It was almost a full day before Arnold began to feel normal again. Teams of doctors and technicians fussed over him as he weaved in and out of consciousness. There were many tests: blood, urine, EKGs, at least three MRIs.
And finally Arnold sat up in his bunk and asked for Preena, "Doctor Eldregaarn!"
A tech bustled out the door and returned in just a few minutes with Preena in tow. She gave Arnold a glance, then looked at her watch. She made a notation on a clipboard then looked back at Arnold with a bit of a smile etched across her lips, "Twenty-three hours, Arnold. A new record! Remember your first trip? You were in a coma for three days. I'd say this is a dramatic improvement, wouldn't you?"
He put a hand to his head and said, "Still feel weird, you know?"
Preena scowled as another nurse came in to check Arnold's oxygen level, "Weird how?"
"Like... thick. Sluggish. I kinda feel like a mimeograph of me, not quite me yet."
Preena nodded, this was all normal for Arnold. She asked him about his headache.
He groaned and slowly rolled his neck, "Better than last time, not as sharp. It feels less like I'm being stabbed but more like I'm being poked with a blunt object."
"Sooooo... the pain is more blunt than in previous trips?"
She wrinkled her nose but said, "I suppose that might be cause for some optimism. I am worried about your heart however. None of the others experience so much trauma to their heart."
She flipped through some pages on the clipboard, "Your blood pressure is frightening, to be honest."
Arnold put one foot on the edge of the cot and pulled his knee close to his chest. A smug little smirk touched the corners of his mouth and he responded, "Yeah, but none of the others have gone as deep into that world as I have, Dr. Eldregaarn. I'm your star guinea pig!"
"You are," she nodded, "but it is my job to keep out star guinea pig from suffering a debilitating stroke, heart attack or embolism. We simply do not fully comprehend the effects of Astral Projection on your body."
Arnold shook his head ruefully, "It is some weird stuff, I can tell you that much Doc."
"No doubt. When will you be ready to give your report to the Colonel?"
"What time is it now?"
"About five in the morning."
"All right. Give me 'till noon?"
Preena nodded and stood as she said, "I'll set it up."
She walked to the door and Arnold couldn't help but watch her lab coat sway as she walked. He wondered what she might look like if ever she forgot to wear that lab coat. Suddenly she stopped and Arnold's eyes snapped away from her butt to meet her gaze, "Oh, and Arnold?"