Juno Rising is a Novel in the ISF-Allion series by Patty Jansen
Here is a sample:
“MEDICAL,” SAID THE OFFICER with the name tag Private First Class L. Manning. He stopped in the grey and featureless corridor at the door of a room that wafted smells of antiseptic and where, out of the line of vision, someone moved with soft footsteps and rummaged in plastic wrappings. Fabio’s courage sank, then, deep into a place he didn’t want to be, a place where he was lying face down on a hard and cold bench and a nurse was shaving his head. Locks of hair tickled over his face on the way down to making black curly snow on the table, leaving an itchy trail on his face. All he could do was blow them away because his hands were strapped to the table; a drip was in one arm, and sensors were stuck to his head, which were attached to beeping machines. A thin tube fed into the drip through which, at the press of a button, the surgeons would administer the anaesthetic to knock him unconscious. The doctors weren’t quite doing that yet; they were talking to each other in low voices, a mush of mumbled conversation with medical words like cranial lobe and neuro-reflexes.
He was back in the grey and scuffed corridor at the ground floor of Calico Base, on Io, being shown around by a fresh-faced Private First Class with the name tag that said Manning, who had met him when he came out of the transport tube and who was still talking, “. . . anyway, it’s nothing special, just the regular tests. A few months ago, a guy came over from Ganymede and brought chicken pox. The whole base went down with it . . .” He laughed, and the laughter sounded muffled in the woolly space inside Fabio’s head. The recent scar at the back of his head itched. He took a breath of the static-dry, sulphur-laced air, and another. The air flowed into his lungs, then, as if he’d forgotten to breathe.
There were no such things as innocent medicals. There was nothing regular about having a blood test. Not for him, ever.
“I have . . .” he started to protest, but he remembered that he’d vowed to keep his mouth shut. And he remembered that he didn’t actually remember what he had, or didn’t have, medically. Worse, he had an audience.
A few troops in dark green Space Corps fatigues sat on plastic chairs outside the entrance of the room, wordlessly staring at him. Two privates, a private first class and a sergeant.
Fabio recognised some of them because they had been with him on the transport, a short-range in-system barge that ferried people from the Galilean sling to various points in the Jupiter system. Hard to miss each other when you’re sardined into a tin can for eight hours. Judging by the discussions he had overheard on the transport, they were base relief staff and most seemed to have been sent here as punishment for some sort of transgression.
A private with a shaven head nodded at Fabio and raised an eyebrow at Manning. Curiosity oozed off him. Look, who’s this geezer that he requires a personal minder? What’s with the non-standard uniform? Is he crazy or dangerous?
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