Flash Fiction: Bob Jones – Physician’s Weekly

Sergeant Bob Jones was not aware of stepping on the mine that amputated his right foot below the ankle.

In his stream of consciousness, there was a brief pass-by, a hostile drone that flitted in, paused, and then darted off. He had ordered the fire team to run for cover in the woods for 50 meters at his 2 o’clock. The drone was clearly a spotter, and he had thought they had better get out fast before they received incoming artillery or mortar fire. His next thought of him was about blue sky and pain, as he lay on his back of him where the blast had flipped him. What he had not known was that the drone scattered a payload of small winged anti-personnel mines. The wearable device on his wrist registered the shock wave, the change in his body orientation, and the impact as he hit the ground. It also detected changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. A recent upgrade to the wearable was a paired implant that continuously sampled his blood from him and could detect clotting factors, including plasmin, thrombin, and fibrin, and cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor. Sensors in his clothing reported the damage to his right leg, as well as a mapping of secondary shrapnel, burns, and blast damage. His body armor hemostasis device triggered and its hemostatic foam automatically released, which bought him valuable time and provided local anasthesia to dull pain without clouding his remaining awareness and cognitive abilities.

Thirty kilometers away, the AI ​​hive flight controller processed the telemetry, and eVTOL recovery craft #4077 was dispatched. Launched from the hive, the drone skimmed the treetops at 300 km/hour and deployed five sentinel drones to patrol the area as it arrived on scene. Landing 5 meters from the barely conscious figure, two bipedal Carebots unfurled themselves from their fuselage docking stations and moved to Bob’s side. Infrared and video scans of his body identified a major bleed. Carebot #10019 applied a tourniquet to the ankle while Carebot #10057 used a pulse ultrasound to check for any major cervical spine injury and then intubated Bob. Once IV lines were inserted, and fluids containing synthetic hemoglobin analogs with targeted clotting factors started flowing, the Carebots secured Bob to a scoop stretcher and loaded him into the care bay of the eVTOL transporter. With the infusion pump connected, the Carebots stowed themselves, and the transporter took a route to the nearest surgical hospital that the AI ​​controller calculated had the optimal combination of flight time and risk for ground fire. In 30 minutes, the sedated and prepped Bob was released into the care of the surgical team, who had already received Bob’s digital twin data, the damage assessment, and a surgical plan that was generated by an AI system based on thousands of previous cases.

As twilight settled, recovery craft #4077 docked at the hive to recharge and replenish stocks, and its Carebots swapped out. Carebots #10019 and #10057 reported in for recharging, sterilization, and redeployment.

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