Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Travelers - Chapter 26

So.....

After a VERY long time, I do have a chapter to post for The Travelers' ongoing story.  I can tell you that I will continue to try to keep writing on this story, but no guarantees on when the next part will be shared.  Sorry about that.  On the positive side, here's Chapter 26!  Thank you to those who have been so patient in waiting, as well as encouraged me to continue on.
JL-

*****


Chapter 26

It was surprisingly early the following morning when the Trio, along with Charges Seren, Ionna, and Kel, got together to discuss the situation.  They met in the Trio’s quarters since neither Cayson nor Oz was willing to let Amrynn do much more than rest in bed.  Her arguments against that directive hadn’t garnered her anything except a threat of going over both husbands’ knees if she moved without permission or took off the oxygen Cayson was keeping her on, hoping to prevent the onset of another painful headache.
When Seren, Kel, and Ionna arrived, the group settled around the bed to discuss what to do.  Cayson started things off.
“Amrynn, Oz and I have talked over everything as a family, but we decided to hold off on a final decision until we could have this meeting.  Ionna…Kel, are you both aware of the circumstances?”
The two nodded.  “We talked with Charge Seren this morning and were allowed to read and study the results of the scan you did yesterday,” Ionna confirmed.
Cay nodded.  “You both have first rankings in the medical field.  Oz, Am and I would like to know your thoughts and any suggestions we may not have considered.”
Kel silently motioned for Ionna to speak first.  The medical wing’s night Charge considered her words for a moment before explaining her thoughts. 
“This may not need to be said,” she began, “but you, Cayson, have the most knowledge and hands-on experience of any of us when it comes to brain issues.  I’m more trusting of your solutions than mine.  That being said, I did think of something that none of the notes I saw or the talk with Seren seemed to mention.”  She met each of the marrieds’ eyes as she continued.  “Charge Amrynn has been living very well for the most part since the development of this clot—seven years ago if I’m not mistaken.  From all accounts, it appears that it has not seriously threatened her health other than the headaches.  That gives me hope that there is little chance for it to grow or shift from its current position.  Plus, as Charge Amrynn knows probably better than any of us, the purity of both the air and water on Neveah is exceptional.  It’s my belief that fact could play into keeping the clot from developing past its current point.  Should all this be the case, then perhaps surgery could be put off and Charge Cayson, with the assistance of the qualified Travelers, could work on finding a clot cure that wouldn’t require surgery.”
There was a thoughtful silence when she finished as they all considered her suggestion.  Oz eventually broke the peace. 
“You’re right, Charge Ionna.  I hadn’t even viewed that as an option.  Cay, what are your thoughts?”
Cayson reached for Amrynn’s hand.  She willingly intertwined her fingers with his as she waited for him to speak.  “I’m back and forth on the idea,” he said in almost a neutral tone that didn’t fool his husband or wife.  “The three of us don’t like the risks surgery poses, but I’m just as apprehensive to just let it go.  What you’re suggesting makes a lot of good sense Ionna, except that it’s all based on maybes.  We have no guarantees that the clot won’t grow or shift, or that the purity of Neveah’s air will help.  And I can’t guarantee success in my research and experiments.  It’s true that the results of yesterday’s scan have given me innumerable ideas and tests to try, but only time and effort will show whether I succeed or fail.  In the meantime, anything could happen to Am…and that scares me,” he said a bit more softly.
Amrynn squeezed his hand and spoke up for the first time since the group gathered.  “We’re all scared right now, but I want to remind everyone that nothing has actually changed.  Cay…Oz, look at me,” she ordered her husbands.  Both men willingly met her gaze.  “I’m not saying yet whether we should wait or go ahead with surgery, but you need to remember that the only difference between yesterday and today is the information we now have at our hands.  I’ve faced nothing but headaches for years, and we already know that I was feeling very good in Neveah’s environment, so I think we have time to weigh all our options and consider things.”
Oz and Cay seemed to take simultaneous breaths, but they relaxed slightly at her words.
“You’re right, miela,” Cay agreed softly, and lifted her hand to kiss her fingers.  “We’ll try not to get ahead of ourselves.”  He offered a somewhat apologetic look to their guests before focusing on Kel.  “Charge Kel, I remember the quality of your work on Arlytia, but Charge Seren informs me you have personal experience in clot surgeries.”
Kel nodded.  “My mentor in the accelerated training program was Dr. Cale Metis.”
Just that information said a lot to Cayson.  Dr. Metis was the leading blood disease doctor on Arlytia.  Cayson had also studied under him, but it hadn’t been as close as a mentor/mentee relationship.
“Dr. Metis allowed me to assist him in a couple clot surgeries.  I’ve seen firsthand how they are drained and sealed, but I’ve also done it once myself.  Dr. Metis guided me in performing the procedure on a blood clot in the patient’s right soleus muscle.”
Cayson nodded knowingly.  “He did the same for me during the term I studied under him.”
“You’ve done a clot surgery?” Kel asked.
“Yes, a few actually.  Dr. Metis guided me in the first one I did as well, but I did three more in the year before we left Arlytia.”
“Then you’ve had more experience than me in that practice, but I will say that the clot I operated on while on Arlytia was comparable in size to the one showing on Charge Amrynn’s scans.  Actually, I think the one I worked on was even a hint smaller.  It’s delicate, but a surgeon’s steady hand shouldn’t have a problem pinpointing a micro-needle into it, and you’re well-known as an excellent surgeon, Charge Cayson.”
That statement brought a proud look to Amrynn’s eyes and she squeezed Cayson’s hand.  It was common knowledge that Cayson had been the youngest Arlytian to ever perform a successful surgery; that one being a bone alignment the day after he turned sixteen.  He’d been something of a celebrity for a time.
“Charge Kel, in your medical opinion, would you recommend surgery?” Amrynn asked as she tore her gaze away from Cay.
“That’s a much more loaded question than to just try to give a professional opinion,” he said truthfully.  “Medically, we all know clots are dangerous.  It’s because they are often hard to detect and are thus left to grow or move to vulnerable parts of the body that they cause so many problems, but they are treatable.  For me, anytime it is discovered that someone has developed a clot, I’d recommend a drain and seal surgery.  Done correctly, that procedure has a 99% cure rate.  However, I share everyone else’s nervousness about going ahead with that course of action when the clot is located where it is on Amrynn.”  His eyes and voice were very serious, but he felt full honesty was necessary as he looked to Amrynn.  “A small slip and we risk permanently incapacitating you, possibly killing you, instead of curing you.”
Another heavy silence filled the room.  Charge Seren thought hard about what he was hearing and his own knowledge of medical practices, and he was the first to speak up.
“Let me put an idea to everyone,” he started, sounding solemn yet somehow encouraging.  “This is only an idea if the three of you decide to go ahead with surgery, but if Charge Ionna is correct in the assumption that we have some time to work with on our hands, then let’s do what we can to make sure the surgery will be a success.  We have training apparatuses for a reason.  Cayson, you and Kel can work together and do practice procedures on an imitation patient.  We can set it up so you can work on both the size and location of the clot on the IP, and you’re both welcome to practice as many times as you need to until you believe you’re ready to do the surgery. 
“In the meantime, whatever your decision, I know for a fact from several of you that the pure air on Neveah definitely made a difference.  It may not be the way I was planning things, but I’d like to get the three of you set up on Neveah as soon as possible…today even.”
Cayson, Ozias, and Amrynn all looked at Charge Seren with surprise.  He held up a hand, already knowing their thoughts.  “You’re all valuable members of our crew and definitely irreplaceable, but we’re all trained to step in and fill the gap when necessary.  I can move Charge Ionna temporarily into your role, Cayson, and the two of you together can assign the rest of the medical crew as needed.  Charge Amrynn…Charge Ozias, the two of you can delegate responsibilities to your teams as well.  I’d recommend making assignments for at least a week.  That should give you time to both make a decision and to attempt practice surgeries if that is what you determine will be the best route. 
“Once your semi-permanent shelter is set up on land, I’d like you all to take at least two days to see if it makes a difference for Amrynn’s health.  After that, if all is well, I’ll use you to help set up the rest of the crew in shelters during the times you aren’t involved in anything medical.”
“I agree with Charge Seren,” Ionna stated.  “None of us are going to rush you to make a decision about the clot.  That is for the three of you to decide, but I can fully believe that it will be healthier for you, Amrynn, to be permanently in Neveah’s air.  I’m sure the three of you would like to talk amongst yourselves, but if we spent a couple hours this morning getting all our teams assigned, then we could get you all moved this afternoon, and after that you’d have a few days of uninterrupted time to fully consider your decision.”
With just a brief glance shared among them, the Trio made a decision and Oz spoke for them.  “We’re agreeable to that.  If it’s doable, it might be good to start on assignments right now while we’re all here and fresh.”
Seren nodded, but stood.  “I have other things I need to address this morning, but I trust all of you to delegate responsibly; just send me the final assignments when you’re done.  And Charge Amrynn…” 
Amrynn met the Charge Pilot’s gaze. 
“Try not to fear.  We’re all here for you, but more than that, I’ve every faith that your men will see you through this.”
Amrynn smiled proudly.  “So do I,” she agreed.
Charge Kel stood at that point.  “I should get back to my duties as well, but please let me know if I can help in any way.  Charge Cayson, if you believe it would be profitable to have me alongside you, I’m always available.”
They all thanked him, and Kel and Seren left the Trio’s quarters together.
“Kel,” Seren said almost as soon as the door closed behind them. 
“Yes, sir?”
“I know you’re the most qualified we have among the culinary team, but would it be doable for you to delegate a good bit for a week or so?”
“As you said, sir, we’re all trained to fill in when needed.   I have a fully competent team working with me and I trust them to see to the needs of the crew’s meals with a little guidance.”
“Good.  Then I’d like you to free up some time to assist Charge Cayson should they decide surgery is the route to take.  In fact, I’d like you to set up your shelter along with them.  I expect you’ll come and go on the ship as needed, but I think having you available to them at night would be a good thing.”
“I’ve no contention with that choice.  I can spend the morning making arrangements with the culinary team.  I’ll probably need to assist them each day with first meal and adjusting daily assignments as needed, but after that I can be available for anything Charge Cayson and his spouses need.”
“That’s wonderful, Kel.  I appreciate your willingness.  I’m also contemplating talking to Backer Corbin and having him set up a shelter on land today too.”
“Why Corbin, sir?” Kel couldn’t help asking.  His mind had immediately thought about asking Corbin to share a shelter with him instead of setting up a separate one.  He didn’t reveal that to Seren though.
“Well,” Seren said with the hint of an amused smile.  “I think he’d be grateful to get as far away from the ship’s agricultural center as he could, but the real reason is that I’ve been thoroughly impressed with what he showed me of his map.  I’ve yet to see the completed version, but I don’t doubt its thoroughness.  I feel with his experience and skill, he’d be the right choice to help me arrange the Travelers for this first settlement to be the safest it can be.  Putting him on land a few days ahead will give him the chance to study the layout of the area and even start setting up the temporary shelters.”
Kel smiled.  “I think that’s a great idea!  Corbin will be thrilled to use his talents, and I agree that you won’t find a better qualified choice.”
“I’m glad you agree,” Seren admitted.  “You spent more time with him than I did throughout the trek, so I knew you’d state whether or not he was ready for the assignment.  I’ll meet with him later today to tell him of this task.  I’d ask you to stay in contact with me as well.  Once you have things settled with your culinary team, let me know.”
“I will, sir.”           
            With an approving smile and nod, Seren ending their discussion and turned away from him, but Kel couldn’t suppress a smile at having an excuse to be so closely situated with Corbin, especially since he’d had to cancel their breakfast date when he been required to attend this meeting.  He trusted Corbin wouldn’t mind about that cancellation too much, and he hoped with the fresh start of their relationship that the young man wouldn’t be opposed to sharing a shelter too.
*****
Corbin nervously approached Charge Seren’s private office, wondering if he was in some sort of trouble.  He took assurance that he hadn’t been called to Wing C, but Charge Seren hadn’t asked him to come to his living quarters either, so Corbin knew his presence wasn’t just a casual get-together.  He knocked on the office door and controlled the urge to sidle from foot to foot.  When the door opened, Seren stood on the other side looking strong and mature beyond his years.  The poise of the man always sent Corbin’s stomach fluttering.
“Backer Corbin, come in please,” he invited. 
Corbin subtly straightened his shoulders and moved into the office.  It wasn’t a large area, but it was very professional looking.  The walls were decorated with star maps, along with ancient and modern directional tools hanging within easy reach, but in a way that was pleasant to the eye.  An expensive multi-grain desk was the main feature in the room, and it was adorned with a small data unit and several files, showing the work done in the space. 
“Have a seat, Corbin,” the Charge Pilot offered, motioning to a chair as he sat down on the other side of the desk.  “I’d like to discuss an assignment with you.”
Those words relieved some of Corbin’s anxiety.  It didn’t sound like he had done anything wrong.  Seren appeared to have a work meeting planned with him.
As soon as he sat, Seren began to inform him of the medical situation that had developed with Charge Amrynn.  Corbin, quickly understanding the seriousness of it, listened intently, but wondered what help he could actually offer.  Before too long, Seren got to that point.
“Charges Ozias, Amrynn, and Cayson will be moving onto Neveah today.  We all believe it will be the best for Amrynn’s health at this point.  Also, since Charge Kel can delegate the culinary needs to his Backers for a time, and because he has a first ranking in the medical field, he’s also setting up his shelter on Neveah to assist them if anything comes up.”
Corbin nodded his understanding, and he had new comprehension of why Kel had needed to cancel their breakfast date at last minute that morning.
“I’ve called you in because I have a new assignment I’d like you to add to your duties.  After seeing how well you have done on the map work, and knowing your abilities in construction and land knowledge, I want you to set up your semi-permanent shelter today as well.  You’ll be an extra helping hand to the others if needed, but primarily I want you to mark safe plots for the Travelers to set up their shelters.  I want to keep everyone within two square milias of the ship to start with, if you think that’s doable.  If you discover that is not reasonable, let me know, and then you and I can discuss our options.”
Corbin’s mind was already off and running with the assignment.  “Two square milias should be plenty for 120 people, but we need to take into account the waterway by us.  We’ll need that resource, but we can’t have shelters set up too close to it.  Ground around areas like that is notoriously bad for foundations, and we have no knowledge yet of rains or flood risks Neveah may have.  We’ll also want to reinforce and possibly level off some more the land that the ship is on, and decide if things like medical services and such will continue to be housed on the ship, or if we want separate structures for them amidst the shelters.”
Seren held up a hand and his lips tipped up in a brief grin.  “Focus on just the shelters for now, Backer Corbin.  Everything else can continue to be housed in the ship, and moved to land as we see fit.”
Corbin’s mouth twitched up to smile back.  “Ok.  I can work with that.”
Seren rose and offered his hand.  “Thank you, Corbin.  You can come to me if you have any questions, and I’d like to see your map of the trek once it’s completed.  It will be very helpful to have, especially when we start to expand our boundaries.”
Corbin put his hand in Seren’s, and for just a moment let himself enjoy the way their palms fit together.  “I will, Charge Seren,” he promised.
          When he left the office, he felt invigorated with Seren’s confidence in him.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Repair work - Update

Finally! My computer is back and hopefully fixed this time!  Now to find time to write!  Thanks for being patient everyone :)
JL-