Daniel slipped in and out of consciousness as he lay strapped to the table. When he was lucid he was unable to determine how long he had been here. Longer than two days…Not as long as a week, he didn’t think. If he had been here as long as a week surely someone would have come to his rescue. Theresa knew he was here on Valaria. She called him to say she was going to intercept MT 2424.
When was that? How long ago? Warsy, A-Factor of the Valaria’s High Council, came to request his help in stopping the virus. The administrator was cooperative at that point. He pinwheeled in on his eight legs accompanied by two other lesser Valarians. Daniel was working on setting up the computerized fireworks display for Theresa’s party on the recreational ring of the planet when he arrived. He asked for Daniel’s assistance. The many pops, whistles, and smacks his two mouths made translated through Daniel’s ear-bud.
At this point Daniel followed them to their main server for the Navigational Beacons. He sat down in the chair provided for his species, the Valarias rarely needed a chair. With eight appendages that served as legs or arms depending on the task they could alternate resting the tired limbs. Furniture just got in the way of their ability to navigate efficiently around each other either by the cartwheeling fast motion or by pulling all their appendages in to roll like a ball.
Only three beacons indicated they were infected, all located closely around the home planet of Valaria.
Warsy said they were suspicious that someone on Valaria had loosed the virus and it concerned them deeply that one of their own would do such a violent act. Daniel tried to concentrate on the programming while listening to the distracting, infernal noises of the Valarian A-Factor at the same time his translations were coming through the ear-bud.
Daniel wasn’t going to trust the translator to interact with the server on such a delicate matter. He attached his communication flat directly to the computer, the effect was immediate and catastrophic. The virus had a built in trigger. As soon as Daniel’s flat connected the virus literally exploded in the server. In a domino effect it jumps from the N.B.s around the planet to the next ones further out in space. The N.B.s were set up like stepping stones through the known Verse. Where the Valarians had established a booster server on a planet, the virus hopped from the N.B. to the booster and then on out to the next set of N.B.s. Daniel couldn’t move fast enough. He panicked as he saw the screen in front of him explode with red indicator lights as the virus infected each and every one of the beacons.
Warsy was not familiar enough with humans to be able to interpret Daniel’s surprised expression. What Warsy did know was Daniel was an expert programmer. The best the Valarians had ever had contact with in their long history of dealing with alternate beings. It appeared to the A-Factor as though Daniel had activated the spread of the virus. No amount of Daniel’s denial could convince Warsy otherwise.
Warsy had Daniel brought here. At first they explained they were going to use a truth serum on him. They asked him if he infected the N.B.s. The translation was such that Daniel said yes. Yes, he had activated the virus. And indeed he had inadvertently spread it, but in his drugged stupor the distinction was not made.
Warsy and his superiors wanted the virus deactivated. They wanted the code to shut it down. The Valarians monetary existence depended on the income made from the training and sales to all the known races of the verse of the computer program to activate and use the N.B.
Daniel didn’t have the code. He needed to be at the computer to figure it out. The Valarians were not letting him near their server after the last fiasco when they trusted him.
The peaceful Valarians turned violent. They resorted to torture to get the code Daniel could not produce if he wanted to…and when they started working on him, believe me he wanted to.
The Valarian’s society, their entire lives in fact, were based on water and the nutrients mixed in their baths, soaks and drinks. They knew the human body was 65% water and they took advantage of that. They started injecting Daniel with small doses of anhydrate. The cocktail in the injections bound with the water molecules in his body creating crystals that dung into the inner tissues of muscle and fiber. He was in excruciating pain as the crystals grew forming the equivalent of spiked maces within his system. He moaned softly as Warsy entered the room with yet another injection.
“Please…, I can’t stop the virus if you don’t let me go,” Daniel begged.
He had no idea what they were injecting him with, only that each time it made the pain worse. He was unaware his kidneys were starting to fail. He only knew that breathing was becoming more and more difficult and it would only be a matter of time before he would be begging Warsy to just kill him and get it over with. He had no idea how very close to death he actually was.