Furtive Fears

Xanadu Weyr - Infirmary

The infirmary here is intended for human care. It is spotless and smells of disinfectant, cots are lined up against one wall, a curtain can be pulled to give some privacy to the occupants of the cots if they so desire. A cabinet stands off against another wall, instruments and medications stored against when they will be needed. A couple of curtained off beds are used for examinations of patients and the treatment of minor injuries which won't require long term care. A desk with chair is just off of the doorway for the healer to sit and catch up on record keeping after a long days work.

Farrah sits at a high bench that's been set up near one of the curtained-off beds, the area at least temporarily taken over by her equipment. There's a certain mad-scientist quality to all of it: some things steep virulent blue-green in their carafes, others hiss and bubble, and more than a few are quite rank.

R'zel sneaks into the infirmary, once again apparently uninjured and not sick. He may be running out of excuses to visit, which might account for the slightly troubled look on his face as he enters and takes a look around. Upon spotting Farrah he quietly makes his way over to her corner, eyeing the array of foul-smelling liquids with some worry. "Is all of that stuff safe?"

M'nol enters quietly a few moments behind R'zel, almost hoping Farrah *wouldn't* be there, but alas, there she was. He eyes her equipment with no small amount of trepidation, not approaching too close, "Evening Farrah, R'zel."

"Mostly," Farrah assures R'zel, both honestly and cheerfully. "None of them seem to trigger reactions in people, but there are some who are more succeptible than others, so shock and death is always a possibility. Good evening, M'nol."

R'zel somehow does not look reassured by Farrah's explanation of the contents of the carafes, and even more concerned when he catches a whiff of the foul-smelling substances. He takes a step back, then smiles a little at M'nol. "Hey there. How's it going?"

M'nol shifts slightly and it becomes apparent that his hair is somewhat mussed, his clothing hastily donned. However, Farrah's mention of death causes him to take another step back even as he grins, "Phy's back."

Farrah muses further, unhelpfully: "There's always the possibility that brewing and drying will alter the plants' chemicals into something nasty, as well." She looks over at M'nol and R'zel, fixing them with a serious gaze. "But then, so much of medicine is 'one dose cure, two doses poison'." The news of Phylicia's arrival pleases her, once she recognizes the nickname: "Phy? Oh, Phylicia. How wonderful!"

R'zel looks even more unsettled by Farrah's little motto. "I suppose I don't know all that much about medicine. Never really been my forte… hrm." Nevertheless, he grins ear to ear at M'nol's news. "Ah, that's wonderful! I'm very glad to hear that. You look much happier now." He looks back to Farrah. "Isn't young love a beautiful thing?"

M'nol blushes deeply and murmurs, "Thanks… I am…" He glances back up at Farrah, "I'll stay over here, away from the potential poisons, thanks… and yes, Phylicia. She'll be here for her first shift as soon as it's scheduled."

Farrah is more likely excited to get a helper than for M'nol to get his girlfriend back, but her joy is genuine, if selfish. To R'zel, there is a half-smile as she says - in her old age of twenty Turns and change: "It remember it being perhaps as much turbulent as beautiful."

"Well, sure, but the turbulence is part of the excitement of it all, isn't it?" R'zel says with a smile. Something seems to pop into his memory, and he looks troubled for a moment. "Oh, shards… I forgot something. Excuse me just a minute, won't you? I'll be right back." He steps out of the infirmary, apparently in a hurry.

M'nol blushes, alone with Farrah, again. He thinks for a moment, then, "I… uh… I hope you two get along okay."

Farrah lifts a hand to wave away M'nol's concern, the other using a wooden spoon to press more juice out of the pulp inside a strainer. "I expect we should be fine. If not, I'm sure we'll manage to at least be professional. And at any rate, it's not my liking or disliking her has any weight on her tenure here."

M'nol smiles a little, trying to bite back a 'good', "I appreciate that… not that that affects her tenure either." He cranes his head a little, still to scared to approach the bubbling brews, "What are you making?

"Something like tea," Farrah explains to M'nol, tapping the strainer to make sure all of the liquid drains before she puts it aside. "I doubt any of these cause firehead - or cure it, either - but I haven't worked with these plants before, and they might hold some promise. I'll be shipping them back to Fort, in various forms."

M'nol gulps loudly, "You're… you're just gonna test 'em on people?" Yup, terrified, that's him.

Farrah looks horrified at M'nol's question. "Oh, shells, /no/." She shakes her head emphatically. "No, no. The /first/ step is to try and see if it does anything to the disease in isolate. And then in animals, depending on the disease - did you know we share many diseases with livestock? It's fascinating."

M'nol shakes his head, still looking terrified, "We share diseases with animals? I didn't know that was possible…"

Farrah can't resist a chance to lecture, so she swivels on her stool to face M'nol and give him her undivided attention. "Oh, it is. You see, the things that cause disease, they don't care if you're human or a runner, as long as it's the right environment for them to grow in. Some diseases are picky, but some will grow in just about anything - like when cuts get infected. Those will go after humans, dragons, just about anything."

M'nol rubs his left arm gently with his right hand and mutters, "uh…huh…" His eyes dart around him. Sickness and illness all around him right now. He fought the urge to run, knowing it was silly.

Farrah notices M'nol's darting eyes and guesses at his anxiety. "The one thing they have in common is that they don't live very well on their own. Some last a little longer than others, but the really serious ones need a little help to get you sick. Really, washing your hands takes care of a good ninety-nine percent of them."

M'nol nods, "But what about the air…"

Farrah inclines her head to M'nol, acknowledging his point. "Exactly. What's actually in the 'air' is little droplets. Every time you cough, or sneeze, you're actually spraying. It's in that spray, when it lands on you and gets in /your/ mouth, that's how you get sick." She summarizes: "Really, you need to have close contact with a sick person."

Someone sleeping near M'nol sneezes and the poor boy nearly jumps out of his skin. Still shaking some, he nods, "No fluids… no contact… right…"

Farrah brightens at M'nol's understanding. "Right, exactly! Most healers agree that being a pace away is actually all you need for a safe distance. But really, think about how many people you're closer to than that, without even thinking. Wonderful opportunists, diseases."

M'nol is still shaking, looking at all the sick people around him, "O-only a p- pace?"

R'zel hurries back in, having been gone just long enough to miss all the discussions about human test subjects and other terrors. He's carrying a small gift-wrapped square parcel, about the size of a man's head. He looks a little out of breath, perhaps having run to fetch whatever it is. "Sorry about that… forgot the whole thing I meant to bring here!"

"And they have to cough on you," Farrah remind's M'nol, pursing her lips in frustration as she seems unable to assuage the young rider's fears. "The good news is, it's in the disease's best intrest for you to just feel miserable and not actually die - that way, you can still walk around and spread it." Charming conversation. R'zel's appearance draws her attention, which focuses on the package.

M'nol glances up when R'zel enters, "Oh thank Faranth!"

R'zel has clearly walked in on some truly charming conversation. He blinks, is silent for a moment, then thinks better of commenting on the subject of horrible fatal diseases. Instead he just smiles and hands the square-shaped package over to Farrah. "I brought you something. Thought it might help brighten up the place." As if a place full of sick and dying people could possibly need to be cheerier.

"Oh, how thoughtful!" Farrah is surprised and delighted by the gift, carefully moving aside her various burbling glasswares to make a space for R'zel's package. "The mindhealers do say that positive patient attitude is a major factor in recovery."

M'nol glances over at R'zel, then at Farrah, then at R'zel and mouths, 'save me'. Aloud he asks, "Mindhealers?" No, he knew what they were… he just didn't realize legitimate ones existed.

R'zel just looks at M'nol with a blank, confused look. How could anyone not enjoy Farrah's charming company? He seems utterly uncomprehending. Farrah's delighted reaction steals his attention away soon enough, bringing the grin back to his face. "Go ahead and open it. I hope you'll think it suits the place."

"Ones who study how patients feel about being sick, even," Farrah tells M'nol, her deft Healer fingers making quick work of the packaging as R'zel instructs her to.

M'nol nods, "Know what they are… just never met one who had a thought worth listenin' to."

The package contains a small framed oil painting, depicting the Xanadu weyr beach on a sunny day. There are a few people visible in the image, playing in the surf and generally having fun. R'zel grins. "What do you think? I thought an upbeat image might liven up the place. Make people feel better."

Farrah is busy studying the painting, so it takes her a moment to reply. She even misses - or ignores - M'nol's comment about mindhealers. "Oh, it's lovely! Like a little window out to the beach. Look!" she instructs M'nol, turning the painting so he can see.

M'nol rolls his eyes, "I've seen the beach… got white this winter."

R'zel looks positively thrilled by Farrah's reaction, his happiness only slightly impacted by M'nol's reaction. "I thought you liked my work." He remarks to the other rider. He smiles at Farrah, pleased. "I'm so glad you like it. I could tell you have a real appreciation for the arts."

"We'll put it on an inside wall," Farrah decides, apparently speaking for her fellow Healers when it comes to decoration. "But I've often thought that hanging it on the ceiling would make it easier to look at - or is that just weird?" she asks the boys, sounding for feedback.

M'nol grimmaces slightly, "I *do* like your work… it's the infirmary what's making me uncomfortable…" Apparently Farrah's request for assistance is lost on the boy. Bloodstone, on the other hand, gives a tiny cheep and points at the wall behind the healers desk. there.

R'zel considers Farrah's idea for a moment. "Well, it might actually make sense in an infirmary, what with all the bedridden people… but it might be difficult to securely attach it to the ceiling without risking damaging it. I'm not sure, I've never tried hanging one on a ceiling." He grins at M'nol. "Oh. Well, I guess it's not the sunniest place… but hopefully this will help perk the place up!"

Farrah is a doctor, dammit, not an engineer, and R'zel's consideration didn't even come to her mind. "Oh, right. Yes, I think the wall would be best." Bloodstone's approval seems to seal the deal for her: "On the wall it is, then."

Bloodstone gives an enthusiastic cheep. M'nol sort of half nods, "'Snot just the place…" He glances around, still rubbing his arms, "I… I should get back… don't want Phy to wake up without me there…"

R'zel examines the spot the firelizard picked, smiling and nodding with approval. "Perfect. Great visibility… your firelizard has a knack for interior design." He grins at M'nol and arches an eyebrow. "Wake up? You've got her living with you already? Kids move fast these days…"

"Yes, they do," Farrah agrees with R'zel dryly, noting the irony of his commentary. "Don't worry," she tells M'nol, as if saying 'don't worry' would stop him worrying, "if you ever get sick, you'll be in excellent hands here at Xanadu."

M'nol nods, "I know…" he glances around again, "don't want to get anyone else sick, though… I'm search and rescue after all." He nods to R'zel, "She… she's going to help me decorate…" And with that the boy is gone, door whooshing in the breeze.

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