March 7, 2017

Beginning Operations by James White

By James White

Quarter basic: a huge deep-space health center station at the Galactic Rim, the place human and alien drugs meet. Its 384 degrees and hundreds of thousands of employees contributors are supposedly capable of meet the desires of any achieveable alien patient--though that potential is usually being strained as extra (and stranger) alien races occur to affix the galactic neighborhood. Sentient viruses, interspecies romances, undreamed-of institutional catering problems--it all lands on quarter General's doorstep. And the one factor more bizarre than a hitherto unknown alien species is having a member of that species ensue on your Emergency Room.The first of 2 omnibus volumes reprints the works that started the field basic sequence, that have been formerly released as clinic Station (1962), famous person doctor (1963), and significant Operation (1971).

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You have a neat little story to explain this madness on their part—which, incidentally, makes you quite a hero—but it could be that you switched on the lights after the accident, that it was your negligence regarding the lights which caused it, and that all this about the straying youngster is a pack of lies designed to get you out of a very serious charge—” “Waring saw me,” O’Mara cut in. Caxton stared at him intently, his expression changing from suppressed anger to one of utter disgust and scorn.

Dr. P-Pelling asked me to bring this,” he said, tossing O’Mara a small book. “And I’m not doing you a favor, understand—it’s just that he said it was for the good of the youngster. ” “Sleeping,” said O’Mara. Waring moistened his lips. “I’m-I’m supposed to check. ” “Ca-Ca-Caxton would,” mimicked O’Mara. He watched the other silently as Waring’s face grew a deeper red. Waring was a thin young man, sensitive, not very strong, and the stuff of which heroes were made. On his arrival O’Mara had been overwhelmed with stories about this tractor-beam operator.

Here in conditions which were to it less than one quarter-G, the infant Hudlarian could move. And it was having fun. O’Mara wasn’t: his body felt like a thick, clumsy sponge saturated with fatigue. After each feed he dropped onto the couch and let his bone-weary body dive blindly into unconsciousness. He was so utterly and completely spent, he told himself after every spraying, that he could not possibly hear the brute the next time it complained—he would be too deeply out. But always that blaring, discordant foghorn jerked him at least half awake and sent him staggering like a drunken puppet through the motions which would end that horrible, mind-wrecking din.

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