September 5th, 2005


Question on Alien Poisons..

I have a question on poisons and poisoning set in a space opera based on an anime series set in the 23rd century. The original series is somewhere between hard SF to science fantasy.

A character who is herself a life sciences officer/nurse/medic from Earth and is fairly slight (maybe 120-125 lbs. and about 5' 7") is assigned to watch a particularly nasty alien princess of a galactic empire by her superiors and by the emperor of another galactic empire Earth is allied with. Her job is to watch the princess during what are supposed to be peace negotiations between Earth forces and the empire that Earth is allied with and the enemy empire from which the princess comes. The princess has a history of sneaky, underhanded tactics and has once imprisoned the emperor of the "friendly" empire. The two empires have physiology that are very similar to Earth people but are slightly different.

During the negotiations, the evil princess is observed by her Terran "escort" in the act of possibly silpping something into a wine glass intended for the friendly emperor. While the princess has her back turned, the Terran inconspicously switches her own glass for that of the emperor and takes a small taste of the doctored wine. It has an odd taste, so she gets rid of the tainted stuff in a potted plant while the alien princess slips away for a moment. She leaves a trace amount of wine in the glass and manages to warn the friendly emperor (who is also a personal friend of hers; in fact, she was instrumental in his having repented of his previous ways of cold-blooded conquest and thus turning from an enemy of the Terrans into an ally, so she is someone he respects) that the princess tried to poison him. Negotiations break down, but the princess gets away before she can be apprehended. The Terran life sciences officer seems to come away from the experience in good health-she declines an offer to have the emperor's doctors check her.

Later, the brave Terran officer falls ill from taking that small taste of the poison (delayed reaction by about 12-24 hrs) I am thinking her illness lasts maybe 5-10 days, involves some compromise of liver and kidney function for a time, but is then cured by a combination of 23rd century Terran medical science and the friendly emperor's staff having analyzed the trace amount of the poison and creating an antitoxin
that would work on Terran physiology. (this empire has studied Terrans in its prior attempt to take over Earth, so they know how they tick and are also more scientificially advanced than Terrans)

My question is: what sort of poison would have an odd taste, delayed effect, and compromise liver and kidney function for a time (the poisoned character needs to be on dialysis on her ship for a time), and how would the Terran medical treatment work? (prior to the alien emperor's staff sending in an anti-toxin that cures the effects, that is...) I'd like generalities, of course, SF and advanced technologies mean there can be some dramatic license, but I'd want something recognizable enough to today's readers that it isn't entirely unfamiliar...
Cannibal - Think

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I've been scouring various art websites and textbooks looking for a particular word, but I can't find it based on the definition alone. Hopefully you good folks will be able to help me.

There is a term in art used to describe the use of shadow to create the illusion of substance or form (I'm only approximating). What is that word?
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