Death, Deceit, and Droggies

Kate Russokova was wearing her new identity quite well. As the widow Yeva Schnabel, she’d thickened her accent and inserted generous dollops of Yiddish as a means to avoid any lengthy conversations…even with him. As he considered the hyper inquisitive Jacy, Dorian found it wise planning on the Network’s part to keep him in the dark regarding any details known to Kate, or for that matter, Marisol. ”Best to not know what I don’t know,” he mused as Lunar Veil pitched herself skyward.

Yeva/Kate was strapped securely into the lounge chair they’d moved to her cabin. Before her lay the coffin, draped in black velvet and adorned by a floral arrangement on its’ top. Marisol and the two morticians’ helpers had even gone so far as to secure ornate metal candlesticks at each corner. The flicker of artificial candles completed the Poe-esque scene of a grieving woman, her features veiled in black.

Dorian’s back was pressed to the door as he anchored himself with both feet. “Mrs. Schnabel,” he said quietly, “if yah need anything, mah room is next door…or yah’ll find me in tha infirmary, just down tha hall. Ah’ll check on yah in awhile,” he offered.

In response, the faux widow opened a fold in her skirts to reveal a beefy looking pistol. “Danken ir, dokter,” she answered in perfect character. “I will be fine.”

The deck tilted beneath his feet; Riley was pointing “el Vee’s” nose toward the black. “Very well,” he nodded as he pulled the door open. “By tha way,” Dorian added, “we’ve got a nun on board. She’s a good sort. Ah’d guess she might come callin’.” The caution delivered, he stepped into the corridor, closed the door, and with both hands to steady him, picked his careful way to the lounge.

The cargo bay hatch had been left open, through which poured the unhappy whines and barks of eight very large dogs who couldn’t understand why their world was tilting and so noisy. “Drog…Drog,” Adler muttered the futile memory exercise to himself. “Hell with it,” he eventually gave in. “Droggies’ it is…” When it came to the environmental changes forced upon them by the black, canines by their physiology were generally robust…but could still be impacted on a case by case basis.

His readings on the subject were borne of necessity. Time spent treating a hold full of beagles who’d all succumbed to ‘spacers’ diarrhea’ on a previous boat gave him some pause. Though big dogs…like the Droggies...typically bore structural maladies like hip dysplasia and the like, he reasoned it wise to give some time to studying their gastrointestinal workings. After all, he thought, big dogs equal big poops. If LV’s medic could keep the Droggies’ emissions in a reasonably solid consistency, that would make life immeasurably easier for the deckhands…if not somewhat comical reading for Dr. Lao.

Dorian resolved to check on his eight patients within a couple hours’ flight time in the black. But for now, as the boat clawed her way upward through atmo, there was nothing to do but sit back, close his eyes, and attempt a few more minutes’ sleep.

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