Black seed

Black Seed

2337-07-12 08:45 Nightingale log.

FSS Nightingale log, Commander Jason Aaronson reporting. The relief and supply mission to New Belgium was a success. There were light casualties after a Triper ship crashed in the region near the colony. Two people were seriously injured by parts of the ship that broke off during entry, others suffering slight radiation poisoning. All the colonists are now well on their way to a full recovery. We have re-stocked them with food and medical supplies. The 17 Tripers on the ship died on impact. A small Triper ship came to collect or destroy any salvageable technology and the bodies of their comrades. The Triper government insisted we didn't investigate the ship and that it crashed on a routine survey mission, we did, however detect signs of weapons fire on fragments of hull that landed in the colony. The Tripers also demanded we give them all pieces of the ship that we had found immediately, stating that any investigation into even the composition of the hull would be considered an act of piracy and would be met with unspecified retaliation. In my opinion this stinks of a cover-up.

Supplemental. We detected a transmission coming from an unidentified object in a degrading orbit. The transmission started as soon as the Tripers were out of range. It is a short message in an unknown language being repeated on multiple RF bands. This and the presence of debris in the vicinity of the object lead us to believe it to be a flight recorder or an escape pod, the former seems more likely as it is only 1.2m long. Both fighters have been launched to retrieve the object, I have ordered them to go in weapons hot in case it's a trap.

2337.07.12 10:22 Nightingale Engineer's log

Engineer's log, Chief engineer Lt Sam Johns reporting. Our fighters have retrieved an artifact, thought to be the flight recorder of an alien ship destroyed by Tripers in orbit of New Belgium. The artifact is 1.24m long, 0.92m across, similar in shape to a sunflower seed, approximate mass 650Kg. It has small protrusions thought to be antennae or ports to connect to the rest of the ship. It is made of a black, ferrous, slightly magnetic compound similar to steel, but quite a bit denser. We have taken a sample for further metallurgical analysis. It has continued to transmit a radio signal, our chief linguist is working on the translation. The artifact makes a low frequency audible vibration disturbingly similar to a human heart beat, this has lead my deputy to conclude that it is an escape pod for a very small alien, there are however many other possibilities. We are setting up a magnetic imager though the artefact's own magnetic field is interfering slightly.

We have successfully scanned the structure of the artifact. It has a 2cm thick outer layer, a small but complicated computer system, and a system of hollow tubes that appear to be a rudimentary propulsion assembly. The tube system appears damaged, and, on further inspection there are several places where the artifact appears to have sustained minor damage from bullet like projectile weapons. At the core of the artifact there appears to be a soft, separate, possibly organic mass that is causing the “heart beat”, the hull seems designed to amplify this sound. It would seem that Simon was correct about this being an escape pod. The rate of the “heart beat” has slowed from from 2Hz to 1.5, if what's in there is alive, it may not be for long. We have started drilling through the thinnest point of the hull to extract a sample of the fluid surrounding the “life form”.

2337.07.12 15:48 Nightingale CMO log

Medical log, Doctor Sophie Hannah reporting. The artifact is now thought of as being an escape pod. The life form inside appears to be dying, its “heart beat” has fallen from 120BPM to 90BPM. The engineers have extracted a small sample of the being's environment, it is a liquid nutrient solution composed of water, sugars, salts, and some unknown simple micro-organisms similar to algae, in an approximate ratio of 10:3:2:1 by mass, there are also several other elements and compounds in lower concentrations. I have attempted to replicate the solution, though the micro-organisms cannot be replicated and must be encouraged to to reproduce faster in the nutrient solution.

We have successfully made 270l of nutrient solution in the correct proportions. The “algae” seem to be genetically engineered to survive best in the solution around 350k. They reproduced rapidly until they reached one sixteenth of the mass of the total solution, then stopped and became completely dormant. They seem to use a kind of thermal synthesis as a source of energy. The solution has been placed in a suspension tank in iso-lab 1. The engineers have found what they believe to be a hatch on the artifact, and have moved it to iso-lab 1.

2337.07.12 20:23 Iso-lab 1 Hollo recording of transfer procedure.

A one tenth scale hologram of the isolab was projected with the walls and ceiling shown as only outlines so the two people in has-mats, a tank approximately 20cm long, so 2m in reality and the black seed-shaped escape pod. The screen that made up the floor of the holo-projector had labels denoting the 4 holograms, with links to the personnel files displayed on the screen outside the hologram. The taller of the two was CMO Lt. Commander Sophie Hannah MD, female, 34 years old, the other was Chief engineer Lt. Sam Johns, male, 29 years old. The standard computer voice came from the hologram, saying "Room now filled with inert nitrogen argon atmosphere at a pressure of 1 atmosphere." Hannah stated that it was now safe to open the hatch. Johns used a small hand-held device to activate the hatch mechanism causing a previously invisible door to open in the top or the pod. A black seed shaped organism with ridged skin and spikes was visible suspended in the green nutrient solution. The hologram cut away half of the device so the procedure could be more easily seen. The two officers wrapped a sling under the organism and lifted it carefully into the tank. Hannah commented on the health of the organism, she said its heart rate had increased and the beat had weakened slightly, but this wasn't to be worried about as it was probably just from the shock of being moved. Johns stated that the pod's power supply seemed to have failed, the radio signal had stopped, and it was cooling quickly. The computer switched to a breathable atmosphere and the officers removed their breathing equipment and gloves. Hannah noticed a small cut on her hand and her captain (who spoke from an invisible observation room) insisted she check it to see if she had been infected, fortunately she was clear, so she replaced her glove and continued working. Johns made a sarcastic comment about this small cut being a mortal wound, but was quickly told off by the captain. The hologram froze at the end of the recording and a sphere appeared with a right pointing triangle in it, words below the sphere read "Play again".

2337.07.12 20:23 Iso-lab 1, transcript of transfer procedure. (ignore if you have a holo imager installed)

Computer: Room now filled with inert nitrogen argon atmosphere at a pressure of 1 atmosphere.

CMO Lt. Commander Sophie Hannah MD (SH): It's now safe to attempt to open the hatch, go ahead Sam.

Chief engineer Lt. Sam Johns (SJ): I'm activating what we believe to be the hatch mechanism. (Hissing sound) It's working, the door has swung open slowly, separating along previously invisible lines, leavening an opening approximately 70 by 50 centimetres.

SH: We can see the organism in the green nutrient solution. It is a similar shape to the pod, that or a sun flower seed. Its surface is black with some ridges, there are also some spikes, probably a natural defence. There don't appear to be any definite sense organs or locomotive structures. Let's try to get a sling under it, I'll loop it under from this side, you try to pick it up from that side.

SJ: I've got it.

SH: okay, let's pick it up, slowly. It seems balanced, move it to the tank.

SJ: It's in, okay.

SH: Good, the heart beat seems to be slightly elevated, and a bit weak, but that's probably just from the shock of moving it, it seem to be coping with any inaccuracies of my solution.

SJ: I'm sure it's fine, Doc. The temperature inside the pod is dropping fast and the radio signal has stopped transmitting. It seems the pod's power supply has failed, it may have been struggling for a while.

SH: I've activated the monitoring equipment, and closed the tank. We can do more research and care in a breathable atmosphere. Computer switch to normal atmosphere.

Computer: Filtering atmosphere. Please wait. Atmosphere now Earth normal, it is safe to remove Breathing apparatus.

SH: Ah.

SJ: What is it?

SH: I've got a small cut on my hand, I think one of those spiked protrusions went through my glove. I wouldn't even mention it under normal conditions.

Commander Jason Aaronson (JA) (in observation room): Check it out Doctor, we don't know what that thing is.

SH: Yes sir. My medical scanner shows no foreign material in the wound, but I'll thoroughly disinfect it anyway, and replace the glove.

SJ: Whew, that was close, you've got to be careful with wounds like that.

JA: Sarcasm Lieutenant.

SJ: sorry sir.

Transcript ends

2337.07.13 10:30 Nightingale CMO log

Medical log, Doctor Sophie Hannah reporting. The being we extracted from the escape pod is now surviving in a suspension tank. Our chief linguist has translated some of the alien language based on the transition and what the chief engineer's managed to decipher from the pod's computer. We managed to convert the units for temperature and convert them to our own. The pod should have been at a constant temperature of 376k, but, due to a failing power supply it was around 328k. It shows how strong this life form must be to have survived in such a relatively cold environment. We have changed the temperature of the tank to 376k and the organism's vital signs appear more stable.

Our instruments detect very little by way of internal structure. It seems to be a porous mass with a simple circulatory system contained in tough outer coating. It is the pump of the circulatory system that makes the heartbeat sound. Apart from this pump, it seems more like a plant than an animal.

Since we moved it to the tank, it has changed shape slightly, moving towards spherical, and it has increased in volume, probably as a reaction to the extra space.

2337.07.13 20:35 Nightingale CMO log

Medical log, Doctor Sophie Hannah reporting. The computer automatically called me to iso-lab 1 because the organism started changing. This is stranger than anything I could have imagined, the organism, now being referred to as Seed by much of the crew that have asked me about it, has begun to absorb the traces of calcium present in the solution, we have increased the quantity of calcium as the change does not seem detrimental.

The seed seems to be concentrating the calcium into bones in a formation similar to a human skeleton. I have decided to wake the captain to alert him of this latest development.

2337.07.14 06:14 Nightingale CMO log

Medical log, Doctor Sophie Hannah reporting. I've been keeping watch over the “seed” for about eight hours. It now has a full set of human internal organs, and resembles a human girl of about 8 years.

The captain insisted on placing a security guard in the iso-lab. Crewman Burns mentioned that “she” bears a striking resemblance to me, I find this most inappropriate and a little worrying, but he makes a good point. her red hair does remind me of mine when I was growing up on Mars.

She is still retaining the ability to process the nutrient solution, but we don't think she'll be able to for long, her body's surface area is getting too small relative to her volume.

2337.07.14 11:23 Nightingale CMO log

Medical log, Doctor Sophie Hannah reporting. The commander insisted I get some sleep, but he promised to wake me if there were any important changes. They let me sleep for almost five hours, the organism's already gone through puberty and is now the equivalent of 21. They woke me because we have almost completely run out of the sugars and salts necessary for the nutrient solution. The only course of action available is to see if she can breath air. She has a fully developed pulmonary system, but she hasn't even used her intercostal muscles before.

Supplemental. Two security guards in has-mats reached into the suspension tank and gently pulled her out. They lay her on the a bed we'd prepared by the tank. She didn't start breathing until I decided to use CPR, this worked and she started coughing, and spat out the remaining solution from her lungs. her breathing didn't settle down, in fact, she started taking longer wheezy breaths. She was struggling to breath. Then she grabbed me and, well, she kissed me, forcing her tongue in my mouth. I recoiled from the shock, she lay down on the bed and closed her eyes. She was asleep, and breathing normally. One of the nurses pulled me aside to scan me and check that I hadn't been infected. Others attached restraints to her and covered her with a sheet to keep her warm. After being checked I got back to her to run a more thorough scan to check she could function in our atmosphere, she was coping fine, she seemed like a human being in perfect health.

2337-07-14 12:31 Nightingale log.

FSS Nightingale log, Commander Jason Aaronson reporting. The alien escape pod (formerly referred to as “the object”) was opened by the head doctor and our chief engineer. The life form was removed and placed in a tank, where it turned into a human. The doctor has been examining this life form and has discovered that it's genetic makeup contains her entire genetic code, probably obtained when, first it cut her hand when she moved it and then it, apparently kissed her whilst struggling to breath. It also has many more chromosomes with much more data, there are a total of 278 chromosomes, including the doctor's 46.

This life form seems to, for the moment be, anatomically at least, human, we must therefore decide on what to do with her. The first order of business is to see what she knows of how she came to be in her predicament, and also assess what kind of threat, if any, she poses to the ship and its crew. So far she has only cut and startled commander Hannah, though both seemed to be out of necessity. Secondly we must see if we can return her to her people, whoever they are.

2337.07.14 18:15 Nightingale CMO log

Medical log, Doctor Sophie Hannah reporting. The captain has said that Emerald, named after the colour she looked in the nutrient solution, does not need to be restrained, until and unless she proves threatening. She is however to remain under guard. I have been put in charge of interrogating Emerald as she seems to have connected with, and cloned me. She seems to have been able to learn English from us talking around her, she was surprisingly eloquent. Even her voice was almost exactly like mine. She said she had no memory of her life before she started to become human. Her mind seems child-like, but for all we know she could be young for her race. She apologised for startling me when we first got her out of the tank, she explained that she needed access to a full genetic sample. She seemed to know how to do this instinctively.
She is very curious and likes to touch all the different organisms she comes into contact with, for instance she touched all the different plants I have in my office.

2337.07.16 08:25 Nightingale CMO log

Medical log, Doctor Sophie Hannah reporting. I set emerald up in one of the beds in sick bay after I'd cleared her as safe to interact with the crew, and run it by the captain. I came to see her this morning and was most surprised to find that she was green. I instantly ran a full physical analysis of her to see what was wrong and found that her entire biochemistry was altered and that her skin cells now contained chloroplasts. We tested he DNA and she had gained 48 more chromosomes, these were identified as being from the my pot plants. This is proof that she can incorporate the genetic code of any species she meets and, at will activate certain genes to produce a desired effect, in this case she grew chloroplasts because she was hungry. I have decided to run her complete genetic makeup through the computer to see of which other species she has absorbed the genome. The computer may take several hours to analyse all 326 chromosomes.

2337-07-16 14:25 Nightingale log.

FSS Nightingale log, Commander Jason Aaronson reporting. The alien entity now known as Emerald''s genetic structure has been analysed by the doctor with some worrying results. She has absorbed Triper and Onacelar DNA, showing that she has touched both hostile alien species. I have increased the guard on her and stepped up her interrogation, in case she is some sort of enemy bio weapon. Lieutenant Commander Hannah has expressed objections to this harsher treatment of her, but I cannot afford to put my ship or my crew at risk.

2337-07-16 15:38 Nightingale log.

FSS Nightingale log, Commander Jason Aaronson reporting. I have received word from an admiral Parkinson telling me that a ship will be coming aboard to take Emerald to a research facility 'better equipped to study and care for her.'

2337-07-16 17:13 Nightingale log.

FSS Nightingale log, Commander Jason Aaronson reporting. The ship has arrived, a small but powerful corvette, I was expecting a science ship. An officer called Major Bently of the security corps has demanded we turn over Emerald and all the materials we have relating to her, including the pod. When I questioned her ability to make demands of a senior officer she produced a note from the admiral giving her authority on all matters relating to Emerald. The doctor objected heavily to Emerald's removal but I was unable to prevent it. When Bently's grunts entered sick bay to escort Emerald to their shuttle she reached out towards the doctor like a child pulled from its mother, she wanted to stay with the doctor, who she seems to have attached to as a mother. The grunts sedated her, despite her lack of resistance, and took her away on a stretcher. I have filed a complaint about the way my crew and emerald have been treated in this matter, but I don't think anyone will take any notice.

2337-07-16 18:00 Brimstone log.

FSS Brimstone log, Major Bently reporting. We have retrieved the entity now known as 'emerald' from the FSS Nightingale. The commander resisted but bowed to the admiral's authority. The entity offered some resistance, seeming to have become emotionally attached to the ship's doctor, we sedated it to prevent any possibility of injury. It is being kept sedated and under constant guard. We have used our previous portal to return to Earth we will wait 24 hours before dispatching it to the science centre in Arazona to quarantine the life form.