When Dr Olman finally left
the room, closing the door with just a little more force than was
necessary, Qar sat down heavily on her chair.
Her hands were shaking and she felt exhausted after the onslaught of Anakin’s mind on her own.
The painkiller had taken the edge off her headache and that had to be enough for now.
“Gods, what a day,” she said just to break the silence.
The Senator was still standing next to Anakin’s head. He was frowning down at his friend probably more shaken by the events he had just witnessed than he let on.
Qar wondered what his intentions were in all of this and realised that she had never before questioned his motives. The Senator was Anakin’s friend and so far she had assumed that all Palpatine wanted was to make sure his friend was going to be alright. But he had been angry with Anakin, an uncontrolled emotion that Anakin had picked up and she - somehow - had picked up from Anakin.
Anakin was sleeping now, a deep, peaceful, drug-induced sleep. It had been dangerous to give him that strong a narcotic but she had felt as if her head was about to burst. He had to be stopped and quickly, too.
Qar felt there was a certain irony in this. She had known there would be difficulties handling a patient with Anakin’s powers but she had expected it would be somebody else’s head that exploded not her own.
Perhaps she should corner that idiot jedi doctor and force him to tell her how to deal with people like Anakin when they were not in control of their facilities. They had to have some experience with this kind of problem.
Senator Palpatine took a step away from the bed, folded his arms across the chest and looked at her.
“Is this the way he’s going to be?” he wanted to know, his voice bitter.
Qar looked back at the Senator, for a moment uncertain whether she understood what he meant. He had been here before, he knew what had happened to Anakin.
“What do you mean?” she asked, though she wanted to ask ‘What did you expect?’
Palpatine’s mouth turned into a thin, harsh line.
“Is he going to be like that?” he asked again. “Incoherent, not in control of his mind, crippled, bed-bound and helpless, incontinent no doubt and crying like a baby.”
Qar stared at the Senator and thought that if he wasn’t on the other side of Anakin’s bed she would hit him. Anger welled up in her too strong to suppress, and anger was nothing that she needed in this room. She rose from her chair and with a hand shaking not from Anakin’s assault but with repressed fury pointed at the door.
“Out,” she ordered. How dare he say this to Anakin’s face, even if he was under heavy sedation? How dare Palpatine even think this and pollute the air with his emotions?
The Senator looked at her, surprise written on his face.
“Out of this room. Now.” she told him.
Palpatine did not move. He was not used to being ordered around.
He had to leave this room when he broadcast contempt and disappointment, Anakin no doubt picked up, if only on a subconscious level.
Qar walked around the hospital bed, grabbed Palpatine’s arm and pulled him toward the door. “Out.” she repeated, as she opened the door and pushed him out.
“But…?” Palpatine started, cut short when she closed the door in his face.
What in the twenty hells did he want?
She turned back to look at Anakin, making sure he had not stirred in his sleep, and promised him fiercely and with all the energy she could put in it that he was going to be alright. Whatever his so-called friends said or thought, she was going to make sure he was going to be fine.
What in the twenty hells did the Senator expect Anakin would be like?
Palpatine had been happy about Anakin’s recovery, and now he was disappointed because his friend wasn’t really at his best? What an idiot.
Qar forced herself to turn away from Anakin and leave the room. Anakin did not need anybody’s bad feelings around him, whether they were the Senators or her own.
And Anakin needed Palpatine. He needed a friend now, and somebody who had enough influence to conjure up that artificial liver, and who was willing to use this influence.
Palpatine was standing just outside Anakin’s room, obviously too surprised by his sudden removal to have decided what to do next.
“We need to talk,” Qar told him.
Anger rose up in Qar again, just looking at Palpatine’s perplexed face. He obviously had no idea what he had done. Now she could use her anger to give him a piece of her mind, advice he might not like but would probably heed anyway - she hoped.
She grabbed Palpatine’s sleeve and dragged him to the ward’s bathroom, and after checking it was empty pulled him in behind her. She slammed the door close and swirled around to face the confused Senator.
“What did you think you were doing in there?” she asked.
“What I was doing?” Palpatine stared at her in surprise.
Qar took a step closer to him and pushed him hard. Fortunately, she thought, he was not much taller than she was and too confused to react.
Palpatine stumbled a step backward, bumping against the wall of the narrow bathroom.
“What you were doing, yes,” Qar repeated and stepped closer again. “You are his friend, Mr Senator, you of all people should know that you cannot let your feelings get the better of you. He knows, gods be damned. He can feel what you feel - and I really should not have to tell you!”
Palpatine drew his head back, as far away from her as he could. “But I…”
“You,” Qar said and grabbed Palpatine’s shoulders. She wanted to smack his head against the tiled wall but he would not tolerate such behaviour, somehow she knew how far she could push him, if she wanted him to listen. “What the fuck did you expect?” she wanted to know. “That Anakin would be out of bed and doing sit ups?”
“No,” Palpatine protested.
“So what was this about then?” Qar asked, “your litany of complaints. So he was crying, but have you even the slightest comprehension of what he’s going through, he? Have you any idea in how much pain he is every single second he’s not under sedation? He knows what has happened, he remembers the crash, and he knows that his wife is gone for good and even if you don’t like her, he loves her and it’s tearing his heart out that she is gone. He was crying, so what? Can you not imagine what it is like for him, not able to move at all? Not knowing how bad his situation is or whether this is going to be permanent? He is in pain and helpless, yes, but he’s going to get better. And I cannot have you in there oozing your negative emotions when he cannot keep them out. It’s bad enough I have to deal with all the nurses and doctors who cannot keep a lid on their emotions but I cannot and will not stand to have you do the same.” She stopped, and looked up into his odd yellow eyes. He was listening. Qar let go of Palpatine’s shoulders and took a step back. “He is crippled, yes,” she continued, “as you have known full well from the moment I first talked to you, he is incoherent because of all the medication he needs at the moment, he’s obviously not in control of his powers right now but I am sure it will get better when we can lessen the dosage of the sedatives. – And he is not incontinent.” Palpatine had the decency to look contrite. He rubbed the back of his head and straightened his suit. “Senator Palpatine,” Qar went on, “Anakin needs you now. He badly needs a friend to be there for him, to help him get through this. Somebody he knows and can trust without hesitation. He knows you - he doesn’t know me.” She had to smile at that, recalling Anakin’s wild dig through her memories, like a burglar going through somebody’s closet. “He may now know more odd details about my past than he does about yours, but he doesn’t know me as a person. I’m not his friend, I’m his doctor, and he needs a friend.” She stared at Palpatine, for a moment wondering whether she should really deliver Anakin and herself completely into his care. But who was she kidding, she realised, she depended on the Senator and so did Anakin. “And I need you to tell Professor Cagliari to let me do this my way and in my time. If you want to have Anakin well again - and I cannot promise how well that is going to be - you have to help me.”
The Senator looked at her for a long while, then he nodded. “Ok,” he said simply.
“Thanks.” Qar breathed a sigh of relief and sat down on the edge of the bathtub, her energy had drained out of her along with her anger. The headache was back with a vengeance.
“So,” Palpatine pushed himself away from the wall and folded his arms again. “how can I help you? Apart from leaning on Cagliari to give you free reign, and that artificial liver, and that I am only to think happy thoughts around Anakin, is there anything else I can do?”
“Yes,” Qar nodded. “I need somebody who has experience with people with these jedi powers who are not in control anymore. Hell, Anakin isn’t the first to burst a couple of windows or something, I’m sure.”
“A jedi doctor, you mean?” Palpatine asked, sounding disgusted.
“For now, yes,” she answered.
“They are going to tell you that only they can treat a person of Anakin’s abilities,” the Senator told her. “They like to keep the secrets of their trade to themselves.”
“Well,” Qar told him, “I don’t care what they like or not. They are going to tell us.”
Palpatine raised his eyebrows, a quizzical look on his face. “What do you intend to do?” he wanted to know, “Torture them?”
“If necessary,” Qar replied, “for now I am going to scare the living daylights out of them.”
And she was sure she knew just the person who would be easy pickings.
“Sounds great,” Palpatine said, with a grin, “can I watch?”
“You’re essential to my plan.” Qar considered getting up from her perch but what did the bathroom have a bell for after all? She turned around and pushed the button.
“It would be very useful if I could get ahold of some studies of jedi in unconscious or semi-conscious states,” she told Palpatine. “I am not keen on having Anakin invade my brain like that again. It’s bloody annoying.”
The door opened and nurse Fuessli entered and stopped short, when she saw the Senator and Qar.
“Nurse,” Qar said before Fuessli could complain about her misuse of the bell, “I need you to fetch Dr Saint-Martin for me right away. I don’t care whether he’s on duty, off duty, in bed or going out. He has a beeper, so get him. As fast as possible.” Fuessli nodded and was about to turn away when Qar added, “And could you please tell Dr Olman to meet us in the office when Saint-Martin arrives? Thanks.”
Fuessli nodded again and left, closing the door carefully behind her. The tale of the strange doctor holding a meeting with the senator in a bathroom would probably make its way round with the speed of light.
“Saint-Martin?” Palpatine asked. “Isn’t he the one…?”
“Yes, he is,” Qar confirmed. “And I think he’s going to be scared witless when he’s summoned here. And when he sees you, he’ll probably shit himself. The jedi are not beyond reproach any longer and he knows it. - And if Saint-Martin doesn’t want to talk, we tie him up and put him in a chair next to Anakin’s bed and tell him that Anakin is going to ransack his mind next time he comes round.”
“And Dr Olman is going to play along?” Palpatine wanted to know.
“Oh, yes,” Qar replied, perhaps a little more confident than she felt, “he likes me. And he can’t stand those poncy jedi bastards.”
“Sounds like a good plan,” Palpatine grinned at her. “May I?” he asked then, pointing at the bathtub. When Qar nodded, he sat down next to her. “So, let me recapitulate, Dr Saint-Martin we need because he’s a jedi and you think he’s easily scared, right?”
“And he’s here,” Qar explained. “After our last encounter you ran a check and at least we did not find any other doctor here who was a trained jedi.”
“Dr Olman?” Palpatine wanted to know.
“He’s a specialist in narcotics and sedatives, knows a lot more than me. He can tell us if Saint-Martin is talking bull-shit or not.”
For a while they sat in silence next to each other.
Qar rubbed her forehead in a vague attempt to ease her headache a little, but this was something only a decent painkiller could do.
“How’s the head?” Palpatine asked.
“Alright,” Qar replied. “Nothing a couple of painkillers or a half-bottle of kahy can’t cure.”
Palpatine laughed, but turning serious again, he queried, “so, all the stuff you know about Anakin, what you said earlier, you know all that from when he just hopped into your mind?”
“What do you mean?” Qar wanted to know.
“I mean, things like that he knows what happened or that he misses his wife,” the senator explained. “I mean I thought he’d be angry with that bitch.”
Qar held up a hand. “You can call her that here, but if you do that in Anakin’s room, I’ll have to kick you out, understood?”
Palpatine nodded. “So?” he asked, reminding her of the question she hadn’t answered.
“Well, a lot of that was indeed from just now. But he’s been broadcasting his emotions quite strongly before as well. I guess he cannot stop that either. So when you got angry, Anakin picked it up at once and I picked it up from him.”
Palpatine turned half around to look at her. “That’s interesting,” he said, “because I didn’t feel a thing. So, if he’s broadcasting why do you pick it up and I don’t?”
Qar shrugged. “I don’t know, I’m not a jedi.”
“Neither am I,” Palpatine admitted. “But it is odd, isn’t it?” He sat silent for a long moment. “I guess we should get ourselves to the office, to provide you with some painkillers, and be there when this jedi doctor shows up. Perhaps I have time to talk to Patty or at least make a note about what we need to do. Perhaps Patty has news on the liver, that would be good.” Palpatine stood up and turned to face Qar again. “I’ll promise I will do my utmost not to think negative things or insult his wife when I am in Anakin’s room.” He paused again, and a frown appeared on his face. “What do you mean, he’s not incontinent?”
“Why do you think he should be?” Qar asked in return.
“Well,” Palpatine said, “he’s not in control of his - his organs.” He waved at his own stomach.
“No, he isn’t,” Qar consented, “but neither his stomach nor his kidneys are working. He gets fed through his infusions and he’s on dialyses. He’s not producing any waste so there’s no need for him to shit or piss.”
“Oh,” Palpatine made, and grimaced. “You are rather crude on occasion.”
“Hell, Senator,” Qar replied, “I’m a doctor. And I am not into constructing sentences like ‘bring forth feces’ or something like that. I’m not afraid call things by their names.”
“I see,” Palpatine said. For a moment he looked at her, then down his own body and back at Qar. “If I remember correctly, you said once that all his organs are pretty badly damaged, right?”
“Except his spleen,” Qar replied. She had a pretty good idea where this was leading up to, but she’d not spare the Senator. She just thought of it as a small revenge for being such an asshole earlier. “And one can happily life without a spleen, as Saint Martin pointed out to me on a memorable occasion.”
“Ah,” Palpatine sighed. He bit his lip and Qar thought it was almost comical to see him torn between the urge to know and the embarrassment of having to ask.
“And?” Qar prodded.
“Well,” the Senator said, “does that mean his …,” he waved vaguely in the direction of his lower stomach. “I mean, is his - are his - ah, private parts badly damaged as well?”
Qar knew she was grinning like the proverbial cat that ate the baby and she knew it was not nice, but she just couldn’t help it.
Men, she thought. The only thing they ever think about is sex. Though, she realised, if a friend of hers - male or female - were as badly injured as Anakin was, she would want to know whether they still could have children.
“Senator Palpatine,” she replied, trying to straighten her face, “I cannot say that Anakin’s reproductive organs have come through the accident completely unscathed, but they are not permanently damaged. If he wants to he can still father many children -” She realised that she had no idea whether Anakin had any children, and added, “or many more children. Does he have children?”
Palpatine shook his head. “No.” He stared at the ceiling for a moment, then he went on, “Unless, of course, he’s been having affairs all over the galaxy and left behind a couple of dozen little bastards on different worlds. - Though I guess at least one of their respective theoretical mothers would have gone public by now. And his wife would have ripped his head off if she found out.” A lop-sided grin appeared on his face. “Knowing Admiral Talassa, she’d probably cut his balls off.”
“At least that’s one trauma, Anakin does not have to go through right now,” Qar said. “I don’t mean his wife maiming him, but the trauma of not being fully functional any longer.”
“Yes,” Palpatine stated. He held out his hand and helped her to her feet. “So, let’s go and see what Dr Saint-Martin has to say for himself. And I promise I’ll only be thinking happy thoughts at Anakin.”
Qar grinned. “If you have difficulties finding something positive to think about you can always think about Anakin siring many little children.”
Palpatine stared at her open-mouthed for a moment. Then he grinned as well. “With all due respect, Dr Hadasht, I think that me thinking about my friend Anakin having sex is a thought more disturbing than he should be confronted with at the moment.”
“I guess you’re right there,” Qar said.
Palpatine gave her an odd look, as if he wanted to continue with the banter but then thought the better of it.
The Senator was alright after all, Qar thought.
The story continues
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