A short Family Law #3 snippet

“Commander Gordon,” Robert Frost, captain of the Sharp Claws appeared not just on the command audio feed but came up on the video feed to Gordon too. That indicated he had something more than routine to discuss.
“Captain Frost,” Gordon acknowledged and nodded, a human gesture many of them had assimilated.
“We have the first case of an infection from an alien life form. I just finished speaking with my medical officer about it. The crew woman who reported to sick-call tried to treat it herself but it didn’t improve.”
“Well, I guess all those protocols put in place by the Earth powers were not entirely without merit as our recent hosts implied.”
“Oh, we’ve known there are things one can catch already. Thorn has a whole list of them, mostly various amoebas and parasites. The people who keep an embassy open on the Elves’ world just in case they ever want to have anything to do with us get something called Blue Dot. They feel tired and get little blue bumps that go away in about three days. Nobody has ever isolated an organism causing it or documented a human to human transmission. I don’t think they’ve ever had a Derf on world to see if they catch it. The thing Earth worries about isn’t that sort of thing. They are fearful of something deadly like the flu or smallpox.”
“I take it this isn’t such a devastating disease or you’d be more upset?” Gordon prompted him.
“Yes, it another irritating thing that I’m pretty sure we can deal with, but it still seemed worth a word of warning.”
“Good, I’m putting our medial guy on the circuit. He’s our environmental officer too. Would you describe how you became aware of this and we’ll send the recording to our other vessels too.”
“The young Human woman is a previous Fargone missile tech who left their service before we recruited her. She’s twenty seven Fargone years old, a bit more than twenty eight T-years. She got a patch of white and itching to the inside of her little toe on her right foot. Thinking it common Athlete’s Foot she asked our medic for a tube of anti-fungal cream and she prophylactically applied it to the other gaps between her toes with clean hands , and then applied it to the afflicted area last. It didn’t improve, indeed it got worse, appeared on the other foot, and changed color to a yellowish hue. That’s when she returned to medical and sought help.”
“What is this Athlete’s Foot?” Gordon asked, puzzled. It seemed like an athletic foot should be a good thing.
“It’s a common fungal infection in humans. It is often spread in communal areas where people go bare footed. But it is incubated in the dark and moisture between their toes. The more so because shoes and socks keep the foot in the dark and limit drying air circulation. This is a Badger analog of a fungus, but the medical tech was smart enough to scan a swab and see there is alien genetic material present. Indeed it returned an error message because there are sequences not common to any Earth organisms.”
“How did you confirm it is a Badger organism?”
“We have some sequencing of Badger and Badger planet organisms from trading items. There were short sequence matches once the medical scanner was supplied a wider database. But we showed photographs of her foot to Badgers on the Dart and they immediately said: ‘Oh yeah, boot rot.’ It seems it is an occupational hazard to those who have to wear boots for their work such as caring for herd animals and working in industrial settings. Most Badgers avoid wearing an enclosing shoe unless absolutely necessary.”
“Then I assume they know how to treat it?” Thor asked on the audio feed.
“Yes, but their cure is to crush a sort of common weed that looks like a succulent and stuff the sticky mass in the toe of the boot. The other folk remedy is to find a source of mud near a natural body of water and coat the foot liberally with it, getting it between the toes thoroughly, and allow it to remain and dry out for a few days before washing it away. Apparently there are naturally antagonistic organisms in such mud. Since neither cure is available here my medic cut the upper section away from the toes on a pair of cloth shoes. We are coating one foot with a disinfectant wash we use for surgical prep and the other foot with a dilute solution of iodine.”
“Thank you. Keep me appraised if this becomes a bigger problem or doesn’t respond to treatment,” Gordon requested. He appeared ready to end the discussion but Lee spoke up.
“Gordon? Captain Frost? Just a thought here. Most Human laundry is vacuum tumbled. A freeze dried fungus may be dormant but not dead. You might make sure her socks get wet washed in chlorine bleach or something similar or they may just re-infect her.”
“That’s interesting,” Frost said looking surprised. “I’ll mention it to my medic right now.”
“How did you know that?” Gordon asked Lee after Frost was gone.
“When I lived with my relatives in Michigan for awhile their kids got Athlete’s Foot at the community pool and quickly spread it to everybody else at home. I remember my cousin’s wife putting bleach in the wash to get rid of it.”
“So you did learn some practical things on Earth,” Gordon said, amused.
“Just all kinds of skills,” Lee assured him, scowling. “I know how to form a jail gang to keep safe. I know how to get back in line quickly to get a second serving in the jail mess, and I know how to slowly eat a candy bar in tiny little nips and make it fill you up if they have you on lock-down and aren’t feeding you. I learned how to sit in the sun where there is a breeze to keep the mosquitoes from leaving you a mess of welts. I even know how to suck-up to a bureaucratic negative tax official so you get your case moved forward while the angry combative folks don’t get what they need. Doesn’t mean I want to live on a planet where I need those sort of skills,” she said, firmly.
There was a lot Lee still hadn’t told him about her time on Earth Gordon reflected.

5 Responses to A short Family Law #3 snippet

  1. Melvyn Barker October 16, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    Thanks for this and the snippet from the new April. I’m looking forward to both.

  2. Beryl Gray October 21, 2014 at 3:34 am #

    A treat to read the snippet of Family Law 3. I very much enjoyed Volumes 1 & 2 and have been recommending it to friends. I bought both of them for my granddaughter. Lee is a great role model.

  3. Garf December 7, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    It would be nice if you had an image gallery of a thr Family Law species. The descriptive treatment is not workibg for me. Need something more visual.

    • Mac December 7, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      I’d love to do that. I can sketch a little but that’s beyond my abilities. I’d have to hire it out. I’m afraid it would take the income from my books for a year to do it right.

      • Garf December 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

        If the budget allows it you can get it done cheaply with offshore freelancers on Odesk by creating a jobs posting for each image of about $25. I have a freelancer I have work extensively with from Pakistan who does really good work, email me directly if this is a contact of interest and I can point you to his profile.

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