Red Line: The Future Part 12

Snow wasn’t lying about the tests sucking. Both sisters spend the next day being poked and prodded by needles. Blood’s drawn, bone marrow’s taken, they’re put through a spinal tap. The scientists spend a lot of time focused on Melissa’s knee. She hears one of them in the next room wondering aloud how their serum might effect it. Would it heal? Would it prevent further degeneration so they don’t even need to repair the ACL? They have theories but no hard answers.

The spinal tap’s the worst. They’re doing tests on pain levels so they decide to do it without anesthetic. The rest of the day Melissa feels like she’s going to puke. The tests don’t stop though. They want to put her on a treadmill and run a stress test but that’s not possible with her leg so they instead take her vitals. She finds it odd that they even want to, that has nothing to do with DNA. Any questions are dismissed by the scientists. All they’ll tell her is that DNA isn’t the only thing they need to know.

They’re kept in separate rooms so she doesn’t have her sister to lean on. She catches a few glimpses of Tara as they’re shuffled about but there’s no chance to say anything. When they catch each others’ eye Tara tries to give her a reassuring smile but she can tell from the second Tara takes to meet her gaze that she’s in just as much pain.

After a long day of poking and prodding Melissa’s laying on a table in a hospital gown feeling exposed and tired. How much longer can this go on? They’ve left her alone for at least the last half hour and she hopes soon they’ll allow her to go back to her room and relax. Pushing herself up on her elbows, she realizes Sook’s sitting in the corner of the room. When did she come in? The woman keeps glancing at her, though she’s trying to look like she’s locked into a computer. Melissa’s suddenly conscious of how little she’s wearing. “Did you need something?”

Sook practically jumps out of her seat. “Oh, no, just running some of your numbers. Want to make sure everything we’ve found is correct. We may need to take a few more blood samples.”

Groaning, Melissa wants to bang her head into a wall. “Are you at least almost done? I don’t mean to be rude, I know you’re all working hard but I’m in a lot of pain. My knee’s bothering me too, I had to go off all my medicine for this.”

Standing and crossing the room, Sook smiles at her. “We’re getting there. I probably shouldn’t tell you this but if everything checks out, your numbers are awesome. Stan’s concerned because they can’t put you through our standard stress test but I think there’s a really good chance you end up on this team. He’s coming around.”

She’s not sure what to say. Her mouth hangs open and she knows her mother would say something about catching flies. She likes to say things that hurt her feelings. Melissa never expected to be chosen, she figured Tara would get in. She’s always been the strong one. Not the best with people but she’s tough. She’s always had to be the cheerful one, she helps her sister connect and helps people get around the rough edges. “What about Tara?”

Sook walks away, going back to her computer. “I can’t go into details about another person’s medical results. She did good though, not as good as you but good. They’ll consider her but from what I’ve been told they aren’t putting more than one girl on the team. The captain’s okay with it but the higher ups want a token representative and that’s about it. Unless Stan loses his mind about the leg they’ll pick you over her.”

The door flies open and Stan Banks rushes in, his arms full of papers. He doesn’t say anything to Melissa, heading straight to Sook. “We have what we need. I’m calling a meeting now, if we’re going to get our way we need to push this through as soon as possible.”

Looking at him with wide eyes, Sook coughs and gestures toward Melissa. “We’ll figure it out but I don’t know if now’s the time to talk about it.”

Stan looks at her but doesn’t seem concerned. “Oh, hello Ms. Chance. You have nothing to worry about. You’re on our list. Get ready to be crazy strong.” He winks at her before turning back to Sook, thrusting his folders at her. “I’m calling the meeting today. This is going to be a blood bath but let’s be the most prepared in the room. Study these numbers until you know them backwards and forwards.”

Sook shakes her head. “Sir, Captain Snow won’t even be back with the last recruit until tonight.”

“I’ve studied their preliminary results, they’re not going to make it. We move tonight.”

He storms out of the room. Sook looks at Melissa apologetically. “I guess you can go. Sorry for making you wait.” With that she rushes out of the room, juggling the giant stack of folders.

Getting dressed on her own is a challenge. She wore shorts today to keep her knee free but getting them over the knee’s a challenge. It takes awhile but once she’s dressed Melissa exits the room to look for any sign of her sister. She’s nowhere to be found.

Part 11

Part 13

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