Eden Clinics

The Impossible City
We descend from orbit through rain filled clouds. The rolling thunder rattles the hull as lightning strikes the ground below.   When we approach the vigil ring, it's hard to even see. It's dark, so dark it takes the flash of lightning to make out our destination.   With every burst of light, I catch glimpses of strange structures on top of the ring's surface. Every structure feels wrong. Each building looks as if it was thrown together without purpose, yet designed to be unique from the others.   As we hover and gently fall toward the drydock, I see these structures from different angles. The architecture changes, or at least appears to change with every flash of light. It's a city, one which seems to have no end, nor a beginning. I see no roads between the structures, nor lights to mark one's path. There is no indication of sanity in this black city's construction, and just looking at it makes me uncomfortable.   "Is this how you build all your cities?" I ask.   Fraeia looks at the city then back at me. "It's jarring, I know."   "Why, though?"   "It's considered a military fortress. Why make it easy for the enemy to navigate?" They stand and follow me to the airlock. The door opens and I'm not sure what I expected. I see no one on the other side. All I see is a long hall, sleek and white. It's hard to tell where the wall ends and the ceiling begins.   Fraeia leads the way, and It soon becomes clear why. Despite moving straight most of the time, I'm lost. We then turn corners and trek through vast halls and empty rooms.   "Where is everyone?" I ask.   "Where they're meant to be. These halls are usually empty." They reply.   I examine the walls, the threshold of every door we pass through. There are no signs, no indication of where we are or where we're headed. "How do you know where you're going?"   They chuckle before speaking, "Memory. The only ones permitted on the ring are those who already know where they're meant to be."   We pass through another door and stand at the top of a staircase. It's a massive change of scenery. We stand under what appears to be a glass dome, the sound of the rain outside echoing through the chamber. I never noticed the dome when we landed, nor did I see the light it would cast on the cold, dark world outside.   The walls and floor appear to be made of black stone. The stairs lead down into a nexus of sorts. I see dozens of lebha. Each walk with purpose, entering the room from one side and leaving it on another. Other than the endless tapping of rain, the room is silent. No one speaks, or even waves at those they pass on their journey.   "Why is it so quiet?" I ask, pointing to the crowd below.   "This is a vigil world. There's rarely time for small talk and even if there was, why speak if you have so little to say?"
 
We continue through the complex for what feels like hours, finally stopping at a thick metal door with a strange symbol painted on its surface, three circles overlapping one another. An armed turret on the ceiling follows us as it lines up a shot. I see a small, black circle, a camera in the wall.   Fraeia stops mid stride and waits. I do the same. It takes several minutes for the doors to open. When they do, an Eden waits on the other side.   They're more androgynous then the Eden tend to be. Fraeia is far more feminine, but this one could almost pass as a male in human society. Their hair is brown, cut short, and their eyes shimmer with golden hues. They take one look at Fraeia and speak, "Fraeia. Is this her?"   Fraiea nods, "This is Amber," they turn to me and point to the Eden, "This is Thilaela."
     
I never imagined how alien it could be. I find myself in a hospital wing, but not like ours. Eden hospitals are black, dark, and filled with devices that look better suited for a dungeon than a place of medicine. There are so many sharp edges it's a wonder how anyone works without getting cut.   That being said, eden medicine is the best. Take it from someone who makes medicine themselves, it's second to none. Their mastery of genetics allowed them to extend life almost indefinitely. Not only is their maximum lifespan unknown, but they've managed to cure the very concept of disease itself. They simply can't get sick.   These clinics, while filled with horrors, ensure that everyone who comes in leaves better then they were when they arrived. They do this mainly through genetic modification and biomechanical contraptions I've never seen before. Some of these machines pulse, as if alive, but mindless and crafted for a single purpose.

Facilities

Every clinic is fitted the same way. You have gene capsules, which allow the eden to manage mutation should genetics go awry. It's a clear tube, a cylinder with syringes fixed to skeletal arms that seem to be made of metal, but I can't really be sure.   You also have Bio-Imaging stations.They tell me to lay in this one, and I really don't want to. It's a massive drum, a table on rails jutting out of a hollow center. Inside are tiny needles, each the width of a human hair. Looking from the outside, it almost looks like teeth. The needles penetrate the skin and take readings of the entire body, injecting what's needed.   Finally, you have medical stations that sit at the center of the room. The staff works here, analyzing, diagnosing, and treating without ever having to move. They even have a workbench for crafting medicine, though it's much flashier than mine.
   

The process

A patient enters the clinic, discussing their symptoms as they enter the imager. Once the scans are taken, the staff diagnose the problem and load the necessary treatment at their station or send the patient to gene capsule for genetic correction.   In the imager, treatment is almost always in the form of a drug or surgical procedure carried out right then and there. The drugs feed through tubes connected to the imager, and are then injected into the body. It doesn't take long, I'm told. Patients can often walk out feeling better than ever in a matter of minutes. Their symptoms disappear, as if by some miracle.   There's something to be said about the set up. Eden doctors lack the bedside manner humans see as required for the job. They don't need it. It's a revolving door, in and out. You likely won't even know their names and are equally likely to never see them again.

Nanites

The secret to making this all work is nanorobotics. When you take machines and make them less than a nanometer in size, you can do alot of crazy things. These nanites are loaded with either medicine, or a series of tasks that remedy the issue when carried out, such as repairing broken bones and open wounds.   The nanites are biodegradable, breaking down in the body over time when they've outlived their usefulness. It makes me wonder if they fix more than just the body. What of the mind?   It's not set up for mental health. Dare I say the facility's look alone is detrimental to my own mental health. Still… Could they fix me?
"Hello?" I shout. I lay on the table in the imager. I can't move, paralyzed by the first injection. I can't see, I can barely think. I'm uncomfortable, though I should be used to enclosed spaces.   Being on a ship for so long makes you resistant to claustrophobia, but this is too much. I can't even raise my head enough to see my feet. "Fray?"   Their reply flys out in a rapid stream of words, the way a parent would silence a child in need of their attention. "One moment. Something's wrong."   "What?" I shout.   The needles rise, the wounds sealing behind them with not a drop of blood in sight. The table I'm laying on slowly rolls out of the drum and once I clear the opening I shoot straight up. "What's wrong?"   "My hunch was correct." Fraeia replies. They gesture for me to come closer and I hop off the table.   "This Nergal, was it an AI?"   "I barely got a look at it, how would I know? My dad did say that was the most logical solution.'   Thilaela speaks then, "Come see. This is a blood sample we took." They direct me around a circular wall of terminals to see the screen in front of them. I see red blood cells, I recognize that much, but littered between them are numerous triangular cells I've never seen before. On top of that, there are circular black cells as well, the nanites injected by the imager.   "These are ours, but those are something else." Thilaela says, pointing to the screen. "These triangular nanites are some of the most advanced forms of nanotechnology I've ever seen. They're literally eating the ones we've added."   I nod, "That's why it took so long?" The nod in reply and my heart starts pounding in my chest. "So Nergal isn't dead?"   Fraeia shakes their head. "If your story is true, we can safely say it is dead, but it likely had a plan for you once it gave you back to your mother. Gibraltar has learned how to use them, which would explain recent events."   "How do I get rid of them?" I ask.   "We don't." Thelaela replies.   "Excuse me?"   "These are beyond our reach. If anything we should be studying them, not destroying them."   Fraeia nods and looks at me, their eyes unable to meet mine. "I'm inclined to agree."   "So I'm a lab rat now? Fray, come on."   "It won't take long. Don't be so dramatic. Look," they point to a screen on the other side of the circle. Another Eden sits with their attention fixed on the data as it scrolls by. "The black signal triggers them, but only on specific occasions."   "It's more than that." Thilaela gives a sigh. "This is a major find, and-"   Fraeia's eyes go wide and they raise their voice before being cut off, "I was assured-"   "That was before we found a human in possession of technology we can't even replicate."   "What's happening?" I ask. My question goes unanswered.   "I won't allow it. I speak with the authority of a goddess."   A voice calls from the front of the clinic, "So do I." We turn and see an eden dressed in an ornate black gown step through the threshold, a matriarch. Ever patch of visible skin, even their face is covered in eden marks.   I've seen Fraeia nervous, upset, and even distraught, but this is the first time I've seen them truely frightened. Their eyes dart about the room as if searching for a way to escape. They jitter and fidget as they force themselves to meet the matriarch's gaze.   "Fraeia, amber," the matriarch reaches out their hands as if to pull us in for a loving embrace. Their voice is soft, comforting. They're even speaking my language. "Walk with me."

Comments

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21 Feb, 2022 10:52

Got me at the edge of my seat as always

Visit Daeliha, Iphars & Khulgran
Love to code, but this one is driving me crazy!
Hey look, I have a SC prep article
21 Feb, 2022 12:37

Dylon you ripped me appart! I was "oh yes Amber will get beter!" untill the last bit when you flipped it completly to an "Oooh NO"

21 Feb, 2022 12:46

Exactly my reaction! I hope Amber will be okay!

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Master Monkos
Andrew Booth
22 Feb, 2022 08:47

Uh oh

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
23 Feb, 2022 22:41

Uh oh ... I guess the cure-all isn't quite cure-all.

Kriltch, arcanities not included.
Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
3 Jun, 2022 23:02

Somehow you've made hospitals yet more unnerving. And oh boy, things sound like they're taking a turn here...

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