(2018-10-17) Death Walks the Streets
Arturo and his paramedic partner encounter death itself - at least that's what she seems to call herself.

"Hump Day. The best day of the week. /Nothing/ happens" insists Murdoch between bites of a greasy hamburger. He sits in the driver's seat of the ambulance. The vehicle parked outside a burger joint. Murdoch is overweight and in his early forties. He wheezes a lot when he speaks. Just the kind of thing a person in need of medical attention wants to see. "So, you were in the shit, huh? Afghanistan? Didn't we win that a decade ago? Probably more dangerous here." Another bite of his burger, sauce dribbling down his chin as he continues to speak with his mouth open. "Except Hump Day. Quiet as the grave."

Arturo has some fries to go with his meal- something he's brought from home. Rice and beans, some Columbian style Tamales. "I just patched people up." he replies to Murdoch, not really one to talk too much about the things he's seen in Afghanistan. "Sometimes it was good. Sometimes it was bad." he says next, "Fifteen years, though, I was in and out of Afghanistan. Mostly in." he states.

"It's bad luck to keep saying it is quiet." he remarks, with a certain amount of soldier's superstition. "Better not to talk about it and hope it stays that way, cabrone."

Murdoch waves off the superstitious argument. "Things are gonna happen regardless of what I say" he smirks before a heavy cough. At least he turns his face towards the open window as he does so. The radio beeps into life. "Unit Three, please respond to report of life-threatening injury at the abandoned gas station near Smelter Street and Willow Lane."

Murdoch sighs and picks up the radio. "Understood, base. On our way." A sly smile to Arturo. "That would have happened anyway." He wipes his greasy fingers on his pants before starting up the ambulance and hitting the sirens. "Fifteen years? Damn." The vehicle roars off down the road, winding through the streets towards the destination. "You want to check everything is ready in the back?"

"Yeah, sure." Arturo says as he repacks his food, places it into the bag he's brought with him before he crawls through the little door that connects the cabin to the back- closing and locking it behind him per policy. He opens the window, though, so they can keep talking. "Should be in the same condition as it was when we came on duty." he remarks, as he straps in to the seat in the back after giving a quick visual inspection.

"Yeah, a lot of things /should/ be how they are, but in this town… For all we know, we could have been robbed of all our drugs while grabbing our food. Criminals are crazy around here." His driving is a bit erratic, but it gets them places in a hurry. Soon he comes to an abrupt halt outside the fence. "Hmmm…can't drive through the gate, and it's locked. Can't see any cars… It must be some kid who jumped the fence and broke his leg or something. C'mon." He gets out of the ambulance and makes his way round the back to open it up and grab a kit. "You might have to give me a boost over the fence."

The derelict boarded up building squats in the darkness. No lights inside. No sign of life. Murdoch sighs as he scans the fence. "Yeah…a boost. Nope…wait…there." He points to a section which has been cut through, the links able to be peeled back.

"That's why we don't have anything good back here." Arturo notes as he comes out the back, locking up behind himself- again. Policy.

He pulls a smaller flashlight from his belt and turns it on. The thing is *bright*. Really bright. The sort of thing you need in the dark of Afghanistan, clearly. "Right. You gotta do some running, Murdoch." he says over to his partner, "Don't we have bolt cutters or something?" he asks, eyebrows knitting together as he pulls the fence back for his heavy-set partner, touching at the radio. "Unit 3. 10-23 at call. No obvious injured person. Checking inside fenced area."

"Running is pointless if you ain't going anywhere" Murdoch replies grumpily as he slips, barely, through the gap in the fence. Brushing himself off as he straightens. "Let's see what we can see. It's probably just some stupid prank." He strides off towards the building, his own flashlight sweeping the walls and the boards over the windows.

They head around the back and Murdoch frowns at the sight. "Back door's been kicked in. Might be something after all." He doesn't seem very happy about that. "Want to lead the way? You have training and all that shit."

"Sure." Arturo says, "Hello! Paramedics! We received a call of an injured person here!" he announces himself and his partner as he steps into the building- carefully treading forward, "We're here to help." he says, speaking loud and clear, and then repeating the entire thing in Spanish- just in case. His Spanish is that of a native speaker- albeit of Columbian accent. Probably something only another native Spanish speaker would notice.

"Jesus Christ, this place stinks." Arturo says, "We'll want to call ahead to make sure the hospital has debriding equipment ready… if anything comes from this."

Broken glass crunches underfoot. Whoever left this place didn't clean out the freezer before they did so. The stench of rotting meat filling the air; unless it is another kind of meat rotting. Behind the counter area is the freezer and off to one side is a garage area. The way they come in leads them past a couple of offices. There is the sound of a slow moan from behind one of the shelves that define the four aisles in the building.

The moan starts again. A Latino male in his late teens lies on the floor, blood streaming from a thigh wound. It has /just/ missed the artery. He must have heard Arturo's Spanish as he is muttering in the same language. "Muertos. Muertos." Murdoch drops his kit and opens it up. "What's he saying? Does he speak English?"

"He keeps saying dead. Like plural." Arturo replies, "How do you not speak any Spanish and live in southern Colorado, cabron?" he looks back to the heavy-set EMT as Arturo goes to work. He doesn't pause, he's beside the teen, speaking to him in Spanish. <"Stay still, we're here to help. Is there anyone else here?"> he asks as he slings the first aid kit he brought from the back of the ambulance. "Check for anyone else. We might have bodies." he notes back to Murdoch, as he goes to work quickly on the young man. <"I'm Arturo. What's your name?"> he asks, trying to keep the kid's focus off the fact some dude in blue nitrile gloves is checking his leg. "It missed the artery, so he'll be having a really nasty scar but probably not life threatening." He switches back to Spanish, <"Do you know what the date is? Where you are?">

"Because I live in the U S of A, and they should be speaking English" Murdoch replies gruffly, "And I ain't being racist by saying that." He nods to the request to look for more bodies, though since it requires effort, he is not too enthusiastic. "Stay here. I'll call it in and see what else is around here." He needs to push himself up with a hand on his knee before he wanders off out the back.

The teenager is sweaty and pants for breath. His eyes wild. Like he's on a drug. "Muertos" he mutters again. The only sound now is the young man's frantic struggle for breath. Murdoch's heavy breathing has disappeared. "Jesus" the teen coughs, it must be his name…or is he calling for help? "Don't let it come back."

<"Let what come back?"> Arturo asks as he field bandages the wound after giving it a good check. <"We're going to take you to the hospital."> he explains, calm despite the excitement- a bastion of complete calmness. <"You will be okay, cabron, don't worry."> he says, as he looks into the kid's eyes- just checking generally before he freezes. Looking over his shoulder, "Yo, Murdoch! You okay over there?" he asks, noticing the man's breathing has become quiet. Too quiet. No wheezing.

Arturo peeks over, flashing his light into the darkness where Murdoch had gone. Looking for his partner.

"He's fine" replies a woman's voice from the darkness. "He's having a little nap." Arturo's flashlight soon finds the speaker. A slim woman made to seem even slimmer by the tight black bodysuit she wears - though the torso is padded with what is probably armor. It might even remind him of the body armor back in Afghanistan. Over her face is a 'Day of the Dead' mask; worn, faded, singed in places, a once colorful skull design though the lower right is gone so half of her mouth can be seen as she speaks. Her hair a bright pink bob.

The teenager tenses at hearing that voice. <No…please.> His eyes even wilder than before, pulse dangerously fast.

The woman holds up a hand to shield her face a little. "Shine the light down, please." Her voice soft and Mexican accented.

<"Shit, calm down.">Arturo says as he looks back to the teenager, <"You're going to go into shock if you don't take some deep breaths, cabron."> It's an order. It might be phrased as a suggestion- but the tone leaves little to be ignored. He looks back then over towards the woman, "Yeah, for now I'd rather you don't see me." he offers in his own slightly accented voice. "No offence, but you're sending this kid into fits. You do this?" he asks, trying to get an eye on Murdoch as he moves slowly now- just into a position where he can protect his patient easier- he's on the job.

And he's absolutely fearless, if the look in his eyes is any telling thing. Just watching- checking her for a weapon. He doesn't see one- but… that doesn't make him any less wary.

"He did this" the woman replies about the teenager, squinting at the man holding the light. "Why don't you want me to see you? Are you ugly?" This makes her giggle a little, but it is more a manic laugh than one of humor. "That boy raped a girl. Him and his friends. Why do you want to save him?" Murdoch is nowhere to be seen but since she blocks the way to the offices, perhaps he is down there somewhere. "He never saved anyone. He just wanted to torture, humiliate, control. You think if he lives, he will be a 'better' person?"

"I'm not a judge. Just a paramedic." Arturo answers simply. "Doesn't matter if he's a rapist or a murderer while I'm on duty. Enemy or friend. If they're injured, I patch them up." he continues.

"Murdoch, you okay back there?!" he calls out again as a hand is quick to lower the light just so- as her eyes would adjust to the light, now again in the dark. "Unit 3, needs assistance at our location. I think Murdoch is down, and I got some woman in a sugar-skull mask here threatening the patient. Send assistance immediately." The light goes back up- so bright- to shine in the woman's eyes. He's ready to move, if he needs to- a hand going back to grab his patient's upper arm. Ready to book it if he's got to.

"I /am/ a judge, Senor Paramedic" the woman counters. "And that boy should die for what he has done. Look at him, he is high on cocaine. Violent. Insane." A dramatic sigh. "I should have expected that you would help another man. It is the world we live in, si? All the hurtful boys stick together."

"Murdoch is fine. Do you not trust me? I have no reason to hurt him. You paramedics do good work for good people. I do not understand why you would do good work for bad people too" she shrugs before wincing again at that light. "Take him if you want to. It doesn't matter. No one escapes death. Especially once you have seen it up close." She grins, half of it seen, half of it behind the mask. It makes it look even more maniacal. "I wanted to see what the paramedics would do. What /you/ would do. Who do you think called you?"

"Secondary." Arturo answers. "My job is to save lives. Period. End of thought." he states, "No. I do not trust anyone wearing a mask who tells me what I want to hear." he says, "If he has committed a crime, then you should report it to the police, Cabrona." he notes, "The police will be coming- perhaps you will tell them."

After all, the call has gone out- and Arturo remains a coiled spring. Ready.

The woman laughs at the threat of police interaction. "I am the police, cabron" she notes with a wry smile. I am what this town needs." She holds up a finger to forestall any reply. "I am /not/ an enema." Paraphrasing 'Batman' seems to amuse her.

There is a groan from behind her and she takes a few steps back. "Your friend is awake. He will need something for a headache. I shall see you soon, Mister Paramedic." Murdoch staggers out of the dark just as the woman disappears into it, but he is too concerned about his throbbing head to even notice her. "What the fuck happened?"

"You got jumped." Arturo says as he looks at his patient, "Go back to the truck. I will take care of this cabron." he says as the woman runs off into the dark. "And we came on a crime scene. Assault." he says as he shoulders the kid and lifts him with surprising ease- a standard combat carry. "We're not getting the gurney through the hole in the fence, so." he looks back and speaks in Spanish, <"Was she telling the truth, Cabron?"> he wonders of the teen as he starts to carry him outside- cops should be here shortly.

The teen does not seem to be in a shape to answer. Frightened. Drugged. Weak from blood loss. He is a sack of flesh and bone to be carried around. The only word that he seems to remember is 'Muertos'. Murdoch nods about the gurney…and the assault, moving ahead of Arturo to also make sure the way is clear before a waddle-run to the fence. In the distance can be heard sirens approaching - one car. Murdoch holds open the cut section as the police car pulls up and two bored officers emerge. They see Arturo and the teen but wait for him to get through the fence before they will check out inside.

"You guys called in an assault? That the victim?" one of the officers nods to the teen. "Crime scene in the building?"

"Yeah. He keep's saying Muertos- might be bodies inside. We were attacked by a woman wearing a sugar skull mask. Mexican…" He then gives the approximate height, hair color, and all the other details that he is able to recall as he nods to the cop "The woman claimed he assaulted a woman. Rape. I don't know nothin' about it, but I think she's a bit of an unreliable narrator." he continues as he helps the kid into the back of the truck. "She attacked Murdoch there, knocked him flat for a good five minutes."

One officer takes the details while the other slips through the fence and towards the gas station. The one left behind looks the teenager over and shrugs. "He doesn't look familiar, but we can look into it. She had pink hair? That shouldn't be be hard to find around here. Thanks, but I guess you better get your patient to the hospital. You okay, Murdoch?"

Murdoch nods…which is causing him some pain. "Yeah, Jeff, all good. Take care in there. She's probably crazy but they're the dangerous ones. I didn't even see her coming." Jeff snorts in a 'it wouldn't be hard to sneak up on Murdoch' kind of way before heading through the fence.

Murdoch looks over the patient in the back before nodding to Arturo to stay with him in the back. He slams the doors closed and he heads for the driver's seat. A rub of the back of his head before starting up the ambulance. "Hump Day? More like Bump Day."

"I'm driving. You're getting checked for a concussion when we get to the ER." Arturo notes to Murdoch, "You ride in the back with the patient." he notes, as he nods towards the kid in the back. "He might be tweaking a bit, so keep the window open so I can translate, yeah?" he remarks. On drugs. Shot. It doesn't matter to Arturo- he's got a job to do, and that job is to save the injured.

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