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Doctor Laika

Posted on Sun Aug 23rd, 2020 @ 11:40pm by Passenger Florian McLennan & Client The Narrator

Mission: The Forgotten Arm
Location: Med Bay
Timeline: During C-Shanty

Alex had left the med bay when the ship had gone into zero gee, and apart from making sure the med dispenser was set up correctly there hadn't been a great deal for him to do. Gene-gineered stem cell cultures were knitting together the bones that had been broken, and the artificial clotting factors were beginning to patch up a liver that had sprung a leak. The rest was just gee sickness, which amounted to a full-body bruise and concussion.

Which meant pain killers.

Which might have explained the floating dog.

It was dressed in a little jumpsuit of a deep dark blue colour, with little patches on the shoulders like corporate logo's. ESA...Europa Soya Amalgamated? That was easy. NASA? Nautilus Aeronautics & Space Assembly? Those sounded right. Maybe the floating dog might know, as it rotated and gently booped into the ceiling. It was a... what was that breed? The one with the extra frizzy coat and russet fur? Sabbi? Shiba?

"You look like are having not fun time," the Shiba said in a thick Russian accent.

Flo had just opened his eyes when the - apparent - dog had drifted its way close towards his face. For him it was the voice that forced the kid to retreat with surprise, his eyes widening, or at least as much as his left one could considering how swollen and ecchymotic it was. That and the accented English.

Perhaps even more odd was how he decided it'd be reasonable to respond to the small animal's comment. "No..." he groaned, shuffling uncomfortably in the medical recliner chair, his wrists held firmly by straps, an auto-doc humming away quietly on top of his upper arm. "I'm... really not. Who are you...? What... are you doing here? Can you get me off this?" he asked, letting his head fall, his gaze panning across the room. He looked back to find the red-sesame shiba still there, its tongue flicking out briefly, a short mlem.

"Is perhaps I think not good idea," the dog said. With a little chuff like woof it kicked off the ceiling and floated slowly down to beside the autoDoc. "As for reason for being, is good question to ask. Is very Russian question, philosophical, deep, meaningful. Why are we here? Is question yes. But answer..."

Flo coughed. "What. What?"

"In time, perhaps you find answer on own. Is not something even bestest boy like me, can aid you in." The dog said stoically.

The kid was starting to wonder if this was all an illusion. But at the same time it might very well not be - or at least not all of it. The doggo could definitely be real, the pet of one of the crew, though he reckoned it seemed a little irresponsible to leave their little spitz puppy simply floating about. As for the dog's ability to speak... Well, that could be a hallucination. Or a newfound ability to communicate with animals.

"What's... happening outside?" he asked, turning his head to the side, as if the medbay had any windows to allow for a view of the ship's exterior, which of course it did not. But Flo could tell something was up. The ship was tossing and turning, disturbing sounds reverberating through its walls.

"Are you speaking of the small ship with big hole in it, or perhaps thinking of larger events like the Station of Eros?" The dog's front paws gripped the arm rest of the AutoDoc, steadying himself on the same plain as Flo. "The crew of this ship reacted poorly and shot at a Rockhopper, little ship with little peoples in it. They are okay, are getting to know one another again. I think is perhaps best way. Soon you to will have chance to try best way."

Flo wondered how a dog knew so much about the goings-on of this ship and its crew. Perhaps there was more information he could glean off this rather clueless-appearing, yet more knowledgeable animal. He reached up with his free arm, but even with the lack of gravity, found such a simple task to be quite effortful. "I met... a few of them. The crew. I swear they were about to chuck me out the airlock. Do you know them? Are you... their pet? They're not gonna kill me later, are they?"

He desperately tried to think of how he might be useful to the men he'd encountered earlier. He had no skills. He had little experience with just about anything. He could cook, but that was about it - such a skill had only served him well occasionally during his time on Ceres, when he'd been desperate for change. The men on this ship, however, seemed well-fed. Bad news for him.

"I am no peoples' pet!" The dog's fur bristled, its ears back for a moment before regaining its composure. "I am glorious hero of the people! A pioneer! I choose to help peoples like yourself in time of crisis."

He let out a little chuff of a woof.

"As for crew, they are mixed bag. The soldier, the spy, then pilot, the doctor, and the killer...I do not think they mean you harm. Perhaps if you had appeared to them more honestly, would be different outcome. You see, honesty is best of policies."

Flo had felt reassured when the doggo mentioned it'd offer help of some kind. He was, after all, definitely in the midst of a crisis. Physical, psychological, emotional crisis. Running from death that seemed to be closing in around him for the past several weeks, only to find himself further trapped within the confines of what he presumed was a relatively small vessel.

Then the Shiba mentioned a killer.

"Killer?!" the boy gasped, desperate to know more, even after the dog's reassurance that the crew was supposedly harmless. "What killer?! Oh god, please, no! But I haven't lied! I haven't lied about anything!"

"I do not think you need worry. This is not killer like shark, is mindful, is thoughtful. Has done enough killing for life time perhaps. You, they will not seek. Harm this crew, then you will be sought I think," the dog said. He put his head under Flo's hand. "Now you give pats. Is clinically proven to be good for heart."

Flo coughed a little, still recovering from the lung contusions he still suffered from. He opened his eyes wider, the swollen one refusing to offer more for his vision.

The kid had a feeling that this dog was just an illusion, a hallucination, but such a thought drifted off when he could swear he definitely could feel its soft fur between his fingers. A tiny smile crept into the edge of his lips, and he obeyed by flexing his fingers to give the floating puppy a gentle scratch over its head. It responded by wagging its curly tail, squinting its eyes, flattening its ears.

"Good boy," he managed to whisper. "So... They'll keep me on board. Okay. Good."

"You keep petting and they keep you. Show them like me, are good dog. Useful," the Shiba rolled its head, pushing an ear under Flo's hand. "That is spot I think....yes..."

+++

Alex floated back in, his mag boats clomping to the deck as he tapped his heels together. The MCRN trained medic glanced at the vitals on the screen, nodding to himself as he dredged up older memories.

"Okay kiddo, how are we...doing?" Alex asked, noticing that the kid's hand was flapping around in the air. Not, waving around for attention, but a determined motion nonetheless.

Florian's eyes opened. He couldn't be sure if he'd been unconscious the whole way, but the dog was now gone. He looked around, searching, but it had gone. His hand was no longer scratching through the soft fur. Instead, it floated in the air purposelessly, whilst his other rested over the arm rest, its wrist strapped firmly, but not too tight to make him want to struggle.

He groaned again. "How... badly am I hurt...?"

"Full body contusion, basically you're bodily bruise. The usual thing with acceleration-based injuries. You'll heal, but you'll feel every bit of the healing process. Anti-inflammatories, pain meds, and some anti-clotting agents should keep you going until you're well enough to sleep it off in a bunk. You got lucky," the Martian doctor said. "You stumble the other way, fall just a little to the left and right, and the gee's might have dislocated your skull from your spine if the angle was bad. You have a guardian angel looking out for you somewhere."

 

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