“What happened?” Beck asks when Mark wanders nonchalantly into the med bay, cradling his wrist.
Mark hops up on the bed with practiced ease. “Minor incident with the latest Rover.”
“Translation: you crashed the Rover.”
For all the heart attacks they give him, Beck’s more than glad that he still gets to work with Mark and the crew. No one from the Ares 3 mission had ever expected to go up in space again after the whole mutiny-rescue, but NASA is fueled by publicity and government funding as much as hydrazine and by the time they made it back to Earth, the whole team was practically B-List celebrities. When Beck and Beth got married, their picture had been on the front page of half the Lifestyle webpages in the world and when Sasha was born, they’d been offered $6000 dollars for her first photo. Beck doesn’t think they’ll ever get back to Mars even if they wanted to, but the moon station isn’t out of the picture, and in the meantime they’re considered uniquely qualified to field-test the latest Ares mission equipment in the anti-grav chambers.
Beck calls up Mark’s medical records on his tablet and opens the problem list. It’s a long list. Beck reads
Unspecified contact dermatitis due to plants, except food (L25.5)
Contact with other specified venomous plants (X28)
Contact with nonpowered hand tool (W27)
Fracture of shaft of radius (S52.3)
Fracture of upper end of ulna (S52.0)
Prolonged stay in a weightless environment (X52)
and stops himself.
He knows Mark’s records like the back of his hand and the resolved Severe protein-energy malnutrition (E43) and Abdominal wound, left lower quadrant (R20.1) still make his throat close over.
“I may have crashed the Rover a little,” Mark allows. “Into the MAV. I was testing the structural integrity of the landing struts,” he adds virtuously.
Beck has Mark turn his wrist and prods delicately at the ligaments. He takes a quick X-ray just to be sure. “Good news. Looks sprained instead of broken. I prescribe ice and at least 48 hours of rest. One-armed botany experiments only.”
“That’s a great name for an educational video,” Mark says with somewhat worrying enthusiasm. Part of his assigned duties have included educational science outreach since his video logs were released after the Ares 3. “I’ll provide you visual evidence that I’m following your medical instructions to the letter.”
It’s the spirit more than the letter that Beck’s worried about but he lets it go. He hands Mark an ice pack and snorts as he adds Spacecraft collision injuring occupant (V95.43) to Mark’s chart alongside the more common Sprain of carpal joint of wrist (842.01). “You know this is a legacy code from two decades ago and I still think you’re the first person to ever need it.”
The WHO added Spacecraft landing with faulty rear thruster injuring pilot (V123.6) to the latest ICD-12 code list. Martinez had needed that one.
“One more first to add to the list,” Mark says cheekily, miming a checkmark in the air with his finger. He hops down from the bed and heads for the door.
“Very funny,” Beck says, changing the status of the Coping mechanism, humor (F70.22) that Mark’s psychologist added from acute to chronic.
Mark sticks his head back through the doorway. “Maybe don’t mention this to Martinez and the commander?”
“Doctor-patient confidentiality,” Beck promises, although everything the crew does in anti-grav testing is recorded from seven different angles so they’re bound to find out anyway. He eyes the Contact with other specified venomous plants (X28) code. Maybe he’ll leave Mark’s record open. Just in case.