"There's only fifty townspeople left out of a population of a hundred." DG added the numbers under the list she had already wrote down of the symptoms. "Plus the dozen guards that traveled with you, plus the six soldiers Jeb sent in before Father told him to quarantine. And they're all sick with the same thing?" Azkadellia answered affirmatively but distractedly. DG set the pen down to grip the receiver better. "Be honest with me, Az. Is it sixty-nine or seventy-one?"
"I'm not sick, Little Sister." Exhaustion leaked over the telephone wire. "Father isn't showing any symptoms, but he doesn't want to leave Mother if he doesn't have to, so I'm trying to make everyone else comfortable. If they'll let me."
"We're finding you help. But you have to take care of yourself in the mean time. Please get some sleep."
"You can't let anyone else come in here! They'll get sick!"
"Where's my baby girl!"
DG aimed her free ear at the commotion outside the tent. Az was still upset over more sick soldiers, so she had to cut her off. "Az, it's okay. Who we send in won't get sick. I have to go." She ducked out of the tent and saw Hank in heated discussion with the soldier blocking his path. "Popsicle!"
The tiktok who looked like an aged farmer scooped her up in a hug. "DG!" He let her go to search her face. "You don't have that Captain Tripps, do you?"
"Land sakes, not that again." Emily held out her arms for her hug, which DG gladly returned. "Ever since he saw that King Stephen miniseries, he has always been afraid you would catch that."
"What about that bird flu thing?" Hank demanded. "Whole city wearing masks to breathe through."
A glimmer of an idea was taking shape in DG's mind, but she had to be sure. "A Stephen King miniseries?"
"The one with everyone dying, not the one with the clown," Hank said.
"That's the one. They aren't that sick, are they?"
"It's pretty bad. Let's hope it's not a harbinger of Armageddon. Az knows better than me who needs what, but make sure she takes care of herself and my parents. I need to go find some doctors."
Emily tucked a lock of hair behind DG's ear. "Don't worry about the patients. You go do what you need to do."
She hugged them again before charging off to find Cain, Glitch, and Raw. They were all in the same tent going over some maps with Jeb. "Your nurture units are here," Cain said with a brief glance her way.
"Saw them after I got the details from Az. Half the town has died since the sickness started and when they got here everyone with them got sick in a day or two."
"How is Galinda?" Glitch asked with a worried frown.
DG tightened her grip on her notebook. "I didn't get to talk to her. Az says all she can do is lay down and cough. And that the rest of the sick said coughing is how it starts before the victim starts coughing up blood and dies." She looked at the maps. She knew what she was going to do, but she had to cover everything. "What else is going on?"
"The Council wants you to return to Central City." Glitch wrung his hands before hiding them under the table. DG shook her head and he threw up his hands. "Then they're going to come here to keep the government functioning."
"So I only have a couple of days to find doctors before they're making a nuisance of themselves? That's doable."
Jeb looked up from the map. "And how are you going to do that?"
She pulled her shoulders back. "Get ‘em from the Other Side."
Both of Cain's hands slammed onto the table. "Are you crazy!"
"DG desperate, not crazy."
"Thanks for the over share, Raw." The Viewer didn't seem perturbed by her grumble, so she focused on the nay saying Tin Man. "Earth has no political stake in the O.Z., doesn't even knows it exists. And there are doctors who only study diseases. I just have to find one with some vacation time and bring him or her here for a working one."
His jaw had hardened and his skin ticked over the bone. "Just when a body thinks you can't get any more reckless...."
"All my family is in there; I have to do something!"
He instantly softened and she wished he had kept her mouth shut. Why couldn't he take her seriously without it getting emotional? Next she'll be reminding him of how he couldn't do anything to save his family.
Glitch was more than willing to jump in now that Cain had backed off. "DG, you're in charge, you can't just leave."
"My nurture units just went in to care for the dying. I'm the only one left who can go."
"When do we leave?" Cain asked.
DG's eyes opened wide at the ‘we.' That was not part of the plan. But Wyatt Cain would not let her go alone and his trusted list was few. "Actually, I was thinking Jeb should go with me. You can stay here and keep the Council in line."
"What?" demanded both Cains in unison.
"The Council is totally intimidated by you, Tin Man. You can growl at them that I'm not to be disturbed and be a distraction while Jeb and I find a doctor."
Cain's blue eyes narrowed. "You want me to be a distraction while you take my son to the Other Side."
She grinned. "Yes, exactly." Then she turned to Raw. "And you said he only hears what he wants to hear."
"Raw never said that!"
"We'll be fine on the Other Side, Cain. And back before the Council ruins your blood pressure. We'll leave in a few hours, okay Jeb?" DG sped out of the tent before they could raise any more objections.