Silver Bullet

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By the time Shimada returned with their injured commander, Kondo was already in such a serious condition that both Sumiko and Yamazaki had felt the need to team up and collaborate with each other in order to save his life.

"At this rate, it will continue to bleed," Yamazaki said grimly while they worked together to apply as much pressure as possible to the gunshot wound in a futile attempt to staunch the blood flow. They didn't even have the time to give the suffering man a pain killer. Every second counted now. "We're cauterizing it," he said, glancing over at Chizuru, who was waiting on standby to assist with the preparation of tools and medicine.

"Hai," Chizuru said, about to about to fetch a hibachi to heat the implements with, when Sumiko stopped her.

"No. If we cauterize the wound, there's a chance we could miss some of the smaller blood vessels, and they'll continue to bleed inside the burned skin," Sumiko stated firmly, furrowing her brow.

"But if we do nothing, the commander will die," Yamazaki said urgently, furrowing his brow.

"Don't worry. Kondo-san ain't dying today. There's a better way," Sumiko replied calmly. "Chizuru, bring me the jar from the bottom left drawer of my tansu that has a shrimp painted on it. We'll close the wound with that."

"Hai," Chizuru said, immediately fetching the jar and placing it in her outstretched hand. Sumiko broke the wax seal on the jar and brushed Yamazaki's hands aside so she could pour its powdered contents over the wound.

"Gaah!" Kondo screamed in pain as she grabbed a clean cloth and pressed the powder firmly into the wound.

"Hold him down! We need him to stay still so the powder can settle into the wound properly!" she shouted as she struggled to hold Kondo down with the help of Yamazaki and Chizuru.

"Commander!" Saito said as he and Sano rushed over to help hold him down.

"Kondo-san!" Sano said earnestly. "What are you doing to him!?"

"Forcing the blood to clot. The powder I just applied is a homemade hemostat. It has a heavy concentration of chitosan and its salts, which act as an anti-hemorrhagic," she explained as Kondo began to stop fighting and settle down. Sumiko removed her hands and left the cloth stuck to Kondo's chest. She didn't want to disturb the large scab that was already forming.

"The bleeding... has stopped!" Yamazaki said, amazed.

"Hey, what's that miracle powder made from?" Sano asked as they stared down at the closed wound in awe.

"Hm? The crushed shells of crustaceans mostly," Sumiko replied as she wiped the sweat from her brow. History may not be her best subject, but Sumiko had always been an undisputed champion when it came to tackling chemistry and biology.

"A-Amazing... I had no idea..." Yamazaki said, staring a her in awe.

"I'll give you the recipe later. Anyway, we still have to get the bullet out," Sumiko said, frowning.

"Eh? It's still in there!?" Sano asked. It looked like it had gone straight through since there was both an entry and exit wound.

"The bullet actually shattered when it hit Kondo-san. Even though we were able to take most of it out, there's still a fragment left in there. We'll have to remove it of course, but with Kondo-san losing so much blood, stopping that became more of a priority," she explained. "If we kept the wound open any longer, he could have died. And I don't want to open him up again while he's still suffering from such major blood loss. As it is, we'll have a hard time keeping him from slipping into a coma... I wish I could give him a blood transfusion, but I don't have the equipment for that, and we'd need to find a donor first."

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