It was almost shift end, and Tim Stokes was getting tired. After a long day of inspections and maintenance on the generator, he couldn’t wait to get home. Maybe later he’d go to the bar with the guys, but he would definitely have a nap first. Only two more inspection points left, then Tim could get back to his desk. He ducked between two pipes to get to the next point, and came face-to-face with the realization that one of them was moving.
The first shock that Tim got was how little pain there was. He could look down and see that the two pipes were touching, with his leg in between, but the feeling was distant, as if it was someone else experiencing it. He heard a scream without realizing that it came from his own throat. Darkness started to encroach on the edges of his vision.
Without noticing the transition, Tim found himself lying down on the catwalk. All around him, machinery continued to hum, hiss, and buzz as though nothing had happened. A face appeared in his vision, and it took him a moment to recognize James Spice, the shift medic.
“Tim, do you know what happened?” asked James. Tim opened his mouth to speak, but the words came out in a jumbled mess, unrecognizable even to him; James wouldn’t have a chance of understanding him.
James looked up at an unseen helper. “We’ll have to get him onto the stretcher. We have a clear path to the elevator that way,” he gestured. “Get ready to lift on three. Ready? One…two…three.”
This time, Tim felt the pain, all along his leg and up into his body. Fortunately for him, he didn’t feel it for long before he found himself in a bed. Obviously he had been transported while he was unconscious, even though he didn’t remember passing out.
“I see you’ve returned to consciousness,” he heard a female voice. He tried to turn to see the source of the voice, but he couldn’t move far enough. A feeling of pressure on his leg made him look down, but all he saw were the blankets covering him. He couldn’t tell what was under the blanket; he was afraid to find out.
“Wait a second, I’ll move to where you can see me.” She followed her promise, and he saw a short woman wearing a lab coat. “I’m Dr. Armstrong. You’re lucky that Mr. Spice was on site. I think that his quick response may have saved your leg.”
Tim looked up at her, then down at his leg. He still couldn’t feel it; maybe this was a good thing.
Dr. Armstrong followed his gaze. “Don’t worry, it’s still attached. You’ll be a while recovering, and the pain will be intense once the anaesthetics wear off, but you’ll be able to walk again.”