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Binro_the_Heretic
10th Feb 2003, 08:03
The grey Daa’logan stopped for breakfast. It got the usual cup of willonidia root stew and performed the usual ritual of holding it just under the tiny bump of its nose letting the steam smart its enormous glassy black eyes. After inhaling some of the rich vapors into its tiny nostrils, the grey sipped the concoction eagerly as it made its way to the hyperlift.

The corridor was busy. It was always busy. There was no such thing as night or day on a space station particularly on a station as popular as Zulary. Ships docked and departed around the clock loading and unloading people from thousands of different worlds and systems. Some, like Daa’logan, were on their way to work. Some were on their way to bed. Some were on their way to one of the many diversions offered on the pleasure deck.

The grey passed the open door of The Velvet Chrysalis, one of many love nests on Zulary. Inviting fragrances, soft light and enchanting music drifted out into the corridor washing over Daa’logan like a caressing breeze. Daalogan’s gaze was drawn inexorably to the opening where a dahanese siren smiled coyly at the grey from the haze of soft pink light within. Greys are of course genderless, but few organic creatures can resist the charms of a siren. Daa’logan paused with its forgotten cup of soup millimeters from its narrow slit of a mouth.

The grey allowed itself a few moments to admire the lithe elegant creature with her graceful limbs, enchanting snowy wings and silky tan skin. Sirens’ faces always seem to radiate a tangible sense of comfort and peace and this specimen was no exception. Her warm violet eyes were windows into an alternate universe where there was only tranquility and solace. The two eyes and the bright red pottu between them were framed by a pair of brilliant lavender plumes of hair erupting from a mane of otherwise silky black follicles. The ruby lips were formed into a slight smile.

Daa’logan became suddenly aware of an odd series of sensations. It took a moment for the grey’s numbed senses to assemble the available data into something coherent. With a feeling of deep embarrassment, it realized it had just poured soup down the side of its small chin and its chest. It rummaged in its shoulder bag, produced a disposable napkin and quickly began to clean itself. The grey glanced back at the doorway. The siren was gone.

Daa’logan continued on its way to work, finishing the remainder of its soup.

Binro_the_Heretic
10th Feb 2003, 08:05
Decades ago when station administrator Gowblag Funp turned Zulary Station from a derelict hulk into a thriving stellar way station, docking port 3 catered mostly to groulien salt hogs coming off the big mining vessels. It would be many years before the karmaramas of Dablatney VI, the planet around which Zulary was orbiting, would turn that world into a popular vacation spot. Businesses providing products and services most suited to the miners learned to set up shop as close as possible to port 3. When the station began to take on resident families, the groulien immigrants naturally settled in the berths and apartments closest to port 3. In no time, a thriving nearly self-contained groulien community was established in the segments around port 3. To this day, the area is still referred to by most station residents as “Hogsport” and still supports the highest concentration of grouliens on the station.

Daa’logan made its way through Hogsport after taking the hyperlift from the middle deck to the engineering deck, the outermost deck from the central hub of the station. Hogsport has an overall worn and shabby appearance. Grouliens are a frugal and practical people, sometimes to excess in the opinions of most other peoples. If a thing still functioned, it was kept no matter how badly knocked about it looked. If a thing broke, it was fixed and kept no matter how much the repairs affected the visual appearance. Many of the things here had been salvaged from refuse heaps, discarded by people more particular about having new or at least new-looking things.

The Ree’fonok memorial clinic is located in the heart of Hogsport very near port 3. It is the oldest sickbay on the station and truly looks it. It’s definitely in keeping with the general shabbiness of Hogsport. Primarily, grants from the Galactic Alliance Popular Health Organization, charitable contributions from businesses and donations from private citizens support the clinic. Some of its services are provided completely free of charge while others are provided at a modest fee. It mostly provides basic health care for the salt hog community that, despite decades of struggle for social and economic equality, is still one of the poorest segments of the population.

Binro_the_Heretic
10th Feb 2003, 08:07
Daa’logan entered the clinic to find a moderate number of patients already queued up. The three grey doctors from the previous shift were wrapping things up with their current patients. A partition sectioned off the rear area of the clinic. This area was used as a combination storeroom, dispensary, doctor’s break room, scrub room and file room. Daa’logan slipped quietly into this area, tipped the last few drops of willonidia root stew down its throat, disposed of the cup and soiled napkin in a wastebasket, stowed its bag in a locker, began scrubbing its hands in preparation for a day’s work and glanced around at the rows of instruments glistening behind the glass doors of the vertical storage cases along the wall. Many of these implements would be considered antiques, quaint relics long ago replaced by modern tools and methods. In fact, the dean of the medical institute where Daa’logan trained back on Rom Aero had many of these same instruments on display in museum fashion in its office. Here, however, they were used on a daily basis. The clinic had to stretch the funding as much as possible. The best way to do that and still provide reasonable health care was to use these outdated but inexpensive tools and medicines.

Daa’logan was drying its hands when Kee’lovel entered and took up a position at the scrub sink.

“Hello.” it began in a tired but friendly manner.

“Hello.” Daa’logan replied. “How were things today?”

“Oh, nothing much out of the ordinary.” Kee’lovel shook excess water off its hands into the sink and grabbed a few of disposable hand towels. It was a very old grey indeed. Its dull gray skin had a strange translucent quality with a myriad of fine wrinkles especially about the neck and the bony ridges of its skull stood out in sharp relief. As it dried its hands, it turned its great round head and regarded Daa’logan with its enormous glassy eyes. “There’s a respiratory infection making the rounds.” It said casually. “You’ll probably see a few cases. Put them on antibiotics.” Daa’logan nodded in assent as it tossed its own bunch of dampened towels in the wastebasket. Kee’lovel followed suit.

“I see long service here has not dampened your enthusiasm,” said the old grey clasping its hands before its stomach and drawing itself up slightly. “You still come in early. One would almost think you like this old place”

“Well, yes.” replied Daa’logan sheepishly. It wasn’t sure whether the old grey was expressing approval, disapproval or being sarcastic. Kee’lovel’s response was a slight protrusion of its upper lip, the grey equivalent of a smile. Greys lack the complex sets of facial muscles that make other species’ faces so expressive.

“You’re not going to be leaving us any time soon, then?”

Most of the doctors working at Ree’fonok simply bide time awaiting positions at better hospitals on the station to become available. Daa’logan had arrived at the station a little more than one Dablatney VI year previous and been put on duty at Ree’fonok after applying with station services. It was rare for a grey to serve so long at Ree’fonok. Usually, if a position hadn’t come up at a more modern and prestigious sickbay fairly soon, they packed up and moved on to another station or took positions on one of the many visiting ships.

‘’Oh, no.” said Daa’logan hurriedly then paused for a moment. “Unless of course you want me to?” it blurted.

“Not at all, not at all.” Replied Kee’lovel shaking its great head slightly. “I was just wondering how you’d feel about taking on some of the management duties.”

“You’re not going anywhere, are you?” Daa’logan quickly asked.

“Not this very minute, but I am considering retiring in a few years or so.” It turned its back on Daa’logan and gazed absently at the instruments beyond the glass fronts of the cases. “It’s going to be a lot more work, not much more pay and it’s going to make it harder for you to just pick up and leave if you do get tired of the place.”

Daa’logan was silent for a moment as it considered the offer.

“Can I have some time to think about it?” it asked.

“Certainly.” Replied the old grey. Daa’logan looked at the ghostly reflection of Kee’lovel’s distinguished face on the glass with the shining instruments twinkling beyond. “I can remember when these were the state of the art.” Kee’lovel said wistfully. “I’ve been at this game almost as long as Ree’fonok, you know.” It slowly swiveled its head around and looked straight into Daa’logan’s eyes. “It would be nice to know I’m leaving the place in the hands of someone who cares about it.”

Davidg
10th Feb 2003, 21:41
Very good!:)

Overmind
18th Feb 2003, 11:08
Wow... Your skill dwarfs most... Virtually all the fanfics I've seen are by people who don't care... Simply fantastic.

Binro_the_Heretic
19th Feb 2003, 06:09
Daa’logan left Kee’lovel in the back room tapping its daily reports into a datapad. As Daa’logan passed through the doorway into the clinic proper, it passed one of the other doctors from the previous shift, a young grey to whom it had never been introduced. The other did not acknowledge Daa’logan’s friendly wave as it rushed into the back room. See’vovel, the other doctor from the previous shift with whom Daa’logan was acquainted, was still with a patient, a middle-aged groulien boar who held a handkerchief to his throat covering two respiratory apertures on either side of his neck and emitting slight gurgling coughs. See’vovel held a rattling bottle of pills in either hand and was instructing the salt-hog on the course of his medication.

“These are the antibiotics,” said See’vovel, holding up one of the bottles. “You must take one of these every four hours without fail and you must keep taking them until the whole bottle is gone. This isn’t like regular medicine you take to treat symptoms. You can’t stop taking it once you start feeling better. If you don’t take all the pills, the germs will become tolerant to the antibiotics and the infection will be harder to get rid of if it returns.” It handed the bottle to the groulien who accepted it with a nod and tucked it deep into one of the pockets of its thick heavy work apron. “Now this,” began See’vovel proffering the second bottle, “is a decongestant. It will help suppress the cough, reduce the irritation and should cut down on the fluid clogging you up. Take one pill every two hours and try not to take it on an empty stomach. Once the cough clears up, you don’t need to take the decongestant any more, but do remember to keep taking the antibiotics.” It handed the second bottle to the groulien who tucked it away with the bottle of antibiotics.

“Well,” sighed See’vovel politely, “that should take care of you, Mr. Guumwangle.” Mr. Guumwangle donned his stozzer, the thick floppy hat worn by grouliens of both sexes and all ages, slid off the table extending his free hand while the other kept the handkerchief close to his throat.

“Thank ye, doc,” he choked and immediately started coughing again.

“Get yourself something from a dine-o-mat and start taking those pills straight away.” See’vovel advised as the salt-hog wrung its hand. Unable to answer for coughing, Mr. Guumwangle nodded vigorously.

After the departure of its last patient, See’vovel rubbed down the medibed with a disposable sterilizing wipe and stuffed the used wipe into a red waste receptacle marked with the biohazard symbol. It grabbed a datapad resting on a shining metal instrument tray and came over to Daa’logan who had been taken another datapad from its niche on the wall and was reviewing the untreated cases in preparation for the start of its own shift.

“Nasty respiratory infection going around,” See’vovel said.

“So Kee’lovel was saying,”

“Antibiotics,” said See’vovel, distastefully, “We should be giving them nanomunes. They never take the antibiotics properly. You heard me giving that one instruction? Mark my words, as soon as the cough clears up, he’s going to stop taking the damned things. We’ll be treating another wave of the infection in no time.”

Though it made no reply, Daa’logan inwardly agreed. Nanomunes are microscopic killing machines injected directly into the body and programmed to eliminate specific disease-causing bacteria and viruses. There is no way for the microbes to adapt defenses against these cybernetic hunters. Antibiotics, on the other hand, work by boosting the body’s own ability to fight the infection. Unfortunately, germs could eventually adapt to these unless a full course of medication was pursued. And See’vovel was correct. Many people stopped taking the antibiotics as soon as they started feeling better. The problem was their bodies were still infected, not enough to cause symptoms but enough for a new generation of germs to breed immune to the effects of the antibiotics. After a period of dormancy, the new stronger infection would emerge and spread once again through the population only this time the antibiotics would be less effective. It would make sense to use nanomunes and chuck the antibiotics in the dustbin, but nanomunes, because of their intricate complexity, are much more expensive than antibiotics. If you gave out nanomunes to one patient, the clinic wouldn’t be able to afford even antibiotics for the next ten patients.

A plan had been brought before the GAPHO to make use of nanomunes compulsory and to ban the use of antibiotics. It had been argued that spending more E on the nanomunes to begin with would end up costing less than continuing to treat disease with antibiotics since the spread of diseases would be halted sooner resulting in fewer cases needing to be treated. The GAPHO was loathe to back such a directive unless a full trial and study were conducted. Trials and studies themselves cost a lot of E. Faced with the hard choice of treating people who were already sick or using some of the funding to conduct a study that may or may not reduce the number of sick people at some point in the future, the GAPHO allowed the continued use of antibiotics.

“Had an endoskeletal fracture in here today,” said See’vovel as it began tapping information into the datapad. “Juvenile groulien male snapped his tibia playing hogball. You know what I had to do?”

“Set it in a cast?” Daa’logan asked.

“Exactly!” snapped See’vovel and hissed through its nostrils, a gesture of agitation and exasperation. “Local anesthetic, align the bone as best I could, only the one break and a clean one, thank goodness, then wrap the leg in self-hardening polybandage. Sent the poor thing hobbling out on crutches…with the bone still broken!” It hissed again through tightened nostrils. “Barbaric!”

Daa’logan continued to scan the list of waiting patients without comment. It had heard other doctors complain about the primitive procedures the personnel of Ree’fonok were forced to perform due to budget restrictions. The fractured tibia could have been quickly and easily repaired…at four times the cost of setting it in a cast and letting it heal naturally. It was the nanomunes/antibiotics argument all over again. Cheap, sloppy and plentiful in favored over expensive, effective and scarce.

Daa’logan was reminded of how precarious the clinic budget was and the monumental efforts involved in keeping that budget balanced. This was one of the very formidable duties Daa’logan would almost certainly be expected to shoulder should it decide to take Kee’lovel up on its offer.

“You might want to see that old boar first.” Suggested See’vovel, still tapping away at the datapad. Daa’logan scanned the row of patients seated along the front wall of the clinic and saw an elderly male groulien slouched listlessly in a chair and holding a mass of gauze against his right temple. “Deep laceration on the scalp,” explained See’vovel. “Came in just before you got here. Ree’nomak cleaned the area and had him put a cold compress on to stop the bleeding but the wound will need closing.” With that, it turned and disappeared into the back room. Daa’logan soon found the file on one Mr. Barmy Arflogs. After giving the patient history and specifics of the current injury a cursory scan, it tucked the datapad beneath its arm and went over to meet its first patient of the day.

Medical Grey
17th Apr 2003, 05:21
Please continue or I will take over Binro!