The new group of medical students stared at the ugliest human they had ever seen. It looked to be at least a thousand years old and then some. Only two of the students even guessed what it really was. And they were human! They all stood looking through old style bulletproof one-way glass at the shriveled remains of the most famous mortal being ever known.
The tall thin alien doctor from the far side of reality handed the two human students a list of medical tasks to perform. Most of the student body had kept there distance from the two bipeds. The stout human male student started to ask why the hospital medical droids couldn’t do these things.
“Johnston! Look.” The female human pointed at the name on the chart the slightly irate look on his crumbled and disappeared to be replaced with shock. He took the chart in his hand and set down on a chair that was not there. His butt hit the floor with a soft thud and his light pink color turned pale. His breathing became heavy and laboured,he was wheezing deep in his chest. The doctor took mental notes as the symptoms manifested themselves.
“Asthma attack?” the female student Doctor named beth Notch asked. He nodded his head as he pulled his personal kit out.
This was a teaching hospital and he pointed to his new friday night wingman and held up the kit so that “Kal” could get credit for a unique alien procedure he had already practiced to perfection. Just in case, three hours ago, on the ride here.
The solemn head doctor asked the female human student to explain who was behind the armored glass for the benefit of the rest of there classmates.
Instead she asked in a dreamy a far away voice, “Is it really him?”
“His identity was confirmed by the Outsiders almost four hours ago.” The tall thin doctor said. His large black almond shaped eyes and smooth gray face showed nothing.
“What about Filis?”. The human female suddenly asked, snapping her head back around, to stare at the tall cloned doctor. His posture changed ever so slightly with that question. He gave a faint sigh then he continued.
“Filis had gone insane. She had attacked the Outsiders who had found Notch. They were forced to destroy her in self defense.” he paused and then indicated the patient, “he was found held up onboard an old derelict space station.” there was another even longer pause “Apparently Filis had managed to kill it’s organic AI and had then lain siege against it, for how long no one knows, in an attempt to kill him.”
“Alec” her faint lost hope trembled on the single word.
“No.” he said sadly. “Harpo.”
The last word was just a bare quiet whisper as the cloned teacher/doctor turned and looked through the window into a room made to resemble some ancient human hospital room from almost eight thousand years before. The patient looked so very old and extremely frail. Even so he had already mangled two medical droids beyond repair. Three doctors and twelve interns had also been badly hurt just trying to keep it from killing someone. Dr. Shmee had ended up dead for almost six minutes before the interns had successfully extracted him from the room. Because of this no one had entered the room since that thing had became fully awake.
The doctor had been forced to accept the two best qualified human medical candidates he could find. Each was a fully qualified Doctor in there own right. They had each left there practice on an hours notice for a chance to learn at the single best teaching hospital in this entire galaxy.
His supply of interns was fairly infinite and students were cheap but his budget for insurance was not unlimited. He knew that even at that advanced age, only another member of the human race had any real chance of surviving a physical assault from that vicious monster.
The Doctor knew it was a monster. He had witnessed it in combat personally. The true horror of that massive strength combined with it’s high density body coupled with that natural fluid grace and it’s impossible blinding speed had woke him every sleep cycle for almost eight thousand years. The dreams would never go away. He could never forget the species that had saved him that many times. Especially the one being personally responsible for saving him so many times in one day.
The memory of that battle had haunted him with visions of the carnage everytime he closed his eyes. He owed his very existence to that thing so many times over. It was a debt he had carried with him to this very day.
“Is he armed?” the human male had recovered and stood staring through the window. A small avian of a type called a “Setleg 4 ” for it’s planet of origin had walked forward and stood with them.
The doctor had witnessed the true horrors done by those old twisted digits. That thing needed no weapons. He knew the humans knew this too. The aliens from “setleg 4 ,” they had there own legends surrounding this particular human. They also knew what Notch was and they didn’t care, they considered him a hero for reasons of there own.
“We have disarmed him several times, but it appears he can somehow manifest a startling array tools, apparently from thin air,” the doctor showed them a bloody tool. “He stabbed Dr. Shmee with this almost two hours ago.”
Dr. Shmee was still in surgery. His prognosis was not very good at all.
“N space,” student Doctor Mat Johnston corrected the tall thin Doctor absentmindedly. His eyes were locked on a hero, a myth and a legend all in one. His boyhood dreams had been filled with visions of the epic adventure that had founded the civilization in which he lived. The storys now defied belief, they staggered the imagination and stretched logic to the very breaking point. But they were all true and the long lived races of the Company had maintained a vast archive for the benefit of the short lived human races. The storys were a part of every humans heritage. A testament to there inner potential and their capacity for greatness. Those storys had fired the imaginations of all children for thousands of years.
“Excuse me?” the Teacher/Doctor asked.
“The Tools. They come from a small fold in N space” The red haired human said as he stepped over to a wall panel and punched in an interplanetary code all humans knew by heart. They all learned it in childhood as a simple limrick. He barked the word “Angel!” three times and then quickly broke connection.
“And no there is no way we can block his access to it.” The human took a deep breath, shook his head slowly and whistled a low tone. “How did he manage to survive this long?” His com badge peeped and he read the message and confirmed it. A few seconds later every doctor onboard the medical space station hospital suddenly received an urgent flash message.
The male human turned, and facing the doctor said formally, “I am very sorry sir, but his primary care will be looked over by us two until properly trained human medical help arrives,” the Teacher/Doctor nodded. This was as he had hoped and he pointed at the chart of menial tasks still in the humans hands.
He knew the five human tribes that had joined the company all came from different realms of the multi-verse.
“He is apparently still very much alive and still very dangerous.”
But Notch was something different, still human, but very very different. He blinked his eyes slowly and added. “You are the only human students that have ever came near meeting our minimum requirements. This is to be your entrance exam.” He looked at the bloody, “Snap-on,” screwdriver that had stabbed Dr. shmee He blinked is eyes again “Goodluck,” he added.
The students entered the airlock/decontamanation chamber.
The teacher/doctor started to explain to the rest of the class who exactly “Notch Johnston” the person was and why this hospital was about to become invaded by the best geriatric medical personal from the single most dangerous sentient species known to exist.
The reputation of the human race was well deserved. They had destroyed all who had threatened the safety of the Company and its citizens. The Humans had ruthlessly exterminated thousands of races. They had even destroyed whole galaxies to ensure the safety of the Company and it’s member races. Those humans also made sure that all the member races got along together. They finished every single fight no matter who started it.
The Teacher/Doctor considered staging mock human drills on a regular basis as half of his student body saved him a bunch of clerical work. The students broke ranks and ran for the nearest transport ships out of the system. Most of the doctors and staff were packing patients and running for transports. But some remained behind many of these beings had actually met Notch and they added there storys to the Teacher/Doctors long tale.
The weakness of fear had thinned the chaff from his student body. The Doctors highly critical eyes scanned the few remaining students. He liked what he saw in the calm controlled faces. He saw Doctors. He had no use for a medical student that ran from the rumor of danger. Those didn’t even make good nurses.
The human female had entered the room clad only in skintight under garments. The piercing black eyes brightened visibly as they focused on her youthful beauty. She spoke only to say “Hi” and started to clean the room. Taking extreme care to stay within his sight and out of his reach at all times. There were a truly disturbing amount of tools sticking out of the wall around the door and lying on the floor.
“Hi” was all she could learn to say right on the cycle thru the airlock. Dr. Mat Johnston MD had shoved his arms into an ill fitting white smock. He hung an odd devise around his neck. He picked up the clipboard of ancient design. He was talking to beth as fast as he could speak clearly. Once inside, only old English could be used. One slip might incur a lethal response. And beth was from a spacestation and didn’t speak any english at all. But Dr.Johnston was from New Earth, and had learned old English as a first language.
Just before the door opened, Dr. beth Notch said grimly but with a slight grin, “you know, he’s probably going to kill us both, right.”
“I know, but don’t worry” Dr. Mat Johnston replied, “we’ll be in good company.” Notch had a legendary soft spot for females and Dr. Mat Johnston knew that if anyone died it wouldn’t be the hot doctor with the big knockers.
On the other side of the window the teacher/Doctor started. It was a long story, they had all heard parts of it before and now they were going to get credit to listen to it from some people who had actually been there and lived through it.
The cloned Teacher/Doctors smooth cultured voice started first and it carried them back in time, and across the vast multi-verse to an else when that no longer existed in an reality that was destroyed so very long ago.
Some parts of this story were part of the public record and other parts had never been spoken of since they had happened so very long ago. The story shifted about as the staff tried in vain to help him tell the story in a timeline that made sense. But it was still useless. The doctor had lived through it and that chaotic time had made him question his own sanity many times over the long years. But the senior staff had remained and added there many storys to his. They told the students all they knew. All they had seen. All they had heard.
It had all started with that small frail looking human being right there.
It was so very long ago and in places further away then almost anyone could ever guess at. On world stranger then dreams. That old human had shaped the history of there entire society with his desperate ongoing futile attempts to find his way back home.
He had searched across realitys length and depth, he had searched desperately everywhere that could be reached, but to no avail. There was no way back home. He had finally disappeared with a mighty host of friends and devout followers to search places beyond this reality until they found a way home for Notch, or until Notch died.
That was a couple of thousand years ago. The storys of there exploits had trickled home on the backs of long-range emergency drones after they had went beyond the limits of sub-space communications. When the drones had finally stopped, it was feared by many that they were lost. The mystery of there were abouts had been the subject of endless studies, research and debate .
No funeral was ever held for the missing, and to this very day, that is how it has remained. They were all just, “missing”. No one who had ever met Notch, would ever call him dead without seeing the body.
Then after almost a thousand years, a hopped up tackeyon drive core came screaming through the central systems. She was was locked wide open running flat-out and hauling ass right at the very physical limits of the theorys used to built the drives that powered it.
It was a hand built one of a kind artifact with five bussard ramjet engines strapped to a central girder acting as velocity stacks for two old Scukuum type ion drive cores mounted nose to tail. They were cross tied into three truly ancient tackeyon drive cannons of unknown manufacture. The magnetic drive fields were set tight and they were choking the exhaust plume into a large secondary combustion chamber. The tackeyon drive cannons pulsed in unison causing radiation to be released from the pressure bell in massive lethal waves. It was hotter than most stars. The cannons were aimed down the middle of the exhaust plume cooking the magneticly confined drive mass at incredible temperatures. The thing was streaking along brighter than a medium size super-nova. It was moving at a truly amazing velocity for still being within the confines of normal space-time.
It’s point of origin was unknown but only one being was ever known for making such outlandish devices work. His nimble monkey fingers had been know to build a working drive from almost nothing. That curious mind of Notch’s was as creative as it was tough.
Barnum, the greatest salvage expert ever known, came out of retirement to recover the make shift probe. He had still owed Notch a few favors. Him and his boys launched in mass with a hundred ships to chase it. They finally winged it and broke the drive link coupler shutting it down.
It was launched by Notch, it had contained just four words scrawled on a girder by notch’s own hand. Desperation showed in the depth of the scratches that formed the letters for four words “Help she’s gone crazy”.