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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 11: Kondor 45
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Choking and sputtering, Kondor wasn't even certain he could stand; but he could see Walter lying on the deck a few feet away, and saw in him the face of his friend from another world. He crawled over and waved everyone back, still trying to catch his own breath. He placed his ear to the man's chest, and took his wrist with his fingers. No breath, no heartbeat, no pulse–the condition was definitely serious.
He learned cardiopulmonary resuscitation before he finished high school, a necessary part of his lifeguard training. Obstructions, breath, compressions–he'd never done it for real, never once in all those summer days as a lifeguard had he had to save someone. That was years ago, before the parakeet people, before Sherwood Forest, before he died, before he joined the army. If he could remember, he could save a life. Anyway, if he did it wrong, Walter would be no worse off for it.
He heard the gasps as he began. He had forgotten his medical history. It was really quite amazing that efforts to save people from death dated back to the Egyptians; they buried people in hot sand, warmed them with fires, tossed them over horses, pumped their arms, and yet it wasn't until the middle of the twentieth century that anyone thought to blow air into someone's mouth if they stopped breathing, and even later than that that efforts to pump blood by pressing on the chest were tried. He didn't have time to worry about this; he had a life to save.
Suddenly Walter spasmed, coughed violently, and vomited salt water all over the deck. He was alive.
"Get him to sick bay," Kondor gasped. Then, as an afterthought, "Me, too."
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eight other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #78: Novel Fears. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: