Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nano-Fic: A Gentlemen's Duty (1)

“Just how do you think you’re gonna get blood outta me, anyway?”  
Sagkal’s question was a valid one.  At 145 centimeters tall, the creature massed as much in kilos.  Nor was any of it was fat - most of it, in fact, was tungsten, lead and other heavy metals.  Sagkal was a Sloak, after all.  He was addressing the newest member of the ship’s company of the trading ship Gentleman Scoundrel, the Medic and First-Class Steward, Canto Kura.
“Your blood’s thinner than normal - for a given value of normal, anyway.”  Canto picked up a catheter and IV bag with an almost obscenely long and thick needle attached.  “Which makes sense given your heart has to work against close to three standard gravities on Dram Mass.”  He had to side step behind to get behind Sagkal in the crowded sick bay.     “But the trick is these spines on your back, for radiating heat.”           There were a dozen such spines along the center of Sagkal’s broad back.  Were he on the world of his birth, they would grow up to 50 centimeters long to help guard against heat stroke.   Having lived among mainlines for so long, Sagkal’s were mere stubs that required a special chair back at his Gunner's Station but nothing else.  
“The blood vessels have to be close to the surface, to dump the heat, you know?”
“Yeah, so - shit!” Sagkal winced as the needle pierced the relatively thin skin of his dorsal ridge.
“Don’t be a baby,” Canto Kura said.  He quickly opened the valve on the IV tube.  “You’re doing fine, I’ll 500 ccs out of you in a treat.”
“Speaking of treats, can you make that onion pie again for dinner? That was good.”
Kura carefully withdrew the needle and hefted the uncommonly heavy blood bag. “Sorry, no.  The ladies in the cockpit made it clear that I’m not to serve oinion anything until we’ve restocked on mouthwash.”
Sagkal cursed.
“I do believe I can lay hands on another one of those lagers I served with it.”
“That’ll work.” Sagkal slipped off the exam bed and turned toward the medic Canto Kura. “You really think you can sell my blood?”
“Are you kidding?  Sloaks are so rare that this stuff is worth it’s mass is NegMat at any decent starport with a trauma center.  You folk do get hurt occasionally, you know.” 

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