Challenge #02005-E181: One Line to Cross

in fiction •  last year 


Humans are walking biohazard to everyone and everything. Our saliva can cause several pandemics alone is unchecked. If our gut is punctuated, the bacteria (and acid) inside us will eat us alive, not to mention whoever else may come into contact with it.
What happens when the galactic community first learns about this fact?
What happens when a human is found with an open gut wound that has been left untreated? -- Anon Guest

Humans will risk their lives for the beings they have pack-bonded with. Many species abuse this fact. But not after Regulus Seven. The horror of that particular event inspired the entirety of Galactic Civilisation to care for their Humans as much as the Humans cared for them.

Because the Humans' own bodies can be their worst enemies.

The Human known as Jess had been punctured during the pirate raid, but they got all their pack-mates into an escape vessel and out of the danger zone. These pirates used spear guns against the enemy, and packed them with enough velocity to pierce even a Human battle-rated livesuit. The Roknathi had seen their human pierced before and didn't think anything of it. They followed standard piercing protocol - bandage around the foreign object and make certain that it can't be accidentally jostled, then get the human to the nearest Human Medical Expert for further treatment. The problem was, the nearest expert was some weeks away from the current situation.

Human Jess had not helped the situation by doing as much as he could for her Roknathi crew. But over the weeks, they noticed that the Human was capable of less and less as the days ticked by. He repeatedly claimed that he was fine. He could deal with this.

And then his temperature spiked into the Human Hazard zone.

The expert, monitoring Jess' life signs, transferred to a fast courier and sped up their arrival by a day. It was almost a day too late.

One of the injuries had 'gone septic' according to Jess. He hadn't told his Roknathi because he didn't want to upset them.

Humans can lie, even to the ones they love. They can lie about all things.

By the time Medik Krixlorb arrived, Jess was highly feverish and an infection had set in around the wound in their abdomen. Jess had had the foresight to print and culture replacement organs in all their injured zones, but the bacteria from their own digestive system was causing some horrible infestation in the surrounding tissues.

A century or more ago, this kind of injury would not have been survivable. Even at this point in time it was 'touch and go', to use a Human term.

A team of ten local Mediks got a flash-education in Human Medicine, because Medik Krixlorb needed that many extra hands on the mammoth task of saving Human Jess' life. It wasn't just the punctured intestines that needed replacing. Muscle and other, nearby organs had to be removed and replaced with partially immature copies. Human Jess needed to be sedated and chilled, his system flooded with special mould cultures known amongst other Humans as antibiotics. His heart had to be restarted five times, and a machine had to help him breathe for a significant portion of the procedure and the recovery.

The Roknathi were horrified at this news. The word spread. Our human died for us five times, almost a month after the event! Humans would go to extremes for their pack. Images were shared, with offensensitivity warnings, of their Human Jess in an intensive care drawer. Replaced flesh new and pink around some of his wounds, read-outs showing the recovery status of the replaced organs. Other read-outs showing the extensive list of medications the systems were administering.

Humans will die for us, the message said. And then it implored, Don't let them.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / sielemann]

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