Han Yan

A Healthy Country –Immunization

"Kino, when are we going to get to the next country? I am almost out of fuel… oh, and I think my breaks need to be checked again," grumbled the voice below the traveler.

"Stop complaining Hermes. The map indicates that we should be there by night fall, so that is when we will arrive" stated the traveler.

The motorrad apparently at the moment either mollified or simply were out of complaints quieted and the pair sped along on a path that could barely be described as a road. As dusk crept its way into the sky, the pair finally saw a glimpse of civilization ahead in the road. It was a city walled in on all sides like many others the traveler and her companion had seen. "This place better have a proper mechanic," grumbled Hermes.

"Even if they don't, a country of this size should have enough materials to restock our supplies until we reach the next country." Kino stated, while looking around the outside of the wall. Her wandering eyes had noticed something odd even before they had paused before the wall. All around them beside the road, irregular mounds of earth lay cluttered all along the wall.

"Hey, you out there, are you a traveler?" yelled a muffled voice from atop the wall. Moments later an electric torch flashed on atop the wall pointing in the general direction of the traveler.

"Yes, I am a traveler I was wondering if I could stay for three days in your country." Kino hollered back. A moment of silence followed then the door leading into the country slowly swung open. Kino started Hermes engine and rode through the passage into the country. Kino's first impression of the country was that it had a subtle smell that permeated everything within its walls. The smell brought distant memories of hospitals to Kino's mind; it was the smell of sterilized hospitals. When she was clear of the passage and inside the walls a person stood near it waiting for her. He was a man of medium height, clad in pure white clothing that covered his entire body. On his face he wore a medical gauze mask that obscured half of his face, also in white.

"Welcome to our country traveler," the man announced, his voice slightly muffled by the gauze mask he wore. "I am sorry if it's an inconvenience, but the law of this country decrees that all individuals inside the country must wear a gauze mask," stated the man as his gloved hand presented Kino with a mask.

Kino accepted and proceeded to put on the mask wordlessly, already accustomed to the various odd traditions and laws of various countries.

"Ah… do I need one as well?" piped the motorrad after witnessing the mask that was given to Kino to wear.

"Don't worry, this law doesn't apply to motorads," the man answered addressing Hermes. "Now then, traveler, since the night is already upon us, I will take you directly to our sleeping arrangements for when travelers come to our country, is that agreeable?" inquired the man.

"Yes, that is agreeable, thank you," replied Kino. As the man conversed with Kino, they began to move to the traveler's sleeping arrangements.

As Kino walked with her guide she took in the sights of the country surrounding her, from people to buildings one theme seemed to be prevalent. Almost all of the buildings and most of the people walking in the streets sported a clean uniform white, and just as the man had said everyone in the country wore gauze masks, also in white, of course. The whole effect was like walking through a minimally colored coloring book. After the sleeping arrangements were taken care of, Kino looked for an establishment that would provide her with dinner. After the bland tasting, but healthy dinner, Kino went back to her room. The room was sparsely furnished and everything, from walls to furniture, was again white.

The next morning her guide again came to her and offered to act as a tour guide for Kino. As they walked around the country, the man told Kino about the pride of their country. "Our country deems the overall health of its population as the top priority. From birth, we give each citizen multiple shots each year to ensure that they never get sick. Our food is similarly made with the health of our population in mind; it has the exact ratio of nutrients the body needs to stay healthy," the man recited proudly as he showed the various state of the art laboratories and medical facilities to the traveler.

"But what if one of your citizens got sick? I haven't seen any facilities for treatment," inquired Hermes curiously.

"Oh, but that's impossible, none of our citizens ever get sick! There isn't a sick person within these walls," stated the man, surprised that such a question should even be asked.

The next day, Kino went to shop for supplies. As she browsed through her list of items she had to restock, she bumped into a young man carrying a heavy bag. "Sorry, wasn't looking in front of me," Kino said to the young man.

"Don't worry about it, I wasn't looking either," replied the young man apologetically.

"What's all that in your bag? It looks heavy," asked Kino curiously.

The man sat the bag on the ground and showed Kino one of the small cylindrical containers inside. In the cylindrical container, pills were stacked one on to of the other. "These are my supply of supplements and medication for the month. Everyone in this country is prescribed to take a certain amount each day," replied the young man cheerfully.

The traveler bid her goodbye to the young man and proceeded to the shop that sold non-perishables.

The next day, the traveler was planning to set out on the road again in the afternoon. After she finished cleaning her two guns and packed the supplies for her trip, she left her room and rode Hermes towards the exit of the country. Suddenly, a siren went up in a nearby building. Curious, Kino turned and went in its direction. In front of the building, people were scrambling to get out and put as much distance between themselves and the building as possible. Moments later, a black van arrived at the scene and parked in front of the building. The car door slid open, and people, who looked like they were dressed for radiation protection, stepped out.

One of the groups, from the van, went to the crowd in front of the building and waved a device over each person, and another group marched into the building. Not long after, a man was marched out, already in bonds and gagged. The device was waved over him too although, unlike before it beeped in a shrill tone, as if pronouncing him guilty. Wordlessly, the people, who came in the van, left the scene as they had entered with the bonded man in tow.

"He was sick, wasn't he? Good riddance, he might have tainted us all. We don't need people who would get sick in this country," the crowd started to say. Although many differing conversations were happening all at the same time, the general consensus was relief that the sick were gone.

Kino started Hermes's engine again and headed towards the exit to the country. In the distance, a muffled sound like a shot was heard. As the traveler and her motorrad rode away from the country, Kino suddenly remembered "Oh, I forgot to ask if they had a mechanic."

"Don't worry Kino, even if my brakes aren't in perfect condition, they still work fine," stated Hermes.