|| This article, Whole Again, was written by Timothy Emeigh. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.
After crash landing on Sirona and barely defeating Jusan 'Sasovai in hand to hand combat, Lieutenant Junior Grade Aleksandra Zaytseva awakens in Bodua Memorial Hospital with a cybernetic left arm and eye, having to learn to cope with her replacement body parts.
|1000 HOURS, JULY 31, 2544(MILITARY CALENDAR)
Location: GROOMBRIDGE 1618 SYSTEM, PLANET SIRONA, BODUA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
As the phantom images playing in her mind faded, slowly replaced by a bright white light and a dull pain across her entire body, Sasha could hear a soft, repetitive beeping noise against the muffled background sounds of a busy building. As she blinked open her eyes, she was greeted by a strange combination of a blurriness and a sharp clarity of vision. A few blinks more and Sasha could resolve the image of a hospital room before her eyes, taking a few seconds for her disorientation to pass enough for her to recognize the clean white walls and machines. It was also then that she finally noticed just how dry her mouth and throat were.
But as soon as she croaked out the word to any who could hear and began pushing herself up to sit on the bed, she noticed something else. Turning her head down and to the left, Sasha was met not with a view of her left arm is it was just a short while ago, but a metallic grey replacement, wires running just beneath the surface of the plating, connecting one joint to the next. The cybernetic ran from her fingers all the way up past her shoulder, connecting to the rest of her body at her upper left chest. With Sasha's still drowsy mind sluggishly processing just what it was seeing, her gaze remained glued to the metallic arm for what seemed to be minutes on end to the pilot, until finally a voice cut through her daze and caught her attention.
"Lieutenant. I see you have woken up and noticed your... new arm. I know it will take some getting used to, especially to the point where we want you back out in the field, so we’ll be keeping you here for a while. Is there anything you need?"
Pulling her gaze away from the cybernetic attached to her and towards the voice, Sasha could make out the military doctor that had just entered the room, standing in front of her, datapad in hand. So many questions began to fill her head, but it was her immense thirst that was the subject of her response.
“I need some water.”
The doctor nodded before turning and walking away for a short while. Left alone to herself once more, Sasha worked through the flood of questions in her mind. How did she lose her arm? How did she get where she was? Where even was she to begin with? Slowly she began to remember her fight with the Elite. She had barely managed to kill him, she recalled. The alien had managed to stab her with its energy dagger through her hand, across her eye, and into her shoulder. That must have been how she lost the arm, and it explained why one side of her vision seemed less foggy than the other. She must have lost her eye as well and gotten an ocular implant. Sasha even remembered the sound of a Pelican coming to pick her up before she blacked out, so she knew how she got to wherever it was she currently was.
“Unfortunately, you won’t be able to actually drink for a short while, but you can let some of this ice melt in your mouth to calm your thirst.”
The doctor had entered the room again, holding a small container of ice. Setting it down next to Sasha on her left side, he spoke again.
“And while we’re at it, we can start testing your new arm, if you feel up for it?”
Sasha nodded, looking to the ice and slowly willing the cybernetic to raise. Somewhat to her surprise, it actually began to move as if it were her real arm, albeit a bit sluggishly. Moving it over to the ice, she lowered it down and picked up one of the cubes, clumsily dropping it a few times as she got used to the fingers, but eventually managing to take hold of the ice and bring it up to her mouth to suck on. As the ice slowly melted in her mouth, she spoke to the doctor once more.
“Where am I?”
“We found you out in the nature preserve and brought you to Bodua. You’re in Bodua Memorial Hospital. The UNSC is using it as a hospital for its wounded, such as yourself, due to the Covenant invasion. You remember that, right?”
Sasha nodded as water slowly trickled down her throat from the melting ice cube, soothing her thirst ever so slightly. She once more thought about why she was here, and how she couldn’t do her job stuck in a hospital bed.
“How long will it take for me to recover? When can I join the fight again?”
“Physically, we were predicting it was going to be a few weeks, but you seem to be handling your cybernetics quite well for being so new to them. It’ll probably be shorter for you. The rest of your injuries weren’t as severe. As for adapting to the changes mentally, it varies from person to person. You seem to be reacting well, but that could just be the shock of it. Your physical therapist should be able to help you with both physically and mentally adapting to the replacement. If all goes well, you’ll be ready to fight again in less than a month.”
A month. Almost every battle in the war had been lost in less than that time. If this one followed the trend, she’d be shipped off to some medical ship while the world burned below her or worse, be stuck on that burning world. Sighing, she laid back into her pillows once more, flexing her new fingers and staring up at the ceiling through her new eye.
“That was all I wanted to ask… If I could be alone for a while?”
Sasha heard the footsteps out of the room as the doctor left at her request, and she slowly closed her eyes, both hands curling into fists on the bed. As her mind filled with new questions, far more rhetorical than the ones previously, her shock slowly turned to a simmering anger. Why me? Why didn’t I just die? How am I going to adjust? These questions played over and over in her mind. Her physical wounds had been treated, but Sasha knew her recovery had only just begun.