Location: Dingir, Low-Orbit planetary (LOP)
Terran timestamp: Sol 147, 2170 AD
The UNNC Hadrian entered LOP over Dingir on Sol 137. This concluded nearly 2 years of medical relief operations in the Empire. Charter 133 was over! Some of the personnel has renewed for the new tour of duty, Charter 172. The ship is currently standing down at a stationary 12,000m from the Imperial-run civilian high-port.
Thus ends a long ride
1400 – After 4 weeks of piggy-backing a Navy tender, the UNNC Hibiscus finally is released at the edge of Dingir’s controlled space. The tender signs off and initiates jump-back procedures. The Nightingale-class orbital transfer ship is sent in replacement for another one that was disabled in a terrorist attack on Daamaka. Mr. Clavain Malek takes the controls as contractor pilot. His payload contains a large volume of personal transmission to the returning crew, and ambassador Sanjeet Lewis-Vats. They take an easy 0.6G push through space and dock with the Hadrian within 3 uneventful hours.
UNNC Hibiscus in its non-ambulance colour scheme.
INTEL analyst Thane Bapke is playing Metroid to help him kill time during his monitoring shift. The ship is standing down, and honestly everyone on the Hadrian is hoping that nothing will come out of his analysis. However, onboard expert systems start sputtering information fragments suggesting that there may be an onset of a respiratory infection in an underwater city in the Kingdom of Keonus. He promptly reports to the Mission Chief and the Medical Officer. Things get more exciting when he intercepts decryptable fragments of a business communication from the Vilani Chief prosecutor office (Sharshuud Hildemani). It looks like Hildemani is trying to get the warrant to impoind the UNNC Hadrian: a clear violation of Charter 133. Thane reports this disturbing new to the Chief Mission officer, but omits the customary Navy’s CC: there is bad blood on the ship since the extradition of the Navy commander for the murder of the Imperial Liaison Officer.
The ride home from the main posting on Shululshish did not go all that smoothly. It looks like the weirdness began when the Vilani liaison insisted in getting a science team down on a garden world in the Apishlun system. Historically, the Gaia planet has been put off-limit to terrans. Down there, they found a garden-world heaven where disease doesn’t exist. Samples of so called “stem lifeforms” were taken back to the ship by Dr. Mgii, and entrusted to the Chief Science Officer, Dr. Inuuq. Thereafter, the level of political interference in the working of the lab became a matter of gossip. Finally, shortly before the final jump to Dingir, the Vilani liaison was found dead. The autopsy, performed by Dr. Mgii, lead to the arrest of the Ship’s Navy commander: Lt. Cmdr. Harrowstein. The relation between the civilian UWO personnel and the Navy crew reached a new low that no one thought possible before.
Unknowingly, Ambassador Lewis-Vats waded in this bad blood. He first made contact with his new staff on the planet, then with the Sharurshid CEO for the Dingir system. The CEO promised to do everything in her power to ensure that Lt. Cmdr. Harrowstein gets due legal diligence. Sanjeet then went to introduce himself to the Mission Chief and got briefed on the possible boarding/impounding of the Hadrian. He then introduced himself to the Navy personnel in the forward areas. Most were cooperative, except for the Acting commander. Lt. Vulnicura. Vulnicura essentially told him off and shooed him off the bridge. As Sanjeet was leaving, the sensor officer was reporting two Imperial Destroyers on an intersection course, ETA 10h. Sanjeet was the only one on the ship both knowing about the boarding warrant, and the approaching warships. He reported to the mission chief and headed to “Docs”, the Navy bar in the forward bay. He decided that his presence on the ship would be required soon enough, and delayed his transit to the surface.
Sourcing legal representation
Lt. Vulnicura had been propelled two ranks forward in no time after the departure of Lt. Cmdr. Smit and the arrest of the next in command, Lt. Cmdr. Harrowstein. She scanned the news as digested by the INTEL people and found out that there was much appetite for a planetside swift delivery of justice for Harrowstein. She spent the best of her day looking for a local lawyer capable of taking on such a case. She secured one and got him to begin working. About at this time, she got the report that Imperial destroyers were in a low-orbit interception course. She waited patiently for the Imperials to issue the boarding warrant, had it checked by her new lawyer, and received the advice to comply. They are not going to make it easy, she thought, and notified the civilian mission chief that she was taking command of the Hadrian under the civilian-military agreement of Charter 133. Imperial destroyers by then were within 2,000 km of the ship.
Onset of Influenza A on Keos B
Dr. Mgii received the report from INTEL and decided to investigate ASAP. She rounded up the new contractor pilot, one of the nurse and one of the Marines to form a 4-person party to the surface. Clavain was drinking with the ambassador when he got the mission details. They descended to Keos B amidst a tropical storm. This cost Clavain a bit more Delta-V reaction mass than planned. Clavain checked the balance of the spending account and realized, to his dismay, that UWO had no refueling agreement with the Kingdom of Keonus. He fought off a panic attack and landed the UNNC Hibiscus. According to protocol, Sgt. Roja secured the area first and then the medical personnel deployed. Dr. Mgii descended to the ocean floor to meet with the medical authority. After about 1 hour of red-taping, she confirmed that many of the people at the ER were fighting off Influenza A, and that, based on statistical modeling, there was a chance of Onset of a local epidemics. She spent the rest of the night with the medical authority on attempting to contain the epidemic before more damage is done. Already, the virus had claimed the life of an elderly woman.
Sgt. Roja was quite happy not to be in a hostile environment that was the last two years had been. However, he realized that not all was perfect when he found out that some of the Hibiscus equipment had been pilfered a few hours later. Clavain explained to Roja that the Hibiscus had not enough Hydrogen Delta-V to climb out of Dingir’s gravity well. Clavain set out to find an engineer who would be able to reconfigure the thruster to use water as reaction mass. Down to the sea floor Clavain went, in search of an engineer without too many scruples regarding paperwork.
Samples from Gaia
Dr. Inuuq is the chief scientist on the Hadrian. When the sample from Apishlun were taken, he was entrusted to multiply the strains and prepare long-term frozen and live lines for later research. As far as he could tell, it appears that life on Apishlun has developed a distributed gene replacement strategy whereby all life forms are cooperating in building immunity and dealing with cell deregulation. The Navy had a heavy hand into the move, but he was certainly awareto the immense commercial potential of the finding. Secretly, he built his own stable lines and mislabelled them to obfuscate his efforts. When the Vilani liaison came to claim the stem lifeforms, he obliged without resistance, knowing that his secret copies would remain with him. A few hours later, Hildemani was dead and the other stem lifeforms nowhere to be found. Lt. Cmdr. Harrowstein was shortly apprehended for his murder. Despite the gossips, the whole truth apparently remains exclusively with Dr. Mgii who performed the autopsy.
In the early hours of Sol 148, a quiet alarm was sent to all of the civilian officers. The order was issued to destroy or encrypt critical information and disable key systems. This smelled like a pre-hostile boarding drill, although it was clearly not a drill. Dr. Inuuq realised that his private stash of stem lifeforms may be taken away along with all other biomaterial. He hatches a devious plan: what if the cell were carried through hypersleep with a pet? There was Ms. Nook down in forward Bay, and the Lt. Cmdr.‘s pug. However, he couldn’t bring himself to harm furry friends. As the general alarm rang, he busied himself injecting lab zebrafishes with stem lifeforms in their bladders. He should be able to recover the cells later. The only question remaining was whether/how the stem lifeforms would affect the zebrafish. Time will tell. The intercom was then announcing that the Vilani marines had entered the ship and that none should resist.
Dr. Mgii is a Vegan, they are vegans, but that’s not why they are called like this.