Stories

Fluid Leak

The human seems to be completely fooled by my holographic disguise; he is reacting as though I am a member of his species. He reaches out a hand toward me.

“Doc, you gotta help me!”

I give him a cursory scan. The integument on his lower abdomen has separated and is oozing red fluid; the situation seems to displease him. While technically I should minimize interaction with the local life forms, the image of my disguise is to be that of a care practitioner; failing to act would jeopardize my 'cover'.

I am about to speak to him when I notice another human landing on the walkway. He says something about being ‘stabbed’ at a high volume and begins groaning. This species seems to be rather accident-prone. In the case of the second human, literally. I return to the matter at hand.

“Please open your garment, sir.”

He does; his integument is definitely ruptured. I take a quick sample of the fluid and then ensure his optic sensors are focused on me.

“Turn off your fluid pump, please.”

“Huh?”

“Turn off your fluid pump to minimize the leak. The liquid it emits will otherwise impede repairs.”

“What the hell are you talking about, Doc?”

I touch his thorax superstructure and administer sufficient voltage to disable his fluid pump. As anticipated, the rate of leakage slows. A quick thermal weld seals the damaged tube, but the human seems to have entered hibernation mode. I can restart him later.

As I locomote to the other man I note that human movement is inherently unstable. That may be the reason he fell. There is a small pool of red fluid around him. I rotate the man so his damaged section is more accessible. His problem is immediately obvious; there is a piece of sharpened metal disrupting his integument. I remove it and the leak commences gushing much like the other man's had.

This time I know what to do. I shut down his fluid pump immediately and weld the damaged fluid line. It would be best to allow the system to cool down before restarting him, I think.

I update my log file; humans appear to have an extensive internal fluid network of unknown purpose. I stand up and scan the area for more of the creatures; further experimentation is required.