Swamped Chapter 57 Page 4

It’s Butterfly, with one of the Bogknight prisoners. Said prisoner is gagged, has her hand caught in one of the modified rodent traps that passes for pest control around here.

“She was trying to slip away, but she got unlucky,” Butterfly explains. “The gag is because it turns out she’s a biter. Anyhow, you’re probably her best shot at getting it off without hurting her hand.”

“Why was this even set out?” you grumble. “I know we’ve had strange creatures popping up, but as there’s no rhyme or reason to where they appear, traps hardly seem like they’d be very useful. Who authorized it?”

“I don’t know. Shouldn’t you be having a look at her?”

The prisoner holds out her hand so you can take a look. She’s fortunate. While the trap is pressing down hard, her gloves are holding up well against the parts that could actually pierce her hand.

“Thankfully, it isn’t as serious as you suggest. I just need to loosen the clamp. Most likely her hand will just be very sore afterwards.”

You already have a tool for this. Thankfully, you convinced the council that the traps did more harm than good unless there was a specific infestation to deal with, so you haven’t had to use it in a while. Of course, that also means it’s not as readily available as your other equipment, so you need to dig through a drawer for a bit to find it.

“Sorry about the delay. This should do the trick.”

You wedge the tool into the trap’s vice and squeeze. Your tool widens, and the trap loosens. The prisoner pulls her hand out in relief.

“Is that it, then?” Butterfly asks.

“Not yet. I need to actually examine her hand. It should be all right now, but it’s best to be sure.”

You pull off the prisoner’s glove and take a look. And what you see is distressing. You wouldn’t expect her hand to be this shade unless…

“Butterfly, take the gag off. I need to know how long that trap was on her hand.”

“I caught her about five minutes ago when I heard her screaming,” Butterfly says.

“I want to hear it from the prisoner herself.”

“Fine, just give me a moment.”

Butterfly steps behind the prisoner, and reaches up for the gag.

Then she shoves the prisoner into you instead. A moment later, you feel something heavy strike you in the head, and you drift into unconsciousness.

When you wake up, you find Glimmer holding a cold-pack to your head.

“What’s going on? Where’s Stinger? Where’s the prisoner? Where in the hells is Butterfly?”

It takes you a few moments to regain your bearings and realize that this isn’t the infirmary; you’re in your own quarters.

“Keeper’s taking care of Stinger, he told me to help you until you recovered. Don’t know about Butterfly or the missing prisoner… well, the second missing prisoner now, I suppose. We did catch sight of her rushing out of the infirmary with a Bogknight, but then we lost track of her. Though, since we’re scouring the fortress anyways, she’s bound to turn up sooner or later.”

“I can’t stay here.”

“Doc,” Glimmer says with a smile. “How many times have you had a patient say that to you? And what do you always tell them?”

“Point made. I’m not really alert yet, even if I think I am. Got to take at least half an hour before I can be sure I’m stable.” You let out an exasperated sigh. “I hope Stinger’s all right.”

“Keeper’s gonna do the best he can. He told me what I should do to help you out, too. But if he missed any part of the treatment, well, just tell me what to do, Doc.”

As your senses start to return, you do realize that there’s something you could use right now.

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