Species 19: Atchoo

Up until a hundred years ago, humans often experienced a sickness that resulted in a number of queasy symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, sneezing (an uncontrollable burst of air and fluids from the mouth and the nose), cough (violent release of air from the lungs), fatigue, and so on. They used to call this phenomenon “catching a cold”. While not usually fatal, it could incapacitate a person for a few days up to a week, making them miserable and turning their nose into a big swollen red tap with overflowing mucus.

Cure for this “common cold” as it was called, was something that eluded scientists for centuries. It was attributed to several different types of highly contagious micro-organisms, or viruses as they were known then, visible only from an electron microscope. Since it was not possible to identify a unique virus, immunity from this bothersome disease was deemed impossible. Meanwhile, Billions of Dollars, Pounds, Yen, Rupees and so on (different units of currency were used in different countries during that time) were spent every year in treating this disease, or easing the suffering.

It was only in 2108 due to painstaking research efforts by Dr Atchew Vicks that these cold-causing viruses were uniquely categorized and subsequently eradicated. Since this discovery, they came to be known as the “Atchoos”, referring to the sound made when one experiences an uncontrollable burst of air and fluids from the mouth and the nose, an effect called sneezing.

Dr Atchew Vicks, however, died sneezing due to the time he spent with these Atchoos.  A Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to him posthumously.

Despite the inconveniences these Atchoos have caused, human race is greatly indebted to them. In the great inter-world war that preceded the formation of the United Planets Organization, planet Earth was engaged in a bitter war against the attacking tribe of Azuras from the Naraka.

Thanks to the spies of the Humanoid Gossipi (see “Articulata Interruptus”), Earth’s Military Intelligence came to know of a weakness in the Azuras – the Atchoo virus while harmful to Humans, could kill the Azuras. Soon, missiles containing massive amounts of this virus were fired on the Azuras, which led to their downfall, and Earth was saved.

Never have so many owed so much to so few” Winston Churchill, a great leader in the twentieth century said in his tribute to his fighter pilots during a great war between nations over two hundred years ago. This adage holds true for the Atchoo as well, for they helped save human race from the marauding Azuras.

The Atchoo are now believed to be completely eradicated, but their strains are kept locked in an ultra-secure Defense Research Facility. In 2120, an attempt by astro-terrorists to break into this facility and cause a massive outbreak of the Atchoo was thwarted by Counter-Terrorism Unit Agent Jacqueline Bauer.  


Rating: Generally Eradicated

Status: Harmful to Humans, Fatal to Azuras and many other species

Right thing to say should you ever meet one (or meet someone who has caught it, however unlikely it may be): Bless you!


The End

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