The ramblings of a Nut who should be doing something else – Adelaide, South Australia

Cliffhanger relief

Here’s the first part of Part Thirteen of Gentle Rain. It hurt to write. ::wails:: Many thanks to @scribbles97 for the moral support and for listening to my whining.

Gordon Tracy adored his brother Virgil. Ever ask him and he’d deny it through his teeth. Did he understand how the man’s brain worked? Not a clue. Did they argue on a regular basis? All the time. But did he love him?

More than life itself.

So to first have to catch the man as he fell, then watch helpless as he struggled and failed to breathe, his hands desperately scrabbling at Gordon’s uniform, and to see him ultimately lose the fight and slip away…


Virgil’s lips were turning blue.


He checked his brother’s vitals. No breath, heart-rate struggling, but at speed. What the hell was wrong?


“Virgil’s collapsed. I need vitals now. Advise Kayo, I’m going to need help.”

John rattled off numbers.

The engineer was still wearing his fire suit minus the helmet. Gordon tore at his clothes, shoving the zip down as far as it would go, freeing up the man’s chest. He positioned him ready for CPR, tipping his head back, checking his airways. There were no blockages he could detect.

What the hell had gone wrong?

The ship suddenly slowed and stopped in midair, John obviously taking control. A thud on the roof and the overhead hatch was thrown open.

Gordon tipped his brother’s head back and breathed into his lungs. He watched his chest.

It barely rose.


Fast, but struggling.

“Goddamnit, Virgil!”

Another breath. Barely any movement.

He ran his hands over Virgil’s chest, what the hell was going on? The man was made of frickin’ muscle. Why weren’t any of them working?

“Kayo, portable scanner, now!”




The scanner slammed into his hand. He flicked over the controls. Chest cavity. Heart.

He projected a hologram above his brother.

The answer was obvious.

Virgil’s right lung was about a quarter of its normal size, his trachea and heart shoved towards the left.

Tension pneumothorax.

Collapsed lung. His brother literally could not breathe and now his heart could not beat because of the air pressure in his lung cavity.


“John, tell me Em is standing beside you and she has trauma experience.”

“I’m here, Gordon.” The voice was calm, professional and directions began flowing forth. Kayo handed him a large needle, a catheter, and his brother’s undershirt was torn away. Gordon had seen Virgil do this to a child in Afghanistan three years ago, but he had never done it himself.

John transmitted a holographic example of exactly what he had to do, transposing it over Virgil’s scan. Em’s calm voice chanted him through it.

Gordon inserted a needle into his brother’s damaged ribcage.

A hiss of air under pressure and Virgil’s chest deflated.

A moment. Kayo’s fingers lay on her lover’s throat.

“He has a pulse.” And the vitals hovering above the hologram flared into life.

Except for respiration.

A count and Kayo, tipped his head back and began breathing for him.

Taping the oneway catheter to Virgil’s chest, Gordon grabbed the manual ventilator and, touching his sister’s shoulder, handed her the device.

Em’s voice was still calm, still controlled. “He will have to be monitored for further pneumothoraces, especially under ventilation. John is sending you to Wellington.”

Around them, Two roared to life, VTOL replaced by the power of her rear thrusters.

Virgil still wasn’t breathing on his own.

C’mon, Virgil, goddamn you.


Kayo couldn’t think. The plastic bag in her hand was keeping her fiancé alive. Squeeze release, squeeze release.

The mask hid the lips that kissed her. The body that had so wanted her yesterday, lay limp on the decking of his own ‘bird. In the spaces between her heartbeat, she was screaming in silence.

She paused his resuscitation, holding back, allowing the CO2 to accumulate in the hope it would trigger a breath. Count.


She breathed for him again.



Please, love.




Across from her, Gordon’s hands were shaking in his medical gloves. The clinical part of her mind still functioning at a basic emergency level noted that she would have to watch her brother for shock.

The body beneath her hands suddenly shook and took in a shuddering breath.

Oh, god, thank everything.

“Gordon, oxygen mask.”

It landed in her hand and she strapped it over her lover’s face.

Another breath.


She ran her fingers through his hair and noted her own hands were shaking as badly as Gordon’s.

Virgil’s breathing evened out.

She set the oxygen level to compensate for his reduced lung capacity.

His eyelids flickered.

And he was looking at her, beautiful foggy brown eyes.


He blinked ever so slowly. Voice barely there. “K-Kay?”

She touched his cheek and his eyes closed. “Virgil?”

They blinked open slowly again. “Wha-happnd?”

“You’re going to be okay. You had some trouble breathing.”

“Oh.” She got the distinct impression he didn’t understand. “H-rts.”

“I know, love.”

“Lv you.” And he was drifting, eyelids drooping.

She ran her hand through his hair and he relaxed into her touch.

She bit her lip as her vision blurred.


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