Their mission was simple: Investigate the Hospital at Oregon Health and Science University. Reports had come in through some of the Society’s sources that people were going missing from the hospital. Most were transients, so the police department wasn’t the fastest to respond, but something else caught the Society’s eyes. All of the victims were seen on camera as walking out of the hospital under their own power with their arms behind their back.
Normally the Society’s agents didn’t bother with missing people reports, but two things drew their eyes to this one. The first was that one of the missing people were dropped off on the doorstep of the hospital in a coma yesterday. The second was that a visiting doctor from southern California had been the latest victim. This doctor was suspected to be a mage.
There was little other information about the whole situation. None of the Society’s contacts knew what the doctor was visiting for. No one had been able to follow the other victims after abduction, they all seemed to vanish into the night.
The two young ladies arrived at the hospital in the late afternoon of the next day as the sun set behind the hill. They entered confidently and Violet walked up to the reception desk.
“I’m here to see my father, I hear he just got checked in with a coma. Sam Owen?”
Emily felt the magic that Violet was infusing with her words, to make her story believable. They had decided that the first place to check would be the patient that had returned. One reason that they were selected for this task was Violet’s ability to prod and peer into people’s minds. The added bonus was Emily’s ability to get them out of a pickle in a flash.
“Ah I didn’t know he had a daughter, we would have called. He is up in the ward on floor seven. Check in with the orderly up there and she’ll bring you to his bed.”
“Thank you,” Violet replied, releasing the magical influence and walking to the elevator with Emily in tow. When they got in the elevator alone she turned to Emily, “That was strange.”
“What? You seemed like everything was under control.”
“No, that’s just it. It felt like she had been conditioned into obeying mental commands. I barely had to prod her and I felt her mind bend around me.”
“Well, we best stay on guard then.”
The elevator dropped the two at their floor in moments and opened to a standard looking hospital hallway. Many rooms peeled off, but The spotted the doors to the main ward on this floor and headed that way. As they entered the first thing Emily noticed was that it was surprisingly quiet inside. When you have a dozen or more sick people in a room, there is generally at least an occasional groan, but here it was lacking completely.
“Can I help you two?” The orderly asked from her station nearby.
“y- yeah, Sam Owen, I’m his daughter.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’ll bring you to his bed.”
They walked down and the orderly opened a curtain. There lying on the bed was the man they had been looking for lying silently in a coma.
“I’m sorry, I have to ask, why is it so quiet in here?” Emily stayed outside of the curtain and turned to the orderly.
“Everyone we have in here is in a strange coma. We can’t figure out what happened. None have a sign of traumatic injury. We had a specialist flown up from UCLA, but he hasn’t come to work in the last few days.”
“Thanks, I’m going to go support my friend.” Emily turned back to Violet who was standing by the bed.
“There is some connection here Violet. Be careful in their minds.”
Violet set down the Sam’s chart, “It looks like he wasn’t in a coma before his abduction. He was in last for abrasion. Looked like a bar fight. Guess I’m going to have to go in.”
Emily reached over and squeezed Violet’s hand as she watched her eyes close. Emily went into guard mode while Violet was incapacitated by someone else’s mind. Reaching out tendrils of her magic creating early warning points about people coming in. Mixing her newer control of Prime with her vast control of Space she was able to trigger a warning when any people of extraordinary abilities walking into the ward.
Violet’s eyes and mouth snapped open and she started falling backward. It looked like she was trying to scream but couldn’t get the words out.
Emily reached out and grabbed her, “It’s OK Violet, get out of there. Come back to me.” She watched as Violet struggled against some unseen foe, her face writhing and twisting between fear, pain and anger. Emily pulled her tighter and pushed some strength to Violet’s mind from her own.
She hit a wall. Violet was quarantining her own mind.
Then as suddenly as it started Violet’s face relaxed and she flopped to the floor with a cough. “Something is going on with these coma patients Em. I was just getting started with looking through his experience, when it felt like something jumped into my head. The only clue I could get before that happened was someone wearing scrubs, but the memory of him in Sam’s head was just a shadow, as if the memory had been partially erased.”
“So maybe someone at the hospital has a business on the side?”
“Or someone has been convincing enough to get in. I need to get outside Emily, lets go.”
Outside in the cool night air Violet sat down on the curb for a second. “Do you have any Advil?”
“Are you OK?” Emily asked as she turned back to VIolet.
“Yeah, it’s just a headache. I got some at my place, let’s go.”
As they walked back to the tram, a man they barely noticed walked past wearing scrubs headed into the hospital.