21 Dec

Repairs

Captain's log, 11:18, 14 March 2214
Location: Offshore docking, Hong Kong, Earth
Status: Docked and powered down

 

This is Captain Warwick reporting.

Considering what we plan to do, I’m not sure who these reports are for any more. Posterity, perhaps? I don’t know, but I’m sure they’ll be of use to someone somewhere, when this is all done. Hopefully, not for some time.

We have finished our business on Earth. Cameron has badgered the agents and made sure that the company details are all set up. It took her longer than expected: there were lawyers to get involved and banks to consult. Some of the wheels take time to turn – especially when it came to making sure the credit chits wouldn’t lead back to Is-Tech – and though they say that nothing takes long in Hong Kong, it still takes time.

Getting all of the supplies we ordered wasn’t easy, either. That was what has been holding us up for the past couple of days: we had to wait for some of the more exotic parts to be flown in from two different continents. The last shipment arrived this morning and I’ve given Starry instructions to request a launch slot. We should be able to take off any time now.

All in all, this has gone far smoother than any of us had dared to hope. No sign of the Judiciary, no whispers of pirates or of anyone else seeking the Star Step project or a ship that can bend stars. It has all been very quiet. We are one more ship in a bay stuffed full of them, small compared to most, and unremarkable in the array of shiny, strange vehicles clustered together in the port-bay’s neat rows.

It’s possible that we’re still holding our breaths, waiting for something to happen, because it always seems to. Yet things have gone as we planned. I even have my arm back, good as new. Better than new.

That didn’t exactly go as well as we had hoped. I got Chief Cameron’s report about what happened the first time they woke me up after the surgery, but I don’t remember it. Cameron says I’m lucky in that and I believe her. I remember being sedated for the first procedure and then waking up three days later with a headache and a body that felt like it had been put through a wringer. But my arm… felt strangely all right. And strange in general.

Whatever was wrong with the wiring that first time I woke up, they’ve fixed it now. It isn’t completely fixed yet, though: my arm still has some healing to do on its own. They can only knit bone together so much and the body has to do the rest. The surgeons said that it would take a while for the neural pathways to readjust and reintegrate it fully.

I have exercises to do to build up the strength in my new-old arm. I can’t lift much with it yet and the salute I gave when I returned to the ship was pushing the edge of the range of movement it has. They reconnected all the pain receptors in my shoulder and upper arm, so I know if I’m doing too much with it. It certainly seems to hurt readily enough now. I had a follow-up holo-conference with the surgeons yesterday and they were pleased with my progress, so I’m not too worried about it.

I still have an angry red band around my upper arm, where the surgeons had to add in plastiskin to make up for the flesh that was too damaged to save. They say that the redness will fade as the real skin and muscle grow back underneath, as the body rebuilds the bridges between me and my arm, but I’ll always have a scar there. Unless I have cosmetic surgery to remove it.

It doesn’t hurt much and scars are the least of my problems right now.

I haven’t activated any of its new abilities yet. One thing at a time – the surgeons warned me against rushing things – and repairing the damage is more important right now. I’m also not sure how Starry will react to the implants I’ve had put in; she seems so happy that I chose to have my own arm reattached and not a prosthetic. I haven’t told her that I was offered the chance to meld the two extreme possibilities, to have my own arm improved with several cybernetic enhancements that could be built into the flesh. It had felt right to accept the deals that the surgeons were offering: for once, a compromise felt like a win.

I’m not the only one healing. Starry is using her avatar again; I think she’s making an effort because the avatar is appearing at the least provocation. Whatever Monaghan said to her worked wonders: she’s lighter and happier than she has been in some time. Part of it might be that we’ve had some important progress since we arrived here, but I think a lot of it is down to her engineer. Whatever the reason, it’s good to see her interacting more with the crew, even though it goes against every directive about ship-crew relations that we have.

The only injuries we haven’t been able to fix are in stasis. Dr Maletz and Ray Wong are still clinically dead, their decay held off by the stasis pods. I asked Dr Valdimir to take their stats and medical reports to the hospital with us, to see if the facilities there would be able to heal them, but the response of the surgeons wasn’t promising.

Wong is the worst off. From all the scans and readings that were taken before he went into stasis, his brain was badly scrambled and damaged by the charge from the captive collar. The surgeons said that it’s unlikely his brain function or memories are recoverable. Sometimes, dead is just dead.

Dr Maletz is more hopeful. With the right replacement heart and lung tissue, he could have a good chance of recovery. However, that takes time to acquire and we don’t have enough right now. It could be weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the tissue that needs to be grown. Alternatively, we could have him outfitted with a full heart-lung prosthetic replacement; a cheaper and quicker option. The recovery is still lengthy – it always is with such catastrophic injuries and repair – and we’re not in a position to handle that either.

I wasn’t eager to spend any more time on Earth than we absolutely had to. We have been lucky so far and as the two crewmembers are in stasis, there’s really no rush. We have a new doctor now, so we can afford to take our time and make sure it’s safe to bring Maletz back.

It’s on our list of things to do once we have the ident issue solved. I know that Lorena is eager to do some ‘proper’ tests of the Step drive, but this ship has other needs too. Starry wants to get her damaged crewmembers fixed and we owe it to her to make sure that happens. And I owe it to my crew as well, as their captain. It’s my prerogative to look after them; I bear some of the blame for what happened, just like Starry does.

So they’ll stay in stasis and we’ll stay on our current course for now, but they have not been forgotten. We’ll tackle that problem when our options are more open.

Dr Valdimir has acquitted himself well so far. He proved himself to be trustworthy while I was undergoing treatment. Even Rosie agreed that he was ‘okay’, which is high praise coming from her, especially in reference to someone who can’t beat her in an arm-wrestling match. I suspect that he knows he’s being judged right now and is doing everything he can to prove himself. This isn’t a bad thing in itself.

For now, his attitude is good and his work is more than adequate, which is important in a doctor. If his true colours are vastly different to what he’s shown us so far, we’ll find out soon enough, and while he’s not hurting anyone, I’m prepared to be patient.

He has taken an interest in cybernetics as well, mostly due to my enhancements and the damaged pirate we have in Med Bay. Dr Valdimir also has the type of mind that needs a project to fill in the quiet hours aboard ship. He thinks that he might be able to repair some of Lieutenant Laurence’s implants and get him up and around. That may or may not be a good thing, but Laurence has a collar on if he gets out of hand. I’m not going to refuse him medical treatment – this isn’t that kind of ship – and we need him in good spirits for the work ahead of us at Dyne (though simply feeling obliged to us for treating him well will do).

As for our other new crewmember, Cameron reports that Swann conducted himself well enough on-planet. He did everything he was asked to, helped her to secure the services she needed, and was part of the reason they were so successful. Apparently, he has good instincts for when to finger his weapon or look thoughtfully up and down someone, as if he’s calculating the exact level of violence required to achieve his ends. It was enough to smooth the way without intimidating the contacts out of talking to the Chief.

He still keeps to himself, though. Trust is difficult for us and it’s hard to say whether we can afford to allow him the full run of the ship yet. My gut tells me that we haven’t seen his true colours and my instincts are urging me to caution.

Swann isn’t the only unanswered question I have, though the other one is less urgent. I should really chase that up.

 

CAPTAIN: (in his cabin, seated at his desk) Starry?

STARRY: (appearing in front of the desk) Yes, captain?

CAPT: Did you track Dr Cirilli when she was on-planet?

STARRY: Yes, of course. She was monitored, the same as everyone else. (Her head tilts to the side.) Do you want to know where she went?

CAPT: (pressing his lips together) Yes.

STARRY: She went out three times, to the same place on each trip.

(A holographic representation of Hong Kong appears before her and the avatar turns to watch it. A small, golden light bobbing in Repulse Bay represents her ship-self’s docked position, and a tiny blue dot tracks a wiggly line away from it. From ship to shore, and then to an airport. A rapid hop spins the Earth below it, and a new area turns into view. The blue dot dips and land there.)

STARRY: Singapore. She went to a residential address, with a diversion to a restaurant on one occasion.

CAPT: Who does the residential address belong to?

STARRY: (hesitates as she accesses the right database information) Ben Donovan and Kitty Cirilli.

CAPT: (frowns) Her daughter?

STARRY: Yes. Is that a problem?

CAPT: (shakes his head slowly, one hand rubbing at his upper right arm) Probably not. Thank you, Starry.

STARRY: (nods and dissolves.)

 

She went to see her family. She knew that we weren’t supposed to contact anyone; if Is-Tech are able to track our movements, they might figure out what we’ve done. Family is one of the first things they’ll check. I can’t blame her for wanting to do it but she does have some explaining to do.

This is one of those parts of being captain that I don’t like.

 

CAPT: Starry, how close are we to launch?

STARRY: (voice only) Seven minutes, captain.

CAPT: Thank you.

 

Not enough time now; I should monitor the launch in case there are any problems. Lorena will have to be a matter for another day.

 

STARRY: (voice only) Uh, captain?

CAPT: Yes?

STARRY: I’m getting some weird requests from the port authority. I think they need someone in charge to step on them; they’re not listening to me.

CAPT: (sighs, then smooths his hair back and squares his shoulders) All right, put me through.

 

Log terminated
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5 Responses to “Repairs”

  1. mjkj Says:

    Wow, nice 🙂

    Hmm, visiting family really might give them out…

    …I wonder what the traffic control wants that Starry cannot provide…

    *looking forward to the next update* 😀

    mjkj

    .

    PS: Typo suspected:
    STARRY: Yes. I that a problem? => should that not read: “Is that…”?

  2. Blik Says:

    There’s something about this simple request that smells… sinister. I hope they don’t have to shoot their way out. That wouldn’t go well for anyone.

  3. Melanie Says:

    mjkj – glad you liked! 😀 Typo fixed, thanks for picking that up. Whoops!

    Blik – indeed! Tune in next week… 😉

  4. daymon34 Says:

    Strange requests from port, I wonder if they out stayed there welcome. That or one of the skif pilots complained after being scared half to death.

  5. Melanie Says:

    Hee, I hadn’t thought about the skiff pilots complaining, daymon34! Definitely possible!