Some people think that all scientists are the same, blowing things up in labs and creating spaceships in their backyards.
My phone rang. It was my old college roommate, Kate.
“Hey Kate, what’s up?”
“So, did you hear that message from space?”
Kate was one of those people. She didn’t understand that I didn’t work with monkeys, nor listen to messages from space. I’m not sure she knew what CDC stood for.
“No, I didn’t.”
“Oh,” she sounded disappointed. “I was thinking you could tell me what it said.”
“Do you believe in aliens?”
“Yeah, I mean, the universe is huge, right? Anything can be out there.”
“Listen, all I know is, tomorrow they are going to destroy the last strains of the Smallpox virus.”
“Not really. I mean, we can’t make vaccines without it.”
“Then why destroy it?”
“No one has had smallpox since 1977.” She decided to change the subject because science bores her. “So, is your date tonight?”
She meant my first blind date since college. “Yes.”
“OOh!” She squealed. “And he’s another scientist like you?”
“He is an astrophysicist. I’m a microbiologist.”
“That’s what I mean, a scientist like you. I think it’s a match made in heaven.”
“You’re a nerd, he’s a nerd.”
“Do people say nerd anymore?”
“Yes, it’s making a comeback.” “Hey, I’ve gotta go.”
“Bye.” The man who stood up when I arrived at the diner was not your typical nerd. He wore glasses, sure, but he was tall and had the cutest dimple. He asked pointed questions to get to know my likes and dislikes. I did the same in return.
“So, what do you do for the CDC?”
“I test the viability of bacteria and try different ways to eradicate it.”
“I could send it all to space for you. The temperature out there would freeze it.”
“But some of them come back to life after freezing.”
“Cryogenics has always fascinated me.”
“What else fascinates you?”
“Do you believe in aliens?” This question haunted her. When she’d asked it of Kate, she’d not been as serious as he was now.
“No?” she hesitated, but went for honesty.
“Well, there were these recordings from space.”
“I heard about that.” “Some people think they come from aliens.”
“What the general public doesn’t know is that my father was able to translate one of the messages based on ancient Sumarian text.”
“What?” “It says, ‘Danger. Kroatones. Use the biological weapons we left behind’.”
“What biological weapons?”
“Some ancient disease, as old as the Sumarians”
“The most ancient disease in the world is… smallpox, but the CDC is destroying smallpox tomorrow.”
“Can you stop them?”
“Why? Because you and your Dad believe in aliens?”
“What if these Kroatones are a real problem? That’s what the first British colonization attempt carved in a tree before they disappeared.”
“The only problem here is this date.” I stood and walked out.