“I don’t know why I have to be at this meeting,” Garn the Magnificent asked his some-time employer.
“Lord knows,” Smith said under his breath. “It’s not like you have a medical degree, do you?”
“Of course not,” Garn scoffed, pulling a small pack from his pocket. “Who needs a doctor when you can just use a little gorsa moss?”
Garn brandished some of the bright pink plant. “I’ve used it to treat everything from a sucking chest wound to a cold.”
“Oh, really? It cures infections?” Smith perked up. “Maybe that’s exactly what we need during this pandemic.”
Garn shrugged. “Yes, but unfortunately, it’s quite poisonous to Earthlings – and well, most of the Universe.”
Smith’s face crumpled, especially when a grey-suited attendant came to the door and beckoned them forth. “Oh, then this meeting is really not going to go well.”
They put on their masks and followed the young man into a large, oak-paneled room. A dozen men and women sat around a conference table. Some were wearing suits, and some were wearing those strange white Earth garment called lab-coats.
“Oh!” Exclaimed one woman. “You really are a little green man.”
“Madam, I am not little,” Garn said with great dignity. He concentrated until his skin changed into a deep blue hue. “And I am not always green.”
There were gasps all around until the man at the head of the table rapped twice on the wooden surface. “Thank you for coming, Mr. Garn,” he said most solemnly. “We are a COVID-19 emergency response group and we have called you here for a very specific reason.” He cleared his throat. “We have heard that you are an expert on something called off-world technology.”
“Oh, good Lord,” Smith muttered, slapping his palm to his forehead. “Just because you are an alien….”
“Well,” Garn said slowly. “I don’t know if I would say I’m an expert, but I have traveled to some 200 planets in the known Universe.”
A man wearing a bright pink tie leaned forward eagerly. “There are that many?”
“Oh, there are at least a thousand worlds in the inter-planetary portal system,” Garn said blithely. “I just try to avoid the ones that are no fun. You know, too hot, too cold or without decent food and drink.”
“Uh huh,” said another woman. “Well that is fascinating, but we were more interested in medical matters. How do other planets treat illnesses?”
“Well, it varies,” Garn said as he once again rummaged in his pocket. “I prefer natural remedies.”
Smith caught his arm in a vise-like grip. “Don’t you dare bring out that moss,” he muttered. “They would poison us all.”
“Er, right.” Garn stood straighter. “Though I must admit that most of the inter-world alliance planets have obliterated most common viruses.”
“Oh? Please tell us more,” said the group’s leader eagerly.
“Well, it’s pretty simple.” Garn shrugged. “One simply discovers the genetic sequence of the virus.”
“We have done that – but what else?”
“Well, then you compare it to the individual genetic signature of everyone on the planet at that time and use the medical replicators to synthesize a personalized vaccine for each person. It’s not easy, mind you.” Garn shrugged again. “I think it took four whole solar days to eradicate the Torellian flu on Talon III last year.”
There was a long moment of silence before one of the scientists raised their hand somewhat timidly. “What is a medical replicator?”
Happy Thursday, Friends.