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I was once a Physician.
I now belong to the Caste of Paga. That is a kinder way to describe my state. I am a drunk. I spend my days and nights in cheap paga dens, obliterating my memories with alcohol and kajirae.
But, I wake each morning with a headache. And I still have my memories, the memories of my past mistakes.
I was once in love. We planned to be joined and wanted a large family. I soon after found she had betrayed me, loving another man behind my back. She had only wanted my money, the status of my Caste. She had been Low Caste, a perfumer, and desired the elevation of caste that would accompany the joining. Her other lover was also of Low Caste, a Metal Worker. He knew what she was doing and he approved.
I got very, very drunk that night.
I stumbled home, an Ahn before dawn. On route, I made the greatest mistake of my life.
I saw a young girl, maybe ten or eleven years old, carrying a basket. I then saw a rarius on a high tharlarion. The warrior charged down the street, constantly looking behind himself as if he was being pursued. He never saw the girl.
I froze in panic as did the young, pretty girl. The tharlarion knocked the girl aside and the rider was oblivious. I then saw two other tharlarions in pursuit of the first rider. I ran to the girl, her body broken and bloody. I dragged her next to the side of a building to avoid the other riders. They passed by us without even a glance.
The girl was on the brink of death. Her tiny, shattered body was not made for such punishment. Even a grown man would have been seriously injured after such a collision. I had no choice but to try to save her. What vanity man? I had no right to touch her in my inebriated state. It was criminal for me to do so.
She died about ten Ehn later. She died because I was drunk and failed to properly administer medical attention to her. I killed her as surely as if I had stabbed her. In retrospect, if I had been sober, I could have saved her. That is indisputable.
I was punished for my gross negligence. First, my assets and wealth were given to the children's family. That I did willingly. I was then expelled from my Caste. That too was just. I would have quit if I had not been expelled. Only my reputation and prior excellence had saved me from a worse fate such as execution, imprisonment or enslavement.
So I joined the Caste of Paga. I always carried a couple botas of paga when I traveled. I spent many Ahn in the cheapest taverns. I could not afford to spend more than a few tarsk bits. Three months passed in a blur, a hazy fog.
Then came the offer.
"Would you like to be the wealthiest man in the world?"
I laughed it off as a silly joke. He must have been drinking even more than I. Yet, the serious cast of his face, the careful and deliberate tones of his voice and his calm, rational manner convinced me of his soberness and sincerity.
He would not explain more until I was sober. I accompanied him out of the tavern and to a nearby insula. He had previously rented a room and took me to it. He let me sleep for several Ahn.
When I woke, I bathed and then donned a new tunic he had bought for me. He then bought me some breakfast and Bazi tea. He said very little during this time, waiting for me to be in full control of my senses. I had not been this sober in a few months.
We sat on the couch in the insula and he began his pitch.
He told me that there were many people who needed my medical knowledge, people who would pay extremely well. Many of them suffered from easily curable diseases. They would provide me with a laboratory and any other essential equipment. The job would also require extensive travel.
I told him that I no longer belonged to the Caste and could not help him.
He smiled and said that was not a problem. Where I was going, Caste was not an issue. I then thought of the barbaric lands such as the Barrens, Torvaldsland and the jungles near Schendi. I had not heard of any plague outbreaks or significant medical problems anywhere.
I was intrigued but still skeptical.
Then he told me the location of this medical disaster area.
Earth.
Earth, sister planet to Gor. A world of technological horrors, weak men and needy women. A world of toxins and death. A world on the brink of self-annihilation. A world without Home Stones, Castes or Honor. A world who's existence was hidden from the Low Castes.
Why would anyone want to go there? I was a drunkard but not insane.
My refusal was quick.
His response was to simply ignore it and proceed to explain the details of his plan. His persuasiveness touched my soul and I began to reconsider.
He said that Earth is fixated, obsessed, with Death. They fear Death and thus ignore the future. They live for the Now, caring not for the future ramifications of their actions. They pollute their world for their luxuries without caring about the consequences to their environment. They care more about their individual welfare than their society as a whole. They do not care about the future of their children. Their technology is meant to either prolong their lives or make their lives easier so they can enjoy the limited time they have. They do everything to excess. They want their brief lives to burn brightly, not caring what else is burnt down in the process.
The Stabilization Serums and other disease cures would eliminate their fear of Death. When that happened, Earth would become future oriented. They would clean up their planet and forget their selfish desires. Their society would undergo a revolution that would alter them for the better. They would move away from global disaster.
It all made sense. Saving Earth could be my redemption.
At best, I would spend only a year on Earth. I would patent the medical cures and serums on Earth. I would be paid quite well for my efforts. I could then take this money back to Gor and fund further medical research. I would return to Gor as a hero, the savior of Earth.
I eagerly agreed to his plan and thus sealed my fate.
I would deeply regret my decision.
I gathered my medical library and ordered certain equipment from my new employer. Within a Hand, I had everything I needed. We met a black spaceship, a large metal disk, just past the pomerium of the city. We boarded the ship and I was shown to my room. Before retiring to my room, I looked out the observation aperture at Gor for one last time.
The journey took a few days. I spent the time making notes for my work. I was very excited and eager to begin. In my fervor, I failed to obtain more details of my employer and his plan. I assumed the plan had the approval of the Priest-Kings. I assumed my employer truly cared about Earth. I assumed I had nothing to fear.
My assumptions were all wrong.
When we landed on Earth, it was quite a shock. The air was difficult to breathe and the gravity weighed me down and made me lethargic. The sights were amazing. We traveled straight to a small building of steel and glass. I unpacked my equipment and set up my laboratory. I was not permitted to leave the building until they taught me about Earth.
They gave me a quick course in "English," one of the primary languages of Earth. They showed me how to use a "computer." When I was not learning about Earth, I was creating the necessary data for the medical patents I needed. The building luckily had Gorean luxuries such as paga, bosk and Sa-Tarna bread. There were even kajirae to serve my pleasure. They all had the same brand, a chain and a claw. I had never seen such a brand before and assumed it was simply the mark of my employer for his slaves on Earth. That was actually the case though I did not know my real employer then.
The Hands passed and I quickly adjusted to my new surroundings. I learned fast as was my nature. I had nearly completed my patent work and placed it all on the computer, that wonderful device for information storage. My employer was most pleased with the progress and I was happy.
Then I learned the truth.
Of course it was a mistake. They did not want me to know the truth. They wanted me to accept the lies. And I had gladly done so. But I over heard something not meant for my ears. I heard the true reasons for my presence. And I knew my life was in danger. My usefulness was limited. I had a best a few months remaining.
I had to act. I had to save myself. I had to save Earth. Even Gor was endangered.
But what could I alone do against this conspiracy, this cabal of madmen?
The Kurii were behind this plot. I have heard rumors of their existence on Gor. They were mysterious aliens who sought to dominate Gor. They did not look like humans. They were some type of monster. They had now chosen to conquer Earth first. They would use my medical patents to raise an abundance of money, so much money they would have economic control over the world. The Stabilization Serums alone would make them obscenely wealthy. On Earth, money is power. The human allies of the Kurii would be the saviors and heroes of mankind. No one would suspect their darker motives.
It would be a bloodless invasion, an economic coup.
And it would in all likelihood be effective.
What could I do? I was not a rarius. I was a coward. And very stupid.
Destroying the work I had done would be insufficient to stop them. They would simply kill me and get another to help them. I could not warn Earth as I would be labeled as mad. I could not contact anyone on Gor. I could not reach the Priest-Kings. I was on my own. I was a mere twig standing before an approaching tidal wave.
I sat in my room, contemplating a myriad of bizarre solutions. My work slowed to a near standstill over the next three days. Luckily, it was easy to cover up. My employer had no reason to suspect I knew the truth.
Despair struck and I desperately wanted to escape back into a bota.
Then it struck me…
A flash of enlightenment. I knew exactly how to single-handedly defeat the Kurii and their allies. I raced to finish my work, concealing that from my employer. I finished four days earlier than scheduled and told them I needed six more days. They happily accepted my estimate.
I then logged onto my computer and did a few searches on the internet. I compiled a long list of email addresses. I printed them out and hid them away.
The next day, I emailed the patent files to all of the addresses on my list. Universities, hospitals, government agencies, magazines and more. The files contained all of the patent information on all of the medical cures. I wanted the patents to become public information so no one could monopolize the industry. The Kurii would earn nothing from my work. I destroyed all of my notes once the emails were sent.
I would be killed for what I had done but Redemption was mine.
I atoned for my past mistake with that small child. I had saved two worlds.
I now wait for them to discover what I have done. I now await my execution. I shall face it as a man.
Even a casteless Gorean can have honor.