where the brains were intact but other organs were involved.  One of them was missing lungs.”

“Lungs?”  The EMT listened intently with a stethoscope.  “That could be it.  There is a small amount of activity, but not much.”

Angus tried to stay out of their way so they could do their jobs, and do them right.  He watched as they tried a manual Ambu-bag.  They were getting close to Brackenridge.

“Well, that’s part of the answer,” the EMT said, after a few minutes of the Ambu-bag.  “His heart rate is stabilizing.”

“If most of his lung tissue is gone, can he be kept alive?” Angus asked.

“That’s a tough one.  I assume if he still has bronchial tubes, he can probably be kept alive.  With bronchial tubes, he could also possibly be  transplant material.  They’ll scan him when he gets there and see what all is missing.  It would be a good thing if you could be on stand-by at the hospital to answer questions.”

Angus nodded.  “Is he going into a special quarantine area?”

“That’s the plan.  We have radioed ahead.”

As they drove into the bay, Angus got ready to exit the truck.  When Brad was in the sunlight, Angus took a good look at him.  “Your color looks pretty good, ol’ boy.  Here’s hoping.”

Angus’ own brain was in overdrive.  They must save Brad, somehow, first priority.  They must figure out a way to get him a new set of lungs, legally, second priority.  They must stop whoever or whatever was doing this to people.  Angus was allowed to watch from a distance as they worked and worked on Brad.  After a few minutes they took him out for a full-body scan.  A doctor finally approached Angus.

“He is missing seventy-five percent of his lung tissue.  He has a small part of one lung left,” the doctor said.

“Is the organism or whatever it is gone?” Angus asked.

“We believe so.  We can’t detect anything.”

“What are you going to do?”

“We are going to do his breathing for him, with machines.  That is about all we can do.  He might be able to take care of some final business that way, say good-bye to family, tie up any loose ends.”

“What about a transplant?”  Angus frowned.

“It may be possible.  We have already put him on a list.  These lists are long and it would take him awhile to get to the top of it,” the doctor replied.

Angus then asked, “What’s next?”

“We are going to keep him sedated for awhile, quarantined.  He might be ready for company in say, forty-eight hours.  People going in will have to suit up.  Keep calling and they will let you know when you can go in.”

“Thanks, Doc.”

*     *     *

     “That’s about it, Skeeter,” Angus said after he had explained everything to her.

“At least he is alive—he has a small chance.  What are we going to do now?”

Angus didn’t answer right away.  He was still in shock and couldn’t think straight.  “Did our boys sweep the death house yet?”

“They are still doing that, now,” Skeeter answered.

“When they have a bunch of photos ready, we need to examine them for similarities with the Dallas death house.  I think I need to make a call to Dr. LeBraun.”

Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.

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