(© E. Meeske)
was a little surprised that the newcomer was in Antiquities with a portable med
unit, rather than being taken directly to Medical, but Antiquities was always
unduly possessive, and it - or he - was indeed an oddity. The Greenland
settler was in a hypobaric chamber now, his torn 14th century
clothing removed and lying in the corner on top of some old Hittite bronze
armor. He was a tall, emaciated man with thinning brown hair, apparently
intact with the exception of what looked like an infected animal bite on his
left arm. Santa pushed past a stack of black letter Latin printings and an old
crown that seemed to be whispering (he had learned not to look directly at most
things in this department) and went up to Dr. Chow-chow, whose expression was
torn between curiosity and disturbance, and who was speaking into a recorder.
of evidence of hypothermia is idiopathic as is continued motion of the subject
- oh hi boss," she smiled. "It’s weird, he’s quivering and we’re picking up
brain waves, but any cardi- any heartbeat or respiration must be below the
level of our sensors."
Santa said. Some phantom memory was trying to touch his mind from centuries
past, but he couldn’t place it. "Do you think recovery is a real poss-"
elf’s scream of surprise stopped him short. The man had sat up, glassy blue
eyes trying to understand his surroundings. He was drooling and apparently
shivering. Santa had a feeling that the revived man’s mind was quite damaged -
the expression was beyond either normal confusion or shock, and seemed far too
slow. Nonetheless, he made an effort. "Calm down," he said in Icelandic,
multilingualism being one of his powers, "we have brought you someplace safe."
hypobaric chamber popped open - obviously without Dr. Chow-chow’s consent. She
looked about in annoyance, her pointed ears turning an angered red. "Who the
hell did that? Are you trying to kill h-"
protest was stopped fairly short. The man had lurched out of the chamber and
bit her soundly in the ankle above her Blahnik, imbecile eyes rolling up
towards his forehead as he bit down as though he were a shark at feeding.
"Akk, you fucker!" Chow-chow snarled, her eyes popping out widely. She tried
to kick out with her other heel and toppled backwards, unable to support
herself on her injured leg. Santa wheeled onto the man to pinion him. "Stop,
friend," he cried. His friend gave an exaggerated, moronic blink and then bit
Santa through his shirtsleeve, turning it as red as his coat. Santa swore and
smashed his fist into the man’s skull, shattering it like an egg and tossing
brains over a dusty dodo egg in the corner. He looked around covertly, a
little ashamed at his show of temper, as low-level elves ran about screaming.
Chow-chow was certainly not upset with Santa’s reaction. She paused to smirk
before making an urgent call. "Two rabies vaccines, two tetanus, stat!" she
ordered on her phone, lying uncomfortably on the floor as orderlies cleaned and
dressed their wounds, along with Santa’s bloody hand.
stood by the sleigh as the loading finished. Mrs. Claus was concerned, and
although he pretended to be fine, his arms were both throbbing - one from the
bite, one from the vaccine. At least it’s not multiple shots in the belly
anymore, he thought, and almost laughed at the size of the syringe that would
take - still being mostly human, he had grown like a walrus centuries earlier
to deal with the cold. Mrs. Claus handed him the aspirin and the bottle of
"Distilled Permafroste" water from the commissary. "You be careful out there
this year, especially with that crazy man. They’re still cleaning Antiquities
and Oddities. It was so strange that they‘re not even going on about overtime
be fine, sweetie," he lied, knowing both arms would be aching for, well, what
would subjectively be weeks for him. "Check on Dr. Chow-chow, please.
Flibbet, tell Petrovkia that he’s off the New Year’s celebration and assigned
cleaning duties the day after the party."
"Of course, sir. I understand" said Flibbet, a trifle sanctimoniously.
noticed a slow fever starting in the Aleutians. By Vladivostok he was a little
disturbed it had not abated, but instead had seemed to worsen, and, a little
guiltily, he raided a pharmacy for antibiotics and prednisone. He had stopped
his normal banter with the reindeer, which had been somewhat perfunctory for
decades anyway. Despite the magic, it was a very mechanical process after
all. By Beijing his vision was blurred. "Very bad this," he mumbled aloud,
"But I have a job to do."
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