SUMMARY: Edgar Poland hasn't seen Greg House in a long, long time.
CHARACTERS: House, OCs.
RATING: R for language and themes (gen fic).
WARNINGS: This is a very alternate universe. Adult themes and adult language.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Never will.
NOTES: Links to all chapters of the Distress Call universe can be found here.
He'd been so surprised it had taken a minute to realize who'd called him in the middle of the damn night. Scruffy, skinny-looking dude with lousy hair and no dress sense, calling him Eggie. Which didn't mean a whole hell of a lot, really, 'cause everyone called him that.
And then he'd looked closer at the stranger's face and it had clicked.
"Well, well, well, now. Holy frozen shitsicles," said Eggie. "You look like stale piss in a cracked cup, Greggo."
"And you look like a big fat skald-bison. Thankfully the subether doesn't carry the smell."
Eggie had yawned. "We just gonna insult one another all night, or you wanna tell me what you fucked up?"
"I didn't fuck up."
"You got more brains than God, and as much common sense as a sandworm. What'd you do?"
"My job. So well that they kicked me off my own damn planet."
"And this job of yours?"
"Same one I always said I'd have."
"You got booted for excessive musical talent?"
"No, you moron. The other job I said I'd have."
"No shit? You actually became a doctor?"
"You can waste your time with shock and awe, or you can figure out how to fix my credentials. Only one of those things will earn you any money."
"You're seriously a doctor."
"No, I'm a wastewater tech and this is just my hobby." Age had clearly not mellowed the kid; he was just as impatient as Eggie remembered. "Can you do the job or not? I need two sets of papers."
"Two cred packs? You planning a crime spree?"
Greggo sighed. "Second set's not for me, Egghead. Got a ... fellow refugee. Your species, not mine. James Evan Wilson, native of Delphus, down on the Y axis of the Fifth Focus. He's either lying or he's a certified DCC."
"A what, now?"
"Chronic and Congenital specialist. GMD for hopeless causes. Probably why he chose to help me instead of putting a stake through my heart."
"How the hell'd you end up with --"
"How is not important. I took a hair sample while he slept; sent a burst your way with the raw geneprint. He said Delphus has a DNA registry. Whatever you can find on him, I want it. I can ... I can pay a little."
"Maybe I don't want money, Doctor House."
"You forget that I've met you? You'd sell tickets to your own funeral."
"Maybe I can find some patients for you." Oh, could he ever. Exeter made everyone sick sooner or later. "Better study up."
"Oh, don't be a --"
Eggie grinned as he killed the connection. He'd always liked old Greggo, even when he turned out to be a goddamn bloodkite. The kid was useful.
If he really was a doctor, Eggie knew he'd be useful again.
21 days later
There are some days Eggie thinks the universe loves him almost as much as he loves himself.
Eggie's done his research on Doctor Gregory House -- it wasn't easy; bloodkite cultures like to stay in the shadows -- and it's about to pay off. Throw in Doctor Wilson, who wasn't lying after all, and it's like Fate herself just walked up and gave him a blow job.
"So we're good, for the engines," Eggie says, leaning back from the monitor. "Now about the predicament of that gentleman from Fourtwenty."
"You can forget all about those guys. I probably shouldn't even have brought it up. Unless you know someone with medical connections?" Eggie's done business with Drex for years, long enough to forgive the insult. Exeter's known for oil and crime, not medicine.
"Oh, I can help 'em out." Eggie smiles into the subether, watching Drex shake his head in disbelief. "Yeah, yeah. I mean, me personally, I couldn't cure a damn hangnail and you know it. But I got someone, a real doctor. Two of 'em, in fact. The Fourtwenty boys are comin' to Exeter anyway, right?"
"Krater didn't say, but I think he was headed that way when he got sick. He needs to be out of the flow, for now. Your end of the Verge is probably safest for him, but ... these men are not to be trifled with, Eggie."
The concern is touching. Not required, but nice. Drex, a light year away, is big-time enough to ignore a guy like Eggie, but he's too smart to pass up opportunities just 'cause they come from the ass end of space.
"Look, Drex, I did the background on my guys. You know how fucking thorough I am. I'll send you everything but their names; hell, one of 'em's an old friend of mine."
"You know a doctor."
"Yeah, and he's not just some hack from Sands Medica. You know what we call that shithouse? The Exeter Exit."
"Next you'll be telling me your friend is a damn GMD."
"That's exactly what the hell he is. Him and his rich doctor buddy got into a political shitstorm and now they're refugees who need some favors from lowly old Eggie. They're not gonna talk. Should be here in ... three or four days. Comin' in from Alexandria."
"How the hell," Drex asks, "do you know a fucking GMD?"
"I'm an old man, Drexo. When I knew him he was a teenage sneak, best damn apprentice I ever had. Went and made something of himself just to spite me."
"You've done business with me for how long? Eighteen years and you've never mentioned this?"
"Like I said, he was a kid when he left here. I just found out he went and got respectable."
"Sounds unlikely, but ... I've known you to be many things, Poland, but not stupid. These guys look good to me, I'll relay their info. Send me the files."
"Already did, my good man."
He takes a seedy hack shuttle that night, up to the station, to have a little celebration in advance.
Down on the Lower Left Decks, you can get any damn thing you want, and Eggie does.
It's two more days before the call comes in.
"We are not," says the clean-jawed nameless man on the monitor before him, "doing business in your filthy vermin-ridden junk shop. You will meet us upstairs, alone and armed only with information."
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Eggie thinks. Upstairs, on the station, because they're not gonna set their lofty criminal feet in the Exeter dust. Typical Crazy Fuck Protocol. "Of course," Eggie says. "Tomorrow at twelve hundred local time work for you?"
"Eleven hundred," says the Crazy Fuck. He has dark hair and dark eyes and probably thinks he's Fate's fucking gift to the universe. Obviously not everyone agreed with that assessment, 'cause the guy's nose is sort of flat and crooked along the bridge -- the way noses get when some other crazy fuck breaks 'em and they don't heal right.
"Want me to ask the docs if they can fix your face, too?"
"Fuck you," says the Crazy Fuck, and he cuts the connection.
Eggie sits back and chuckles, picturing the look on old Greggo's face when he learns who his new patient will be. Fuckin' arms dealers think everyone's afraid of them, but the kid is just gonna be pissed -- and not able to do a damn thing about it.
By the time Eggie tells him, it'll be way too late to get out of the deal.