Eighty years ago, the Moon Flash Virus struck the Dome.
It crept out of nowhere, like an experienced feline hunter stalking the unaware gazelles on an open plain. One woman complained of dizziness and then collapsed into a deep coma. Others followed, but with varying symptoms: headaches, uncontrollable seizures, runny noses, blindness, muteness, loss of sensation in various areas of the body. It was the silent killer, attacking randomly and always fatal, for the comatose victims never woke up and eventually died in their sleep.
All transports and tourism vessels to the Moon stopped, effectively cutting off supplies and outside human contact. The Earth doctors puzzled over a solution, and working together with the Luna medical team, came up with a vaccine. It didn’t help those already infected, but it saved half the population that had not yet been touched by the virus. It was given to all newborns on both Earth and inside the Dome, in fear that the virus would rear its head once more.
Skyla thought about this as the heels of her boots clicked on the tiles as she headed for the Luna Dome Hospital. Although it was early in the simulated 24 hour day, a few people were about, walking to work. Each stopped to bow as Skyla passed, and then whispered about last night’s disturbance when they thought she was out of earshot. What had happened to Lady Harmony? Will she tell us the truth, or make up a lie to appease us?
The hospital doors were clear glass, made of the same material as the clear exterior of the Dome to theoretically prevent germs from passing through. A caduceus adorned each door at eye level. Above, on the ceiling, there was a camera with a computer program installed that scanned each person for disease if they neared the vicinity of the entrance. If a known disease or virus was detected, an alarm would go off in Doctor Leeland’s office and a medical team would respond appropriately.
Skyla wondered if the computer was programmed to detect the Moon Flash Virus as the pleasant AI announced that she was clean. The doors slid open. Had Harmony walked by here on her midnight stroll? There were two other routes to the throne room, but only this one and one other passed by an airlock.
Inside the hospital, everything was as white as snow. Skyla blinked and adjusted her eyes to the colour, since she was used to the dull greys of the corridors. There was a long desk with a woman sitting behind it, typing away silently on her laptop. Her eyes looked up to see who had entered and then she stood, bowing silently to Skyla.
“Your majesty,” she said. “How can I assist you?”
“I would like to see Lady Harmony,” Skyla replied.
The receptionist looked unsure, her eyes darting to her computer screen. “But Doctor Leeland said-”
“Never mind what I said.”
Leeland strutted into the room through another glass door left of the desk, holding a datapad in one hand and a stylus in the other. His scrubs were light blue and he had a surgeon’s mask hanging from his neck. The receptionist returned to her padded chair, seemingly content that someone with higher authority than she would deal with the queen.
“How is she?” Skyla asked.
Leeland tapped his stylus to his datapad. “I ran some tests. You’d better come take a look at the results.”
She stopped herself from asking if Darian should be there as well when his tall form appeared in the glass doorway. Deep lines under his eyes told Skyla that he hadn’t slept either. He placed one hand on the door frame. It twitched slightly; one of the aftereffects of Leeland’s stimulants.
Leeland opened the glass door and Darian and Skyla followed him down a hallway towards the patients’ rooms.