Master of Orion

Master of Orion

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s_omara Oct 11, 2016 @ 10:45am
Silver Sentinel - Short Story
Mohato scribbled notes across the surface of the desk’s imbedded screen, his slender hand cramping from the writing and his back aching from the hours leaned over his work. He was chosen as a Senior Medical Officer of the Silver Sentinel under one condition from the Psilon Quanta: that he observe carefully then report back anything he learned about the aliens and their medical needs. This report was especially long after a chance encounter detecting an alien distress signal, leading to a crew of Sakkra that had been badly burned in a ship explosion.

It was curious, the way that the Sakkra biology was quick to adapt. Even in the short time between when the Sakkra crew had been wounded and aid arrived, their bodies were already adapting and healing from the incident. Mohato was fascinated by the regenerative properties from a burn, having to be pulled away from the research lab many times to make his rounds.
He truly enjoyed the work and opportunity to learn from the universe that the Silver Sentinel provided. The fact that he reported back to the Psilon Quanta wasn’t forbidden by the crew, since many volunteers probably reported back to someone. However, the requirement pulled him away from his more interesting work.

A siren began to wail loudly within the barracks section of the ship, a call to action. Mohato listened to the frequency and pitch of the cry, an indicator that a catastrophic-level event had occurred within their area of responsibility. He carefully packed away his notes making sure his quarters were in order before moving into the central corridor of the ship.

The staff and crew of the Silver Sentinel poured out of their personal quarters into the main hall, which branched back off into various conference rooms and research labs. Mohato kept his eyes on the ground as he maintained a quick shuffle towards the primary conference room where he would be expected. Crowds always made him incredibly uncomfortable, his short stature and social discomfort working against him.

Mohato joined the rest of the senior level staff in the central meeting room and took a seat quietly at the end of the table. The commander of the ship, Doctor Aneese Neekho, stood calmly at the front of the room where cameras streamed the meeting to the other conference rooms so that all crew members could see her. She was an Alkari female of advanced age, her dark brown feathers speckled with gray.

“We have received word of an Alkari colony ship which came under some sort of biological attack.” There was a murmur among the senior staff, but Mohato focused with zen-like intensity on Doctor Neekho. “They are located just one star system over, and it is in our duty to protect and help civilians of the galaxy whenever we can. We have not detected any hostile ships in the region, and have already begun a course for the ship.”

Mohato wondered if Aneese felt any sympathy or anguish over the fact that the colony ship they were heading towards was filled with the suffering and death of her own people. This thought only lingered for a moment before he was excited by the possibility of witnessing widespread biological attack in a realistic setting. What a unique educational opportunity, indeed. It was rare to study the effects of biological warfare on living, intelligent creatures, especially after the intergalactic community took a negative stance on testing weapons on living beings. He was getting ahead of himself.

The travel to the colony ship was quick. Mohato oversaw the preparation of various containment bays for survivors and quarantined research zones for studying subjects they would bring back onboard. It was hard for him to contain his excitement.

As a senior medical officer, Mohato was to be one of the first teams onboard the contaminated ship to scout of the severity of the situation and prepare the following teams. Extraction crews would pull survivors out, then research teams would come and collect their samples, and finally technicians would come aboard to try and figure out the source of the outbreak.

The Silver Sentinel approached the massive colony ship while the teams watched the feed from exterior cameras with dread. The ship floated aimlessly in space, large areas of the ship in either total darkness, or flickering unstably. Mohato hoped that most of the casualties on board would be affected by the biological agent rather than simply expiring due to failures in the life support systems. He also hoped that there would be more than just Alkari onboard, as each race was effected by biological agents in unique and infinitely researchable ways.

They boarded the colony ship with little fanfare. Each team member was suited up with tools, supplies, and short-term life support masks in order to assist any survivors they encountered in the first wave. However, the first few hallways and corridors of the ship were terrifyingly empty, the flickering lights slightly hazy from particles in the air.

The crew had to be cautious. It was not in their interests to stumble into an active war zone, but it was their mission to provide medical assistance to civilians despite loyalties and alliances. If they attackers were still on board, it was not the Silver Sentinel’s role to engage them in any way.

The air in the ship had a faintly grey-green haze, indicative of a biological spore attack. The failing life support systems seemed to indicate that an agent had sabotaged the ship from the inside. As the crew turned a corner into what seemed to be a dining hall, they fell silent. Mohato noted that the attack occurred while the majority of the population was eating what seemed to be some sort of traditional Alkari breakfast. That would explain why the rest of the ship was so empty.

Mohato activated the comm unit on the side of his helmet. “Encountering first casualties now. Hundreds of civilians located in a mess hall. Expect similar distribution of victims in dining halls around the ship.” He watched as the crew members began to walk between the tables and aisles, flashing their lights on lifeless bodies. “Minimal to no survivors expected.”
It was a scenery of life in perfect standstill. All manner of civilians collapsed where they sat when the attack began. Mohato approached with scurrying feet. The deceased seemed peaceful, they must not have suffered. What an interesting agent he mused, as this would indicate that the biological attack did not cause typical responses of choking, vomiting, or seizures as one would expect. He looked up at the air vents located directly above the tables.

The crew had fanned out, playing messages of assistance through speakers installed on their biohazard suits. Mohato knew it was unlikely they were going to find any survivors, at least not in this area of the ship. Perhaps rooms with isolated ventilation systems would be spared.
Mohato spared a thought for Doctor Neekho. She must affected by the deaths of her kin, hoping against logic that some members of the colony ship’s crew would be alive. She must have known the inevitable just as he had. He would have to note this in his report the Quanta – the Alkari were sentimental and it affected their judgement.

He was not one to waste an educational opportunity though, so he continued to walk through the ship and take careful notes on the status of the dead. As he turned a corner, he thought he could hear a faint cry. As he moved down the hall towards a table in the rear corner, he indicated to other team members to follow.

There was a table of Alkari, most likely a family. Mohato moved the dead away quickly and found an Alkari youth underneath the table, struggling to cry. He placed an oxygen mask over the beaked face of the young creature and measure its vitals. It was a few years old. Male, with a deformity to the beak and tongue that marked it separate from the other Alkari. Perhaps this deformity gave the child some advantage against the attack? Very interesting. The child seemed incredibly frightened

Crew members approached, grateful to have found the child.

“Make sure this child is taken straight to the quarantine zone aboard the ship. Tell the crew to
begin x-rays and membrane readings on the youth.” Mohato handed the child over to a Human crew member, who held the child softly and tried to comfort it’s cries.

They would need to run some studies on the natural deformities of the child. He couldn’t get too excited about the possibilities of a genetic discovery. Perhaps the narrow openings of the beak which were blocked by thin membrane served as a filter for the biological toxin? So many possibilities.

It was more than likely that the survival of the child was based on chance or luck. Mohato shuffled down the ship’s corridors, continuing to look for survivors. Chance and luck, the two most infuriating things to a Psilon.
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Torchfire Oct 11, 2016 @ 11:03am 
Good story, as always.
I have some thoughts:

- One would think that the first thing the rescue ship would do would be to take air samples before sending the search party over.

- A biologic spore attack of a density thick enough to be visible? Either there is a cargo room aboard the ship dedicated solely to carrying the agent, or it's rapidly reproducing in it's victims (The Expanse molecule comes to mind).

- They still use x-rays on the hospital ship? Or did the term simply became synonimous to any medical scanner?

- It's interesting to see a disaster from a Psilon point of view. No sympathy, no real care, just cold logic and curiosity.
seabo_76 Oct 13, 2016 @ 9:09am 
Cool.
Story pretty much sums up Psilon mentality....they're ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s
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Date Posted: Oct 11, 2016 @ 10:45am
Posts: 2