The sick line snaked out well past the entrance to the wood hut, curling around the eastern wall, and from where Dr. Rota stood, he could not see the end of it. Not that he cared. Being a professional space billboard doctor, he only had to work four or five hours a day. While Sadala was one of the more lucrative worlds he tended to visit, Rota had never enjoyed wasting a whole shift playing clinic doctor.
He hadn’t expected to ascend to such a level of interstellar fame out in this barren stretch of space, especially in a tropical, sparsely-populated archipelago located thousands of miles from Sadala’s capital city. Somehow, these Saiyans had seen his billboard, and somehow they had come up with the money to pay him. Rota wasn’t complaining, though. A paycheck was a paycheck.
The village chieftain had instructed the doctor to deal with the sick however he saw fit–if they needed to be vaporized lest they contaminate the local tribes, so be it; if they could released back into the general population without issue, so be it.
A yellow, lizardly little creature was clung to the wall, tasting the air in unfettered extravagance. He was already sweating in his black mage outfit. How the natives managed to survive in this muggy, sweltering hellhole, he could not know. Luckily, they always paid him well, so it was worth enduring the weather, at least for a few hours, he supposed.
“B.H. Wiji.” Clearing his throat, the doctor shut the door behind the pair of Saiyans. “Well met. What are you here to see the doctor for?”
He was perhaps eighteen, or thirty-five. The faintest shadow of a beard had grown visible below his cheekbones. Rota was amused at himself for having become aware of such a banality, and that was when he also noticed the Saiyan was chained around the neck. His second, gripping the chain, was obviously not a close friend or family member.
The guard yanked the glowing blue energy tether. “Rape. Pedophilia. Murder. There are over twenty witnesses. Can this man be reformed, or should we execute him? Long has my tribe, whose numbers are few, wondered if we should punish this disgusting man for his behavior. Please, doctor, if he can be saved, cure him!”
Dr. Rota was none too pleased by that nonsense. “I’m a doctor, not a psychiatrist!”
“Is there no saving this one?”
“Well…” Rota shrugged, adjusting his glasses. The more time he spent with Wiji, the closer he’d be to the end of his shift. Five hours was the maximum they could keep him. If they decided to pay him overtime… well his rate was high because Rota was a pig and a lazy motherfucker as a result of being an aforementioned pig. He was relatively sure these island tribes couldn’t afford those fees. This would be five hours, and he’d be home again, resting his hooves, gelling his bizarre mutant shark fin (he was a space pig, not a space shark, fuck me), and watching numerous high-quality space reality shows until his consciousness collapsed. It was nice to get to turn off his brain and just laugh at all the space plebeians sometimes. “Ahem, I suppose I can ask him a few questions, but this may prove fruitless…”
Wiji barely noticed he was imprisoned. He was smiling like he knew the colors of Rota’s under robes, which disturbed the space ham immensely.
“Yes, alright. You are… Wiji, is that correct, Saiyan?”
“Of course I am B.H. Wiji, for that is my name.”
That got him a swift yank of the throat; the man hacked as energy choked his sneer away. A trickle of sweat ran down Rota’s snout. Why did it have to be so humid?
“Did you rape an underage individual, then proceed to murder at least one individual, and have all of this witnessed by many of your peers?”
Rota knew nothing of this case. This guard, if he was to be called that, was a terribly incompetent man. He hadn’t filled Rota in on any of the details, which can be nice sometimes, but fuck if he wasn’t making this far more difficult than it needed to be. Who Wiji had murdered and raped and who had seen him commit those heinous acts were an utter mystery–not the kind Rota cared to solve on his own time.
“That’s right. My first number one crush is Napp. She’s a cute girl, 9 years old, supple, and likes to wear nothing but a cape and bikini because it feels most comfortable on a girl like her. She’s very cute! Plus, she is strong, and I liked it a lot when she fought some bandits. Seeing her trade bloody punches with those ugly raiders got me rock hard.”
“You know, it’s abnormal to be sexually interested in members of your species who are not yet of breeding age?”
The chained man shrugged. “If she’s cute, eh? She cute.”
“Why not take a woman of breeding age at least? Is that not even possible for you, sir?”
Wiji scoffed, looking around to the guard as if the question was an absurd joke. The other Saiyan jerked him hard (it was real rough and the dude groaned for a while), putting him in his place.
“Right then. Mr. Wiji, I have one final question.”
The man looked like he was kind of stupid. At the same time, he was huffing and puffing, whispering to himself in a constant unhinged ramble. This was just embarrassing for everyone.
“Okay. Say something… I’m not afraid of you, porker!”
“What’s the ‘H’ stand for, Saiyan?”
“Okay, okay, I’ve been known to enjoy space hamsters sometimes, but only when they’re less than one week old, alright? Don’t be a dumbass. That has nothing to do with anything.”
“I think it’s time for you to die. Now witness the true power of a fifth-level supreme mystic space alchemist!”
Energy surged up through him in a euphoric blast. Purple it flashed, then black, then invisible, and back again. When Wiji realized what was happening, he roared in a great panic and rushed the doctor. The guard flew into a wall, his unconscious body crumpling in a foolish legs-over-arms pose; Rota knew he had been properly fucked. Demanding and therefore expecting the bare minimum of competency from allies always seemed to fuck Dr. Rota hard. Why didn’t he learn? Perhaps it was better for him to experience all the bullshit first-hand.
His glasses shattered; the stinging in his snout did not fade instantaneously when he dodged to the left and released another wave of energy upon Wiji. The Saiyan ran at him, the chain like a noose of pure energy, like a ragged cape, its contorted form seared into his eyelids when he blinked. This heat was overwhelming.
As Dr. Rota had previously mentioned, he was a fifth-level supreme mystic space alchemist. That sounds like a pretty high rank, right? Well, despite Rota being in piss-poor shape (he was a slothful swine, curse that cunt), he still vaporized Wiji in one blast. He hardly got any XP from that pedo though, unfortunately. He bit his lip, suppressing a juicy sequence of curse words from being uttered into existence and made canon. Those glasses were how he saw. Rota was nearsighted as a motherfucker. Without his glasses, he was essentially blind… and where exactly would he find replacements on this world?
After the groggy guard was escorted out by Mayor Never-Wears-A-Shirt (bless his pecs), Rota’s second patient was brought in. She kind of looked like a pit fighter. Sleek, muscular, but not overly developed, her body had nevertheless matured into a confusing form. Even a pigman like Rota could sense she was not a normal femme space monkey. But without his glasses, the noble doctor could not trust his instincts. They had led him astray many a time before (allegedly). It was not unlike Rota to sometimes guzzle space pork rinds in biblical proportions when he got a sick craving. He was only mortal, after all.
“Hi,” she replied. Her voice was quite high and girlish. The good doctor grew even more dubious of his previous suspicion.
“Alright. You are… Cerus, is that correct, Saiyan?”
“Yes, sir. That’s me,” she replied politely. She was either smiling at him or baring her teeth. He couldn’t quite tell, but it didn’t much matter either way. None of these rural Saiyans could withstand his magic (he was a magical magician) if it came to that.
Reading from the clipboard, Rota paced around the room. Aside from the sink in the corner, the only piece of furniture was an examination bed bolted to the dirt floor in the center of the room. The wooden blinds were pulled down over the room’s only window. Doctor/patient confidentiality was a super important thing to keep in mind, even on a backwater world like Sadala.
“Says you wanted a private meeting…”
Robustly, the guard yanked her leash like Wiji’s had. Déjà vu reminded the good doctor that he was, in fact, lucid. He felt sadness–sadness and hunger–straining in his belly.
“Th-that’s… yes, that’s true, Doctor!”
The older Saiyan was gone. Rota was itchin’ for a level up. “Wow, that was so cool! How’d you move so fast, mister? Which technique was that?”
Rota shrugged. “I’m the doctor. Basically, run. Not you, of course,” he wheezed, squinting at the girl. “You’re my patient after all.”
She clapped politely. “Thank you for seeing me, Mr. Doctor sir.”
“It’s no trouble. What seems to be the problem, my dear?”
“I, um, yeah, well, um, that’s the thing… my tribe is going to throw me out next week unless I somehow get to the capital and–”
The space warthog beat his hoof against the sink, and a reddish light ensnared Cerus. The girl’s eyes went wide as she tried and failed to struggle her way out of the glowing, growing energy bomb. “Doctor! Doctor…?!”
Tearing the paper from the clipboard, Rota sent it screaming into some alternate dimension with his magical bullshit, and it was time for another. Panting, he snorted, regaining his composure; Dr. Rota had not been melted yet.
“What’s this one got?”
Another guard brought in another patient. This one was chained around the neck, wrists, and ankles with energy that shone with a bright crimson luster.
“This one needs immediate medical attention,” the guard spoke, jerking the energy binding. “He appears to be sexually attracted to other men.”
Dr. Rota was a doctor, but he was no pig. Indeed, the good doctor had already placed a new sheet of paper upon his clipboard. A magical moment though this was, Rota had no patience for the guard’s vague reply to his most polite of greetings. “What’s wrong with him?!”
The guard had the face of mashed space potatoes. He was the kind of man to be the son of a general of the Air Force who got to fly planes, despite his lack of skill, solely because of his father’s position.
“I just told you.”
“That’s not a medical condition,” the doctor replied, shaking his head, bringing his hooves to the bridge of his nose. “You Saiyans hired me to treat sick patients. What is this?”
“This one’s pretty sick.”
Rota was fast losing his poise.
“Well, hang on. Like. Let me tell you. I’m Arsun,” the chained boy said quickly, his eyes growing wide as spread vaginas. “I really like it when my babe has a six pack and a pecker and a–”
“Get him out of here,” Rota seethed.
“Right now, Doctor?”
“You hear me?!”
“But wait… I’ve got a feeling! I’m a comedian!” the chained boy protested, struggling against his neck-rope. “Oh yeah, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!!! I’ve got a feeling!”
“Tell me a joke,” the doctor stated plainly, massaging his space shark fin astutely. “Go on then, Saiyan.”
“I’m like a space dog… when you ring my bell, I’ll get excited, and–”
Clicking his fingers, Dr. Rota spun on his heels and threw a couple sparklers around. The room thus lit up and things were kind of dramatic. “There. Now you’re healed.”
“Oh no! Oh no no no no!!!”
Time slowed and sped up. His impatience alone kept him going. Weariness and sweat were physical reactions; he was free as a space cow. Playing clinic doctor took less than five percent of his attention.
“Oh hello, and welcome,” the boy grinned. His twenty-third patient was not actually looking at him, so when he cocked his head and smiled, it appeared more or less psychotic. “Look at this one, I call him him Bara-Bara… gone!!!”
The youth held up what looked like a two-legged monster made out of mud wearing a red sock for a hood. Grinning wildly, the boy made sound effects as the monster attacked something invisible (and surely evil), and Rota wondered why he even bothered. Sometimes it seemed like the pay wasn’t worth this level of inanity.
“Barage, stop it!” the guard commanded, jerking the energy tether around his neck.
Coughing, the boy dropped the mud-Kaiju, hacking and spitting melodramatically. “H-hey… don’t do that! Stop that right now!”
Rota sighed. “Well, okay. What is this one’s illness?”
“He won’t join our tribal hunts! Instead he spends all day sculpting mud-Kaiju!”
“Bara-Bara… gone!!!” Barage swore, twisting his tooth with a forefinger and thumb. “Isn’t he cool?!” The boy dropped to the dirt, attempting to remake the fallen Kaiju. “Tell me a scarier monster than Bara-Bara!! I like huge fearsome monsters that eat everyone and destroy the whole town!”
“Hey!” Rota roared, raising his arms, energy steaming from his fingertips. Barage flew into the air, hovering against his will. Though the boy struggled and whined, he could not break free from this certifiably magical attack. “Enough! Look, kid. It’s time you grew up. Play with your toys on your own time. You’re part of a tribe… you need to pull your weight, participate in group hunts, and all that sort of stuff, or you will end up exiled. Do you want to be exiled?”
“Nuh-uh, but Bara-Bara–”
“I don’t care what Bara-Bara has done, or how much you like playing with him. Enough is enough. Grow up.”
Barage’s lips quivered in astonishment. “Y-you… heretic!! How dare you…?!”
“Get him out of here,” Rota muttered impatiently. “That’s it. Either he stops playing with toys all day, or you exile him. That’s it! A clinical doctor is not meant to deal with this sort of thing!”
A pettier doctor would have killed Barage for the sass mouth he gave Rota on the way out. But, upon the Saiyan’s exit, the last tearing of paper from the clipboard, Rota noticed with sheer relief that his shift was over. That’s not to say that his patients were all gone–dozens and dozens of Saiyans were still lined up outside the hut waiting to be seen. They’d have to wait until the next day, though. He wasn’t the type of space pig who worked overtime for free.
Fleeing the rabble (their shirtless mayor promised to fund another clinic day in a month), Rota found himself on a beach staring off at the waves coming in. Wiping the sweat from his brow, he closed his eyes. Four hours was a long time. Few people could work so long every day and not want to kill themselves. He was a damn good space pig.
Seaspray painted the sky. From the bushes to his left, someone grunted and released an energy beam. Recoiling, Rota barely had time to raise his arms in defense before the searing energy rolled over him, cooking the space ham up good. Exhaling in astonishment, he fell to the sand.
“Got ‘em, Lieutenant!” a deep voice hissed.
“Good. The emperor will be most pleased with us. Time to head back.”
The orange-scaled lizard men were licking their lips expectantly. Landing in front of the doctor, the stockier one punched him hard in the stomach before flinging him over a shoulder and taking to the air. It was nearly night. Sadala’s sun had sunk to the horizon, leaving only a sliver of yellow-white light to close the day. Rota gasped, spittle leaking out his open mouth. He had so badly wanted to return to his space reality shows.
A portal of light materialized around the lizard, ensnaring his head. When the light faded a moment later, all that remained was a toilet seat. Naturally, having one’s head be replaced by a toilet seat should kill that person, and indeed, such was the case here. In a puff of dust, the space alien fell.
“Why… you little…!” his companion screamed, catching Rota in midair and elbowing him hard in the back of the head.
Jerking free of the alien’s grip, Rota released a magical beam of magic at the lizard, lighting him up like a failed Shinigami. The smoking body fell from the deepening sky; he had won again. Those common pirates were no match for a mage of his caliber. Rota hovered in midair, trying to catch his breath, clear his thoughts, and calm his mind, and that was when the third space lizard came up behind him, hissing softly, and slapped him up the snout.
Squealing in pain, the doctor attempted to create a magical barrier around himself, but he wasn’t fast enough. The last thing he saw was a surge of orange-gold, expanding like a dying comet, and then there was nothing–not even black.
“Good morning, Dr. Rota.”
He came into the world all at once, as if he were diving from one dream to another. “What the…? Who’s there?”
Instinctively, he threw a punch, boiling purple energy collecting in his other. “Easy there, doctor,” the white-and-blue alien smiled, catching his punch easily before letting go. The man was petite, yet muscular, with angular body armor and horns protruding from the sides of his head and a long, spiky tail. He was bald, at least. “I suppose I should introduce myself. I am Frost, Emperor of the Universe. Pleased to meet you! I’ve seen your billboards, Dr. Rota, not to mention your late night commercials on SHGTV!”
“Uh… okay. Where am I? What’s going on?”
The space pig blinked many a time, adjusting his eyesight to the alien world. It was only himself and the emperor overlooking a what looked like an asteroid-painted desert of grey-blue dirt. Around them, all the other mountains, half-mountains, and hills gave the desert an uneven balance.
“My apologies for doing this to you, doctor,” Frost said with a bow. “Truly, I did not mean for you to experience such discomfort. My men were overly aggressive with you–I hear you even killed two of them. Do not worry, I am not going to punish you for that. It’s my fault they disobeyed me by being so aggressive in their… procurement of you.”
This emperor guy was a nice guy, and his body jewels were shimmering blue in the young light. An echoing wind had picked up some of the dirt, spitting it across the cracked and cratered ground. Not an organic sound was to be heard. Of course, that was all speculation, since Rota’s glasses had long ago been broken.
“Wh-what do you want with me, Emperor Frost?”
“Being an emperor, it is not suitable for me to appear weak in front of my subjects. Yet, over the past week or so, I’ve been feeling this stinging pain in the small of my back here…” Frost turned around, pointing to a spot on his back he couldn’t reach with his fingers. Rota was shocked at the emperor’s lack of flexibility. “Right there… I don’t know what it is, but it’s killing me. Please heal me, doctor.”
Surreal as this was, Rota couldn’t help but grow curious. This man had kidnapped him and brought him to a deserted world just to perform a routine checkup? Well, if Frost were a man of his word, Rota had nothing to fear. And if he were not, well, Rota was probably going to die whether or not he resisted. In the end, the doctor just wanted to get home and relax. Intergalactic politics did not interest him. Hell, he hadn’t heard of this Emperor Frost guy until a few minutes ago.
“Uh, okay… let’s see.”
Without his glasses, he had to squint real hard. There was a tiny bump on the man’s skin, true, but without poking it, Rota had no idea if it was a bug bite or a scab. When he did poke it (having none of his doctor’s tools with him on account of having just been kidnapped), the little man shrieked and released a pulsating energy wave, devastating the mountaintop. Rota managed to surround himself with an energy barrier, but now he was sweating again, and he hated it when that happened. What a filthy pig he was becoming.
The emperor gave Rota a sheepish look. “Sorry about that! That really hurt! But I’m impressed you were able to survive my energy, doctor. Few ever have.”
Rota didn’t care one bit about this alien. “That’s okay. I’m not so easy to take down, hah! Now let me show you why I, Dr. Rota, am called the Doctor! My special ability is–”
His eyes growing large and white, Frost grimaced. “S-stop it, Rota! Just treat me! I don’t have all day. It hurts really bad. If you heal me, I’ll give you whatever you want–even this planet, if that’s what you desire!”
“Ahahah, I have no desire for a planet,” Rota scoffed, landing on the scorched mountaintop again. “My only demand is to never be kidnapped again… and a new pair of glasses!”
Rota wondered what would have happened had he been a vainglorious bloke. He also wondered what would have happened had he cared about Frost at all. This man, however, was no more important to him than Wiji. Yet, without his glasses or equipment, it wasn’t like he’d be able to diagnose the emperor’s symptoms. If he had cared about Frost, maybe he would have put some effort into this diagnosis.
Rota wondered bitterly why Frost hadn’t taken him to some state-of-the-art hospital so that he could actually treat him. Instead here they were in the middle of nowhere with neither equipment nor a lab, for the emperor was a rather massive egotist.
This could go one of two ways: either he healed Frost and got paid handsomely (with a fresh new pair of specs) or he failed, in which case he would soon be a dead piggy. Rota wasn’t one to dwell on emotion. He was an amazing doctor, a space alchemist of unparalleled talent. There was no way he wouldn’t succeed. He suffered no fools.
“Don’t do that again,” he commanded the emperor, “or I won’t be able to get it out.”
“G-get what out?!”
Rota shrugged carelessly. “There’s a parasite burrowed in your skin, probably.”
“What?! Are you serious?”
“Quiet, patient! Don’t move, or it’ll dig in deeper!”
The emperor’s face went pale. Though he shook for a moment, after a little while, he was able to compose himself. A bone-dry breeze passed them by. Rota’s snout was cold, his mind clear. He would be taking tomorrow off. Just thinking about all the Chef Mamsays cooking shows he’d binge made him feel alive for the first time in several minutes.
Aiming a palm at Frost’s back, Rota squinted again. “Eh, that’s good enough…” he muttered, though he could not see where exactly the puncture wound was from two feet away.
“What was that…?” Frost began.
Rota’s response was hellfire; streams of ki flew from his hands, and soon the emperor was lost in the heat and the light. Steam and dust mingled with the light, purifying it, and this time his patient released no retaliatory attacks.
Rota wiped his hands on his robe. His work was done. Being a fifth-level supreme mystic space alchemist, he knew he had succeeded mightily in healing the emperor of his (assured) parasite infection. To say that Rota didn’t know what the hell Frost was actually suffering from would be to slander his piggy name unnecessarily. Facts don’t matter as much as feelings.
Looking out over the land, Rota couldn’t help but think the mountain beyond the desert to the north had an artificial look to it, almost as if it had been carved into a city, or something. But no, that could not be. This world was too barren for such a romantic thought to hold true.
“Is it done?!” Frost asked with trepidation.
“Uh, sure. I’ll take those glasses now.”
“Hmmm…” Frost flexed his shoulders, trying in vain to reach the small of his back and failing like a HAES activist attempting to perform autocunnilingus. Rota folded his arms in boredom. He was done with this man. All the space reality shows were waiting for him back home. “Ah, yes, yes, I see. Ah, uh-huh, yes, good!”
Twisting his spine, rolling his shoulders, bouncing down to his knees and back, the emperor tried everything. He really was thorough, although Rota hardly watched him, as he was fantasizing about what he’d be having for dinner that night (a space BLT sounded like heaven). It was a shame the good doctor couldn’t sense energy. He wondered if any of those orange-scaled lizards were lurking around here waiting for their master to set them loose upon the murderous Rota. That would be a poetic way to go, he thought, but nothing he wanted to experience for real. Not all beauty needs to be realized.
“Very good. How do you feel, Emperor Frost?”
“I feel… great! Oh my, Rota. You truly are a master at your craft. You healed me!”
The man ran up to him with an earnest smile, shaking his hand warmly. Rota shook it back only because it’d be rude not to.
Maybe he had been infected by a parasite. Nobody would ever know.
“I will not forget this, doctor. You have been a major help today. I don’t feel any pain down there anymore! I can’t believe it! It’s been so long since I’ve felt like this! Oh, it’s simply glorious!”
“Cool. Now would you like to know that I, Dr. Rota, have a PhD in–”
“Quiet piggy! Let me enjoy this moment!”
Frost began to dance with himself, humming magnificently, swinging his hips like a baboon on meth. Rota looked away in embarrassment. It was times like these he wondered if he should have become a space lawyer like his father, but then he reminded himself that no, that was not a good idea, for his father had been a narcissist and a comedian and if there was anything Rota hated more than a parasite-ridden dictator, it was one of those unsightly swine.