59. Ralph’s Recovery

Workers recovering bodies from the devastation wrought by the terrorists to the Eden infrastructure had earlier that morning placed Ralph’s seemingly lifeless body in a long row along with the other corpses awaiting further processing by the Dare County medical examiner and the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, which was sending a team to the site.

As two recovery workers brought in yet another mangled corpse, one of them said, “Hey! Was it just me or did that guy over there just move?”

“I saw that too! I think that one may still be alive. We’d better get somebody over here quick!”

First to respond to the call was Special Agent Abbe Sennett, head of the DHS Task Force which had been following “Digger” Powell and his terrorist organization for the past two years. He was followed in short order by Dr. Eve Sennett, former Dare County Medical Examiner, and not incidentally Able’s mother.

“Hi, Mom! We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”

At that, Evie only smiled and Able gestured at the two recovery workers momentarily relaxing just beyond the line of corpses they had carefully laid out, “These guys think one of the victims is still alive.”

“Which one?” was all she replied.

“Over there.” Able pointed.

“Oh my lord!” Evie said, “That’s Ralph.” And then as Able seemed not to comprehend her meaning, she added, “Ralph Deigh. He was the architect and principal designer of the Eden community. He would have been a primary target of whoever did this.” Although he knew exactly not only the who but also the what, when and how of what had happened, Abbie said nothing.

Quickly and almost automatically, Evie bent down over Ralph’s seemingly lifeless body. With that movement, mother and son were suddenly in full professional response mode; the medical examiner and field-tested federal agent with full EMS credentials. After a series of rapid and well practiced medical moves, she looked up at Able who was standing over her and said, “Yes. He’s still alive, but he’s in pretty bad shape. We’ve got to get him to a serious trauma hospital quick. It would be best if we could get him to Morgantown ASAP.”

“I can have a helicopter with a full EMS crew and a 300 mile range here in five minutes,” Able said, reaching for his cell phone.

“Okay. Do it.”

Abbe waited in silence until he heard the whoosh of the rotor blades on the rapidly approaching helicopter. Meanwhile, after stabilizing the still-unconscious Ralph as well as she could, Evie resumed her former role as county medical examiner. She was confident that her replacement in that role would have no qualms or concerns about her “interfering” in what was now his responsibility when he arrived within the hour. She moved quickly and silently among the corpses laid out so carefully by the recovery team looking for signs of life among others, but finding none.

After the EMTs on the helicopter quickly and carefully loaded Ralph’s body onto the chopper and it took off in the direction of the helipad atop Ruby Hospital in Morgantown, “I hope he makes it,” Evie said mostly to herself and then asked, “Honey, will you have a chance to stop by and see your dad and Cane before you leave?”

“I don’t know, Mom. I’ll see later. Right now, I’ve got teams of investigators working at two other IED sites as well as . I need to go check on them.”

“Are they collecting bodies there also? I could go with you and check to make see if any of them show signs of life.”

“No. It appears both of the other sites involved mostly property damage. No signs last report I got of any human victims. My guys have orders to call for immediate back-up for any injured victims and to bring any remains over here.” They both had enough experience with bombs to know what he meant; that they might be dealing either with whole corpses, or with bits and pieces of any former human bodies that had the misfortune of being to close to the explosion at the time it detonated.”

“Okay. Well, I’m going to head back to home then. Try to stop by the house before you leave, if you have a chance.”

They hugged briefly and he said, “Love you, Mom” and headed off walking rapidly in what she assumed was the direction of the other bombing sites. Before he was out of sight, he was already talking to someone on his cell phone, although she couldn’t hear anything that he was saying.



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