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Posted on Sun May 26th, 2024 @ 4:29pm by Lieutenant Commander Deanna Celes & Commander Jonathan Grayson & Commander Samantha Howard & Lieutenant Commander Shoniara T’ghann-Travis Dr & Lieutenant Inara Senn

Mission: Man & Machine
Location: USS Washington/Planet

Deanna signaled the ship, notifying them that they were alright and that Inara's team was green to come down to the planet. She requested they land at her and Jon's position, seeing as she was getting all sorts of strange tricorder readings from her position, and she wanted Inara to see one of the largest creatures she had ever encountered, as it slowly walked towards the coastline and towards the nearby ocean.

Inara materialized and began to scan the area. "No... It... all this... should be dead." She noted. "But there is biomass here that is unlike anything we've simulated from a post-nuclear apocalypse."

Deanna, her uniform filthy after being buried in dirt from the fallout, her face equally dirty and her hair a bit unkempt offered a simple chuckle, and then gently reached out her hand and turned Inara's head towards the ocean, allowing her to see the behemoth creature that was slowly making its way towards the ocean. The creature was massive, looking like a massive turtle or tortoise, with brown extremities that peaked out of its massive shell, which appeared to match the ground, or what the ground might have one looked like, and having a small grove of trees atop the center of its shell. "It might be the most impressive creature I have ever seen. Kate Connor called it a Torterra. They are a native species of the planet, though she says that this one must be quite old to have gotten to this size. She wasn't aware of it, so I let her know it has psionic abilities. I actually sensed it and linked with it psionically prior to all the craziness down here. Is it not a magnificent sight?" Deanna questioned, astonishment in her voice.

Sam looked around, marveling in the native life this planet offered despite it being what should have been a nuclear wasteland. "Incredible" she whispered, too awestruck to even fumble for her tricorder and take a few readings.

Deanna hated having to break up the moment, but she wanted to get her injection and allow Sam a chance to give her and Jon a once over. Her EV suit had taken a pounding and was so damaged she hadn't kept it on. Without it, and the portable shield generator she had placed on it, she was dealing with the radiation on the planet herself, and she knew she needed her inoculation to protect her from any additional damage.

Inara looked at Deanna. "Oh, dammit all, Deanna." Inara suddenly said after looking at Deanna. "Where the hell is your EV Suit? Doctor.... Get over here."

Deanna looked slightly perturbed. She pointed at her discarded EV suit which sat in a crumpled heap only a few feet away, looking completely trashed. "Being in a warzone comes with unexpected challenges, like being on the ground and within visual range to guide in a tricobalt device that impacted an unforeseen chronometric device that created a shockwave an order of magnitude higher than predicted as well as temporarily opening a small hole in subspace, all of which buried myself and Cmdr Grayson under several meters of dirt and debris. But tell me, how has your day gone so far lieutenant?"

Sam looked around at the mention of 'Doctor', realizing for an instant she had been completely oblivious to the current real situation. Mentally chastising herself she hurried over to Deanna and scanned her with a tricorder. A moment later a hypo was produced from her medkit and loaded, nearly injecting it into Deanna's carotid artery. "That should negate some of the bad stuff" she commented.

Inara just stared at Deanna. Clearing her thoughts so she didn't sense anything. Apparently, she did not require her sympathy. 'Mental note; no one requires you to give a damn, Inara.' She said to herself sarcastically.

"Thank you, Sam," Deanna said with a smile. "I'm sure Jon requires the same assistance." She looked to Inara, "You wanted to see this world to better orient your plans regarding the radiation and perhaps to determine how everything seems to survive. Sam and Shon have begun studying the radiation on this planet in relation to the people, and it is my hope that you will work with them to ferret out the mystery. I had hoped to join you and work on the radiation questions, but our attack on the main machine complex has revealed, a curiosity. I'm needed there unfortunately, but I hope to join you at some point, in hopes of studying the diverse ecology and perhaps assisting you in the quest of determining how everything survives the high levels of radiation here."

Jon stood away from the others as he watched the massive tortoise slowly make its way to the sea, He was dirty covered in grime and dirt like Deanna. He had several cuts and scrapes along with assorted bruises coming from being buried under several meters of radioactive dirt. His EV suit and shield generator were trash. He wouldn't be surprised if someone turned out the lights he and Deanna glowed in the dark.

He half listened to Deanna and Inara go back and forth. Finally, he turned ack to them and asked. "Have the machines been destroyed?"

"It appears so" Shran said as he walked up with the Connors. "Though I'd like for us to have a team go with them to sift through the remnants of that complex. Deanna and Phoenix are already going. I would ask you to go, but I think Callie might kill me if I do. She is beside herself with that disappearing act you and Deanna did."

Jon nodded. "I believe she would sir." He remarked grimly. "Believe me our disappearing act wasn't planned or scripted." He added gravely. "I wouldn't mind going but I'd like to clean up as I'm sure Deanna would, and I'd like to reassure Callie I am okay."

Sam took the opportunity to scan and treat Jon as he spoke, being as inconspicuous as possible as she did so. With everyone at least not glowing in the dark anymore she turned her attention back to the conversation at hand.

"I don't think you need to go on this little excursion. Deanna needs to be there, but you have spent enough time on the surface here. I'd like to have you back on the ship coordinating our various teams as they work on the clean up here. I think I'd like to stretch my legs a bit. I'll tag along with Deanna. I'm sure Ens Phoenix will be happy to play bodyguard for me" Shran replied. "Perhaps me sending you back up to the ship might earn us both points of goodwill with Callie" he said with a smile.

Deanna walked over to speak with Kate Connor. "That torterra is a remarkable creature. I'd like the opportunity to learn more about it, along with the other unique creatures on this planet. Perhaps now that we have helped you defeat this machine army, I might be able to see such things, and you might be able to get back to veterinary work rather than treating war wounds."

"Wouldn't that be nice. I've seen all I want of war." Kate replied somberly. "I would be happy to take you to the Tengu Forest if you have time. Many species native to this planet there. You'll see things that will amaze you."

Jon nodded, "Certainly sir. Though I believe your statement about earning points with Callie is certainly valid."

Shon was fascinated by the huge amphibian. Walking to the shore where the behemoth was approaching the sea. Running to catch up as best as she could she turned her tricorder towards it and began scans for radiation and its normal physiology. Surprisingly it was clear of any radiation. The cause of this she was not sure but the creature did appear to have a virus. The Torterra reached the sea which parted as the weighty creature became buoyant and disappeared beneath the waters. She walked back.

"Sam, Captain, Inara I would like to draw some blood from the Torterra. It seems to be radiation free, but it has a virus that, I suspect is cancelling the radiation out. Maybe all animal life is the same?"

"An interesting theory. Viruses have been known to express positive outcomes in the past. I would be intrigued to know how you plan on taking a blood sample from a whale though" Sam raised an eyebrow.

Inara suddenly spoke after scanning a nearby flower. "This is astounding. Incredible."

Deanna walked over. "What have you found Inara?" she asked.

"There is indeed a virus, so to speak. Allow me to explain, there are a number of viruses and even parasites in a life form, such as us. Some are quite malicious. But there are some microorganisms that serve a beneficial purpose such as mitochondria, a single cell organism that generates what is known as ATP. Energy for the cell to take actions, to put it simply. Indeed, it is a symbiotic lifeform. Even advanced life forms such as us would not exist without mitochondria. That being said, my tricorder is picking up another very similar life form in these life forms' cells. Different from mitochondria. This one, it's disrupting certain wavelengths, such as gamma wave radiation, and it's boron based."

"Boron based? That explains a few things" Sam mused as she pulled her own tricorder and took a reading of the flower. "Incredible, I wonder if it is a naturally occurring phenomenon on this planet or something that has mutated as a result of the radiation?"

"A boron-based lifeform. Fascinating" Deanna replied. "I believe you may have found an answer to one of the radiation questions. We should scan other lifeforms on this planet, see if it has created a symbiotic relationship with all life in the biosphere. This would be a significant discovery, Inara."

"Your scientific technology is impressive" Kate Connor noted. "We could learn so much with that level of research ability. One scan and you located a lifeform we had no idea existed on our planet and it is even more impressive than some of the significantly larger creatures you can find here."

"My initial scans of this system might explain a few things, Ms. Connor." Inara noted. "Now usually when planet's form, they form around what is known as a T-Tauri type star, I'm hypothesizing that this planet formed closer to the sun initially with a lot heavier metals. And when you get out to the outer system, that's where you usually find the lighter elements that form the gas and ice giants. This planet is composed of some very heavy metals in its mantle and core, such as uranite and boron. And usually, it is in the oceans of a planet where life takes shape, but it is a very careful and intricate chemistry set that takes billions of years." Inara explained. "However, it is after a planet develops a suitable magnetic field and liquid water as well as oxygenation occurs that conditions become perfect for a cornucopia of lifeforms. We called it, on Earth, the Cambrian explosion. I hypothesize that early life on this planet had to cope with an increased number of radioactive materials on the sea floor, where this chemistry set would have resided in early oceanic vents. This life form would have evolved there, and formed a symbiotic relationship with every life form that came after, and those who didn't, died." Inara began scanning Connor. "Hmm... It seems this planet may have adopted you, Ms. Connor. Congratulations, Ms. Connor. Just by living on this planet, you've inherited this microorganism, and its immunity to radiation. Why one of your people could walk inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and live quite healthy lives there."

Sam was peeking with excitement. "Can I... I mean may I... take a sample of your blood? It could solve the radiation sickness that our people are still vulnerable to and will requirement treatment for."

"Of course, doctor" Kate replied to Sam's request for a blood sample. She looked to Inara, "You might enjoy looking at the Tengu Forest as well when I take Deanna. What you are saying gives some explanation to some of the native creatures of this planet and the remarkable abilities. The forest is one of the most diverse biosystems on this planet, as far as native life is concerned."

"Sounds like we have multiple field trips planned" Deanna said with a smile. "But business before pleasure. We will head over and check out this complex first. Your husband and the captain seem more than ready to take a look."

Sam tucked the hypo back into her medkit and administered another round of radiation blockers to those that needed it. Everyone in the away team would need some residual therapy to purge the latent radiation in their systems but there was no longer any long term danger.

"I do need to get the team together to discuss how to remove the aerosols, but aside from that, the lifeforms on this planet seem quite adaptable. As for the boron-based life form, I think a permanent research presence on this planet is needed. If we study this life form, it could lead to technology and research that would, potentially, make radiation suits obsolete." Inara mentioned. "But that is an optimistic assessment. A very optimistic assessment, and I digress. This planet will be very valuable for medical research in the coming decades. I also want to look at what's left of these machines. An AI singularity." Inara noted. "We must know how this happened, as we ourselves are on the verge of sentient AI within perhaps another century." Inara mentioned. "Interesting though... this Singularity declared war on humanity... but it did not touch the flora or fauna."

"It may be interesting, but it isn't surprising Inara. The machines didn't view or regard the flora and fauna as a threat to them," Jon replied.

"Last I checked we had sentient artificial intelligence already, unless you don't count Cmdr Data or the EMH from Voyager as AI. Federation law certain is leaning in the direction of including them both, as they have a great many of the same rights as any other biological sentient" Deanna added. "I understand your desire to take a closer look at this AI though. Assuming we can find something worth your attention, and assuming it is safe, I'll have something sent to the ship for you to take a closer look at. It interests me as well. I would guess proper safety protocols weren't input in the initial base programming."

"One thing, Commander Celes. I wouldn't be too quick to inform the scientific community at large about this place, as there is plenty here that is potentially dangerous beyond all reason. This lifeform for example can lead to treatments for a wide range of radiation exposure, or if what can heal, can also kill... the consequences could be terrifying. These machines for example will pique the interests of a great many people. And if security measures are not taken, we may be fighting the next war against someone who has an army of drone ships and soldiers." Inara mentioned. Commanders, respectfully, we need a lid on everything here until we can maintain security here with the locals, and that means storing all relatively intact machines somewhere where they will not be taken to Romulus for an examination." Inara noted.

"I am sure Admiral Janeway will take all of that under consideration when she arrives" Deanna replied, "All we can do is our job, the bureaucrats will make the policy. Let's get going. We all have things to get done." Deanna headed over with Shran, Phoenix, and the Connor contingent and they began making their way towards the remnants of the Skynet complex.


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