Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
Mikarik did as Dr. Sufai told him, stretching out the length of the patient bed, hardly realizing then how it would be far from the last time. Dr. Sufai again scooted closer on her wheeled stool and reached down below the table to pull out a glossy black arc, about the width of a hand, and after raising it over Mikarik, clipped it to the other side of the table. Mikarik stared up at his faint reflection in its smooth surface for a few moments before the arc started slowly gliding down the track in the table towards his legs, while the doctor rolled herself away to the computer display in the corner of the room.
“Hmm,” Doctor Sufai murmured several times as the machine did its work, at its core the same kind of black droplet that powered the ship, though this one the size of a large grain of sand.
“Everything looking good?” Mikarik asked after a fourth such “hmm”.
“Well, it’s not like your people exactly like sharing your detailed medical information, but as far as I can tell, your head will be just fine. There does seem to be something going on in your arm area. Mind if I take a look?”
“It’s nothing really.” Mikarik hadn’t come here to be scrutinized in this level of detail, but at least his back hadn’t caught her eye.
“Please, for my curiosity’s sake,” she asked, rolling into his field of vision. He agreed and she waited for the scanner to reach his toes before disconnecting the machine and letting him sit up. He didn’t have to take off his shirt to reveal his arm, since in typical Thorian fashion his sleeves were buttoned up with hard dome-shaped buttons all the way past the elbow. Meanwhile, she’d rolled to her desk and back, grabbing a pair of surgeon’s goggles and putting them on.
As he pulled back his sleeve, he exposed the four stubby bony structures rising out from his skin along the outer part of his forearm. Once in the not-so-distant evolutionary past, they were legitimate bony blades, several inches in length and with a significant point to them. Along with their skulls, they were once used by prehistoric Thorian ancestors to determine which of them was worthy of carrying their genes into the next generation. With the advent of Thorian collective consciousness, the point in their pre-history that Thorians considered themselves to have been elevated above all other creatures, the need to carry these specific genes lessened, and now the former deadly weapons lived on only in media entertainment set in Kai Thori’s brutal past, and as remaining vestigial bone structures, which still included some tactile sensitivity, and were used to manually operate technology affixed to their arms, a set-up that in turn formed the basis of most Thorian weaponry, thus completing the full circle of their original evolutionary function.
It was one of these bone spurs that was causing Mikarik the most grief – tender to the touch and bruised purple, it continued to ooze more than just blood. He studied Dr. Sufai’s slightly open-mouthed stare.
“It’s fatal, isn’t it?” He asked.
“What? Oh, sorry,” she looked up and seemed startled at how close she’d gotten. “Like I said, Thorian medical information isn’t an easy find, so it’s my first time seeing these …”
“Right. May I?” Mikarik lifted his elbow slightly in her direction and Dr. Sufai took his arm in two gloved hands, turning it this way and that, adjusting some settings on her surgeon’s goggles, presumably to increase the magnification. She pressed one finger against the tip of the affected taishir and a pain surged through Mikarik’s arm and elbow and up into his neck, causing him to wince with a barely audible grunt. “Sorry about that,” the doctor said distractedly, just as she pressed the taishir in the opposite direction causing the same sensation. “Sorry,” she repeated, this time more earnestly and actually making eye contact.
“It’s fine,” Mikarik answered, feeling more and more exposed as Dr. Sufai conducted her examination.
“These are so interesting, you know?”
“Never thought of them as anything more interesting than my thumbs.”
“Thumbs are interesting, too. But lots of us have thumbs. These … I’ve seen them in anatomy books, obviously, but it’s a whole other thing to see them up close.” Again, there was nothing comfortable for Mikarik about seeing himself as a living and breathing anatomy illustration. “It’s very neurologically sensitive, but I guess you know that better than I do. Yet if I remember right, they’re used in combat by your ancestors.”
“That’s right.” She went back to the computer, pulling up an image of Mikarik’s completed scan and focusing in on the damaged taishir. “The connection from these taishir into your arm and your central nervous system, just from a biological perspective, it’s really fascinating. It looks like this one though can be a little loose in its socket.”
“That sounds bad.”
“It doesn’t sound good, I guess. But hard to say how bad it is.”
“I hear they can fall out if they get roughed up too much.” Mikarik was somewhat surprised at suddenly discovering this hypochondriac side to himself. He’d generally been in pretty good health, and despite some of the risks he’d taken over the years, tended to steer clear of injury. So maybe it was the novelty of the experience that gave him the jitters, or possibly the insurmountable distance between him and nearest Thorian doctor who actually knew what they were doing. Or even that, on the whole, he was starting to reach the age were things were no longer running at full efficiency. At his age he was at least a decade younger physically than the average comparable Human, but this was the time where he could no longer expect to be as hardy as he was at the height of his youth. It was in that moment that he decided that he generally did not like doctors.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.