keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 23: Kondor 49
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 22: Hastings 51
The question at Durnmist was whether Doc Evan should disembark and be admitted to a local hospital or remain on the ship under Kondor's care. The verser tended to be of a mind to keep him; he didn't imagine that hospitals were as clean as his medical bay nor physicians as knowledgeable as he. On the other hand, there wasn't much to do at this point but watch him to assure his condition did not worsen, and make sure he got plenty of rest. He was fairly confident by this time that the doctor was recovering, and would fully recover, without any further intervention on his part; even the antibiotics were no longer being given. He had advanced to regular food, and was able to walk some. The concern was that something still might go wrong, and the local doctors wouldn't know how to treat it. Kondor would rather keep the patient where he could monitor his recovery; he had put too much effort into saving this life to let it slip away beyond his reach.
Yet he couldn't very well tell the captain that he didn't trust the local hospital, didn't think all of their doctors and facilities combined would be as able to care for Evan as he could here on a ship with a handful of medics. If he wanted to keep his patient under observation, he would have to put it differently.
"Captain?" he began.
"Regarding Evan, sir, I'd like to keep him on board."
"I'm not a doctor, Joseph, but it seems to me that his condition is rather serious, and he should be in a hospital."
"Normally I would concur, sir. But Doctor Evan's condition, while still very serious and very limiting, is no longer life threatening. He is recovering rapidly. If I understand the route, we still have stops at Tristar, Haven, Tempest, and Moon of Korg before we reach Sardic, and it will take us at least a month and in all likelihood closer to three. By the time we reach Sardic, I expect him to be able to resume nearly all of his normal duties. He won't be able to lift heavy objects, and will probably be a bit slow moving around on the ladders for a few months, but given his job description those things won't particularly matter. He's a good doctor, and a good friend of yours, and when the Mary Piper sets sail again he should at least have the opportunity to continue as her chief medic if he wishes."
"I had imagined myself trying to persuade you to take that job, Joseph. I know you must have people back home in New Haven that you're eager to see, probably wondering what happened to you by now, but you're an excellent ship's doctor and there are worse jobs out there."
Kondor hadn't considered that aspect of his story. Eventually the ship would return to New Haven, of course; the captain was obviously expecting him to stay there, the port from which he claimed he had come, but he had no family or friends, no practice or credentials or contacts there. Knowing what the shipping business is like, he half imagined he would never reach New Haven, or that his imagined connection with that city would have been forgotten before they arrived. He needed to begin planning his future.
"Well, John, I haven't really decided what I'll be doing next. I don't mind working as a medic here, if there's an opening. Or perhaps I'll broaden my horizons–astral navigation sounds like a fascinating profession, and I might be able to persuade Donald to take me on as an apprentice if there's an opening there. And if not there, I know some carpentry and could learn to be a shipwright in engineering, or maybe try my hand at piloting this vessel. There's a lot a man could learn here, and I'd like to learn it. I don't have much family back home, and I expect by now my patients have lost patience and found another doctor somewhere. Besides, they say if you want to be captain of one of these barges, you have to learn several people's jobs."
"You are a remarkable man. I think you probably could be a captain already. But you're right, they do expect their captains to know a lot more about running the boat. All right, we'll keep Evan here and let you take care of him. The rest we can decide after we reach Sardic."
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 #82: Novel Developments. 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: