Continued from Welcome Home
The sunlight disappeared again, and he assumed he was wheeled into a building. He felt several turns and a jolt that he thought must have been his gurney being shoved through a swinging door. He came to a halt, and another bright light painted his face sheet. Very artificial light.
The sheet was pulled away. More surgical masks this time. There was an overhead light on an articulated arm. Buzzed, muffled voices, one of the masked individuals gestured at the light to another. The latter grabbed a handle on the side of the light with a gloved hand, and aimed it directly into his face, forcing him to squeeze his eyes closed.
He felt latex-covered fingers prodding his head and neck. A shadow fell over his face, and he opened his eyes to see a masked face with plastic glasses leaning over his, looking into his face. He assumed the face belonged to a surgeon. The mask, glasses, head cover, gown, mostly blue paper said medical to him. The surgeon's head was blocking the flow of light. He could see the surgeon's jaw moving behind the mask, looking at him, talking to him, but all he could hear was the buzzing, muffled sounds. The surgeon gave up, and shook his head "no" to someone beside him.
The head withdrew and the bright light shut his eyes again. The probing fingers returned, concentrating on his neck. They pressed hard, causing him to flinch from the pressure. Down the side of his neck they poked, until they were partway down his shoulders, where the poking was replaced by a slight pressure or tugging. This was repeated multiple times on each side. Poking hard enough to get a reaction higher up on his neck, and then gentle pressure as they went further down his shoulders.
He felt fingers at his ears, pulling them in different directions from the outside. He didn't feel them extract whatever had been shoved into his ears that kept him from hearing, but they inserted something cold and hard into his right ear. His ear was still numb and the sound was muffled, when he felt a sudden stabbing pain in his ear. He instinctively tried to jerk, but the movement was truncated by the screws that still held his head in place. It didn't stop the stars of pain from lighting up his closed eyes.
While he was concentrating on stilling himself, the intensity of the light on his face abated. He opened his eyes and blinked away the tears. Looking up, he saw the light was aimed further down his body. He tried to follow with his eyes, but he was lying flat, and there were tubes at his nose and mouth partially blocking his view. He could see the surgeon's side near his face. The surgeon was bent over his body.
He watched the surgeon take several scalpels in a row, and bend low over him each time. Each time, he would place the bloody scalpel on a tray. He couldn't feel any pain. He realized that he must have been heavily drugged most of the time for days, which is why he couldn't move and was so foggy.
He didn't have any memory of his capture or injuries. He didn't know who had him, or if they were the ones who did this to him. He had eliminated the possibility that it was just medical personnel. Hospitals don't use military transports, and they don't keep you moving for days before they operate. Unless he dreamed all of that. Unless he'd already received some treatment. But he couldn't have dreamed all of it. He knew they had found him.
Next the surgeon grabbed some kind of big pliers or clamp. He saw that they opened when the handles were squeezed as the surgeon flexed them. He must have left them in place, because he stood up empty handed. He was handed what looked almost like a soldering gun, but when the surgeon pulled the trigger, he could see a small blade vibrate at the end, almost like a tiny skillsaw.
His eyes went wide when he realized that it was a sternum saw, and that his chest was being cut open. His eyes went wide, and he tried to thrash. The panic made him able to ignore the pain as he writhed and his eyes rolled in his skull. The surgeon stopped momentarily and motioned in his direction with a tilt of his head. From behind, he felt a needle insert into his neck. A slight burning spread up the blood vessel in his neck. The needle was withdrawn, and they unceremoniously dropped the sheet back over his head box.
As he sank down below consciousness, he thought "why are they keeping me alive?"