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Little Critters

Posted on Sat Dec 28th, 2019 @ 8:46am by

Mission: Shakedown
Location: Deck 4 - Science Labs
Timeline: MD-04

Not long after getting most of the necessities out of the way, a tall Vulcan looking male walked into one of the science labs. Though not really fancying becoming a guinea pig, Peter knew that further study would always be beneficial to his own safety. and with his unique immune system, Peter also realized that any study might actually work towards that goal. "Excuse me," he called out, the tone of his voice literally belying his very Vulcan appearance. "Is anyone here?"

"What?" returned a softer voice. Then it uttered, "Oh!" The science lab was nearly in complete darkness. It was understandable why Lieutenant Mortigar couldn't be found. The diminutive Starfleet officer cleared his throat and then spoke aloud once more. "Ahem... Computer, restore illumination to default levels." The computer chirped, acknowledging the request, and the brightness in the room increased until it was revealed what had been going on; Mortigar had been working on an experiment.

"Do you require something?" he asked the arrival, as he removed a pair of goggles from his head and rested them on a workstation table.

"Not so much as require," Peter replied as he approached, "it is more a question of whether you are in need of research projects. I am very aware that once my physicals are done and my data is uploaded, science usually all but jumps me for blood samples." He offered the smallest of smiles. "Experience has taught me that it is better to simply stop by science and offer it in advance."

"I would never say no to a research project," the Evoran told the much taller man. Although he had no idea why he would want to take one on involving his blood. "What makes your bodily fluids so special?" Mortigar wondered with curiosity.

"Borg nanotechnology," Peter answered simply, "especially the kind serving as a fully functional immune system."

Instinctively, Mortigar took a step back. "B--B--Borg?" he stuttered with fear. The Borg were required reading at the Academy so he was well aware of who they were and what they could do, but Morty had never come across someone with their... machines inside them.

The Vulcanoid officer sighed visibly. "I am not Borg lieutenant, nor have I ever been. My parents however, have been, before I was born. As they had residual nano technology in their systems, they were passed on to me during gestation. All my siblings have them, and without them, I will die. Means to keep me and those like me, safe, requires study and I prefer to volunteer, rather than to be made compulsory guinea pig."

The explanation made sense to the science officer, although he did still have questions. "You don't have those... tubules, do you?" he asked, gesturing to the back of his hands. In order to assimilate others, the Borg needed to introduce nanoprobes via tubes that shot out from the lower region of the back of the hand.

"Negative. As I have said, I am not, nor have I been, Born. I only have nanites in my bloodstream. They are self-regulating but they do need occasional maintenance, which sickbay cannot provide. You may take scans if you wish..." He was being very patient as the younger man seemed nervous. "You will find no evidence of assimilation, only innate nanites, as I was born with them."

Morty was sufficiently convinced for now. If the person in front of him was a danger to others, it was unlikely that Starfleet would have allowed him to become an officer, let alone rise to the rank of... Commander. The Evoran grabbed a nearby tricorder and once it was powered on, he slowly hovered it in front of the other man's body in an effort to take some scans. "Do your... nanites have any defenses? I'm Lieutenant Mortigar by the way but most people just call me Morty."

"Lieutenant Commander Peter Horn," the StratOPS chief answered calmly, holding as still as possible, "and please define defenses. They defend my body against illness and disease. I am very rarely properly ill."

That made Morty wonder if the Borg ever got sick with something like a cold or even measles. He very much doubted it if the Commander was any indication. And he wasn't even a proper Borg! "You're very lucky," he finally offered. "I get a horrible allergic reaction whenever there are birds around me. Luckily as I am stationed on a starship, that does not occur very frequently." Mortigar smiled and then returned to his scans. He recalled Peter's question and sought to clarify his own. "About your nanites... what I meant to ask was; do they have any defenses against stimuli from outside of your body? Extreme heat and cold, or even electrical discharges? Things that would render most technology non-functional."

"I am not certain about heat or cold," Peter mused, never really having encountered any issue with temperature, "I am not quite certain what a phaser blast does either, except that it has a normal effect on me. An electro-magnetic burst on the other hand will disable them and thus my immune system, which will make me extremely vulnerable to pathogens, and might even kill me. I would rather not test that theory on myself, to be honest."

"Of course. Of course," the Lieutenant agreed. Not to mention they'd have to get medical, and the command staff's approval before even attempting anything. As Peter appeared to be healthy, there was no need to expose him to anything that could end his life. "I am going to assume that the schematics for the nanites are attached to your personnel file?" he then asked as he deactivated his tricorder.

"They should be, if there are any. I am not sure to be honest, if one can make schematics of something so incredibly tiny."

"It's certainly possible if one has the right equipment," Morty told him. "If there isn't, then it's something that I can do." He motioned with his hand to one of the nearby microscopes. "My equipment is some of the best in all of Starfleet. It took me some time to convince the science division to part with it. When I told them that anything less would hinder my ability to carry out Starfleet's mission of exploration... well, they couldn't say no. There's only so much a scientist can do on a combat vessel."

"Indeed. Are you qualified to draw blood?" If he wanted to use his microscope, Peter assumed the man desired samples of one kind or the other and with him having just arrived, and not having had his physical, none were present as of yet.

"Unfortunately no," Mortigar answered. "My specialty is in astronomical science. However, if you were to drop by Sickbay, they would be able to collect a sample for me. Have you had your boarding medical examination yet?" he then asked.

"Negative. Though I arrived together with Doctor Reed, I have not been in for my medical yet. When I do, I will make sure he will take a sample for you. What do you need, aside from blood?"

"Just your blood will suffice," the Evoran told him. "Everything else should be in your personnel file. And, as long as none of it has been classified, I may be able to locate your previous test results. Where did you serve prior to the Athena?" Mortigar asked.

"USS Imperator, as mission advisor. I am a security officer by training and have additional qualifications in law." Peter paused, studying the smaller man. "And you?"

"Oh. My first assignment, right out of the Academy, was on Starbase 211," he began to recall. Morty placed an index finger on his chin for a moment as he reminisced. "Then that Hobus business happened and Starfleet reassigned me to the Sally Ride. Now I'm here," he added with a shrug. "Thank you for asking. I'll contact the Imperator later today to see if the science officer has any data to give me regarding your nanites."

"I am not certain they have, I have not had much interaction with the science chief there, or anyone for that matter. My main interaction was with the commanding officer." Peter studied the man then shrugged. "I will make certain doctor Reed sends you a few blood samples for you to study."

"Very well," Mortigar granted. Still, it wouldn't hurt for him to contact Horn's previous posting to get a little insight on the man. "I appreciate you coming here to see me," he said to him. "If you ever need anything, anything at all, please don't hesitate to stop by. My labs are always open." Mortigar smiled a welcoming smile.

"I will remember that," Peter answered amiably. "I will leave you to your work now." He gave the man a quiet nod. "And if there is anything I can do for you, let me know as well."

"Certainly!" the Evoran said, and he watched as Horn departed from the science lab.

When he got up for the day, Morty never even conceived that he would meet someone with Borg nanites in their bloodstream. Maybe that was a sign of things to come; life aboard the U.S.S. Athena was going to be interesting.

Lieutenant Commander Peter Horn
Chief StratOps

Lieutenant Mortigar
Chief Science Officer


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