“But there are viruses in blood,” Ikoma objected, one hand almost going to his arm, where the scar of an old wound… wasn’t, anymore. “Other infections, too.”
“Chance doctors have to take,” Suzuki shrugged. “Lose too much blood, go into shock? No chance at all.”
No, there wasn’t. Ikoma’d seen enough accidents in the railyards to know that for sure. “It can’t be that simple.”
“Isn’t,” Suzuki agreed. “Blood has types. Mix them – very bad for the patient.” He tilted his head, as if looking into distant memory. “Back when I first came to Hi-no-Moto, girl tried to ask me what mine was to tell my future.”
Ikoma gave him a sidelong glance. “…Seriously?”
“Wouldn’t lie about girls.”
No, Suzuki probably wouldn’t. Huh. Ikoma frowned, storing the empty tube away. “I read something about that in my anatomy books. And – oh. That’s what they must have been talking about. I always wondered.”
“Some of the writings on Kabane,” Ikoma filled in. “There was one account where someone was trying to see if blood type affected how fast the infection spread.”
Suzuki whistled. “What’d they find?”
“Who knows?” Ikoma grimaced; fill in one blank space in what they knew, and the Kabane hit them with a dozen more. “It was a secondhand account from someone who got away when the idiot turned.”
“Damn.” Suzuki shook his head. Dusted his hands off, and got up, pointing toward a small water-cask he’d hauled up out of the hatch. “Was going to clean off the locomotive.” Peered up at the clouds. “Just gears, other tight spots. Might rain soon.”
“That sounds good.” Well. Not good, exactly. But dealing with bits and spatter was part of a steamsmith’s job. Much easier than going inside to watch people’s nerves get wound tight during inspection.
And if they ever had to jump onto the Koutetsujou’s roof again, he’d rather it was a clean landing.