Rimworld snippet…

The usual disclaimers…

Recovery

Fargo swam slowly back to consciousness, opened his eyes, and saw OneSvel leaning over the open medcomp. “Mphfff… wa…”

One of OneSvel’s pseudopods pushed a straw between his lips as another pseudopod gently squeezed the bulb of water. Fargo sighed blissfully as he felt the water in his mouth, then swallowed.

OneSvel extruded another pseudopod and gently touched his temple, “How do you feel?

Fargo projected, “Lousy. My shoulder feels like it is on fire, and my nose itches. How long have I been out?

Long enough. We will speak now.

“How do you feel?”

Fargo took another swallow of water and scratched his nose with his right hand. “I feel like hell. How long have I been out?”

“Nineteen days and a few divs this time. The repairs on your shoulder have been completed, and the nanobots are finishing knitting the muscles back together now.”

Another head poked over the edge of the medcomp and he looked up to see Captain Jace, “Where are we?”

The captain said, “Holding orbit over Hunter. They let us park here, in case we needed to get you on the ground quickly. We can burn down in about four hours if we need to.”

“Mikhail?”

“Evie dropped him off three weeks ago. We have a number of messages in the queue from various people for you.  Whenever you feel up to it, you can at least listen to them, if you desire.”

Fargo reached out and grabbed the bulb of water as it started to float off, and squeezed another drink out of it, “Later.” Glancing at OneSvel he asked, “How did the surgery go?”

“Thirty-seven pieces of your shoulder blade and collarbone were removed, ground down and fed to the nanobots. The rounds missed your pharmacope by about an inch. And the medcomp made almost three pints of blood for you. Other than that, fine. The basic structure has been rebuilt and the bots filled in the holes while we have been in zero G.”

Fargo shrugged then winced, “Ouch!”

OneSvel’s GalTrans gave the equivalent of a laugh, “Movement is not advised. Do I need to put you back under?”

Fargo held up his good hand, “No! I won’t do that again anytime soon. But I really need to go to the fresher.”

OneSvel cocked an eyestalk, “Can you manage?”

The captain interrupted, “We can get him there and back. And it has straps.” The captain opened the side hatch, as OneSvel extruded a pseudopod, gently helping Fargo to sit up and dangle his feet off the side of the medcomp.

Do not be stupid Fargo. I am tired of putting you back together. And there is no rush. Those that need to know your situation do, including Command.

Did you get a report off?

Yes, including the situation on Endine from Mikhail, and your mumblings.”

Mumblings?

Something about ice mining and an insurrection. No real specifics, but I included it anyway, along with the world’s location.

“Gently now, Fargo. Let the Captain tow you to the fresher. You don’t need to be bouncing off bulkheads in your condition.”

Fargo put his right hand on the captain’s shoulder, and glanced back at OneSvel. They were holding themselves in position by numerous pseudopods, attached to the bulkheads. So that’s how he’s doing that. That’s… cheating, he thought muzzily. He let Jace tow him to the fresher, then entered and cycled the hatch closed, saying, “I can do this part myself. Can I at least have a wrap?”

Jace chuckled, “Why, you are the only human aboard. And I don’t think OneSvel cares.”

Fargo rolled his eyes at the door, “Because I don’t want to catch any dangly bits on anything, okay? Just humor me.”

“Your wish is my command, Captain,” Jace said with a laugh.

“Oh, stuff it…” Fargo grumbled as he eased himself around and used the fresher, then set the fresher for clean, started the suction, and then the spray. Not going to screw that up again… Ever! He got wet, cycled the spray off and soaped up as the suction pulled all the water bubbles out of the fresher. He rinsed off, and ten secs later, after the last of the water had suctioned out,  he swam out of the fresher. He found a wrap floating in front of the door, and barely managed to get the wrap fastened, when Jace opened the hatch.

“Feel better now?”

“Much! But I’ve been out nineteen days. I don’t care how sterile that damn med comp is, I needed out for a little bit. Has OneSvel been here the whole time?”

Jace shook his head, “No, he’s been coming up when we come back into orbit to check on you.”

“Come back into orbit?”

“Well, just because you’re tying up the med comp doesn’t mean we’re not working and making credits. We’ve been running miners and supplies out to the belt, and as a bonus, getting them four days of acclimatization to zero G,” he said with a smile.

Jace towed him back to the sick bay, and maneuvered him back into the med comp, “There you go, nice and clean.”

Fargo sighed and looked over at OneSvel, “Why zero G? I mean, all my other med comp stays have been in G.”

OneSvel twittered and his GalTrans spit out, “Because you heal faster if the reconstruction nannites don’t have to fight gravity. Granted you are losing muscle mass by not having G on you, but since you’re missing most of your shoulder muscles, and the bones had to be rebuilt too, this probably reduced your time in the box by fifty percent.”

“Oh…”

“And we don’t mind getting a little time in zero G, since there are no hydrotherapy pools on Hunter. When you have as much bulk as we do, reducing the stress on the pseudopods. We don’t have any bones in them.”

Fargo looked startled, “What? I… didn’t know that. I always thought…”

OneSvel’s GalTrans gave the equivalent of a snort, “Thought and never learned. Typical human. Making assumptions, rather than getting facts.”

“I’m… sorry. I…”

OneSvel waved a pseudopod, “That is why we are the doctor, and not you. Now, for the next eight days, you will work on your rehabilitation for three divs per day. The captain was good enough to set up a portable AI rehab unit in the training compartment. I have programmed it to bring you back to at least fifty percent of strength and mobility in that time. When you are not in the unit, you will be here, in the med comp. Is that understood?”

Fargo looked up mutely, and OneSvel extended a pseudopod, “It is important to get you back to health as soon as possible. There are things occurring that you need to involve yourself in.

“Uh, yes. I will do the rehab.” Fargo projected, “I wasn’t expecting that forceful a statement. You know I always do my rehab.

That was for the captain. I sense that he is shielding.

Fargo smiled, If you only knew. “Ah, understood.”

OneSvel retracted the pseudopod. “Captain, can Evie take us back down? We think Fargo will be good for the next few days. When you come back this time, we’ll get him to his cabin and you can go back to having your ship be something other than a sick bay for him.”

“Certainly. Anytime you are ready.”

***

Jace took the data comp that Fargo had pushed his way, “Are you ready to go back under?”

Fargo nodded, “This rehab is kicking my ass. I hurt.”

“What is the old Earth saying? That which does not kill…”

“You makes you stronger,” Fargo finished the quote. “But dammit, that automated program is tearing me up. I know you lose muscle, but my legs are cramping, my thighs feel like they are on fire, and my shoulder feels like there is a knife stuck in it! And OneSvel turned off my damn pharmacope!”

Jace winced, “I think that is probably because it would counteract the med comp’s treatment.”

“Where are we?”

“About six divs out of the belt. We’ll drop the four modules in five divs, and the miner’s shuttle will be alongside in six divs.”

Fargo nodded, “Wake me in four. I’d like to at least say I’ve seen the belt.”

“Will do.”

Five hours later, Fargo sat strapped into the captain’s chair on the bridge as Evie smoothly maneuvered the Hyderabad into the edge of the belt, keying on the flashing beacon bobbing in front of them. Peering through the pilot’s windscreens, he could see a mishmash of rocks of various sizes, seemingly spinning out of control in a variety of directions that made no sense. Looking up at the plot, it was even more nightmarish, with vectors seemingly going in random directions, and a few red ones pointing at the ship.

His attention was drawn to another vidscreen showing the bottom of the ship, as what he could only think of as tugs moved underneath them. A speaker crackled, “Okay, we’re in position, drop the load.”

Captain Jace toggled a switch and the four containers and block of ice floated slowly away. The tugs each took one, and the last tug grabbed the ice block, wheeling away and following the others toward the mass of rocks. The speaker crackled again, “Shuttle inbound. ETA two secs.”

Evie replied, “Shuttle, you are cleared bay four starboard. Wipe your feet before you come in.”

A chuckle was heard over the speaker, “Got it. And we wiped our feet. Locked onto the approach beacon.”

A sec and a half later, Evie said, “Shuttle, standby for tractor in three, two, one. Locked.” The ship trembled gently as the shuttle was tractored into bay four. “Passengers will be disembarking through bay four. Please queue up with the crewman at the bay door, please ensure you have all of your belongings. It will take approximately fifteen secs to pump down.”

The passengers were loaded onto the shuttle, it was pushed out of the bay, and the ship turned for Hunter. “Nothing going back with us?”

The captain shook his head, “Nope. Maybe one trip in four we get something or somebody that wants to go in.”

“But there were, what, thirty bodies on here? Where…”

“Don’t know, and not going to ask. If we don’t ask, we get more business.”

Fargo leaned back in the chair, “Bullshit. This is a collection platform. You have your ways…”

The captain put his hand to his brow, “How could you possibly believe that poor little us…”

Fargo rolled his eyes, and the captain became serious. “They are building a refinery on one of the bigger asteroids. And they’ve lost at least three runabouts in the last month. So that’s at least nine dead. They need people. And only two of those containers were supplies. The other two were hab modules.”

“Why leave the ice block? I thought those were only used for micrometeorite shields on external cargo.”

“Water. They don’t have any, and regardless of what the Sci’s say, you can’t recycle enough to live more than about thirty days in these conditions. That tonnage will last a couple of months. They go out and laser off chunks at a time, plop it in their hydro system, purify it, and live on it. Sometimes they extract enough material out of them to pay for a new block.”

“Pay for it?”

“Yep, a thousand credits per ton.”

Fargo whistled as he unstrapped, “That’s… expensive.”

“Not if it keeps you alive. You going down?”

“Yes. I think I’ve got eight divs before the next session of folding, spindling, and mutilating.”

“Just think, only four more days of this.”

Fargo shook his head, “I’d rather not.”

***

Fargo groaned as he released the straps on the rehab unit, “Fuck you, you piece of shit. Never again. If I could, I’d blow you into bits and pieces.”

Jace chuckled, “Such language for an inanimate object. I’m shocked, shocked I say.”

“Inanimate my ass. That damn thing is way too animated to suit me. I’m gonna talk to OneSvel as soon as I land about that rehab schedule he set up.”

“Speaking of which, he’s going to ride down to your cabin. We’re going directly there.”

Fargo replied, “Um, not going to work. If I don’t land in Rushing River, Luann is going to kill me.”

“Mikhail, Luann, and the children are down at White Beach. Mikhail messaged you a couple of hours ago.”

Fargo just looked at Jace, who cocked his head. “I see everything. You keep forgetting that. We will pick up OneSvel at the space station, then drop to your cabin. You might want to let Luann know you’ll see them when they get back.”

Sarcastically, Fargo replied, “When will they be back?”

“Three days. Mikhail is meeting with the planetary governor over expansions to the TBT network. He decided to take Luann and the kids to give them a break and see something different.”

“Okay. Can I at least run through the fresher first?”

Two divs later, OneSvel came aboard, and immediately marched Fargo to the med comp, “Let me get a scan and see where we are.”

Grumbling, Fargo climbed into the med comp, “Did you ever learn about bedside manners?” OneSvel ignored him as he extruded various pseudopods and activated the med comp, noting various readouts, and finally opening the med comp.

He reached out with a pseudopod, gently touching Fargo’s temple. “You appear to be in one piece again. How do you feel?

Fargo projected, “I guess about eighty percent. But I really want to talk with you about the damn automatic rehab torture machine.

It did not break you. And I estimate you are at ninety percent. Better than expected. Zero G and rigorous rehab seems to speed up the healing process.

Why is my pharmacope off line? I’ve hurt after every session on that damn machine.

It was necessary for you to heal more quickly in the med comp. The pharmacope would have attempted to mitigate the pain, which was counter to the med comp’s feedback requirements.

Captain Jace walked in, “Are we ready to go to the shuttle?”

Fargo looked at OneSvel, who answered, “I believe so. There is nothing to be gained by leaving him here any longer. Can you transfer the auto rehab unit to the shuttle?”

Fargo interrupted, “Oh hell no. I’m done with that sumbitch. I have exercise…”

“Please put it on the shuttle. We will take it to the clinic. We believe we can use it to help other people during rehab with what we have learned with Fargo. And if Fargo doesn’t progress as expected, we can put him back on it.”

“Arghhh… alright, I’ll keep up the exercise.”

Four divs later, the shuttle landed softly a hundred yards from the cabin. As the hatch opened, Fargo saw a liteflyer parked outside what he thought of as his garage, but didn’t see anyone around. He shuffled down the ramp, a little unsure of his balance after almost a month in weightlessness, and was puffing slightly as he finally got to the steps. The door opened and Cattus and Canis came charging out, knocking him on his butt, as they happily licked his face. Urso came bounding up the landing strip, moaning in happiness, and he scrambled to his feet.

Looking up, he saw Nicole standing in the door, her hand over her mouth, “You can go ahead and laugh. I know you want to.” Then he saw tears running down her face.

Now I have a few questions…

Granted I’m trying to write a semi-hard science Mil-SF novel, but it’s not all battles and dying gloriously. It’s from a grunt’s perspective…

Am I going down a rathole by trying to be more realistic about recovery from being shot? Not going the handwavium, popping him back up at 100% in the next chapter? Do the details make sense? Does it add to Fargo’s story? Comments appreciated!

Comments

Rimworld snippet… — 20 Comments

  1. “Gray Lensman” had a couple chapters like this, with recovery and a nurse/love interest involved. There’s precedents.

    I like it, from the character perspective, to see how Fargo copes with recovery and getting back in the saddle. It also justifies some of the outbursts by the womenfolk in his life. This adds some good depth to Fargo and all the characters, including OneSvel who is worried about their(?) patient recovering and then undoing all their hard work.

    I had one bout with surgery and recovery, and that was plenty for personal experience of how tired and sore you get. Several friends and acquaintances spent MUCH more time in the body and fender shop after serious accidents or service injuries. Sometimes you just bought the next round and let them vent about it; just being there helped. The guys who were working back up to flight or parachute medical re-certification just made you wince in pain from their stories.

  2. A Rimworld snippet starts the weekend off just perfectly, now the weather is beautiful and the universe is a joyful place.
    Except for the mention of physical therapy.
    Physical therapy is aptly described as a modern day medieval torture chamber. (I have had shoulder surgery on both sides)

    Great read, and thank you!

  3. As I’m just recovering from heart bypass surgery, it makes all too much sense – physiotherapists are the spiritual descendants of Torquemada. I’d rather have the realism than handwavium though. It also fills out more of the characters, both Fargo and OneSvel.

  4. You’ve done physical rehab in your Grey Man series and IRL (in real life). It adds to the character and deepens relationships. Go for it!

  5. I think writing about the rehab adds a lot of interest to the characters; makes them more human instead of just two dimensional characters in a story. Just keep in mind “all things in moderation”. Hope to see this on Amazon soon!

  6. Hey Old NFO;

    Rehab is part of life, it adds realism to your character, it shows that they are not superman and people are rarely at 100% when they are thrust into a pressure situation. It is how they cope and handle the situation that defines them. I would add some of the backstory, it will add depth to your character. What makes your books so good that you do show the characters warts and all.

  7. Having read the Grey Man books, and now this, I’d say to leave it in. The realism adds to the character development, and imparts reality which is so often lacking in Sci Fi.

  8. I’ll hop on the bandwagon and say keep it. It is good to know that the protagonist isn’t a superman, and that this is costing him.

  9. From I have read …. I like it and look forward getting the book (hardcopy). I enjoy your writing; I hope you don’t mind if I refer to your storytelling style as a combination of Robert A. Heinline, Andre Norton and David Weber.

  10. All- Thanks for the comments. I always worry about getting bogged down in extraneous details that bore the reader to death…

    Posted from my iPhone.

  11. I wouldn’t dwell on it every time he gets injured, but once in a while it’s good to see the results of the damage done. It was interesting and gives a good lead-in for other aspects.

  12. Short answer: Yes, keep it in. For all the reasons mentioned above.
    Long answer: Yes, keep it in, so that guys realize after surgery, especially after extensive surgery it takes at least 3-4 months to get back to almost baseline. Every one wants to be cured 2 weeks after the doc sews them up. Not how it happens in real life. I spend lots of time telling patients they need patience and do their therapy/exercises so they will get better.

  13. Keep it in; rehab is the pits in life’s bowl of cherries.

  14. Like Frodo in LOTR, there are some wounds you never really heal from. I had by-pass surgery over two years ago and my chest still gives me fits where they split me open. Doc said the soreness may never go away. So my only suggestion is, even with the wonders of medicine in the Rim World universe, you might want to consider having Fargo never fully recover from his aches and pains. Get him up to 99%…and have him feel that odd twitch that says his shoulder has been rebuilt. Oh, and I love that you’ve covered the rehab! And you’re doing it without going in to tedious detail. Nice job.

  15. +1 to keep in. Just enough detail to make clear the extent of the injury

  16. Nitpick: You have a couple of references to time units of “secs”. Should they be “segs” to go with the “divs” used elsewhere?

  17. What Sendarious said:.. if yer gonna use “Divs” then “secs” is wrong, at least as I understand time units from other measurement systems….. And “ETA 2 Secs”? kinda really small amount of time for moving stuff that far, eh?

    As far as the rehab stuff, yeah, once in a while detail like this are good. All the time, maybe not so much.