Terri picked up the package of bandages and hauled them over to the new carriage. She placed them next to the cot that the infirmary had squeezed into the carriage. Drenched in sweat from hauling the new equipment provided by the Crown, Terri was sore and aching but still managed to wear a smile – the infirmary would finally be able to help more people with this mobile carriage.

After cramming the bandage container into the last available spot, Terri stood up sighing with relief as she wiped the sweat from her brow. She hopped down from the carriage with a smile and began her walk back into the infirmary to let her boss, P.H., know that she had finished loading the cart. As she entered the infirmary, she noted the sun reaching its zenith – she had finished her chore on time. She might have had time for a trial run later but unfortunately Terri was still limited to the day shift due to her nightly changing. I wonder if P.H. had interviewed any hybrids for the night shift yet, she thought as she approached his office.

“P.H.?” She said as she knocked on the office door.

“Terri? Come on in!” A deep voice bellowed from behind the door.

She walked into the office, noting the sparse decorations in P.H.’s office. He was a fairly simple man, if not a bit in your face – it suited him well.

“I finished loading the carriage,” she said.

“Oh, wonderful!” The large, round man stood up and gave her a pat on the back while leading her out of his office. She watched him move in his too-tight tan trousers and oversized bright green shirt as he lumbered on his way to check on the carriage. “Were you planning on taking it out for a test run today?” he called over his shoulder.

“I was hoping to.”

“Sure thing,” he said as they reached the door that led outside, holding it for her. “I’ll have them begin the mobile carriage alert system within the hour.”

She clapped her hands together once in a sudden rush of excitement. Distressed by her show of eagerness, Terri felt herself blush. P.H. threw a brief smile back at her. He reached the back of the carriage and peered into it.

“Well, Terri, it looks like you’ve outdone yourself this time! I would hop in but you know…” He turned and patted his rotund belly twice. “Let me send a runner to start the alert system. Have you chosen your driver and partner yet?”

“I think only Betsy is available,” Terri attempted to smile – Betsy was underqualified and incompetent. “And, no. I haven’t found a driver.”
Betsy had only been hired because her parents had a big influence on the Trading Union. P.H. hadn’t really had a choice in hiring her. ” Yikes, sorry. I’ll have Betsy come out then. I’ll try to find you a good driver and some solid horses to make up for what she lacks.” He gave her a pat on the back as he waddled back toward the building, “Oh and Terri? Don’t go saving any of them hybrids now,” he said with a wink before disappearing back into the infirmary.
Ignoring his “joke”, Terri sat on the back edge of the carriage and frowned. She could have Betsy man the cot – she couldn’t possibly mess that up…

Terri was bumping along in the carriage with Betsy and their driver, Carlone. They were responding to the first horn they’d heard, signaling a request for medical assistance. Terri’s palms were sweating with excitement. She had waited for this day, where she wasn’t eternally waiting for patients to get to the infirmary. Day in and day out she had to sit there imagining all the injuries she could be treating if she were mobile.

The cot and supplies rattled around in the carriage as the horses curved around a corner – Carlone seemed to be a competent enough driver thus far. He drove quickly and methodically; they hadn’t crashed yet. The carriage made it around the turn in one piece and skidded to a stop in front of a man waving down the mobile infirmary.

Terri and Betsy jumped down from the rear of the carriage and hurried toward the man. He waved them into a hut, stammering that his son had suddenly come down with a fever. Terri sent Betsy back to the carriage to gather the necessary medical supplies while she went to work examining the boy. She applied a cold cloth she had asked the father to retrieve onto the boy’s head while she waited for Betsy’s return. Though she had been saving lives in the infirmary for many years, Terri’s hands were shaking under the pressure. The traveling infirmary program would be under close scrutiny to determine if it was worth keeping. As the senior member of the carriage team, she felt responsible for not only this boy’s life, but also the life of the program.

Betsy returned with the supplies to make a tonic to curb the boy’s fever. As Terri mixed the ingredients, she heard another horn blare in the distance – another call. Her heart leaped. We need more carriages, she thought as she stood up and provided the father with a week’s worth of medicine.

“Give us another horn if he doesn’t improve by tomorrow,” Terri said while jogging out the door. “I’ll see if I can stop by to check on his progress tonight.” She cringed on the inside for making such a commitment. Where would she find the time for that? She noted how her heart beat hadn’t raced like this for years. She ground her teeth together and climbed back into the carriage. Strangely enough, despite the stress, she found herself smiling.

Having turned the carriage around while Betsy and Terri were inside, Carlone sped off again, taking corners at breakneck speed. Assuming he didn’t wreck, he’d be a good driver. Carlone maneuvered the horses to a stop.

“I believe it came from here!” Carlone yelled from the front.

Terri peeked her head out but didn’t see anyone that needed assistance. Just a few children playing tag. Terri ran her hands through her hair and jumped out of the carriage. She paced a few steps before briskly walking down the street to find the source of the horn. Waiting for another horn would be a waste of time if the injury was serious. She approached the kids and asked if they had seen anyone injured recently. One of the children pointed further down the street – they were in the right area at least. She hurried off in the direction the kid had directed her, panting heavily. Her blouse was thoroughly soaked with sweat. She passed an alley and stopped in her tracks when she noticed a boy slumped on the ground. Terri looked back to the carriage for assistance but saw Betsy idly playing with one of the horse’s manes instead.

“Betsy!” Terri gestured strongly toward the boy. Betsy looked up surprised as if she had forgotten what job she was supposed to be performing. Eyes wide, Betsy hustled up the road to meet Terri.

Terri turned and reached the boy, looking over him carefully – he had a broken arm. Where were his parents? Who had sounded the horn?

“Can you walk?” She asked.

The boy nodded through tears. She led the boy back to the carriage where she had him sit on the back edge. Terri had Betsy hold a splint against the fracture while she began to wrap the boy’s arm. She handed the job over to Betsy once started and left to make him a pain relief tonic in the front of the carriage.  Terri eyed Betsy every now and then while mixing the drink to ensure the incompetent worker wasn’t making any mistakes splinting the boy’s arm. Once the solution was finished mixing, Terri had the boy drink it. His tears eventually slowed and stopped.

The bench in the carriage was calling Terri’s name after just two stops. She climbed into it and sat down, sweat dripping from her forehead, her pulse still racing. Through her periphery, she spied who she assumed was the boy’s father. Where was he before? She shook the question from her head, losing the thought between deep breaths. An involuntary smile crept on her face as she leaned her head back against the carriage wall, closing her eyes. Maybe the program would work after all. A few more teams-

A horn sounded in the distance. Terri snapped her head toward Betsy and gave a sharp call for her to get in the carriage. Terri wiped her sweaty palms onto her blouse and tried to finish catching her breath as Carlone took the reins and drove the horses in the direction of the horn.

Traveling Infirmary Carriage™ – Don’t be afraid to blow that horn!

(Background music)

Need a medic?

It’s time to get TIC-y!

Bones are broken and you know it, call a TIC!
Bones are broken and you know it, call a TIC!
If you’re hurt and you know it, and you’re really feeling so-so, if you’re hurt and you know it, call a TIC!

If you’re cramping and you know it, can’t excrete?
If you’re plugged up and you know it, can’t excrete?
If you’re plugged up and you know it, and you really want to blow it, if you’re cramping and we know it, eat this seed!

If you’re pregnant and you know it, baby’s head?
If you’re pregnant and you know it, baby’s head?
If you’re nine months and you know it, and you want to get it over, if you’re nine months and we know it, baby’s head!

If you’re choking and you know it, blocked airway?
If you’re choking and you know it, blocked airway?
If you’re choking and you know it, and you’d like to for-go it, if you’re choking and we know it, clear airway!

If you’re dying and you know it, blow the horn!

Call a TIC!
Hurting feet?
Do not dread!
You won’t pay!

If you’re dying and you know it, blow the horn!

Call a TIC!
It’s our treat!
Clear the street!
You won’t pay!

If you’re dying and you know it, and you really want to show it, if you’re dying and you know it, call a TIC!
If you’re dying and no one knows it, you will really wish you showed it, if you’re dying and no one knows it, out of luck!

That was great everyone!
Signal us!




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