Canopus Station
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The Study

Posted on Wed Aug 7th, 2019 @ 1:35am by Captain Benjamin Ingram Dr

Mission: S1E4: Upon A Darkening Tide
Location: Unknown Locations, Within Canopus Station
Timeline: MD1 500AM

Ingram often said he missed the unadulterated pleasure of pure scientific research, and that was true. But his role as Station Administrator kept him away from the lab complex at the heart of Canopus Station, and then there was the support staff. Keth did a good job of keeping them away from him whenever possible, but there was only so much a walking anxiety disorder could do.

Which is why he relished the secret nature of his personal laboratory.

Canopus Station had been built by contractors to help with the rushed mission time table. Lockheed-Energia, Utopia Fusion Works, and Ingram Nanoscale Solutions had all been part of the corporate partnership in the Long Jump Project. LE had dealt primarily with the space frame, UFW with the power generation, and INS had done some small work with module design. INS was very good at making the most of the space, ‘Perfection in the smallest detail’ as the advertising campaign had said.

So shrinking a few rooms and spaces here, adjusting mass ratios there, had opened up a large space for one Benjamin Ingram’s personal use. INS had also furnished the space with some of the most cutting edge expert systems know to Federation science and some that were still considered pipe dreams. The space had also been built to his own exacting and unique specifications.

He leaned back in the comfortable chair he kept in the corner, a relic from a time before smart metamaterial ergonomics. In his hands, he held the sample box with its biohazard holo’s still glowing and the still twitching forearm within. It was still discernable as a forearm if you knew what to look for. The curl of the armoured claws followed the bone scaffolds of the flanges, the stalk from which the glowing blue photoceptor’s rose was very agile given it rested on the stump of an opposable thumb.

The Rider was using existing biological systems to its best advantage, adding only the necessary protections to keep itself from harm. It was not the first time Ingram had seen the results of such a drastic and near-fatal transformative process. He turned and placed the sample box back on the desk, where a forcefield silently glimmered around it.

“I still believe it unwise to allow Chief Ricci free access to all station facilities following her exposure,” Ingram’s companion in the room spoke up. “Given the rapid adaptation to the cybernetic prosthesis, a clear sign of outside medical intervention on behalf of the unknown cellular make up of the parasite, spontaneous amplification cannot be taken out of the equation.”

Ingram raised an eyebrow, and looked to the sandy-haired man in a Starfleet medical uniform. Perfect features, not to tall, and an easy smile designed by committee to put patients at ease. The MkX EMH was a wonder on paper, and its holographic model was as good a disguise to drape over a much more capable programming node.

“My goals are served with subtlety and quiet observation Caliban,” Ingram chided the AI. He was a little surprised that Calidia had not collared onto the fact a Tactical AI from INS’s software division was floating through the Canopus Station data network. He’d have to send the team back in the Milky Way a gift basket of some sort. “Though arranging more spot checks for medical would not go amiss.”

“I’m already compiling a memo to all Engineering crews of more thorough medical screening, given the contaminated state of the Engineering Module following the Marine Mutiny. Can’t be too careful,” Caliban said. With a wave of his hand, the Starfleet uniform vanished, replaced by a back suit jacket and slacks in a modern cut. A little INS pin rested on his lapel. “Speaking of which, I’ve had the sample there listed as ‘destructively decontaminated’.”

“And of the larger sample?” Ingram asked.

“The still mortal remains of Commander Varkin have been placed in the medical wings Bio Hazard level 5 lab. I can list for the medical additions we’ve made to the room for his comfort?” Caliban asked before Ingram waved the question away. “I also took the liberty of comparing Varkin, Ricci’s arm and ‘The Origin Sample’. Apart from a few variances, the biological structure prompting the adverse and gross biological alternations is identical to a point. If not the same, then a twin.”

“Yes I saw the gene tweaks put in place to prompt better adaptation with human, Trill and Vulcan biochemistry. The resequencing protocol used was familiar, like an old song. Kransberg always did like to use overly flowery telomer doubling proteins when he thought no one was looking. Thought they made him look refined, urbane,” he rubbed his chin.

He stood, walking across the lab to the glass-covered far wall. He placed his hand on the glass there, feeling the condensation pooling under his fingers as he pressed his palm into it. A streamer of bubbles rose from below the floor, drifting lazily through the ink-black water beyond the glass.

“I also noted the presence of those same gene tweaks in the Origin Sample Dr Ingram,” Caliban stated.

“My own work. Not as flowery, but it had a workman’s charm to it,” he said, taking his hand from the glass and rubbing it against the sleeve of his uniform. “Compare the Original Sample to the Arm, mark differences in the protease structure. High light any differences, no matter how minor. I’ll look over them when I’m through with today’s duties. Also running the samples through a viral load variance check using Protocol Alexus Ingram, mark white blood cell count.”

“Yes Dr Ingram. I must also point out that it’s nearly 5am, and your workday is soon to begin. Should I beam you back to your quarters so you might continue the ruse that you sleep? Or would you prefer the turbolift car nearest Station Ops?”

Ingram thought for a moment.

“My quarters this time,” he said with a nod of deliberation. “I might as well pretend to sleep for the betterment of others. Wouldn’t do to have people talk.”

“Yes they might think you had a secret lab within which you are running illicit experiments beyond the remit of the stations charter,” Caliban said dryly.

Ingram smiled, as something heavy and weighty thunked against the glass wall holding back thousands of gallons of dark water. .

“If only they knew the half of it.”


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