tagSci-Fi & FantasyA Helping Hand

A Helping Hand


Dr. Phasia Somers stepped into the glass elevator and pressed the button for the 113th floor. The doors slowly closed out the chill that permeated the evening air, and the lift rose. He turned around, put his hands on the rail, and watched the ground disappear. The sun was still setting over Pax-Termini, but the city lights were already awakening beneath the shadows of the superstructures. He stared at a small patch of lawn and watched it until it vanished in the distance. Everywhere he looked, the inky black maw of darkness swallowed the world.

Phasia closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against the glass. As the cold started to draw out the ache in his head, he imagined his migraine being drained by some kind of phantom leech. For a moment, he was some innocent victim trapped by a demonic force bent on the domination of every living soul. He choked off a laugh and let his eyes drift over the skyline. 'Innocent' and 'victim' were about the last words he thought applied to him. The sharp peaks of the other buildings emerged, a collage of mingled geometric shapes stacked like toys atop the lower rooftops. He saw the faintest trace of his own eyes reflected in the glass, and for the smallest moment, it looked like the sunset itself was staring back at him. He waited for his reflection to blink first.

When the door opened behind him, the sound of dueling vacuum cleaners echoed in the gilded halls. Phasia sighed and turned into the corridor, then swept around the fountain on the corner next to his office. A cleaning crew working their way up from the obstetrics offices deeper in the building's core had sprawled out ahead of him. His toe caught on a layer of crossed extension cords. He stumbled, but managed to avoid crashing into the back of a woman cleaning the windows that flanked his front door. He forced himself to watch the floor for more of the writhing tendrils and avoided the delicate curve of her hips as she swayed back and forth. He was hypnotized by the way her arms moved above her head and cleaned the glass to a rhythm she alone seemed able to hear. The whine of the vacuums couldn't conceal the way her pants tightened against her ass, or hide the line of her high-cut bikini panty. It even had lace trim. When he opened the door and stepped into his office, he let out a pent-up breath and fought the urge to turn around and stare at her. He knew her breasts were there, waiting for his inspection, and his imagination already saw them heave hypnotically behind him.

Instead, he looked up at his receptionist, Bania, and smiled. She smiled back at him from behind her computer screen. She had three monitors hovering near her and a telephone headset tucked behind her ear. Just behind her on the counter, he could see a small stack of charts that were set aside for him. The waiting room already had three women sitting at opposite sides; two were filling out new patient forms on the clipboards poised on their laps. The one woman who wasn't writing was casually flipping through a fashion magazine.

He took another deep breath and stepped through the glass door separating the waiting room from the front desk. He hung his coat next to Bania's and leafed through the stack of charts waiting in his tray. "Anything special tonight?"

Bania turned around and shook her head, tapping the mute button on her headset. "There's a cancer screening and a few annuals, but the rest are just consults for insurance eligibility."

Phasia smiled, but the movement at the lobby windows caught his eye. His eyes tracked it like a lost ship bearing down on a lighthouse. The window cleaner's shirt had two open buttons that barely hid a deep valley of cleavage. It looked moist from sweat or water spray, maybe both. She bent lower to reach the glass near the floor, and he saw the top edge of her white bra before she disappeared behind the edge of Bania's counter.

Phasia felt his heart race for a moment and his mouth went dry. When he caught himself, he looked back to his receptionist and was grateful that she was too busy taking the forms from one of the new patients to notice his lapse. He shook the image from his mind and turned into the back halls. He took a long white coat off the rack between the exam rooms and shrugged into it while he juggled the stack of charts.

His office was at the rear of the suite between his partners'. Xander Michaels had the office to his left and staffed the daily workweek. Prima McAllister occupied the space to his right and only worked afternoon shifts. Phasia worked nights and the occasional weekend. Where most of his peers blanched at the late hours, Phasia greeted the night: the workload was lighter, the patients grateful, and no one seemed to be in a hurry.

Pax-Termini had a booming population and it showed no signs of slowing down. Terran was a world hinged between two sectors of space that offered a transport interconnect for trillions of dollars worth of cargo and personnel. It had the potential to generate trade windfalls unseen since the carving of the Panama Canal on Earth. In addition to its migrant population, it also created a mass genesis of new colonists. The desperate outcry generated by that teeming mass made Phasia, and his colleagues' skills a powerful commodity. Phasia's problem wasn't earning money; he just had nowhere to spend it.

His office light was already on, and he saw that Bania had left a small pot of coffee waiting for him next to his desk. He inhaled deeply as he sat down and set the files aside. He stared at his computer screen, and his hand trembled a fraction as he reached for the mouse. He almost scrolled through his browsing history but he snatched his hand away and reached for his coffee cup instead. He had been living on Terran for nearly three years and could count his a full days of sunlight on one hand. He saw the sunrise and sunset regularly, but he rarely left his luxury apartment for anything short of food and work.

He browsed through the charts while he finished his coffee. He had nine cases to see to. Nine. He glanced down at his mouse and smiled. He'd be done before midnight. Once his patient load cleared, he wondered if he would send Bania home, or check himself out early. He smiled as he picked up the charts again and carried them back out to Bania's desk. He called the first woman's name, and she smiled as she looked up.


The patients cycled through seamlessly. Each of them only spent about twenty minutes in his exam rooms, and most were content to answer a few questions from his forms without full palpation. By the time he walked out his last patient, Phasia felt a bit anxious and hoped Bania wouldn't notice. He retreated to his desk while the woman scheduled her next appointment and before the lobby door had even closed behind her, his screen was warming up.

It wasn't long after he arrived in Pax-Termini that he turned to his computer to fill the void in his social life. He started out with quick visits to picture sites promising him an enticing social forum to meet other new colonists, but it wasn't long before he found that looking through the profiles of the different women had far more appeal than actually meeting any of them. He might have flipped through every woman's profile a dozen times, read their posts, and looked through their picture galleries. He even returned night after night to read their updates. Within six months, Phasia had cycled through three more similar sites.

He brought up his home screen and blocked off the rest of the nights calendar. He had just logged in the patient count and general notes when Bania knocked on his open door. "You want anything? I was going to run downstairs and grab a bite."

Phasia looked up and saw her leaning against the doorframe. Her hand was resting on her hip in a way that didn't look accidental. That's when he noticed. Her slender fingers had a new accessory. "Oh my god, Bania," he said and stood up. He reached out to hug her as he came around the desk. "Why didn't you tell me?"

She smiled like a Cheshire cat and held out her hand so he could look at the ring closely. "He asked me right after I got home yesterday. He went down on one knee and everything."

Phasia smiled. He was sure that her new fiancé went down on more than one knee yesterday. "That's wonderful, Bania. When are you thinking of having the ceremony?"

"We were talking a bit about it this morning but nothing's set in stone. It'll definitely be before the year is out though."

"Tell you what. Tonight's dead, why don't you get the hell out of here and take the rest of the night off? On me."

She blinked at him and cocked her head to the side. "You sure? I mean, I still have the filing to do and-"

"I can manage the paperwork. Besides, even if I can't, I'm sure I won't make so much of a mess of it that it can't be straightened out tomorrow."

He walked her back to her desk and helped her into her coat. As they walked to the door, the phone rang behind him. She turned around to answer it, but he caught her. "Oh no you don't, go!" he said and turned her by the shoulders out into the hallway. He watched her hips sway until she turned the corner, and then he sprinted to the reception desk and lunged for the phone. Just as his hand gripped the receiver, the line stopped ringing. He looked up from where he was balanced on his hip and a second later, the call was forwarded to his office. He hauled himself over the desk and raced down the hall. He grabbed the handset and punched up the line. "Hello, PTGYN, This is Dr. Somers, how can I help you?"

Phasia heard the familiar click of an automated message that rattled off a list of imaging software deliveries. His mind ticked with a familiar kernel of recognition before it blossomed into a full memory. The software they were using in the cervical cameras started to bog down and Xander said he was going to order an updated version.

Phasia reached for his notepad and scribbled out a message for his colleague with the date and time and then walked the note next door and dropped it onto Xander's desk. As Phasia walked back to his own desk, he almost didn't notice the woman standing in the lobby. The shape existed in the corner of his eye, but it wasn't until she called out to him that he fully realized she was there. The sound made his heart stop even as the rest of him jerked sideways. She held her coat folded over her arm, and a rolling travel suitcase stood behind her like an obedient dog. He felt his brain retreat back to the patent list and wondered if he'd forgotten someone. "I'm sorry, do you have an appointment?"

He saw her shoulders sag slightly, but she recovered quickly. "No, I was getting ready for trans-line when I remembered that I hadn't gotten my clearance form checked."

Phasia suddenly understood the luggage. "So you need a full blood panel? That's not going to be ready for at least a week."

"No, no bloodwork. I've only been here for five weeks. I just need the stasis check."

She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a folded document case. Her travel papers were all stamped and ready for her trip back to Earth. The only thing that looked like she was missing was her pregnancy clearance. Eight months in stasis could get complicated if a woman was in any stage of a pregnancy.

"Look, I'd really like to help, but I'm alone in the office tonight." He gestured to the empty office and the chair where Bania usually sat. "I don't even have a secretary. I'm afraid I wouldn't even know how to bill you."

She set her coat on her luggage and sighed heavily. "I'm being paid for by Genn Tech. Everything I incur goes to them. I have to make this flight."

Phasia was about to tell her to go to the hospital up the street where an emergency room visit could get her the same results, maybe even faster than he could, especially with Genn Tech paying her bills. His eyes betrayed his logic though and did a fast check of her body: she had short chestnut hair and the tailored cut of her business suit highlighted the delicate swell of her breasts instead of concealing them. "Look, I really want to help you, but-"

"Look, I can pay cash. I have three thousand dollars right here." She reached into her travel case and opened her wallet.

He felt a sudden flush of anger. "I am not some kind of medical whore. And I'm not trying to turn you away because of your wallet, but because you're alone in an office in the middle of the damn night with a man who could be psychotic for all you know!"

For the second time that night, she surprised him without trying to. This time she flashed him a nervous smile. "I think I'm willing to risk it, Doctor. And look, I'm sorry if I offended you." She put her wallet away and sighed. "I just really need to make this flight. You're my only hope at this point."

Phasia looked up at the clock. "What time is your flight?"

"Four thirty. And it's a thirty-minute fare to get there from here. I'm already preset so I just need to show up, present my documents, and find a place to sit."

Phasia felt his adrenaline surge through him. Several long seconds ticked by like hours in his brain. "I shouldn't be doing this," he said finally. "I could be thrown out of the profession for even considering it."

"Does that mean you'll help me?"

Phasia went around the desk and opened the door to the lobby. "Take your things into room two and change into a gown. I'm going to lock the door and turn out the lobby light. And for God's sake, hurry."

He felt his heart beat harder in his chest, and he felt like there were eyes on him from every shadow in the hallway, from the fake cameras mounted on every corner. He glanced out into the deserted hall and retreated to lock the door behind him. He turned down the lobby lights and forwarded the office phones to the call center. He made sure his cell phone was on in his pocket and then picked up the screening documents he needed from Bania's desk. He stopped long enough to emboss the blank forms and then picked up a stack of papers he'd need to open a new medical chart. He carried the bundle into room two without stopping to knock and realized the woman was still changing. Her blazer and shirt were hung neatly on a hanger while her bra covered the back of the chair where he was going to sit. The zipper on her skirt was down, and the cloth hugged her hips like a second skin waiting to be peeled off. She started as he burst in and spun around, trying to use her arms to cover her breasts but Phasia didn't notice. His throat had gone dry, not out of his usual lust, but from his fear of being discovered.

"I need to fill out this chart; where are your travel documents?" he laid out the forms on the counter. He looked back at her and held out his hand. "The papers?"

She nodded and blinked slightly, then reached over to her coat and pulled out the travel case. As she did, Phasia finally saw what she was trying to cover. Her breasts looked perfect, better than anything he'd seen on his computer or in his office in the last two years. Her nipples stood out half an inch from her large areolas and the light pink color was a beautiful contrast to her milky white skin. In short, she was mesmerizing. She handed him the case and he turned back to his paperwork. He scribbled in her name, date of birth, marital status, insurance information, employment status, family status, and age.

By the time he reached the medical history form, she was starting to take off her skirt. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the color change from dark blue to white, framed with the same matching tan of her bra. He got through the general topic items without staring, and then turned to ask her a few of the more open-ended questions directly. She was just pulling the gown closed around her back and he saw the delicate curve of her ass before it disappeared between the folds. He helped her tie the ends closed and told her to sit in the chair. She asked him if she needed to put her feet in the stirrups.

"Not yet," he said as he looked up from his forms. She looked so much more vulnerable now than when she first walked through his door. "Have you been sexually active since you've been here?"

"Not really. I mean, I've been out a few times, but I haven't taken a lover."

He checked a few boxes on his list. "And when was your last period?"

"Before I left Earth. So, last July."

He looked up at her and tried to get his mind to focus. "That long? Have you had any abdominal pain, or cramping?"

"No, but I have been..." A blush rose to her cheeks. "I have been very..." She sighed and then spoke in a rush of words she didn't want to repeat. "I thought I was starting my period a few times. I needed to wear pads to keep from leaking through my pants."


"Um, no."

"Well, if you're not experiencing any pain or bleeding then it's likely there's no problem. Have you been uncomfortable at all?"

"No. Well, a bit, you know...easily excitable."

"Well, that's understandable considering what you've put your body through over the last thirteen months. Once you get back to Earth, you'll have some adjusting to do, but after about six months, you should be back to normal. In the meantime, let's get you cleared for travel. Go ahead and lean back and put your feet up."

He leaned over to switch on the digital array behind him. The screen mounted up on the wall was for her benefit, not his. He knew the inner workings of a female's anatomy better than his own. She settled into position while he lifted the digital wand and wrapped it in a warm compress. He pulled on his gloves and covered the end of the probe in a thin layer of pyrnol. The end glistened slightly as he turned toward her, but as he lifted the hem of her dressing gown, he saw that he probably wouldn't need it. Her vaginal lips were already distended and glistening. Her eyes were fixed on the screen, and she could easily see everything through the probe's camera lens- mainly her own legs spread wide by the footrests.

He adjusted the focus by turning the dial near the base of the handle. "Okay, there's going to be a bit of pressure," he said and pressed the tip at her opening and slid it into her fully on one stroke. The camera on the end blurred for a moment, and then focused on her inner tissues. Phasia thought he heard her moan slightly, but when he paused to listen more closely, he could only hear the hum of the machine behind him. He pulled back, turned the wand slightly, and pressed in again. This time he could see the edge of her cervix. He felt her thighs tremble slightly, and he pulled back again. "Are you feeling any pain?"

She took a deep breath and shook her head to the sides. She closed her eyes tight and let her breath out slowly. He looked back up at the screen, pressed the wand in further until he could clearly see her cervix, and then held it firmly in place while he captured a screenshot. As he moved to pull the wand out, her legs flexed and he could tell she almost had an orgasm. He stopped for an instant, not knowing what he should do. Even as he hesitated, she angled her hips slightly against the wand. Again, he felt like a thousand eyes descended on him, and he pulled the wand out completely. He set it in its cradle and turned back to wipe her lips with a towel. The entire region from her anus to her clit was wetter than anyone he'd ever seen outside of a porn site, and the scent of her was like a toxin designed to drive him mad. His thoughts were racing as fast as his pulse.

"When was the last time you had a cancer screening?"

Her eyes opened, and she looked up at the still image on the screen. "I don't remember. Probably before I left Earth. Why, is there something wrong?"

"I don't think so. It's just that since you're here, and you're not paying for it, you might as well."

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