LNH: Hungry, Hungry Sabertooths! #11: "An Ounce of Cure"
pwerdna at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 09:02:44 PDT 2020
HUNGRY, HUNGRY SABERTOOTHS!
#11: "An Ounce of Cure"
A tale of the Loonited States of Ame.rec.a in quarantine, by Drew Nilium
Everyone watched, as Dr. Stomper peered down the barrel of a microscope at a
sample of Cliche Dude's blood, and the viral infection contained within.
"So, doc," said Halls Jordan, using his ring to meticulously sanitize all the
surfaces in the lab, "What's the prognosis? Do you think you can cure the
sabertooth tiger plague?"
Dr. Stomper sat up, pushed back his chair, and let out a long, laborious sigh.
"That sounds bad," said Sister State-the-Obvious, gathering the data she and
Mashup Laq had been able to collate during Dr. Stomper's absence.
"The problem is," said Dr. Stomper, cleaning his glasses on his shirt, "the
sabertooth virus is based on a virus that, much like the common cold or flu,
mutates rapidly. We can vaccinate against a specific strain, but the next
strain that comes along could restart the process all over."
"Like the virus that was turning people into Dorfs," said Mashup Laq, preparing
reagents for antiviral cocktails, their nail art shimmering as their hands
"In that case, can't we do what we did then?" said Halls. "Find an extremely
mutated version of the virus, and compare it to the baseline so we can create a
cure that'll work on all strains?"
Doctor Stomper shook his head. "The Dorfs engineered a virus that would mutate
to a certain extent, but stay within the parameters they set; their goal was to
create a very specific effect, the one they hoped would resurrect their Prophet.
Whoever created this virus either didn't care about that, or simply wasn't able
to - and based on the level of engineering skill it would have taken to create
a full-body shapeshift effect, I suspect it was the former."
"By the way, any similar viruses currently affecting the Real World are natural
and not genetically engineered," said Sister State-the-Obvious.
"That's very true. We don't want to encourage any conspiracy theories." Doctor
Stomper leaned down to examine the blood sample again. "In any case... that
means that I *can* create an anti-sabertooth serum, but to truly stop this
disease, we'll have to make sure there's not a single person still infected."
"We can't end the quarantine yet," sighed Sister State-the-Obvious.
"What's the larger situation with the virus?" said Doctor Stomper, without
raising his head.
"Early in the virus's spread," said Mashup Laq, "we managed to take steps to
limit its reach to the Loonited States by convincing the President that other
nations were trying to create sabertooth attack armies. All non-essential
international travel is shut down. Some cases still got out, and there have
been a number of flare-ups worldwide, but overall, it's contained."
"Mmmm. Good. So we only have three hundred million or so potential infected to
Mashup Laq ignored the edge of frustration. "Infections are highest on the east
coast of the LS [Loonited States - Footnote Girl, checking on her sourdough
starter], especially in states that Net.tropolis has been in lately."
"The LNHQ was where it started," said Sister State-the-Obvious, "and where it's
"We've dispatched a number of LNHers to help contain rampaging sabertooths,"
said Halls, "and the President assigned a force that's been assisting in that
"...hmmmm. " Doctor Stomper looked up from the microscope. "Someone assigned by
Bad Judgment Boy is actually helping?" He took off his glasses and rubbed the
bridge of his nose. "What *is* this force?"
"Sending you a link," said Mashup Laq. Doctor Stomper picked up his phone and
clicked on the link.
"LNH Readers who are sick..." His brows furrowed as he read down the page...
then he stopped, and looked off into space, gaze a thousand miles away.
"...damn. I know what we have to do." He dialed an internal LNHQ extension.
"Fearless Leader? We're going to need to talk to the mayor of Net.ropolis..."
Soon, a convoy of military-grade trucks were rolling down the highway. On their
beds were loaded enormous forcefield projectors, and at the Net.ropolis city
line, these were unloaded, one by one, set firmly in place in a great ring
miles long. Huge cables plugged them into Net.ropolis's power grid, and bays of
solar arrays were unfurled to back them up.
When the ring was complete, great switches were thrown. One by one, each
projector extended a shimmering curtain, which linked with all the others, into
a great dome extending above the highest spires of Net.ropolis's skyscrapers.
"Super Quarantine Field... established!" Agent Reed Reedly of the LNH-Readers-
Who-Are-Sick-To-Death-With-These-Damn-Neverending-Events Liberation Front
crossed his arms. "Net.ropolis is officially sealed off from the world.
Whatever's going on in there, they face it-- alone!!"
"And we pray that this will make things simpler for them," murmured Agent Susan
"Indeed. But prayers are not enough..."
On the other side of the field, LNHRWASTDWTDNELF agent Benjamin Bennigan
surveyed the city. Between himself and millions of souls, he held up a fist.
And the fist bore a ring...
Drew "concentrate your efforts" Nilium
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