Ra'athon stared in disbelief as the human doctor held the tablet screen up to his second face. He'd lost his only child and his brother to the enemy. Nothing they had could stand up to it. This doctor's words seemed impossible. It was as if a mythological god had waved his hand. With a choke in his breathing tube, he looked up from the data at the man. "You have proven these work?"
The human male shook his head in disbelief, as if such a thing amounted to a child's act. "Every human gets a series of vaccines before they're old enough to attend school," he said. "Over time, we've eliminated many of the diseases you call 'enemies.'" He spun the tablet around and brought up the data that the S'coryan scientist had provided. "Based on what I see here, we can begin S'coryan trials of the Type One drug as soon as four months from now." He lowered his eye lenses and gave the tall, violet-skinned scientist a look that would have earned a violence response had it come from anyone else. "You guys really don't have any disease caused by a semi-alive entity?"
Ra'athon let a ragged breath escape. He gathered his words so as to avoid increasing his anger. "All our illnesses are created by living entities," he confirmed. "All our medicine is based on the principle of combating living entities." The way these humans' bodies fought disease seemed masochistic to him; how could they suffer a disease so thoroughly?
"I see that," the doctor said. "Your immune system is different than ours; your immune system only recognizes living enemies. These viruses work in a way your system literally can't identify very well." He held up the tablet and swiped to a different screen. It displayed a video of a recent experiment. "Working with the animals from your homeworld, we discovered it's possible to use a variation of one of your plant's poison to damage the virus and the test animals soon start developing the ability to fight off the disease."
The S'coryan couldn't believe his five eyes as he rubbed a rough, aged finger against his head. In nine hundred cycles of life, he'd never seen this before. This monstrosity had come from beneath the crust of his home planet after a meteor strike, and ravaged some eighty percent of the population of his home town. The entire planet had been quarantined four times. These humans had, in the span of twenty tenth-cycles, some eleven Earth months, proved life forms on his planet could successfully have their bodies trained to fight the unbeatable enemy. These humans had needed help with their energy crisis. They'd tried and failed to stop pollution from their own actions from causing massive loss of life on several occasions, and only survived the last one, a mere hundred and eighty Earth years ago, by direct intervention. By the gods, he thought, they'd only extended their minuscule lives through age reversal provided by S'coryan science. And yet, he realized, shaking his first head in disbelief, here they were. They'd done it. His two heads looked at the human scientist. "Doctor Richardson," he uttered, almost numb, "you've done it. To think the answer was injecting a modified version of the enemy itself into us to teach our bodies about it." An actual laugh escaped his first mouth; the sheer absurdity of it astonished him. "If I'd been told this by my military advisors, I'd have laughed them out of the chambers."
"I really don't understand the problem," Doctor Richardson replied. "We've been doing this for over five hundred years." He laughed. "Hell, some of the earliest vaccines were people who ate Smallpox scabs because it gave some of them help against the disease."
He heard the doctor's words, and pulled up on his communicator the history the humans had shared with them. His eyes scanned hundreds of pages of historical data in moments. The whole, barbaric history of what the humans of hundreds of cycles ago referred to as medicine looked to him like the ravings of madmen and sadomasochists acting horrors upon each other. "By the gods," he uttered, quietly, as he read. These humans might not be the most physically powerful sapient beings he knew, but their toughness almost made him shiver. Primitive S'coryans faced each illness throughout their history as a massive problem requiring immediate attention. Gigantic amounts of effort had been applied by each individual to overcoming the disease as soon as possible. Cleanliness had been paramount from birth. Disease agents had been considered the cause of malady by even ancient, religious primitives. By contrast, these humans lived their lives for thousands of Earth years before they even knew disease agents existed. For ages, they ate food prepared by cooks whose hands S'coryan diners would have set on fire before letting them in the kitchen, had the proverbial tables been turned. For aeons they drank water so raw it wasn't even boiled. They treated illness as a divine punishment for the gods' sake.
"You humans," Ra'athon stated, almost disbelieving, "you've fought the enemy for longer than we knew it existed."
The doctor pondered this. He shrugged. "Yeah, basically."
Both the S'coryan's heads shook. "You humans will conquer the enemy in every form," he said.
"I believe we will," Doctor Richardson said. "We've even used it as weapons of war against each other."
Both the human and the S'coryan stared at each other for a long moment, Ra'athon not even attempting to hide his slack jaws. The look on the human's face said everything.
As Ra'athon exited the room to take the good news to his military commanders, he held the communicator up to his first mouth.
"These humans have the power," he said, his voice quaking. "They have the enemy on the verge of defeat."
"Fantastic news!" The military commander exclaimed, his voice causing static from the loudness. An uncomfortable pause followed. "You sound concerned..." Another long pause. "Oh, by the gods...you don't mean..."
"I will say this," Ra'athon said. "Now we know what became of what they refer to as the Martian Invasion of 1897."