**The Sickness of Hydia part 0: Ideas on Infection

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Joined: 19 Mar 2020, 11:39

**The Sickness of Hydia part 0: Ideas on Infection

Post by Indon » 26 May 2020, 21:01

Synopsis: Indon's preliminary research before leaving with Syhiver, and on his ship, before anything interesting happens.

"It's a fascinating subject, but there's so little published research, you know?" Indon mused as he went over the paper on his bracer console.

"I would not know, honored one," The alien said, "I merely run a foundry. Are you certain there should be so little carbon smoke?"

"Oh, yes. This mostly isn't steel," Indon said, barely even paying attention to this part of the process - the complex alloy had already been provided, and they didn't need to do much to cast it into the rod shape, just melt down the metallic slag remaining from the mineral crystal into the needed mold. Indon just had to keep a distance from the poison gases the exotic alloy was going to emit when forged - gases the aliens would be highly resistant to, making this foundry perfect for the forging of this weapon. It was a good thing he was came to this planet with Koda and... "Oh!" Indon snapped to attention.

"Am I doing something wrong, honored one?" The foundry master asked.

"Oh, no, no. I just realized I need to do surgery... right now! Well, need to notify the person I'll be doing surgery to, the surgery can happen in a few minutes." Indon tapped frantically to his console. "Lye. Heading to Hydia to study Lycanrot. If you want your cybernetics repair surgery, it needs to be tonight."

The reply was very much like Lye was prone to communicate - short, functional and, worst of all... practical. "You'll know where to find me when you get back to Earth."

Indon mumbled, "Spoilsport," then added, "Oh not you sir, you're doing great with that casting."

Indon went back to the Hydian research. Almost all of it was being written by one author, Alizia. While Indon hadn't read any strong findings in the papers he had read, he had already taken a liking to this scientist's style - exhaustive, analytical, yet optimistic, as if hunting through every tiny detail for the slightest hint to solve the mystery of Lycanrot.

And it was truly mysterious - a disease with no identified vector or method of transmission, and no consistent pattern of contagion. Not many Hydians manifested symptoms, so it was no pandemic. Most documented cases of transmission involved extensive contact, but some cases involved very little contact, with seemingly no way to differentiate why. Some cases occurred spontaneously, with no contact with anyone possessing Lycanrot, no even remotely tracable line of contagion. Quarantine measures were always swift and aggressive but how well they worked seemed almost random, with near-identical situations leading to radically different results.

Some genes had weak correlations to a slightly higher or lower chance of developing Lycanrot, but nothing decisive, no genes evidently being activated. No strong correlations with any specific natal conditions or states. As such, Lycanrot didn't appear to be a genetic or epigenic illness, either.

Alizia had paper after paper examining various microbes and parasites, examining and eliminating them one by one as vectors in a series of hundreds of published research papers. Midway through reading those, Indon had the foundry pull the metal rod from the cast for cooling, and set to work on the simple electronics for the hilt - all it needed to do was transmit and convert the current between the blade and the wielder, so there was little precision work to do - in fact, using cast-off military grade parts, it was easy to design the hilt for durability and consistent function. Soon he was back to reading papers.

Hours later into the night, after the rod had been quenched (and the tip of the 'blade' being courteously sanded into a round shape by a metalworker in the foundry, a touch Indon appreciated) Indon finally remembered that he had to leave the planet, and very shortly. He grabbed the finished hilt and 'blade' and with a hurried thanks to the aliens, rushed away to give it to the android he had built it for.


Some time later on Syhiver's ship, when he wasn't sleeping off all of the reading in the middle of the night he had already done, Indon was still reading, in the little bed on the ship - but now finally starting to take notes of the things he wanted to research. For all Alizia's thoroughness, the one thing of most interest to Indon was in none of her work - the impact of Lycanrot on the strength of those afflicted, including the detailed impact to cellular chemistry that Indon would expect. He would have to speak to her about collecting that data - Alizia was an exceptional epidemiologist, it seemed, but not one to consider more basic organic chemistry.

Using an organic chemistry approach, Indon wouldn't need to care about how Lycanrot transmitted - he could take it apart from its source to develop a cure, as well as understand how it functioned to increase the strength of Hydians... in the hopes of perhaps replicating it. "Seems I'll have something to contribute," he mumbled, as he checked ship correspondence with Hydia - a message from a "Sir Yuzu" discussed, in flowery and overly polite language, that Indon's offer of research assistance was appreciated and would be accepted. Everything would be ready for when he arrived.

After Indon finished his notes, he yawned. He'd been spending too much time working and not enough sleeping, and having reviewed what research he could, he was finally crashing. He collapsed to sleep on the bed he'd been doing research work on, still wearing the same old lab coat that he'd engaged in a pitched battle with coming on close to two days ago. There'd be time for a shower later no doubt, no reason to think the trip would be eventful.

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