Shay held up his hand terminal and tapped on the new notification. His bank details appeared on the glass display, the latest transaction being the 10K credited towards his savings, from 'A/C 29458'. He couldn't help but think of it as blood money - funds from the OPA, as promised, for his services. Not that he'd killed anyone, but it still didn't sit well with him. And here it was, an electronically traceable transaction waiting to be exposed by some Star Helix detective. It was his first day back at the hospital since his having tagged along the OPA's murderous adventure on the spin station. What he'd seen continued to disturb him - hours of lost sleep, constant rumination of potential repercussions from authorities if he was perceived to have been an active participant. One of them had approached him on New Providence, asking him to stay and help out at the station's infirmary. He had responded with 'no thanks', rejecting the lucrative extra pay on offer. He'd been way too involved, and wasn't quite ready to have his licence revoked by the medical board. He reckoned he could claim his work was on humanitarian grounds, but it all sounded too dodgy to him. So he left NPS by catching the next flight back to Ceres. He kept quiet, avoiding any discussion amongst other hospital staff members about what he'd really gotten up to during the several days he had off work. None of them needed to know, and he wished he could just forget about his brush with the most radical of Belters. Getting stuck in at work proved to be a good distraction. As usual, the tracking screen displaying the state of the department appeared disastrous. 66 registered patients, with 20 yet to be seen. 27 of them fully admitted, but waiting endless hours for a spot on the ward and thus unable to leave the emergency department. Patients on gurneys along the hallways, accompanied by paramedic crews stuck babysitting them, meaning less of them out on the streets to respond to other emergencies. In other words, a typical Friday evening. Three days of such pressure until the hospital was escalated to 'code yellow', indicating that it was now operating under internal conditions serious enough to affect service delivery. Only then did hospital administrators and executives made their mandated visit, nodding at bars, graphs and numbers on computer screens, murmuring amongst each other. "Fuck this place..." Shay watched as one of his colleagues walked up the staff station and slumped heavily in the chair next to him. Such despondent remarks were common amongst the ED staff. Morale was low and rates of burn out were at an all time high. There wasn't even enough time for Shay to respond, when the overhead comm system blasted an announcement: "Adult trauma call, ETA ten minutes. Adult trauma call. Ten minutes." He immediately darted across to triage/reception. "What is it?" "20 year-old female, attacked at Medina. Single punch to the back of her head. Blown pupil, abnormal posturing, trismus." "Ah, fuck," Shay grimaced. He could foresee this one patient taking up a substantial proportion of the department's available resources. Patients categorised with a lower triage scale would have to wait hours longer. He took a breath in, partly to help calm his nerves. "All right, let's get a resus bay ready. We've only got ten minutes."