The Wrong Side of Everything
A wise man once said, “Disease and deprivation stalk our land like…two giant…stalking things.” This is not the tale of this world. Quite the opposite, in fact. In this pseudo-Earth, this alternate-Earth, disease, deprivation, and starvation are all held at bay by the illegal hunting and capturing of ‘giant stalking things.’
Dinosaurs, my good sons and daughters. Good for eating, good for selling, good for poaching-that is, if it were legal to poach Dinosaurs. Which it’s not, as per the definition of poaching.
Verb: Illegally hunt or catch (game or fish) on land that is not one’s own or is under official protection.
This, of course, doesn’t stop those who wish to make money on Pseudearth. Psearth. Alternearth…whatever. Dinosaurs exist on the quarantined island continent of Alternafric- Africanate (whatever), where access is strictly limited to scientific incursions for the ostensible purpose of DNA examination and development of inoculation.
Yes. Inoculation. For, you see, we here in our normal Earth have the regular flu, which sucks. We also had the Spanish flu, which sucked harder. We had the bird flu, which…terrorists? Terrorist birds? Still not 100% on the bird flu. Then, of course, we had H1N1, swine flu, which killed fewer people than regular flu, but inspired an entire Hollywood movie about pandemics and global extinction by sneezes. Hm…bird flu…swine flu. I may have struck upon the inspiration for Angry Birds.
Regardless, on this parallel universe Earth, they have Dinosaur Flu. See how it’s capitalized? That means it’s PROPER NAME worse than all those other strains of flu. Dinosaurs are bigger, badder, and more resilient than pigs or birds, and therefore it makes completely solid paper-logic that their flu would also be bigger and badder, infecting at least 25% of Alternate Earth’s population, causing them to become violently ill. 24% of those infected are unlikely to receive care, because the cost for treatments for Dino Flu begins at expensive, quickly rises to exorbitant and finally tops off at extortionate.
What does this mean for the common man? For those living beneath the poverty line, a 25% chance of unstoppable, horribly contagious death. The middle class has a bit more of an option, either choosing to die or paying so much for treatments that the average middle-classer would suddenly find themselves below the poverty line. The upper classes, with their amassed wealth and connections, find themselves in that cozy 1%, where treatment and survival is assured.
These numbers, of course, are taken from the official census records of 2231. For those who don’t want to pay everything they own to be cured, the black market is present, able, and willing to help, for a modestly reduced price (and, possibly, a favor or two).