Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
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“Well,” Dr. Sufai continued, “I don’t know if this particular taishir is going to fall out, but …” she stepped out of the patient room and into the main medbay area, programming something into a machine that a few seconds later produced a medical syringe. She finished her sentence as she came back inside, “but we can at least try to do what we can to make sure it doesn’t. Hold still.” Almost painlessly the needle went into Mikarik’s arm next to the taishir and after she’d pulled it out, he could feel an uncomfortable cold sensation spreading up his forearm. “How does that feel?”
“Weird,” he said, rubbing the area even though it had no effect on the mixed sensation of pain and numbness entangled within his arm.
“You’re going to have discomfort for a few hours, but you need to come back every day for the next four days so that we can prevent any infection and strengthen the muscle so it gets a tighter hold of that taishir again.” Mikarik had hoped to be done with the doctor indefinitely, but those tales of lost taishir meant he wasn’t going to take any chances.
“Anything else you want to tell me about?” Dr. Sufai asked and when Mikarik looked into her eyes, he saw in them the same penetrating darkness of the medical scanner.
“There’s my back … I guess.” He made the laziest movement to reach behind him to point out the problem but she interrupted.
“I know, I already saw it.”
“Just some deep bruising. There’s a cream I can give you before you go. Use that topically and you’ll be fine in a few days.” For a moment she seemed entirely too pleased with getting that out of him, but then a cloud drifted over her face. “That was quite the fight you were all involved in. And as ship doctor I actually prefer when it’s quiet around here.” Mikarik was about to shrug nonchalantly but her next question stopped him. “So why did you let it get that far?”
“What do you mean ‘I let it’?” It was almost amusing to imagine what kind of twisted version of events the other three have been spreading about what went down in the galley that night.
“Well I’ve read your file.” Her voice, which until then carried with it a breezy aloofness, had grown more serious, complemented by her dark eyebrows crowding into a furrow.
“You know, it would be really nice if someone shared with me this secret Mikarik file that’s apparently the preferred choice of leisurely reading on this ship.”
“Why didn’t you tell them what you did after you deserted? That you fought for the Nabak?”
Not for the Nabak, but for those two words – blockade runner – and what they meant to him.
“It wouldn’t have mattered,” Mikarik said, looking at his hands as he buttoned up his sleeve.
“Why wouldn’t it have?”
“Because they weren’t fighting me, they were fighting a Thorian. So what I’d personally done would make no difference to them. And besides, what I did or didn’t do three years ago doesn’t change the fact that I still wear my Thoriannes on my sleeve.” He held up his arm and gave it a little shake, which failed to get a laugh or a smile out of Dr. Sufai. “What I mean is, I’m still Thorian. Those are still my people.”
“And you see yourself that way even though you fought them during the Insurrection?”
“That’s not entirely true. I never fired on my people.” He was fully dressed by then, fully medicated except for the cream she’d promised. He could have left the conversation, but found himself continuing to sit on the edge of the bed.
“What did you do then?”
“Got goods through siege lines.” The ship rose and disappeared into the clear sky, as it should have done that day until it didn’t. For years the fireball had not appeared to him in his memories. And now twice in a few days. “Let’s just call it a family tradition.”
“I’m guessing there’s a whole lot more to that story.”
“Maybe for some other time, Dr. Sufai,” Mikarik said, hopping off the bed, surprised to find that he meant it more than he thought he would.
“Ah, that name still sounds weird.” The doctor went ahead of him to grab his other medication from the dispensary machine before he headed out.
“You haven’t been a doctor for long then?” Mikarik asked, a notch more skeptical of his treatment.
“No, I’ve been fully trained for almost ten years now.” She handed him his cream, her hands still wearing her gloves. “The name just doesn’t fit. My mom had always been ‘Dr. Sufai’, and anywhere but inside this office I’m just Ory. So hopefully the next time we run into each other won’t be here, but in the galley. You should sit with Aimi and me.”
“Not sure if Chief Ishikawa would be too pleased with that.”
“Oh you’d be surprised how much she –”
There was a crack of dulled thunder that reached them through the walls of the medbay and in the next moment the ship lurched, sending Mikarik forward, bracing against the wall with his hurting arm, while Dr. Sufai was knocked backwards, hitting her head on a wall and almost falling to the floor but catching herself.
“You okay?” Mikarik asked, offering his hand.
“I’m fine,” she answered and ignored his gesture. In the glow of the red lights that now flashed along the seem between the wall and the ceiling, gone was the warm friendly demeaner that was there moments earlier, her face now showing the same kind of edge as the sirens that blared throughout the ship.
“We’re moving already,” he observed; early, by his estimates.
“I know.” Dr. Sufai peeled off her gloves and dumped them in a receptacle before picking up a new pair and pulling them on. The intercom sounded and Mikarik tapped it for her.
“Dr. Sufai, this is Officer Meslina.”
“Doctor … you have incoming.”
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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.