Adamar, Sinnsyk Star Network
Disease was rare amongst the Sinnsyk. Advanced technology combined with an authoritarian government meant that at the first sign of even a hint of sickness, the infected party was quarantined in a state of the art hospital, and wouldn't be released unless the medics were certain that they had been cured. It also helped that they had naturally powerful immune systems that could reduce the most debilitating viruses into a minor flu.
But not everyone had the Sinnsyk's impressive constitution. Enter Adamar. Once upon a time, this proud and impressive planet had played host to one of the vilest empires in the region. The locals, the Adamari, had been their slaves. To ensure their loyalty, the Adamari's overlords infected them with a deadly custom-made virus. This virus would slowly eat away at the Adamari's skin and deform their bone marrow, leaving them in wretched, painful agony. Most Adamari didn't live past fourty. The old empire would administer a medicine that would suppress the virus, and let rebellion slaves rot.
But eventually, the Adamari had enough of their cruel overlords. They rose up in revolution and, outnumbering the oppressors, killed them. The secret to the cure had been destroyed by the overlords in a spiteful bit of scorched earth tactics, so what was left of the antidote was swiftly used up and by the time the Network had reached them, every Adamari once again had the disease and no way of manufacturing a suppressant.
Dr Arban bat Kalju was new to the medical community. Straight out of the academy, he was assigned to Adamar's research team, to research and study the effects of the disease and, hopefully, help manufacture a cure. It was a surprisingly hands-on approach for the Commissioner, which only spoke of the desperation of the crisis. The Adamari were dying faster than they could have kids and many elected not to have kids in the first place so their children wouldn't be subjected to the disease. Even the estimates that gave them the best chances, the Adamari probably only had another 200 years or so. This disease needed to be fixed soon.
Arban's patients were a mother, around 36 years old, and her two sons, one 15, one 9. The woman was badly deformed, and it made Arban nauseous to even look at her. He preferred to keep his eyes on his reports.
"Well, Mrs Mahmar, the lab has sent us the results of your tests. They are... interesting, to say the least," the good Doctor had a habit of referring to the mysterious "lab". In reality, he WAS the Lab. That was the whole point of the research team. "I'm going to show you now a series of images. I will attempt to talk you through them as best as I can"
The woman nodded, that simple act making her groan in agony. The doctor produced the first sheet and handed it to the woman's elder son - he didn't trust her hands. The family stared at the picture for a moment while the doctor spoke. "We dyed the sample with a chemical that makes the pathogen show up in red. That one you're looking at is your own sample."
The sheet was almost utterly red. The cell walls were deformed, twisted and mutilated beyond the point of recognition. If the woman wasn't already aware of the shortness of her lifespan, she would probably have burst into tears. But the pain had hardened her, and she the sheet was no surprise to her. She just grunted and looked up.
"This one -" the doctor produced a second sheet and handed it to them "- is your eldest son"
This one was far more hopeful. The pathogen's cells had were mixed in there, sure, but the boy's cells were clean, orderly, and a proper shape. There was no doubt as to his infection, but he was yet to feel the brunt.
"This isn't anything new to us, doctor," the boy said brusquely. The doctor shook his head in response.
"Here, then. This might change your mind." The doctor handed both the remaining sheets to the family together. He didn't need to look up to predict their faces.
"No way. That's not possible."
"What you are seeing is your youngest's cell sample, as well as my own. I used my own as a control, and trust me, I was as surprised as you are."
The two sheets were almost the same. Both were spotless. Neither of them had even a speck of red of them.
"Does that mean-"
"He's not immune," Arban interrupted, knowing exactly what he was going to ask. "But this is a good sign. The infection has not yet begun to multiply. Call it an act of mercy, but it seems your oh-so-benevolent overlords thought activating the disease in children was too cruel. I've aggregated the results with some of my colleagues, and we've all noticed the same thing. The disease is not active in children from newborns to at least nine years. From then it gets a bit spotty, but the eldest we've had clean so far was thirteen."
The younger brother's face lit up like a christmas tree. The older one was a little less happy - he had missed the cut off, it seemed - but was nonetheless pretty pleased. The mother, well, she looked as she always did, but you could tell she was overjoyed.
"So what does that mean for us?" The older brother had to speak on behalf of the old woman.
"It means that either a child's body produces a natural suppressant for the disease, or that the disease only becomes active during puberty. Either way, that gives us a launching point. We're one step closer to finding out how to suppress, or even cure, this disease"
It was good news, to be sure. But Arban doubted that this little facility would be enough to study the disease with enough to depth to produce such a cure. The way he saw it, they had to either expand this facility and interfere further in the lives of the people here, or seek outside help.
Either way, the Network's non-interventionist policies would have to end.