A short snippet from April #8 – rough

Kurt had to go past the clinic to a lower rent area to find a salon. Getting his hair buzzed off helmet short took  a couple minutes and was cheaper than styling. He used five of the new bits to pay and tipped the fellow an extra bit. He seemed happy with that since he’d turned down the other offered services.

The clinic wasn’t busy at all. The nurse practitioner seemed to be the receptionist too, and said she’d start doing his tests so the doctor could see him when done with his current patient. The tests seemed to be mostly remote scanning with one finger prick.

Doctor Lee came in after a couple minutes and sat reading the screen from the testing for a good ten minutes before proceeding. He asked Kurt if he’s just had a large meal, and suggested he might have some gene modes if he was going to eat like that as a habit. Otherwise he’d probably be seeing him to restore pancreatic function.

 Kurt was young and flexible, but the doc still had him test his grip and strength at extension. He did reflex and hearing tests and a vision test, checking for color perception too. The medical he’d had before when hired for Mitsubishi hadn’t been anywhere near as thorough. Kurt said as much to him. 


He had Kurt strip and dimmed the lights, examining him with a hand held scanner that illuminated a few square centimeters at a time. He was very thorough, requiring him to lift his arms to scan his arm pits and his private areas, even scanning between his toes.

“Were you looking for skin cancer doc?” Kurt wondered.

“Yes, you’ve been on Earth and in fairly tropic latitudes. You’ve had sunlight exposure now and as a child. Some of the pollution there also accelerates the process to develop skin cancer. I can detect in scan several years before it may show up to the unaided eye or a blood test. Also I’m checking for other common Earth diseases, parasites, fungal infections and unhealed injuries. You have your hair nice and short, but we once did a physical on a fellow three days out from Earth who had a tick hidden in his thick hair. He had no idea, and they are filthy things. Are you aware you had an infection of Charleston fever recently?” Doctor Lee asked.

“I have no idea what that is,” Kurt admitted.

“It’s a bacterium, similar to Lyme disease, other Borrelia, Bourbon disease, Colorado fever, Heartland virus, Spotted fever, Malaria, Yellow fever, Zika, Dengue, or West Nile in its mode of transmission. It isn’t definitively linked to ticks or mosquitoes, yet. But I personally expect it will be. The filthy things are a huge vector for both viral and bacteriological diseases.” Lee frowned. “Or protozoan parasites. That’s what Malaria is. Damned filthy bugs spread everything. Probably stuff we don’t suspect yet.

“Charleston has a very low morbidity. That’s why it took such a long time to be recognized. When people die from stuff it gets our attention faster. You probably thought you had a cold. You have a high level of the antibodies but not an active infection so you’ll be fine. You have antibodies for a lot more serious stuff. You’ve had three kinds of flu, chickenpox, and seven typed rhino viruses,” Lee revealed. “I don’t see indications you’ve ever had Mumps, TB or Diphtheria, and we’ve seen evidence of just about everything but Smallpox come through here.”

“You make me wonder how I ever survived Earth,” Kurt said.

“A lot of people don’t,” Lee agreed. “I may visit again if relations improve in the future, but you can be assured I will be very cautious where I go and what activities I enjoy.”

“Why does Mr. Singh pay for such a detailed physical?” Kurt wondered.

“You have it backward,” Lee informed him. “Mitsubishi detailed exactly what they wanted to pay for in my instructions. Jeff Singh just said use your professional discretion and do whatever you think is best and necessary.”

“You know, if he respects a beam dog’s experience with their job like he does doctors I may like working for the man,” Kurt decided.

“Well, I’m done, and you pass. There is no medical reason why you can’t work for him,” Lee said. “You are typically healthy for an active young man of your age.” That isn’t to say you wouldn’t benefit from a number of small changes in diet and habits. I can see you don’t have an unhealthy taste for alcohol, or narcotics. You are also likely shorting yourself an hour or so of sleep a night. If you want a copy of your physical and a risk assessment, ask my assistant and she’ll transfer it to your pad, send it to your com account or print it out for a bit. It will have some of those recommendations attached. Of course you would benefit from life extension therapies, but they would preclude you visiting many places on Earth again.”

“I’m starting to wonder if I care about that,” Kurt admitted, standing to leave. “Thanks Doc.”

“You’re welcome. Try to keep your helmet on straight,” Lee joked. “It makes a hell of a mess for us to fix when you guys try to breath vacuum.”

“Yeah, I’ll keep that in mind,” Kurt promised.

15 Responses to A short snippet from April #8 – rough

  1. Katie F March 21, 2016 at 2:52 am #

    Tease 🙂 Love the snippets!

  2. Mike G. March 21, 2016 at 11:22 am #


    One typo I spotted: <>

    That closing double-quote after “age.” isn’t needed – the quote continues in the next sentence.

  3. Mike G. March 21, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    Argh! Swallowed by quoting with angle brackets.

    Here’s what I was trying to copy/paste:
    “You are typically healthy for an active young man of your age.” That isn’t

    The double-quote after age. is the incorrect one.

    • Mac March 22, 2016 at 11:26 pm #

      Thanks. It is rough, but might as well start cleaning it up now.

  4. JimH March 21, 2016 at 10:03 pm #

    Thanks, Mac! Love the snippets and your stories.

  5. DonC March 22, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

    I’ suggest an edit to what Dr. Lee says in the paragraph about the diseases since the first sentence says they are all bacteria, but most are viral diseases and some even include virus in the name. Since bacteria and viruses are so very different in biology don’t think Dr. Lee would say it that way. (Also since Lyme disease is caused by a Borrelia species, Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia is redundant.)

    • Mac March 22, 2016 at 11:25 pm #

      You’re right – he wouldn’t say it that way – unless he made it clear he was speaking of a common mode of transmission. Thanks. Nice point about Borrelia. I had no idea.

  6. DitN March 22, 2016 at 11:48 pm #

    Nice! Thank you.

  7. Kevin W April 24, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    In April#6, I believe that ‘morbidity’ was used where the context implied ‘mortality’. Morbidity is ‘the relative incidence of a particular disease in a specific locality’ i.e. sickness rate, whereas mortality is ‘the relative frequency of deaths in a specific population’ i.e. death rate. (Sorry to be pedantic).

    Would this snippet benefit from a change to ‘mortality’?

    • Mac April 24, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

      I’ll go look. I’m more concerned with changes to the published version. Thanks. Nope went and looked at it – and I was talking about the spread from city to rural and it disrupting business, then an increase in a couple specific places in Italy. So I was talking about how many sick more than percentage dead. I may have phrased it oddly but decided not to change it.

  8. Stephen June 30, 2016 at 4:32 am #

    If you are truly concerned about changes to published versions consider the difference between gravity and pseudo rotational gravity. The flying toy used by Lindsay would need reprogramming to work on a space station.
    On earth lift is important to counter gravity with thrust for horizontal movement.
    On a rotating orbital ring thrust is important to maintain location over the rotating ring with some lift if needed for desired height.
    The acceleration profiles for operation are different and there is too few people in space for a bulk manufacturer to offer a space setting.

    • Mac June 30, 2016 at 6:14 am #

      This assumes controls on drones stay the same for the next 50 years. We have some drones right now that will follow you at a set distance as you bike or ride a white water raft. Of course some things like GPS controls obviously aren’t going to work there, and even on a manual control the flight path will be curved – just like throwing a ball – the operator will have to compensate. I’m not going to try to engineer every detail in reality to use it in a story. I skipped over worrying about how it senses the variable acceleration at different deck levels too.

  9. Stephen July 7, 2016 at 12:20 am #

    The flight programming for Earth and microgravity rotational space stations would still be different even for relative spatial planning (set distances from operator).
    Curved ballistic aerial paths are false. Its an illusion for people on a rotating frame of reference but doesn’t exist absolutely.
    Powered flight paths are not ballistic and have constant acceleration which is very different for flight on Earth and on a spinning space station.
    A mass produced cheap toy is not likely to have the self learning ability to modify its own flight programming even if it has all the sensors needed for a variable rotational inertial environment and flexible flight acceleration.
    The difficulty for me is around the toy’s price and mass market. Both are wrong for the event but its your IP.

  10. DitN July 7, 2016 at 12:33 am #

    The drones available today have some amazing programming, and getting more sophisticated by the month. Some of it will be developed for simple avoidance (including humans and other drones) and the wind; and the algorithms to control are software, so the cost of reproduction is close to zero. Some of the algorithms useful on a space station are the same ones that would work for drones in a moving enclosed vehicles, such as a train car or a bus. It’s certainly possible that in the next 50 years (heck, next 5 years) some programmers will work out a way for a toy-level drone to stay “in place” in a train car on a curving track, or an elevator car — and use it in mass-produced firmware.

    • Stephen July 7, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

      Quite possibly but those will all still be in a 1 G environment. Unless programming includes use in space there will be no programming for a microG environment.

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