The Burned Woman
The body on the the snow was of a young woman who had been quite terribly burned. She was not completely naked, there being scorched fragments of cloth at her neck and ankles as well as fragments of a bra and panties preserving some of her modesty.
Natasha immediately dropped into a crouch and readied her rifle. There was steam rising from the snow next to the body so it was still warm at the very least. Whoever had dropped it here might still be close by. The trapper waited, listening for the slightest sound, but all that was audible was the faint trilling of winter birds and the sighing of the wind.
She moved up to the body and, stripping off one of her rabbit fur lined gloves, checked for signs of life. There was a pulse, weak and thready though it might be, it was there and proved that life still remained in the damaged body before her.
Thinking quickly, Natasha pulled her sledge up next to the ravaged body, and clearing a space among the skins, gently picked up the the smaller form and laid her in the newly formed pocket of fur. Then she covered her with the pelt she had removed to make the pocket, put her shoulders in the sledge's yoke, and turning, began skiing as rapidly as possible back to her cabin.
When she arrived home she took her precious cargo inside and unrolling one of her bear skins lay the woman on it before covering her with several wolf hides. Then she put a copper pot on the fire and added some more wood and twigs to the embers causing the flames to leap up. Some snow was added to the pot, and soon the water was boiling nicely she added a some rags of rough home spun and let them boil as well.
While they were being sterilized she went to an old battered metal trunk labeled Plekhanova N.I. and embossed with the symbol of the Red Fleet. Even though she had not opened it in almost twenty years, she remembered the location of every item it contained in its neatly packed interior. Lifting out and putting aside her armor and her hook, she removed a standard Red Fleet issue trauma management kit. The 'Protocol Active' symbols glowed faintly blue, a tribute to the power of some forgotten supply kaster.
Natasha broke the seals with her thumbs and flipped the lid back. She felt the tingle of protocol energy dissipating as the sterile environment was breeched in the first compartment. Moving carefully she wrapped the burned woman in the enhanced trauma sheets. One for each leg and arm, two for her torso, and one for her head.The protocol infused fabric would relieve the pain, prevent infection, and promote healing. At least that was what it was supposed to do. It still couldn't work miracles or bring the dead back to life.
As she wrapped her patient, Natasha checked her over for any other injuries. Her face and head had been exposed to extreme heat and in some place the flesh had been turned to ash. Her left eye had been boiled out of her skull, and you could plainly see the bone of her jaw through what was her left cheek. The back of her head was not nearly as badly damaged, as her hair had probably protected it from the temperature, at least initially. All the hair on her body was gone of course and the skin, under where her clothes would have been, was charred in places and reddened in all others.
The only places that did not receive burns were her feet. Her pant and shoes, though destroyed, had protected those at least. They were small and surprisingly delicate looking, but patches of what looked like blood had been baked on to the tops. The backs of her hand were burned as well, but her palms were unharmed except for traces of old scars.
When the wrapping was completed, Natasha rocked back on her heals and closed the trauma kit after removing a protocol syringe of plasma and administering it to the injured woman. The plasma injected. Natasha got up and fished out the rags she had boiling. Twirling them to cool to a handleable temperature, she cleaned her hands and set her tea kettle on the fire.
As she sipped her tea, she looked over at her patient who was still unconscious. Checking her pulse showed that it was stronger and more regular.
"So little one, what am I to do with you?"