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Jun 23, 2021 7:29 PM
Julie has a medical emergency. And several other emergencies.
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...The implication of that is clear; the woman thinks she might be insane. Though communicating that fact to Shavri would be remarkably coherent, for someone who was in fact out of their head. 

She's going to worry about the rest of her questions LATER. Like how in all hells a ship - which looks nothing like any riverboat she's ever seen - ended up in a wheat field nowhere near the river much less the sea. And what the blurry concept of 'computer' refers to. 

:You need food and water. And we should get you inside to a bed. You don't look like you can walk: Shavri frowns. :How contagious is this disease you were exposed to? Someone's going to have to carry you: 


She has no idea but probably they should, you know, wear a biohazard suit? She is probably the least qualified person here to figure out the appropriate precautions on account of how she is maybe insane.

She starts coughing and then vomits and loses all the water, which is great, exactly what needed to happen right now.


Shavri watches this with concern, but doesn't move any closer. Yet. 

:- I don't know what that is: she confesses. :I - hmm - you look like hell, you need treatment. I'm...going to send the farmers away, so they're not exposed. I can...ask for an extra shift to wear over my robes, I guess? And...: 

She takes a deep breath. 

:I'm a Healer. That - means I'm more resistant to most diseases, if I'm careful: 

Also she has a two-month-old infant daughter, currently being watched by her grandmother while her mother runs off to respond to an emergency. But -

But without any treatment, this stranger might die. Especially if she is, in fact, ill with something serious. 

:Tell me about the disease you were exposed to?: she says, gently.


Not a disease. A weapon. Eats people, animals, whatever. It's smarter when it eats smarter things. They want to use it against Belters. She was trying to stop them.


She was locked in a supply hold on the Anubis. For a couple days. Maybe longer. She screamed for them to let her out, and they didn't. And then there were sounds of fighting, she thought maybe the crew of the Scopuli had revolted... the drive shut down, they lost gravity, everything was quiet...She kicked her way out. Ship was empty. Quiet, until she got to the reactor room. There - it was blue, and crystalline, and had coalesced around the reactor core. Darren's head and torso were sticking out of it. He asked her to help. Then he -

She should be able to remember very clearly, she owes him that much, but actually it's all just kind of a blur in her head. She shut the reactor down and the thing stopped growing. She hid the ship somewhere no one would find it, and she set out for Eros.


But she touched it. The blue goo. When she first broke out of the cargo hold. 

Wearing an extra "shift" doesn't sound like the kind of thing that would necessarily help but she's not the medtech here.


Shavri's feelings about this are mostly aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah; this feels WAY bigger than anything she can possibly handle, overwhelmingly so, and she doesn't understand half of what she's picking up in the woman's attempt to push thoughts back at her, and it's terrifying... 

- but, on the other hand, it's also fascinating. She wants to know. She wants to understand this, the - not disease, like a disease but - made to be a weapon - something that can infect people... 



She should absolutely not do this. 



:- I think that if I...almost but don't quite touch you, just rest my hand really really close - and I don't see any blue goo, which I don't - it's very unlikely I would get infected. And if I did I would notice, my Sight works on my body too. And - I think I should - I think we need to know what's going on here: 



She should NOT DO THIS and Randi would be within his rights, later, to yell at her about it. But. It seems she's doing it anyway. 


Julie thinks the woman is claiming to have magic powers? Sure, why the fuck not, alternate Earth with magic powers.


Hopefully she won't kill all of them. 

Worst case I guess if you do catch it and your government panics and nukes this place from orbit they'll mostly just catch wheat fields, she thinks at magic powers medtech. It's probably not the most reassuring thing she could possibly have thought of to say but it has the advantage over most reassuring things that it seems true. 


Shavri has no idea what 'nuke' means except that it sounds AWFUL - does she mean a Final Strike - does she mean specifically Vanyel calling a Final Strike - does she mean another Cataclysm... 

It doesn't matter. 

:If it infects my hand I'll cauterize it off: she says, teeth gritted but mindvoice perfectly level. :If it's - too late, and I can't fight it off - I'll stop my own heart. And, er, I could warn the farmers that if I collapse over dead that they should stay away and maybe burn the whole field - would that be enough to stop it -?: 

She's pretty sure this won't happen; she's pretty sure that it's close to literally impossible that she'll become infected with...whatever this is...within even making actual contact, and while keeping her Healing-Sight at full alert. But it might reassure the patient. 

- and, more importantly, she SHOULDN'T BE DOING THIS, and the problem is that she can't not do it, but she can at least learn as much as she can from words, well, from mind-to-mind contact, before she takes the next leap of faith. 


Don't know.

If you're infected and I'm infected you can use your magic powers to check the woman who touched me earlier and the grass around me I guess and then we can all get back in the Anubis-1 and fly it into the sun, that'd do it.


:....we could do WHAT: 


She's pretty sure it couldn't eat the sun. Admittedly not quite as sure as one would ideally be about this sort of thing, but. It's not magic. (Magic is not a thing.) It's a weapon, and there's a limited mass of it, and the sun would destroy it. Honestly probably overloading the reactor core of the Anubis would've destroyed it but she was less sure about that and also...the Belt might need a sample. If their enemies have one. 



Shavri takes a deep breath. Lets it out. Takes another. She STILL can't think of a way to say this that won't inevitably make her sound very stupid and ignorant, but. She'll just have to forge ahead. 

:- That, er, wasn't my question. How do you even get to the Sun? It's so far away: 





She is no longer confident that she is the least qualified person to figure out protocols for the biohazard. She might be insane but the locals are, hindsight probably the wheat is to eat not just because fields of wheat look nice? Farms on Earth have six crops growing together in a complicated engineered symbiosis fifteen feet tall, and irrigation ridges that are very distinctive from space - this isn't the point -

The ship can go to the sun, she thinks faintly. Where I'm from lots of ships can do that. People don't really want to go to the sun, but other planets are also far away, and moons and asteroids and so on, and it's the same technical problem.


:.....Right: Shavri answers, faintly. :I...gods...: 

She is SO not the right person to figure out what to do about this unprecedented discovery. 

:- I think maybe figuring that out is a lower priority than you not dying?: 


Priority is telling Anderson Dawes where the sample is. But since I have no idea how to get to him - yeah. Not dying. 



I don't want to die.


Shavri really especially cannot promise that she won't let this woman die. She wants to. But it's not just that it's a stupid idea; it would be lying

:I'm going to have a look: she says instead, and stretches out her hand, fingers splayed, pausing just a fraction of an inch from the woman's forehead. 

And she reaches further with her Sight, downward and inward - what's there? 


Well, first off, she is in pretty bad shape! She's dehydrated and hungry and she's also ...atrophied sort of like someone who has been bedbound for months, her muscles not quite up to moving normally and her heart slightly misshapen and having a bit of a time pumping her blood. Three bones in her knuckles are broken and she clearly took a beating a few weeks ago that she hasn't really healed from since so much has happened since.


Also, there's something in her that isn't her. It has its own life force. It's everywhere. In her blood, in her muscles, under her skin, a thin film where a thin film shouldn't be. In three different places - on her arm, on her shoulder blade, on her foot - it has formed into a crystalline sort of structure, fed by her blood vessels, trying to poke through the skin. Not quite there yet. 


Shavri suppresses the initial, instinctive horror, and focuses on just looking.

She looks for a long time. 



Finally, she pulls her hand back. And spends a moment double and triple-checking her own life-force for any traces of that second, foreign presence, before she speaks. 


Nope. It's not on Julie's skin, yet, and it's not in the air she breathes. It seems to need more structure than that.


Shavri takes another deep breath. 

:- I think you have it. The disease - er, the weapon... I see something there. It's - making crystals under your skin -: 

She bows her head. In this sort of situation - well, nothing is like THIS situation, but in the broader sense - there's both never anything that could possibly be right to say, and only one thing she can say all the same. 

:I'm sorry:






The - woman who touched me -


:I'll check her in a moment. It didn't get me, I'm certain of that, it's not on your skin - I'd have to be in contact with your blood, maybe saliva or other bodily fluids: 

Another pause. 

:I...don't know if I can fix it. I'm really, really sorry. I, just, I don't want to promise anything I can't fulfill...: 

Another breath, and she looks the woman in the eye. :But I'm going to try. I can promise that: 


It's not acting very fast. I need to - there are people I need to warn. I don't know how I got here or where here is but - I really have to get back. If you can just - slow it down -


This problem is way, WAY too big for her. In about the same way that a continent is too big for an ant to wear as a hat. 

:Right. I can try. - Er, I am worried that addressing your other problems - or even giving you food and water - might make it grow faster. So I should...maybe check that I'm able to kill bits of it, first: 


Right. Uh. You can try that, and you can have my medical power of attorney, not like I'm listing Dad as an emergency contact here.


Shavri is pretty confused at what that concept even means, and probably she should ask and clarify, probably it's important, but also all of this seems dizzyingly important and huge and overwhelming, and she CAN'T wrangle all of it herself, on her own, right here and now. 

Focus on the thing she can do, then. :All right. There's a collection of it making crystals here, in your foot. And others, but I think here is...the least vital, so the least likely to, um, kill you if I somehow screw this up: 

She hesitates. Chews her lip for a moment. 

:...All right. I'm going to go ahead: 

And she reaches out with her Gift, focuses in on just this, just the life-force that isn't the woman's own, where it's tangled in this crystal, and - very carefully - tries to crush it. 

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