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MEMORIAL to a great friend ....... Dennis R. Triplitt

Dennis has gone on to the other side! He left us way before his time.

While he was here he wrote a SCIFI novel; "The Christa Affair"

I have the honor of publishing his work.

\The Christa Affair\

Copyright Dennis R. Triplitt; All Rights Reserved.

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Because of the limitations of my word processor, and some "special handling" used for a type-setting program, italicized words in this manuscript are denoted \thus\, with a back-slash.

Blank lines are denoted thus:

* * *

in the standard typesetter's terminology for such.

Or thus:

*********

in the code my typesetting program requires.

--

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Have fun; there will be a quiz after the story. (grin).
All honest comments, good or bad, are welcome...

Dennis R. Triplitt

The Christa Affair

Copyright Dennis R. Triplitt; All Rights Reserved.

Prologue

Though rumors of spacecraft sightings -- and even abductions by offworlders -- had persisted for more than a century, the first verifiable and official contact by intelligent beings from beyond the Solar system came in the year 2072, as reckoned by the traditional Terran calendar. The contact came just as Mankind was preparing to take his first faltering steps beyond the confines of his own planetary system. The sentient reptile natives of Arnoza-Four landed near Earth-Station Nine -- a hostile-environment research station on Io, moon of Jupiter -- just six weeks before the torch-ship \Francis Scobee\ was scheduled to lift off from Luna. Her destination -- Alpha Centauri.

The arrival of the offworld ship caused no alarm to the personnel of Earth-Station Nine; it had been tracked since it flashed out of hyperspace and dropped below lightspeed crossing the orbital plane of the outer planet. Communications were established two days after the first sighting, and the extra-terrestrials were welcomed with open arms.

Three days after the Arnozani landed, there was not a single Human or reptile left alive. The Arnozani tried to evacuate as soon as the illness became apparent; their ship crashed as the pilot died at the controls during liftoff. Commander Donald Ralanski died three hours later, after making a final entry in his log and transmitting it to Earth.

The log contained the findings of the Arnozani medical team: dormant Herpes virus -- relatively harmless to Humans, and carried by virtually every person native to Earth -- had bonded with a similar harmless virus carried in a dormant state by the saurians, producing a mutation that was fatal to both species. The log also contained a sinister warning -- this was the eighteenth case of fatal epidemic viral mutation recorded by the Arnozani since they first ventured forth from their home-world some three hundred years earlier. Often, contact among different sentient life-forms was fatal. The Arnozani did not offer the secret of hyperdrive.

Earth Government declared a moratorium on all further space exploration, and ordered the \Francis\ decommissioned. The crew and most of the passengers were already on board; they took a vote, and Captain Wilson Leonard radioed Luna Control to clear the area -- they intended to jump. Control complied with the request; the torch-ship was vaporized by the powerful Lunar defense lasers before she cleared the shallow gravity well of the moon -- orders from High Command, United Earth Defense.

Outposts on all the planets were closed, teams were called home, and for eighty-six years Humankind was confined to near-Earth space -- Terra, the orbiting habitats, and Tyco and Luna City in the moon.

Although it was forbidden by Earth Government for manned flights to leave near-Earth space, the torch-ship continuous-drive technology was quickly adapted to remote-controlled vessels, and robot probes were sent throughout the solar system, searching for new and valuable substances that might make the overcrowded and polluted planet a more bearable place on which to be confined.

One such robot landed on Christa, seventh moon of the planet Uranus, scooped up a large chunk of crust, and blasted for home. Three weeks later she dropped into Lunar orbit, and a shuttle streaked up from the surface of the moon to retrieve the container. It was found to be full of the pure living crystal later dubbed Immunofactor-26.

A year later... Infectogan, and Mankind at last had his cure for the common cold. Infectogan rendered harmless every virus known -- natural or created, pure or mutant, Terran or Alien. Though the virus could still be passed on to others, within a vaccinated host its ability to multiply and to attack body cells was totally suppressed.

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Christa, seventh moon of Uranus: According to ancient Earth legend she was named for a female civilian passenger, a teacher of children, killed in the explosion of a chemically powered low-Earth orbiter -- Old-Earth calendar, 1986. Beautiful Christa, virtually a solid chunk of Immunofactor-26 -- the only known source in the galaxy.

Immunofactor-26... It was more than enough to pay the price of full admission into the Galactic Federation of Worlds, with access to the Galactic Pool of Knowledge and Scientific Advances -- more than enough to make relatively primitive Terra a highly valued member of galactic society. It rendered harmless every known virus in the galaxy.

Freed of the fear of death from contact with other sentient species, the Federation, and Mankind, exploded outward -- all the way to the galactic rim.

CHAPTER ONE

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