[Events take place in Parallel to 1×20 (Elections)] [standard personal encryption]
Meanwhile, while all the politics were going on, people were doing what they do. Starting families. Having kids. We’ve had our first Mict births, clones with some genetic mixing. House of Children has been slowly adding the local environment to the artificial wombs, with success.
The first survivor has had some breathing issues, but is otherwise adapting. Congratulations to the parents. This is a wonderful sign. The second Mict child has fewer breathing issues. Things are looking good for adapting to Terra Nueva.
[Encrypted portion, standard medical encryption]
Oddly, the baby has some new structures — muscle bio-batteries like the dino boars. On Aute, the Mict had bursts of speed that were mana dependent. The new structure may replicate that ability. It must be a product of the purple pollen. Maybe it is interacting with some genetic predisposition of the Mict. I’m not head of medicine or the treating pediatrician — decision made so far to watch and study, but not worry anyone.
The second survivor has similar adaptions and better lung capacity. Dr. Vicinius and I are studying it — I find his attitude a bit disturbing. No bedside manner. Looking at the conception and post-birth genetics, the prion is making changes in utero. So far, positive ones, and the same in both. That’s weird and concerning. [end encryption]
Just as I was starting to roll up my sleeves with Dr. Vicinius to look at the adaptations, Gala called me in. Marcus is taking the Pegasus out to maneuver the medium asteroid. It’s a long trip and he needs a medic. I did point out I was in the middle of research and was reminded, pointedly, that there are over 100 other doctors who are better physicians, better surgeons, and better geneticists than I am. But I’m the best for providing emergency medical care in a low resource environment. She’s not wrong, but it stings. I can keep in touch with Vicinius via comms, light delay won’t be bad, and I’ll probably have plenty of down-time to think.
The annoyance is forgotten when we clear atmosphere. I love space — there’s something so starkly beautiful about it. I could spend hours just watching Terra Nueva from up here. The first asteroid “catch” had gone well, with minor damage to Pegasus’ cargo claw. This asteroid is much bigger. With AUD1’s help, the second catch goes well. It is on track to go into orbit. The big one is enroute, all 4 1/2 miles of stone and metal.
While I’m on standby up here, the third survivor is born.
[Encrypted portion] And again, consistent changes, in utero. Ozone says the TIkkit knew that the prion does this. They were once more like the ants, but they went underground and consciously embraced the fungus and the changes the prion made to them. We talk about archeology to find early, pre-change Tikkit ruins — likely in the desert which is highly dangerous, even with our Tech.
When I get home, I stop by the incubator for our oldest human child, George Marcus. It has been a long time since I heard a baby’s aura. This one is healthy, sharp, clear. The lungs look good — a bit larger that the parents, but that seems normal. There’s a tiny odd note — an antigen I’ve only seen once — a House Willowbark farmer. Flagged to the treating pediatrician and to Dr. Vicinius, we don’t know what it does.
Vicinius asked Adams about plant mutations. Agrotech, of course, has full records and yes, there have been more beneficent mutation than seems statistically probable. Something is manipulating us. Beneficial so far, but what happens if that changes.
Another Mict birth goes smoothly. Marak gets himself married at Bayside, with Capt. Gunthar officiating. There’s some unrest that he’s married both Jeannie and Lyra, but no violence.
The last asteroid nudge begins— it is really hard to describe how big this is — something nearly 5 miles long and 2 miles wide shouldn’t be moving. It looks like a small mountain, but it is hurtling towards our new home at frightening speed. Fortunately, it will go into orbit cleanly.
When we get back, Coral Bloom’s echo (the healer we met first) arrived along with Fertile Bloom, Sleepytime Bloom, and Water Lilly Bloom. I can’t spend much time with them (security issues), but I can set up a hospital tour and can show off some of our tech. One of the things I find most limiting about sensing auras is that I have to rely on memory, I can’t store the image like a normal medical scan. They’ve got the same limits. Being able to look at readings over time — not something they’ve done.
I’ve got a project planned to “apprentice” myself to the Fisher King refugee shaman. From what Adam and Marak have been arguing about, many of the delegates see the Fisher Kings as savages with nothing to offer. We’ve seen the two shaman apprentices here — going there lets us see what they know. And I could really use a break from the politics. Field work sounds great, especially if I can wrangle Cailean as part of the team. Jeannie says Willowbark will support it and send one of their ethnobotanists. Vicininus is behind it too if he can include one of those “lesser xenologists” he runs ragged. So I’ve got my team, just need approval.
If all goes well, with all the weddings in the air, it is time. I’m hoping Marcus will stand in for my brother at the handfasting. He agrees. Given Marak’s innovative marriage contract, I’m inspired. I ask Marcus about a mutual adoption as siblings. I miss having a family. He gives it some thought and we bring the papers to Weston. (I think he may start avoiding our team soon.)
[And the 2 year gap between Season begins….]