2200AD. 4 Weeks after Field Trip.


The televisions in the human wing didn’t need to make sounds when they changed the channel; it was simply programmed in as a cultural quirk.


“[…returning to normalcy. PDF outposts have been put on highest alert to stamp down on illegal spawning fires, specifically to alleviate the spread and prevalence of Dust, which has affected our human allies-]”

The furry paw clicked the room remote once more.


A gray-suited Jornissian calmly sat coiled behind a desk, making his case to a nodding, bejeweled Karnakian host. “[-derstanding that there must be communication between our two governments. I can understand wanting to keep secrets out of fear, but they need to learn to trust us, especially in times of need. If we had kno-]”


The channel switched again, this time to something random. Tipo was … well, bored wasn’t the right word for it, but. An analogy rose to top of mind; His tiny-chomper friends had told him about hurricanes, giant weather phenomena found on gas giants and habitable planets with the proper geography that had storm-walls miles wide.

“[-ices and dices!]” The smiling Dorarizin host said, her teeth clicking forcefully as she oozed vitality. “[It also mulches anything from yard compost to leftovers, and it’s able to chemically separate the ruffage into it’s constituent elements with minimal processing, making it pay for itself in raw material fabricator sales – or personal use – within 5 years. If-]”


When you hit the storm-wall, the wind was at it’s fiercest. Once you passed through, it was silence. Black sky turned to clear blue, the sun shone, everything was quiet and still. That’s what Tipo felt like – there was the rush of tiny-chompers coming in, the rapid intubations and emergency protocol, the… whatever that was with MEDIBOT, the field trip with repressed musical memories, and now


“[-should not be allowed on any planet, period. If anything this has proven that humans are too fragile to be left on any environment that’s not built from the ground-up to support their lifestyles!]”

Tipo groaned and muted the protester. Now he was in the middle of the storm, and everything was oddly quiet. The rest of the world was up in arms, there were treaties and laws and his wife was now on call at all hours going every which way doing all sorts of things that he wasn’t allowed to know about, and everyone was pulling out their collective tails over this and he?

Absentmindedly he licked his long-since-fixed tooth-gap spot, fresh and healthy teeth greeting his probing tongue.

He was sitting in the human lounge after putting his kids into daycare, waiting for one of his colleagues to teach him how to recover the tiny-chompers from a Dust infection. As soon as they made landfall back at the hospital all of the human staff were whisked away in sleek, black transports – save for Dr. Robot-Nick, who was hit with a net-gun as he tried to escape and air-lifted out. The goal was triage, but in the opposite direction – get medical professionals back up and healthy, then get VIPs, then the general populace. Tipo could only imagine that his friends had been working long, double-shifts for the past few weeks, so getting some help in Dust recovery would be a welcome event.

His ears perked up as the door opened. ‘Speak of good news and it will appear,he thought, as he stood to warmly greet James.

“{Hey there, friend. It’s been a while!}” Tipo said warmly, and was greeted with a soft smile and a gentle pat on the arm.

“[Yeah, it sure has been. You holding’ down the fort?]” James yawned, stretching. “[Sorry, caught a red-eye… eer. Late flight? I don’t know, the day/night cycle here still fucks me up. My body is saying it’s early morning.]”

Tipo cooed softly, gently brushing James’ hair back. “{Well. Do you need to rest? We can always come back to this.}”

“[No, nope. Timetables and everything.]” James said, frowning. “[It just… it hurts, Tipo.]”

“{What does?! Are you injured-}”

“[No, no. You’ll… you’ll see. Maybe. Maybe you’ll miss it – come on. We’re going to start with the more intensive cases and work our way out from there.]”

= = = =

Room 12B was only a few minutes’ walk from the welcome center, and it was done in relative silence. Any probing questions ventured by Tipo were deflected, given a non-committal answer, or outright ignored. Whatever had happened, whatever Laverne learned that caused her to stare off silently into the distance for half a day, Tipo would not learn about it until it was absolutely necessary, and even then, only to perform the duty before him.

At least, that’s what he assumed, when James remained silent outside of reading the vitals of the female tiny-chomper before him. Sarah Connor, 29 Dirt-years old. Incredibly young, incredibly infected – but the goal was to use her as an example because her youth would lead to a speedy recovery, and any accident born out of procedural variance could be mitigated.

“Hello, everyone.” Dr. Silver – now more man than machine – flatly stated, brushing aside the curtain as he walked in. His body had regained it’s former shape and color, and the scar tissue had mostly healed; the only discernible difference between his pre-entombment and post-entombment in the Iron Robot was his habitual and continued use of homemade purity seals.

Some of them had scripture. Others were just cursing.

“Hey doc. I’ve got everything ready to go, we’re starting the thaw procedure now.” James said, motioning to a wheeled cart sitting squat beside the already-low bed. “Tipo, can you please stand opposite me so you can have a full view of the procedure?”

“[Um, sure. Are you certain this is ok?]” Tipo mumbled nervously, hunching over the slowly-warming human.

“To be honest? No. None of this is ok. Just… pay attention.” Dr. Silver said, sighing heavily. “We are going to begin administering the PINGAS treatment. James?”

Listlessly James Wilson pulled the covering off of the wheeled cart, showing a myriad of what looked like… well. Tipo had honestly no idea, but none of it looked like standard medical equipment. Case in point, James picked up a cloth-bound circle with an intricate string design running through the open gap. He held it out, and it took Tipo a few seconds to realize James was holding it out for him.

“[Thank… you?]” Tipo said, cradling the string-circle in his hands gently.

“This is a dreamcatcher. This was created and used by native peoples on the North American continent of Earth to…” James sighed. “…catch bad thoughts before they entered your sleeping mind. Please place it over the face of Ms. Connor here.”

Tipo furrowed his brow, but did as he was ordered. As he did so, James pulled out a small, conical device, handing it to Dr. Silver who turned it on and placed it on the locker at the foot of the bed. “This is a Lavender essential oil diffuser-”

“[Essential oils being…?]” Tipo ventured.


Being oils essential to the plant.” James spoke over Nick, looking at the now-warm patient. “Now…” James screwed his eyes shut, his body physically tensing and relaxing before he continued. Reaching back to the cart, he pulled out what looked like a long, very thin copper chain, on the end of which hung a quartz crystal.

“This.” James said, through now-gritting teeth. “Is a positive ion copper chain and a neutral field quartz crystal. Please intubate the patient with it – slide it down her nose into her lungs.”

With a clenched fist James handed the crystal-and-chain, with visible hatred, to Tipo. Knowing better to ask questions, with the utmost delicate care, he performed the medical procedure – running it down the nasal passageway to the clogged and inflamed lungs.

“[Procedure completed, Doctor.]”

“Just fantastic, Tipo, thanks.” Dr. Silver said with uncharacteristic venom, pulling up the covers at the base of the bed. “So now, because, we’re going to apply some peppermint essential oils to the bottom of her feet.” Dr. Silver fumed, upending a bottle of incredibly pungent oil before slathering it haphazardly on the woman’s feet, ankles, and bedding. “GREAT. Now h-hand me those~” Dr. Silver seemed to writhe in place as he outstretched his arm, making grabby-hands at RN. James Wilson. “~NnnnnNNNNnn Far infrared anion anti-toxin footpads.” The pads in question were slapped aggressively into the doctor’s hands, and he applied them angrily to the sleeping woman’s feet.

And almost as if on cue, the patient began to stir. From a comatose state, she moaned softly, attempting to move in her drug-and-sickness sleep.

“TIPO. HNNG. P-please restrain the patient with the supplied bedding straps.” Dr. Silver fumed, attempting to keep himself together. Tipo, not knowing what was going on but knowing enough to let his training take over, reached to the side of the bed closest to James and pulled the integrated strap, gently-but-firmly binding the patient down. He repeated this process about 5 other times, holding the patient firmly against the bedding without impeding breathing.

“[Done… doctor.]”

Just fucking great, Tipo.” Dr. Silver growled, shouldering his way next to the incredibly confused and concerned nurse. “Nurse, if you’d be so kind as to give me the fucking Himalayan singing bowl, and then fucking kill me, I’d greatly appreciate it.”

“I hate this so much. I hate this so goddamned much.” James sighed, producing an intricate copper bowl. The two of them placed the bowl on the patient’s chest, draping the other end of the copper wire into it. “T-tipo, this will… ohforfuck’ssake, this will harmonize the resonance of the positive ion crystal, I can’t I just fucking can’t Nick, goddamnit.”

Nurse Wilson unceremoniously smacked the far side of the bowl with a cloth-covered stick, letting out a beautiful and clear B-flat. The effect was immediate and vigorous, as Ms. Connor began to cough – not dryly, but wetly. With practiced precision and ease the two medical professionals pulled out the crystal through the nose, and attached to it – like some weird, red-gray lattice, were the dust lesions.

“Quickly now! James?!” Dr. Silver said, letting the current pressing medical concern outweigh whatever existential rage-crisis he was going through. He pulled the crystal out and dunked it in a solution of (what Tipo would eventually find out was) triple-distilled homeopathic water, the lesions dissolving into the solution effortlessly. James leaned forward and uncapped a petroleum product, taking a liberal amount and smearing it over the tiny-chomper’s chest and neck.

The smell was incredibly pungent. “[What is that?]” Tipo balked, nose wrinkling.

“Vick’s Vaporub. Don’t… just don’t.” James said, frowning. “I almost felt normal there for a moment.”

The process was repeated multiple times – insert crystal, harmonize with the universe, pull out the problem children and wave the vapor-rub towards the face. On the 5th or 6th application, the patient opened her eyes, the Life-Vest working overtime to bring her vitals back to something resembling normal.

“Oh.. Mn. H?” Sarah Conner said, eyes unfocusing on the middle distance.

“Good morning, welcome to Caring Touch Hospital, P-please… drink this ginger ale.” James said, almost holding it out until the end. A small cup with a squiggly straw was presented, and the patient – half out of her mind – began to drink, her breathing normalizing and the inflammation signals in her body beginning to calm down.

“[Incredible.]” Tipo murmured, only to be interrupted by Dr. Silver’s foot slamming into the locker at the base of the bed in anything but an accident.

I would not use those words.” He hissed ferally, staring with both anger and pride at resurrecting his patient. “I-in 15 minutes we’ll give her some activated charcoal pills with a dose of colloidal silver.” He screeched, body wracked with psychic pain.

“[Wait, I don’t. I don’t understand.]” Tipo said, warmly watching the tiny-chomper be revived before his eyes. “[This is a medical miracle – Dr. Silver, isn’t this medicine?]”

“NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOHHHH, GOD, WHY DID I LIVE TO SEE THIS DAY.” Dr. Silver roared, as he, slightly foaming at the mouth, flailed his way out of the patient’s room to collapse in the hallway.

So all in all, a now-typical Tuesday.

= = = = = =

“It’s Jim.” The man in the pit said to the Jornissian, who hummed curiously.

“[Very well, Jim.]” Persimmon said, smiling softly. “[So tell me why you want me to push through an emergency declaration that would trample on everyone’s basic right to free speech?]”

Jim sighed, rubbing his temples. “Because the CDC is furious over this … ‘cure’ actually working, and it’s going to have every single homeopathic snake-oil salesmaaa… eer.”

“Smooth.” His female colleague said, chuckling into her drink.

“[These words aren’t translating properly. Water-Medicine? Slippy-steppy-oil?]” Persimmon mused. “[What’s the actual problem here?]”

“Okay. Are you familiar with … con artists who will intentionally sell products that are useless?”

“[I too watch daytime television, Jim.]” Persimmon said, tapping his desk with a chuckle. “[But I’m assuming this has more negative connotations than normal?]”

“Yes, because it has to do with health and medicine. These people will sell ‘cures’ to both specific and non-specific diseases, and people will buy them as opposed to going through the actual medical establishment-”

Persimmon held up a hand. “[Ah, I get it. So what’s the actual problem here though – surely your population is smart enough to see through the ruse?]”

“The problem here is that none of these ‘remedies’ worked back home. It’s only here, in this new ecosystem, that it apparently seems to be doing anything.”

“[Well that’s good!]” Persimmon said, clapping his hands once in joy. “[At least you know why your other medicine works, and this can now be field-tested and added to that scientific body of – why are you looking at me like that?]” The Jornissian administrator said, leaning towards the camera. “[I know that look and I don’t like it.]”

“Eesh. He’s good at reading faces.” His female colleague mused, and was rewarded with a non-committal grunt. “That, or I’m just too tired and letting it get to me. To answer your question, Persimmon. Our… body of medicine isn’t exactly based on Scientific Proof.”

“[I’m sorry what.]”

“It’s… I mean, look, a lot of studies we could do to provide Scientific proof are unethical to do – poison, LD50s, etc – so uh, about 10% of our body of knowledge is actually Scientific Proof. The other 90% is just casual inference.”

There was a long pause as the Jornissian stuck out his tongue in a mixture of thought and disbelief. “[You… do realize you’ve had quantum supercomputers for a generation now, as well as suitable organ cloning technology – you could just simulate tests, experiment on actual loads. Why… why haven’t your people done this yet?]”

“Oh! That’s what those were? Well damn.” Jim said, head looking up in thought. “That’s actually a really good idea. We’ve been using those computers to figure out gold farming techniques in Gaia WoW Online because we lost the manuals. That’s actually a really good idea – I’ll pass it along.”

Persimmon closed his eyes tightly, and just hurt for a moment.