ASH: "Worse Than The Disease" one-shot

Andrew Perron pwerdna at
Thu Feb 23 12:42:37 PST 2012

On Mon, 20 Feb 2012 15:35:33 +0000 (UTC), Dave Van Domelen wrote:

>      [cover shows Doctor Huang Sheng symbolically holding Earth in one hand
> and Santar in the other, like a mad god.]

Mmmmmmm.  Classic. <3

>      "And yet, I am a useful criminal, am I not?" Sheng smiled greasily.
> From his posture, you'd never know he was anything but the frail old man he
> appeared to be, although had the Santari nobleman decided to express his
> contempt in a more physical manner he would have found that the the body that
> had once belonged to Jiang Sheng retained all of its combat prowess.

I was wondering about that!

>      "What?" Agrap tried to surge to his feet, but found that nothing below
> his neck would obey the commands of his brain.
>      "One of those enhancements I mentioned is a nanite swarm that protects
> me from airborne nerve toxins such as the one suffusing this room.  Your
> ability to speak will fade soon enough, and shortly after that you will die.
> But on the off chance Santari have spirits that might become restless, allow
> me to both set your mind at ease on behalf of your race and indulge in a
> pasttime I so rarely have the opportunity for in this post-heroic age:
> gloating."

Ahhhhh, well done - a chance to exposit on your plan without looking like
you haven't read the Evil Overlord List.

> I
> suppose a powerful enough Anchor would let you safely transplant organs, but
> godly magic can be remarkably tenacious."
>      "Nnno c-c-cure?" Agrap forced the words past lips that felt like they
> were cast from lead.  He was remarkably unmoved by the prospect of his
> imminent death, although he supposed that might be an effect of the toxin.

Indeed, I like that he's worried more about that - why worry about yourself
if you're going to die anyway?

> Santari are human, and Terrans will find their way into your space.
> Given that humans will mate with anything that has compatible orifices, I
> give it no more than a few centuries before most of the offspring have
> diluted the curse sufficiently to render it powerless.

Heeheehee "compatible orifices".

>      This is one of those "deep background best not poked too roughly" parts
> of the ASH Universe, my plot device for explaining why ASH had the standard
> superhero cliche of the an alien race that is human to six decimal places (or
> AAAAAA in Lensman notation).  I laid it out in the short story "Undone" back
> in 1997, but few readers found that satisfactory.

Really? I always thought it wrapped the issue up well.

>      As I fleshed out the germ, I realized that along the way I could clean
> up the whole Universal Donor thing with some appropriate jargon in-story
> (having out-of-story decided a while back that while any human made for an
> acceptable donor, only certain ones were no-muss-no-fuss donors, and those
> were the kind Barnes detected).  My original intention back in the Academy
> series had been that all humans were perfect donors for any Santari, but then
> Rossi brought in the idea that certain individuals were "Universal Donors"
> and most weren't, which I didn't realize was a contradiction until way too
> late.  And now it's no longer a contradiction.  ;)

Ahhhhhh.  You know, I never noticed that.

>      Finally, I haven't abandoned the Quixote arc in ASH, I'm just finding it
> easier to get motivated to write short pieces right now given my work
> schedule. 

Very understandable.  You're *the* most consistent writer on RACC (Wil was
jockeying for it, but he seems to have fallen behind) - you're allowed a
break every so often.

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, and this way we get your awesome on a
wider spread of subjects!

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