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Saturday, February 18, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: December 16, 2398

Angela is sitting on her bed, trying to do breathing exercises. Why does she need a bed? She’s only going to be here for six hours. No, don’t get distracted, that doesn’t matter. Breathe in slowly. Breathe out slowlier. Sit up straight, and puff up your chest. Give as much room to your bladder as possible.
There’s a knock at the cabin. “Angela?”
She finishes exhaling. “Yes, Moray?”
“Are you okay?”
“Open the door, Moray.” She’s speaking in that calm, meditative voice that people use to sound relaxed and unintrusive.
Moray does so, and asks again, “are you okay?”
She opens her eyes, and turns to face him. “I’ll be all right. Did you need something?”
“We’re just worried about you, you never came back to the game.”
“Right, I forgot. I’m sorry about that.” She turns back to the wall, and breathes deliberately again.
“Are you pregnant?”
“Why do you ask?”
“You look like our cow did when she was pregnant with a calf.”
Angela smiles, which turns into a yawn. “I’m not pregnant, Moray. I’m just meditating.”
“Oh.” He’s silent for a moment. “Can I join you?”
“One day I can teach you, but uh...that day cannot be today.” She breathes again.
Moray stops speaking as she continues her exercises with her eyes closed, but she can still feel his presence. That’s okay, if he just wants to watch, she’s not going to get angry about it. Or maybe she should, because this isn’t helping control her bladder very much. Jogging didn’t work either. Nor did pelvic floor exercises, though she probably misread the database, which would have likely gone on to say that that’s more of a recurrent process than a quick fix. Perhaps what she really needs is medical intervention.
Angela sighs, and hops off the bed. “Do you know where the infirmary is?”
“Yeah, we saw it on our tour, before you arrived. Are you hurt?”
“That’s a personal question,” she says.
“Sorry.”
“It’s okay.”
He leads her down the hallways and ladders. “It’s over there. I won’t disturb you any further.”
“Hey, Moray...”
“Yeah?”
“Thanks.”
He nods, and walks off.
Angela steps into the infirmary. Only one person is in there with a lab coat, implying that he’s the doctor. “Hello, can I help you?”
She sighs again. “I feel the need to urinate, but I’m not allowed to, for reasons that I can’t really explain to you, but it’s a matter of life and death, and I know that sounds really weird, and I can’t say any more about it, but just know that I’m telling the truth. It’s really important that I hold it in until after the trip, because—”
“Madam Walton, it’s okay. I think I know how to help you.” He steps over to a refrigerator, and starts looking through it. “Ah, here we go.” He takes the vial out, and shows it to her. “Gonagozole. Now, this is not a safe medication, and I would not prescribe it for prolonged use, but if you just need to get through the day, it should be fine, and we can treat the side effects afterwards. Are you okay with that?”
“If it works, I should be able to recover on my own, but...what does it do?”
“It does a number of things, but the result you’re looking for is that it shrinks the uterus, which will alleviate your bladder. But that may not be enough” He takes out another vial. “This will enlarge your bladder, so there’s less pressure to urinate.”
“What are the side effects of these two things?”
“Nausea, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, hot flashes, increased heart rate. You could contract a UTI, but I don’t see that happening with one dose.”
“I can deal with most of those, even the UTI, but not the first two. It’s not just urine. I cannot expel anything. The water in my system has to stay there.”
He sighs, and goes over to another fridge to retrieve a bottle of over-the-counter medication. “This will stop the nausea, and cause constipation. You won’t release any fluids, you probably won’t even cry.”
“I didn’t think about crying.”
“Madam Walton—”
“Angela.”
“Madam Angela, I cannot recommend you take these three medications in tandem. The side effects are mounting. Now, I will give them to you, because I have been instructed to literally give you and the kids whatever you ask for. This will work, but you’re going to be in an incredible amount of pain. It’s going to make you unbearably miserable.”
“I only need to last a day.”
“Still...I’d like to talk you out of it.”
Angela looks between the three medications. She has to do this. If there’s even a tiny chance that Alt!Tamerlane isn’t lying, she has to do everything she can to protect Marie. They’re two separate people now, it’s not a selfish act. “Will they still work if I’m unconscious, or would I just soil myself?”
“No, they would still work.”
“Then I need you to give me a fourth drug.”
“A sedative,” he guesses.
“Yes.”
“Right now?”
“Right now.”
He doesn’t want to, but he apparently has to. “Follow me.” He leads her to the back of the infirmary, and into a nook with a somewhat private bed. “Lie down and get comfortable. You may remove your clothing, if you would prefer; I’ll close the curtain.”
“That won’t be necessary.” Angela stips down to her bra and underwear, and gets under the covers. She adjusts herself, and restarts her breathing exercises.
“Are you certain that you want to go through with this? You can still back out.”
She looks up at him with her most genuine facial expression. “Do it.”

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