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The Choices are the Same

Writers: Miriah
Date Posted: 5th March 2019

Characters: D'hol, Luvin
Description: Another check-up at the dolphin hall
Location: Dolphin Hall
Date: month 10, day 13 of Turn 9


He stood as still as he could in the shoulder deep water as the
dolphin circled him and took slow deep breaths. It was over quickly,
and he only half understood the dolphin's report to its partner; the
words between the clicks and squeals barely made sense to him, but the
partner thankfully seemed to understand. D'hol looked at the
dolphineer with a faint hint of impatience. The Hall was too close to
the Weyr and he did not want to be noticed by passing riders who
frequented the place.

The dolphineer looked up. "Well, Pipa has a lot to say, Bronzerider.
I'm not entirely sure what Master Luvin is watching for, but I'll give
this to him right away and he can tell you if it means something
serious."

He had not wanted to speak to Luvin; he had hoped that there was going
to be no changes and he could return to the Weyr before drills began;
it would not do to be late. D'hol's jaw clenched, but he nodded
briefly before wading out of the inlet to dry off. Pulling his clothes
back on, he slipped inside the Hall to await the Master Healer. As he
did, he closed his eyes and rubbed his temple, fearing that he knew
what Luvin would say. He had his own responses prepared for that
eventuality and he hoped it would be enough.

"Bronzerider D'hol?" D'hol looked up as Luvin opened the door and
gestured him in. "Come in please."

D'hol closed the door behind him and took his seat, his jaw clenched
tightly as Yumath kept his own eye on the sun. "You'll forgive me for
being short, Master Luvin, but I'm expected back at the Weyr shortly."

Luvin frowned. "I'm afraid that your duties will have to wait until
we're done, D'hol."

**Shaffit! Yumath, tell Donneth's that he and K'deren will have to
begin the drill without me. Don't give him specifics, just that our
morning meeting ran longer than expected.** He'd have to make it up to
the man; he'd never been late for a drill and didn't like starting
now. "As long as it's as quick as possible."

"Very well, I'll be as brief as I can." Luvin pointed down at the
notes. "It's getting bigger. Not much, but enough that it's starting
to concern me. It'll attach to the abdomen wall soon, if it hasn't
already. Have you had any increase in pain?"

"No."

The quick response was met by an arched brow by the healer. "D'hol,
this will work a lot better if you're honest with me." When D'hol
pointedly didn't respond, Luvin sighed and continued. "I really think
it's time to schedule removing it. It will get painful, D'hol. And
quite honestly, if you're reduced to taking fellis to function, even a
miniscule amount, it could seriously affect you in the wings."

"And what about the potential for infection after the removal?" D'hol
had absolutely no intention of taking any amount of fellis. The pain
had gotten mildly worse, but he'd increased his dosage of willowsalic
and it eased it enough. The thought of flying Thread without his full
mental capacity was suicide for himself and potentially for his wing.
He would take steps before that would ever happen.

Luvin sighed. "It remains the same."

"And what about me not getting better?"

"My hope is that when the mass is removed, I can see what it is and
we'll can know if that might happen."

"So, I could have the surgery, risk infection and possibly death, and
still be sick, or not have it removed, still be sick and maybe die, or
maybe just deal with more pain." D'hol ticked the options off with his
fingers while voice dripped with sarcasm. "The choices seem so clear
to me."

"Sarcasm doesn't help." Luvin met his gaze evenly. "Or you could have
it removed and all will be well except that you'll be off duty for a
few sevendays."

"What, exactly, are the chances of that?"

Luvin took a slow breath. "Narrow, I'll admit. But possible."

"I can't make that choice right now."

"D'hol, you have to. And quickly. This can't wait much longer. The
moment your pain becomes more than a couple of ups of willowsalic can
control, you have to make that choice. "

"I will. When it gets to that point." D'hol rose to his feet and
inclined his head.

"I will see you next month, if not sooner, D'hol."

D'hol's lips twitched only briefly. "I'm sure you will."

Last updated on the March 11th 2019


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All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2013, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The Dragonriders of Pern© is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.