Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
The MSC medical service station was located in a herdsman’s village on a tributary of the Rival River.
There were domed thatched huts and potholes on the auburn mud road everywhere. Sometimes, under the baobab trees on the side of the road, they could see children drinking milk under women’s wary eyes. However, Xing Conglian found that when he looked around, there weren’t any strong men anywhere.
Perhaps the men went out herding, or there were some activities in the village that didn’t allow men to participate. Of course, it was also possible that the men in this village were forcibly mobilized to the front lines. Any of these scenarios were possible, but Xing Conglian didn’t care for the time being. Wang Chao had already woken up in the back seat and was retching out the car door. This was a normal reaction after getting a slight concussion. It seemed that he should be fine, but the situation of the female bodyguard wasn’t optimistic.
Kang An probed the bodyguard’s breath with his hand and said, “Boss, have we arrived yet? She’s going to die.”
Xing Conglian stretched out his hand and slapped the bar owner, who was sitting in the front passenger seat. He was getting drowsy due to blood loss. “Where is this place?”
The bald-headed bar owner looked around with blurred eyes but couldn’t answer.
Xing Conglian had no choice but to avoid the potholes on the road as he searched for a building that resembled a hospital or health service station, relying solely on intuition. Finally, three connected small buildings appeared in front of him.
The small buildings were an open, sun-drying field covered with army-green pergolas. After getting closer, Xing Conglian discovered that there were mats under the pergola, and dozens of local residents who were receiving treatment were lying on them. Passing through the mats was the emergency room. Many people were sitting on wooden benches, waiting quietly. There were doctors in white coats working hastily inside and outside the “hospital”.
Xing Conglian jumped out of the car and slammed the door. What surprised him even more was that, except for the obvious black people, the doctors here were all black-haired and yellow-skinned Asians. He tentatively shouted “Doctor” in Chinese.
All the Asians turned their heads together, and one of them hung up their stethoscope and ran towards him.
“What happened?” the man began to ask questions from a long distance away.
Hearing a reply in his native language made Xing Conglian excited. He quickly answered, “We were involved in a car accident. The lady is in the worst condition. She slammed into the windshield, and her chest was hit hard by the steering wheel. I suspect she has a few broken ribs and severe internal bleeding. The bald man sitting in the front seat was swiped by a bison, and his arm is broken. The young man in the back seat has a slight concussion. The remaining person is fine.”
After Xing Conglian reported the situation as fast as a cannonball, he found the doctor had frozen in place.
“What’s wrong?” Xing Conglian asked.
“Nothing. It’s just touching to hear Chinese all of a sudden.” The young doctor stretched out his arms to hug him, then quickly let go. He called another doctor over to bring a stretcher, carried Kanachal out of the backseat, and immediately sent her to the small gray cement building for surgical treatment.
Kang An helped Wang Chao out of the car.
The doctor pointed to the mat on the ground and said to the dizzy young man, “Lie down and I’ll check on you.”
Mr. Xiao Wang kept his eyes wide open during his illness and resisted the desire to vomit. He said resolutely, “I’m going to die! I! No!”
Xing Conglian looked at the mats on the ground and thought that these Chinese doctors must’ve brought them. However, the mat was so completely blackened that he couldn’t bear to let Wang Chao lie on it.
He went back to the trunk and took out a floor mat and spread it on the ground. Only then was Wang Chao reluctantly willing to lay down.
The doctor poked Wang Chao on the forehead and said, “I let you lie here for your own good. Usually, those who enter the back buildings are the seriously ill patients, like those who have AIDS or Ebola…”
Wang Chao was so frightened that he wanted to throw up even more.
The doctor broke Wang Chao’s delusions and said solemnly, “Normally, we would do an MRI, but we don’t have such a machine here. All we could do is have you lie here all night. If you don’t die, you can be discharged tomorrow.”
After he finished speaking, he straightened up and was about to leave.
Xing Conglian finally couldn’t help but shout at the other party, “Doesn’t he need an infusion?” He pointed to a patient receiving an infusion in the distance as he asked.
The doctor responded, “Disposable needles and anti-inflammatory drugs are very precious, and they should be reserved for those who need them the most.” He poked the young man on the ground with his thumb. “He’s fine. Observe him overnight, and he’ll be good tomorrow.”
“Thank you,” Xing Conglian said seriously.
The other party looked at him, scanned him from head to toe, and then, as if he suddenly thought of something, asked, “Where are you going?”
“To the rainforest,” Xing Conglian said.
The doctor wanted to say something else but was suddenly called to attention and immediately turned his head and ran back into the small building.
The small “hospital” was busier than he thought. It wasn’t until the evening that Xing Conglian saw the young doctor who had helped them again.
Wang Chao had fallen asleep on the floor mat and refused to use the blanket that a nurse had brought over.
Kanachal’s operation was successful. A rib had pierced her lungs, but her life was no longer in danger. The bald bar owner was with her. It seemed their relationship was deeper than that of an ordinary boss and underling, but Xing Conglian didn’t care about that.
The starry sky on the grassland was beautiful late at night. Kang An was taking a nap by the Jeep. He stayed with Wang Chao, resting his head on his hands as he lay on the ground.
“Missing your girlfriend?” Xing Conglian suddenly heard Chinese from behind. He turned his head and saw the Chinese doctor walking leisurely from the small building.
Xing Conglian didn’t answer his question.
The young doctor laughed and squatted down in front of him familiarly. “I used to want to bring my girlfriend to Africa. I thought it would be romantic to lie on the grassland and watch the starry sky, but after I came here, I thought it would be better to forget such thoughts.”
Xing Conglian looked back at the small cement building that couldn’t be considered a hospital and nodded. “Is it because the conditions are too bad?”
“It’s more than bad; it’s worse. Does this look like a place for people to stay…” He looked around as he muttered.
Xing Conglian lit a cigarette and thought it was comical. “Then why are you still here?”
“It’s my call of duty!”
The doctor glared at him with a look of youthful vigor on his face. “When I graduated from university, I saw an ABC report that a Chinese doctor had stayed in the Dana Region for ten years. Together with MSC Doctors Without Borders, he completed the establishment of a basic medical system in the most difficult part of the world. I was deeply inspired and decided to follow the example of my predecessor and support the construction of Africa.”
Xing Conglian took a puff from his cigarette. “Very idealistic.”
“Yeah, I think so too.” The doctor began to babble again. “Actually, there are so many Chinese doctors here, and all of them were bewitched by Dr. Duan. Probably it’s because he’s so handsome that it’s almost magical. My brain was telling me to run away as I regretted it as soon as I came, but I couldn’t leave.” As he spoke, he knelt beside Wang Chao and continued to check on him.
“Why can’t you leave?” Xing Conglian found this funny.
“I have been here for two years and studied general medicine. At that time, my parents had already found me a structured job at a health service station in my hometown, but after I came here, I told myself, fuck the health service station. There is no place in the world that needs me more than here.”
Xing Conglian blew out a ring of smoke and narrowed his eyes slightly. “It really does sound like a call of duty.”
The young doctor put down his stethoscope and listened to Wang Chao’s heart and lungs. He then pointed to the small cement building and said, “No, no, I’m bewitched by a treacherous man. I once doubted my sexuality. Why else am I still here because I saw a photo of Teacher Duan? He is indeed a remarkable person. See that concrete building behind me? The aseptic operating room just saved your friend’s life. She wouldn’t have survived tonight due to her injuries if it wasn’t for that, and this is all thanks to Teacher Duan!”
Xing Conglian glanced at him and finally noticed the abnormality in the conversation. “You’ve talked quite a bit, and every few sentences you touted Teacher Duan. What are you aiming at?”
The little doctor said nervously, “We lost contact with Teacher Duan a week ago. We’re afraid something has happened to him. When we last contacted him, he was in the Gaomeng tribe. I heard that bald man say you are going there. Could you please try and see if you can find him? If something has happened to him, please help him!”
“Why are you asking me?” Xing Conglian asked.
“After all, we’re in a foreign country and can only count on compatriots of our own nation.” The little doctor patted him on the shoulder, then sat on the ground dejectedly. “Actually, we also want to send some people to find him, but the situation in the rainforest is a bit complicated right now. Many people are unwilling to go, and those who have agreed haven’t responded. We don’t know what to do. I’m begging you!”
Looking at the little doctor with his hands clasped in front of him, Xing Conglian didn’t know getting into a car accident had led him to shoulder the strange mission of saving the founder of the basic medical system in the Dana Region.
Just when Xing Conglian had taken on another mission and was about to head into the rainforest, Lin Chen also encountered something strange, so much so that he had to escape from Mrs. Jiang’s control and slip back to Hongjing without even paying the hospitalization bill.
Of course, to get to the bottom of the key reason for his escape, although it wasn’t unrelated to the fact that Zhang Xiaolong had called him and told him that someone had sent an anonymous letter to the police station, the fundamental reason was because Mrs. Jiang had asked the sharp question of “Are you lovelorn for Xing Conglian?” the night before. Lin Chen felt that if he stayed any longer, it wouldn’t be conducive to his physical and mental health.
He returned to Hongjing by taking the high-speed railway from Yongchuan. When he arrived at the Hongjing police station, it was still during working hours.
Zhang Xiaolong screamed when she saw him. She rushed over and stared at him for a long time. “Consultant Lin, you’re really back. I’m not just hallucinating, right?”
Lin Chen smiled and shook his head. “I don’t think so.” After he said this, he deliberately paused to give Comrade Zhong Xiaolong time to collect herself. He then heard her say, “Xing Conglian and Wang Chao haven’t come to work for several days, and they haven’t asked for leave. Do you know where they went?”
He felt Zhang Xiaolong’s ability to open a can of worms was equally matched to Jiang Chao’s, but he had no choice but to lie for his two colleagues, who he had no idea where they were. “They are temporarily doing something. I’ll ask for leave on their behalf… for a month. I was in the hospital for a few days and forgot about it.”
Hearing this, Zhang Xiaolong took a deep breath. “Are you okay, Consultant Lin? Why were you hospitalized, and how did you hurt your hand again?!”
Lin Chen found a chair and sat down. He rubbed his ears as he said, “I’m standing in front of you, aren’t I? This means I should be fine, right?”
Seeing the police officer wanting to continue nagging, he hurriedly interrupted, “What’s going on with this anonymous letter?”
“Oh! That!” After Zhang Xiaolong finished, she ran away in a hurry and came back after a while. “This morning, the guard received an anonymous letter addressed to you. In the white sand case, didn’t someone keep sending you letters? We were all scared to death and didn’t dare open it, so I could only call you.”
When he received the anonymous letter, Lin Chen’s heartbeat suddenly accelerated. He knew that he was expecting the sender to be Xing Conglian, who had been missing for many days, but soon, when he saw the handwriting on the courier slip, his heart rate dropped from its highest peak to its lowest in an instant. The handwriting obviously didn’t look like it belonged to Wang Chao or Xing Conglian.
He flipped through the front and back of this anonymous express mail. It was a standard express envelope from the Shunshui Express Company. Although there was no obvious identification of the sender, it might be from someone in Hongjing who was asked to send it by Wang Chao or Xing Conglian. With a glimmer of hope, he took out a knife from the pen holder on his desk.
Just when he wanted to cut the letter open, Zhang Xiaolong held him down. “Consultant Lin, what if there’s anthrax in it?!”
Lin Chen was taken aback. He didn’t know where Comrade Zhang Xiaolong got such whimsical ideas, but things like anthrax were too far away from their daily lives. He shook his letter and said with a smile, “Then you keep your distance.”
After he finished speaking, he carefully cut open the seal of the envelope with the knife.
Of course, there was no powdered anthrax; only a thin sheet of A4 paper was inside.
He pulled out the letter and unfolded it. Zhang Xiaolong gasped beside him.
Lin Chen was very surprised by the content in the letter. It was printed in standard Arial No. 5 font: [I am a reporter from the Hongjing Evening News. I know the truth about Director Li’s being taken hostage. If you want to know too, please call me.]
Well, in fact, Zhang Xiaolong’s thoughts aren’t so whimsical. There was a series of anthrax attacks in 2001: the 2001 anthrax attacks.
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