Author : Matthieu C. R. Cartron

The planetary nation of Ozda was illiterate—in English and in many other far away languages that is. It was practical to learn the languages of nearby planets, but beyond that it made little sense. A waste of time, actually.

Without a translator, it would have been difficult for them to communicate with Earth, a planetary nation thousands of light-years away they had never heard of—not until the neighboring planets had mentioned its cutting-edge technology. Apparently, Earth had the only solution to it, the devastating disease that jumped from planet to planet, wiping out populations as it went.

Scared out of their minds and desperate to evade the disease, planetary nations began to contact Earth. The terrestrials were pressured by these nations to share their medical technology, but the complexity of the vaccine, according to Earth, was far too difficult to explain in a reasonable amount of time. Planets were dying of course, and there was little time to spare.

But there was no need for concern. Earth had promised it could send out doctors to vaccinate the populations of the other planets, a feat that could be managed in less time than the cumbersome alternative.

Ozda’s request for a doctor was addressed promptly, and Dr. Ashford of Earth arrived in less than twenty-four hours, bringing with him hundreds of large crates, all filled with the coveted vaccine.

To speed up the vaccination process, Dr. Ashford demonstrated to the Ozdaen doctors the correct procedure for the administration of the vaccine. It was quite simple really, just a slight insertion at the shoulder and brief, downward application of pressure onto the plunger.

With the help of the Ozdaen doctors, Dr. Ashford had every citizen vaccinated in less than six hours. When Dr. Ashford was finished and ready to return home, he congratulated the governing body of Ozda and said that Earth would send a representative to check on the planet in a few weeks.

After Dr. Ashford’s departure, Ozda discovered that the neighboring planets, Jugtha, Regyte, and Iolat, had all been vaccinated at around the same time by other terrestrial doctors. The four planets all felt confident now that the threat of the mysterious disease was all but vanquished.

The people of Ozda returned to their daily lives, thankful for the service Earth had so selflessly rendered them. Perhaps they would now consider learning English, some of the citizens had even joked.

But three days later everything changed for the Ozdaens. It had begun with a cough and a mild headache.
When the representative from Earth arrived at Ozda several weeks later with several terrestrial families, he was hardly surprised by the scene in front of him.

After all, it wasn’t the first planet he had helped colonize.