Sam Raymond was walking through the ruins when the first cries reached his ears.
"Dr. Raymond, Dr. Raymond," he heard faintly. A bird fluttered and launched itself aloft from a rusted piece of scaffolding. The quiet was shattered.
"Dr. Raymond," the voice called, bouncing off the metal girders and skeletons of once impressive buildings. He took a step and heard glass crunch under his feet. At one time this had been a busy commercial corridor in a mighty city. He believed it had been called Boston. Now, it was a hulking, rusting, decrepit mess and getting worse very year. One of the large sky buildings had collapsed last year, sending 25 injured patients to his clinic. Much to his satisfaction, he had saved all of them.
Now there were two or three voices calling him.
"Dr. Raymond, are you there?" We need you. Please are you there?" He peered through the rubble and remains and spotted a group of people running towards him. There was Lucy in her white nurses gown and flowing blonde hair. He spotted the town watchman Sullivan Scott. A third figure was a solider, dressed in full battle garb and wearing a ceramic helmet. That was odd, he had never seen an active duty soldier. They never bothered to come to Cline 02234.
They raced up to him, out of breathe.
"Dr. Raymond, thank God we found you." He knew there was some kind of emergency. Perhaps there had been another building collapse, or mining accident, or maybe a plow had accidentally run over a child. His heart rate quickened and he felt himself preparing for the news. Soldiers went into battle; he did the opposite, and worked to heal.
"What's wrong? What happened?" Lucy spoke. He could see now that the figure in battle armour was a women. This was getting more interesting.
"It's the Governor Sir. He came into the Cline with the Governor-Queen. She's been attacked and injured. She needs your help."
"The Governor was traveling near Cline 02234?" he asked. That was odd. The regional governor almost never bothered to visit their Cline, especially not with the Governor-Queen. 02334 was considered the hinterlands, the backwater of the Clineship. Sam couldn't remember the last time any official had come within 100 kilomiles.
Before Lucy could answer the women in armour spoke.
"The Governor and Governor-Queen were here on a mission. We were protecting them but we were ambushed." That sounded even more far-fetched. Who would ambush them in 02234?
"Who ambushed you? Sam asked.
The woman grabbed his hand. She was striking, with dark hair that flowed out from under her battle helmet and a figure that couldn't be hidden by the ceramic armour and baggy soldier's cloths. Sam rather enjoyed the warmth of her touch.
"That's not important right now. You need to come help the Governor-Queen. She's bleeding badly and will die shortly without the help of a healer." She pulled him forward with surprising strength and they broke into a run.
"Can you tell me anything about her wounds?" Sam asked as they ran along the edge of the ruins.
"She was phased in the stomach. I also believe she may have been touched."
"What?" It was almost unheard of for the non-minded to be touched. The psionics were only used against each other. It wasn't that the generals didn't want to unleash them on the enemy non-minded, but usually the psionics were too busy just dealing with each other.
She must have seen his shock.
"Touched, but why?"
"I believe she is carrying a very important message."
"To our Cline? What kind of message could she be delivering?" He expected her to tell him it was none of his business; military matters, don't ask questions and help heal her. But instead, she answered.
"The message is for you."