For many years the way the Delpha Coalition of Planets' ability to know the activities of much of the gigaquadrant was a mystery. Although modern advances in networking and communication meant that news could spread in seconds of it happening, the DCP always appeared to know many events or discoveries before anyone else.
Since it's transferrance to the Andromeda Galaxy, the Kraw colony of Komraes thrived. Its previous government had wanted it to become a thriving metropolis world of billions, nigh-impossible withi ntheir own territory. An influx of aliens to the colonies had promoted rapid construction of new city blocks and orbital installations. The old city however was still a popular location for the affluent to settle and live their daily lives. A gathering site for the affluent amd the cultured across the subsector.
A buzzer beeped on a phone within a doctor's clinic located on the outer blocks of the Old Komraes district. The responder, a dr. Salisse'Ensha - a Ryketian who had moved from the Solonese Union to the Imperium seeking a better life - priued herself from her holoprojector and swivelled in her chair and pressed a panel to aknowledge the beep. On the other end, a Kraw woman's voice oculd be heard.
Eshi - Dr. Salisse, your 14:63 appointment is here.
Ensha - I see. Send him in.
A couple of minutes passed and the door opened. Strolling inside and taking off his coat was a Kraw with dark blue scales and stubby horns. He wore clothing appropriate for the warm interior, a loose t-shirt trimmed with silver thread at the sleeveholes and a pair of iron-grey shorts. He looked at the doctor as he entered and gave her a nod, she smiled and nodded back.
Ensha - Ah. Mr. Enghrek, good to see you. You mentioned nanotech troubles over the communicator?
Alos Enghrek - Yes doctor. I woke up yesterday and was notified by my Morphis implant that it encountered something...I'm not sure what but I did feel slightly feverish for about an hour.
Ensha - Well let me check you to see if the problems ar epersisting, then we shall see about checking the colony's memory core for elaboration to the problem.
Alos - Sure.
Alosh shrugged and sat on the bed in her office. She removed a device from her drawer and asked Alos to lift up his shirt, to which he complied. She gently placed the device, which had a flat surface on the bottom and was half-spherical on the top, on the Alos' sternum and tapped a few uncovered panels, watching as the device gave various readouts. A few moments passsed, she had asked Alos ot take several deep breaths in and out as the device read his body. She looked satisfied as she removed the device from his chest and mulled over the readings as she returned it to her desk.
Ensha - Physically you appear healthy. Heart rate is good, no interruptions, no anomolous biochemical functions, breathing is normal for a being of your age and physiology but I did see signs of elevated blood sugar.
Alos - Ah, that must have been the three donuts I had on the way over, I've come straight from work.
Ensha - That explains things.
Alos - So nothing odd at all?
Ensha rooted though her drawers and removed another device from the middle drawer. She calibrated it as she walked over.
Ensha - Nothing I can discern from an initial diagnosis. Now, where was your hub inserted?
Alos - --My what?
Ensha - Your Morphis hub, the implant you were given when you bought the colony.
Alos - Oh that. Had it implanted within my belly.
Ensha nodded and opened out the device, which opened into two sections. She approached and carefully rested it ot fit the contours of Alos' belly and activated a button. After a mament the device registered the implant in his body and a progress bar on the device promptly filled up t othe sound of a high-pitched hum. With that done, Ensha removed it and took it over ot her computer.
Ensha - You said you felt feverish yesterday? What time.
Alos - Well I woke up at 6:51 and I felt really sweaty.
Ensha - And how long ahve you had a colony.
Alos - I'd say a week. My friend Deenosk got his a month before and was showing off how I could punch him in the gut and he wouldn't feel anything so I thought, "seems great I'll take one."
Ensha - Any initial discomforts after implantation?
Alos - Thigh cramps.
Alos rubbed his thoughs as he sat, as if he was feeling the pain right now, his face was one of discomfort however so its possible that something still lingered.
Ensha - Right. Acclimiatisation discomfort happpens in a few beings but its minor. Anyway, that's everything, I'll look over the data and contact you when I can.
Alos - Great! Because I'd really like to know what happened.
Ensha - Morphis had made jobs such as mine much easier and prompt lately. Although granted I see less patients now that their stomach bugs or colds clear up on their own.
Alos - Neat! Let me know what you find okay.
Ensha - Will do Mr. Enghrak, have a nice day.
Alos nodded ans he stood up and grabbed his coat fro mthe hook as he left the door, leaving Ensha to proceed to studying the data she had gathered. Morphis was changing lives, and she was thankful part of her post medical school training now included nanotech diagnosis such as this.
Late Night Discovery
ENsha was curious. After a strong of other patients, most who were here for a simple routine checkup, she set to work analysing the memory data from Alos' Morphis colony. She ended up working long hours int othe night, studying reports. She learned that the fever was triggered by the nanites, an hour before the time ALos had given her they had logged a moment flagged as "genetic anomoly", and the adjacant number indicated that thousands of nanites had reported the same thing thoughout his body.
Ensha was curious as to what this anomoly was. Looking though the reports she found the same thing coming up again and again - an anomolous nucleotide set buried deep within the DNA found withi nthe nucleus of many of his cells. Most of the anomolies were reported from within neurons in his cerebrum. She wasn't sure what to make of all this. She knew how to read reports form nanite colonies and she had a medical doctrate, but this was a genetics issue. She had a contact within one of the local research labs elsewhere on the planet, a scientist she had spent time with. Without thinking of what time it was for him she picked up her phone and dialled for him, drumming her fingers waiting for him ot pick up.
The scientist, a Dr. Dankor Arlvarg, was eating lunch with colleagues, chatting about their recent scientific work. His phone went off and he had to momentarily excuse himself, answering the call once he was outside the cafeteria. He put his hand inside one of his pockets as he hooked his phone into a clip on his ear. It was small enough os that while it covered his ear, it was relatively unobstructive.
Dankor - Ye-hello?
Ensha - Dankor it's Ensha, from Old Komraes Downtown Clinic? Listen I don't know when I called uou but--
Dankor - Woah woah slow down, slow down. What's going on?
Ensha - One of my patients reported something up with his nanite colony. I checked him up, looked though his hub's records and found...something within his DNA.
Dankor - A mutation?
Ensha - I have no idea, the nanites identify it as a genetic anomoly but they don't think its something that should be part of his genome.
Dankor - Let me put on my glasses and I'll ahve a look.
Ensha - Thank you, sending the file now.
Ensha sent the package via email to Dankor's phone. He donned a set of clear plastic glasses which projected a display on the inside lens that only he was able to see. He looked at the information, an inquisitive look forming on his features as he studied the data, finding it difficult to understand. He resorted to studying a constructed recording from the sensor equipment housed within one of the nanites. He watched closely as the nanite approached and then, there was a flicker in the readings. Part of the DNA structure the nanite focused on loked like it would be expected there but at the same time the nanite gave detected properties that were not normal for Kraw DNA.
Dankor - Ensha, do you have access to a tissue sample?
Ensha - Most of these come from the cerebrum but a few reports come from dermal tissue and scales. Why?
Dankor - What the nanites have found should not be there. Its something artificial pretending to be part of the patient's genetic structure.
Ensha - Is he at risk?
Dankor - From what the nanite is reading its some kind of construct. I advise quarantine until tisue samples can determine what we're dealing with.
Ensha - I've found some later files, after numerous cases, the nanites began to replace whatever this anomoly was with the expectant code.
Dankor - Did they discover anything during dismantling?
Ensha - I'd hazard a guess that wohever developed these devices was advanced. Very advanced.
Dankor - Get him to a lab, have him quarantined, the scientific community has to know what's in his body! Oh and ask your other patients if they have Morphis, they should offer their hubs' memory cores as well, as a precaution.
Ensha - Sounds like hassle.
Dankor - I made a friend at the Alpenix University last month. I'll pass this information on, maybe she can help. Just...get this guy in for a closer study.
Ensha - R-right...
At that, Dankor ended the call. Ensha slumped forward and cupped her head in her hands, letting out a sharp exhalation. of exhaustion. The coffee cup she had been drinking from that night sat on the desk by her arm. She lifted it up for another sip but found it almost empty. She reasoned that she had done enough for tonigth and saved her work before leaving her office for the night. But knowing what was happening inside Alos, she had a little trouble sleeping.
Alos recieved the call early the next morning. He had woken up with a mild headache but this didn ot bother him after he poured himself a glass of fruit juice and swigged it down. Responding to the call, he was a little puzzled that Ensha had asked him notto meet in her office at the clinic, but at a location she had specialised over the phone. This made him a little anxious but tried ot recall that surely what she was doing was in his best interests as her patient.
Arriving outside the doors to anlaboratory in the Old Komraes district, Alos looked around with apprehension, not sure why he was here. A few minutes later, Ensha arrived, smartly-dressed and greeting him with a handshake. She explained to him about her discovery, of the anomolies they had found in his genome. She also explained that part of her was worried that he may be carrying something infectious or hereditory given how it was hiding inside his DNA. Alos was understandably terrified at what Ensha was saying. She expalined that she had asked him to come to this particular lcinic in order to be more thoroughly checked.
The two of them entered the reception area and were greeted by a Kraw woman who Ensha had notified in advance of their upcoming arrival. Alos was guided by staff into a series of testing facilities being run by efficient medical teams. It all looked staggeringly professional. Among all the staff in lab coats, protective gear and polymer overalls was a single alien who stuck out for his elegant polymer-weave outfit that fitted relatively close ot his form, showing the Terratrix's physique underneath.
Looking about the observation windows into the study labs, ALos was guided into a room with an advanced-looking scanner unit that enclosed a comfortable memory foam bed that was of the right size to accomodate Alos' size and build. He was a little nervous, while Ensha had explained that he was here to verify any risk of whatever was bound ot his DNA, she kept behind the large observation window as doctors and lab assistants prepared Alos and assisted him inside the machine. They asked him to think calmly and that he would feel a slight sensation on his tongue while they set up a reflective disk-like panel to suspend over his head. He felt the doctors place something on his tongue after they told him to open his mouth. He felt the impulse ot swallow but before he could he felt a tingling sensation on his tongue, like sherbert that fizzed on his tongue. It was strange but he liked the feel of it.
Doctor - Ten seconds to activation. Nanites en route to target cluster.
Alos - More nanites?
Doctor - We need a good visual. Stay calm and hold still, this is an extremely delicate process.
Alos nodded, or at least he tried. All of a sudden he could no longer move his body, his neck or any facial muscles aside from his eyes.
Doctor - Three seconds. Alos I ask that you remain calm, think calm thoughts, try not to strain yourself.
Alos wished he could answer, but he could not move at all. In his mind he was panicking as to what was going on.
Doctor - Nanites have a visual. Extrapolating coordinates...okay, transferring now.
ALos' was blinded by a bright flash from the surface above his head, followed by more flashes that began to confuse him. He was unsure what was going on, why there were nanites in his bloodstream when he had his own colony, why they were blinding him. He could only guess these were to do with whatever was making its home in his body. After a minute or so flashing over his eyes, the doctors moved the device down his body. From where he could move his eyes, he noticed they kept looking over to a container on the far side of the room. Almost as soon as it began, the ordeal was over. He flickered his eyes and rustled about as movement returned to him. He sat up and looked towards the doctors who were now gathering around the container, but he wa sstill dizzy from the operation.
Assistant - Doctor the scans indicate 100% transferrence. We have them all.
Doctor - Are they secure?
Assistant - In duplicate tissue doctor, we can analyse the devices from there.
Alos - Urgh...What happened exactly?
The doctor turned around and looked at Alos with a critical eye over him. In the corner of Alos' eye though, standing next to Ensha was the figure he spotted earlier. They appeared ot be talking but the glass was soundproof. He couldn't hear anything even if he wished for his morphis colony to help him. His focus quickly turned back to the doctor as the latter began to speak.
Doctor - We have surgically removed all traces of the anomoly in your body. ou are now clean.
Alos - WHat was that talk about duplicate tissue?
Doctor - We transferred the anomolies into duplicate samples of your body cells. We have to check all variables and want to know how and why these devices disguised themselves as a part of you.
Alos - Can I go now?
Doctor - We registered a 100% extraction but on the safe side we would like to kee pyou here for a few days.
Alos - Oh...Is it that serious?
Doctor - Quarantine. We just want to make sure what was in your body did not leave any nasty surprises for you or us.
Alos - You think there might be?
Doctor - From the data we have, whatever you were infected with was artificial. We have little idea what it left behind. Rest assured we would have known nothing without that colony you had installed recently.
Alos - Well I'l consider that something. Thanks.
Doctor - Althea do you mind showing our patient the wards?
A slender grey-skinned woman nodded gracefully to the doctor and helped Alos fully out of the machine. She was joined by Ensha and the three of the mheaded out of the labs and towards a medical ward. They passed rows of beds and into a private room that ALos had been assigned to. For whatever reason, he was give a room all to himself in this sprawling clinic. Even with the relative comfort this room offered, his mind continued to feel uneasy as t oeverything that was going on. Almost as if peer pressure from a friend had catapulted him into a world he now wished he did never knew existed.
But then again what Kraw had not felt that vertigo-inducing sensation ever since the commencement of the infamous Operation: Freedom? Or the exodus that led to the founding of the new Kraw Consulate? Even though he was no longer one of the Kraw of the galaxy that was given their name, he felt as much as in over his head as surely all of those back home were. JUst as in over his head, just as insignificant and just as in the deep end. As a result, he barely slept that night.
In the days after Alos was first admitted, the lab team worked tirelessly to analyse what they had found. Using their own sets of nanites the team carefully managed to extract the strange machines embedded within duplicate constructs of Alos' DNA. After careful extraction and isolation, the devices were carefully studied under microscopes and cameras that registered high-frequency photons. After that, the team ran intensive composition, material and component analyses in order to determine the makeup and the origin of these anomalous machines that had until now kept themselves perfectly hidden.
Taros Elemetan - a Drallivian who worked as the establishment's scientific director - was working on invoices when he had a knock on his door. He announced for the person to enter and in walked Erlarg Koroliv, the nanotechnology division's lead scientist.
Erlarg - Well, my teams have been studying the admitted devices for the past three weeks and we have made some incredible process...and concern.
Taros - Concern?
Erlarg revealed a dossier in his right hand and set it on the table. The front was marked with the large words Project Sapphire: Early analysis. As with all documents, the folder had Okarg BIotech's logo stamped on the top. Curious as to what his teams found, Taros pulled the document towards him and opened it up to begin reading, browsing though the assortment of examination reports, 3D and electron microscope images, nanite recordings and tests. Erlarg cleared his throat and continued speaking.
Erlarg - The compounds we found were made of...incredibly sophisticated make. Millennia beyond what the Consulate could come up with.
Taros - So that rules out the devices being inserted by the Kraw Federation to spy on the Imperium.
Erlarg - Obviously. The technology used we estimate is still ahead of the Imperium so whoever inserted them--
Taros - What are these devices exactly?
Erlarg stopped abruptly as Taros interrupted him. He stuttered a moment, coughing to clear his throat again.
Erlarg - Biotechnological spy probes, illuminate. We have determined that they are programmed to hide themselves in the obscure genetic sequences of their host. Which we conclude includes masking themselves in the process of mitosis.
Taros - So they are capable of reproduction.
Erlarg - In a sense yes, so we have concluded that they are contagious.
Taros - ...And You made no security measures.
Erlarg - That's what I would like to ask. Most of us have morphis colonies of our own so I advise we contact MorphTec and forward our findings so they can create a detection and countermeasure update. From what we can assume by isolated tests and the components we found, the devices that inserted themselves in Alos' brain were keeping tabs via the host's electronic impulses and their own networking system - a brain nestled within a brain, so to speak.
Taros looked at Erlarg feeling horrified, his lip quivered at this nightmarish prospect that had been revealed to him. it took a moment for him to respond, the ensuing voice was filled with apprehension and dread.
Taros - This...this is very disturbing news. I will forward our findings under a confidential pretence. If these devices are as widespread as you may indicate, we must keep the project's development subtle. I'm still curious as to where these devices came from.
Erlarg - We had technicians and assistants study the construction and makeup as best they could and there is a match. Page 31.
Taros moved the papers to find page 31 and quickly scanned though the document, his eyes darting around to show he was reading the document intently. He then altered his gaze to look at Erlarg under a frown.
Taros - There must be a mistake here.
Erlarg - We were hesitant ourselves but the techniques we have extrapolated from its construction does coincide with larger Coalition designs. We were uncertain ourselves until the recent incident in the Quadrants. And we did find the sample on a Kraw, the Krawnak Arkil Consulate did have shaky relations with the DCP before Komraes and Eskaem were transplanted here.
Taros - We're not an intelligence agency Illu. Koroliv. If you want someone to point fingers with you'd best bring this up with the Royal Intelligence Agency.
Erlarg - Okay, okay. That may have been a bit hasty.
Taros set the document down and shielded his face with his hands, letting out a strong exhalation as he contemplated the next step. He brushed his hands down his face, letting them trail off as they went below his jawline and set them gently back on the table.
Taros - Illu. Koroliv, your team have done fantastic work here. We might have discovered something immense. I will forward your request and the data to MorphTek and I'll notify the Agency of what we suspect along with our sending our findings for them to investigate further.
Erlarg - Understood Illu. Elemetan. We'll keep an eye on Alos for the next few days and further study these devices to learn as much as we can.
Taros - Understood. Anything else?
Erlarg - No sir.
Taros - You're dismissed then.
Erlarg nodded and took steps backward to leave the room. As he left, and in the time after, Taros closely studied the document he had been given, pouring over the details. Outside the office, the Terratrix who watched the procedure on Alos a few weeks earlier stood close to the door, listening intently as he sat on the bench opposite the desk operated by Taros' secretary. Despite his location, the receptionist acted as if he wasn't there, and he watched intently as Erlarg left the room and headed back towards the biotech labs.