Saturday, April 21

The Sleeping Humpty Dumpty Beauty

Trust Anne McCaffrey to give a good story!
In her anthology, The Girl Who Heard Dragons, she has a story entitled the Sleeping Humpty Dumpty Beauty is a mix of the two. Humpty Dumpty and Sleeping Beauty. Now who would have thought of mixing these two stories into one Space-Age drama?

I love this story. It is simple but there is humor and romance in one. Imagine a futuristic space where humans travel and fight alien wars. Now, a soldier fights in the war but still believes in fairy tales.

Bardie is a doctor sent into the battlefields to collect bodies and cure what soldiers that can be. She picks up a badly battled Lt. Roger O'Hara. His left hand is gone, his left leg is broken in 9 places, goodbye left lung, stomach is slashed, he needs a new pancreas and one liver left. But his face, only a small gash. His head is completely intact and he is completely alive.
Bardie makes a decision and puts him back together, ordering new organs and putting prosthetics to the limbs.
One problem, Lt. O'Hara doesn't want to wake up. His brainwaves indicate he is alright and is not in great pain. He was only asleep. The nurses tried to wake him but no progress. Bardie gets a few bodily responses but that was it.
The Lieutenant was a handsome man. He was battered and patched up but his face was like an angel. In a dreamy moment, she kissed him. Ashamed, she fled and never came near him. Later, she learned he was awake. The nurses thought it was a miracle.
After two weeks, she was finally going home. Aboard the space shuttle taking her home, the lieutenant was also placed to get home. Once the ship set off, Bardie was called to attend to Lt. O'Hara. He was back to his "sleep" state.
Bardie confronts him and asks why he went back to his self-induced sleep.
"I know you're awake!"

His answer, he wanted to know he didn't wake up in a horror story. He wanted to make sure he woke to more than a fairy tale, a reality.
"You're no Sleeping Beauty, O'Hara, More like Humpty Dumpty."

But he woke to find his king's man gone. Wouldn't Bardie love to have a fairytale even if it is just during the trip home? If so, how does Sleeping Beauty wake up?...


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