Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

That’s the thing about silicates. They get cancer from radiation, just like us, except their tumors are jewels.

The silicate in front of me here has a head full of diamonds.

He’s looking up at me with his prism eyes. When the sun shines through the hospital window, the sunlight refracts through them and shoots little rainbows around. He’s no smarter than a cat now.

Their presence here was a history of shame. They landed in their glittering spaceships made of super-dense manufactured crystal in a park in Philadelphia.

Their technology was entirely built around the manipulation of crystal growth. They created crystal that made diamonds look brittle. They ate sand and rock. Their stomachs were kilns. They could make their bodies faceted and sharp with a thought.

All was peaceful for a time until the first few of them got sick. Their doctors worked with our doctors to find a cure before they realized what was happening.

Cancer. Just like humans.

The first tumours to be removed were a revelation. Emeralds.

Once the news got out, a black mark on the history of humanity started.

Many of the silicates were taken prisoner and bathed in radiation to produce raw emeralds, diamonds, rubies and hundreds of other types of valuable rocks. The market was flooded, with the jewels ceasing to be valuable after six horrible years.

Diplomacy healed the wounds over the next decade but there was still bitterness on both sides

Any jewelry at all is seen as gauche now.

My friend, Rock Opal Truestone, is going to be dead before the week is out. There’s still no cure for cancer but at least the egg-sized diamond eating the mental pathways behind his beautiful eyes is worthless.

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