“Janet, come in, this is Daniel.”
The voice sounded far away, even though Jack knew that Daniel was still in the tent with him, getting softer and louder in a way that didn’t match the way Daniel was distractedly pacing the cramped space, and he didn’t even bother to listen to Doc Fraiser’s reply over the radio.
His whole head felt like it was packed in cotton balls – eyes, ears, throat, everything – but it was a marked improvement on earlier, when it had felt ready to explode.
“No, he seems better,” Daniel was saying. “More coherent. Wait, let me see if his fever’s gone down.”
For a moment, Daniel’s cool fingers against his forehead were refreshing, but then Jack gave a full-body shiver and suddenly everything hurt.
“Stoppit,” he growled, trying to lift a lead-weighted hand to bat Daniel’s away. “Not a real doctor.”
“He’s improved enough to be aggravating,” Daniel repeated, cheerfully. “I’ll see if I can get him to eat something.”
“He’s right here,” Jack mumbled.
Either Fraiser couldn’t hear him, or she was ignoring him as usual, because she said, “That’s good, Daniel, but not too much. I’ll check in again in two hours.”
“Right. Thanks, Janet.” There was a rustling on the other side of the tent, then Daniel reappeared, brandishing a bowl and spoon. “Think you can sit up to eat? It’s real chicken noodle.”
Jack glared at him until Daniel had helped him rearrange his nest of bedrolls and packs into a decent backrest. “Like earth chickens, right?” he asked, spoon hovering.
“Yes, Jack,” said Daniel, patiently.
On the wall of their tent, Jack could see a large shadow, holding a staff weapon and nodding at a smaller shadow’s rapidly-moving hands.
He smiled and took a bite of his soup – he felt better already.