So Bthera was duly rendered unconscious by means of drugs, to add to her unconsciousness by means of exhaustion, and placed in extensive restraints, and her beautiful chest was exposed to the pale flickering violet beam of the intrascope. In minutes, a wide stream of clear tape slithered slowly out of a printer, with incomprehensible shapes outlined in intense red and green and purple on it.
Dr. Wulpmegarn took it with a well-practiced hand, and twisted it into a spiral. The outer lines took the shape of a hoven body, adequately visible through the transparent tape. The inner lines showed organs. The biologist showed us the ugly shapes of lungs and Fralian nodes and heart, pointing with the tip of a pencil held between the coils of the intragram.
Arilash was utterly delighted with the intrascope. To the point of, she’ll accept one in place of a magic ring in her mating hoard. Our remaining drakes seem distinctly pleased by this, since they’re much easier to find than magic rings on Hove.
“And I am compelled to admit that there is an anomalous body extending from the base of the brain through the chest, forking right there by the heart,” said the biologist.
“That’s your cyoziworm. Well, that’s Bthera’s cyoziworm,” I said. “Be glad it’s not yours.”
Llredh opened his mouth. Arilash spat quick fire into it. “Don’t kill her, Llredh! We’re here to kill the cyoziworm, remember? And get your subjects to believe in them. Can’t do that if you burn up the lab.”
“The sensible comment, you bring her with you, Arilash. Yet, the fury, he is large and thick within me! Not long will I allow this worm to live!”
“I would recommend that we study it further,” said Dr. Wulpmegarn.
“Is fearlessness a common sort of brain damage among hovens? Maybe one of the intrascope experiments when he was a student caused it?” I asked Tarcuna, but she didn’t know.
Llredh just hissed at the professor, “Study fast! For not long will I allow this worm to live!”
“The more we know about it, the better chance we’ll have of eradicating it altogether,” said the professor calmly. “After all, this is the first time anyone has seen scientific evidence of it.”
“Not so! I have seen it before, I have felt it drip into its little cup, I need no further evidence! Also hovens have seen them before. Even scientists!”
(Much later that evening, he told us about that. Ythac had looked around a bit with finding-spells, and uncovered dozens of fragmentary stories of scientists and natural philosophers learning somewhat about cyoziworms. They generally wound up wormridden or dead within days of their first publication, by the intentional and devoted effort of the wormridden to protect themselves. The wormridden ones, of course, immediately recanted their findings, and dedicated themselves to obscuring the truth of cyoziworms as much as possible. Ythac compelled Prof. Wulpmegarn to have a constant bodyguard.)
“And there are plenty of other cyoziworms. I can find you thirty by nightfall if you want. Which is the problem, actually. If it were the last of its kind we might be a bit more interested in science,” said Tarcuna.
“Well, let us at least perform it as a proper, if rather rushed, Observed Experiment,” said the professor.