A friendly joyride in an ambulance.
Even though there was nothing wrong with him, Horatio Ives was not the sort of person to turn down a free ride. The fact that the free ride was in an ambulance didn’t really bother him, seeing as his house as currently on fire and all.
The paramedic was still giving him the cold shoulder, which was fine. Grove Transmedical made a habit of hiring moody people, it helped to alleviate the expectation that your medical needs would be met by someone attractive. There were companies that provided that particular service, but GT were in the business of curing people, not making them comfortable. Besides, you ended up with a lot more malpractice lawsuits with attractive staff.
Horatio had never worked for GT, but he had saved the life of the managing director in the long and distant past, which had been a big enough act of virtue to earn him free medical treatment for life. Kenya Grove was a very generous man when the mood took him to be, but it didn’t always transfer to his staff.
The lone paramedic was forcing her entire attention onto the road, putting up mental shields to try and forget Horatio was even in the ambulance with her. He didn’t mind, meant he had a chance to snoop.
GT ambulances were top of the line. They were loaded with various medical devices and self defence systems. It only took Horatio about five minutes to find something exciting amongst all that technology and rip it out of the cabinet it was nestled in. There was a loud crackling noise and the interior lights went out.
‘What the hell are you doing?’ the paramedic shouted. Apparently her mental shield had vanished along with the lights.
‘Playing,’ Horatio replied. ‘You have some pretty cool stuff in here. What’s this thing?’
A hazel eye flashed in the rear-view mirror. ‘It electrifies the sides of the ambulance in case of a riot. Well, it did. I don’t think it does anything now you’ve broken it.’
Horatio smiled and carefully wedged the device back into the cabinet. He flashed a grin at the mirror. The paramedic responded with a sharp turn that smacked Horatio into the right wall of the ambulance.
Where was he actually going? Would he really go to the hospital and just mess around for a bit while they ascertained that, yes, he was perfectly healthy? Probably. He didn’t have anything else to do, and until the fire crews had finished inspecting what was left of his flat, he couldn’t even consider rebuilding. Not that he could afford to.
Horatio, like most people, had never expected his flat to explode, and had therefore not insured it. It was protected against theft and flooding, as they came free with his mortgage agreement, but explosions was an extra charge he wasn’t willing to bear. He’d never really calculated how much it would cost to repair explosion-induced damage, but his gut told him the insurance would have been cheaper.
The ambulance thumped to a halt, it’s wheels clearly mounting the curb, and Horatio fell over again. The paramedic hopped out of view for a moment and crunched around to the back, opened the doors, and beckoned him out.
A quick glance told him that they weren’t at the hospital, but he wasn’t able to place where she had brought him instead.
‘It’s on your file, sir,’ she said, tapping at her touch screen device again. ‘You are to be brought here if you persist on riding in a Grove Transmedical ambulance without an injury of warrant.’
‘But where am I?’
Her eyes flicked up and, for a moment, he thought she was looking at him. She wasn’t, she was looking at something behind him.
‘Hello, Mister Ives.’ came a voice from directly behind his head.