(Continued from The Warrior Princess)
“Drive straight ahead. We are going to Eagle Flight in Kathageri,” Anne tells the driver as she presses a button on the dashboard then presses the number 4. She hopes the communication system has started working again because that is the only way she can communicate with the ambulance behind.
“Red 4, follow our lead,” she says into the microphone and hopes the driver of the ambulance behind will obey. She is careful not to say what she is doing over the radio because someone at the hospital is certainly listening. She hopes by the time they figure out that she has gone rogue she will have crossed the State boundary so that the ambulance cannot be stopped by cops.
All the vehicles at Chuka State Hospital are equipped with state of the art communication system. The system enables the managers at the hospital to communicate with all the vehicles even when they are on the road. The vehicles can communicate each other as well. All the vehicles are assigned colors for the purposes of communication. They are not actually painted with these colors-all vehicles are painted blue and white, the color scheme of the hospital-the color assignment is purely for communication purposes: red is the color assigned to ambulances; delivery vans are assigned blue; hearses, pink; staff vans and buses, yellow; lorries and trucks, grey.
Anne is riding in the ambulance carrying the Governor, while the one behind is carrying the Deputy Governor. Her eyes are glued to the side mirror, and her heart sinks when she sees the ambulance behind turn left at the junction and head towards the Chuka State Hospital.
Henry’s heart sinks when he hears an ambulance entering the hospital. He is at the emergency center with Celina and a number of nurses. Did Anne ignore his request because it was him, or did she fear the repercussions? Even as he was making the call, Henry knew he was asking her to put her career and possibly her freedom on the line based on nothing other than his word. Why would she believe him anyway? He shouldn’t really blame her if she has decided to ignore him and do her job as she is required.
The ambulance parks in the bay and the paramedics hop out carrying the body of a man in a stretcher. As per the instructions, Henry is supposed to handle the Deputy Governor while Celina handles the Governor. Seeing that it is a man on the stretcher, Henry commandeers the stretcher into the operating room and leaves Celina waiting for the Governor.
In the theatre, Henry takes a deep breath. He is yet to hear the siren of the second ambulance, meaning Anne has probably taken the risk. She has put her career and freedom on the line to save the life of the Governor. But since she was apparently unable to convince one driver to defy emergency procedures and take Charles’ ambulance to Kathageri, it now falls upon him to save the Deputy Governor’s life.
As he cuts open the man’s chest, he is saying a silent prayer. Saving this man’s life may as well make him lose his own. But he doesn’t care. He took an oath to save lives, and that is precisely what he is going to do.
Anne is silently grateful that this driver obeyed her instruction without asking questions. They have already called the Eagle Flight emergency center and informed them that they are bringing a critically injured patient. They did not inform them that the patient is the newly sworn in Governor of the neighboring State. As they enter the ambulance parking bay at Eagle Flight, Anne’s heart is beating fast. There is a SUV that has been following the ambulance at a high speed, and it enters the hospital shortly after the ambulance has parked. A man hops out of the vehicle before it is even parked and starts running towards the emergency center.
Is it the powers that be that have been chasing her? Is it time to pay for her audacity with her own life? Will they kill the Governor as well? Anne watches melancholically as the man approaches her. The paramedics have unloaded the Governor from the ambulance and she has been taken up by the Eagle Flight doctors and nurses. The ambulance driver is standing next to her, but they have not yet had a chance to talk even although she knows he has a lot of questions. Right now he is also watching the approaching man.
The man runs past them to the emergency center.
“Anne, you know if the Governor dies you and I will be in a lot of trouble. What is this all about?” the ambulance driver asks after the man disappears inside the emergency center.
“Even if she lives we might still be trouble, John. I am sorry for dragging you into all this,”
“What is going on?”
“You saw me picking a call on my cell phone. It was Dr. Henry calling. He told me that there is a plot to kill the Governor and the deputy at CSH (Chuka State Hospital). The CEO and the Medical Superintendent are the ones planning, but of course they must be working for someone. If the Governor dies here, maybe the powers that want her dead may let us be, although they may still decide to teach us a lesson. But the authorities will certainly come for us because the assumption will be that she probably could have been saved if we took her to the nearest hospital. If she lives, the dark forces will certainly come for us. I am so sorry John, I didn’t think about the danger I was putting you in, I acted entirely on impulse. I simply could not take her to her certain death that CSH.”
“It is okay Anne. You issued the instructions but you did not force me. I could have turned the ambulance and gone to CSH like Robert, but I trusted you. And I do not regret it. I would have done the same if I were you. If we die, we die for a good cause,”
“Thank you for at least attempting to save my wife’s life,” a new voicesays from behindthem. Anne and John turn simultaneously. They were so engrossed in their conversation that they did not see the man who had run past them come back and stand behind them.
“Hello sir,” Anne says, stretching her hand.
“My name is Anne, and this is John. He drove the ambulance to this place.”
“I was wondering what you two were up to. I panicked and I almost called the hospital, but hearing what you have just told John here, I am glad I trusted you. If the authorities ask you why you brought her here, you can tell them I insisted on it.”
“Thank you sir,” John and Anne say simultaneously.
“You can call me Bob. When Karwitha gets better I will let her know what you two did to save her life,”
“Thank you si…Bob. We pray that she recovers quickly. And Bob, I don’t know anyone in this hospital, so you might consider transferring her to a hospital you trust to recuperate after she has undergone the surgery. The people who want her dead may still pursue her here, but by the time they realize what we have done she will already be out of the theatre,” Anne replies.
“Good idea. I will make arrangements. Once again, thank you very much Anne and John. Karwitha and I are indebted to you.”
He shakes their hands and they hop into the ambulance to go and face the music at CSH.
Henry is relieved to find that the bullet that hit the Deputy Governor did not puncture the lungs or the spinal cord. Of course it did not hit the heart-if it he would be dead by now. Removing it will still be a delicate process, but Henry has done more delicate surgeries so he is not worried.
It takes him three hours to remove the bullet that was nestled not very far from the heart. Controlling bleeding was his biggest challenge, but he has done it. As he stitches up his patient, his thoughts are on the best way to keep his patient safe. Celina and Kibaara might still kill him while he is recuperating. He has to find the Deputy Governor’s wife and tell her what is going on.
He is no longer worried about his own safety. Keeping his patient safe is what is preoccupying his mind right now. After he finishes stitching, he leaves the operating room as Charles is wheeled to the ward to recuperate. Charles’ family is waiting for a report at the reception area.
“Which one of you is the Deputy Governor’s wife?” he asks. He can see the faces looking at him become creased with worry.
“I am,” a small bodied woman says. She seems to be in her fifties, but still very beautiful.
“Please follow me,” he says, leading her to his office.
“I am Dr. Henry. I just operated on your husband and don’t worry. He is fine. For now,”
“What do you mean for now?”
Henry realizes that even though she has a small body, Charles’ wife is not a push over.
“Listen Mrs. Kanga. What I am about to tell you is important. The conspiracy to kill your husband and the Governor extends to this hospital. I was actually asked to ensure that your husband dies, another doctor was to ensure that the Governor dies. I am not a saint, Mrs. Kanga. I have made many mistakes in my life. But willingly killing patients is not one of them. So I secretly called the head of emergency services and asked her to ensure that the Governor and your husband do not come here. Unfortunately, your husband was brought here. I assume one of the ambulance drivers disobeyed her. But fortunately I was the one supposed to handle you husband so he is fine. But they will not stop, Mrs. Kanga. I am sure they will try to kill him in the ward. So I think you should make arrangements to have him transferred from this place. I will sign all the relevant papers to have him released,”
“Thank you Doctor.”
Celina and Kibaara are furious. After waiting at the waiting bay for fifteen minutes, Celina finally figured out that the second ambulance wasn’t coming. She tried to reach it on the radio but they had apparently disabled the communication system on the ambulance.
Finally, word reached them that the Governor had been taken to Eagle Flight.
“Someone must have leaked our plans,” Kibaara says now, looking at Celina.
“Are you accusing me? Why would I lea…” she stops midsentence, as it dawns on her what Kibaara is thinking.
“Of course it is your boy who did it. I can bet you that the old man will come out of the theatre alive and kicking. I told you that you shouldn’t involve another person,”
“I am sorry Joe. But don’t you worry. I will take care of the problem. I have friends at Eagle Flight who can take care of the Governor at a small fee. I will personally take care of the old man once he leaves the theatre. And I will personally make Henry pay for this,” she says.
“You had better,”
Celina goes back to her office and makes a call. Her contact informs her that the Governor is already in the theatre.
“Listen Dave. I need her taken care of. I will pay you well if you can send her to her maker after she leaves the theatre,”
“Half a million,”
“Come on Dave. I have done you favors in the past,”
“Yea, and I always pay you,”
“What do you want?”
“You know what I want,”
Celina sighs. Dave has been trying to sleep with her since they were in college. But she has always resisted him. She finds him physically very unattractive, and the idea of being naked with him disgusts her. They have done shady deals in the past, but she has always insisted on cash transactions. But she really needs the Governor dead. She is the one who messed up the plans, and the powers that be will not be happy. And when the Caucus is not happy, even the earth trembles.
“Okay Dave. One night. But only after you put the Governor to permanent sleep,”
“Three nights plus the half a million. Non-negotiable,”
Celina sighs. She will be forced to sleep with that fool for three nights. But the alternative is worse.
“Okay Dave, half a million plus three nights with me. Now get the job done.”
After the call Celina takes a syringe and fills it with the anesthetic fluid, then she drops the syringe into the pocket of her lab coat. She has figured out that the best way to kill Deputy Governor Charles is to give him an overdose of anesthesia.
She heads to his room and is delighted to find him alone. She smiles at his sleeping face as she pulls out the syringe with the lethal dosage from her pocket.
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