A fully formed fictional world is populated by many people. Having met the Cardiac Cowboys, meet the secondary cast of The Stars That Govern Us.
“From the east to western Ind, no jewel is like my Ravenna Rosalind.” He rolled the Rs of her deliciously alliterative name, putting his unique imprint on As You Like It, and tugged her close, breathing in her intoxicating scent and admiring the fragrant red rose tucked in her hair. Of Italian descent and as short, dark, and lithe as he was, the sinking sun warmed her olive skin and her sleeveless burgundy A-line dress, setting her aglow. “You steal a man’s mind and leave him incapable of thinking of anything else.” Lowering his voice, he whispered into the delicate shell of her ear conspiratorially. “And that doesn’t even begin describing the effect you have on other parts of him.”
Brose pushed black curly hair from forlorn and bottomless brown eyes. Nowhere was the father-son resemblance between Alec and Brose more pronounced than their eyes—nearly black and flecked with warm copper specks, deep-set and soulful in their depths.
Perhaps all father and son relationships are complicated, but Dimitrios “The Captain” Serafeim—he had earned his sobriquet serving as a surgeon in the Royal Australian Navy—had not raised Alec, and the two rarely saw eye to eye, lending their relationship a fraught and multifarious character. For his part, Alec loved his father, but he found his old man baffling and more than a bit eccentric.
At that moment, Kate O’Neill appeared. Her chestnut hair fell in soft waves to her shoulders; pale lashes framed large hazel eyes. She put on her best scowl, placed both hands on her hips, and adopted her mum’s voice. “Stop!”
“No doctors in my family.” Pete rubbed his hip. “My da was a fitter for Harland and Wolff. Built Titanic. He volunteered for the Great War and was wounded at the Somme. When he returned from France, his wife was dead. He married a Catholic girl—my mam—and converted. His family disowned him and since the yard didn’t abide Catholics, he lost his job. Not long after I was born, he joined the Republican Army.”
Miller was indeed an old man. He had served as Stirling’s surgical chief since the beginning of the decade and was now in his late seventies. Eighty pounds overweight, pompous, and parsimonious with the department coffers, he had developed a noticeable tremor and many of the consultants whispered Miller should not be operating at all.
“Above all else, Tim cares about the kids. He was on board right away with using hypothermia to repair ASDs. He’s conservative, yes, but he also knows medicine cannot fix those kids. We can only heal them with steel.”
Just under average height, Josh had a round soft face and mild blue-gray eyes. He jerked his head in the affirmative, gaze darting everywhere as if expecting interlopers. Alec had only worked with Josh a handful of times, but the young man’s reputation was as a gentle soul and a talented doctor, one with excellent technical skills.
Of mixed Māori and English ancestry, and with a solid build still well-suited for the rugby pitch—he had played for the New Zealand national team as a full-back—the young native of Wellington had been a promising surgical trainee before a road accident had left him a paraplegic. Henry hadn’t seemed to know what to do with a paralyzed surgical house officer, assigning Gabe to pointless research projects. But the fact Gabe was in a wheelchair didn’t bother Alec in the least. He had needed someone smart, responsible, and diligent to help him research, build, and ultimately run the machine; over the past several weeks—and the last few days in particular—Gabe had proved to be all those things and more.
An eleven-year-old girl with bare feet, copper hair tied into a horsetail, and freckles looked up from her book. Save for her slight stature, the colorless cast of her skin, and the nasal cannula supplying her with a steady trickle of supplemental oxygen, she could have been any child sick in bed with a bad cold, temporarily missing out on learning about fractions and decimals and having sleepovers with friends.