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asked, trying to sound normal.
"We're looking for common immune system limitations," Tieran explained.
Emorra blinked, thinking. "The infection?"
"I was hoping we could prove that it couldn't cross to dragons," Tieran said.
Emorra cocked her head, questioningly.
"We are still working on it," Wind Blossom added pointedly.
"It's the end of the Pass-haven't you got anything better to do?" Emorra
blurted. "Alcohol blunts inhibitions and slows reasoning," she remembered as
her
brain processed the words her mouth had just uttered.
"Like what?" Wind Blossom asked.
"Like-like . . . well, you're too old!" Emorra said. Clasping her hand to her
head in frustration at her own stupidity, she turned around and stomped away.
"Alcohol reduces sexual function," Emorra recalled with infuriating clarity
as
she strode away. Hmmph!
"It was bacterial in nature," Wind Blossom repeated. "The general spectrum
antibiotic knocked it out."
"Didn't you teach me not to jump to conclusions?" Janir asked. "Isn't it also
possible that the bacterial infection was a secondary infection that took
advantage of the compromised immune system, just like Tieran said?"
"So you're arguing that we only knocked out the secondary infection, giving
the
fire-lizard's immune system a chance to handle the primary infection," Emorra
suggested. They were gathered in one of the classrooms at Wind Blossom's
invitation.
"Exactly," Janir agreed.
"Wind Blossom and I agree that it really can't be proved either way," Tieran
said, with an apologetic look toward the old geneticist. "But what can be
proved
is that the antibiotics saved Grenn's life." The little brown fire-lizard
gave
Tieran an approving chirp.
"Grenn?" Janir asked.
"That's what he's named the fire-lizard," Wind Blossom explained, waving a
hand
toward Tieran.
"No, that's the name that was on his bead harness," Tieran corrected. "It's
the
name he was given by his original owner."
Emorra's eyes narrowed. "Do you have that harness?"
Tieran nodded. He drew it out of the pouch he had hanging over his shoulder.
"Right here."
"May I see it?" she asked, extending a hand. Tieran handed it over, not
without
misgivings. He didn't know if he was more afraid that Emorra would be
immediately able to identify Grenn's owner by the beads, or that she
wouldn't.
Emorra was studying the beadwork carefully.
"This symbol here-do you see it?" she asked, holding the harness up to the
others. "What do you make of it?"
"There's the caduceus of Aesculapius," Janir said. "The standard symbol for
medicine-"
"Or a doctor," Emorra interjected. She peered more closely at the beadwork.
"But
what's beneath it?"
"It looks like some sort of animal," Tieran suggested tentatively.
"But it's hard to tell," Janir complained.
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Emorra looked at them all. "I just received a message from Igen, detailing a
plan to begin a beadworks," she told them. "To my knowledge, there were no
beads
brought over from Landing, nor any that landed with the original settlers."
She fingered the small beads sewn into the fire-lizard's harness.
"These beads should not exist."
"Really, Mother," Emorra said, "you and that boy!"
"He is not a boy," Wind Blossom countered. "He is nineteen!"
Emorra tossed the correction off with a wave of her hand. "Are you so
desperate
to make amends with him that you'd deprive someone else of their
fire-lizard?"
she sniffed. "That's beneath you, you know."
"Emorra, it's been two months since the fire-lizard appeared," Wind Blossom
replied. "I would have thought that if anyone was missing a fire-lizard, we
would have heard of it at the College by now.
"You can't deny that the fire-lizard was sick with an illness we haven't seen
before," she continued.
Emorra grimaced. The fire-lizard had been ill. Both fire-lizards had been
ill.
Clearly they had caught the disease somewhere. If they could get it, so could
other fire-lizards. If the fire-lizards could get it, then perhaps the
dragons.
Possibly the day of planet-wide disaster she had been fearing was just around
the corner. Although, it could be that the disease was rare, or propagated
slowly, or its method of transmission . . .
"Were you asking people if they'd lost one or two fire-lizards?" she asked
abruptly.
"Tieran's drum message asked if anyone was missing a gold or brown
fire-lizard,"
Wind Blossom answered.
"Did you mention the illness?" Emorra asked, trying to recall the drum
messages
that had been sent while they were in quarantine.
"Not in connection with the fire-lizards," Wind Blossom said. "But we had to [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]