Dremiks had once been covered with marshes and swamps. The war between the native Dremikians and their former masters, the Valtoza, destroyed most of the planet’s atmosphere, leading to the evaporation of all surface water. Deep underground aquifers still existed but pumping and transferring that water took precious time and energy.
Therefore, showers on Dremiks were brief affairs. Cassie wanted to stand under the steaming water and let her tension drain away. Instead, she scrubbed her scalp only, rubbed the soap bar over her dry, flaking skin, and rinsed off within three minutes.
She stepped from shower enclosure onto the tiny square of floor between the door and the toilet-sink combo. After pulling on her thin robe, she applied an oil mixture to the end of her hair and her skin. Wincing at her reflection in the mirror, the doctor pulled down one lower eyelid. She scowled at the paleness there.
The bathroom door was directly beside the bedroom. Cassie crossed the limited floor space and picked up a handheld scanner. Flipping her left arm over, she waved the device twice across her wrist. Ben passed behind her and walked to the crib while she waited for the results to appear on the screen. He laid the sleeping baby on her back before tucking a blanket securely around her. With two button presses, the domed covering of the bassinet slid shut and the entire contraption began to slowly rock.
“Did you set the heart and respiration monitor?”
“Yes.” Ben slid an arm around her waist and rested his cheek on the top of Cassie’s head. “What’s up?”
“Not sure, I’ll tell you in a min—” She broke off to read the results of her complete blood count scan. “Huh.” She raised the screen so he could read it.
“Anemic? What made you check for that?”
“Pure chance. Noticed the bags under my eyes, pulled on my eyelid, noticed how pale it was.”
“Any obvious cause?” He hugged her gently. “I think I’d have noticed rapid blood loss. Have you given yourself ulcers and managed to hide them from me?”
Cassie snorted. “No. I need to run more tests, but my brain is fuzzy.”
“Mmm. Sleep deprivation and anemia will do that. You sleep. I’ll take care of the babe and run a few scans of my own.”
“K.” She crawled into bed and pulled her patchwork quilt up around her ears. “Wake me up if you need me.”
“Sure.” He chuckled as his lips pressed against her forehead. She was already asleep.