Would the Daranaean elections bring reform, or more of the same? Captain Malcolm Reed and his crew are about to find out.
Flight of the Bluebird
"Doctor Varelle! Doctor Trinning!"
"What is it, Trava?" Trinning came rushing in.
"Look! The lab animal! I think it is cured!" she cried, pointing.
Varelle arrived. He was older, and it took him longer to get anywhere, but his mind remained sharp. "Let me see," he said, coming closer. The lab animal was one of their smaller food animal species. "Let us go over what we have done in this instance."
"A few days ago, we deliberately infected this animal with Thylacine Paramyxovirus," Trinning said, "The disease incubated and then became full-blown about four days previous to today."
"And then, yesterday," Trava said, "we injected the animal with the formula that we, uh, you doctors, you came up with."
"With the help of Doctor Rechal, don't forget," Varelle said, "he may be in the prison, but he has been helping us in correspondence, you know. Even a convict should receive proper credit, if it is so due. And then what was observed?"
"The animal was ill like the others were," Trinning said, "We all saw it. It was wheezing and coughing."
"There was also discharge from the snout," Trava said, "sometimes bloody, sometimes it was not."
"And?" Varelle prompted.
"And it was sleeping a lot, too," Trava said, "We gave it mild analgesics but nothing else."
"So, we gave the animal no other medicines except for yesterday's injection?"
"Correct, Doctor Varelle," Trinning said, "The animal has had no other medications."
"We will need to check the blood for antibodies, similar to the ones in, in your system, Trava," Varelle said, "for we all know that the vaccine was based, in part, on your blood."
"It is convenient for our research that you recovered. So many do not. Plus we are glad that you are healthy," Trinning said to her.
"I am pleased that my blood was of help," she said.
"If this has worked, we will need to test the vaccination in an infected Daranaean. We will need to work with the volunteers," Doctor Varelle said.
"I hardly think the word volunteer is appropriate," Doctor Trinning said.
"You know the law as well as I do," Varelle said, "And it is a good thing that Alpha Acreon has relaxed it in recent years. There is no more mandatory euthanasia for last caste females! Why, it is how we have Trava here."
"Euthanasia may not be mandatory," Trinning said, "but this is scarcely better. For a third caste wife who has undergone menopause now has two choices, rather than one, like before."
"A choice is better, yes?" asked the older man.
"Not too much better," Trinning replied, "for they have the choices of euthanasia or giving themselves over for medical experiments."
"Why, I experimented on Trava here six years ago! And she fully recovered. It was most unexpected at the time. And now she, well, we both know she does more than this but we have what we tell others, that she cleans up in here and makes our meals," Varelle pointed out.
"That is right, and it is the truth," Trinning said, "but it is not the whole truth, for you also help us with the laboratory work." Trava nodded and downcast her brown eyes briefly.
"And you must never say that to anyone," Varelle cautioned, "I do not wish for us to lose our funding or our laboratory, in particular when we are so close to a cure."