The Port Dechantagne Hospital was one of the newest additions to the downtown business district. It was a three-story building of red brick, with white stonework along the corners and the windows, very much in the same style as Police Headquarters. Inside there was very little similarity. The hospital had a large entryway that led to three wings stretching out to either side and to the back. At an oak desk just inside the door was an aged nun who smiled pleasantly as Saba Colbshallow stopped to inquire the location of Maro McCoort.
A young girl in a candy-striped dress was summoned to lead him to room 128 in the east wing. The room was typical of the hospital, large and with four beds, two on either side. All four were filled with patients, all but one of whom were unconscious. McCoort was in the bed on the far left. A nurse standing beside him was writing notes on a clipboard.
“How is he?” Saba asked her.
“Oh, Chief Colbshallow.” She stopped writing and fiddled with her hair for a moment before answering. “Mother Auni and the doctors have done all they can for him, but he still hasn’t come to.”
“Do they expect him to?”
The nurse shrugged. “He was frozen… I mean, rock hard. I don’t think anyone has seen that happen to a person… who survived, I mean.”
“I want to be contacted immediately, if he wakes. I intend to see that the person responsible pays.”
“I for one am a little surprised that you’re so vehement,” said a voice behind him.
He turned around to find a young man in a Colonial Guard captain’s dress uniform. With him was a girl, a few years younger, in an expensive green day dress.
“And why exactly would that be, Tiber?”
“Maro was never very generous in his editorials about the police department.” Tiber Stevenson smiled crookedly. “Oh, you remember my sister Mona, don’t you, Chief?”
Saba nodded to the girl and then turned back to her brother.
“All the more reason to be vigilant in the execution of my duties. People need to know that the police department is here to maintain law and order for everyone, no matter what may or may not have been said in the past.”
“Very judicious of you.”
“You’re looking very sharp,” observed Saba. “Not dressed up just for a hospital visit, are you?”
“No. We’re on our way to the wedding.”
“Oh, Sam Croffut’s. I had forgotten that it was today. I had to send my regrets, what with all that’s going on.”
“I’m standing up for Sam,” said Tiber, “as well as acting as Mona’s escort. Her fiancé is in Mallontah on business. She’s engaged to Fitzroy Norich, you know.”
“I hope you’ll be very happy,” Saba told her. “Do you suppose your older brother will ever find a young woman?”
“You’ll find out soon enough,” said Tiber.
“He means you’ll find out when he’s disinherited,” said Mona.
“Really! Prepared to give up everything for true love? I would never have thought you had it in you, Stephenson. You’ve grown three-fold in my esteem.”
“That and a pfennig will buy me a cup of coffee,” said Tiber. “Now if you’ll excuse us, Chief, I would like to spend a few minutes with my sick friend.”
Saba nodded and left the two young people beside Maro McCoort’s bed.