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}|{ Interlude A(v) }|{
Author Message
Jay Omega Offline
Galactic Gladiator

XWF FanBase:

(loved by some; hated by some; dips between clean/dirty)

05-19-2023, 03:33 PM

A Doctor In the House

"Don’t pass on your passions, to settle in the stale normality."
-Anthony Liccione

ISV Khybaris, En Route to Yeosh System, Interstellar Medium
17/4/2023, 1021 Hrs, Shipboard Time
~As requested by Doctor Zayus, the crew of the Khybaris were returning to Drovim for Tasha's scheduled checkup. Though Jay Omega had plenty of time between wrestling events, he still wasn't keen on the idea of a two week trip every time his wife needed to see her physician. Something would have to be done about that; perhaps Zayus could be convinced to join the crew.

  With Evelyn taking her shift on the bridge and Tasha resting after her shift, Jay was left to his own devices for a little while, and chose to take the opportunity to catch up with the Doctor of Mass Confusion, Alex Richards. At the moment, the pair of old friends were sitting in the observation lounge; passing a thumb-thick blunt back and forth, and watching the stars slip past.

  "So how the Hell did you wind up as a doctor on Skaarbirro?" Omega asked, breaking the comfortable silence, "Even if the Strange Rover is technically a spaceship, there's no way you had enough gas to fly all the way there."

  "To be perfectly honest, I have no idea," Alex replied with a shrug of his burly shoulders, "I was hammered and wanted Chinese food, but you know I never drive drunk. So I used the autopilot feature, but I guess I put in the wrong coordinates. The truck started driving and I passed out, and when I woke up, I was in Canada."

  "Again, totally not Canada," Omega corrected his friend, "Which begs the question of how you were able to communicate with the locals."

  "Oh, I took French in high school," Richards answered, taking the proffered blunt from Jay, "It's actually come in handy more times than you might think."

  "Yeah, they don't speak French on Skaarbirro, dude." Omega stated as he took the blunt back.

  "That would explain some of their odd requests." Alex said with a thoughtful expression.

  "Wait," interjected The Omega Man, "You speak French?"

  "Wee wee, moan Amy," Richards answered with a horribly fake accent, "Bon Jovi, gem apple Alex; Jew try vaya Don la discotheque!"

  "I think you just said you work at a disco bar," said Jay with a slight smile, "But I can't be sure, because that was definitely not French."

  "Oh, cool," said Alex, "Hang on a sec, I just need to add 'DJ' to my resume real quick."

  "Dude, just because you sort of said you work at a disco doesn't mean you're actually a DJ." Omega tried to remind his friend.

  "Whatever," Richards retorted with a dismissive wave, "Speaking as a medical professional–"

  "Which you're not." Jay tried to interrupt, but Alex just talked over him.

  "I'm diagnosing you with a serious case of buzzkillitis," Alex continued, reaching for his old-timey doctor's bag, "To curb that, I'm subscribing you ten cc's of shut your pie hole."

  "It's prescribe, dude," said Omega with a shake of his head, "You'd know that if you were actually a doctor."

  "Make it twenty cc's." replied Alex as he took an old snakeskin cowboy boot from within the bag, dumped an obscene amount of alcohol into it, then took a handful of assorted pills, ground them up, and mixed the pile of powder into the concoction, before tilting his head back and draining the draught in one go.

  "I'm honestly amazed you haven't died of liver failure yet," Jay stated sincerely as he watched his friend drink liquid death,, "Or alcohol poisoning, or an overdose, or at the very least, a massive heart attack."

  "That last one did happen, remember?" at Omega's blank expression, Richards elaborated, "I died of a massive heart attack, met the Christian God, and annoyed him so much he sent me back and told me I was going to live to a hundred and five."

  "Yeah, Yahweh has always had a planet-sized stick up his ass," Jay said with a nod, passing the blunt back to Alex, "I met him the first time I died, too. Dude wasn't gonna let me in because I wasn't a true believer. And because I've killed a bunch of people. Most of them deserved it, though, and I said that should count for something; average it out or some shit. But noooo; just one measly cold-blooded murder, and no Heaven for you."

  "You weren't missing much," said Richards in a strained voice as he held his hit, then exhaled before continuing, "Christian Heaven is pretty lame."

  "Wait, you got in?" Omega asked in disbelief, taking the blunt back with a shake of his head, "Un-fucking-believable."

  "Technically, no," Alex clarified as The Omega Man filled his lungs, "I snuck in while God was distracted. So much for being all-seeing, huh? So if you didn't get in to Heaven when you died, where'd you go? Downstairs?"

  Jay exhaled a huge cloud of smoke and wheezed for a moment or two before collecting himself enough to respond.

  "At first, yeah," he said, then snorted derisively, "But it was no worse than that time I faced Zombie McMorris for the US title back in WCF; you remember I told you about my trip to Jobber Hell? Well anyways, ol' Lucifer kicked me out because I kept beating the shit out of his host of demons, then I wandered around Limbo for a bit - there's not as much dancing as you'd think - before Jeff asked Nicky to clone me so he could have a decent tag partner."

  "Classic Purse," Richards ruminated ruefully, "I was right there in Pantheon with him, and he'd rather resurrect some moldering choke artist."

  "Hey, fuck you!" Omega cried indignantly, "I was a tag champ when I died the first time! Let's compare how many titles we've each won, then say that again!"

  "Or we could compare title shots," Alex said mischievously, "And see how many each of us has won or lost."

  "Or we could do something else entirely," Jay said quickly, "I've got a holo-rip of Bulletstorm, if you wanna go play a ridiculously awesome shooter game."

  "Ooh, is that the one with the gravity boots," Richards began, then kicked out at the air in front of him, "And when you kick people they go flying into cacti and shit? Because that sounds like fun."

  "Hell yeah it is," Omega said enthusiastically as he rose to his feet and stubbed out the blunt, "On both counts. And because it's a holo-program, we can tweak the settings; throw in more and harder enemies, adjust the power of the gravity boots, shit like that."

  "Fuck yeah!" Alex said, matching Jay's enthusiasm and stance by rising to his feet as well, "I'm gonna punt somebody to the moon, like Tommy Bates did to Corey Black!"

  And so, the long-time friends exited the observation lounge, their talk turning to less theological matters as they made their way to the hologym for some light entertainment.~


~As the Khybaris slipped through Drovim's atmosphere, Erin's consciousness fidgeted uncomfortably in the dataspace generated by the ship's computer mainframe. Re-entry was always an unpleasant experience for the digital sophont; the friction of the air against the "skin" of her shields was painfully hot, and riding through turbulence was akin to being taken by the nose and having your head shaken wildly.

  Even when not experiencing the passage of time in a dilated state, seconds were still a long time to the artificial intelligence, and the minute and a half between entering the atmosphere and landing felt like hours of burning disorientation; settling the landing struts on their assigned pad felt like sinking into a comfortable chair after a long day's work. Erin approximated an internal sigh of relief for her own benefit as she powered down the flight systems and started the oxygen cycling process to get some fresh air on the ship, then turned her attention to accessing the planetary communication network.

  Here, in dataspace, Erin could take whatever form she wished; could render a visual representation of the digital information streaming all around her. She often chose to appear as an adult human female, albeit one composed of scrolling lines of code in varying shades of violet. Today, Erin chose to envision the information around her as a condensed, three dimensional representation of the city of Oy Kridaagh as it appeared in the physical world. Isolating Grand Surgeon Myrmyllrz'ayu'Sivaku's office was as simple as finding the corresponding "building" before her.

  Bypassing the reception desk, Erin tapped directly into the doctor's office computer and convinced it she was an incoming call. When the Darrikaan doctor opened the video link, Erin generated a window of the visual information, while simultaneously creating an avatar of herself on Zayus' screen.

  "Pleasant greetings, Grand Surgeon," Erin said formally in flawless Darresh, "I'm Erin, of the Independent Support Vessel Khybaris, confirming the appointment with Ymsyllynt'ash'Andwalu-yl'Megaron-su'Nakamura."

  "Yes, yes, I remember you, of course," replied Zayus, pleased to be able to converse in his native language, "True digital intelligences are such rare occurrences; one does not quickly forget meeting such a marvelous being. As to the appointment, I must apologize; just this morning the building housing my office has discovered a minor infestation of hizba, annoying little rodents who like to chew through cables. My office is impeccable, of course, but unfortunately the entire building is being shut down for pest control. I'm afraid we will have to reschedule."

  "If I may, Grand Surgeon," Erin suggested, "The medical facilities aboard the Khybaris are more than adequate, we simply lack a trained physician to make full use of them; you're welcome to come aboard and conduct the examination here."

  "If you're certain the captain will allow it," the doctor replied with a gleam in his eye, "I would be delighted; it's been quite some time since I've had the occasion to make a house call, so to speak. I'll just let my receptionist know before I send her home, then be on my way."

  "Thank you, Grand Surgeon," said Erin, commanding her avatar to bow graciously, "I will instruct the patient to expect you shortly. Good leave takings."

  The Darrikaan expatriate returned the farewell and disconnected the call. Erin dispensed with the digital copy of Oy Kridaagh, and inserted her consciousness back into the ship's systems, using the internal sensors to locate Tasha, just stepping out of the sonic steam shower in the captain's cabin.

  "Hello, Commander," the AI said over the comm system, "I must inform you that your appointment with Grand Surgeon Myrrnyllz'ayu'Sivaku will be taking place aboard the Khybaris due to circumstances beyond the Grand Surgeon's control."

  "Thank you, Erin," replied the exiled princess, "I will meet him at the boarding lift when he arrives. Will James be attending?"

  "I haven't informed him yet," Erin replied, "As you are the patient, I thought it prudent to bring this to your attention first."

  "Thank you again, Erin," said Tasha graciously, "Please advise the captain of the change, and request his presence on my behalf."

  "Aye, Commander," Acknowledged the digital sophont, before shifting her focus to the shared network contained in Omega's skull; Erin parsed the visual input from Jay's sensory organs, determined he was in the hologym, and activated the comm system again, "Sorry to interrupt, Captain, but we've made planetfall on Drovim. Additionally, there's been a slight change regarding Commander Tasha's appointment; Grand Surgeon Myrrnyllz'ayu'Sivaku will be conducting the check up aboard the Khybaris."

  "Got it, Erin, thanks," answered Omega as he dropped behind some low cover, "We'll finish mopping up here, then meet everyone in the medbay."

  Erin switched her focus to the hologym's internal sensors in order to evaluate The Omega Man's combat efficiency when paired with Alex Richards. While Alex laid down suppressing fire, Jay mantled the fallen concrete pillar and charged the enemy's fortified position. Richards let off the trigger as Jay approached, causing an enemy combatant to pop out of cover. Omega leapt over the low wall and kicked the exposed enemy with his gravity boot, launching the NPC out into Alex's field of fire, where an incendiary shotgun round set the holographic man aflame. Jay then ducked into a slide at another enemy; the contact with Omega's gravity boots caused the hapless foe to float slowly upward, allowing The Omega Man to spray him with an automatic burst from his assault rifle.

  A reckless tactic; hopefully the man whose neural pathways formed the basis of Erin's cognitive functions would be more careful in a live fire scenario, though the artificial intelligence doubted so, when Jay's previous combat encounters were brought up for comparison. The man took an impractical amount of risks for someone whose consciousness was bound to such a fragile meatsack. Some day Erin hoped to get an adequate explanation regarding what Omega referred to as his "plot armour", but was simultaneously resigned to never understanding. By the same token, the digital sophont wasn't entirely certain Jay knew what he was talking about; there were still several memory caps in his mind she had been unable to access - to no small amount of frustration - which she believed contained information someone had deemed too dangerous for Omega to remain aware of.

  Erin observed the remainder of the firefight dispassionately, filing away the information for further analysis later, then double checked the hologym's systems were powered down once Jay ended the program; the last thing they needed was another fiasco similar to the creation of the Dungeonmaster more than one Earth year ago. Satisfied there would be no new energy beings birthed today, Erin's consciousness flitted through the ship performing various checks and routine maintenance on minor systems, and making adjustments to the assorted quality of life functions for the crew. It would still be quite some time before she was needed in the medical facility, perhaps she could indulge in a few cat videos; somehow the creatures were prevalent throughout the galaxy, and many races kept them as pets. Which meant there were petabytes upon petabytes of adorable feline adventures she had yet to consume.~


~A short time later, Jay and Alex entered the medbay to find Tasha, Zayus, and apparently Evelyn, already gathered. Zayus gave a shallow bow in Omega's direction, then regarded Richards curiously.

  "I'm sorry, I must ask," Zayus began in a cautiously respectful tone, "What is your relationship to the patient?"

  "Oh, I'm her doctor." Alex replied, pointing at Evelyn.

  "No, he's not." Jay and Evelyn spoke simultaneously, then shared a small smile.

  "I see," Zayus said in way that made it clear he didn't, "Well, I'm sorry, but only family should be present during a medical procedure; I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

  "No, it's all right, Grand Surgeon," interjected Tasha on Alex's behalf, "Alex is like kin to my husband; he may remain."

  "As you say, madam," Zayus said in deference, then turned to introduce himself properly to Richards, "Pleasant greetings, I am Grand Surgeon Myrrnyllz'ayu'Sivaku, though you may call me Zayus."

  "You can't be serious," said Alex in a flat tone, "Your name is Doctor Zayus?"

  "Yes," the Grand Surgeon began, but cut off as Richards began to laugh uproariously, "I'm sorry, I don't seem to understand, what is so amusing?"

  "Nothing, nothing," replied Alex, wiping a tear from his eye, "It's just that the Universe has a strange sense of humor, and I am totally here for it. I'm Alex, by the way; Alex Richards, Doctor of Mass Confusion. "

  "A pleasure to make your acquaintance," Zayus said politely with another shallow bow, "Now, I shall ask you all to remain quiet as I conduct the procedure."

  "Hang on a sec," Richards interrupted, turning to Omega, "Why do we even need a second doctor? I'm perfectly qualified to run all sorts of tests! Give me one good reason why I can't provide prenatal care for your wives."

  "I'll give you two," replied Jay, "Number one, I don't care what you say, you're not a real doctor. Number two, even if you were a doctor, you don't know anything about Darrikaan biology."

  "That's not true!" Alex said, hurt by the insinuation, "I know they're purple!"

  "Dude, it's not happening," Omega stated, shaking his head, "Just take the L and move on."

  "What, Verez is here, too?" asked Richards, causing Jay to facepalm, "Oh, you meant take the loss, got it."

  "If I may continue?" Zayus asked the assemblage, none of whom offered any more objections, "Very well, then let us begin."

  Zayus prattled on amicably as he performed a multitude of tests on a variety of samples taken from Tasha, explaining in general detail the purpose and results of each procedure. At the conclusion of the appointment, Zayus made to bid the crew of the Khybaris farewell, when Jay stopped him.

  "Hang on a moment, Zayus," Omega said, placing a hand on the Grand Surgeon's shoulder, "As I'm sure you know, we ain't exactly locals; it's a Hell of a trip getting all the way out here to see you. Is there any way I can convince you to set up shop here for the duration of Tasha's pregnancy?"

  "I believe you mean the duration of your offspring's gestation, Zayus corrected him, "As the egg Tasha carries is almost fully formed, and nearly ready to be birthed; she will only be 'pregnant' as you say, for another week, two at most."

  "Okay, yeah, I meant that," replied Jay with a casual shrug, "So how about it? Is there a possibility of you joining my crew, even if only temporarily?"

  "That is no small favor you ask of me," Zayus said in a thoughtful voice, considering the proposal, "I would have to close my practice on Drovim, and we would have to discuss payment; my services are not free, after all. But, provided we can come to a mutually acceptable agreement, it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility."

  "Bangarang!" exclaimed Omega, "We'll stick around for a day or two and hammer out the details; might need to take a job to shore up our funds."

  While Tasha and Evelyn escorted Zayus back to the personnel lift, Jay and Alex headed toward the aft hangar in order to smoke a blunt produced by Omega. As they relaxed in the lawn chairs bolted to the roof of the Strange Rover, Richards poured himself a boot of Zim-Quila, and turned to his friend.

  "I could probably kick in a few space bucks toward Zayus," offered Alex, "Since you're hiring me an assistant and all."

  "No offense, dude," Omega began, "But I don't think Zayus takes payment in Monopoly money."

  "His loss," replied Richards with a shrug, "But I actually meant whatever the galactic currency is called; I've had a pretty steady income ever since I licensed the recipe for Zim-Quila to a distillery on Skaarbirro. I don't know what the conversion rate to American dollars is, though."

  "Well why don't we check that?" said Jay, activating his W.E.I.R.D., "Hey Erin, can you access any and all galactic accounts in Alex's name, and convert the sum total to U.S. dollars for us?"

  "Of course, Captain; one moment," was Erin's prompt reply, "Well then. Converting to American currency, Alex Richards' total net worth is eight hundred seventy-two octillion, nine hundred twenty-four septillion, three hundred fifty-one sextillion, seven hundred thirty-three quintillion, two hundred ninety-four quadrillion, one hundred seventeen trillion, six hundred sixty-six billion, nine hundred forty-seven million, five hundred twenty-eight thousand, eight hundred seven dollars and thirty-five cents."

  "That's… a lot of numbers," the Doctor of Mass Confusion said numbly, "Like, a stupid amount of numbers."

  "Well, you do have controlling shares in one of the most profitable, legal intoxicants in the galaxy," explained the digital sophont, "Zim-Quila has been on backorder in four sectors for three months and twenty-two days; combined with the compound interest from several early investors and record expansion of production facilities, that number does not reflect your personal liquid assets."

  "Okay, so I'm a major partner in the galaxy's only source of genuine Zim-Quila," Alex said, nodding, "I get that. But how much space money do I have?"

  "A significantly smaller number," replied the artificial intelligence, "Again, adjusting for American currency, one trillion, two hundred fifteen billion, nine hundred twenty-six million, seven hundred eighty-one thousand, eight hundred ninety-four dollars and eighteen cents."

  "In a year?" Omega said incredulously, "How?"

  "To be fair, Alex was operating as a medical professional," Erin reminded everybody, "Also, Zim-Quila is very popular on the galactic markets."

  "Bahahaha!" Alex laughed loudly, "Elon Musk is a fucking peasant compared to me!"

  "Congratulations, dude, you've got Scrooge McDuck money now," Jay said, then shook his head with an exaggerated expression of sadness, "Sucks all that money is worthless on Earth, though."

  "What?!" cried Richards in surprise, "Why?"

  "Do you know any banks that exchange astro-dollars, dude?" Omega asked with a quirked eyebrow, "Sorry, man, you're limited to whatever's in your Earth bank while we're there."

  "Fuck" Alex cursed vehemently, then took a breath and shrugged his shoulders, "Oh well, whatever. I mean, I'm still pretty wealthy on Earth anyway, right Erin? I don't need an exact number; a simple yes or no will do"

  "Depending on one's definition of wealth, yes," Erin replied, "You have just over fourteen million dollars in total assets, with just under five million dollars available in your bank."

  "Oh, sweet!" declared Richards, "I'm gonna rent a cargo helicopter when we get back to Earth, and fly the Strange Rover into the venue for your next match!"

  "It already flies, though," Jay said in confusion, "Nicky put repulsors and, like, six kinds of engines in it when he built the fucking thing. "

  "Because I don't know my own truck flies, thanks," Alex uttered sarcastically, rolling his eyes, "No, I'm less likely to get shot at this way. And while that does make it less fun, I'd like to arrive without any extra holes."

  "I guess that makes sense," Omega said, no less confused, "In an Alex sort of way."

  "Thank you," Richards said sincerely, "I appreciate that you get me."

  "Right," The Omega Man said uncertainly, "So now that you're richer than the Monopoly guy–"

  "He has a name," interrupted Alex, "He's called Uncle Pennybags."

  "Right," Jay replied with a wave of his hand, "So now that you've got more money than Uncle Pennybags, does that mean you're footin' the bill from here on out while we're traveling the starways?"

  "Sure, why not?" Richards agreed readily, "Money makes you wealthy, but good times with good friends is what makes you rich. Although, money does help with that. On that note, let the good times roll! What do you want to do first, Jay? Buy a planet and make them rename everything after us? Or maybe a vanity project, like carving our faces into a continent, so you can see it from space? Ooh, I know! A Death Star, but instead of a giant laser, it's a hose that sprays Zim-Quila!"

  "All of those are terrible ideas," Omega said with a shake of his head, "Especially that last one; a hose that size spraying Zim-Quila? I'm pretty sure that still counts as a galactic superweapon. I do have a few things in mind though, and so long as you're sharing the wealth, do you mind if I maybe ask around the crew, see if there's a thing or two any of them might like?"

  "My friend," Alex said, clapping a meaty hand on Jay's shoulder, "I just found out I have more money than I can conceive of, let alone spend in my lifetime; ask, and ye shall receive."

  And so, the pair of long-time friends, being too high to think of simply using internal comms, began a trek through the starship, visiting each member of the crew individually, and putting together a lengthy shopping list containing a mix of luxury and mundane items. It would still be at least a full day before they left Drovim, but The Omega Man fully intended to stop at a Market Station on the way back to Earth, once their business in this part of the galaxy was complete.~

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