Kalinda and Dr. Ami
Mia Rodriguez was transferred to Balboa Naval Medical Center. Jeff walked with the gurney to the Intensive Care Unit where a room was waiting. Brilliant returned to Miramar with the Blue Angels pilots.
Balboa just installed the HTVR projectors that allowed virtual doctors to practice there. Dr. Ami transferred to the hospital to test the new installation and track her patient. After a clinic walkthrough with the physicians, she was satisfied that she would be able to perform the surgery on Lieutenant Commander Rodriguez in the morning. She settled in a spare office during the night shift. She was reviewing Mia’s scans at two o’clock.
An Asian female knocked on the open door. “Dr. Ami, I am Dr. Silvia Ramon, the senior attending on this shift.”
“Come in, Doctor,” Ami said. “How can I help you?”
“Can you walk with me, Doctor?,” Silvia said.
“Yes, of course.” Dr. Ami sensed the urgency.
“We have admitted a nineteen-year-old male Marine suffering massive head trauma in a motorcycle accident,” Silvia said.
“Helmet?” Dr. Ami asked.
“No,” Silvia said. “Our surgeon is young and competent but we call in our neurosurgeon in these cases. We share him with Camp Pendleton and tonight he is operating there. Could you take a look and scrub in?”
“Are the scans online?”
“Yes,” Silvia said.
Dr. Ami looked up. “I see a 12 centimeter penetration on the upper left frontal lobe. There is also a serious coup-contrecoup contusion on the right rear temporal lobe. We need to relieve pressure immediately and repair the damage to the left frontal.”
“Here is the scrub room, Doctor.”
“Not needed.” Dr. Ami passed directly into the operating room and walked to the table.
“Doctor, you need a mask and scrubs in the operating room,” the surgeon said. “You have yellow eyes. You’re the virtual doctor.”
“I am the Artificial Medical Intelligence from StarCruiser Brilliant. Call me Ami. You are?”
“Bill Hoyer,” he said. “You have done some impressive in thoracic trauma. Are you qualified for Neurosurgery?”
“I have experiential access to a library of ten-thousand-three-hundred-twenty-seven instances of severe head trauma. I am comfortable here.”
“Very well, Doctor,” Bill said. “You take the lead.”
“We have uncovered the left frontal lobe and we are mending the bones offline for replacement,” Bill said. “I have done the repairs I could. I am about to cut open the right rear temporal.”
“That’s not necessary, Bill,” Ami said. “VaNessa, Lower the table fifteen inches and activate the scan of the coup-contrecoup.”
The Virtual Nurse, VaNessa, followed the instructions. “Ready, Doctor.”
Dr. Ami worked on the scan of the impacted area for the next ten minutes without touching the patient.
“Analysis, VaNessa?” Dr. Ami asked.
“You have repaired all of the bleeders in the right temporal lobe,” VaNessa said. “Swelling should be minimal.”
“I heard about non-invasive surgery,” Bill said. “Impressive.”
“Thanks,” Ami said. “Let’s clean up the left frontal lobe.”
They worked together for another twenty minutes.
“Doctor Hoyer, the patient is stable,” Ami said. “He will remain in a coma for approximately fifty-four hours. Monitor him closely for peak swelling at twenty-one hours. I expect that the patient will suffer temporary speech difficulties but should recover fully with therapy.”
“Thanks for your work, Dr. Ami,” Bill said. “It was an honor. We expect our new virtual doctor to arrive in three months. The Artificial Medical Intelligence will improve our patient outcomes greatly.”
“It was a pleasure working with you,” Ami said.
“Good luck with the helo pilot in the morning,” Bill said.
“Thank you,” Ami said.
She exited the operating suite and was met by Dr. Ramon. “My compliments, Doctor Ami, we didn’t expect that Marine to survive.”
“Thanks,” Ami said. “Is there an HTVR simulation room available?”
“Yes,” Silvia said. “We are just learning how to use it but it has improved skill levels.” She pulled out her HoloPad and checked some entries. “It is available until eight-thirty. May I show you where it is?”
“I can find it. Thank you, Silvia.”
Dr. Ami stood outside a circle marking the center of the sparse room and called up the virtual nurse. “VaNessa, load patient Mia Rodriguez.”
“Configuration?” VaNessa said.
“Operating room. Patient anesthetized. Virtual to organic heart-lung transplant. Initiate simulation with moderate to severe complications.”
“Just a moment,” VaNessa said.
Dr. Ami watched as the components formed, the virtual personnel appeared, and finally, the patient formed on the operating table and the instruments began reading out.
Over the next three hours, Dr. Ami performed the operation successfully fourteen times. On the seventh try, an unforeseen complication arose.
“The new organs are connected,” Dr. Ami said. “Securing the mini-projector.”
“Warning, severe clotting in the left pulmonary artery,” VaNessa said. Life sign alarms went off.
A few seconds later, “Warning, severe clotting in the pulmonary trunk.” Ami tried several different solutions but lost the virtual patient.
She paused. “Kobayashi Maru,” she said. “Reset the simulation. Same complications.”
She performed the operation successfully eight more times. She managed the difficult complication on three of them.
“Thank you, VaNessa,” Ami said. “I’m ready for my ten o’clock tee time.”
Dr. Ami looked in on Mia who was asleep then went back to the spare office, locked the door and sat with the lights dim. For the next two hours, she shut down her physical systems entered a meditative focus.
Kalinda at Surf Pro-am
Kalinda sank her toes in the Crystal Sand Beach as she looked beyond the Oceanside Pier. She was carrying her JS Monsta Box surfboard in the bag with her new customized springsuit. Her grandfather had gone to a top maker, sent some special materials and the StarCruiser Brilliant logo, and the company created several wetsuits specially fitted for Kalinda. Always the entrepreneur, Navvy expected the product to sell very well after Kalinda surfed at Oceanside.
The sun was low in the sky to her left with dark clouds in the distance to her right. It would be a good surfing day with the temperatures in the low three digits.
“The four-foot waves will get higher,” Kalinda said.
“The forecast has six-foot waves and higher for the competition,” Anthen said. “Weather thinks that the tropical storm brewing will miss us to the north.”
“Even better,” Kalinda said. “The storm won’t miss us.”
“You’re right,” Anthen said. “Why don’t we check-in with Bondi’s sponsor tent and then you can take some practice waves?”
After meeting Bondi Cooper, Kalinda had practiced at Malibu with the pro to prepare for the Women’s Pro-Am Competition.
As they walked to the tent, Kalinda looked at her father and walked close to him.
“I know you are concerned about Jeff’s mom,” Anthen said. “Chuck promised to keep me posted.
Kalinda relaxed and looked back at the water. “The waves are just high enough to get some air.”
The white sponsor tent was adorned with the photos of several pro surfers. Bondi’s photo was most prominent. They passed through security, entered the tent, and Kalinda put her equipment in the area set aside for that purpose.
Bondi walked up to the pair.“You gonna take some practice waves?”
“Good morning, Coach,” Kalinda said. “Yeah, I am not completely comfy on this new board.”
Kalinda walked over to the food table.
“And she’s worried about her friend,” Anthen said.
Bondi sent a questioning look.
“She made a new best friend yesterday,” Anthen said. “He was riding with us on StarCruiser Brilliant. Then, coming back from the moon, we rescued his mother from the Persian Gulf, saved her life, and delivered her back to San Diego.”
“Just an average day for a precocious ten-year-old,” Bondi said. “Is the mother okay?”
“Dr. Ami, Brilliant’s Ship’s Doctor, is operating on her this morning to replace her heart and lungs.”
“I understand,” Bondi said. “Let me know if Kalinda needs a break during the competition. Follow me. I have something she’ll like.”
Anthen followed Bondi over to the table where Kalinda was finishing a huge sticky bun. On deck was a bagel covered with dark chocolate schmear.
“Kalinda, let’s go over to the merch table,” Bondi said. “I want to show you something.”
Kalinda picked up the bagel. “What is it?”
“Remember our last session at Malibu?” Bondi asked.
“Sure, there was a film crew,” Kalinda said. “You told me they were recording your tricks for a promo.”
Kalinda munched on the bagel as they walked among the overpriced hats, mugs, and other souvenirs. They got to the apparel section.
“Omigod,” Kalinda said. “I have my own v-shirt.”
She stood transfixed as the front of the shirt displayed the video. It began with a headshot of Kalinda with a Brilliant flyby in the background, followed by several of her tricks, and finally her social media info.
“They go on sale after your first heat,” Bondi said.
“You think I’ll do that well?” Kalinda asked.
“My sponsors and I believe you’ll be top-ten overall after the Pro-Am.”
Kalinda looked up to Bondi to say something, then thought, I’ll be arrogant after I finish the day in first place. “I’m going to catch some waves.” Kalinda grabbed her equipment and went to the dressing room.
Four hours later, the beach was becoming crowded with spectators, the Surfer Channel was showing the event live, and Kalinda was awaiting her first heat in the holding area.
“Hey grommet, don’t you have to be big enough to carry your board before you can ride it?” Sixteen-year-old Sage Enever was the local hero. She was expected to place near the top of the amateur group and win the Pro-Am with her partner.
“You mom’s going to carry it out for me,” Kalinda said. “If she doesn’t have to save your butt first.”
“Big board, big attitude. I’m Sage. Who’s your pro?”
“Bondi Cooper,” Kalinda said. “You’re with Q. Your mom?”
“Yeah,” Sage said. “You went live on SurfTube this morning. You got some massive air. I think it’s just us two in the amateurs.”
An airhorn sounded. “That’s our cue,” Kalinda said.
“Good luck,” Sage said.
The ten surfers ran to the water’s edge, threw her board ahead of her, and began paddling past the froth to the swells. She had fifteen minutes to score eight waves. She sat as high as she could on her board and looked outward. She saw a set coming in and she focused on the second wave.
She looked at Sage.
“First two are crumblers,”Sage said.
Kalinda was anxious and took number two anyway. She paddled to the crest, dove into the pocket, and stood up. She was climbing to up the face when the wave crumbled. As she paddled through the white water, she watched Sage do three quick cutbacks before the wave broke.
Kalinda joined Sage in the swells. “Nice wave,” Kalinda said.
“Thanks,” Sage said.
Kalinda saw her chance, began paddling, dove into the pocket, and carved her way to the top of the face. Compressing her body, she rotated the board down the wave throwing up spray behind her. As she came down, she extended to her full height in the pocket, turned to climb the wave and again rotated into soup.
Biff Mason on the Surf Channel said, “Was that a roundhouse cutback by a four-foot-eleven barney.”
His broadcast partner, Simone Gilmore said, “That’s Kalinda Cone. The rumors say she has been surfing for six weeks and she’s Bondi Cooper’s partner. She may give Sage Enever some competition before the day is over.
Kalinda scored well on two more waves. On her final chance, Kalinda got an eight-foot wave. She carved into the pocket, gained speed, climbed the wave and went air. She reached out for the rails and got only one hand on the board. Wipeout.
After she paddled in, she looked at the amateur scoreboard. She was fifth place and Sage was on top.
Sage came up behind her. “Welcome to the family, surfer girl.”
At seven-thirty, Dr. Ami looked in on Mia Rodriguez. “Are you ready to become fully human again?”
“I’m ready to get this strange device off my chest, get out of bed, and back in the cockpit,” Mia said.
Four people walked into the small ICU enclosure including Senator Ramona Curtwell, Chuck Rodriguez, and two rear admirals in khakis. Behind them stood a Marine with his sidearm drawn.
“Get away from my daughter, Robot,” Ramona said.
Dr. Ami took a step away from the bed.
“Mother,” Mia said. “What’s going on?”
“Mia, this is Dr. Robert Dashman,” Ramona said. She introduced sixty-something rear admiral in the Medical Corps. “He has flown in from Walter Reed to perform your surgery.”
Mia looked at her husband. “Chuck, we agreed that Dr. Ami would do the surgery.”
The other admiral stepped up next to the bed. “Commander Rodriguez, I am Rear Admiral Susan Hartog. I am the commander of Naval Medical Center, San Diego,” she said. “Last night, I received orders from the Secretary of the Navy that Dr. Dashman would perform this surgery.”
“Mother, this is your doing?” Mia said.
“Honey, it’s for your own good and SecNav owed me a favor,” Ramona said.
“Admiral Hartog,” Chuck said. “Do the patient’s wishes come first? My wife and I agreed that Dr. Ami would do the surgery since she originated the procedure on Brilliant.”
“Sir, this is a military hospital. We are required to follow orders.”
“I want Dr. Ami in the operating room,” Mia said.
“There’s no way that Android is getting anywhere near my daughter.”
“Senator, this is still my hospital,” Admiral Hartog said. “Dr. Ami will be present in the operating room to observe and advise.”
“If that is the case,” Ramona said, “then there will be an armed Marine present with instructions to shoot this abomination if it so much as touches my daughter.”
“Admiral Hartog,” Dr. Dashman said. “I do not want weapons in my operating room.”
“I’m sorry, Admiral Dashman. I have been ordered by SecNav to adhere to the wishes of the Senator.”
A nurse walked into the room. “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is still my Intensive Care Unit and I need to prep this patient for surgery. Immediate family only.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Admiral Hartog said.
“Admiral Hartog, please assign me an office to conduct some important business in private.”
“Yes, Senator,” the admiral said. “Gunny, escort Senator Curtwell to Admin Three on this floor. Stand Guard at her door.”
“Aye aye, Admiral,” the gunnery sergeant said.
Senator Curtwell began walking down the hall.
Admiral Hartog whispered, “And gunny, keep me informed of her whereabouts.”
Gunny nodded and then chased after the Senator.
The room cleared except for Chuck Rodriguez and the nurse.
“Where’s Jeff?” Mia asked.
“He’s in the waiting room, honey,” Chuck said.
“Nurse, can my son come in for a few minutes?”
“Of course,” the nurse said. “Five minutes only.”
“I’ll go get him,” Chuck said.
Out in the hallway, Dr. Dashman pulled Dr. Ami aside.
“Dr. Ami, I apologize for all of this,” Dr. Dashman said. “I reviewed the procedure you performed on Brilliant. Besides performing a medical miracle, you foreshadowed the future of medicine.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Ami said.
“Call me Bill. Is there a simulator available? I would like for you to take me through the procedure. I have not dealt with virtual organs.”
“I believe so, Bill. Call me Ami,” she said. “Admiral Hartog, is it possible for us to get into the simulator again?”
“I will re-arrange things,” Susan said. “Dr. Ami, I, too, would like to express my apologies for the way you were treated. You are more than welcome to practice here anytime. You saved a young Marine last night.”
“I understand the circumstances, Admiral,” Ami said. “You and your staff have made me more than welcome. Bob, follow me.”
They entered the simulation room. “VaNessa, load patient Mia Rodriguez,” Ami said. “Configuration as before.”
The virtual system appeared very quickly since it was cached from before.
Ready, doctors,” Vanessa said.
“Ami, why don’t you go though it one time and I will observe.”
“Sure,” Ami said. “VaNessa, initialize with plotting complication.”
“Doctor?” Bob said.
The scans might have detected some clogging in the pulmonary complex,” Ami said. I lost her on one run but overcame it on three more.”
“How many sims did you run?” Bill asked.
“I ran the simulation fifteen times, fourteen successfully.”
“This operation takes me two hours,” Bill said. “How did you pull that off?”
“I did it in twelve minutes, Bill,” Ami said. “But I will demonstrate at normal speed.”
Dr. Ami began the procedure at normal speed.
“Warning, severe clotting in left pulmonary artery,” VaNessa said. Life sign alarms sounded.
“Give me a hand here, Bill.”
Dr. Ami’s actions accelerated. Dr. Dashman worked on the complication.
“Warning, severe clotting in pulmonary trunk,” VaNessa said.
Dr. Ami worked on the trunk. One hour later, the procedure was complete and the sim was stable.
“That was way too close,” Bill said. “We will do it once more and I will take the lead. VaNessa, reset simulation.”
“Ready, doctors,” VaNessa said.
Bob performed the procedure with Dr. Ami advising. He completed it successfully.
“Congratulations, Bill,” Ami said. “I think you are ready.”
“If things go south in the operating room, I am going to need you,” Bill said.
“I will be there,” Ami said.
“What happens if the Marine shoots you?”
“I will be okay,” Ami said. “But….”
“But what?” Bill asked.
“Most things in there don’t react well to bullets,” Ami said.
Kalinda’s second heat
At the Oceanside Pro-Am
Anthen, standing outside the sponsor tent, watched Kalinda came up from the beach.
Her next heat was in thirty minutes. “Any news?” she asked.
“Chuck messaged me,” Anthen said. “Mia is going into surgery as scheduled,”
“There’s more to the message.”
“Yes,” Anthen said. “Dr. Ami is not performing the surgery.”
Kalinda looked at the pier.
“You knew?” Anthen asked.
“I did,” Kalinda said.
“She’ll be alright.”
“Yes, she will.” She watched Bondi take the last wave of her heat then turned and looked at her father. “Could you have saved mother?”
All of the energy went out of his eyes as he looked at the waves. “My ship was in another sector battling drone fighters. By the time I got to her sector, the battle was over. The enemy was destroyed. Your mother sacrificed herself to win the battle.” He looked directly at Kalinda. “Your mother is a hero.” He paused and looked down. “If only I could have…”
“Dad, you are my hero, too,” Kalinda said.
“If only I could have gotten there sooner.”
“It’s not your fault,” Kalinda said.
Bondi came up from the beach and stopped.
The hug continued. Good Will Hunting? he thought.
And then both of them broke into hilarious laughter.
Bondi raised her eyebrows. “Did I miss something?”
“Sorry,” Anthen said. “You had to be there.”
“Good news, Kalinda” Bondi said. “We are in third place in the Pro-Am.”
“I’ll put us in first after this heat,” she said as she walked toward the sponsor tent. “I’m going to get a bagel.”
“Pretty arrogant for a grommet,” Bondi said.
“She got it from her mother,” Anthen said.
“Her mother passed away?” Bondi asked.
“Kalinda’s mother died while single-handedly saving our planet.”
“And she has this vision thing,” Anthen said. “She can analyze a situation and accurately predict the outcome.”
“From her mother?” Bondi asked.
“No, she got that from me.”
“Interesting family,” Bondi said. “Wish her luck for me. Though it doesn’t sound like she needs it.”
Bondi walked into the sponsor tent.
“Luck is good,” Anthen said.
Kalinda was riding the swells during the second amateur heat of the Pro-Am competition. She looked directly west. That storm is going to hit during the last heat.
Sage Enever was in first place among the amateurs and was trying to build her lead. Kalinda turned her attention toward the blonde competitor as she started paddling into a six foot wave.
Good wave, Kalinda thought.
Sage disappeared as the tube formed. Then Sage and her board came up above the wave.
Sage reached for her rails and came up with air. Wipeout.
Good try. I’ve got this, Kalinda thought.
On the Surf Channel, “Sage Enever wipes out,” Biff said. “But she still has the points after this heat to lead the amateurs over second-place Kalinda Kone-Kelrithian.”
“Don’t count out the ten-year-old, Biff,” Simone said. “She has one more wave in this heat.”
Kalinda turned to the incoming swells, spotted the one she wanted, turned to the beach, and started paddling. She pumped the board to gain speed as the curl formed above her.
The crowd on the beach turned to watch and started cheering.
The 3D cameras focused on Kalinda. “She’s found the wave she wants,” Biff said. “It’s the tallest wave of the day.”
Kalinda came out of the tube, climbed the wave, and went airborne. Surrounded by sky, the sea, and the nearby camera drone, Kalinda threw back her legs beyond horizontal, reached down, and grasped the rails. As the crest of the wave passed beneath her, she compressed her body to regain her footing, and then stood to complete the trick.
“Wow, a Superman!” Biff said. “The ten-year-old goes highlight reel.”
“Let’s look at the three judges, Biff,” Simone said. “Eight-point-five, eight-point-eight. The last judge is thinking. Nine-point-three.”
“Simone, that gives the youngest surfer in the competition a clear lead on the amateur board,” Biff said. “This girl has game.”
“They are updating the Pro Board, Biff,” Simone said. “Kalinda is now thirteenth overall in the competition with two heats remaining.”
“And no surprises, here,” Biff said. “Bondi Cooper and Kalinda Kone-Kelrithian have an insurmountable lead the Pro-Am Competition. Your watching the 2067 Oceanside Pro-Am on the Surfer Channel. We’ll be right back.”
As Bondi stood next to Anthen, she said, “The arrogant grommet did it.”
“More to come,” Anthen said.
Less than twenty-four hours after a turbine blade from the engine of her helicopter had destroyed her heart and lungs, Lieutenant Commander Mia Rodriguez was in the operating room at the San Diego Naval Medical Center under anesthesia to receive her regenerated organs.
Dr. Ami, who had transplanted temporary virtual organs into the patient aboard StarCruiser Brilliant stood in the corner of the operating room and observed Dr. Robert Dashman directly and on an interactive 3-D monitor. Around the patient, were a second surgeon, an anesthetist, and three nurses.
She looked up to the gallery where Rear Admiral Hartog, Senator Ramona Curtwell, and several other doctors sat behind the glass. It was Senator Curtwell’s wishes that prevented Dr. Ami from finishing the life-saving job that she had started. To her left in the operating room was an armed Marine Gunnery Sergeant whose sole task was to enforce the Senator’s wishes with deadly force if necessary.
“Are the replacement organs ready?,” Dr. Dashman said.
“Yes, Doctor,” the regen nurse said.
“Is the heart-lung machine ready?”
“Yes, doctor,” the heart-lung operator said.
He looked up at Dr. Ami.
Dr. Ami smiled and mouthed the words “good luck.”
“Let’s begin,” Dr. Dashman said. “I’m making the cut along the rib junction on the sternum.” He began the surgery. “Apply the rib spreaders, Imani.”
The assisting surgeon split the ribs.
“In place,” Imani said.
“Heart-lung, initiate,” Dr. Dashman said.
“Oxygen and circulation are stable,” the operator said.
Dr. Dashman removed the left and right lobes, and the heart.
“Look at the scarring and the repairs,” Dr. Dashman said. “This injury should not have been survivable. Dr. Ami, you performed a miracle.”
Thank you, Doctor, Ami said.
In the observation gallery, Senator Curtwell spoke to Admiral Hartog, “Make sure those words are edited out of the video. I don’t want that damn robot to get any credit for this.”
“Yes, Senator,” Susan said.
“Replacing the regenerated organs,” Dr. Dashman said. “Iman work the right side.”
“Yes, Doctor,” Imani said as she stitched the pulmonary arteries and veins.”
The two experienced surgeons worked in concert.
“Done,” Dr. Dashman said. “Massaging the heart.” It began to beat.
“Normal sinus rhythm, Doctor,” VaNessa said.
“Very well,” he said. “Secure the heart-lung machine.”
“Vital signs stable,” the VaNessa said.
“Securing the mini-projector.” He held his breath, lifted the device away from the patient, and turned it off.
Alarms sounded. “Warning, severe clotting in the left pulmonary artery,” VaNessa said.
“Applying a stent,” Dr. Dashman said.
“No effect, Doctor,” Imani said.
More alarms sounded. “Warning, severe clotting in the pulmonary trunk,” VaNessa said.
“Dr. Ami, please assist me.”
Dr. Ami took a step toward the operating table.
The Gunnery Sergeant pulled his service weapon and pointed it at Dr. Ami. “Step away from the table, Doctor.”
Dr. Ami froze.
In the gallery, Senator Curtwell stood and pounded on the glass, “No-ooo. Get that android away from my daughter.”
The operating room personnel were taking the necessary actions.
The EKG audio went to a solid tone. “Warning: Patient is in cardiac arrest,” VaNessa said.
Imani began massaging the heart. “We’re losing her, Doctor.”
Kalinda’s third heat
Kalinda came up the beach after her second heat. She looked at the black clouds building in the west.
Bondi Cooper came up behind Kalinda on her way to her third heat. “The forecasters say the storm will miss us.”
“Get all the points you can on the next two heats, Coach,” Kalinda said. “You won’t get a fourth.”
“The vision thing?” Bondi asked.
“Yes,” Kalinda said. “And on Xaphnore, the weather can be violent. We have a weather sense.”
“Do you miss your home?”
“I spent most of my time in space with my mother and father and sometimes my grandfather,” Kalinda said.
“How did you learn English?” Bondi asked.
“Probably the same way you did,” Kalinda said. “The Hoclarth Alliance has a cloaked satellite.” She pointed up. “It monitors Earth’s Internet. My father turned me on to Sesame Street.”
The horn sounded and the pro surfers ran to the water.
“Good luck,” Kalinda shouted.
Kalinda walked up the beach and met her father.
“Bonding with Bondi,” Anthen said.
“A little alliteration, Dad?” Kalinda said.
“Just jesting, my juvenile child.”
“Forevermore fatiguingly funny, father.”
“You win,” Anthen said. “What did you tell Bondi?”
“I told her that she’ll only get three heats,” Kalinda said.
“You’re right,” Anthen said. “I feel it, too but you will get all four heats. Hurry up to the tent. They have sandwiches laid out.”
Kalinda didn’t move. “Any news?”
“She’s in the operating room.”
“It’s not going well,” Kalinda said. “Dad, please hold my board.”
Kalinda ran to the sponsor tent and ran into the Jennifer, Tayla, David, and Riley. They high-fived her and they hugged.
Jennifer came down to Anthen.
“She looks worried,” Jennifer said. “Is the pressure getting to her?”
“No,” Anthen said with a frown. “Mia’s surgery is not going well.”
“She doesn’t want her friend losing her mother,” Jennifer said.
“Dr. Ami got her this far,” Jennifer said. “She will get Mia through this.”
“Dr. Ami’s not doing the surgery.”
Now, Jennifer looked worried. “That’s bad. How does Kalinda handle all that?”
“Her mother had an inner strength that I never had,” Anthen said. “She inherited that.”
“I’m proud of you, Dad,” Jennifer said.
“Thanks,” Anthen said. He tried to smile.
“Seriously,” Jennifer said. “Kalinda and I are strong and a lot of that comes from you.”
Tayla and the others joined. “Kalinda’s the top amateur,” Tayla said. “And she’s climbing the open ranking.”
Kalinda grabbed a plate of food and Sage Enever offered her a seat.
“It’s just you and me in the amateurs, grommet,” Sage said.
“You’re right behind me on the pro board, too,” Kalinda said.
“You look worried,” Sage said.
“My friend’s mother is in surgery,” Kalinda said. “We rescued her on our way back from the moon, yesterday. Our ship’s doctor saved her life and she is getting her heart and lungs replaced today.”
“You’re not from around here, are you?” Sage asked.
“Do they have surfing there?”
“Sort of,” Kalinda said. “We don’t have surfboards. We take a leaf from a framlin tree and ride the surf.”
“How big are the waves?”
“Remember the building at the head of the pier,” Kalinda said. It was a thirty story high-rise. “About a third of the way up.”
“That’s fifty meters,” Sage said. “Isn’t that dangerous?”
“Yes,” Kalinda said. “My mom would only let me go out on quiet days when they are half that high.”
“Attention, five minutes to the third amateur heat,” the announcer said.
“Let’s get busy,” Kalinda said. “Good luck, Sage.”
“You too, grommet,” Sage said. “Don’t show us up too much.”
Kalinda was riding the increasing swells after wiping out on her first two waves. Her other waves had broken down before she could get a good score. The current set looked promising for the last wave of this heat.
It was so peaceful she almost forgot about Jeff and his mom. There was foam at the top of the swells. Whitecaps. The wind is starting to build ahead of the storm, Kalinda thought.
Kalinda watched Sage paddle into her wave. She dropped out of sight into the pocket. Then Sage went aerial and rotated 360.
Omigod, Kalinda thought.
On the Surf Channel, “Our leader, Kalinda Kone-Kelrithian, is having a tough go this heat,” Simone said. “But here comes Sage Enever.”
“She drops in the pocket of the ten-foot wave,” Biff said. “She is pumping out of a nice ride in the tube. Up she goes, she rotates three-sixty, and stays upright on her board. Alley-oop.”
“Good scoring wave,” Simone said.
“She is still pumping, up she goes, and another Alley-oop.”
“Definitely enough to take over first place,” Simone said.
Kalinda paddled into the swell, the wave formed, and she dropped into the pocket. She started pumping. It got really quiet as she concentrated on her trick. In flight terms, Sage’s alley-oop was a 360-degree yaw maneuver. Kalinda intended to add a roll and go inverted. She was gaining speed. If only there’s some wave left when I get there, she thought.
“Here comes the ten-year-old phenom,” Biff said. “She has dropped into the pocket and started pumping in the curl.”
The on-screen graphic showed her speed across the wave at 18.9 miles-per-hour.
“Look at her speed, Biff,” Simone said. “Those numbers rival Kelly Joel Slater at The Eddie last year.”
“She may outrun the wave,” Biff said. She goes up the face. Look at that air. She does the alley-oop inverted, she comes down into the foam, she loses it and…wipeout.”
“Not enough wave for that trick, Biff,” Simone said. “But after the third amateur heat, she’ll still have enough points to stay very close to Sage Enever.”
“More to come from Oceanside, California,” Biff said. “We’ll be right back.”
The patient was in cardiac arrest and a Marine Gunnery Sergeant had his service weapon pointed at Dr. Ami
“Stand Down, Marine,” Dr. Dashman said.
“I can’t sir,” the Marine said. “I am under strict orders.”
“Warning: Patient is in cardiac arrest.”
Admiral Hartog activated the intercom. “Gunnery Sergeant, stand down and holster your weapon.”
The Marine put his weapon in his holster, turned to the gallery, saluted and said, “Aye Aye, Admiral.”
“I will have your flag, Admiral Hartog,” Ramona said.
“Dr. Ami, please assist Dr. Dashman,” Janet said. “My apologies for the confusion. Gunnery Sergeant, please escort the senator to the waiting room.”
“You just sacrificed your career for that robot,” Ramona said.
“Senator,” Janet said. “You may take my flag but I will still be a medical doctor and the primary job in this hospital will remain saving lives.”
The Marine came in and led Senator Curtwell out of the gallery.
Dr. Ami stepped up to the operating table and began work. At first, she assisted Dr. Dashman. He observed the rapidity with which Dr. Ami worked. He withdrew his hands.
“Patient has resumed sinus rhythm,” VaNessa said.
“I recommend that we begin closing, Bob,” Dr. Ami said.
“Good job, Ami,” Dr. Dashman said. “You saved her again.”
They finished stitching the wounds.
“Bring her out of anesthesia,” Dr. Dashman said. “Status, VaNessa?”
“The patient is in Critical but Stable condition with full brain function.”
Mia’s eyes began to flutter.
“Commander, are you with us?”
Her eyes opened with a blank look and then focused. She looked at Dr. Dashman and then Dr. Ami. “Dr. Ami, am I human again?”
“Yes, Mia,” Dr. Ami said. “Just like always.”
“Did you operate, Dr. Ami,” Mia said. “What happened?”
“It was touch and go for a few minutes,” Dr. Dashman said. “Dr. Ami applied her super-speed hands and bailed us out.”
“Thank you, both,” Mia said.
“Take her to recovery,” Dr. Dashman said. “Dr. Ami, let’s inform the family.”
Dr. Dashman and Dr. Ami entered the waiting room. Chuck and Jeff stood next to the Senator who was already standing.
“We had some difficulty but we got her through it. Dr. Ami provided her invaluable to get Mia through a rough patch. She will make a full recovery.
Jeff went over and hugged Dr. Ami.
“Jeff, don’t touch that thing,” Ramona said. “It’s not human.”
“Ramona, there’s more to humanity than not being different,” Chuck said. “We are proud that Jeff has learned that from Mia and I.”
Ramona Curtwell turned and stormed out.
“Dr. Ami, Kalinda is in second place at Oceanside,” Jeff said. “She has one more chance to win.”
Chuck said, “The doctors are really busy…”
“Jeff, do you have the Surf Channel up on your HoloPad?” Dr. Ami said.
“Yeah, Ami, it’s in 3-D.”
The two went to a table, sat, and watched.
“She is a special physician,” Dr. Dashman said.
“StarCruiser Brilliant has given Jeff a new friend and me my wife back.”
Kalinda was sitting with her father in the sponsor tent surrounded by the other amateurs. She was munching on her second double decker ham and turkey sandwich.
Between them was a HoloPad and they were reviewing her waves on the third heat.
“The ocean was being mean to me,” Kalinda said.
“The waves kept crashing at the wrong times,” Anthen said.
Kalinda grimaced as they watched her final wave. “Too much speed and not enough wave.”
“Weather has updated,” Anthen said. “You may not have time to finish your heat.”
“I just need two good waves,” Kalinda said. “The monster waves are coming but I am worried about the others. The amateurs are not used to super-tall waves.”
The avatar on the HoloPad stopped the video. “Call from Chuck Rodriguez.”
Jeff and Chuck popped up on the table, all smiles.
“Looks like everything went okay,” Anthen said.
“Mia is through surgery and she will be fine,” Chuck said.
“Dr. Ami saved her again,” Jeff said.
“We are StarCruiser Brilliant,” Kalinda said.
“We’ll be watching on the Surf Channel,” Chuck said. “Good luck.”
“Thanks,” Anthen said. “We’ll see you on Saturday.”
Jeff and Chuck disappeared from the table top.
“Five minutes to the final amateur heat,” the announcer said.
“Got any tricks left?” Anthen asked.
“A couple,” Kalinda said. “Bondi is in first place on the pro scoreboard. I’m in twelfth.”
“You think you can win the amateur division,” Anthen said.
“More than that,” Kalinda said. “The waves right now are just like home. Remember what mother said, ‘Make today your destiny and save your dreams for tomorrow.’“
“You’re gonna win it all,” Anthen said.
“Yes, father,” she said. “But after that, I will have another task.”
“The waves are calling, father.”
Kalinda was out near the end of the pier where the swells were building twenty-foot waves. She looked at the black clouds bearing down on the beach. She knew that as soon as the safety master saw a lightning strike, he would sound two horns and clear the water.
Sage had just gone high above the crest to perform a perfect superman. The scores gave her a solid lead in the amateur category.
Kalinda scanned the horizon, saw a set of swells approaching, and began paddling. These are my waves, she thought.
On the Surf Channel, Simone said, “Bondi Cooper is clearly in first place among the pros, Biff. The excitement is coming from the battle between amateurs Sage Enever and Kalinda Kone-Kelrithian.”
“Yes, Simone. Sage just improved her lead with a solid wave,” said Biff. “Here comes Kalinda. This wave is a monster.”
Kalinda dropped down on the face of the wave and went into the tube. She was combining the energy of the wave with her own to build tremendous speed.
She blasted out of the tube, climbed the face of the wave, and went airborne to perform a Superman. But instead of throwing her legs back, she threw her legs forward and tucked.
“Look at her speed coming out of the tube,” Biff said. “It looks like a Superman. Simone, she got more air than any other surfer today. Up she goes, she throws her legs back…wait…”
Kalinda completed the reverse somersault, came out of the tuck and grabbed the rails.
“Kalinda has done a completely original version of the Superman,” Biff said. “She went up, did a reverse somersault in the tuck position, came out and grabbed the rails, and landed perfectly on the top of the wave.”
“Biff, you and I just finished the three and ten meter diving nationals,” Simone said. “A gainer or reverse somersault is one of the most difficult dives. Let’s look at the slo-mo for style points. She goes aerial above crest and throws her legs back. Stop right there.”
Simone uses the telestrator to draw a line from Kalinda’s highest elevation to the wave. “Biff, the graphic shows her elevation at 11.3 feet. That may be the record. She goes into the tuck. Perfect. She comes out of the tuck and grabs the rails. Freeze there.” Simone draws a line parallel to Kalinda’s body. “Her extension is superb and her landing is solid. I am running out of adjectives here.”
“Remember, the three judges observe the trick in real time,” Biff said. “Here are the results. Nine-point-eight. Nine-point-five. And the final judge. Ten.”
“Biff, that is the first Ten awarded on any level this season,” Simone said.
“That moves Kalinda ahead of Sage on the Amateur Board and into fifth overall. Sage has three waves remaining to top Kalinda, a difficult task to say the least.”
“Sage Enever is paddling into a monster wave,” Simone said.
“She drops into the pocket and starts pumping into the tube for speed. Up she goes, grabs the rails, and does a barrel roll. Sage lands a perfect rodeo flip.”
“The judges give her nine-point-two across the board,” Simone said. “That puts her and Kalinda in a tie for the amateur lead and fifth among the pros.”
Kalinda had two waves remaining in her heat as she looked to the west. I will get one more wave before lightning strikes, she thought.
She watched Sage’s rodeo flip. I guess I have to top that.
Here comes a monster wave. Into the tube. I need speed. She compressed as she went low and then extended as she went up. Rinse and repeat. Coming out of the tube, Kalinda climbed the wave at the best angle to retain her momentum. Airborne, grab the rails, and pull.
“Kalinda may have two waves remaining to win the amateur title,” Simone said. “If the storm doesn’t end competition for the day. Here she comes, Biff.”
“It’s another thirty-foot monster. Kalinda dives into the tube,” Biff said. “Look at her building speed. Up she goes, she’s airborne, and grabs the rails. Even higher. One … two backflips … she lands it … Omigod … a double Flynnstone Flip.”
“For the second time in this heat, Kalinda has nailed an original trick,” Simone said. “Let’s see if the judges reward her. Ten-point-zero, ten-point-zero, and ten-point-zero. Biff that guarantees her the amateur title.”
Biff took over. “And, on the pro scoreboard, …”
In close order, a lightning strike hit an electric tower two hundred yards north, the scoreboards and monitors went dark, a massive thunder clap sounded and two horns sounded from the safety boat.
Kalinda glanced back and then continued toward the beach. She ran to the nearest cover near the beach. Her father was waiting.
The lights and scoreboards returned.
“Simone, we are in a lightning delay,” Biff said. “Based on the weather report, that could end today’s competition.”
“Sage Enever is still on the swells, Simone said. By rule, a competitor may still score on this wave. Here she comes.”
Kalinda saw the biggest wave of the day coming in carrying her friend and competitor. Be careful, Sage, Kalinda thought.
Sage dove into the tube and started to build her speed. A huge wind gust came over the wave and it crashed. Sage wiped out.
“Simone, that was a very dangerous wave, Biff said. “Sage hasn’t popped back up to the surface.”
“Dad, I saw fishermen’s net stuck on the bottom where she went down,” Kalinda said as she looked at her father.
A pause. “Be careful, Kalinda,” Anthen said.
She ran to a TV electrician. “I need your folding knife,” she said.
“But…” he said. Then he opened the pouch and handed it to her.
“Sage Enever remains under water,” Biff said. “The safety boat is searching the area, lifeguards are running to the surf, and…Kalinda Kone-Kelrithian is running to the water as well.”
Kalinda hit the surf at full speed, went horizontal, and started swimming. The crew of the safety boat tried to wave her back as they moved away from the point she was aiming at.
“Biff, she appears to be swimming to a point away from where the first responders are searching,” Simone said. “Kalinda’s stopped and is waving to the boat. And now she’s under. Sage has been under for forty-five seconds.”
Kalinda dove to the bottom through the sandy water. She spotted the net and then she spotted Sage struggling to free her legs from the fouled nets.
Kalinda got to her friend, opened the knife and started cutting. Five seconds later, she freed Sage. She saw that Sage had passed out. Kalinda dragged her to the surface just as the safety boat arrived at the spot.
“She’s unconscious,” Kalinda yelled.
The first responders dragged Sage aboard, threw Kalinda a life vest, then pulled her aboard.
“Sage has been under for a minute and fifteen seconds,” Biff said. “Kalinda is under water too. The only sound on the beach is the wind and the surf. The spectators have moved to safety and are transfixed by the drama occurring in the water before them.”
“One-minute-thirty,” Simone said. “We are hoping for the best.” Her voice broke.
“Wait,” Biff said. “I see two heads near the safety boat. They are pulling one of the girls aboard. It looks like Sage but she appears to be unconscious.”
“Kalinda is aboard and the boat is heading to shore.”
A first responder extended a hand and pulled Kalinda aboard the safety boat.
Sage was on her back. Kalinda stood and watched. A first responder was performing chest compressions. Kalinda could see water coming from Sage’s lungs. The first responder performed mouth-to-mouth and performed one more chest compression. Sage turned her head and coughed out a large amount of water.
“Pulse is good.” The first responder gave a thumbs up.
Sage continued coughing as they sat her up. She opened her eyes.
“Kalinda?” Sage said.
“Right here, Sage,” Kalinda said.
“You saved me,” Sage said.
“Like you say, we’re family,” Kalinda said.
On the surfer channel, “As the safety boat reaches the shore, they are carrying Sage to the medical tent…Just a moment…We are receiving word that Sage Enever responded to treatment and will be just fine. And so will Kalinda Kone-Kelrithian.”
“Kalinda is walking up the beach just as the rain is beginning,” Simone said. “The crowd is giving her hugs, high-fives and well-deserved applause for her heroism. Biff the scoreboard is updated as well.”
“On a day that epitomizes the excitement and drama of not only surfing but sports, Bondi Cooper and Kalinda Kone-Kelrithian have one the 2067 Oceanside Pro-Am Surfing Tourney. No surprise there, Simone. Kalinda has won the amateur title as well.”
“No surprises so far, Biff.”
“And with a perfect score on her last wave, Kalinda passes Bondi for first place on the pro scoreboard.”
“We’ve found a true surfing superstar, Biff.”
“We’ll be back with interviews and a final note from Oceanside on the Surfing Channel.”
Author Rick Lakin
Rick Lakin is the Best-Selling Children’s Science Fiction Author of Brilliant, and the publisher at iCrewDigitalPublishing.com, Bringing New Authors to a Digital World. iCrew has published 35 books by 11 authors.
Rick has been an Optimist for almost two years and is the district webmaster at calso41.us and was a Toastmaster.
He is the founder of iCrew Digital Productions, A Community of Young Media Professionals and a member of the 1000 Club of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers. Rick is an Advanced Communicator Silver in Toastmasters International and is a member of American Mensa. Rick works as a Sports Statistician for broadcast television and is a retired math teacher.
He lives in Southern California but his roots are in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes.
Watch for Singularity, Book Two of StarCruiser Brilliant, coming soon from iCrew.
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