Tag Archive: Both Sides Now


SFR logoIt’s the Science Fiction Romance Brigade Showcase. Click for the rules and this month’s participants.

The vet would have gotten word to him if “Kevi” had died or escaped, but aside from that he had no idea of how the R’il’noid was doing. Besides, Coralie was still there. Let Doc make the decision on whether to destroy Star. Normally, horses no longer able to earn their keep and of no sale value went to feed the dogs, but for Jadel, with his wife dead and his children scattered, Star was family.

Mik had to hold Coin to a slow walk with the injured Jadel riding double behind him, and Star, lame as he was, managed to keep up. Loco whined and dug at the bottom of her pannier, and Mik reached down to scratch the dog’s ears, wondering absently why she was so restless today. Frustration at the fact that he’d used her so little? But she’d tired so fast when he did try to send her after a stray that he’d mostly kept her in her pannier.

Doc’s old bay leopard was not in the paddock, and Mik looked at the door, worried. “Doc?” he shouted.

A stranger came to the door, walking carefully, with a half-finished hackamore draped over one arm. “He’s stitching up a silkie bull named Sam,” he called cheerfully. “Should be back in an hour or so. I gather Sam’s rather prone to this sort of thing. Can I help? I’m Kevi—been helping Doc out.” His eyes shifted to Jad, and his lazy demeanor vanished. “Be right back,” he called over his shoulder. When he reappeared, the hackamore was gone and he was carrying a tube of something, flipping off the cap as he came.

Kevi? The R’il’noid Mik had held in front of him on Coin had been little more than skin stretched over bone. This man was gaunt, but nothing like Mik remembered. He wasn’t actually lame either, Mik thought, just careful of both slippered feet. Amazing, considering what those feet had been like a month earlier, and now that he looked, neither hand seemed quite right either. But what did he mean, that he was helping Doc? Where was Coralie? “What’s in the tube?” he asked.

“Pain killer and anti-shock medication,” Kevi said as he held the tube up to Jadel. “Squeeze the whole tube between gums and lips. Don’t try to swallow it; you’re too shocky for that. Mikal, can you help him down? That dislocation needs to be reduced before the swelling gets any worse, and I can do that, with a little help.”

If Doc was at Aldeman’s, which was the logical place if he were treating Sam, it’d take Mik three hours to get Jad there. Letting the injured man rest here made sense, though he wished he’d reacted fast enough to stop Kevi’s medication. He had no idea what might really be in that tube. “Where’s Coralie?” he asked as he helped Jad down.

“Over in the storage caves,” Kevi replied. “Doc won’t let me walk that far yet. Uh—you do realize this dog’s in labor, don’t you?”

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It’s Saturday, and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents. Click the logo above for information on this blog hop and links to other participants.

I’m still posting from Both Sides Now, continuing from last week. (All my snippets can be reached from the index.) This is from Mik’s POV, after he has seen Jadel and Star fall.

At least Jadel seemed to have survived the fall, as he was sitting up by the time one of the other riders reached him. Mik wasn’t so sure about Star, who was still trying to struggle to his feet at the bottom of the slope.

“Easy, boy,” he soothed as he rode Coin up to the dazed old gelding. Nothing obviously broken, at least, and as he watched, the horse managed to regain his feet. Mik leaned over to catch the dangling reins, and then patted the brown’s neck before leading him a few paces. Lame. The old horse certainly could not carry Jadel back to the camp. Grimacing, he led Star up the slope to where Curon and Jad waited.

“Jad’s got something wrong with his shoulder, Mik,” Curon called as he approached. “Better have Doc take a look at it. His place isn’t far.” Jadel looked pale, and when he got a good look at the man’s distorted shoulder, Mik knew why.

“I’ll take him,” he said, almost glad of the interruption. “Find Domik and tell him to take over.” He hadn’t seen Doc in well over a month, and this was too good an opportunity to miss.

SFR Presents logo

It’s Saturday, and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents. For information this blog hop and links to the other participants, click on the logo above.

I’m still posting from Both Sides Now, with the first part being in Doc’s POV as he comes to terms with treating Kevi. The second part is a little distance away, and in Mikal’s POV.

Still, Kevi’s hand was markedly more flexible by the time Doc took the cast off his other hand and Kevi started trying other types of therapy to recover strength and range of motion.

No question that the R’il’noid wasn’t at all what he’d expected, Doc thought. He wondered how Mik would react to the man. He’d find out soon; Mik would have to come by the cave in the next fiveday or so, if only to pick up Coralie for the spring migration. Doc could hardly wait.

Mik

The instant Star fell Mikal knew he had made a mistake. Jadel, Star’s rider, was as much too old for this kind of work as was his aged brown snowflake gelding. But they were desperately short-handed. They had to bring all the horses in before the drive to summer pastures. Slavers would almost certainly be watching from the sky, and Terry, who’d been left behind this time, was unique among the younger people in being able not only to look old and unattractive, but in being able to move that way.

Mik didn’t dare use those young and attractive enough to interest the slavers—but leaving the oldsters like Jadel behind, when they needed riders so badly, would have been an insult to the old man.

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It’s Saturday, and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents. For information on this blog hop and links to other authors, click on the logo above. They’re still on hiatus, but you’ll find some information about the SFRB.

I’m still posting a scene from Both Sides Now, in Doc’s POV. He’s just finding out how bad a patient “Kevi” (really Roi Laian) can be.

It wasn’t a matter of ignoring Doc’s orders. It was a combination of Kevi’s feeling responsible for Nonie and the fact that he knew how his own body healed better than Doc did. It took Doc more than a fiveday to admit that—he’d insisted that at Kevi’s age the casts had to stay on for at least a month, preferably two. Kevi wanted the cast off his right hand after six days, insisting that the bones had knit to the point that continued healing would be faster without the cast.

“Use the scanner,” Kevi challenged when Doc insisted that removing the cast at this stage would be disastrous—and Kevi had been right. Doc watched incredulously as Kevi carefully spread and closed his fingers. “Still a little stiff, but they’ll come around. Got a small ball? Preferably something elastic enough to bounce?”

The next time he saw the ball, it was in Nonie’s good hand, being bounced on the floor as she grabbed for pebbles with the same hand. “Eight minus five,” Kevi called after she tossed the pebbles back to the floor, and grinned approval when she managed to pick up three pebbles and grab the ball before it bounced a second time.

SFR Presents logo

It’s Saturday and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents. a blog hop where we share about 200 words from something we’ve written. For rules and links to other participants click on the logo above. (You may not get participants, as the hop seems to be on hiatus.)

This is still from Both Sides Now, a continuation from last week in Doc’s POV.

Kevi turned out to be perfectly serious about re-breaking and setting his hands, and insisted on the same treatment for his feet. “You’re not up to it, Doc said at first, and then “Not both sides at once,” followed by “Hands and feet both?”

By then Coralie had found a box with the medical code symbol, and she and Kevi spent the next morning inventorying its contents. Kevi happily identified antibiotics, painkillers, and a field fracture kit that included not only bone setting materials, but a portable bone-scanning kit. “No more excuses,” he told Doc, and forty-eight hours after his awakening the bandages on hands and feet were replaced by casts. Without painkillers. Kevi insisted that the drugs would interfere with both his ability to tell when the bone fragments were properly positioned and his normal rapid healing, though he had no hesitation in using both painkillers and antibiotics on Nonie.

Doc did succeed in getting Kevi to promise not to try to walk other than to and from Doc’s prized indoor sanitary facilities, and moved him into one of the finished bedrooms adjacent to those facilities. And he began to understand exactly what Kevi had meant when he’d said he was a terrible patient.

If you want to see more of Kevi (an alias for Roi Laian, as the reader should be fully aware at this point) he is the main character in Homecoming, Tourist Trap, and Horse Power, though he’s much younger there.

SFR Presents logo

It’s Saturday and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents, a blog hop where we share about 200 words from something we’ve written. For rules and links to other participants, click the logo above, but it may not work today. SFRBP seems to be on a hiatus, though I’ll continue posting.

I am still posting from Both Sides Now, a WIP that blends science fiction, adventure, politics and a touch of romance. Kevi’s hands are too badly injured to allow him a normal grip on a marker, so Coralie has wound bandages around one to give him something to grip.

This time Kevi was able to grasp the roll of bandage, though he was clearly unhappy with his final result. “And I used to call myself an artist,” he said disgustedly. “I think it’s recognizable, though. Those are the symbols for medical supplies, food, clothing and shelter. They should be on the outer boxes. The medicines are the most important. If you can spot something with these subcodes, those are the general codes for painkillers, anesthetics, and antibiotics—but they’ll likely be in smaller packages inside the large boxes.”

“Can I borrow your horse, Doc?” Coralie said as she headed for the door. When she was gone, Doc turned to Kevi. “You’re willing to do this?” he asked.

Kevi met his eyes squarely. “Humanitarian aid.” he said. “Perfectly legal, even if Zhaim hadn’t started this. Weapons or ammunition—maybe, if those predators move in. But you’d be stupid to attract attention by using them on Confederation troops.”

Doc nodded. “That’s what Mik and Terry keep telling us. Hide and be quiet. It’s not easy advice to follow, especially for the younger men. Did I tell you Mik’s hoping Terry will marry Coralie? He’s the one man she doesn’t seem afraid of.”

Predators? They’ve run into pumas on the trek to rescue Kevi—and pumas (or other large predators, or any felines at all) were not included in the terraforming of Horizon.

SFR Presents logo

It’s Saturday and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents, a blog hop where we share about 200 words from something we’ve written. For rules and links to other participants, click the logo above.

I am still posting from Both Sides Now, a WIP that blends science fiction, adventure, politics and a touch of romance. Doc has just mentioned his frustration that though they have access to stolen Confederation supplies, they have no idea what they are.

Kevi was suddenly alert. “Do they have the Confederation codes on them?” he asked.

“Yes, but we can’t read them. We don’t even know if any of them are medical supplies.”

“I know the codes,” Kevi said thoughtfully. “If you have a marker and something I can write on I’ll show you the top-level symbols for medical supplies, food, and shelter. No telling what drugs are there until I see the boxes, but I’ll know how to use them and if there are things we need.”

We need? Coralie grabbed a marker stick and pad off the counter that served Doc as a desk, but Kevi was unable to grasp the narrow marker. He tried, frustration clearly growing, but his hands were simply too distorted to handle something so small.

“Maybe it’d work better if I just looked it over and picked out the boxes with medical supplies,” he said finally.

Doc snorted. “Other side of the valley, on those feet? No way. Not if I have to sit on you.”

“Give it to me,” Coralie said sharply, snatching up the marker. She selected one of the cloth rolls from the bandage shelf and began re-rolling it around the marker stick. “Try that,” she said when she was finished.

SFR Presents logo

It’s Saturday and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents, a blog hop where we share about 200 words from something we’ve written. For rules and links to other participants, click the logo above.

I am still posting from Both Sides Now, a WIP that blends science fiction, adventure, politics and a touch of romance. Doc is introducing Kevi to Coralie, who has been acting as his nurse. Her brother, Mik, was one of those who rescued Kevi.

“Kevi, this is Coralie. She’s acting as my nurse, but she’s Mikal’s sister.” He wasn’t sure how to warn Kevi, in front of Coralie, about her history, or how protective Mik was of her.

Kevi moved back to the table and sat down, favoring his feet considerably more than he had, and nodded his head to Coralie. “I am most pleased to meet you. Have you had a chance to examine Nonie physically? I didn’t dare try without deep anesthesia; she was too afraid of me. And I understand you have no anesthetics.”

Coralie had relaxed visibly, and it took Doc a minute to realize that Kevi, by limping, sitting down and making sure he was not between her and any exit, had deliberately made himself non-threatening. He wasn’t sure whether to be reassured or threatened by the R’il’noid’s ability to read and respond to body language. “Nothing stronger than your willow bark tea,” Doc said.

“Except the Confederation supplies,” Coralie responded.

“We don’t know what they are,” Doc said, exasperated. “Those tubes could be wound dressing or lubricant, we don’t know. Same with the other stuff. I don’t know why your brother ever traded for them.”

SFR Presents logo

It’s Saturday and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents, a blog hop where we share about 200 words from something we’ve written. For rules and links to other participants, click the logo above.

I am still posting from Both Sides Now, a WIP that blends science fiction, adventure, politics and a touch of romance. Here Doc (really a veterinarian but the only doctor the horse nomads have) is getting acquainted with my hero, who he thinks of as Kevi. He’s just told Kevi that his white hair, unusual on a young man on the planet Horizon, has already been dyed darker, and another rescuer has left dark contact lenses—if Doc can remember where they are.

Kevi gave him a startled look, peered into the mirror and nodded in approval. “Black hair, and with brown eyes my skin color won’t be looked at twice. Better gray my hair a bit. Thanks, Doc. You guys are incredible, especially considering what I suspect you’ve heard about me.”

There they were. Doc found the right box and handed it to Kevi, who carefully examined the lenses before inserting them. When he turned, blinking to settle the lenses in place, his coloring looked normal. He might be a little darker than average for Horizon, but nobody would give him a second look.

“Now,” the R’il’noid said briskly, “exactly what do you have in the way of medical supplies? I’ve got a hunch that kid still needs some work from the rape, but not without anesthesia or at least tranquilizers. And I can’t do it until I can use my hands better—a couple of the bones probably need to be broken and reset.”

In reply, Doc unlocked the cupboard where he kept the few drugs he had managed to scrape together. “That’s it. I’ve got my surgical kit, and some boiled rags for bandages. And a little cautery powder, but only a little, and it’s not very effective.”

SFR Presents logo

Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents is a Saturday blog hop with up to 200 words from something we’re writing that has elements of both Science Fiction and Romance. (Click the logo above for rules and links to other participants.)

Both Sides Now is science fiction, adventure, politics and a dollop of romance. Here we’re getting acquainted with the hero, Kevi (as Doc thinks of him) who is the first to speak.

“Well, that’s changed if I can just get word to those I trust on Central. Zhaim’s kidnapping me turns the whole situation on its head. But I need to stay out of Zhaim’s hands long enough to contact someone I trust, and for that I need a hiding place. Confederation forces here on Horizon will be loyal to Zhaim.”

“Terry figured you’d need that. But the group’s small, and keeping those most vulnerable to slaving out of sight leaves us short-handed. You’ll be noticed if you don’t pull your weight.”

To Doc’s surprise, Kevi grinned. “Anything but cooking,” he said. “It’s not that I mind the drudgery, I’m just a lousy cook. I’ve got medical training, and I’m good with kids and animals. But I’d better darken my hair and eyes. My coloring’s unusual, even for this planet.”

“Looked in a mirror since you woke up?” Doc said, waving toward a piece of polished metal on the wall. “We darkened your hair on that road, and Terry left me some brown contact lenses.” He started rummaging through a cupboard. Now where had he put the contact lenses?