Saturday, 12 May 2018
Alien Secrets: Blog the Book 5
If you missed the start of Alien Secrets, Flight of the Kestrel book 2, here is the link.
They were glad to be back in safety on the Kestrel. Doctor Sebu Nefar and Medic James Tomos entered the shuttle as soon as they were secure in the hanger. Bewhiskered Nefar was Kohathi, a lot younger than he looked. Young Tomas was human but born and raised on a cargo ship. Nefar took a quick biological scan of Tanu, who became hysterical, and had to be sedated.
'You’d think he'd be grateful,' said Hoy, unbuckling his harness and standing up.
'Put yourself in his shoes for a moment,' said Parks, fumbling with his harness as Tomos began scanning him. 'He's been tortured at least twice, then dragged out through the streets, shoved under a bush, bundled into a shuttlecraft and strapped down. He probably thinks this is the next round of torture.'
Hoy looked shamefaced. 'I didn’t think of it like that, sir. He doesn’t really know who we are, does he?'
'I may have to keep him sedated until he is well enough to understand,' said Nefar. He continued to scan Tanu while he spoke. He turned to Parks. 'And what about you?'
Parks was reticent, so Hoy interrupted. 'He’s had a good dose of what Tanu’s had, and he's been shot in the arm. He’s barely able to stand.'
Tomos had been checking Parks over, and nodded in agreement in response to Nefar's questioning look.
'Right,' said Nefar, 'that one can wait, now he is sedated.’ He pointed to Parks. ‘You are having a full med scan, initial treatment, and then straight to bed.'
To everyone’s surprise Parks gave in without protest. Tomos and Nefar transferred Tanu to a stretcher outside the shuttle, while Hoy helped Parks onto a second stretcher. As they moved away from the shuttle the captain arrived.
Captain Joseph Darrow was unremarkable to look at. British, with average build, brown eyes and curly brown hair, in the standard dark green PACT uniform, he could be mistaken for one of the crew by those who didn't know the armband colour that signified his rank. Only Hoy, Reuel and Tomos saluted, Nefar continued working and the others were on stretchers.
'How bad is he?' Darrow asked Nefar.
'I shall let you know in half an hour, sir. Report in your office or mine?'
'Yours - I want to know about this guy too.' He gestured at Tanu. 'And some answers from the rest of you.' He frowned at Hoy and Reuel. 'It's getting late, we'll debrief tomorrow morning.'
'Make it an hour then. If you want to debrief the away team tomorrow, you should meet in Commander Parks’ cabin. That is, if I decide he is fit to talk at all.'
Parks sighed. 'No need to throw your weight around, Doc. I’ll be OK.'
'That is for me to decide. Let us not waste any more time.' He turned to Tomos. 'Help me get these two to sick bay.'
As soon as they reached sick bay, Nefar helped Parks to a bed and activated the privacy screen.
'Undress please - completely. But don’t stand until I return to help you.'
'What?' Parks protested. 'It's only my arm and my back.'
'I once had a patient with an unnoticed insect bite. We treated all the obvious injuries, he died from the bite which was found post-mortem. I will examine all of your body, Commander.'
'When you put it like that…'
Nefar helped Tomos transfer the other man to a bed. 'Undress him and do some basic medscans while I treat Commander Parks.'
'Yes sir,' Tomos said, and activated the privacy screen when Nefar left.
Sick bay was an L-shaped room with the Doctor's cabin completing the rectangle. There were two treatment beds in the main part and a stasis unit, pressure cabinet and other equipment around the corner. The walls were lined with drawers of varying sizes, and scanners and regenerators hung from the ceiling on rails. Nefar and Tomos wore a badge on their uniforms which allowed them through the privacy screens. When Nefar turned back to Parks he was undressed and lying on the bed under a sheet.
'Now,' Nefar said as he switched on the medscanner, 'lie still please. You said your main injuries are your arm and your back. What happened?'
'Laser shot to my arm. As for my back, the Bokans have a device they fit across the spine between the shoulder blades which causes intense pain through most of the body…' Parks choked and began to tremble. 'Sorry Doc.'
'That is quite all right. Do not distress yourself. We can make you well.' Nefar’s brow furrowed and he examined the medscan.
'This is incredible. I have never seen such…'
He realised he was mumbling to himself and glanced down at Parks to see if he had heard. Parks was still trembling and there were tears in his eyes. Nefar reached for and administered a relaxant to his suffering patient. He didn't want Parks unconscious, but he wanted to ease the pain, physical and emotional.
He treated and bandaged Parks' arm and worked on the lacerations and bruises from the beating. Then he turned him over and examined Parks’ back.
There were eight puncture wounds between the man’s shoulder blades: three on each side of his spine about a centimetre apart and two centimetres either side of the spine, and two straddling the vertibrae in the middle. It seemed the six outer wounds were where the device attached to his back, and the two in the centre actually went into the spinal column. The wounds themselves had bled, but were not serious. It was what he saw on the medscan that worried Nefar.
The stimulus or shock, whatever it was, had travelled through all the major nerves in Parks' body, and caused deterioration in some of the nerve sheaths. This would require bed rest and several intense regenerator sessions. Nefar had never seen anything like it. If that had been done to the other man, a less robust figure, the damage could be permanent. But then it was designed for the Bokans, and the intricacies of their nervous systems were not something Nefar was familiar with.
He used a hand held regenerator to start healing the wounds on Parks' back and then checked his whole body. Finding nothing else, he helped him into a sleepsuit and positioned the tissue regenerator over the bed. He switched it on and set it, and went to see to the other patient.
'Sir, this scan can't be right, surely?' Tomos said. 'I don't know what I did wrong.'
Nefar examined the scan. There were the same signs as on Parks’ scan, only the condition was more advanced, and Tanu’s brain appeared to be affected. The patient was humanoid in most aspects, but the brain had some differences. It was hard to work out whether the differences were original or injuries caused by the pain-giver device.
'Do not be concerned, Tomos,' said Nefar, 'your only error is in assuming this man is human. These readings prove he is not.'
Nefar examined the lump on Tanu's forehead. It was triangular in shape, raised half a centimetre, and a blotchy red in colour, not blue and purple as a normal bruise would be. Fine red lines radiated out from the lump like thread veins. There didn't appear to be any skull damage underneath, but it must have been quite a blow to raise that lump.
Tanu had also been beaten, and Tomos had started with a handheld regenerator on some of the bigger bruises. Nefar wasn't sure Tanu's more severe nerve damage would respond to a regenerator. Once Parks’ initial treatment was complete, he would try it on Tanu and see if he responded.
Nefar did a full-body examination and found no other injuries, but he was concerned at the lack of muscle tone. This man was tall and very slim, much like Reuel, he must be from a low gravity planet, but his body didn't show any of the low-grav adaptations. Nefar hoped Tanu would pull through, it would be interesting to discover more about him.
[If you missed book 1 Intruders, you can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Scribd and Smashwords. Next week the Bokans come after them]
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz