Chennai, 3672 A.D.
The golden rays of the setting sun made the translucent spires of Chennai Spaceport glisten, causing a brilliant interplay between bright bursts of light and the thousands of black and yellow A.U.T.Os (see glossary) ferrying passengers to and from the spaceport, as Counassegarane stood watching from his high-rise apartment in Trisulam Sector V. I need to get myself a new hypershirt from the local Saravana Gigamart, he thought to himself, as he attempted, in vain, to tune the temperature settings on his 2-year old thermosensitive hypershirt to a comfortable 293 (Kelvin). He had taken the 7.14 FTL coach out of Pondicherry and it had been an enervating day since then. Sipping on his Pansolaric Coffeeblaster, he couldn’t help wonder why the drink was so pricey in Chennai. He didn’t mind it much, as the low cost of P.C in Pondicherry brought the tourists in droves, and that was good for the local economy. The rogue weekend 2-wheel roadcruiser crowd was a bit of a nuisance, but he didn’t mind them much.
He thoughts drifted to the day’s events. Sure, he might be Sambaria’s top Pseudomicrobiologist, with years of experience dealing with dangerous pseudomicrobes, but this was different. It began with Dr. Sastram’s terse “Guna, we have a situation” as he was woken abruptly from his sleep this morning by high priority mentalcast. Not many in this part of the world had mentalcast access, so it was with a pregnant sense of unease that he walked into P.O.I (Pseudomicrobiology Oversight Institute) headquarters on South Mada Hyperavenue, Mylapore Sector II.
We could have an outbreak on our hands, said the good doctor, and we need your help. Guna sighed. Holy Mother of Melmaruvatthur, an outbreak? How did this happen?
Our sensors detected a mild breach in a flat on Devanathan Parkway, but the guard on duty didn’t pay much attention, as minor breaches were all too common nowadays, what with the A.C.L.U (Antipseudomicrobiology Covenant of Liberal Universalists) spreading their vile propaganda on Orkut. But before we could blink our eyes, the minor breach became a catastrophe, with the entire apartment becoming contaminated. We had to send in the S.P.I.T (Secure Pseudomicrobiologists Intervention Taskforce) to take care of the situation, but I suspect we might have been too late. The doctor then explained to Guna, the full scale of the unhholy mess of a situation at hand.
“Can somebody explain to me what exactly is going on here?”
Goddammit. The last thing we wanted. The cops. The M.A.M.A squads (Madras Anti-Miscreant Assault) were a necessary evil in this city. They hardly ever solved any cases, but they did keep the nasty 2-wheel road cruisers in check by fining them constantly for everything from helmet tensile strength to inaccuracies in the insurance coverage amounts at the 4th decimal place.
Let me explain, Guna said.
Haliocentrica Asininus (H.A for short) and Pathotropius Thupuli (Patthu for short) are two of the most deadly pseudomicrobes known to mankind. The most deadly one, Varnus Manusmritus, has fortunately been exterminated from this part of the world. It is still rumoured to exist in the wilder parts of Bovinia (also known as “The Cow Belt”) but we do not have to worry about it here. Coming back to H.A and Patthu, H.A is present in human saliva, and spreads through reckless practices such as Water-bottle-sharing and Joint-Romantic-Sipping. But more dangerously for us, it also has the ability to spread through stainless steel plates. So if the plate you are eating from makes contact with another vessel, contamination occurs, and we have a level-3 minor breach, which is what occurred at 06.51 today morning at Devanathan Parkway. But it didn’t stop there. The perpetrator wasn’t satisfied with just releasing H.A to the unsuspecting world, but he had to unlock the prison doors of its evil cousin, Pathotropius Thupuli. Paathu has a more complex infection pattern. It is generally an inactive pseudopathogen, but comes alive when one or more of the following (not exhaustive) happen
- Rice is boiled
- Sambar is prepared
- Aloo Podimaas is cooked
This is when extreme precaution is required. Patthu has a pathological hunger for non-patthu items, like milk or curd. It is absolutely necessary to detoxify and irradiate any and all items that have come into contact with patthu-containing items. But our perpetrator from the morning could not have done any worse. Here is what he did.
He woke up in the morning, went to the nearby laser barber, had a haircut, and then, without having a bath, raided the fridge, took rice that was boiled yesterday, and with the same hands, poured curd on top of it, and with these very toxic hands, opened the bottle of Maavadu pickle, and horror of horrors, placed all the containers back in the fridge, touching each other!! As an icing on this toxic cake, he then proceeded to Nageswara Rao Sky Garden and had a romantic Joint-Curd-Rice-Eating-From-Same-Plate rendezvous with his girlfriend.
Oh. My. Gawd, exclaimed the cop. Sriharikota. We have a problem.
A.U.T.O – Aerial Unmetered Transportation Orbs – Black and yellow Urban public transport vehicles that use a combination of non-linear algebra and chaos theory to determine fare.
FTL Coach – Faster than Light coach
Pansolaric Coffeeblaster – The greatest drink in the Milky way.
Pandegree Coffeeblaster – Available only in Kumbakonam sector, this is the only drink greater than the Pansolaric Coffeeblaster.
Sambaria – Formed in 3392 A.D, when the erstwhile southern states of India (and Sri Lanka) seceded from the rest of the subcontinent to form a country that was entirely filled with Engineering colleges and IT consultants. Originally named Srikartamkeldhra by taking syllables from each of the constituent members, after several died from aneurysms trying to pronounce that name. Eventually, after many years of intense debate, they decided to name the country after the most ubiquitous dish in the region.