Dimitrius was blazing in the sky above. The rays beat down on the small town of Edgeton. Still, most of the town stood out on the porches or on the side of the main road to eye the strangers. Mayor Horton couldn't stop the sweat on his beat red face as the strangers had introduced themselves. Even now, he watched as they eyed the town.
A group of bobbies, but not equipped the same. In their black uniforms and black bobbie helmets, they were concealed behind goggles and a respirator mask. Each of the were armed, too. Not just with a revolver, but they carried rifles. One held the long double barrels of a shotgun. One wore the webbing of a soldier, with ammunition pouches and small objects strapped all around him.
But their leader is who Mayor Horton was worried of. In a group of bobbies, one man with a full black suit, a long coat, and a wide-brimmed hat sat with a pair of dark-tinted glasses on his head. He stood straight up, and with authority. He allowed a single, gold badge to don his long coat, marking him as an officer of the law.
He was Sheriff Sandoval. Powerful. Stoic. Here, in force.
He surveyed the town, before his attention landed on Dr. Xiang's building. He gave a barely audible noise of interest.
"How quaint," Sandoval said, before he gave a confident stride towards the building.
Three of his Bobbies quickly fell into formation behind him. The rest broke from their cold stares and began fanning out around the small town.
Mayor Horton leapt forward, trying to intercept them before they could get to the Doctor's door, but it was hot and he found himself at more of a trot then anything.
He noticed the Bobbies' eyes taking note of him, but nobody attempted to stop him. Sheriff Sandoval and his small band didn't even take notice as they marched right up to the door.
With a quick, curt knock on the door, the Sheriff opened the door and stepped inside. His trailing bodyguards followed after him and they were inside before Horton could even fast-walk to the porch.
Horton hopped up and made for the door, taking his top hat off to try and give his sweating face some sort of relief. He, as well, gave a small knock before throwing the door open and hurrying in behind them.
"Doctor Xiang," burst the Mayor, looking around the small office.
Doctor Xiang's Building was a small two story building. Off to the left of the doorway was a small sitting room which doubled as a lounge or study. Here a few couches and chairs sat around with a bookcase and modest fire place. Across the entryway sat the main office where Doctor Xiang worked. here was a large white curtain, pulled aside at the moment. Three examination tables rested on tiled floor. One was a larger, operating table with a drain, one was a normal examination table and the other was an examination table with stirrups. Cabinets and large, multi-drawer tool sheds lined the outer wall. Two carts on wheels were pushed aside as well.
Doctor Xiang himself was standing with his arms resting behind his back, trying to look past his new visitors. The heavily armed Bobbies had slung their rifles over their shoulders, only one seemed to have drawn a revolver. They were searching the place and spread out. Sandoval stood in the medical bay, lightly observing the actions.
Doctor Xiang ignored the Mayor, "How badly are they hurt, officers?"
Sandoval brought his gaze to meet the Doctor's, "Oh, nobody is injured, good sir."
"I am relieved to hear it," said Doctor Xiang, his face showing no relief.
After a pause, the Doctor continued, "How can I be of service to you this day?"
"I saw your building, here," said Sandoval, looking around the room once more, "Awful lot of exhaust, Doctor. You appear to be running many machines in here."
"Not presently, but you never want to be taken off guard in my line of work."
"Too true," said Sandoval, "Someone could get hurt."
A Bobbie had apparently finished his search of the parlor and he headed up a staircase to the second story home. Mayor Horton managed only the slightest sound of protest, but he feared drawing any more attention to himself. The Doctor seemed to ignore it.
Sandoval walked over to a surgery machine. Mechanical saws and vacuum hoses hung from it, some of them still speckled with blood.
"Messy work space," commented Sandoval, "Do you know of the medical facilities in the country of Kuu?"
"I know they are good," said Xiang, "I believe I had a lecturer from there."
"They are remarkable, or so I hear," said Sandoval, "They have strict regulations about how clean their equipment are. They have begun a study to make hand washing mandatory around the country for medical staff."
Dr Xiang shot a look tot the Mayor. Mayor Horton shrugged.
"You see, we've begun similar experiments here in Antiford," said Sandoval, "The idea is cross contamination of blood, gore, and other contaminants from our daily life are increasing death rates in medical procedures from surgeries to child births."
Sandoval turned to the doctor, "The idea is the filth of the world is infectious. It condemns the body, poisons us, and soils what would otherwise be a perfect operation. Making a perfectly fine doctor useless in the face of nature."
"An interesting theory," said Dr. Xiang, again looking towards Mayor Horton, "I am unaware of any changes to Antifordian Law concerning medical cleanliness, however I am willing to attempt to change my ways. A little extra cleaning is worth the chance it could help."
"Yes," said Sandoval, "Change our ways... Because an infection is the death of the patient. Would you concur doctor?"
"I feel medical advancements happen every day," said Dr Xiang, "However, I would be desperate to save a patient who develops an investment."
"Because infections don't affect the infected area," said Sandoval, "One little mistake. One rotting incision. It spreads. It rots the wound, but it spreads to the heart. The the liver. To the brain. Then the patient dies."
"Mr. Sandoval," said Mayor Horton.
"It's similar with laws," said Sandoval, "We have a body, the Country, which needs to thrive. We implement laws and regulations to ensure infections are prevented or dealt with harshly. For the good of the body."
Mayor Horton shot his eyes to Dr. Xiang.
"So, when an infection happens, let's say a bullet wound, and the leg is infected. You must do everything in your power to save the body," said Sandoval, "Or else, risk losing everything."
"An interesting train of thought," Dr. Xiang's voice had gone colder, "I cannot help but feel you are making a point."
"My point is, one needs to be willing to amputate the infected leg to save the patient," said Sandoval, a small smile forming on his face, "What do you think I would do with a toe like this little down to save the leg?"
With the thrust of a rifle butt, a Bobbie takes down a false wall. Mayor Horton's face went white. Dr. Xiang turned, and his face twisted into fury. Judge Sandoval had already retrieved a pair of shackles. The Bobbie was followed by another and they went into a secret basement. When they returned, they nodded to the Judge.
"Distillery equipment, boilers, illegal condensers," said one Bobbie.
"Looks like it's hooked up to a small aqueduct going that way," pointed another, "Probably heading to the well."
"Who wants a shiny new pair of bracelets?" said Sandoval, "Hands behind your back, Doctor."
"PLEASE!" squeaked the Mayor, "We've gone through so much! We can barely survive! I can't afford the inflated prices of government water for the well! This is barely keeping the town alive!"
"I want documents," said Sandoval, "Produce your certificates! Registrations. Where are your permits for those condensers? By all means, produce your permits."
"You filthy Technocratic-"
"No?" said Sandoval, "Hands behind your back"
"Chief!" shouted Mayor Horton, "Our town is at the brink! You can't do this! I'll pay any fine! If you take away that water, this town will crumble. We'll die of thirst or we'll be forced to leave!"
"If I allow you to stay," said Sandoval, "Then you'll spread your infection to other towns. Then no one is following the law because there are no rules, no consequences."
The other Bobbies re-entered the room. "Gather the crew," said Sandoval, "Take the good Doctor and the Mayor back to the Inquisition."
"Wait," Mayor Horton backed to the door, "What?" "Oh, this is a conspiracy," said Sandoval, "I can see you are not only in the no, but also promoting this criminal enterprise. I feel after my investigation, I'll easily find a few more in on your little secret."
Mayor Horton turned to the door, his mind racing. When he turned back, he saw Sandoval and a Bobbie with revolvers pointed at him.
"Don't do that, sir," said Sandoval, "Would be a shame to put a bullet in your back for running."
"Dirty, Demon-loving," yelled Doctor Xiang, "Chanka marrying-"
"Don't make me gag you, Doctor," said Sandoval, "Or fine you for your tongue."
In moments, the Mayor and the Doctor were led from the building in shackles. The Bobbies marched off with them while Sandoval looked out to the shocked crowd. His eyes landed on some of his Bobbies waiting for orders. "Tear it down and pack it up," said Sandoval, "After that, burn the building. Wilson, with me. Let's investigate the mayor's office."
With an audible gasp from the crowd, Sandoval marched down the street as his bobbies marched into the building to pack up the water condensers. Sandoval shook his head as he listened to the whispers of the townsfolk and the raged curses from the Doctor being dragged away.