This week we join the Kestrel’s Medical Officer Dr Robinson as he meets with the base doctor. To read from the beginning, go here. I found a photo of Stephen Fry, which reminds me of Quentin Robinson.
Intruders chapter 6, scene 1
Following directions to the medical centre, Robinson introduced himself to a young man and asked for the doctor.
‘I am the doctor!' the man laughed. 'Maybe I should grow a beard! I’m Dr Simon Thomas, and I’m really glad you’re here.’
They shook hands.
When the explosion went off, I rushed down to the pit, but they ordered everyone into suits in case the dome ruptured. Only then could I do anything for the injured, and it’s hard in a suit. I’ve treated the two miners from Level Two - they only had minor injuries, and we had two casualties outside the mine - little Rhi fell down the stairs in the rush, and landed on her Mum. Rhi broke her arm, and Mum has concussion. But then they got Elwyn out and he was badly hurt. Really pushed me to my limits treating him. I had to get creative, which is why I’d be grateful for your advice. Come and see him, and I’ll explain on the way.’
To Robinson’s surprise, Thomas handed him a breather and led the way out of the medical centre.
‘Where is he?’ Robinson asked.
‘In the stores airlock,’ Thomas laughed. ‘I told you I had to get creative. Elwyn had contusions and lacerations, as you’d expect, but he also had severe blast damage to his lungs and a broken spine. He will probably need new lungs, and I don’t know whether his spine can be repaired. This is beyond my expertise. I’ve no stasis chamber, and I needed to ease his breathing and the pressure on his spine. I could have put a mask on him, but what about his spine? So he’s in the airlock, where I can increase the oxygen content of the atmosphere, introduce medication including sedative for him to breathe in, and reduce the gravity, to ease the pressure on his spine. What do you think?’
‘I’m impressed,’ Robinson said.
They reached the airlock that led into the mine dome. Robinson was alarmed when he saw the signs about the low gravity, but followed Thomas’ lead and used the handrails as they came out. Immediately on the left inside the mine dome was the quartz stores, a warehouse-like building with a pressure door. The man on duty keyed the door open for them and closed it behind them. Large containers were stacked in rows from floor to ceiling, filling more than half of the space. They walked down the central aisle.
‘Why is there an airlock at the back of the stores?’ Robinson asked.
‘That’s how they collect the ore. It doesn’t make sense to take it through the main dome. The carrier lands on the surface, links to the airlock and takes it out that way. We’ll have to take Elwyn out that way too.’
Robinson stopped walking. ‘What?’
‘You do have a stasis chamber, don’t you?’
‘We can’t move Elwyn to your ship through the main dome, because he can’t take normal gravity. We’ll have to take him round the outside.’
Robinson was appalled. He had had low gravity training of course, you couldn’t avoid it, but he hadn’t enjoyed it one bit. Since then he had always made his medic do that sort of thing, and treated the casualties when they reached normal gravity again.
‘My medic, Sam Ryan, is down in the mine.’ Robinson said quickly, as they set off again. ‘When I’ve examined Elwyn I’ll contact Commander Holland and get Ryan sent over to help you.’
‘Very well.’ Thomas shrugged. 'I just hope he's experienced enough. I'm really nervous of moving him and causing more damage.'
They reached the airlock door.
‘You’ll need to wear the breather in the airlock, otherwise you’ll get a dose of medication too.’
The gravity in the airlock was low, but not zero.
‘I wanted some gravity, otherwise I’d have had to tether him down, and he’s got enough equipment on him as it is,’ said Thomas, as he tucked his feet under the bar at the base of the bed.
Robinson did the same, and examined the injured man.
‘You have real skill with a regenerator. I can barely see the scars where you’ve repaired the lacerations, and I can’t see any trace of bruising.’
‘Thank you. I get plenty of practice with the miners. Razor quartz crystals are like scalpels, you know. One slip, and it can slice right through your glove. And there are always bumps and bruises. With the low gravity in the pit it does minimise broken bones, but we do get a few, especially with new arrivals, until they get used to it. What's your diagnosis?’
Robinson sighed. ‘You were right. You’ve done a good job, but he’s going to need stasis and transport to a specialist medical facility. Where can I contact Ryan?’
[Next week, Captain Darrow starts his investigations]
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