(2018-12-14) My Bloody Holiday
Julian's holiday season takes a turn for the worse.

The last time Julian texted Nina earlier that day, the ranger had explained that he may be late for dinner. Dinner has come and gone, with no sign of Julian and no calls or texts. Night is in full swing and Cedar St. is dotted with lights in residential windows and the occasional street light illuminating a limited area. From inside Nina's studio apartment, she wouldn't miss the snappy pop sound of fireworks from right outside on the street. Or was that gunfire? This is a pretty decent side of town so the chance of it being anything other than some prankster kids is slim.

Silence. Suddenly, serveral more shots can be heard in rapid succession, the sound of an automatic weapon. This is quickly followed by the screeching of tires and very loud crash, followed quickly by a few car alarms and the constant trumpeting of a car horn. At this point, lights are popping on along Cedar St and the silhouette of people can be seen as they peer out windows and doors to see what all the commotion is about.

Nina certainly doesn't seem to be the type to come outside to check things, after hearing suspected automatic gunfire and car crashes, but like her neighbors, she does peer out from her second-floor window, pushing aside her curtains to look. The only difference is she has grabbed her phone enroute, so that she's all prepared to dial 911 in case it is needed…

Looking at the window reveals what can best be described as a proverbial war zone. Several cars along the street are flashing lights with their alarms going off. A jeep (Julian's jeep on closer inspection), has smashed into a lightpost across the street from Nina's apartment. The light itself is still flickering on and off, enough to illuminate the entire vehicle which, along with the old bullet holes, is riddled with new ones. The front end of the jeep is unrecognizable, with dark black smoke billowing out from the totaled front end and the warm, orange flickering marking the beginning of a small fire under the hood. It is unclear from Nina's current view whether or not Julian escaped the wreck or not, as it's too dark to see fully inside the Jeep.

This is not the quiet, peaceful evening Nina has hoped for. Her eyes widen when she recognizes the smoking jeep, and it doesn't take a genius to put two and two toget her. But instead of going into a blind panic, Nina quickly hits 911 on her phone, even as she hurries to the front door and pulls her boots on. "Hello. Yes." She pauses briefly when the call is answered. "I need the police and an ambulance at 150 Cedar Street Block. There was suspected gunfire, and a crashed jeep. Probably injuries. Please hurry." Each point is made pointedly and clipped, before the phone is put aside, and a couple of items pulled from her handbag… possibly including her keys. And then she's out the door and down the stairs, and rushing towards the crashed jeep.

"Julian?" Nina calls out as she approaches, immediately heading towards the driver's side of the vehicle…

As Nina approaches the jeep, the driver's side door squeels as it is forced open and the vision of Julian climbs out of the car. He's in full uniform, that big ass desert eagle of his still holstered. Blood is pouring from a nasty gash on his forehead down the shape of his cheek and jaw. He looks bewildered, stiff even, as he takes the first few steps from the jeep. The flickering light from the street lamp beams back on, revealing the dreadful sight of the man standing outside of his vehicle.

There are multiple cuts along his face from broken glass, his hands too. The most prominent injury of them all is the bullet wound directly through his chest, which is currently pouring blood down the front of his uniform. His hands are out in front of him, palms up as he looks down at himself and the blood oozing down his arm and off his fingertips from another bullet wound in his left arm. He touches his chest where the bullet wound is at, looks at his blood-covered fingers, and as he does so he notices Nina standing halfway across the street, tentatively approaching him.

"Min." His voice is strained, nothing like she's ever heard it before. Weak. As soon as the name escapes his lips, he falls to his knees, still looking very confused, eyes shifting left and right, searching for something. Weakly, he goes for his radio, managing to pull it from his utility belt before dropping it to the ground as his strength leaves him.

Judging from the car crash, Nina clearly expects the worst. The sight of an injured Julian only brings her a moment of pause, but it isn't the blood that surprises her — it's the bullet wounds. Still, she quickly recollects herself and rushes forward to support his muscular frame with her rather dainty one, sliding her shoulders under his arm to hopefully prevent him from collapsing.

"Julian." Her voice, though tense, manages to remain calm and collected. "Can you hear me? You have to help me. Sit down slowly." Nina coaxes him, as she starts to lower to a crouch, intent on laying Julian down as well. "Just take it slow. Breathe slow."

Though Julian is staring directly at Nina as she approaches him, it's quite obvious he's confused and not quite all there at the moment. Blood pours from the nasty gash on his forehead as well as the two (visible) gunshot wounds on his chest and left arm. Though he's not the tallest man out there, he's muscular, solid, and as weak as he is, it's going to take some effort to keep him steady. "T-the back…did it go through? The bullet." His voice is weak, really, really weak. The kind of weak that seems almost unnatural on the usually strong, stoic man.

A close inspection of his back reveals that, indeed, the bullet went straight through, judging from the hole in his uniform and the blood also aggregating around it.

"Pneumothorax." Julian tries to say, but the word comes out broken, interrupted by a sickly cough that causes him to spit up blood. "Put pressure…" And then he trails off and Nina can feel his entire weight just give against her as he collapses on the ground.

People from the neighborhood are beginning to exit their homes to take a closer look upon realizing whatever danger may have passed. Several braver people come closer, calling out for a doctor, for 911, the usual. All the while, Julian slumps against Nina, unable to hold himself up as he tries to formulate words, the live-safing directions he needs to relay to the exotic woman to help her keep him alive. In the distance, sirens can be heard as they fast approach the scene.

Nina can sense Julian's imminent collapse, and barely has time for a quick visual inspection to confirm that the bullet did go straight through… which is both a good and bad thing. After that, it takes all her strength to partially cushion his collapse to the ground, forcing her to her knees — but at least she can prop up Julian's head and shoulders in her lap. "The bullet went out your back, but I don't know first-aid, Julian." She tells him quietly, just managing to keep any hint of real panic leaking out. "Stay with me; I need you to tell me what to do." And despite her lack of first-aid knowledge, Nina does trying to press both hands over the bullet wound in his chest; at least she isn't squeamish about all that blood. Once she applies gentle pressure, Nina finally looks up at the neighbors who have ventured out. "Is there a doctor here? I need someone with medical experience!"

"T-the back…the back hole. Cover…pack it…." Steadily, Julian's ability to speak is quickly being disrupted by the blood being coughed up from his lungs. The warmth of his blood can be felt at Nina's legs as she settles him down with his head in her lap as blood pours out from the exit hole. "T-turn…on side." He tries to say, but again coughs and blood comes out. His gaze, initially sharp, denoting his awareness, is steadily growing more glazed, more distant. He's looking up at his lover from her lap, but he's not seeing her.

The sirens close in, a combination of the emergency trumpeting of an ambulance as well as the police - their quick response showing that with all the crazy shit going on in the city right now, the first responders are on high alert.

A few people come closer and one woman kneels down next to Nina, assuring her with a hand. "I'm a nurse! Let me help!" The woman, who seems as cool and collected as any would expect from a medical professional, instructs Nina to assist her in turning the man onto his side. "Tension pneumothorax. The blood from the wound is filling up the plueral space in his chest, causing his lungs to collapse."

Blue and red flashing lights from emergency vehicles flood the street as emergency responders begin to arrive on the scene.

Nina nods eagerly to the nurse, and readily relinquishes the treatment to the woman while giving what assistance is asked of her. The two of them turn Julian on the side, while Nina keeps his head cushioned on her lap; the jeans she's wearing are probably done for after tonight. The one thing the nurse may not have heard, is about the bullet hole on Julian's back; with his body turned on the side, Nina reaches behind him, and after a moment's hesitation, begins to rip the sleeve off of her shirt… not caring about the cold. Once she has shreds of that sleeve, she folds it into a square and presses it against the bullet wound, applying pressure in the hopes of slowing the bleeding.

She's so focused on keeping her lover alive, that Nina doesn't notice the approach of the responders, including paramedics and… look! A giant cop named Franklin!

The big cop crouches down to one knee next to the gathering of folks around Julian, not interrupting the nurse's work but exchanging looks with both women. Instead, he perks up and beckons the paramedics to hurry, and while he waits, Frank frowns darkly at Julian. "Look alive, Marine." He barks, a large hand reaching out to pat the ranger on his uninjured shoulder. "The fuckin' Fedayeen couldn't kill you; you ain't gonna be taken out by a bunch of redneck punks, are ya?"

Julian's color is pretty much white at this point, and though he seems to look at Franklin as the big man approaches, there's not a lot of fight left in the former Marine. "P-pressure." He brokenly encourages, though he doesn't seem to be talking to anyone directly so much as repeating himself in a breathless, blood-choked mantra. He doesn't even seem to respond to any of the questions the nurse woman is firing away at him, gauging his awareness while instructing Nina on how to keep him alive until the responders arrive.

Blue and red lights are everywhere now, lighting up the entire block. On Franklin's radio, there's chatter of cultist sightings and reports from 911 calls of the drive-by that led to Julian's current status. A hit squad had apparently been sent out to target him specifically, following a previous attack on the ranger station up at the San Juan Mountains.

The paramedics rush passed Franklin, quickly taking over for the nurse and Nina, coaxing them to step away so they can go about their work. A stretcher is brought in and Julian is thrown onto it with the urgency of two professionals who, even though they wouldn't admit to it, look pretty grim as they work on the man.

One of them looks at the nurse and Nina, "We're loading him up. Are either of you two family?"

Nina's attention is fully on Julian as the paramedics load him up, and it takes her a moment to tear her gaze away to focus on the questioner. "I am his girlfriend." She confirms, then adds. "I am… I am going to the hospital with him." Nina doesn't forget to glance back at both the nurse and Franklin. "Thank you. Thank you both." Then she's off, following the stretcher and the paramedics, hurriedly updating them with what she saw initially. "He was shot at least twice, once in the arm and the other in his chest. The second shot went through him and came out of his back."

Frank gets up as Julian is carried away, nodding to both women but is briefly distracted by the radio chatter, which brings a deep, deep frown to his face. And since Nina is already following the paramedics towards the ambulance, Frank addresses the nurse instead. "Ma'am, if you can stick around, I'll have someone take your statement." He looks around for a second, and beckons towards a young officer. "Martin! Start taking statements around here." Frank bellows, and turns to stomp towards his cruiser. "Morowicz! Sanders! Let's roll! The trail's still hot on the hit squad!"

At that, several officers rush back to their squad cars, and the vehicles peel off in a big hurry.

As the paramedic and his EMT assistant load Julian up, they usher Nina along with them. The EMT jumps in the driver's seat and the paramedic remains in the back with Julian and Nina. He goes to work with the skilled hands of a man who has done this hundreds of times, patching up the back exit wound as well as the front. He then produces a trachea kit, taking a massive looking 14 gauge needle and poking it down inbetween the second and third intercostal space of the man's chest once his clothes are cut away.

The entire process is messy and, ultimately, Julian codes as his heart stops from lack of blood on the way to the hospital, forcing the paramedic to switch gears and begin the rigorous process of shocking him back to life as the ambulance speeds its way toward the nearest hospital…

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