Siobhan was up to her elbows in blood. Sweat drenched her forehead, threatening to slide forward and blind her. Her left eye twitched.
But she held still.
Mum worked the needle back and forth while Siobhan held the patient still. He was out cold, but he wasn’t paralysed. If he moved at all… She ignored the ache in her muscles. He wouldn’t move.
Someone banged on the door. Her back twanged with the repressed reflex to look up. She kept her eyes and hands on her work. One day, she would do the stitching and someone else would hold the men down.
“Almost done,” Mum said. Almost too soft to hear.
Shame burned under the heat of pressure and bad weather. Siobhan didn’t need reassurances like that. They were for kids. She bit the inside of her cheek rather than mouth off about it.
Stitches finished, her mother cut the thread and went for the bandages. Siobhan let go of the man’s leg and moved back. Almost the instant that her fingers lifted from his bloody skin, he gave a slight jerk. She had certainly been needed. No one on this entire dusty, craphole planet could sit still for love, life, or money. Especially not for life.
She moved to help with the bandages, but mum shooed her in the direction of the sink. Siobhan had gotten bloodier than her mother. The man had thrashed so much that she felt guilty about calling Finn twitchy the other day.
Once her hands were washed, she left the op room. The stupid, impatient people waiting impatiently for the patient would keep banging on the door at the worst times, but her part was done. Mum never liked her to deal with the healthy. Probably because Siobhan would have ended up making them less healthy.
They were all so annoying.
She wandered over to the monitoring equipment and flopped into the spin-chair. Blips showed her where everyone was. Everyone, everyone. Each of their clients and each of their retrieval agents.
Siobhan watched the blips move. They looked like rats in a feeding frenzy. Another fight, then. If the stupid explorers were going to call them in whenever raiders or beasts attacked, then they should have just hired mercs to protect them. She leaned back in the chair. Next client, she’d raise the rates.