Archive for March, 2018

Shopping confusion

I don’t mean to nitpick (actually, yes, I do, I love that), but doesn’t that mean that the stuff you wanted out, is actually still in?

Free from: Gluten, oh wait, no that’s still in, hmm strike through; Soy, uhm no… that’s also still in, strike through; etc.

I know what they’re going for here, but all you achieve is confusion. Packaging and marketing, FAIL.

This is marketing an inferior product to gullible idiots.

Take care, A.

Rings of Fate S3xE2 – Explorer – Virus (pt.4)

image

Other than energy and data, each ring was functioning on its own. Dean took comfort in knowing that they could do that. Theoretically each pod was a life spending habitat on its own. He took comfort in knowing that, too. Sub alpha was now segmented, pods that were not afflicted by the virus had been sealed off, their inhabitants hopefully secure. Pods with afflicted people. That included the command centre.

In the ready room he had just laid down a member of the nightshift crew, who had broken down with a high fever at the end of his shift.

Lieutenant Lynch.

“When will your solution be ready?” Francesco administered a fever dampening drug to the man. “Soon, I hope. Franz is confident he can roll out the updates by tomorrow evening.” Grumbling Dean acknowledged that information, checking his gun. Like all others on Explorer it had no functioning laser at the moment, but he theorised that enough charged darts might overload the implant if Lynch should die and turn.

Through the open door he heard the alarming ring on the console at his station. Someone answered the call. “Oh, Admiral?” It had been Franziska. “You should come down to the infirmary!”

“Crap!” Francesco sprang to his feet, hurrying out with the Admiral. After a few moments the two arrived at the infirmary. A group of off duty personnel stood outside, they had their guns drawn, threatening the guards posted outside the infirmary, who in turn had their guns drawn. A few twitching people around told the two that the situation had already escalated.

The darts fired at the guards bounced off or stuck in the armor without harming the wearer, while most of the attackers were without such protection. “Hey!” Dean yelled, not wanting to believe what he saw. A dart whizzed by him, the shooter was hit by a blow from the guards.

“Admiral O’Neill!” A distraught doctor from the infirmary squeezed through the guards protecting him from the mob. “It’s okay Doctor, return to your work.” turning from the man to the others, who for some reason had stopped fighting. “What the hell is wrong with you people? Do you think they can develop a cure faster if you start rioting?” He glanced behind the guards. “They have sick people here, for crying out loud! If you are down with a heavy fever, asking yourselves whether you’ll see the light of day again, would you want a noisy violent mob at your bedside? That aside, do you think you’ll stay healthy much longer if you go to where the sick people are?”

Not waiting for anyone to reply Dean turned to the guards. “Disarm these people and throw them into the brig!” Voices grew loud that they needed a weapon in case they needed to defend themselves, but still they surrendered their weapons, after the Admiral told them what they needed was a lawyer, not a gun, to defend them, and that medical attention in the brig was excellent.

Securing his gun in his pocket Dean left the scene, in his stomach he felt a load of anger he couldn’t possibly hope to overcome.

The vibrating glasses in his pocket didn’t help him, especially after he saw it was his wife Moira.

In critical situations she tended to be really easy to panic. “What is it hun?”

He pause in between paces. “Diana’s sick?” He felt his blood rush faster, a cold sweat formed all over his body. Every fiber of his being tensed up.

“I’ll be there asap.” He grabbed Francesco by the elbow, a glance into Dean’s eyes told the doctor everything he needed to know. “Of course.” He smiled calmly.

 

Clearly struck by the concern on the doctor’s face Dean felt the urge to punch a wall. “How long has she been like this?”

“She came down with the fever two days ago, and”

“Two days? And you’re phoning me today? My work and stress still allow me to be a man, and father!” Moira replied with a gaze that could freeze the raging fires of a star. Dean didn’t even get to ask why she hadn’t contacted the doctors.

Meanwhile Francesco administered a shot of the fever dampener, and continued his scan. “The implant has already multiplied, I’m reading four of them.” Still his expression grew darker. Amongst his dark prognosis for Diana O’Neill, he was also astonished how quickly the implants made a copy of themselves.

“I gave her a cocktail of fever dampening drugs, vitamins, antiviral agents and hope.” He tried smiling convincingly, failed miserably at that. “That bad?” Moira clutched her hands in front of her face, glad that she had left her other daughter with her sister. Francesco bowed his head.

Dean shoved him aside, went to the bed of his daughter. Gently he caressed her head. “Daddy’s here my little angel.” He kissed her forehead, tears welded up in his eyes. “I will always be here when you need me.” He hated himself for not having been home those last two days. When that crisis was over he would resign, spend more time with his family. “Frank?”

“Dean?”

“Get to work.”

 

Unable to walk at a normal pace to the infirmary, Francesco found himself running as fast as his legs would carry him. He almost ran over a bunch of people in front of the infirmary. Quickly regaining his posture he hurried inside. “Please tell me you are done!” He pleaded as he almost hit the door which was sliding away too slowly for his liking. “Thanks to the sequencer, I have the complete viral strain in the system, and I’m ready to beta test it. What’s the hurry?”

Catching his breath Francesco told him of Diana.

Only moments later Francesco was running again, to his disliking he had to inject Diana with a new implant, as the old implants wouldn’t accept the new programming once they were corrupt.

Again, he found the door was opening too slow as he stormed in Dean’s quarters. Moira sat at the door to the kids room, Dean at the side of the bed.

Both were crying. An almost tangible sense of sadness filled the rooms, overwhelming Francesco. Dean wasn’t facing his daughter anymore. He still held her hand but he was crying silently, facing the door. “She stopped breathing. I tried giving her mouth to mouth, but she wouldn’t come back.” Whimpering he told his old friend what had happened in those fifteen to twenty minutes he had been gone.

Now Francesco too felt tears welding up in his eyes. “We better,” he gestured with his hand, the injector in it. “Yeah.” Dean sobbed.

With shaking hands he took the device that Francesco pulled out from his pocket. It deactivated the implants in Diana’s body, so Dan wouldn’t have to see his daughter jolt up, spew mucus, or scratch him with the hand he held.

Silently gliding the device over her, Dean also turned his implant off following a silent nod from Francesco.

The doctor then gave a new implant to the Admiral.

Later Moira would receive one as well. Production would begin by the next day, to provide everyone on Explorer with a new implant.

 

But Francesco couldn’t feel glad for that.

 

He had failed rescuing his best friend’s daughter. He knew that Dean felt as if he had failed Diana, as did Moira for not bringing her to the infirmary.

Solace came to him in the fact that others wouldn’t have to go through that experience. That Dean’s other daughter, Anna, was safe, and safer after she had received an updated implant.

 

Contrary to what Dean had intended, he remained Admiral, as the outskirts of the target solar system were reached. Not two years down the road, the Admiral would become more or less obsolete. Dean hungered to settle down, near a lake, or river, and teach Anna, all about fishing.

Tu Felix Austria

There’s this hospital being built in my home town of Vienna: Hospital north.

The price tag nearly doubled, it’s opening date postponed several times.

But that is not of the issue.

Recently ONE additional item about that hospital came to light with the hefty price tag of 95,000 Euro.

“What was it? An improved Heli-pad?” no my friends, nothing so simple, mundane and practical.

A FUCKING PROTECTION CIRCLE!

For 95,000 Euro a “consultant” was hired to “integrate the plot with mother natures energy flows” and “draw a protective circle” around it.

95k for woo.

If it was a private hospital catering to the rich, but delusional goop-buying crowd, I wouldn’t care. But it is a public hospital. Paid for with tax payer money. And mandatory pubic health insurance money.

WOO!

The city councillor responsible for these matters (who should be fired over this) didn’t know Jack about this, and had tasked the leader of the hospital department (who should be fired over this) to find the one responsible for this, who was then transfered (I hope that is code for “she was be fired over this).

No one, not one, of the RESPONSIBLE people actually feel responsible, and they claim to know nothing of this.

In the end one of of these neuron deficient weasels will stand there and say in an apologetic tone “I take full responsibility.”

YOU HAD IT THE WHOLE FUCKING TIME!!!

It sounds like the plot to some springtime-for-Hitler esque comedy starring Tim Allen, or an onion piece. But this is real folks.

In middle Europe.

A modern, western country.

Not some third world country that until last night was still hunting witches.

No.

AUSTRIA.

EUROPE.

What irks me the most about this is the implicitness with which all of this is reported. As if a “realignment with mother natures energy flows” and “protection against negative influences” was something that is being done with every plot, every building site. If some rich trouser stain is doing this for his estate – knock yourself out.

In that case I’d be rooting for the fraud. Take the rich fucks money! Take as much as you can carry.

But this?

PUBLIC money, for a PUBLIC hospital.

The guy who did all that (funny name, “Fasching” loosely translated “ Carnival”) was a car dealer before he turned esoteric. Why he stopped being a car dealer? His superiors pressured him too much to make a profit.

Oh. They would be so proud.

He sold a bunch of nothing and got paid massively for it.

In addition to the aforementioned bullshit he also held a seminar (or a few) for the higher-ups (who should all be fired over this) of the one-fine-day-to-be hospital.

None of them said anything or raised an alarm.

Not one said “I’m going back to doing actual work, you’re gone in five or I’ll call the cops and the press.”

95,000 Euro for absolutely nothing!

A councillor from another party stated in an interview that it is a shame that a hospital, a place of science, is involved with such woo.

I agree.

But, as a side note,

A – you are from the Christian party. Shut up.

B – there’s a homeopathic walk in clinic at Vienna’s AKH (common hospital) – paid for with, you guessed it, TAXPAYER and mandatory public health insurance money.

I am aggravated, outraged, and in the mood for murder, but: I am not surprised.

Fuck me sideways.

There are tribes yet uncontacted-by-civilisation in the Amazon who laugh at us over this! There are bush-people tripping on mushrooms (or the likes) with a more firm grip on reality.

It isn’t just a shame, this warrants a wave – a tsunami – of people getting fired (WITHOUT PAY, that is being kept to balance the 95k out!) to ensure that the idiocy is rooted out. “Cut healthy tissue close to the tumor away too doc, better safe than sorry.”

I think I will draft a letter to the city council:

As chairman of the darkmage society of austria, I demand 94,999 euro, or we will destroy the protection circle and flood the hospital grounds with negative energies, we are many, your puny trickster can not stop us.

If they resist and say how they will know that we have destroyed the protection I’ll answer how they know that it hasn’t. “We have the guarantee of the man who made it.”

“You have my guarantee against it.”

Word against word.

Insanity against insanity.

Take care,

A.

Rings of Fate S3xE2 – Explorer – Virus (pt.3)

image
“I’m a doctor, not a programmer!” Francesco threw the tablet on the table. He was tired, hadn’t slept at all since the outbreak. “How the hell am I supposed to fight this thing?”

“Perhaps you should become a programmer?” Trying to lift the spirits with his jokes Dean leaned back, to avoid being hit with something, as his old friend tended to become quite passionate and physical when stressed or enraged.

“Not funny, Dean.” Francesco pointed at a display in the wall.

Displayed was the que outside the gamma hospital. It was going halfway through the the ring. Francesco put in another feed.

“This was the third victim of last night.” A man in the que broke down, hastily people ran away from him, once he jolted upwards, spewing a spray of mucus out. A few times he twitched, until one man ran towards him.

Forbidden by regulations the man drew his gun, switched the laser on and fired at the dead man’s head, severing it in two, then again disconnecting the limbs.

Horrified Dean fell silent. “Get me a programmer, before they start shooting at anyone with a running nose or so much as a headache!”

 

After the incident at the gamma ring hospital Dean had all communication lines with gamma restricted. Surely plenty of people had filmed the incident, and surely more than enough of them tried to get that video out of gamma.

It had been too late, as Dean discovered. The same footage that Francesco had shown him soon was all over the news, and soon people all over Explorer were spooked and close to panic. As a precaution he ordered the retrieval of all guns, the laser units were disabled and handed back out.

A curfew was posted, for all civilians, and non essential personnel.

“It is our duty to uphold the functionality of this ship.” Dean stood in front of his nav officer Oleksander Filipow. “Your misconduct, your cowardice, can not be tolerated. However,” he smiled, “I can not blame you. You did come forward and showed up today. Therefore your punishment will be for a tribunal to decide, once this situation is over, in the mean time you will be demoted a rank. Report to your post.”

Saluting the man turned on his heel and hurried off. “Harsh.” Lucy commented, low enough for only him to hear.

“Yeah. I think that demotion will be enough. Unless he does something else stupid.” Waving her to follow Dean marched off the command centre, after a few turns they reached the barracks.

Suited in full body armor and combat helmets was a small portion of the security force. After the first encounter with the Harpies on Horizon the fighting forces on all the ships was increased. Even after the two species had reached a peaceful solution, there were still the patriarchists.

“Alright, you know why you have been assembled. Riot control. You have to ensure that nothing on board this ship happens, that shouldn’t be happening!” A few eyebrows were raised, was the Admiral trying to be funny again?

“See that the curfew is obeyed, people can, and will, go to the infirmary, but other than that, well, you know.” His words were also transmitted to other security teams all over the ship, restrictions in travel inside the ship meant that now the rings were isolated from on another, except in true emergencies.

 

With a salute he dismissed them and turned with Lucy to head back to the command centre, when a nerdy looking man in his late forties, flanked by two strapping guards approached him. “Franz Hardwick reporting as ordered.” He was obviously a civilian, but at least he knew how to stand in front of the Admiral, surely his mother had something to do with that. “You’re going to head to the infirmary.”

“I’m healthy. And not a medical doctor.” He quickly reacted, seeming almost panicking. “I know. But your expertise is needed there, you see the virus interacts with the programming of the implant, and that’s where you come in.” Dean had his arm on Franz’ back, patting him kindly, like he would a friend. “You can be a hero!” He added, clearly striking a cord with the man. From Franziska and Franz’ documents he knew that he was single, and a loner. A walking cliché almost.

“A hero? Me?”

“Yes, now get to it.” Dean shoved him in the direction of the infirmary.

As the man, still flanked by the guards, walked off, Dean mused for a short moment why he knew so many people whose first name began with an F, but dismissed it.

“We have a problem, Sir. The Virus seems to have jumped rings, the quarantine was too late.” Rotating around to face Lucy, Dean moaned. “Where?”

The face that she made, made him cringe. “It’s everywhere, isn’t it?”

“Except subgamma. I took the liberty of locking it down. Nothing can reach subgamma physically now.”

Devastated by the ill news Dean rubbed his face. “I need to make a statement. What do the governors say?”

“Nothing really, they’re turning to us for information.”

Typical! Stern faced Dean marched on to the command centre. About everything these pin headed mouth breathers fight me, and now they want information and help!

 

Lit only by a display the room was drenched in cold blueish light, Francesco leaned in his seat. Over the couree of the day he had left the confines of his office to help treat people who either felt sick, or truly were sick.

Then he talked with doctors from various rings, they managed to help develop a vaccine, but until it was ready for use there was a long way ahead of them.

The programmer, Franz, had made little progress. Apparently the implants analysed the virus, deemed it as a normal strain, released normal antibodies, and then went haywire. Franz hadn’t gotten behind that part yet. He assumed it was the a software glitch, that made the implant reproduce, and later try to resuscitate a brain dead individual by jolting the nervous system.

One suggestion of his was to deactivate the reproductive algorithms in the implants, which would mean that children would need to be implanted at birth. Somehow Francesco wasn’t too fond of that idea, but he wouldn’t dismiss it right away.

About twenty minutes before he had sat down to draft his report of the day, he had received a shocking video call from his colleague on alpha ring.

There had been this twleve year old girl with severe epilepsy in his clinic. When she had a spastic attack, some other patients thought she was jolting.

They had beat her to death.

Still the page for his daily report was empty.

Glad that there was no footage of the actual incident, he still couldn’t get the mental image out of his head.

A snoring woke him from thought. On the other desk was Franz, haunched over the table, fast asleep.

Perhaps they should tackle the algorithms for resuscitation in case of brain death or heart failure?

Again Franz snored, but sat up one heartbeat later. “I’ve got it! We need the make up of the new strain, and feed it into a new subroutine. That should keep new infections from happening!”

“And the already infected?”

“Uhm.” Snipoing his fingers he paused, rubbed his eyes, looked from the ghostly image of Francesco back to his screen. “A temporary fix would be deactivating the algorithms for reproduction, and resuscitation. But that won’t heal them.”

Francesco yawned, sat up straight and stretched. “Your idea might work, actually. Fever dampeners, and the update might give the implant the time it needs to fend off the virus. Combined with the deactivated algorithms, this might work.”

Heavy metal parasite cure.

No. Not really. Although some might come to that conclusion. But heavy metal does not cute of parasites.

The article (linked here) says, basically, that in populations with little or no parasitic prevalence, the tolerance to outgroups, such as metal heads (and bands), is higher.

In general this isn’t something I usually would write home about, but the German article (linked here) is different in its wording.

Instead of saying “associated behaviour”, they said that the “irreligious and antisocial behavior” was a “habitus” of the metal scene.

That aggravated me.

Have the people who associate the irreligious and antisocial behavior with metal heads ever met metal fans? Have they attended at least ONE concert? Event? Visited, or frequented a metal/rock bar?

I guess not, because if they had, their prejudice, their “association”, of metal heads with irreligiousity and antisocial behavior would be gone.

Half of the people in the metal scene wear pentagrams, Thor’s hammer pendants/tattoos/patches/whathaveyou. They may not be a member of YOUR religion, but they’re not irreligious.

There is more faith based symbolism in a crowd of metal heads than at a congregation of born again christians!

The people in the metal scene are like all people: There are assholes, and there are nice people. But when metal heads get together at a concert (or the likes) you get a sense of kinship. I’ve never felt more welcome, or safe, than when amongst other metal heads. And I am a misanthrope, I hate people. But I love these people.

I’ve been to other concerts, venues, events, but never have I felt this secure, this welcome and wholly at home than with metal heads. They are the most inclusive, tolerant group of fandom that I know (and I’m also a Nerd, so make of that what you will). In the metal scene I have never seen the kind of “sexism” that is present in other social groups. Women are treated as equals, perhaps a bit put on a pedestal, but never badly. I have never seen metal fans being outright racist (please note, reverse racism isn’t a thing. It’s racism. Fuck off, snowflake).

That isn’t to say it doesn’t exist in the metal scene. Again, they’re like all people, some good, some bad.

But in general, the “associated” adjectives of antisocial behavior and irreligiosity are bullocks.

Like every individual in the history of mankind that defends its tribe, I could write until my fingers bleed or the screen is scratched through. The outsiders will airways perceive the tribe in question as negative.

It’s natural.

That is how we, humans, are.

But still, I had to break a lance for my people.

Next time you feel frightened by metal heads, join them. You might be surprised. Tell them a Metalhead sent you.

\m/

A.

Rings of Fate S3xE2 – Explorer – Virus (pt.2)

image

It was an eerie feeling wandering the hallway from the command centre, but Dean needed to see Francesco, it had been an hour since they last saw each other, and already events had developed beyond their last conversation.

Normally on a Thursday night at that time the hallways were a buzz with people, but since the announcement, it had quieted down.

Outside the infirmary however he found a que of people. Most were wearing makeshift face masks. They all seemed either terrified or aggravated.

“Are any of you truly sick?” Dean stopped at the que prompting them to turn around and immediately after recognising him assume composure. “If you haven’t been to gamma, haven’t been in contact with anone who was on gamma in the last two days, get the hell outta here! This is no time for hypochondriacs!” Half of the que saluted and shuffled off at various speeds. It had been the aggravated crowd mostly that was just standing there hoping to get a clean bill of health.

Once inside the infirmary the que continued, again Dean told them to leave if they had no real reason for concern, and eased the nurses and doctors work.

“Frank, these people are nuts.” Dean entered his friends office, finding Francesco going through some data.

“Rightly so. The implant isn’t working against that virus. On the contrary.” Looking over his shoulder to the door Dean wished he had stayed in the command centre. “Don’t tell me the implant is getting infected too.”

“Sort of. At least in this one incident it was. I don’t know what had happened exactly, but the implant completely ignored the virus, and later tried to bring the brain dead body back to life by jolting the nervous system.”

“Why did he bite Doctor Khan?” Francesco shrugged shoulders. Both had seen the footage recorded.

The corpse jolted from the table and bit clearly in the hand of Dr. Khan with which he held the scanner over the body. Afterwards he fell back on the table.

“Accidental reflexes?”

“In any case,” Dean again looked over his shoulder at the door. “If anybody else dies of this, we should remove the implant. Can’t have infectious zombies running around on this ship.”

Francesco laughed at his friend’s words. “They’re not running. Jolting maybe, but not running.”

Dean smirked, “Don’t want any Jolters either.”

 

From Deans quarters, which he shared with his wife and two daughters, none of which had left the rooms since the announcement, it was just a short walk to the command centre. On that short walk Dean had encountered not a single person.

Where normally dozens of people walked by, exercised, brought or retrieved reports, there was not a single soul to be found.

Training grounds in the gardens, deserted. Recreational facilities, including Dean’s favored bowling place, abandoned.

“What the?” He looked around the empty command centre. Only Lucy was at her post, the others, all but missing. “They routed access to their stations to their quarters, all stations at ready, sir.”

“This is ridiculous!” He punched a few buttons on his console after walkimg over to it. “Listen here you hypochondriacs! Everyone not showing up for duty in fifteen minutes faces court martial! Now, you don’t have to fear execution like in the old days, but permanent house arrest. That includes landing on 296! None of you will set foot on that planet, if you won’t have the guts to set foot on your posts! Got that?” He turned to Lucy.

“At least you are here!”

“Bob is having a cold, sir. I kinda thought I’m safer here.” She winked, indicating a joke.

Waving her off he asked for a Sit rep from gamma. “Three people have died from meningitis last night, and they all showed signs of activity after their demise.”

Lounging in his chair, his head resting on his left, Dean listened carefully, concerned, but still somewhat disengaged he raised his eyebrows. “Didn’t I recommend them to remove the implants after death?”

“That’s the thing, sir. They did. Although sick himself Doctor Khan continued his work, and found that the implants have taken on a concerning attribute of the virus.” She handed him the tablet. Dr. Khan had taken fever dampening medication, since the implant wasn’t working properly.

“They are making copies?”

“Just like they would if a woman gets pregnant, they form one implant in the fetus, only here they form in various locations in the body. In patient zero they were right next to each other, in another there were five, in another there was one in the leg. All faulty concerning the virus, but otherwise working copies of the original, oddly enough they copied the unique ID number, something that normally shouldn’t happen.”

Looking at the data himself Dean found himself searching for his implant, on the back of his right hand.

Slowly he became suspicious. Was that meningitis a late revenge from the linkers? Something they hid in the ship, or that they slipped in during the brief indirect contact after their base on ES-p296-1 was discovered?

“Do me a favor, see how Nye Charles is doing, and check on her family as well, and former Admiral Franziska Hardwick.” As he finished his sentence the door opened letting in Jesus Montoya, his com officer, and the elderly frame of Admiral Franziska Hardwick also appeared in the door. “She looks fine, sir.” Lucy’s statement was accompanied by a wide smile.

“Admiral. What brings you here?” ignoring his first officer Dean greeted his predecessor. “I thought you might need a hand up here.” The old woman grinned playfully, she had missed the command centre every day since her retirement.

Inviting her in with just a gesture Dean had no objections. “Sir, your requested checks show that all are in perfect health.”

Gaining also Franziska’s attention Lucy lowered her head again. Quickly Dean explained his concerns, which Franziska completely understood, but could’ve dismissed right away, as she too had heard of the odd behaviour of the virus, and checked on Nye first hand.

“Still it might be the linkers, they could’ve hid the virus on gamma before they left.” Dean had left the former Admiral to sit in his chair, as he manned navigation. Apparently the officer who normally had that post didn’t value setting foot on RV-p296. “That’s right ma’am.” He felt taken back a few years when he was first working navigation, then under the former Admiral. There was one Admiral in between the two, she had retired and he was promoted. Sadly Admiral Sheila Dunston didn’t seem like she was working in her retirement, as she was not seen nor heard of much since her retirement.

“It might also be a natural mutation. Evolution at work right before our eyes.” He said having cut of the remote controlling station at the quarters of the officer. “It might, perhaps, Admiral, you should talk with your chief medical doctor?” Franziska winked, reminding him that he was the Admiral in charge, not her.

The wheels on the bus…

The other day in the bus:

I had just picked up my son from kindergarten, the bus had stopped at a red light and bus stop, the light turned green, we moved on, however, one car in the lane next to us honked at the driver in front of them to get moving, my son turns over in the direction of the honking car and yells for the entire bus to hear: “Stop with Tutu, or I’ll set you on fire!”

What is the correct parental response to this?

A high five?

Asking him where he picked THAT up?

Turning on Rammstein – Benzin?

I don’t know whether to be a proud dad, or to be worried. I don’t even know how to feel about this. There’s a delighted joy, there’s pride, but also worry and a bit of shame. (The people on the bus heard, they laughed, but surely also judged.)

FYI, I went with laughter, imagining a high five, and then asking him where he picked it up. He claimed he taught it to himself, that he’ll take a candle and burn the car…

Take care, A.

Rings of Fate S3xE2 – Explorer – Virus (pt.1)

image

Doctor Francesco Mitrioni sat at his desk in the infirmay of the subalpha ring on Explorer. He was devastated, and read through the report from his colleague in the gamma ring hospital again.

“What’s up Frank?” Friends since birth, Admiral Dean O’Neill stood in the frame of the  door. He hadn’t heard it opening. “Is it Thursday again?” Francesco looked up, only realising then how dark his office was, compared to the hallway outside.

“Yup. 1930, as usual.” As the door slid close behind Dean, Francesco could finally see his face, read the concern in his expression. “You seem like you saw a ghost, so what’s going on?”

Again turning towards the screen Francesco shook his head. “The first death of a man from meningitis. Normally the implant should detect, and counteract the virus that caused it. In this case, it didn’t, although it was working. Dr. Khan is on the case, but he sent me his records.”

“Does this mean we’re not going bowling?” There was no real bowling alley, onky virtual bowling, but still someone had thought it would be nice to live the spirit of old, and had built a whole bowling rink for virtual bowling in a disused storage compartment.

Complete with seats and all, with several bowling lanes.

“I’m probably reading to much into this, the man’s implant surely was faulty.” Francesco winked, turning off the screen. “Let’s go bowling.”

 

There was absolute silence in the morgue. The lights worked with out a flicker, nurses and other staff had turned in for the night, the nightshift staff were tending to the needs of the living. If someone should happen to die, they’d bring the body in, and store it.

Doctor Rajesh Khan was grateful for the silence. It let him think as he examined the body of the meningitis victim.

In three generations of using the implant to combat viruses and other infections, along with birth control and health status, they still hadn’t eradicated the virus that caused this. Standing over the body that was lying on the autopsy table, he mused over that fact for a moment, shrugged it off and began. “Autopsy report on patient Alexander Xaver Fritzens.” He ran the scanner over the torso. “Internal organs show no abnormalies, except the to be expected signs of stress from running a high fever. Coagulation of blood is normal for the time, bodily fluids show no signs of abnormality either. Moving on to the head.”

A beeping noise made him stop. “This is odd. The implant is still active.”

Recording on his glasses not only his words but also a video of his findings, directly streamed to his workstation, he commented on all he did or found.

The brain looked as to be expected in such a case, at least on the scan. Although he had worked on dead bodies during his education, opened them, held organs in his hands,  he was genuinely glad that he had a scanner at his disposal.

An autopsy was not something he enjoyed. Putting the scanner back where it belonged he wandered over to a desk, sat down. Already there was a transcript on the screen. All that needed to be done was editing.

“Alright, let’s do this before I call it a day.” He mumbled to himself.

A soft thud behind him startled the doctor. As he looked around the well lit room, there was nothing out of the ordinary.

With a racing heart he went to his deceased patient, ran the scanner over him again, still found nothing out of the ordinary, other than the still active implant.

Hoping that no one was pranking him he returned to the desk.

After he had corrected a few words, there again was that thud. Unable to suppress a terrified shriek Doctor Khan shot to his legs again, looking around the room.

He saw something that terrified him even more than the thud. Alexander Xaver Fritzens’ arm moved, or at least twitched.

It bolted up, fell back on the table, creating the thud that he had heard before. “Resuming recording of autopsy in the meningitis victim. I had just witnessed the subjects arm jolt upwards and fall to the table. Three times this had happened so far, I suspect neuro-electric discharges in the brainstem.” Again the arm jolted upwards, but the other one followed, both arms stayed up.

Breathing rapidly Rajesh stared at the body, glad to be recording, otherwise he would be called delusional. Thudding the arms slammed against the table. “I,” he stammered, reaching for the scanner, not daring to look away from the body so his recording wouldn’t miss a thing. He couldn’t reach it, so he turned to look.

 

“Your turn Frank.” Dean sat down on the bench, drinking a sip of water. Francesco just got up when his glasses started beeping and vibrating.

“I thought we had the evening to ourselves?” Dean picked them up and held them in Francesco’s direction. “Dr. Khan?” The doctor raised his eyebrows, accepted the call.

“Calm down! What happened?” Dean watched and listened with the interest of someone whose game just got interrupted. “He bit you? What do you me…” Now the interest in the Admiral got earnest.

“The body, got off the table, and bit you? Yes, please send the recording to me asap. Get the implant to identify any pathogens right away.”

As his friend put down the remote to bowl, Dean got up too. Not saying a word the two men left, gesturing the man who ran the place to cancel their game.

After the call ended Francesco watched the footage that he had received. Wordless he handed the glasses to Dean, who also watched.

For a few minutes they stood outside the infirmary. “So, quarantine?”

“Not yet.” Francesco replied with a concerned face, walking inside. “Just see what you can do.” Replied Dean turning to head for the command centre.

Although a quarantine would not be orderd as of that moment, he still felt he would be needed there.

 

“Lucy! What joy to find you still here.” Heading for her station in the command centre Dean smiled genuinely glad. “There is a situation developing on gamma, do me favor and see that you know everything about a possible quarantine. Restrict travel from and to gamma already, we can’t be too careful.” He kept his voice low as to not unease any of the other officers, some of which had friends and family on gamma.

Wide eyed she stared at him. “What kind of situation?” She gathered her composure, her family had lived on gamma, but her sister moved to beta and her parents to alpha, still it bothered her somewhere deep inside.

“A man who had died from meningitis and was clearly dead, rose from the dead and attacked the doctor. Now, we both have seen plenty of the old movies and TV shows, see that we can quarantine gamma at the push of a button, or two.” He mumbled, still in a hushed voice.

Quietly complying with the orders given, Lucy still felt uneasy with the situation.

Menacing beeps rose from the com console, the nightshift com officer turned to the Admiral. “It is a priority call sir, for your eyes only.”

Surprised Dean rushd to the small ready room and answered the call there. Over the years the purpose of that room had been changed several times. From a small meeting room, to a bunk room, to storage, to a meeting room again, then it was left empty, repurposed as a bunk room. Ideas had been tossed around to grow some food in there, but in the end, it was left empty again until Dean made it into a recreational area. During breaks staff from the command centre could relax, listen to music and play games.

He was well aware that some used it to play with one another and no game involved, but as long as they didn’t make a mess of it, he didn’t bother.

“Doctor Khan, I presume?” Dean looked a distressed man with dark skin and sweat beads on his forehead. “Yes, Admiral. I have dire news. It seems that I have contracted the disease. It is yet uncertain whether it was the attack, or during the treatment of the patient. I recommend you implement a quarantine regardless, I have transferred all my findings to Doctor Mitrioni, somehow the implant is not fending this one off. Several more cases have appeared.”

“Get well Doctor, we will do our part to contain this.” Dean jumped from his seat, rushed next door and gave Lucy a nod.

Only a few seconds later the alarm sirens all aboard the Explorer started ringing. “All hands, attention. Gamma ring has been quarantined, all personnel recently having been on gamma, please report to your quarters, or the nearest infirmary. I repeat, gamma ring has been quarantined.”

LATH Hand washing

Recently they exchanged the old soap dispenser in our office.

Instead of the sleek old one, where you pulled the lever to get some soap out, we now have one to push and it squirts out some foam.

So far, so shitty.

But. Apparently they think we’ve gotten so dumb from computer virus infections WE got, that we don’t know how to wash our hands anymore, or as if we haven’t been taught in preschool and/or by our (grand)parents.

No. We stupid keyboard monkeys need PICTOGRAMS to show us!

Listen, life really ain’t that hard: soap, hands, rub, rinse. Unless you’re a surgeon, then it’s more complicated, but for the rest of us, this’ll do.

If you have any defense for the pictogram soap dispenser, keep it in a dark orifice of your body.
Grown people, working at an office, shouldn’t need this.
People who are old enough to make financial decisions/transactions at a mall, shouldn’t need this.
No-one who is old enough to go to the restroom alone, should have need of this!

But in light of recent news stories, SJW issues, election results, and the overall state the western world is in, I guess these pictograms don’t penetrate far enough in our society…

Take care,
A.