Title: Still More Questions
Fandom: Star Control (pre-SC1)
Characters: Dean, Nick
Word count: 852
Notes: Midsummer 2111, Eta Vulpeculae 2. To be archived at Androsynth Series. Takes place shortly after "The Questions are the Answers You Might Need."
Disclaimer: The concept of the Androsynth, and the Star Control universe, belong to Toys for Bob. All named Androsynth, the entire Androsynth culture, and much extrapolation were created by me.
This wasn't even close to 15 minutes this time (more like 20 what with various interruptions). Also, a little background: Nick and Dean took box lunches (chicken, pickles, cheese, water) to the pier because Dean had something he wanted to talk about. The fic starts rather abruptly, and I just wanted to explain that so people weren't going "Wha?" right at the beginning.
Still More Questions
"So..." Nick said, as a means of beginning the conversation, and threw a chicken-wing bone into the water. It made a soft ploop noise.
Dean took a deep breath. "I discovered something," he said, "and I need to talk to someone about it. I don't know what to do."
Nick nodded, and Dean continued. "I think I've found the person responsible for creating mara-disease."
"Whoa, wait a minute," Nick protested. "Someone created it? What – "
"Sorry." Dean ran a hand through his hair, noted that it felt like it was roostering rather badly, and made a mental note to find some time to get a shower. "It's what I've been working on all these months, since the Hierarchy arrived." It was funny, he thought, how everyone always said the Hierarchy arrived; not conquered or invaded or other slightly more realistic terms. "Everyone else has been too busy to work on mara-disease, I guess, so I took it upon myself to look into it."
"And because you're a splicer, you found out it was artificially created, not natural?" Nick hazarded. Dean nodded, and Nick looked out over the water and frowned before replying, "Well, that does kinda prove someone made it then, didn't they?"
"Yeah." Dean picked up a chicken thigh and began stripping the meat off with his teeth. He was one of those who didn't mind eating chicken sans utensils; Nick was more fastidious in that respect. "So," Dean said through a mouthful of chicken, "that of course led me to wonder a couple things, like, who had the expertise and knowledge to do this, and what exactly was spliced together to make this disease. Not to mention why do it," he finished, and swallowed the food.
"Let me think," Nick said, "if it were someone with a grudge, there's easier ways to do it, and certainly if they'd been suicidal or anti-Androsynth somehow, they could've done more damage back in the early days when we were still setting up. So I doubt it was meant to be a poison or revenge, right?"
"I hadn't even thought of that," Dean admitted, "though I agree with you, it's unlikely. No, the diseases are... well, it's a nasty mix of stuff. There's some Rift Valley fever in there, some Marburg, maybe Chinapox, some other things. All of them guaranteed to have high kill rates."
"But none of us died of it," Nick said. "I didn't even get sick much."
"Right." Dean looked out over the water as he gnawed at the chicken thigh. "So that makes me think it's meant as a vaccine."
"Okay." Nick leaned against the wooden piling. "But it can't be an official thing. Because if it were official – hey everyone, line up for your shots – well, it would go like that. There would be an announcement. And we'd have a better idea of what to expect. So whoever did this did it on their own time."
"Mm-hm. And I figured out who did it, I think, based on records of who's got that kind of expertise. Patient Zero's roommate."
Now it was Nick's turn to look out over the water. "Seems kinda... obvious."
"Yeah, I know." Dean sighed heavily and twirled the chicken bone in his hands. "I don't know whether it's of the 'so obvious it's right' or 'so obvious it's wrong' category. I can't believe I'm the only one to figure this out, and I don't know whether I should tell any of the Advisors or Consuls about it. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but it seems entirely possible that it could be... y'know... tacitly approved by one of them?"
Nick shrugged. "I suppose it could be. You deal more with them than I do. You'd know better than I would, which one might approve a clandestine vaccination program. But it still doesn't make sense. I mean..." He stretched out one leg and let it dangle off the edge of the pier. "Okay, so Zero's roommate does this, let's assume. Turns loose a live viral vaccine among the population. To what point? Unless... well, you don't create a vaccine unless you've got a disease, right?"
Dean nodded glumly. "That's what I decided, too. So we can infer that someone – the roommate or someone else – has created a nasty killer disease. And we're all safeguarded against it now – we hope – but guess who isn't?"
"Earthlings," Nick said, swinging his leg. "So someone created a bioweapon in anticipation of invading Earth. But..." he frowned. "Wait a minute. We got mara-disease before the Hierarchy invaded, so it couldn't be for that..."
"There's something more important," Dean said, and brushed the hair out of his eyes so he could look directly at Nick. "Part of our goal – of the Androsynth, I mean – is to capture humans so we can use them for reproduction, right? We don't know how the killer disease is going to spread, how it'll be delivered. Maybe the vaccine is okay for us but not for anyone built on a genetically upgraded platform. So what's going to keep the humans alive once they're exposed to it, or to us?"