Carpathia III: Epilogue 3 - Tuomas

Research Base, New Berengaria

Once in the examination room, Jaze insisted that Toma go first, for a small part of him didn't want to know what his own outcome would be. Toma easily agreed and Dr. Nielson asked him to remove his shirt and pants. Toma did so and sat on the examination table. His exam did not last long before Dr. Nielson started asking questions.

Dr. Nielson: I can't find any obvious problems, but our equipment isn't set up for tokki physiology. Do you have any concerns you'd like me to address?

Toma held up his hands, which he was having trouble keeping steady. Though not a massive shake, it was a noticeable tremor.

Toma: I have trouble keeping myself steady.

Toma did not mention that it was his constant, low-level use of wind power that kept him able to function fairly normally.

Dr. Nielson: Yes, I noticed that. Whatever the issue is, it's not readable by our equipment. I can request a tokki doctor if you'd like.

Toma nodded.

Toma: That will be fine.

Dr. Nielson: I also noticed that you have had several broken bones, but they have set nicely. Whoever helped you with that did a good job. If they're not bothering you, then I suggest leaving them as is.

Toma nodded again as Dr. Nielson turned his attention to Jaze.

Dr. Nielson: Alright, Jaze, up on the table.

Dr. Nielson patted the exam table as Jaze hesitated. After a deep breath, he hopped onto the table. The doctor started by reading the data on the console in front of him.

Dr. Nielson: Body temperature is a bit above normal, but your vitals look good otherwise.

Dr. Nielson picked up a small handheld device which emitted a blinky light when he switched it on. He then began hovering the device over Jaze's body, starting with his chest.

Dr. Nielson: No sign any infectious agents so far, but I detect some minor heavy metal poisoning. Much less severe than Oliver.

Pausing his scan, Dr. Nielson tapped a few buttons on his console.

Jaze: Can you do something about that?

Dr. Nielson: Not to worry. I'm ordering more medicine for that now. It's not something we usually have on hand.

Resuming his scan, Dr. Nielson eventually paused at the back of Jaze's head.

Dr. Nielson: Hmmm... Looks like you've taken more than one blow to the head.

After placing the scanner back on the table, Dr. Nielson picked up another device.

Dr. Nielson: You have a couple of places here with spurs on the bone where it didn't heal properly. I'm going to atomize the pointy bits now. You may feel a tingle, but it won't hurt.

Dr. Nielson went to work on Jaze's head while humming a jaunty tune.

Dr. Nielson: So, who do you think I should see next?

Jaze and Toma exchanged glances.

Jaze: Quilyon is pregnant, so I think she'd be a good candidate. After that would be Kagurain, because he was in the same place as me for awhile.

Dr. Nielson placed the device he was using on the table and picked up a stethoscope. First, however, he started poking at the scars on Jaze's chest.

Dr. Nielson: When you go out, tell them they're next. I'm just going to have a listen at your chest now. It seems you've been through an ordeal by the looks of things. These scars have healed well, at least.

Jaze sighed.

Jaze: An "ordeal" feels like an understatement.

Dr. Nielson placed the end of his stethoscope on Jaze's chest.

Dr. Nielson: We have a staff psychologist if you'd like to meet her. She's pretty good. Deep breath, please.

Jaze did as he was told and inhaled deeply, watching his chest rise and fall while Dr. Nielson listened. The doctor moved his stethoscope to another location.

Dr. Nielson: Again.

Jaze inhaled again, but this time his breath came unevenly, causing his chest to sputter instead of rising smoothly as it had before. Until now, Jaze was able to keep a tenuous composure on himself, but now it was breaking down, and breaking down quickly. In short order, tears were running down his cheeks and his breath came in shallow, rapid heaves. Toma sat on the exam table and put his arm around Jaze as Dr. Nielson removed his stethoscope from Jaze's chest.

Jaze: I don't know what's wrong with me. I should be happy.

Jaze paused as he tried to regain his composure, though this seemed to only make him feel worse. Toma lovingly put his hand on Jaze's shoulder.

Jaze: Why do I feel like I want to punch something?

Dr. Nielson removed his stethoscope from his ears and scooted away while Jaze continued to sob.

Dr. Nielson: I've got enough information to go on right now. Why not go get a shower? Just leave the room and turn right. Someone will guide you the rest of the way.

Jaze nodded as Toma helped him down from the exam table where they both put their clothes on. Arm in arm, they plodded together out of the room. Together, they trudged down the hallway where a friendly cadet directed them to the shower area. Once there, they removed their clothes once again and tossed them unceremoniously aside.

In the shower, neither spoke and Jaze appreciated the silence as much as simply having Toma by his side. For a long while, he only stood under the warm, refreshing water and watched as the orange Yseri soil dripped from his body and swirled around the drain.

In time, Jaze finally picked up the soap and shampoo and cleaned himself properly and took his time doing so. A tempest of confusing emotions still swirled inside him, though the cleansing was neveretheless therapeutic. Upon exiting the shower, Jaze and Toma both found their own clothes, which Jaze's mother brought, stacked neatly on one of the benches in the locker room. Though clean, they smelled of years of closet which was still far better than what they had been wearing. Abandoning the Yseri clothing, they dressed themselves and headed back to where the others were waiting. Adell smiled when he saw them approach, wearing the clothes familiar from so long ago.

Adell: Oh, good. You found them. Your mom asked me to take them to the locker room for you.

Jaze: Thanks. Who's seeing the doctor now?

Adell: Kagurain had his exam and he's meeting with the base's counselor right now. Kaoru, Quilyon, and Reuli are meeting with the doctor.

Jaze nodded in appreciation and looked for his parents. Upon spotting them, he immediately noted another familiar figure between them, his sister, who beamed merrily back at him.

Natalya: Hi, Jaze!

Jaze: Natalya!

Natalya stepped aside, revealing one more person behind her. It appeared to be a boy of around twelve years old, but seemed rather peculiar in several ways. He was very shy, looking upon him with trepidation, still hiding partially behind Natalya and clinging to her. He had no fingernails, but instead long claws and ears that were twice as long as a typical nekohuman ears. Completing the puzzling picture was his long, luxuriously fluffy tail that put even Wolfram's to shame. It was when Jaze noted the boy's collar and massive number of earrings, he remembered the many tokki he saw when visiting Tokkastra.

Jaze: Is that... it can't be...

Elektra stepped in and gently prodded the boy from behind Natalya.

Elektra: Jaze, this is your son, Tuomas. I think you heard about the Queen just before you left?

Jaze stammered, struggling to overcome yet another surge of emotions.

Jaze: I... But... How can... He's... How long were we gone, anyway?

Elektra: Almost three years.

Jaze shook his head rapidly as though trying to dislodge a spider from his ear.

Toma: He's a little short for a tokki of that age, but that's not surprising.

Jaze whirled around to Toma in disbelief. Toma merely shrugged.

Toma: Tokki grow up a lot faster than you do.

Jaze looked back and forth between Toma and Tuomas. Finally, in a moment of clarity, Jaze shook his head again and slapped his wrist on his temple a few times as though knocking the conflicting thoughts from his brain. Now, focusing exclusively on Tuomas he stepped forward slowly so as not to frighten the boy. Tuomas shied a little, but did not back away, and Jaze kneeled in front of him so that they could see eye to eye.

Tuomas: They say... you're my dad?

Jaze slowly reached forward and put his hand on Tuomas's side.

Jaze: That's right. I'm so sorry I was gone for so long.

Tuomas gave no resistance as Jaze pulled him in and hugged him tightly. Once again feeling overcome, Jaze sniffled deeply as more tears ran down his cheeks.

There he would have stayed for as long as he was able until Binh interrupted him.

Binh: Jaze! Jaze! Jaze!

Annoyed, Jaze turned to find a panicky Binh running up behind him.

Binh: There's a video in that camera of yours. You were having an arguement with a nekohuman boy and you called him Rhoskel at the end, right?

There were many videos in his camera and several were of Rhoskel and Jaze couldn't imagine which one he might be referring to. Suddenly, with great horror, he realized there was only one time that Jaze ever called Rhoskel by his real name to his face. It was the last time Jaze saw him alive. Shaking in terror, Jaze mouth fluttered, but no sound came out until he finally manage to squeak out a single sentence.

Jaze: It was filming then?

Binh nodded.

Binh: It was. Commander Tartakovsky already informed Lord Lynx. He'll be here any...

As though by some sort of cruel joke, the door to the room slammed open, causing everyone to turn with a start. In the doorway stood the terrifyingly imposing eight-foot frame of Lord Lynx, looking far less like the dignified leader of New Carpathia and moreso like a ravenous animal that had just wandered out of the forest.

Lord Lynx: Where is my son?!

Commissioned art in this episode from:
Atomic Clover
Kurama chan

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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