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The Yellowstone Affair

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A twilight awareness. Noises sounding as if they were produced in an echo chamber then cast out through a cotton swathed fog. Gunshots. Shouts. Urgent voices ordering, Get these two on board now! Through slitted eyes that refused to open completely, Illya saw shadows of men bending close to him. He tried to turn his head. Where is Napoleon? His body, now weightless, floated! His eyelids surrendered, closing as he succumbed to the blackness again.

Hushed voices. Soft shoes squeaking on linoleum. Antiseptic smells. Hospital! Even with his eyes closed, Illya Kuryakin could see through his eyelids alternating lights and shadows as his gurney was wheeled through the corridor passing under florescent lights separated by ceiling panels. Not THRUSH, he thought. They would not bother with such sophisticated treatment.

He turned his head to see another gurney, covered heavily in blankets. He recognized the chin which appeared to be the only uncovered section of his partner’s body. Both gurneys passed through a set of double doors and each taken to a curtained off section.

Illya could hear the doctors and orderlies next door working on Napoleon. “Get an esophageal temp probe down him, stat!” An authoritative voice barked. “We need to record his core temperature. Blood pressure? Pulse?Respiration? Somebody cut those filthy bandages off of his hands and feet, carefully, mind you. We don’t want to cause any more tissue damage than there may be.”

“Doctor, core temperature is 93 degrees. The crew that brought him in reported a core temperature of 91 degrees rectally.”

“Sounds like he’s warming up, however that could be just the differences in temperature probe location. I want him on a warm water mattress immediately!”

“What about pain medication, Doctor? His hands and feet are going to hurt like hell once he’s awake and aware enough!”

“None, until his respiration is closer to normal. We don’t want to suppress his respiratory system. Rob, keep a close watch on the heart monitor! His cardiovascular system is rather fragile right now.”

Illya listened intently to the voices next door, his concentration so great that he failed to notice the doctor who came in to examine him. His mind barely registered that someone was taking scissors to his parka and various layers that lay beneath. He startled at the tap on his shoulder. He glanced up to see iridescent green eyes looking down.

“Hello, Mr. Kuryakin. I’m Dr. Margie Ridenour. I’ll be examining you. This is Nurse Riley. She’ll be assisting me.”

Illya tried to sit up. “Doctor, I am fine. Please, how is my partner, Mr. Solo, doing?”

Dr. Ridenour kept a gentle steady pressure on Illya’s shoulder restraining him so he couldn’t sit up. “Dr. Granger is doing everything he can to help your friend, Mr. Kuryakin. Meanwhile, why don’t you sit back and relax.”

The Russian hissed as he felt gloved hands probing his chest. He looked down to see an angry red, bloody gash that reached from near his left arm pit, across his pectorals, and ending just below his rib cage on his right side.

“You're a very lucky young man, Mr. Kuryakin! The bullet only grazed you. It is going to hurt like hell and we’ll need to stitch you up, but the bullet never entered your body cavity. You might have a doozie of a scar, however judging from other scars I see I guess you’re no stranger to this type of wound.

“Now let me look at your head. Miss Riley would you please assist Mr. Kuryakin in turning onto his left side.”

“My head? I do not recall injuring my head.” Though it would certainly explain my roaring headache.

“Well, according to the crew that brought you in, you apparently hit your head hard on a boulder when you were shot.” Dr. Ridenour probed the right side of the agent’s head.

“Aahhh!” Illya drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“I bet that smarts, though maybe not as much as the bullet wound,” the doctor smiled just a bit.

“Doctor, you have a grand gift of understatement!” Illya replied drolly.

Dr. Ridenour smiled, “So I’ve been told. Nevertheless, the prognosis is that barring any unusual circumstances, you’ll live. Before sending you up to your room I will send you to radiology where they will take some pictures of your head to see if there is any damage caused by that fall on the boulder. However, first I’ll give you a local anesthetic so we can stitch you up, then after the x-rays we’ll keep you overnight to watch for infection and signs of a concussion. ”

“Thank you, Doctor. I have one request. I would appreciate it if Mr. Solo and I could be assigned to the same room.”

“I’ll see what I can do. Miss Riley, would you please prepare Mr. Kuryakin for stitching up?”

In the next bed, Dr. Granger had his hands full. He needed to warm his patient quickly without creating a strain on his heart. His respiration rate was lower than normal. “Okay, folks, let’s get a warming blanket on him. I want him on warmed oxygen . If those methods don’t work be prepared to take him over to the OR to perform a peritoneal lavage. “Once his core temperature has risen enough and his vitals have some semblance of being normal we’ll deal with the trauma to his hands and feet. Meanwhile, let’s rebandage them and we’ll…”

Dr. Granger’s voice faded as Illya was wheeled to an elevator and taken up to his assigned room on the fourth floor.